8 Movies That Were Dedicated to Someone and Why

Films
11 months ago

It’s not uncommon for a movie to feature a dedication to someone, especially at the end of the credits. More often than not, we are left wondering who they were and what happened to them. We decided to do some research and learn a bit about whose memory the filmmakers behind iconic films were trying to keep alive for eternity.

Top Gun (1986)

  • Dedicated to: Art Scholl, stunt pilot
  • Why: The Tom Cruise-classic Top Gun is dedicated to Art Scholl, who was a well-known pilot and flight instructor among those who work in the cinematic industry. Scholl flew planes with rigged cameras to capture footage for Top Gun and whilst attempting a risky stunt, he had a fatal accident.
  • Dedicated to: Howard Ashman, lyricist
  • Why: The 1991 animated movie Beauty and the Beast is a fan-favorite of many Disney lovers. Its song score is iconic, featuring hits such as “Be Our Guest”. Howard Ashman, to whom the movie was dedicated, worked as a lyricist and wrote the score, alongside Alan Menken, and also took on the role of executive producer. Unfortunately, he passed away due to disease 6 months before the movie premiered.

Matilda (1996)

  • Dedicated to: Suzie Wilson, Mara Wilson’s mother
  • Why: Mara Wilson, who played the title character in Matilda, was only 9 years old when her mom lost her battle to cancer. Suzie passed away 6 months after the film had finished shooting, and was in the post-production stage. Still, Danny DeVito, who both starred and directed the movie, showed her a final edit of it, so she could watch her daughter’s work.
  • Dedicated to: Steve Jobs
  • Why: Lead by Taylor Kitsch, John Carter is a movie that follows the character of the same name on his first interplanetary adventure on Mars. It was released a few months after Steve Jobs passed away.
    Although at first thought there seems to be no ties between the Disney flick and the Apple co-founder, who also co-founded Pixar, the film was dedicated to him with a message that reads “an Inspiration to Us All.” But to the director of the movie, Andrew Stanton, it was a must. “I didn’t want too much time to pass without giving him some sort of permanent acknowledgement,” he said.
  • Dedicated to: Donald Kaufman, a fictional character
  • Why: Adaptation has a star-studded cast, with names like Nicolas Cage, Meryl Streep and Maggie Gyllenhaal, and it’s about the struggles writers can go through, particularly writer’s block. The writer of the movie itself, Charlie Kaufman, created the screenplay based on firsthand experience, but added fictitious elements to it, including Donald Kaufman, the main character’s twin brother. The film constantly plays with reality and fiction, and the memorial dedication to Donald is no different. It’s there to make the lines between the two realms even more blurry.

Cars (2006)

  • Dedicated to: Joe Ranft, animator, screenwriter, and voice actor
  • Why: Cars was dedicated to Joe Ranft, the film’s co-director and co-writer, who passed away in a car accident, at 45, while the movie was still in production. It was the last Pixar film he ever worked on, and the second movie dedicated to his memory.
  • Dedicated to: Amy Lehrhaupt
  • Why: The last film in the trilogy that also includes Before Sunrise (1995) and Before Sunset (2004) is dedicated to someone who perhaps only die-hard fans of the movies know about. Amy Lehrhaupt was the woman who moved Richard Linklater to co-write and direct the trilogy that first tells the story of a young man and woman who meet on a train and spend a romantic night together, which was inspired on their own brief romance. Unfortunately, Lehrhaupt passed away at 24 years old, in May 1994, before the first film even premiered.
  • Dedicated to: Frank Wells, former president of The Walt Disney Company
  • Why: The Lion King premiered in June 1994, a short 2 months after Frank Wells had passed away in a helicopter accident. Wells, who served as president and COO of The Walt Disney Company, was originally honored right at the beginning of the film, seconds before the Walt Disney Pictures logo appears. However, for the 2003 Platinum Edition, the 2011 Diamond Edition and the 2017 Signature Edition, the dedication was moved to the end of the credits.

There is much more you can learn about your favorite movies, including secrets that only movie production professionals know about!

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