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Movie Props: 11 Of The Most Famous Movie Props

Photograph of the blog post author, Carla Johnson

Carla Johnson

28.1.2021

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Quite often an iconic movie prop will be just as famous as the movie itself. It is often what is used to help set the scene. As well as some of the fine details which can make us laugh, gasp, scream or even just sit in suspense! 

movie props

They definitely don’t start off being iconic as any property expert will tell you. But over time, they become some of the most recognizable details in films, and we are obsessed! 

With that said, we have put together a list of some of the best famous movie props. Stay tuned to see if we included any of your favourites! 

What Is A Movie Prop?

movie props

So, what is a movie prop? 

Firstly, a prop is formally known as theatrical property. It is an object which is used on stage or screen by actors during a performance or production

It is considered as anything which is movable, or portable on stage or set. 

The best movie props are a vital element for telling the story, complementing the character. They give the audience subconscious clues to the scene, adding authenticity, helping to bring a story to life!

Top 11 Most Famous Movie Props

Now that you know what a movie prop is, let’s dive into the fun part!

Here is our list of our favourite famous movie props. 

Delorean – Back To The Future (1985)

back to the future

Firstly, the amazing Back To The Future.

This film cemented the idea of a DeLorean as a time machine, which makes it without a doubt one of the most iconic movie props of all time!

The film would literally not get off the ground without it. Not forgetting the famous flux capacitor. Which consists of a rectangular-shaped compartment with three flashing Geissler-style tubes arranged in a ‘Y’. 

This prop is described by Doc as “what makes time travel possible.” The device is the key element of the time machine and a truly iconic movie prop!

The Fuzzy Pen – Legally Blonde (2001)

the fuzzy pen prop

How could you forget the pink puffy ball pen as one of the most famous movie props? 

The moment Elle goes to Harvard Law we knew she wasn’t going to conform, and the pen said it all. 

It was used as a way of empowering women to be free and be who they want to be without fitting into a certain box. We love that!

Undoubtedly, it’s up there with the greatest movie props!

Zuzu’s Petals – It’s A Wonderful Life (1946)

zuzus petals

Following the fact that this movie wasn’t a success when it came out, all the props were destroyed in the 50s. However, it has since become a Christmas classic. 

George Bailey in the unborn sequence jumps in Ernie’s cab and says “Hurry, Zuzu’s sick!”’. Zuzu is mentioned, and when he comes out of Martini’s he looks for the petals, only to find that they’re not there. 

This thread runs throughout the unborn sequence. Additionally, it showed how much he loved his little girl and how fortunate he was to have his family. 

So, when he found those petals he was filled with joy. It’s the beautiful emotional appeal that makes the petals undoubtably an iconic movie prop.

The Plastic Bag – American Beauty (1999)

the plastic bag prop

This was a very low-budget movie. Sam Mendes the director, wanted a plain, white plastic bag to use as a prop. It’s the little things!

The bag was always going to be filmed independently. Mendes was going to take the video camera [used by Wes Bentley] and go out with the special effect’s guys with lawn blowers. 

Although not slotted in the schedule, they have no idea where that bag came from, but it came to him. A beautiful piece of cinematography brought together by the iconic movie prop, without a doubt.

The Snitch – Harry Potter And The Sorcerer’s Stone (2001)

the snitch

As with a lot of things in Harry Potter, the concept is all in the original description by JK Rowling. 

The snitch is the size of a walnut, which is substituted by a golf ball. It has fluttering gold wings which make this prop both magical and elegant.

Concept artist Gert Stevens created the final illustration and Pierre Bohanna’s prop department created it. Many people have replicas of this iconic prop. Are you one of those people? Let us know in the comments!

Rosebud – Citizen Kane (1941)

rosebud prop

One of the most famous props has to be the Rosebud sled, this list wouldn’t be complete without it!

The sled was custom built to thirty-four inches long, made entirely of balsa wood, fastened with wood dowels and glue.  They built three identical sleds as two needed to be burned during filming

The iconic movie prop is revealed at the end when we find out that ‘Rosebud’ is the trade name of a cheap little sled on which Kane was playing the day he was taken from his home and his mother.

The Lightsaber – Star Wars (1977)

lightsaber movie prop

This list would not be complete without the iconic movie prop – the lightsaber! 

Anakin used and wore his saber in various scenes throughout the saga. Additionally, it was his weapon of choice in countless duels and battles, especially during the Clone Wars. 

Lastly, after being torn apart at the end of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, prop makers and concept artists literally repaired the iconic movie prop. Which was once carried by Luke Skywalker and his father before him, for Rey’s last stand in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

The Burn Book – Mean Girls (2004)

burn book

The Burn Book is a book created by The Plastics to start rumours. It had to be pink – the obvious colour choice for Regina George. 

The gang would create stories and gossip about all the girls who go to North Shore High School. A memorable scene with the iconic movie prop which has since been turned into countless new products, in the beauty industry especially!

The Burn Book has since been an eyeshadow palette and a makeup brush collection, it’s still making a statement after all these years! 

The Golden Ticket – Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory (1971)

golden ticket

Made of a kind of foil-covered paper. They were crunchy, but more substantial than a piece of cooking foil.

This is one of the most famous movie props to go down in history. Even with its own catchphrase “I’ve got the golden ticket!”.

Everyone dreams of finding their very own golden ticket when they open up a chocolate bar, it’s only a matter of time before these become a real thing and we can’t wait!

The Red Balloon – IT (1990)

IT balloon

Above all, one of the best IT movie props is the red balloon, a symbol of Pennywise. Who, based off Stephen King’s 1986 novel, uses the balloons as enticement for his victims. 

The film may have damaged the usually joyous sight of clowns. IT the clown has to use something very pleasant and ubiquitous, like a red balloon. To signal that he’s watching you, waiting.

Super freaky, yet super effective! 

Ruby Slippers – Wizard Of Oz

wizard of oz ruby slippers

Lastly, the iconic ruby slippers – undoubtedly every girls dream! When is H&M going to start selling these?

These stunning slippers from The Wizard Of Oz became the ultimate Hollywood symbol. It is these very sparkling shoes that whisk Dorothy Gale back home to Kansas after her fantastic adventures in The Wizard Of Oz.

They have become an emblem of the imagination, magic, and also an allure of entertainment and filmmaking. Even eighty years on!

That Was Our Review Of The Most Famous Movie Props

So there you have it! Our list of the most iconic movie props!

What often separates great films from average ones is the attention to detail. We had to create this list of the best movie props to help shed some light on the iconic ones!

Not only have you now got some great info on the most famous iconic movie props, but also goes to show how much the right prop, serving the right story, can do for a movie. 

The greatest movie props are the same as a good character; they are without a doubt as memorable as a face!

We hope that you enjoyed this article! Let us know if we mentioned your favourite in the comment section below! Whilst you’re here though, why not check out some more of our articles? Such as with The Best Movie Soundtracks Of All Time and The Best Movie Scenes Of All Time!

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