The Movies That Have Influenced Edgar Wright Films

I’ve made no bones about how much I enjoy the films of Edgar Wright. They’re hilarious, they’re smart, they’re extremely well-written, and they’re ripe with subtle humor. Most importantly, it’s extremely obvious that Wright is a humongous fan of cinema. He delights in making one reference after another to every kind of movie imaginable. And like his friend and cohort Quentin Tarantino, the myriad of references work to build a pastiche, which ultimately creates something completely unique at the end of the day. He’s the movie lover’s movie director. Just how deep do these Wright references go? Using the trivia tracks on his three major releases, I’ve compiled all of the movies that are specifically mentioned in the trivia tracks, plus one more that I caught on my own. Here they are. Click on the images for full-res versions. Odds are good that you’ll be surprised by at least a few of the movies that were used to inspire sequences and scenes and soundtracks in these films. And frankly, these are only the films specifically listed in the trivia tracks. You can find a larger list at the IMDb Movie Connections pages for Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, and Scott Pilgrim vs. The World.

Editor’s note: when I tweeted these infographics, I received feedback from Mr. Wright (which is awesome) and I’ve gaffed in including a few films. I’ve edited the images and the incorrect references that I’ve been made aware of have been removed. Additionally, more references from Scott Pilgrim have been added:


46 Comments

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46 responses to “The Movies That Have Influenced Edgar Wright Films

  1. This is very clever. I have to think back to each of the three movies to figure out what the references are, but I can’t pick up on all of them. I agree with you though, Wright could easily and correctly be referred to as “the movie lover’s movie director.” I impatiently await his next British film.

    • I’d recommend watching the films with the trivia tracks on. It’s highly informational, and will give you a deeper appreciation for how well-written the films are.

  2. Jonah

    Gutted Scott Pilgrim didn’t do that well. Came out that film with the biggest, most impressed smile on my face in ages! Hope he it doesn’t do him too much harm.

  3. Tom

    These are REALLY cool. I too am a big fan of Wright’s referential humour and filmmaking style, but I had no clue how deep and pervasive it was.

  4. MC

    An article from Kotaku about the 10 movies that Wright said influenced Scott Pilgrim might give you additional entries for your infographic about it.

  5. Luke

    I know its not a film, but it would be interesting to see the graphic for Spaced. i think it would be huge

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  7. rtm

    Congrats yet again on the hitlist, John. Wow, you might as well be an IMDb staff 🙂

  8. Matt

    Nice work!

    Shouldn’t Bad Boys (and more specifically, Bad Boys 2) be on the Hot Fuzz list?

    • Thanks! I’ve got Bad Boys II on there (third row down).

      My first inclination is to quote Danny from the movie: “You ain’t seen Bad Boys II?”

  9. Lesley

    i’d love to see one for Spaced! of course, you would probably be at your computer for at least three years straight.

    …or you could just have a two big circles, one for Evil Dead and one for Star Wars, and be done.

    p.s. – awesome work!

  10. Yan

    There was a big Point Break reference in Hot Fuzz too!

  11. Lee

    Shouldn’t Kung Fu be in the Hot Fuzz list?? Grasshopper quote?

  12. Rory Parker

    Evil Dead 2 was obviously an influence on Hot Fuzz.
    That fast-paced editing style from the chainsaw ‘groovy’ scene in ED2 is used heaps in Hot Fuzz.

  13. A Helpful Citizen

    FYI: “Invasion U.S.A.” was released in 1985, not 1974 as noted.

  14. RobM

    The Shaun trivia track says his look towards the end of the film, with the tie/bandanna, is based on The Deer Hunter.

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  17. Awesome infographics! If I can make a small suggestion: Wright and Pegg said on the “Shaun” commentary that they were inspired by the ’78 remake of “Invasion of the Body Snatchers,” with the way the “invasion” happens in the background of both pictures.

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  20. Haven’t listened to the commentaries yet, but really love what you’ve done here. Seeing your work (and generally loving Edgar Wright’s films) I may have to put these commentaries on my to-do list. I’ve been working on a master list of Tarantino influences for a while now and worry I may never finish! Love the blog and keep up the good work!

  21. Owen

    What about Spaced?!
    Great article btw, I’m doing a media project in school about this very thing, so it’s been a great help.

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  23. John, this is absolutely awesome. I have loved everything Wright has done so far. It was a pleasant surprise to see his name listed as a writer on ‘The Adventures of Tintin’. This post is so creative but the best part is the little graphic you used in the ‘Hot Fuzz’ chart. I burst out laughing when I saw it!

    -Steve

    • I’m a humongous Wright fan. I’d love to get ahold of his spaghetti western, A Fistful of Fingers. He’s one of a handful of current directors whose films I’d watch without question. I know that Shaun and Scott Pilgrim each have their well-earned followings, but Fuzz is the one I always come back to as my favorite. The comedy in there is just so perfect. There’s not a single ounce of wasted script… including the swan scene I put in the infographic.

      And of course, Spaced… Spaced is an amazing way to spend 10-15 hours.

  24. Chitij Karki

    Sadly you left out the beginning of Wright’s (in addition to Simon Pegg’s) movie odyssey: that awesome Brit sitcom SPACED where he develops his awesome Tarentino-on-steroids style (albeit with snappier Danny Boyle-esque editing) found in his later films. You’d need about 5-6 posts to cover all the homages found in that series.

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  28. Psycho isn’t listed in Shaun of the Dead. When they look up the stairs it’s the same angle of camera looking down at them and when Pegg pulls the shower curtains aside it’s psycho in reverse.

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