Like everything good or bad in this world, this story starts with a tweet.

In this case, it was a tweet by ScreenCrush editor-in-chief Matt Singer:

Inspired by some recent viewing of movies with very memorable props, he asked Twitter what props they would pick if they could own any from film history. He got over 3,000 responses. (He was not expecting that many.) But the sheer volume (and variety) of answers prompted he and fellow ScreenCrush editor Britt Hayes to select a joint list of the 25 most-desirable props of all-time.

To be clear, this is not a list of the “best” or “most memorable” props in movie history. (If you want something like that, look here.) This list is specifically about the props we would want to own, and show off with pride in our own private memorabilia collections. Just because it would otherwise make things too broad we avoided anything in the realm of cars (sorry Doc Brown’s DeLorean) or costumes (our apologies, Ghostbusters jumpsuits). Those could be their own lists. This one is just about legitimate props. Like...

25. The Burned Doll
From The Wicker Man (2006)

Look, we already quote this particular scene from The Wicker Man more than just about any scene from a movie released this century. How much more fun would that be with the actual doll used by Nicolas Cage to express his profound anguish about its burnyness? A lot more fun. — Matt Singer

24. A Zodiac Letter
From Zodiac (2007)

Until someone figures out how to capture and contain the essence of David Fincher’s most perfect film, I’ll have to settle for the next best thing: One of the Zodiac letters from Zodiac. Fincher’s film used replicas of the letters received by the press from the real serial killer who terrorized Northern California in the ’60s and ’70s. You may think it macabre to have one framed and hung above my writing desk, but it brings together a few of my favorite subjects: David Fincher, film, and serial killers. And now you know everything there is to know about me. — Britt Hayes

23. The Shotgun Microphone
From Blow Out (1981)

I am mildly obsessed with Blow Out, the 1981 Brian De Palma thriller about a humble movie sound man who is out recording nature audio one night and accidentally captures a murder. It’s one of my favorite films about obsession and the meticulous personalities of artists. Owning the shotgun mike and mobile tape recorder used by John Travolta’s Jack Terry wouldn’t mean much to most people. But it would mean a hell of a lot to me. — MS

22. The Beauty Compact E-Reader
From It Follows (2014)

David Robert Mitchell’s smart and scary horror thriller may have been released in 2014, but a huge part of its appeal is that the film’s setting is vaguely timeless. There’s no one object or piece of technology tying it to a particular era. The most notable prop perfectly underlines this idea by marrying the old with the new: A shell compact that doubles as an E-reader. Of all the props in movie history, this might just be the most clever, and the most useful for daily life. Imagine the multi-tasking power of an object that allows you to get that gunk out of the corner of your eye while reading the latest Stephen King book. — BH

21. The Top
From Inception (2010)

Cobb’s top, which he spins to help him determine whether he is currently in a dream world or reality in Christopher Nolan’s Inception, became the focal point of a million fan theories. Being able to glance over at that top would be a nice way to ground yourself in the real world, and it would be fun to exhibit it somewhere in your house, particularly if you could rig a little stand that makes it spin in perpetuity. — MS

20. Captain America’s Shield
From Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

An authentic, movie-used prop shield from one of the Captain America or Avengers movies would show off your Marvel bonafides and your patriotism all at once. If I had one I’d display it on my mantle (let’s pretend for a second I have a mantle) with one of my favorite quotes from the entire MCU: “I don't like bullies; I don't care where they're from.” — MS

19. The Map
From The Blair Witch Project (1999)

When was the last time you rewatched The Blair Witch Project? Despite its creepy premise (a trio of student filmmakers head off into the woods to investigate an urban legend and never return) and some supremely scary moments (THE NOISES), the film that started the found footage trend is actually darkly comedic – like when they lose the map of the woods and start bickering at each other like a bunch of elderly tourists who can’t remember where they parked. Anyway, the map is kind of a big deal; without it, our ambitious young filmmakers are doomed. But what if the map were to resurface ... in your home? As a horror fan, I can think of few things more rad than owning the map to the Burkittsville woods. Maybe I could frame it and hang it between some of those fun stickmen. Very boho witch. — BH

18. The Pulsating Television
From Videodrome (1983)

The signature image of David Cronenberg’s Videodrome, a film about the destructive and literally brain-rotting qualities of television addiction, is that of James Woods caressing (and then pushing his way inside) his TV as its casing pulsates and its screen fills with the image of a woman’s lips. Perhaps owning this magnificent device would be a little too on the nose for someone like myself, whose media addiction has become an entire career. But it feels right somehow. — MS

17. Hannibal Lecter’s Artwork
From The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

When considering film props from The Silence of the Lambs, you might immediately think of the muzzle placed on Hannibal Lecter’s face to prevent him from biting and / or eating people, or maybe of that cool death’s head moth cocoon Jodie Foster’s Clarice finds in a dead body. But personally, I think the more interesting item(s) to own would be the artwork that Anthony Hopkins’ sophisticated psychopath creates from his cell in the basement of the Baltimore State Hospital. At the very least, you’d have a much more delightful time explaining the backstory for Hannibal’s drawings than the random Monet poster handed down from your aunt’s prolific Hobby Lobby collection. —BH

16. The Notebook
From MacGruber (2010)

Again, we’re thinking here about impact on houseguests. Imagine just leaving this out on a table or bench, and letting someone randomly find it, start leafing through it and seeing it’s filled, page after page, with “KFBR392.” If they know MacGruber, they would be blown away that you possess this priceless artifact, which MacGruber filled after a minor traffic incident (with a car whose license plate reads “KFBR392”). If they have no idea what MacGruber is, your guests would be blown away that you went to all the trouble to write KFBR392 thousands of times. Which might arguably be the better outcome of the two. Either way, we want it. (If you want to throw in the Grubes’ detachable stereo as part of the deal, we’d gladly accept that, too.) — MS

15. Family of Geniuses and Dudley’s World
From The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)

Wes Anderson creates idiosyncratic, uncanny worlds filled with costumes and props that just about any stylish movie fan would love to own. My favorite of his films, The Royal Tenenbaums, offers no shortage of desirable objects, and while most of them are from the wardrobe department (Margot’s coat! Richie’s headband!), there are a couple of props that I’d love to display in my home: Family of Geniuses by Etheline Tenenbaum (Anjelica Huston), and Dudley’s World by Raleigh St. Clair (Bill Murray). The former explores the lives of the three Tenenbaum children, while the latter is a psychological profile of Raleigh’s oddest patient. I have no idea if Wes Anderson actually wrote any content for these (knowing his style, it’s quite possible), but if he did that would just be an added bonus to owning them.  — BH

14. The Schwartz Ring
From Spaceballs (1987)

A lightsaber or Jedi robe is a de facto answer for this kind of question ,and we wouldn’t fault anyone for picking it; those are both fine choices. But there are also really good replicas and even some toy lightsabers you can get that are very affordable and impressively detailed. No one (outside of one random Etsy shop) has ever produced Lone Starr’s Schwartz ring from Spaceballs. You could display it proudly, or wear it out into the world for whenever you need to lift a giant statue of Mel Brooks off of a mog’s foot. Yogurt may have said the ring was bupkis, but it’s not to us. — MS

13. The Chestburster Alien Corpse
From Alien (1979)

Ridley Scott’s sci-fi horror masterpiece contains some of the most stunning creature designs in cinema, to say nothing of their brilliant psychosexual connotations. Most of the props in Alien aren’t exactly functional for everyday use, and unfortunately, I’m pretty sure that Jones the cat died a long time ago (and was also a living creature, not a prop). But if I had to pick the coolest thing to own from Alien, it’d be the Chestburster from the iconic dinner scene. Listen, there’s really no “appropriate” way to display this thing, but I do think it would make an excellent centerpiece for Thanksgiving. — BH

12. The Handbook for the Recently Deceased
From Beetlejuice (1988)

One of the coolest notions in Tim Burton’s kooky classic – which is packed with charmingly spooky concepts and designs – is the Handbook for the Recently Deceased. Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis’ newly-dead couple receive this informative manual, given out to all ghosts as a guide on how to live when you’re no longer ... living. Beetlejuice only contains a few references to what’s inside the book (like how to visit your undead social worker or scare away annoying people), but I imagine there’s much more the movie doesn’t explore. This isn’t a book I’d keep on my bookshelf; it’s more of a coffee table showpiece. Who knows? Maybe one day I’ll actually need it. — BH

11. Dick Diggler’s, Uh, Diggler
From Boogie Nights (1997)

Admittedly, this might not be the most family-friendly prop. You probably wouldn’t show this one off the way you would, say, a Captain America shield or a phaser from Star Trek or something. On the other hand, maybe you would. No kink-shaming here for people into fakey-fake Marky-Mark dongy-dong. — MS

10. Grays Sports Almanac
From Back to the Future Part II (1989)

When I was a kid it was all about the Back to the Future hoverboard, which supposedly Mattel really created but then took off the market because some damn kids got hurt using them. (Damn kids!) Obviously that was an urban legend, but they do make hoverboard replicas now, and they looks really good. That’s why we’d rather have the real Grays Sports Alamanac instead; the faux encyclopedia of sports history that Biff (Thomas F. Wilson) uses to alter the timestream in his favor. Granted, you couldn’t use it to place sure-fire bets on sporting events. It would still look very handsome anchoring a bookshelf. Or I’d just use it to smack people on the head while calling them buttheads. — MS

9. Rosemary’s Necklace
From Rosemary’s Baby (1968)

In Roman Polanski’s 1968 film (sorry, it’s still a good movie), Mia Farrow’s Rosemary receives a pendant necklace from her elderly neighbors. It smells terrible and it previously belonged to a girl they were caring for until she killed herself, but hey, it’s still a very nice piece of jewelry. And sure, the necklace may or may not be part of some crazy cult ritual to impregnate Rosemary with the spawn of Satan, but that just gives it a sense of history. It is perhaps the witchiest movie prop one could reasonably own, which makes it a must-have on my list – however, you might want to make sure you have decent health insurance just in case this necklace drives you into a paranoid frenzy. — BH

8. The Voight-Kampff Machine
From Blade Runner (1982)

I’ve never been one for coffee table books; they clutter things up, and they get stained or dirty really easily. But I could see putting one of the machines used in Blade Runner to test whether someone is actually a replicant right smack dab in the middle of a living room. It probably wouldn’t be great to have the first time you brought a new date home, but as dinner party conversation starters go, it’d be a hoot. — MS

7. A “We Are the People” Button
From Taxi Driver (1976)

This is probably the easiest prop to incorporate into your life, with the added feature of helping you meet other film nerds. Disclaimer: We’re not idolizing Robert De Niro’s troubled vet from Taxi Driver, just paying homage to Martin Scorsese’s gritty New York classic. Sure, you can buy a dupe of the “We Are The People” button from the fictional Senator Palantine’s campaign, but you can’t deny that owning the actual prop that De Niro’s Travis Bickle wears on his jacket would be way cooler. — BH

6. John Hammond’s Mosquito in Amber
From Jurassic Park (1993)

Since Jeff Goldblum is a person and not a prop (according to my editor), I went with the next best thing – and I shouldn’t even have to tell you why owning the mosquito in amber from Jurassic Park would be so awesome. And it’s not just that it’s attached to that dope cane John Hammond carries around, either – though the fact that it conveys a low-key air of eccentric wealth doesn’t hurt. It’s because this particular prop happens to basically be the inciting incident from one of the greatest movies of all time. This guy looked at a mosquito trapped in prehistoric amber and thought, “Hey, I wonder if we can get some DINO DNA from this thing and bring gigantic monsters back to life for amusement and profit.” It’s insane! And glorious. — BH

5. The Three Seashells
From Demolition Man (1993)

Perhaps the most mysterious prop in cinema history, the three seashells from Demolition Man are implied to be some sort of futuristic replacement for toilet paper – but how? And more importantly, why? These questions have been pondered since Sylvester Stallone’s dystopian sci-fi action flick was released 25 years ago. We may never know the true purpose of these seashells, but I for one think my bathroom could benefit from their baffling presence. Confuse your friends! Horrify your mother! The entertainment possibilities are endless. — BH

4. Jack’s Typewriter
From The Shining (1980)

The only people who own typewriters these days are hipsters who have no idea how to use them. There are only two reasons to get a typewriter: Either you’re actually committed to the lost art of writing without having 14 tabs open, or it’s Jack Torrance’s typewriter from The Shining. A piece of cinema history from Stanley Kubrick’s maniacal horror classic, the typewriter is where ol’ Jacky boy vented his escalating frustrations in the midst of a total mental breakdown. (It’s also the most relatable depiction of writer’s block I’ve ever seen.) “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy,” but this typewriter could sure as hell liven up your study. — BH

3. The Holy Grail
From Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)

There’s a bunch of classic Indiana Jones props to choose from; the whip, the idol from Raiders, the Ark of Covenant. But for my money if you can only get one, you take the Holy Grail cup from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. How amazing would it be to just casually have it in your cupboard? “Oh yeah, you want some water? Help yourself to a glass. Just choose … wisely.” — MS

2. The Monolith
From 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

Certainly there are other 2001: A Space Odyssey props that would be more sensible choices, particularly for those of us who endure urban apartment living where space is at a premium. But let’s say you have a big-ass house where square footage is no object. How badass would it be to dedicate an entire room to a one of the monoliths? A giant room with white walls and absolutely no furnishings whatsoever — save for this big black block standing in the middle. Set up an Alexa that plays “Thus Spoke Zarathustra” every hour and you’re good to go with the coolest/dorkiest cinematic shrine ever. — MS

1. Rosebud
From Citizen Kane (1941)

It’s arguably the single most famous prop in movie history, and probably the most misinterpreted too. (He didn’t say that name because he really loved sledding, guys. Come on.) Owning it would be cool, displaying it proudly in contrast to the pile of junk it winds up on in the film would be an awesome symbolic gesture. None other than Steven Spielberg paid $55,000 for one of the three Rosebud sleds used in the film back in 1982; it would be worth significantly more today. Spielberg plans to donate his Rosebud to the Academy Museum scheduled to open in the near future in Los Angeles. So you’ll be able to go visit this one, and whisper its name, you just won’t be able to do it in your own living room. — MS

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