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8 ‘old’ movies whose special effects still hold up today

By / 06.06.13
Old Movie Special Effects Today

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=taMnCjzKgd8" target="_blank">YouTube/Universal</a>


The great classic movies we grew up with are still great for plenty of reasons, and one of them is that everlasting ability to wow us with awesome visual effects. They may or may not look realistic now, but they sure as hell still look awesome. Let’s go over some of the coolest visual effects from older movies.

Did we miss any? Let us know in the comments.

Photo credit: YouTube/Universal

8 ‘Terminator 2: Judgment Day’

The VFX: Make-up depicting multi-layered bio-organic skin over cybernetic exo-skeleton, the liquid-metal shape-shifting T-1000 and the nuclear nightmare detonation.

Quintessential scene: The battle at the steel mill.

Year: 1991

7 ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’

The VFX: Clever use of no CGI elements whatsoever including electrocuted Nazis, ghosts that arise from the Ark, melting/exploding bad guys, the sky opening up, pyrotechnics, the Tanis map room light beam and the Nazi car flying off the cliff.

Quintessential scene: God’s wrath is unleashed upon opening the Ark of the Covenant.

Year: 1981

6 ‘Star Wars’

The VFX: Blasters, aerial spaceship dogfights, light sabers, the Land Speeder, the Sandcrawler, R2-D2 projecting Leia’s video recording and Alderaan meeting its untimely ruin.

Quintessential scene: The Death Star battle.

Year: 1977

5 ‘E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial’

The VFX: The UFO, matte paintings, models and the $1.5 million (in 1981, no less) electronics-and-puppeteer-controlled E.T. puppet.

Quintessential scene: E.T. and Elliott hop on a bike and take to the skies.

Year: 1982

4 ‘Predator’

The VFX: Glowing blood, electrified fences, thermal vision and the Predator’s invisibility cloak.

Quintessential scene: Anytime the Predator engages his active camouflage.

Year: 1987

3 ‘Poltergeist’

The VFX: A ferocious tree, graves rising through the earth, gory make-up, ghosts, gooey portals to the other side and a steak that comes alive.

Quintessential scene: The parapsychologist rips his own face off.

Year: 1982

2 ‘Independence Day’

The VFX: 3,000+ special effects shots including pyrotechnics, models, bio-mechanical suit-wearing aliens, and a full-scale assault involving jets, alien fighters and warships.

Quintessential scene: The White House is wiped off the map.

Year: 1996

1 ‘Alien’

The VFX: Android innards, alien eggs, a giant fossilized spacecraft interior, and the 7-foot-tall Alien with two mouths, dripping fangs and acid for blood.

Quintessential scene: The chestburster.

Year: 1979


TAGSAlien movieArbitrary Rankingsclassic movies listE.T. the Extra-TerrestrialfeaturedIndependence DayListsPoltergeistPredatorRaiders of the Lost Arkspecial effectsspecial effects old filmsspecial effects old moviesStar WarsTerminator 2: Judgment Dayvisual effects in moviesvisual effects of old filmsvisual effects of old movies
Jason Epstein
About Jason Epstein... Jason Epstein is a nationally published freelance writer living in the greater NYC area. He's known for his close friends/good conversations/playing bass/wind in the face/rocking out/reading up/holding it down/good times/turning on dimes/and sometimes trying to rhyme(s). He can be reached at his website and you can follow him on Twitter here.

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