Movie Magic: Nostalgic Callbacks (Ongoing List)

Everybody loves nostalgia. You can’t hate it. You have to like it by definition of the word. If you don’t like it, then you’re not experiencing nostalgia; you’re just remembering a crappy memory. Movies aren’t very long long so it’s pretty amazing when they can make us feel nostalgic during the movie for something that happened an hour ago. We feel nostalgic about the movie before it’s even over.

I noticed a common way that movies do that and I call it nostalgic callbacks. Early on in the movie, a character would say something idiotic or make up a crazy web of lies for comedic effect. This first event has to be out of the ordinary so that it’s memorable because crazy things are easier to remember than normal things. Near the end of the movie, they bring this idea back but this time, you actually see it happening instead of just hearing the characters talk about it. When done right, it’s delivers a more immersive experience because you feel like you’re in on an inside joke.

Just for fun, I will begin compiling a list of movies that use nostalgic callbacks effectively. I’m going to start the list small, with just the movies I watched today. When you recognize the movie, I’m sure you would feel nostalgic about it again. It’s a gift that keeps on giving. You can help me fill out this list too!

(I wish it was needless to say that there’s going to be spoilers but spoiler alerts are always needed to be said.)

…I started summarizing the movies and the nostalgic callbacks but that was too much work and boring to read. So I’ll just be listing the movies and the keywords in the nostalgic callbacks. That should suffice.

The Green Hornet

Nun-chucks and ejection seats.

Nun-chucks and ejection seats.

Madagascar 3

Madagascar 3

Trapeze Americano, aquatic cobras, jetpacks, balloons.

Ice Age

Ice Age


Madagascar 2

Madagascar 2

Dancing out of trouble?

I’m grasping at straws here. I’m not very good at making this list, but maybe you guys can do a better job.

Ice Age 3



5 thoughts on “Movie Magic: Nostalgic Callbacks (Ongoing List)

  1. Yeah call backs are pretty great, simple but effective. But you’re right, it’s surprisingly hard to come up with examples. Reminds me of Chekov’s gun but with less over importance to the plot, more of an inside joke as you say.

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  3. You’re right. I also find that some movies, songs, music or even cartoons can bring you the feeling of nostalgia to some extent. Because you can recall the time when you first watched the movie many years ago. You remind me to write a similar article to compile my own treasure! Thanks!

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