Two things that define modern America are Nike and the movies, so it’s only natural that Nikes should have made so many memorable onscreen appearances.
Do the Right Thing – Air Jordan IV
Perhaps the most famous cameo ever made by Nike was in Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing, his classic look at class and racial conflicts in his home of Brooklyn, and one of the great films of the eighties. When Buggin’ Out (Giancarlo Esposito) has his boxfresh white Air Jordans stained by a cyclist running over his foot, it provokes a very funny but pointed comment on the gentrification that would come to take over the borough in real life.
The Goonies – Nike Sky Force Hi
The Goonies all had their own special talent. Data had an endless arsenal of tricks up his sleeves, one being his slick shoes. These came into play when the Fratellis closed in on them, providing one of the movie’s best gags. The slick shoes were Nike Sky Force Hi’s, and to get the gag, the special effects department took a pair, slit the heels, hallowed that area out, and put in a spring and a latch on the back.
The Terminator – Nike Vandal
When rebel soldier Kyle Reese travels back in time to warn Sarah Conner, he has to find some gear to blend into the eighties – fast. He steals some pants off a hobo, but fares much better by breaking into a shop, and emerging with an awesome pair of Nike Vandals. When this scenario had to revisited in Terminator Genisys, the Vandals were back.
Back to the Future – Nike Bruins
Another eighties time traveller in Nikes was Marty McFly, who had to lose his classic Nike Bruins to fit into 50s America. On the flipside, he turbocharged his sneakers when going into the future – 2015 to be exact – by going for something “more of the period”, a pair of turbocharged Nikes with self-toying power laces. We’d all love a pair of those in the future.
Big – Nike Air Force II
Big proved to be one of the biggest films of the eighties, for more than one reason, Not only did it provide a young Tom Hanks with his first Oscar nomination, it also made director Penny Marshall the first female director to helm a film that grossed more than $100 million. However, when people remember Big, the “piano” scene stands out.
For a footwear company like Nike, basing an entire scene around the movement of the central character’s feet is a gift. Hanks and Marshall also had the good taste to showcase one of the company’s finest hours, the Nike Air Force II.
The Wolf of Wall Street – Nike Cortez
Time to leave the eighties -nearly. The Wolf of Wall Street begins in that decade, but traces Wall Street broker Jordan Belfort’s debauched progress into the nineties, giving Leonardo DiCaprio the role of a lifetime in the process. He attains maximum meltdown in the scene where he attempts to drive on quaalaudes, dissolving before our eyes into a twitching mess, the only together thing about him being the Nike Cortez on his feet.