Summer 2023 was a battle between two hotly anticipated films: Barbie and Oppenheimer. Barbie came out on top with UK box office figures standing at £86 million. This makes it the biggest film of 2023 so far.
As people flocked to the cinemas, Barbie culture took over with people wearing pink to the screenings and buying their favorite Funko pop vinyl figures. The genius of Greta Gerwig was talked about by everyone, including her references to other films. Here are a few you may have missed.
The Wizard of Oz, 1939
One of the iconic scenes in The Wizard of Oz is Dorothy walking along the Yellow Brick Road. In Barbie, the Pink Brick Road leads the way to the real world. It could be argued that this signifies both Dorothy and Barbie’s journey beginning and the road to their futures.
Greta Gerwig has said she was inspired by the vividness of films like The Wizard of Oz and wanted to emulate that with the bright, vibrant pinks that make Barbie so iconic. A film about Barbie would not be complete without some stunning outfits, and in one scene Barbie wears a pink gingham dress, similar to the blue version Dorothy wears.
The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, 1964
French director Jacques Demy created a pastel-sweet film about a young woman who spends time away from her lover, and her decisions change the course of her life. The parallels between The Umbrellas of Cherbourg and Barbie are automatically apparent within the storyline.
Margot Robbie’s hair was also based on a look by Catherine Deneuve’s character in the same film as a nod to the inspiration Gerwig took from the film.
All That Jazz, 1979
All That Jazz has inspired the overall set of Barbie. Similar to The Wizard of Oz, the saturated colors, layering of the shades of pink, and theatricality of the backdrop are something Barbie aimed to recreate.
The film also inspired some of the choreography in the Ken ballet, and in the music with the repetition of the memorable line “I think I’m gonna die” to represent poor Barbie’s existential crisis.
The Truman Show, 1998
Possibly one of the most obvious references, the theme of leaving behind a fake world made audiences across the globe think of The Truman Show. Arguably one of Jim Carrey’s finest moments, Barbie comes to the same realization that the world she has been living in is fake and leaves it behind.
In fact, Greta Gerwig ended up having a lengthy conversation with Peter Weir, the director of The Truman Show, about how he shot the original and made it translate well on screen.
2001: A Space Odyssey, 1968
As you were sat in the cinema, you may have thought the opening sequence of Barbie felt familiar. This could be because it was inspired by 2001: A Space Odyssey. The 1968 masterpiece by Stanley Kubrick paved the way for Barbie to enter a desert world with girls playing with old dolls.
This was one of the first references to other films we saw as it was included in the trailer and sent fans and cinephiles alike into a frenzy.