America's 20 Highest-Grossing Movies of All Time (Adjusted for Inflation)

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iStock

Avengers: Endgame has been in theaters for less than two weeks, yet it has already managed to rake in more than $2 billion at the box office in record time. Amazingly, the Marvel superheroes still have a long way to go to crack the top 20 highest-grossing movies of all time (though Endgame currently holds the 74th spot on the list). We've written about some of the lowest-grossing movies of all time; here are America's highest-grossing ones, adjusted for inflation, according to Box Office Mojo.

1. Gone With the Wind (1939)

Released in 1939, Victor Fleming’s adaptation of Margaret Mitchell’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Civil War epic is one of the world’s first genuine blockbusters—and still holds the top spot for box office dollars, with a grand total of $1,822,598,200.

2. Star Wars (1977)

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The George Lucas space opera that launched a thousand action figures (and almost as many sequels and prequels) still reigns supreme in the Star Wars universe, with a total take of $1,635,137,900.

3. The Sound of Music (1965)

The hills are alive … with the sound of $1,283,791,300 in domestic ticket sales

4. E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

The biggest movie of 1982 is also the fourth biggest movie of all time, with a grand total of $1,278,107,600. That’s a lot of Reese’s Pieces.

5. Titanic (1997)

Paramount Pictures

James Cameron may have gotten some flak after declaring himself “King of the World” when he scooped up the award for Best Director at the 1998 Oscars, but he wasn’t too far off. Between Avatar (more on that later) and Titanic, which took in $1,221,303,800, Cameron holds two of the top three spots on the highest-grossing films worldwide.

6. The Ten Commandments (1956)

Cecil B. DeMille’s Biblical epic managed to conjure up $1,180,310,000 at the box office, even with a near-four-hour running time.

7. Jaws (1975)

Universal Pictures

The film that made Steven Spielberg a household name may have scared audiences away from the water, but it brought them to the cinema in droves, as evidenced by its $1,153,990,200 in ticket sales.

8. Doctor Zhivago (1965)

Despite being banned in Russia—the country in which it is set—until 1994, David Lean’s epic drama-romance still managed to drum up more than a billion dollars ($1,118,460,500) from U.S. audiences.

9. The Exorcist (1973)

William Friedkin’s groundbreaking horror film is the genre’s first to score a Best Picture Oscar nomination. Though it ultimately lost to The Sting, it won as far as the box office was concerned, with a grand total of $996,498,500.

10. Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs (1937)

Walt Disney Pictures

Rounding out the top 10 is the oldest film on this list; the Walt Disney classic generated $982,090,000 at the box office.

11. Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)

The newest film on this list, perhaps unsurprisingly, is yet another entry in the Star Wars saga. The Force Awakens managed to ring up $974,117,000 in box office receipts.

12. 101 Dalmatians (1961)

Yet another Disney classic, the original 101 Dalmatians barked up $900,254,400 between its original 1961 release and four re-releases (in 1969, 1979, 1985, and 1991).

13. The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

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The second film released in the Star Wars franchise is its third highest grossing, with $884,607,500 in adjusted domestic ticket sales.

14. Ben-Hur (1959)

William Wyler’s sword and sandal spectacular was a hit with audiences, generating $883,402,600 in ticket sales.

15. Avatar (2009)

Twentieth Century Fox

James Cameron's eco-minded sci-fi film is the director's second in the top 20 highest-grossing films, with $876,759,300.

16. Return of the Jedi (1983)

Another Star Wars movie, another entry on this list. The franchise’s third release made an impressive $847,475,300.

17. Jurassic Park (1993)

While Jurassic World, the fourth installment in the Jurassic Park series, currently holds the 24th spot on this list with $712,233,300, it’s got a long way to go before matching the original’s $825,894,500 in box office grosses.

18. Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace (1999)

George Lucas. Again. This time with The Phantom Menace, which took in $813,711,800. Despite the presence of Jar Jar Binks.

19. The Lion King (1994)

Walt Disney Pictures

The beloved animated classic roared its way into the all-time top 20 with $803,209,300.

20. The Sting (1973)

The Best Picture of 1973 was also a big winner at the box office, generating $803,177,100 in ticket sales.

Updated for 2019.

Thursday’s Best Amazon Deals Include Guitar Kits, Memory-Foam Pillows, and Smartwatches

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Amazon
As a recurring feature, our team combs the web and shares some amazing Amazon deals we’ve turned up. Here’s what caught our eye today, December 3. Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers, including Amazon, and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we only get commission on items you buy and don’t return, so we’re only happy if you’re happy. Good luck deal hunting!

10 Fascinating Facts About Samuel L. Jackson

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SUHAIMI ABDULLAH/GETTY IMAGES

If you watch enough movies, you’re bound to spot Samuel L. Jackson. The 71-year-old star (he'll turn 72 on December 21, 2020) is one of the most prolific actors in Hollywood, appearing in Oscar-winning films like Pulp Fiction (1994) as well as blockbuster franchises like Jurassic Park, Star Wars, and the Marvel Cinematic Universe. From his background as an activist to the origin of his R-rated catchphrase, here are some things you should know about the Oscar-nominated actor.

1. Swearing helped Samuel L. Jackson manage his stutter.

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Before he was one of Hollywood's most accomplished actors, Samuel L. Jackson had trouble speaking in front of others. He was bullied for his stutter as a child, and he avoided talking in school for nearly a year because of it. He eventually took the initiative to treat the issue on his own by researching breathing techniques at the library. He also came up with a unique anchor word: motherf***er. The expletive that helped him manage his speech impediment would also become his professional calling card later in life.

2. Samuel L. Jackson was an usher at Martin Luther King, Jr.’s funeral.

The assassination of Martin Luther King on April 4, 1968 thrust a young Jackson into the Civil Rights Movement. Jackson, who was a sophomore at Morehouse College at the time, flew from Atlanta to Memphis a few days later to march in support of a garbage workers' strike. Back in Atlanta, he agreed to be an usher at MLK’s funeral when he heard they needed volunteers. In 2018, he wrote about the experience for The Hollywood Reporter, saying, “I remember seeing people like Harry Belafonte and Sidney Poitier. People that I thought I'd never see, let alone have a relationship with later on in life. The funeral was pretty much a blur.” He later staged a lock-in at his college that got him suspended.

3. Samuel L. Jackson almost became a marine biologist.

Jackson attended college in the 1960s with the intention of becoming a marine biologist. After he held the lock-in at Morehouse, he saw a performance by the Negro Ensemble Company that inspired him to pursue acting. When his suspension ended, he switched his major to drama and joined the theater group that inspired him.

4. Samuel L. Jackson was a stand-in on The Cosby Show.

Before he made it big in Hollywood, Jackson worked as a stand-in for Bill Cosby during tapings of the sitcom. "I was the right height, and I was the right skin tone," Jackson told Vulture in 2012 about the gig. "We did the blocking, while they did the camera choreography because it was a three-camera show. For two to three years, they would put his crazy sweaters on me."

5. Samuel L. Jackson's famous Jurassic Park line was inspired by another film.

Not long before he found a permanent place on Hollywood's A-list, Jackson played a small part in Jurassic Park (1993). John “Ray” Arnold wasn’t the star of the film, but he did say one of its more memorable lines: “Hold onto your butts.” Jurassic Park screenwriter David Koepp recently revealed that he borrowed the line from director Robert Zemeckis, who uttered it before watching reshoots of his film Death Becomes Her (1992).

6. Samuel L. Jackson asked for a purple lightsaber in the Star Wars prequels.

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Jackson is such a big Star Wars fan that he immediately accepted the role of Jedi Mace Windu when George Lucas offered it to him. He did, however, make one request regarding the part: He wanted a purple lightsaber. Traditionally, lightsabers come in green for Jedi and red for Sith, but Lucas reluctantly agreed to make an exception for Mace Windu in Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones (2002). Jackson recounted the origins of his unique weapon on The Graham Norton Show: “We had this big arena, this fight scene with all these Jedi and they’re fighting or whatever. And I was like, well s***, I want to be able to find myself in this big ol’ scene. So I said to George, ‘You think maybe I can get a purple lightsaber?’”

7. Samuel L. Jackson is the highest grossing actor of all time.

Samuel L. Jackson has appeared in more than 150 movies, including blockbuster franchises like Star Wars and several of the movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, including The Avengers series. So it’s not surprising that the actor has earned the distinction of being Hollywood’s highest-grossing actor. The combined box office earnings of all his films—which includes Avengers: Endgame, the biggest money-maker of all time—add up to more than $13 billion worldwide.

8. Samuel L. Jackson has his own wig consultant.

Jackson is bald in real life, but he has sported many iconic hairstyles over the course of his movie career. His ‘dos have become such a big part of his on-screen personas that he employs his own personal hair stylist and wig consultant. Robert L. Stevenson has used Jackson’s head as a canvas on dozens of films.

9. Samuel L. Jackson appears in Kill Bill Vol. 2.

After first collaborating with director Quentin Tarantino on Pulp Fiction and Jackie Brown (1997), Jackson made a brief cameo in his Kill Bill series. The next time you watch Kill Bill Vol. 2 (2004), pay close attention to Rufus the wedding piano player—he’s played by a familiar face.

10. You can hear Samuel L. Jackson on Amazon’s Alexa.

Jackson is known for his distinctive voice and colorful vocabulary. In 2019, the actor lent his vocal talents to Amazon’s Alexa. The Samuel L. Jackson Alexa option has many of the same capabilities as regular Alexa, including playing music, setting your alarm clock, and singing “Happy Birthday.” You can even let the feature use swear words for a more authentic experience.