In a pop-culture obsessed society, cinema is King with its ability to produce instant imagery and iconography through the visual storytelling medium and every so often, a certain film will stick in the collective consciousness far longer than its running time and certain lines or scenes will become part of the cultural landscape.
As such, certain props or costumes are highly sought after by fans and collectors and, as such, garner massive sums if they ever go on sale. Here we look at some of the most expensive movie props ever sold.
15. Rick Deckard's Pistol from Blade Runner - $270,000
The iconic cult sci-fi thriller about a future cop who has to hunt down and 'retire' androids hiding in human guise as they are illegal on Earth and are used solely for dangerous off-world work. The film was initially a box-office disappointment but its legendary status has seen it gain in acclaim over the years and even got it a sequel coming out in 2017.
The gun that the character Rick Deckard, played by Harrison Ford, uses to 'retire' these androids is obviously a vital prop and was made from aa Styr Mannlicher .222 Model SL and a Charter Arms Bulldog revolver with different bolt heads and screw heads, as well as half a dozen LED lights.
14. General Lee Dodge Charger from Dukes of Hazard - $450,000
The bright orange Dodge Charger with a Confederate flag on its roof and a horn that played the first 12 notes of 'Dixie' was made famous by the Dukes of Hazard TV show where it would be featured in long car chases and many jumps and crashes. As such, many General Lee's were destroyed in the production of the TV show.
One, however, that was owned by actor John Schneider, who played Bo Duke, sold at auction in 2008 for $450,000, shortly after the 2005 movie based on the show was released. It was not very popular with critics or viewers though unlike the show.
13. T-800 Metal Model from Terminator 2: Judgment Day - $488,750
The Terminator films are about man vs. machine as humanity has created artificial intelligence so advanced that it has turned on them. As such, Arnold Schwarzenegger plays an android hellbent on destroying the leader of the human rebellion but in the second film we see him in his metallic robot form.
The film won Oscars for visual effects and makeup and the robots were made using plastic and a chroming process with light-up red eyes.
12. Delorean Car from Back To The Future - $541,000
The Delorean was never a particularly popular car even when it was released in the 1980s and part of the joke of it being used in the Back To The Future trilogy was that a piece of futuristic technology such as a time machine was put in such a strange vehicle. In any case, the car then became a cult icon and the car manufacturer only stayed in business by refurbishing replicas of the film time machine.
However, the original trilogy used 7 cars in total with only 3 surviving and one of those was sold in 2011 with part of the proceeds going to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research. Delorean is planning to produce 300 more of these cars in early 2017.
11. Dorothy's Ruby Slippers from The Wizard of Oz - $666,000
The 1939 classic saw a fantasy tale of epic proportions hit the screens as a young girl from Kansas is transported to a magical realm of wicked witches and flying monkeys. In the original book from which the film was adapted, Dorothy receives silver slippers but with the advent of technicolor, film producers thought ruby slippers would show up better on screen.
Four pairs of the original slippers exist with one permanently on display at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. Another was on display at the Judy Garland but were stolen in 2005 with a $1m reward for anyone who has information on their whereabouts. In 2000 one pair sold for $666,000.
10. Flying Car from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang - $805,000
The children's musical about a madcap inventor trying to escape an evil baron in his family featured a flying car that became an icon in cinema and a vital tool for the promotion of the film. 6 were made during production: an engineless version for the trailers, a car for the flying scenes, a car for the transformations, and a smaller version for driving scenes along with two others.
After filming, all had engines put in them and were used for promotion with one car being a fully functioning road-ready car with genuine UK registration. In 2011, this was sold to OOscar-winning director Peter Jackson for $805,000 and he now uses it for fundraising events.
9. Audrey Hepburn's Little Black Dress from Breakfast At Tiffany's - $806,000
In one of the most famous opening scenes in cinema, Audrey Hepburn's Holly Golightly steps out of a yellow cab in her little black dress and peers casually into the window of Tiffany's thus making an instant impression and being the iconic image of chic and elegant. The dress was designed by Hubert de Givenchy who made almost all of Hepburn's clothes once she was famous.
Three versions of the dress exist with one in a costume museum in Madrid, Spain, another in Givenchy's archive and the third being sold for a whopping $806,000 in 2006.
8. Lotus Submarine Car from The Spy Who Loved Me - $860,000
In the classic James Bond film, the British super spy drives a car that can turn into a submarine when he is plunged into the water. Although the actual vehicle does not transform from a car it did once work and 6 were modified from Louts Esprits. After filming, one was put into storage and forgotten about for 10 years before the storage unit was sold for just $100.
The lucky buyer then restored the car and exhibited it for a while before eventually selling it to tech billionaire Elon Musk, in 2013, who plans on using Tesla Motors’ electric drive train to make the car-submarine functional.
7. Steve McQueen's Racing Suit from Le Mans - $984,000
The film Le Mans did not do well at the box office initially but over the years, its authenticity and use of footage from the actual track and by real drivers on the course gained it a cult following. The racing suit worn by star Steve McQueen was donated to the British newspaper The Observer for a Le Mans themed competition.
A 12-year-old Thomas Davies won the contest and kept the suit until 2011 when he sold it for $155,000; three and a half months later, it was sold again, this time at the Icons of Hollywood auction in Beverly Hills, for $984,000.
6. Curtain Outfits from The Sound of Music - $1.5m
In The Sound of Music, Julie Andrews' character makes outfits out of curtains for the 6 Von Trapp children and they are seen wearing these in the montage of the " Do Re Mi" musical number which has become iconic all over the world. The actual outfits were made from curtain material by designer Dorothy Jeakins who was nominated for an Oscar for her work on the film.
Despite only being made out of canvas, the outfits still sold for a whopping $1.5m in 2013.
5. Cowardly Lion Costume from The Wizard of Oz -$3m
Bert Lahr’s most recognizable role came as the Cowardly Lion in this fantasy kids film that saw him donning an outfit of real lion fur. Hired for his comedic turn and ability to ad lib, apparently many takes had to be re-done over and over again as he would make fellow actors laugh during his scenes.
In 2014, the costume was sold to the Museum of TV in Phoenix, Arizona after being found abandoned in an old MGM building and that is where it remains.
4. The Maltese Falcon from The Maltese Falcon - $4.1m
The pinnacle in film noir, The Maltese Falcon is the ultimate mystery thriller and tells the story of detectives trying to uncover where the ultra-valuable Maltese Falcon statue was hidden. The actual Falcon used was a 45 lb. lead statuette with some scenes purportedly using a plaster version as it was rather heavy.
The statuette was sold to hotel and casino billionaire Steve Wynne in 2013 for $4.1m.
3. Aston Martin DB5 from Goldfinger and Thunderball - $4.4m
The Aston Martin driven by James Bond in Goldfinger was actually two different cars. The 'road car' was used for driving scenes in the film and wasn't outfitted with gadgets until after filming when it was being exhibited and these stayed with it when it returned to work on the Thunderball film. It was then put in storage before being sold for £12,000 in 1969 before then being sold for $4.4m more recently.
The other car was the 'effects car' which did have spinning plates and guns used in filming but it was stolen from an airport hangar in 1997 and still hasn't been recovered.
2. Audrey Hepburn's Ascot Dress from My Fair Lady - $4.5m
The dress worn during the Ascot scene of My Fair Lady was designed by Cecil Beaton who won the Oscar for costume design for his work on the film. Bought by Hollywood star Debbie Reynolds, the actress wanted to make a Hollywood museum but eventually ended up selling her collection and this piece, with matching hat, sold for $4.5m in 2011.
Reynolds 3,500 costumes from films throughout Hollywood history and this was the second most expensive item sold from the collection.
1. White Cocktail Dress from The Seven Year Itch - $4.6m
The iconic moment in which Marilyn Monroe stepped on a grate so that her white dress billowed out and her legs were exposed has become so entwined in pop culture that it has been parodied countless times and is even rumored to have led to her divorce from Joe DiMaggio. Another dress from Debbie Reynolds' collection, it was sold in 2014.
Shot outside the Trans-Lux 52nd Street Theatre at 1:00 am, the scene was ruined by massed crowds and had to be re-shot on a 20th Century Fox lot.