Jaws tops list of classic movies people wish they'd seen in the theater

Going to the movies seems like a distant memory, but as we wait for theaters to reopen, these films have us nostalgic for the big screen.

Richard Trenholm Former Movie and TV Senior Editor
Richard Trenholm was CNET's film and TV editor, covering the big screen, small screen and streaming. A member of the Film Critic's Circle, he's covered technology and culture from London's tech scene to Europe's refugee camps to the Sundance film festival.
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Richard Trenholm
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You're gonna need a bigger screen...

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Remember going to the movies? As theater chains prepare to reopen, some film fans have named the movie they most wish they could have seen in a packed theater surrounded by people with a bucket of popcorn on their lap. Star Wars? The Exorcist? Nope. The worthy winner is Steven Spielberg's 1975 shark-attack shocker Jaws.

That's according to a poll conducted by UK online marketplace OnBuy. Jaws took 93% of the vote, but the original Star Wars movie was only a whisker behind with 91%. You may have strong opinions about this, but The Shining, the Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Princess Bride round out this particular survey's top 5.

There certainly seems to be a lot of nostalgia for the blockbuster era of the 1980s and '90s that was ushered in by Jaws. When it comes to the communal experience of gathering in front of a big screen we clearly can't get enough of big-budget sci-fi and the occasional jolt of scary horror -- and it's pretty clear Spielberg is still considered the master of the big screen.

Here are the top 10 flicks the 1,513 British film fans polled would have loved to have caught on the big screen:

  1. Jaws (93%t)
  2. Star Wars (91%)
  3. The Shining (83%)
  4. Lord of the Rings trilogy (82%)
  5. The Princess Bride (80%)
  6. Alien (78%)
  7. Raiders of the Lost Ark (74%)
  8. Saving Private Ryan (69%)
  9. Jurassic Park (67%)
  10. The Exorcist (63%)

Thanks to the coronavirus and COVID-19 pandemic it's been months since most of us have seen a film in a packed theater. 2020's biggest blockbusters have been delayed to later in the year, pushed into next year's calendar or even diverted straight to streaming services. The big test of whether audiences and theaters are ready to return is likely to be the release of Christopher Nolan's sci-fi action flick Tenet, delayed from a July slot to Aug. 12.

The film buffs surveyed for this poll are most disappointed about the postponement on Daniel Craig's final adventure as James Bond in No Time To Die, followed by Black Widow and Wonder Woman 1984. What about you: Are you going to see these or Mulan or any of 2020's blockbusters at a movie house? 

And to pass the time until then, tell us in the comments: Which film do you wish you'd seen in a movie theater?

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