When you think of the glitz and glamour of Hollywood, the trusty lawnmower isn’t necessarily the first thing that springs to mind. But while action heroes speed around in fast cars and helicopters, some of our best-loved characters have been taking it slow, giving faithful ride-on mowers their fifteen minutes of fame. Not just the gruesome stars of hard-to-watch horrors like Braindead and Sinister, lawnmowers have trundled through gardens from Alabama to Arizona sharing feel-good moments on the silver screen.
Can’t Buy Me Love (1987)
In this classic American high-school drama, we meet our main character, Ronald, mowing lawns to save up money for a telescope. However – spoiler alert – when Ronald sees a cheerleader spilling wine on her mother’s very expensive suit, he also sees an opportunity, and cuts her a deal that he’ll give her enough money to replace it if she pretends to be his girlfriend.
Slightly creepy? Yes. A little desperate? Definitely. But by the end of the film the two are genuinely in love. The final scene sees the young lovers ride away into the sunset aboard Ronald’s faithful mower, a beautiful moment for both romance enthusiasts and lawnmower lovers everywhere – later referenced in a copycat scene during 2010’s Easy A.
The Lawnmower Man (1992)
This sci-fi horror flick sees a disabled greenskeeper, usually employed to help with odd jobs and most often seen mowing lawns, manipulated into agreeing to some underhand experiments.
The experiments start out on chimps, and are designed to increase intelligence. When ‘Lawnmower Man’ Jobe is experimented on, he does indeed rapidly begin to increase in intelligence. In no time at all, Jobe goes from intellectually disabled to possessing telekinetic and pyrokinetic powers. Living through a mad world of virtual reality, things get gradually more and more out of hand. Thankfully no lawnmowers are used for evil in this film, unlike the grisly murder scene in Sinister, but it’s safe to say that by the end of the film, Jobe is no longer stuck mowing lawns to get by.
The Straight Story (1999)
This biographical film tells the emotional story of Alvin Straight’s 240-mile journey across Iowa and Wisconsin, riding on a 5mph John Deere 110 lawn tractor. Why didn’t he just take a car, you ask? When Straight heard the news that his brother had had a stroke, inspiring the lengthy journey to make amends before he passed away, Straight’s vision and use of his legs were already so impaired that he couldn’t attain a full driving license. Thus was born the heart-warming true tale of one man and his lawnmower on an incredible journey across the states.
Honey I Shrunk The Kids (1989)
Automated lawnmowers may seem like a very recent addition to the garden care family, but this 80s shrunken-children classic wouldn’t be the same with out its famous remote-control lawnmower scene. Having already been shrunk to minute size by a science experiment gone wrong, the child stars of the film find themselves navigating their now jungle-like garden, evading giant ants and dodging death by mower blade along the way.
It’s a tense scene, but all’s well that ends well, and those of you who haven’t seen it will be pleased to hear that nobody gets hurt by the cutting-edge technology on display.
Forrest Gump (1994)
Alright, so a lawnmower didn’t get to take a starring role in this feel-good classic, but it definitely featured in one of the most emotional scenes. As Forrest mows the lawn on his rear-engine Snapper ride-on, we see the return of his long-lost lover Jenny, who he has been pining for throughout the film. Overwhelmed, Forrest stops mowing and runs over to her, and the red ride-on mower looks on as the pair are reunited at last.
This isn’t the only time lawnmowers get a look-in during the film however, as one of the most well-known quotes from Forrest Gump states – “And ‘cause I was a gazillionaire, and I liked doing it so much, I cut that grass for free.”