The Most Famous Movie Props in Hollywood History and the Stories Behind Them

A large number of birdman mini sculptures in a row.

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Certain things are more effective when they’re larger than life, and giant props are no exception to this rule. Giant sculptures are all the rage in Hollywood these days. The latest blockbuster movies generally feature them to emphasise the movie’s setting and theme. However, props have been around in the film industry since the earliest days, when they were used to add an element of realism to dramatic scenes such as battles and fires.

Today, we take a look at six of the most famous movie props in Hollywood history, along with the stories behind them.

1. Godzilla in Japan

Did you know that the giant inflatable Godzilla that sits on top of the Tokyo Tower was originally created to advertise the American Godzilla film? With its enormous size and menacing face, this giant replica is one of the most famous props in Japan.

Godzilla prop in Tokyo

2. Gulliver's Travels

The Gulliver's Travels prop is a large-scale replica of Lilliput, a fictional island from Jonathan Swift's classic satirical novel Gulliver's Travels. In order to portray a miniature society, all of the buildings were constructed on a 1:15 scale. The country covers an area of approximately 500 square meters and was built by 60 workers in four months using 130 tons of steel and wood.

3. Indiana Jones Adventure

Indiana Jones Adventure is a favourite among Disneyland visitors. Two of our favourite props from Indiana Jones Adventure include Indy’s bag of snakes and a giant boulder. The bag of snakes is one of those things that you can’t quite believe exists...until you see it with your own eyes! The giant boulder prop, on the other hand, looks so realistic that some guests have been known to try and push it over—there is a whole show just for watching people trying to knock down a fake rock!

4. Jaws

The movie Jaws may have been released more than 35 years ago, but one of its most memorable props is still as popular as ever: a full-size mechanical shark head used in multiple scenes of Steven Spielberg's 1975 blockbuster. The 17-foot prop—nicknamed Bruce after Spielberg's lawyer, Bruce Ramer—has become a fixture at theme parks and film exhibitions around the world.

Jaws prop

5. Jabba's Sail Barge (Star Wars)

The Jabba’s Sail Barge is a replica of an ancient Egyptian royal barge designed by George Lucas for his 1985 movie, Return of The Jedi. The full-size prop took three months to build and was 24 feet long.

6. Tony Stark's Reactor (Iron Man)

In 2008, Marvel Studios began production on Iron Man, a movie that would become a worldwide sensation and would kick-start one of cinema’s greatest superhero franchises. In creating Tony Stark’s world, director Jon Favreau knew he wanted to incorporate state-of-the-art visual effects that weren’t possible just five years prior. Marvel decided to build its own arc reactor prop—which is almost nine feet tall and weighs more than 200 pounds. They needed three people to lift it.

We at Spur Creative are also excited to create giant Hollywood props. One of our favourite projects was sculpting five life-size Birdman props for the promotion of the movie, Birdman across London and the South of England.

Birdman giant prop

Alongside Hollywood movies, giant props are also popular decoration elements of video gaming events and conferences. We have created numerous giant game character props for our client Microsoft-Rare over the years. Some of our favourites were the Retro Games characters, Battletoad sculptures and the Sea of Thieves characters for the E3 Gaming Expo in Los Angeles.

Microsoft-Rare Retro Games Character Prop

We are currently working on six new sculptures for Microsoft-Rare and we are looking forward to sharing the details of this project shortly...