McDonald's on display: the cinematic evolution of a fast food icon

McDonald's on display: the cinematic evolution of a fast food icon

Since its creation in 1955 in Illinois, McDonald's has become the world's leading fast food company. Its success makes it an essential reference in pop culture which is reflected in numerous appearances in the cinema. A look back at a very prolific big screen career.

McDonald's and the 7th Art, a great story

Whether through the appearance of its logo or a wink in the dialogues, McDonald's is featured in many films. For several decades, the McDonalds burger has been the pop reference for fast food. The success story of Ray Kroc, founder of McDonald's, even inspired a film, The founderwith Michael Keaton in the lead role.

Of the Simpsons has Friends through the American version of The Office or the last season of the series Loki, the restaurant with the big yellow M is everywhere. The collaboration with Marvel Studios establishes McDonald's more than ever as a symbol of privileged moments. More than a workplace for her heroine Sylvie, it is for her a reassuring environment as it is for everyone. Place of birthday during childhood, first escapades with friends in adolescence or gourmet break after a cinema screening: McDonald's evokes warm moments between laughter and gluttony. An inexhaustible source of inspiration, McDonald's celebrated this popularity with an advertising spot called As Featured In (1) released in 2023. This short video covers his most notable passages in cinema and television.

4 cult scenes linked to McDonald's

McDonald's foray into cinemas led to some unforgettable moments. The most notable are found in:

A prince in New York

In this cult comedy, Eddie Murphy plays Prince Akeem in search of true love in New York. His adventures lead him to McDowell's fast-food restaurant, a hilarious parody of McDonald's (2). The owner serves the Big Mick, an alternative version of the Big Mac. The employees, for their part, wear uniforms reminiscent of those of McDonald's with a much more comical touch.

pulp Fiction

With this film by Quentin Tarantino, McDonald's is at the heart of one of the most legendary dialogues in the history of cinema. During a car ride, Jules (Samuel L. Jackson) and Vincent (John Travolta) discuss the small differences between European and American restaurants, using McDonald's as an example. The Royal Cheese and the Big Mac are in the spotlight (3).

The fifth Element

In 1997, Luc Besson took the planet on a futuristic odyssey (4). At a time when cars are flying through the air, McDonald's remains the benchmark for fast food! While two police officers are stopped at the Drive to collect their order of burgers, Bruce Willis damages their vehicle by speeding past. Even centuries after our time, McDonald's persists as a cultural symbol.

Kingsman: Secret Service

As a nod to Pulp Fiction, Samuel L. Jackon is at the center of a new cult scene with McDonald's(5). He plays Richmond Valentine, a billionaire businessman whose favorite thing is the famous restaurant's menus. This time, he plays opposite Colin Firth. The English actor plays Harry Hart, the leader of the Kingsman spies. A domestic worker arrives pushing a trolley containing the two men's dinner under a silver cover which, when opened, reveals a selection of McDonald's fries and burgers. Colin Firth chose a Big Mac without hesitation. Sold 900 million copies around the world each year, this sandwich conquers gourmets, whatever their social origins.

Having become the most popular burgers in the world, McDonald's creations have made the brand a societal benchmark. Its numerous forays into cinema perfectly illustrate the extent of the brand in popular culture.


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