10 Most Important And Influential Summer Blockbusters Of All-Time

Reinventing the wheel and influencing and entire generation of summer blockbusters.

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Marvel Studios

With the obvious and very notable exception of this year, we'd usually be knee-deep in blockbuster season by now, when the studios unleash their annual mega-budget cavalcade of sequels, reboots, shared universes and ever so rarely a completely original project, designed to draw in audiences in massive numbers and reap the biggest rewards at the box office.

Admittedly, Hollywood's business model has shifted in recent years so that we now get blockbuster movies all year round, but the summer has always been regarded as the place to be for a movie that really wants to make a splash.

The market is a competitive one, and history is littered with just as many failures as there has been success stories, but every now again something comes along that transcends the idea of being a piece of disposable entertainment and winds up becoming one of the most important and influential entries in the history of the medium.

Massive franchises like The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter and more recently Star Wars have seen the end of the year as the ideal time to strike, but in terms of sheer summer spectacle there aren't a lot of movies that have had the impact and influence of the ones that make up this list.

10. Top Gun

Iron Man
Paramount Pictures

Top Gun might not immediately come to mind when you think of the most influential summer blockbusters ever made, but the legacy of the quintessentially 80s cheese-fest runs a lot deeper than being a slice of shamelessly enjoyable entertainment.

For one thing, it cemented Tom Cruise's transition from rising star to bona-fide leading man, and even after 34 years he still hasn't come down from his perch at the top of Hollywood's A-list, and is still churning out action-packed blockbusters long since confirming his status as one of cinema's biggest icons.

Top Gun was only Tony Scott's second movie as a director, and his signature frenetic camerawork went on to define not only his work but influence a generation of filmmakers, with Michael Bay's style in particular heavily indebted to Scott.

If that wasn't enough, Top Gun marked just the second action movie produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, who went on to become a titan in the industry and synonymous with the genre after being heavily involved in the likes of Bad Boys, The Rock, Con Air, Armageddon, the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise and dozens of other high-profile blockbusters in the decades since Maverick first took to the skies.

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