It has been twenty years since the release and success of Independence Day and now Independence Day: Resurgence has hit the big screen and is set to be a huge summer blockbuster.
Independence Day: Resurgence looks set to dominate the box office this summer as Roland Emmerich returns to the director's chair for an even bigger alien/action film.
To celebrate the release of the movie, we take a look back at some of the best Hollywood blockbusters of all time.
- Jaws (1975)
When you talk about blockbuster movies, you have to start with Jaws, which was released back in 1975. Directed by Steven Spielberg, Jaws really did kick off the blockbuster genre that we have all come to love.
Dunn-dun...dunn-dun...dun-dun-dun-dun is one of the most iconic pieces of film music of all time. No matter how many times you watch this movie or know what is going to happen, when that iconic music starts and the fin appears it sends a shiver down your spine.
I love the fast pace of this movie, Spielberg keeps the story, the action, and the terror zipping along - never giving the audience a moment to breath or relax. This only heightens the anxiety and keeps you well and truly on the edge of your seat. In that respect, Spielberg has delivered one of the most perfectly planned and constructed horror movies of all time.
Jaws was a critical and commercial smash upon released and is as much loved now as it was back then. It went on to become the highest-grossing movie of all time at the time and was a true watershed moment for this genre of film.
It is now widely regarded as one of the greatest films ever made and is up there as one of Spielberg's greatest movie moments.
- Star Wars: A New Hope (1977)
While The Empire Strikes Back is widely regarded as the best film in the Star Wars series, Star Wars: A New Hope was the birth of this iconic franchise.
Directed by George Lucas, Star Wars: A New Hope was another breakthrough moment in terms of what movies could achieve and the worlds that it could great. The great space opera was unlike anything else to have hit the big screen.
The movie shot Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, and Carrie Fisher to fame and was to be the movie that was to define a generation of cinemagoers. Not only did the film look fantastic, A New Hope sets up the story and introduces wonderful characters and complex relationship; which would be developed wonderfully over the following two films.
A New Hope would go on to surpass Jaws and become the highest grossing film of all time. The film grossed over $775 million at the global box office - easily making back its $11 million budget.
The Empire Strikes back and Return of the Jedi followed in 1980 and 1983 and is still one of the best film trilogies of all time.
- Ghostbusters (1984)
Ghostbusters is one of my favourite films from the eighties and is a movie that really is a whole lot of fun. The movie was written by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis and saw Ivan Reitman in the director's chair for the biggest film of his career.
Aykroyd and Ramis team up with Bill Murray as a trio of eccentric parapsychologists who start a ghost-catching business. They were joined on the cast list by Sigourney Weaver, Ernie Hudson, and Rick Moranis.
Ghostbusters is the perfect blend of action and humour with Aykroyd, Ramis, and Murray proving to be a wonderful team. It is a movie that takes itself seriously enough to create scares but is more than willing to poke fun at itself.
Ghostbusters is a movie that I grew up watching and it is as fun and as exciting a watch now as it was then. It remains a much-loved movie thirty years on and I still love the theme song.
Ghostbusters was both a critical and commercial success as it grossed over $295 million at the global box office. Aykroyd, Ramis, Murray, and Reitman reunited in 1989 for the sequel.
- Jurassic Park (1993)
We have already looked at one Spielberg movie... and now we are going to look at another, in the form of classic Jurassic Park. This was the 'must see' movie when I was growing up and it is a film that has stood the test of time and still looks as fantastic today as it did back then.
Jurassic Park is based on the book of the same name by Michael Crichton and was the first film for Spielberg since Hook two years earlier. Crichton teamed up with David Koepp to adapt his own book into a screenplay.
I love the fact that Spielberg didn't just rely on special effects - even though they were cutting edge at the time - but mixed them with life-sized animatronic dinosaurs. This gives them an incredibly real feel - it's as if you could reach out and touch them; I still get that feeling every time I watch this movie.
Jurassic Park is a masterclass in blockbuster filmmaking as Spielberg has you on the edge of your seat right from the very start. He has crafted a movie that not only looks fantastic but is also driven by the characters and their relationships.
The film was a huge critical and commercial success upon release and went on to gross over $900 million - making it the highest-grossing film of all time until Titanic came along.
Three films have followed in the following twenty years, but Jurassic Park has remained the best film in the series.
- Independence Day (1996)
Hard to believe that it was back in 1996 when Independence Day hit the big screen for the first time. Twenty years on, it is still a fantastic and thrilling watch.
Independence Day is everything a blockbuster film should be; full of action, great set pieces, characters that you are rooting for and incredibly entertaining. Independence Day has it all.
After twenty years, this movie still looks fantastic and the destruction of both the Empire State Building and the White House are some of the most iconic film moments of recent years.
At the time, Smith was still making the transition from TV actor to big screen star and the role of Captain Steven Hiller cemented him as a bonafide leading man and action star - the next few years would see his star truly rocket.
Upon release, Independence Day went on to be a smash hit at the box office. The film grossed over $817 million worldwide and was the highest-grossing film of the year. It was also the second-highest grossing film at the time - behind Jurassic Park.
- The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)
The Lord of the Rings is one of my favourite film franchises of all time and The Return of the King was the epic conclusion back in 2003.
Of course, all the films look fantastic but it is now a series of movies that are just driven by special effects. Instead, these are movies about people who have roles that are bigger than themselves.
More than any other of the films in the series, The Return of the King is a film about hope and courage and believing that evil can be overcome - no matter the odds.
Featuring some incredible cinematic moments, the Battle of Pelennor Fields springs to mind with the stampeding Oliphaunts and charging Rohirrim - they really do provide some great action and edge of your seat moments.
But the climax to Peter Jackson's iconic trilogy isn't all action as it packs a huge emotional punch, which is what propels the film to cinematic greatness.
The Return of the King went on to gross $1.120 billion at the global box office; making it the highest-grossing film of the year. The film went on to win all eleven Oscars it was nominated for, including Best Picture and Best Director for Peter Jackson.
The Lord of the Rings trilogy of books that many believed could not be brought to the big screen. It may have taken Jackson the best part of a decade, but what he produced was a true triumph.
- Avatar (2009)
James Cameron is another filmmaker who has delivered some wonderful movie during his career. In 2009 he pushed the boundaries again as he showed what could really be achieved with 3D film. For me, no other 3D film has lived up to what Cameron achieved back in 2009.
Technically, Avatar is a spellbinding movie that transports audiences to Pandora and takes them on a breath-taking adventure. It was a film that really did live up to all of the hype that surrounded it.
Cameron may have made a stunning looking film, but that didn't mean that he skimped on the story in any way. From start to finish, Avatar is packed with interesting characters and relationships, and you really do invest in the central characters of Jake and Neytiri and the challenges and choices that they face.
There is something so vibrant and alive about this movie that you cannot help but be swept away with the action and the spectacle.
Avatar was a huge critical hit and a colossal box office hit; becoming the first film to gross over $2 billion worldwide. It remains the highest-grossing movie of all time - taking the title that had been held by Titanic since 1997.
A sequel is in the pipeline but it is still unclear when we may see the film hit the big screen.
Other terrific blockbusters include Raiders of the Lost Ark, Die Hard, Batman, The Matrix, and Back To The Future.
Independence Day: Resurgence is out now.