My wife is Korean, but we're currently living in America. It's not uncommon for people to reference popular culture in everyday conversation. This isn't a problem for Americans talking to Americans, but it is for my wife. Being Korean, she hasn't been exposed to a lot of American culture because, well, Korea has it's own very strong cultural identity.

I want to watch the most popular recent American movies with my wife to help her get any cultural references her future friends and acquaintances might make, so I've been looking for lists of the best recent movies. Unfortunately, these lists are typically very different from the lists that I'd make; they take into account things like which movies won awards and how much money they earned. I'm looking for movies that have made a lasting cultural impact and that are still relevant today.

Realizing that The Pirate Bay mostly returns movies if you search for just a year, like "2015", I decided to do just that. I searched for the years 1987 through 2017 on TPB and listed the top movies that come up below. I figured that the movies that have the highest activity on TPB are also the movies that people are still downloading and watching. That means these movies probably have had a high cultural impact.

As a personal reference, I've bolded the ones that I remember watching with my wife already. As you can see, we've got a lot of catching up to do!

Year 1st Movie Result 2nd 3rd
2017 Justice League Kingsman: The Golden Circle Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
2016 Split Moana Doctor Strange
2015 Star Wars: The Force Awakens Fifty Shades of Grey Mad Max: Fury Road
2014 Guardians of the Galaxy The Flash The Maze Runner
2013 The Wolf of Wall Street Thor: The Dark World Frozen
2012 The Avengers The Dark Knight Rises The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
2011 Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 2 Rise of the Planet of the Apes The Hangover Part II
2010 Inception Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 Shutter Island
2009 Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince Avatar The Hangover
2008 Iron Man WALL-E Taken
2007 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix Ratatouille The Mist
2006 The Prestige Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest The Devil Wears Prada
2005 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith Batman Begins
2004 The Notebook Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
2003 The Room Elf Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
2002 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
2001 Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring A Beautiful Mind
2000 Memento How the Grinch Stole Christmas Snatch
1999 The Matrix Fight Club Toy Story 2
1998 Rush Hour The Lion King 2 Simba's Pride Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
1997 Titanic Princess Mononoke Good Will Hunting
1996 Fargo Primal Fear Jerry Maguire
1995 Jumanji Se7en Casino
1994 The Lion King The Shawshank Redemption Pulp Fiction
1993 Schindler's List Groundhog Day Philadelphia
1992 Home Alone 2 Lost in New York Aladdin Reservoir Dogs
1991 The Silence Of The Lambs Terminator 2: Judgment Day JFK
1990 Stephen King's It Goodfellas Home.Alone
1989 The Little Mermaid Dead Poets Society Christmas Vacation
1988 Die Hard Scrooged My Neighbor Totoro
1987 Dirty Dancing The Untouchables Spaceballs

Are there any movies on this list that surprise you or any movies that you're surprised aren't on this list? Let me know in the comments!

Photo by Peter Lewicki