Reel glassy: 15 Movies to explore

Box of movie popcorn

If you are a red-carpet buff, you are no doubt anxiously awaiting the 91st Academy Awards ceremony and the chance to find out what films and film stars the Academy chose to honor this year with the golden Oscar statuette. If you’ve already watched all of the 2019 nominees for best films and are still hunting for something to see, enjoy this selection of movies that feature glass in a starring role.

**As a librarian, I feel compelled to foist this fun fact about Oscar on you: It was supposedly named by Academy librarian Margaret Herrick because the statue looked like her Uncle Oscar. **

Award winners

Age of Innocence movie poster

The Age of Innocence (1993)
Winner, Best Costume Design. Welcome to the extravagant luxury of Knickerbocker society, home to the Astors and Vanderbilts and Morgans. Martin Scorcese’s film is full of beautiful glassware, in luxurious historical settings. Be prepared to drool.

Heart of Glass movie poster

Heart of Glass (1976)
Best cinematography at the German Film Awards. Werner Herzog’s film tells the story of a small town in Germany whose residents go to great lengths to recover the lost secrets to making ruby glass. Glassmaking scenes were filmed in Erwin Eisch’s glass factory.

Moonraker movie poster

Moonraker (1979)
Nominated for Best Effects, this James Bond movie depicts the Venini Glass showroom and factory, showing the Coppa Barovier, a famous glass bowl which The Corning Museum of Glass owns a copy of (70.3.1). If you like seeing lots of fine, expensive glass broken, this movie is for you!

My Life as a Dog movie poster

My Life as a Dog (1987 US release)
Nominated for Best Director, Lasse Hallström’s film about a troubled young boy separated from his family includes scenes from a Swedish glass factory.

Oscar and Lucinda movie poster

Oscar and Lucinda (1997)
Nominated for Best Costume Design. Glass is incredibly important to the plot of this intriguing movie where Prince Rupert’s drops and a glass church both have critical roles.



Excuse My Glove movie poster

Excuse My Glove (1936)
For fans of stained glass AND boxing, you can’t beat the story of a young guy who loves stained glass but gets thrown into the world of boxing at a local fair. Starring real-life boxer Len Harvey.

The Glass Slipper movie poster

The Glass Slipper (1955)
Leslie Caron stars in a version of the classic Cinderella story. You can guess where the glass comes in … right?



Die Hard movie poster

Die Hard (1988)
Okay, this may be cheating, but the scene where Bruce Willis treads barefoot on glass while trying to suss out wicked European terrorists is such a classic. I had to include it. Sue me.

Shamus movie poster

Shamus (1973)
Fans of Burt Reynolds will like this movie, as will fans of Louis Comfort Tiffany. Of interest are scenes of a Tiffany window, now in the collection of The Corning Museum of Glass (76.4.22). The window was created in 1905-1906 for a house on the Hudson called Rochroanne. The house was sold in the 1920s and eventually donated around 1970 to the Roman Catholic church which rented it out for various purposes, including the making of this movie.


Scary movies

Mirrors movie poster

Mirrors (1990)
An old mirror is controlled by a demon, causing it to drip blood and emit black magic. Who knew mirrors could be so dangerous?

Mirror Mirror movie poster

Mirror Mirror (2008)
This time, mirrors provide the means of travel for the evil force moving throughout the movie.

Snowmaggedon movie poster

Snowmaggeddon (2011)
No, I haven’t seen this, but I really, really want to. Who could resist a plot consisting of an Alaskan town in danger of destruction by a mystical snow globe? Not me!



Early to Bed movie poster

Early to Bed (1936)
The protagonist in Early to Bed works for the Matchless Eye Co., maker of glass eyes. His sleepwalking gets him into lots of trouble as he tries to land a big sale for glass eyes to a doll manufacturer.

The Mysterious Retort movie poster

The Mysterious Retort (1906)
Famed film-maker George Méliès tells the story of an alchemist and a magical glass retort.

So's Your Old Man movie poster

So’s Your Old Man (1926)
Poor glassmaker Sam Bisbee has invented break-proof glass and plans to premier it to a convention of automobile vendors. Unfortunately for Sam, his car with the break-proof glass is switched with another one, and his demonstration brick toss really bombs.


Looking for something different? Documentaries, dramas or television shows? Just ask us! There is a lot more to see at the Rakow Research Library.

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As manager of the Rakow Library’s public services team, Regan Brumagen coordinates reference, instruction, and outreach for the library and provides leadership in the assessment of user needs and services. Before joining the Museum staff in 2004, Brumagen worked as a reference librarian and instruction coordinator at several academic libraries. She received an M.A. in English and an M.L.S Library Science from the University of Kentucky. Currently, Regan is a member of several American Library Association divisions and has served on numerous committees for these divisions during her career.

6 comments » Write a comment

  1. Fascinating- I will now find new details In movies that would otherwise have been lost to me.

  2. I love your list… and you have one of my all time favorites “My life as a dog” thanks!

  3. Sweet Home Alabama has some great glass references in that the business created by one of the characters is using glass made from lightning striking the sand beaches…(that’s a vague recollection…maybe I’ll rewatch to get it straight!)

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