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The most influential movies that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival

The most influential movies in Sundance history.

The Sundance Film Festival is one of the most prestigious film festivals of the year. A big debut at Sundance can have a lasting impact on many careers. Movies that open at Sundance do more than just impact box office receipts and awards buzz, however. It has also seen some of the most influential movies of all time. Here is a list of movies that had lasting impacts.

Parting Glances (1986)

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One of the most important LGBTQ films of all time, the movie took a realistic look at AIDS and urban gay life in a way that few previous films had. The movie has been praised for the way it mixed comedy and drama. It set the template for how to tell a story that deals with living with AIDS. It also helped launch the career of Steve Buscemi.

Slacker (1991)

Richard Linklater’s movie was influential in a number of ways. It is often credited with helping start the independence film boom of the 1990s. It was an inspiration for many indie films and its success opened doors for many films. It also entered the lexicon as a way to describe Generation X, with Slacker being used as the definition.

Reservoir Dogs (1992)

Though it was Quentin Tarrantino’s next film that would impact movies in ways that are felt to this day, his feature length debut is also very noteworthy. The opening scene is nothing short of iconic and the film is filled with quotable moments. The passion and violence stand out in a movie that has been called the greatest indie film of all time.

 Clerks (1994)

The 1990s were a great decade for independent films. Clerks is usually the movie held up as an example as to how successful an indie film can be. It’s realistic story and humor were eye opening for the time and drew audiences in. It is incredibly funny and paved the road for imitators for years. Plus, the Return of the Jedi conversation changed how people looked at that movie.

Super Size Me (2004)

The movie generated controversy from the moment it was released. Some saw educational and nutritional value in it. Others saw it as a cheap gimmick that would end with obvious results. Either way, there is no doubting its impact. McDonald’s discontinued the Supersize portions shortly after the movie’s release. The documentary’s most lasting impact can be seen on YouTube where scores of would be YouTube celebrities have channels dedicated to showcasing ridiculous eating habits.

The Sundance Film Festival is online January 28- February 3. Tickets can be purchased and a full lineup can be found here.

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