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Top 10 Most Copied Movies

VO: Rebecca Brayton

Written by George Pacheco

Movies that were so iconic and inspiring to filmmakers, that many films following stole plot points, ideas, shots, or even entire sequences from them. WatchMojo presents the top 10 most copied movies. But what will take the top spot on our list? Halloween, 2001: A Space Odyssey, or Psycho? Watch to find out!

Big thanks to Nana Amuah for suggesting this idea, and to see how WatchMojo users voted, check out the suggest page here: WatchMojo.comsuggest/Top+10+Most+Copied+Movies


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Well, they do say that imitation is the most sincere form of flattery. Welcome to, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Most Copied Movies.

For this list, we’ll be ranking the most influential movies that went on to either create a genre or inspire other films in its wake. We’re not necessarily talking about blockbusters or even mockbusters, but rather inspired slices of cinema that were responsible for setting the standards and creating benchmarks for years to come.

#10: “The Blair Witch Project” (1999)

Horror fans seeking out the roots of found footage-style fright need look no further than this 1999 film; a low-budget independent picture that managed to make a remarkable amount of noise, thanks to a highly successful marketing campaign. “The Blair Witch Project” scared audiences and filmmakers alike with its shaky, first person camera angles and realistic acting performances replacing a traditional reliance upon special effects or extravagant sets. Indeed, it’s highly likely that we would never have seen the likes of a “Paranormal Activity” or a “[•REC]” without “Blair Witch” and its bold stylistic direction. Whether or not this is a good thing is up for debate, but there’s no question that “The Blair Witch Project” was beyond influential.

#9: “The Dark Knight” (2008)

Sure, comic book movies weren’t exactly all bright and cheery prior to the release of “The Dark Knight” in 2008 – we’re looking at you, “Blade!” But there’s no denying that the incredible success of director Christopher Nolan’s film resulted in a drastically dark shift in tone when it came to big budget comic adaptations. Much of this success was thanks to the career-defining performance of Heath Ledger as Batman’s arch-nemesis, The Joker, but Nolan’s decision to embrace a comparatively down-to-earth and realistic approach set “The Dark Knight” apart from the broad and occasionally campy direction comic adaptations had been taking before its release. The results were a film that set a seriously high bar for its competition.

#8: “Jaws” (1975)

We’re gonna need a bigger screen to contain this monster, a frighteningly popular 1975 success story which arguably ushered in the summer blockbuster. Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of Peter Benchley’s novel was an early effort for the director, who until that time was known primarily for the TV movie “Duel.” “Jaws” was fraught with production issues, and was seen at the time as a “make or break” film for Spielberg. In the end, though, it was one that almost singlehandedly made the man’s career. It also kick-started a legion of “killer animal” imitators in its wake, from killer whales and piranha to the seemingly endless series of shark flicks that would try to hitch their wagons to Spielberg’s gravy train.

#7: “Airplane!” (1980)

Younger movie fans may not recognize the Zucker Brothers for their contributions to comedy cinema, but the duo - along with co-director Jim Abrahams - were right there at the forefront with “Airplane!,” a riotous and raunchy satire of 1970s disaster flicks. The Zuckers had already proved their boundary-pushing abilities with 1977’s “The Kentucky Fried Movie,” but it was “Airplane!” that saw the siblings firing on all creative cylinders, creating a film that still works remarkably well today. So influential was “Airplane!” that films still copy its style today, from “Movie 43,” to “Disaster Movie,” to the “Scary Movie” franchise, two of which feature Zucker brother David as director.

#6: “Rocky” (1976)

The odds are probably pretty fair that you’ve seen a sports movie about a plucky underdog who rises to the top of his or her field to challenge the top dog. It’s highly unlikely, however, that you’ve seen one constructed with as much heart, soul, and passion as Sylvester Stallone’s 1976 triumph, “Rocky.” From that iconic theme music by composer Bill Conti, to the cast’s tremendous performances to the film’s powerful ending, “Rocky” not only laid the groundwork for a franchise that continues to this day; it also set the gold standard for all sports films that followed.

#5: “Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope” (1977)

Out of all the films on this list, it’s quite possible that this one has the most shameless rip-offs to its credit. Of course, when you’re one of the most important and financially successful films in the world, it’s easy to measure your success in imitators. In fact, the influence of “Star Wars” is so massive that it’s effectively gone on to become part of our cultural lexicon, as evidenced by the legions of films that have sought to set their space operas in a galaxy far, far away. Some have been more successful than others, but, as the saying goes, you just can’t improve on perfection.

#4: “Die Hard” (1988)

It’s more than an action movie. It’s more than a Christmas movie. It’s “Die Hard,” and it serves as the template for the explosive, engaging summer action blockbuster. The film may have started life as an adaptation of Roderick Thorp’s book, “Nothing Lasts Forever,” but director John McTiernan and Co. ended up with the archetypal survival story of one man standing tall against insurmountable odds. The role of John McClane was actually offered first to Frank Sinatra, who had starred in an earlier Thorp adaptation, “The Detective.” But of course, the job was eventually taken on by Bruce Willis, resulting in one of the actor’s most classic and defining performances – and one helluva copied movie.

#3: “2001: A Space Odyssey” (1968)
Cheesy sci-fi? Forget about it. Stanley Kubrick was never a filmmaker to do anything by half measures, and the proof of that is in the proverbial pudding with his 1968 masterpiece, “2001: A Space Odyssey.” Drive-in, B-movie science fiction tales were forgotten in the face of Kubrick’s mixture of heady, hard sci-fi screenwriting and ultra-expansive, boundary pushing visuals. The legacy of the film is one whose impact continues to be felt in films like “Interstellar” and “ex_machina,” as Kubrick and “2001” managed to re-write the book on just how well intelligent science fiction could be brought to the silver screen.

#2: “Halloween” (1978)

Just as director Tobe Hooper’s “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre” turned horror on its ear in 1974 with its deadly serious atmosphere and grime, so too did John Carpenter’s iconic “Halloween” change the game when it debuted four years later. Carpenter’s film served as a jumping off point for the modern slasher movie, which, alongside such like “Black Christmas,” “Friday the 13th” and Mario Bava’s “A Bay of Blood,” set up many of the established tropes utilized by the genre to this day. First-person camera work, a mysterious masked killer, and an ultra-classic musical score all combine to create cinema history in “Halloween,” a time-tested effort that put Carpenter and his crew on the horror movie map.

Before we announce our number one pick, here are a few honorable mentions!
- “Saw” (2004)
- “Animal House” (1978)
- “Godzilla” (1954)

#1: “Psycho” (1960)

Psychological horror starts here. Director Alfred Hitchcock begged audiences not to reveal the devilish twist that occurred during this 1960 classic, a black and white creep fest that’s since gone on to become one of the most influential and inspiring films in the world. “Psycho” not only served as the template for showcasing police procedural drama, evocative cinematography and a tortured, disturbed antagonist; it also made history with Hitchcock’s promotional tactics. Taglines accompanied the film stating that “no one will be seated after the start,” while audiences were also implored to not give away the film’s classic ending, melding together creativity and showmanship in a way that would go on to inspire generations of filmmakers.

Do you agree with our list? Which movie do you think has been copied most shamelessly over the years? For more influential Top 10s published every day, be sure to subscribe to

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