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A History Of On-Screen Mobile Phones

Since the first mobile phone call was made way back in April 1973, devices have never stopped evolving. From huge, brick-like handsets of the 70s and 80s to the modern-day, techno-saturated gadgets capable of playing movies, understanding voice commands, reading fingerprints and much, much more, mobile phones have established themselves as an integral part of modern day life.

And like every important part of contemporary life on earth, film and TV studios around the world have been incorporating mobile phones in their productions for decades. In celebration of this, we take a look at some of the most notable on-screen appearances of mobiles over the years.

Kirk Communicator

Star Trek (1963)

Making its TV debut in 1963, the Communicator was used for voice communication in the fictional futuristic universe of Star Trek. Dr Martin Cooper of Motorola, creator of the very first mobile phone, credited the 60s show’s device as inspiration for his invention.

Much smaller than Dr Cooper’s debut mobile, the Communicator closely resembles the hugely popular flip phones of the 21st century. Technologically better advanced than modern day mobiles, the Communicator was able to remain connected without relying on satellite signals - an insight into future technological advancements, perhaps?

Wall street mobile phone

Wall Street (1987)

“Money never sleeps, Bud” says Gordon Gecko via his Motorola DynaTAC 8000X whilst taking a stroll down the beach in Wall Street. Playing a greed-fuelled stockbroker, Michael Douglas perfectly epitomises the ruthlessness of the 80s trade game with a little help of the ginormous device.

Dr Cooper's flagship device also made notable appearances in Lethal Weapon, Saved By The Bell and the chilling American Psycho

Tomorrow Never Dies Mobile Phone

Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)

Always a stickler for cutting-edge technology, James Bond and his Ericsson concept phone played starring roles in 97’s Tomorrow Never Dies. Like today’s most recent state-of-the-art smartphones, the spy’s device had a fingerprint scanner, touch screen and video capabilities.

Despite the massive technological breakthroughs in mobile phone technology throughout the last 17 years, today’s phones are unable to re-enact 007's phone’s greatest feature. Bond, played by Piers Brosnan, uses his Ericsson super-smartphone to pilot his suped-up BMW from the back seat during a high-speed car chase. Maybe one day...

The Matrix Mobile Phone

The Matrix (1999)

Possibly the most famous on-screen appearance of a mobile phone, The Matrix Nokia ‘banana phone’ paved the way for the hugely popular ‘flip’ aesthetic.  

The phone used was an actual Nokia 8810 with an added spring-loaded slider covering the buttons. And, due to the blockbuster's insane success, the phone giant later introduced the futuristic feature to its consumer 7110 range.

Jack Bauer Mobile Phone

24 (2001-2014)

Staring Keifer Sutherland as Director of Field Ops for the US’ Counter Terrorism Unit, 24 is the story of Jack Bauer’s race against time to diffuse terrorist plots and save the nation from imminent disaster.

Despite the lack of far-fetched features akin to Bond’s devices, Bauer relies heavily on his mobile phone over 228 heart-racing episodes to ensure the safety of the public. From nuclear bombs to deadly viruses, and nerve gas threats to presidential assassination attempts, Bauer foils all plots through his bravery, prowess and, of course, a little help from his trusty mobile.

Since the first mobile phone call was made way back in April 1973, devices have never stopped evolving. From huge, brick-like handsets of the 70s and 80s to the modern-day, techno-saturated gadgets capable of playing movies, understanding voice commands, reading fingerprints and much, much more, mobile phones have established themselves as an integral part of modern day life.

And like every important part of contemporary life on earth, film and TV studios around the world have been incorporating mobile phones in their productions fo


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