10 Movies That Would’ve Ended Much Quicker if the Characters Had Cell Phones

It’s easy to take modern cell phones and all the conveniences that come with them for granted. Phone calls can be made in an instant, useful information can be found as long as you have an Internet connection, and they can serve as ways to track where you’re going, thanks to GPS. Many younger people may not remember a time without such conveniences, proving that mobile phones are part of our everyday lives.

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Of course, life wasn’t always like this, and that can be seen by watching movies that are over 20 years old or set over 20 years ago. Many movie plots would not have developed the way they do if the characters had access to modern cell phones, including 10 movies listed below. Cell phones might not solve everything the characters below have to deal with, but they sure would go a long way in making the movies in question significantly shorter.

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‘Spirited Away’ (2001)

Chihiro in 'Spirited Away'
Image via Ghibli Studios

Perhaps the most famous (and best) Japanese animated film of all time, Spirit away it captured the imagination and the heart of almost everyone who experienced it. Its plot centers on a family that gets lost while driving through the countryside and stumbles into a fantasy realm that transforms the parents into pigs, forcing the protagonist, a girl named Chihiro, to fend for herself in a strange and surreal world.

If the family were using the kind of reliable GPS apps we’re used to today, there’s less of a chance they’d get lost in the first place, and thus could have avoided the trip to an otherworldly realm. That would be a shame, because then we wouldn’t have had one of the best animated fantasy films of all time…though at least it would have saved Chihiro a lot of stress.

‘Turning Red’ (2022)

Mei, Priya, Abby and Miriam in Turning Red

turning red may have been released in 2022, but it was explicitly set in Ontario in 2002. As such, the characters have access to some technology, but certainly not the kind of smartphones that dramatically changed life in the 2010s and 2020s, by comparison. of the 2000s.

There is a good chance that the events of the film would have come to a more premature conclusion, if the characters had access to social media. Mei and her friends hide the fact that he is using his ability to turn into a panda to earn money for an upcoming concert by Mei’s mother, and make fun of him because other kids can’t easily upload videos or photos online. Mei’s mother probably would have found out about things earlier if cell phones in 2002 enabled the kind of social media we have today.

‘Die Hard’ (1988)

Bruce Willis was crawling through a vent with a lighter in hand
Image via 20th Century Fox

It’s crazy to think that one of the best-paced and best-paced action movies of all time wouldn’t work if it was set in modern times. This is because Die Hard’s The premise requires its characters to be confined to one location to work as well as it does, with the hero, John McClane, largely cut off from the outside world and forced to take down a group of terrorists by himself.

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Sure, maybe some tech-savvy terrorists could stop cell phones from working inside Nakatomi Square, but it wouldn’t be as easy as cutting off landlines, like it’s done in the movie. They would also have to block all mobile networks from accessing the Internet, because otherwise those trapped inside could have alerted outside authorities much sooner than they did in the 1988 classic.

‘The Lion King’ (1994)


Forget the pointless and stupidly expensive 2019 remake; 1994 The Lion King it is where it is. It is a musical and familiar version of Hamlettelling the story of an exiled young lion who comes of age in the desert before returning to his kingdom and claiming the throne for his evil uncle.

It’s a story that hinges on communication breakdowns, but if you suspended your disbelief and imagined that animals could use cell phones, it’s likely that a lot of conflict would have been undermined or avoided. Simba’s disappearance, Scar easily kills his brother and making it look like an accident, Simba can’t reach anyone for years…GPS or the ability to talk long distances would undeniably affect all of that.

‘National Lampoon’s Vacation’ (1983)

Final scene of National Lampoon's Vacation - 1983

For anyone who has ever experienced a family holiday that goes disastrously wrong, National Lampoon’s Vacation it might hit a little close to home. Clark Griswold is one of the most flawed fathers in film history and takes his hapless family on a harrowing road trip where they face mishaps.

The most notable disaster that befalls the Griswolds is at the end of the film, when they finally arrive at the Walley World theme park, only to suddenly find it closed. With the ability to check information online along the way, they may well discover that the trip was a failure much earlier, perhaps resulting in disappointment and mild sadness, rather than the outburst of anger that actually occurs.

‘Gremlins’ (1984)

Ray coming out of the snow

A lot of things have to go wrong Gremlins before the titular creatures wreak havoc on a small American town on Christmas Eve. There are several rules to follow when caring for a mogwai, otherwise you run the risk of it multiplying and its offspring mutating into much more violent and dangerous gremlins.

Nowadays, alarm clocks have been largely replaced by mobile phones. They’re a more reliable, often easier way to tell time, and since the gremlins can ruin the protagonist’s alarm clock by chewing the wire, it ends up feeding them when they shouldn’t. If he had a mobile phone to tell the time, perhaps such a mistake would not have been made, and the city could have been saved.

‘The Blair Witch Project’ (1999)

Images found in 'The Blair Witch Project'.

It is not only The Blair Witch Project one of the most famous horror movies of the 1990s, but it also screams “90s” louder than most movies from that decade. It’s a classic found-footage horror film about a group of guys who get lost in the woods while making a documentary, and it features a lot of 90s fashion and technology.

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Of course, this extends to the main characters who don’t have modern cell phones, which ensures they get lost faster and can’t contact help. Due to coverage, cell phones do not guarantee a safe exit from a lost forest, but they would certainly help increase a person’s chances of survival.

‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’ (1975)

Brad and Janet in The Rocky Horror Picture Show - 1975

Brad and Janet stumble upon a strange castle early on The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Their car is broken down, it’s raining, and they’re not sure if they have any other option but to seek shelter there. What awaits them inside collides and changes permanently as they witness wild musical numbers, a sinister alien plot, a Frankenstein’s Monster-like creation and even cannibalism.

However, Brad and Janet would remain blissfully unaware of the surprises inside the castle if they had a cell phone. It would be relatively easy to call for roadside assistance or even get an Uber to take them from their car to a nearby motel, where they would spend the night and wait until morning to worry about the car.

‘Home Alone’ (1990)

Alone at home

The plot of the beloved family classic Alone at home is an acquaintance A large family goes on vacation, but realize too late that they forgot one of their sons, Kevin. This leads to Kevin having to fend for himself at home and fight off two burglars targeting the house.

In the film, a storm damages the home’s landline, but cell phone coverage is unlikely to be interrupted so easily. Kevin could have called someone, his family could have reached him faster, or they could have contacted a friend to take care of Kevin until the family returned.

‘Romeo + Juliet’ by William Shakespeare (1996)


Like many tragic stories, Romeo + Juliet it depends on miscommunication to cause great misfortune. Towards the end of the film, a letter is sent to Romeo explaining that Juliet has faked her death, but it does not reach him in time. He believes that death is real and takes his own life in grief. Juliet then does the same; for real this time

If the two had a more instantaneous way to communicate, the tragic end of their story would have been avoided. After all, texts and phone calls travel faster than letters, which could make all the difference.

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