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Genre Throwback

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"Overdrive is a street crime movie set in today's San Francisco, okay? It's one of those throwback movies to the '70s exploitation films. Bombs, car chases, afros, hot chicks, windsurfing, space shuttle, okay?"
Robert Rodino, Stuntman: Ignition

Remember back in the day, when there was that prevalent, cheaply made form of entertainment that was So Bad, It's Good, or at least good but dated? Wouldn't you like to bring it back?

Well, if you're in Hollywood and you have a high enough profile, you can. And you can do it better with a brand-new franchise, better special effects, better actors, a better budget and, hopefully, better writing. If the old form of entertainment has been deconstructed, then this work will probably feature a lot of reconstructing.

If especially successful, this can result in a game of Follow the Leader as everyone else begins mining the past (or, more frequently, ripping off the successful modern version) in the hope that lightning will strike twice. If these follow-ups are of poor quality, or if there's just too many of them (or both, as is often the case), then it can result in the genre being thrown right back in the trash until someone else decides it's worth reviving. Works like this also risk running afoul of So Bad, It Was Better, where the original genre had certain beloved flaws which are lost in the revival.

If done especially well, it can hide the fact that it is a throwback. It is only upon reviewing its similarity to past incarnations that the connection is made. Compare Older Than They Think.

Note this should not cover instances of a specific franchise being brought back, e.g., the later incarnations of Star Trek or Doctor Who, or the Flash Gordon movie. This trope is much closer to a Spiritual Successor than an actual Continuity Reboot or Revival.

Super-Trope to Two-Fisted Tales. Has nothing to do with Evolutionary Levels, we promise. This trope is also the natural environment of Deliberately Monochrome.

Compare Retraux, Homage, Genre Deconstruction, Decon-Recon Switch and Affectionate Parody.


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  • The hot dog-based fast food chain, Wienerschnitzel, has been making a series of animated commercials that are this for animated ads of The '60s.

    Anime & Manga 

  • During the late '90s and '00s, there was a boom in vehicle design designed to evoke older periods of such, driven partly as a backlash against the wind-tunnel-carved lines of cars in the late '80s and early-mid '90s.
    • The Volkswagen New Beetle, which helped kick off the trend, was intended as a modernization of the classic VW Bug of The '50s and The '60s. This car wound up influencing the relaunched Mini Cooper and Fiat 500, both of which did the same with their vintage compact namesakes.
    • The Chrysler PT Cruiser and Plymouth Prowler were throwbacks to '30s coupes that, in the '50s, were souped up into hot rods by their secondhand owners.
    • The Chevrolet HHR (designed by the same engineer as the PT Cruiser) was a throwback to '40s/'50s trucks and panel vans.
    • The Chrysler 300 was inspired by '50s American luxobarge sedans.
    • The fifth-generation Ford Mustang and the relaunched Chevrolet Camaro and Dodge Challenger were meant to hearken back to '60s muscle cars, most notably their namesakes.
  • Nissan did this in the late eighties and early nineties with their so-called "Pike cars": the Figaro (a fifties-styled small convertible)note , the Pao (a sixties-styled small car), the Be-1 (a seventies-styled small car), and the S-Cargo (a minivan blatantly inspired by the Citroen 2CV van).
    • More recently, they intend to do it again with the new Nissan Z, which launched in 2021 and its concept looks very similar to the old Datsun 240Z.

    Board Games 

    Comic Books 

  • The 1970s fashion house Biba pays homage to 1920s and 1930s Art Deco aesthetics.
  • Christian Dior's New Look collection in the late 1940s throws back Edwardian elegance that had been lost during both world wars.


    Live-Action TV 

  • The girl group Meet Me at the Altar have released several pop punk rock songs heavily inspired by Pop Punk in The 2000s.
  • The genre of Synthwave Electro (which includes such labels as Rosso Corsa Records and electro acts such as Kavinsky and Power Glove) is a genre throwback to synth-heavy '80s film soundtracks. The soundtracks to films such as Drive (2011) and Kung Fury, and games such as Hotline Miami and Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon (which are themselves throwbacks to '80s action films), provide very good examples. Synthwave itself, as well as Darkwave, add in heavier metal and industry inspirations, such as Carpenter Brut.
  • She & Him (Zooey Deschanel's band) — '60s and '70s pop.
  • Composer Erich Korngold was critically panned in Europe because his music was a throwback to the lush romantic era of classical music, while his contemporaries like Igor Stravinsky were composing aggressive, challenging pieces like "The Rite of Spring". However, he found his place in Hollywood and with his film music, defined the lush sound of the movie soundtrack.
  • John Williams reintroduced the sweeping orchestral soundtrack to films with his Star Wars scores in the '70s.
  • The 12-member big band-style group (they call themselves a "little orchestra" instead) Pink Martini, who play jazz, lounge music and old-fashioned pop.
  • The B-52s' 1979 breakthrough single "Rock Lobster" is one to 1960s beach party surf rock.
  • Christina Aguilera's 2006 single "Candyman" is one to 1930s and '40s swing dance boogie-woogie pop and jump blues reminiscent of the Andrews Sisters. The music video has a very World War II look about it.
  • Mark Ronson's production style is a throwback to Motown-era R&B and soul and electro/synth-funk (early '80s funk).
  • Bruno Mars, after his second album Unorthodox Jukebox, has built up an image as being a specialist in old-school throwback songs.
    • "Treasure" (2012) is a throwback to '70s funk and soul.
    • "Locked Out of Heaven" (2012), at least in its verses, recalls the late-'70s sound of The Police.
    • "Uptown Funk" (2014): '80s "Prince-style Minneapolis Sound" Synth-Funk (in collaboration with Mark Ronson, see above).
    • "24K Magic" (2016): '80s/'90s Electro-Funk Hip-Hop/R&B.
    • "Finesse" (2016): Late '80s/Early '90s New Jack Swing.
    • "Leave the Door Open" (2021): Late '60s/Early '70s Motown Slow Jam R&B somewhat reminiscent of The Temptations or Marvin Gaye (in collaboration with Anderson Paak as the duo Silk Sonic).
  • Kat Edmonson, whose music is very reminiscent of old-fashioned, Dusty Springfield-style country ballads.
  • Singers such as Duffy and the late Amy Winehouse thrived on an "old-fashioned" sound.
  • John Barrowman's albums recall the days of Andy Williams and Dean Martin, with show-tunes.
  • Jamiroquai is a throwback to or, at least, is heavily influenced by 70's jazz, funk and soul with the use of classical instrumentation in their music.
  • Wolfmother for '70s stoner rock and Heavy Metal.
  • Brian Setzer did one for rockabilly with The Stray Cats, and later one for swing music with the Brian Setzer Orchestra.
  • Cee Lo Green's famous hit song "Fuck You!" is a throwback towards '60s era Motown Soul music.
  • Pharrell's 2013 song "Happy" is somewhat reminiscent of upbeat, jazzy Motown R&B/rock 'n' roll of the late 50s/early 60s. Pharell's singing has been compared to that of the late Curtis Mayfield.
  • Sweden’s Änglagård play a pastiche of early 70s prog rock that is surprisingly convincing, thanks in part to an almost slavish use of vintage 1970s musical instruments.
  • The Black Keys sound more at home in the late '70s than the early 21st century.
  • The Darkness is an '80s-style glam metal band that broke into the mainstream around 2003.
  • The Reckless Love does much the same, its first album coming out a little later in 2010. The third album, Spirit, is as obvious a tribute to '80s glam as it gets.
  • Big Star: The British Invasion-styled guitar pop at the height of Progressive Rock.
  • The Black Crowes: Blues Rock/Hard Rock band whose first album was released in 1990. They sound more like The Rolling Stones than their contemporaries Nirvana. Alice Cooper applauded them as a "band out of time".
  • The whole 90s Swing Revival was an attempt to bring jump blues and Big Band swing of the 30s and 40s back to the mainstream by infusing them with modern pop elements. The Brian Setzer Orchestra, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, and the Cherry Poppin' Daddies were the big names in that scene, with the latter's "Zoot Suit Riot" being the biggest commercial hit. The movement fizzled out sometime in the new millennium, but several of the bands are still making music.
  • The Neo Soul genre was a throwback to smooth '70s soul.
  • Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings were a throwback to '60s/'70s soul and funk.
  • XTC's side project band, The Dukes of Stratosphear, is a throwback to 1960s British psychedelia, with their first album recorded almost entirely on period-correct musical equipment.
  • Birdeatsbaby's music video "Feast of Hammers" throws back to Hammer Horror movies.
  • Ariana Grande and Tori Kelly's music are a throwback to '90s R&B, of the likes of Mariah Carey.
  • The Heavy Metal genres Power Metal and Melodic Death Metal are both throwbacks to the New Wave of British Heavy Metal of the late '70s and early '80s, though melodeath obviously incorporates Death Metal elements.
  • Eminem's single "Berzerk" is a throwback to old '90s rap — primarily Beastie Boys, even using a rock-based sample, as the Boys were known to do (though the influences range from Public Enemy to N.W.A).
    • The rest of The Marshall Mathers LP 2, the album "Berzerk" is from, contains a lot of other throwback late-80s-early-90s weirdo-turntablism sounds, as well as some songs designed to revisit Eminem's own style from the year 2000.
  • The "Confiteor" in J.S. Bach's Mass in B Minor was written to evoke Gregorian Chant, which was already ancient by Bach's time, and late into the movement a Gregorian Chant-style cantus firmus appears, accentuated above the rest of the voices.
  • Dead Sara is a throwback to Grunge and 90s female-fronted Alternative Rock depending on the song.
  • Black Veil Brides is a new millennium Hair Metal band, though they do tend to mix it with more modern sounds.
  • The music video for "Sabotage" by Beastie Boys is a throwback homage to '70s television show intros, including spinning scenery shots, people jumping over the hood of cars and cheesy mustaches.
  • Issues is a throwback to '90s R&B and Nu Metal, while mixed with modern Metalcore.
  • Royal Blood is a throwback to '70s Hard Rock, Blues Rock, and Garage Rock.
  • Hollywood Undead, particularly in their later albums, is a throwback to late '90s Nu Metal/Rap Metal.
  • Hozier is this to early Blues music.
  • Meghan Trainor's style (mostly on her debut album Title) is very reminiscent of '50s Doo-wop, with hints of '60s Motown thrown in.
  • Clairity's style is a fusion of '80s Synth-Pop and '90s Hip-Hop/R&B.
  • Future Islands are a throwback to Motown Soul as well as New Wave.
  • DIIV sound like a Post-Punk band out of the late '70s/early '80s such as The Cure.
  • Salt Ashes is one to early-mid '90s Vocal House and UK Garage.
  • Ariel Pink is a psychedelic lo-fi indie pop artist whose recordings hearken back to '70s and '80s music.
  • 5 Seconds of Summer's brand of Pop Punk/Power Pop is more akin to the music Green Day and blink-182 made in the late-90s/early-2000s.
  • Porter Robinson's work under the VIRTUAL SELF alias is inspired by Y2K-era trance and video game music. The results, such as the "Cheerleader" single (which throws in Pop Punk, nerdcore, and anime fandom aesthetics from The 2000s), wouldn't feel out of place in the early DanceDance Revolution games.
  • Ginger Root is a throwback to East Asian (especially Japanese) City Pop, funk, and soul that's heavily inspired by 80s and 90s acts like Yellow Magic Orchestra, Cassiopea, Mariya Takeuchi (who even gave the One-Man Band a Colbert Bump), and Pink Lady. The expanded universe goes further with fuzzy VHS visuals in the vein of 90s Hong Kong films and talk shows patterned off of The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.
  • Greta Van Fleet embraces the bluesy hard rock of The '70s played by the likes of Led Zeppelin, with front-man Josh Kiszka in particular sounding just like Robert Plant.
  • The Garage Rock revival of the 2000s, led by bands like The White Stripes, The Strokes, and The Hives, was a throwback to '60s Garage Rock, embracing stripped-down, old-school guitar rock influences as a backlash against the dominance of Nu Metal in the US and post-Britpop in the UK.
  • Britpop was driven heavily by nostalgia for '60s British Invasion bands and '70s Glam Rock and Punk Rock. In particular, Oasis, one of the biggest bands in Britpop, leaned heavily on the musical style and popular image of The Beatles for inspiration.
  • Raphael Saadiq's album The Way I See It was a loving tribute to the Motown sound. His next album, Stone Rollin', lost some of the Motown but added a rock and funk tone.
  • The Cristina Vee song "Party Corgi" echoes late '90s bubblegum dance a la Aqua and Caramell, as well as mid-2000s Cascada-style hands-up dance.
  • Wristmeetrazor, SeeYouSpaceCowboy, and .gif from god are throwbacks to the type of mathcore and mathgrind that was popular on MySpace and a mainstay of VFW and Elks Lodge shows in the early 2000s, inviting comparisons to acts like Norma Jean, The Bled, The Number Twelve Looks Like You, Fear Before the March of Flames, and The Fall of Troy. Furthermore, SeeYouSpaceCowboy's The Correlation Between Entrance and Exit Wounds wound up being a different type of throwback to very early melodic metalcore ala 7 Angels 7 Plagues, Poison the Well, and mid-era Zao, and Connie Sgarbossa confirmed that that was a deliberate choice.
  • Angelmaker is a throwback to the heavier side of MySpace deathcore from the mid to late 2000s, with a sound somewhat comparable to acts like Molotov Solution, And Hell Followed With, A Different Breed of Killer, and very early Fit for an Autopsy.
  • Summoning The Lich and Carrion Vael are a throwback to the more melodic side of MySpace deathcore, with a sound heavily reminiscent of Through the Eyes of the Dead, Wretched, Conducting from the Grave, and early Depths of Hatred.
  • Psycho-Frame, 9 Dead, Tracheotomy, and Snuffed on Sight are all throwbacks to mid-2000s brutal deathcore, with sounds reminiscent of early Suicide Silence, Whitechapel (Band), I Declare War, and Impending Doom.
  • Vandal Moon are an homage to old-school Goth Rock and Dark Wave acts such as Bauhaus, Clan of Xymox, The Cure, The Sisters of Mercy, etc.
  • Fleetwood Mac's B-Side "Somebody's Gonna Get Their Head Kicked In Tonite", which they performed as Fake Band Earl Vince & The Valiants, is a throwback to 1950s rock'n'roll.
  • Nick Waterhouse recreates the sound of the rock and R&B that was popular in the '50s and '60s.
  • A lot of Matt Berry's music has a very '70s sound to it, recreating the folk and blue-eyed soul sounds that were popular in the UK during that decade.
  • Norwegian band Wig Wam is one to 1980's Glam Rock.
  • Olivia Rodrigo was born in 2003, and when she wants she can make a rock song that sounds like it was recorded in 2003, like "good 4 u" (which was heavily inspired by Pop Punk mavens Paramore to the point she gave them writing credits), "brutal" or this version of "jealousy jealousy".
  • Swedish supergroup The Halo Effect very deliberately set out to recreate the 1990s "Gothenburg sound" of Melodic Death Metal that was pioneered by the members' mutual former band In Flames, which had made a Genre Shift into Alternative Metal around the Turn of the Millennium.
  • "Planet of the Bass" by DJ Crazy Times is an Affectionate Parody of European Dance Pop of The '90s.
  • Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas is You" is a throwback to the pop music of The '50s and The '60s, particularly Phil Spector's compositions, and (by extension) the Christmas standards that were mostly recorded during that time. It turned out to be a good enough pastiche that some fans have mistaken it for an actual '60s pop song that Carey later Covered Up.
  • Laufey sings old-timey songs of heartbreak and longing in the vein of 50s pop acts that blended jazz and musical theatre, like Frank Sinatra, Doris Day, Ella Fitzgerald, Aretha Franklin, etc.. She's also thrown in a lot of Chet Baker's melancholic singing style and has dipped into other old-school homages, like sixties/seventies Bossa Nova for "From the Start".

  • WhizBang Pinball's Whoa Nellie! Big Juicy Melons was made by cannibalizing parts from a 1957 electro-mechanical pinball, then using the components in an all-new playfield design with original art and modern imaging techniques. The result is a boutique pinball table that plays like it stepped out of The '50s with a modern look.
  • Data East's Time Machine invokes this when the player reaches The '50s — the dot-matrix display shows the scoring reels of an electro-mechanical pinball while the game plays analog sounds from a chimebox.
  • ScoreGasm Master takes it to an extreme: This is a modern take on Williams' Contact Master from 1934, before pinball flippers and bumpers were invented and very close to its bagatelle roots. The difference is that it is made using materials, manufacturing equipment, and electronic parts available in 2015, with modern-looking artwork and sound.
  • The remakes of Medieval Madness and Attack from Mars use LCDs, but for most of the game simulate the dot-matrix displays that the original games used. During parts of the game where the player does not have control of the ball, more high-definition graphics are used.
  • Total Nuclear Annihilation, in addition to its retraux aesthetics, was inspired by early-'80s Bally games. It features a relatively sparse playfield that places emphasis on the actual gameplay, which forgoes standard mode progression in favor of simpler goals (that are nonetheless difficult to execute).


  • The current home park of Major League Baseball's Baltimore Orioles, Oriole Park at Camden Yards, was built in 1992 as a throwback to stadiums built early in the 20th century, as opposed to more modernized stadiums of recent decades. The park was an instant hit, and sparked a trend in retro baseball stadiums for the next two decades.
  • Baseball jerseys as of the 10s feature buttons and simple color patterns. These originated in the 80s as throwbacks to earlier decades, and a deliberate contrast to baseball jerseys of that time.
  • In 2016, Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson did a tongue-in-cheek homage to sports posters of The '80s, which featured big-name athletes in ridiculous setups and outfits designed to portray them as manly badasses. (The joke is that Wilson's real-life public image, that of a loving father and husband and devout Christian who embraces just how corny he can often be, is the exact opposite of the Testosterone Poisoning that those posters often featured.)
  • NASCAR has designated the Southern 500 at Darlington as a throwback weekend. Teams bring cars dressed in old-fashioned paint schemes from the early decades of NASCAR. And NASCAR on NBC goes a step further in that the standard booth team of Rick Allen, Jeff Burton, Steve Letarte and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. step aside for about an hour of the race and let Ken Squier and father-and-son Ned and Dale Jarrett call the action.
  • For Monday Night Football's 50th anniversary, its play-by-play team wore the classic yellow blazers made famous by Keith Jackson, Howard Cosell and Don Meredith. It was also simulcast on ABC, its original home before moving to ESPN in 2006; regular simulcasting wouldn't return until the 2020s.
  • For the the NBA's 75th annversary game, ESPN had each quarter of the Nets vs. Knicks (also referred to their full name of Knickerbockers throughout the night) pay homage to the 60's, 70's 80's and the 90's with coresponding broadcast looks. ESPN broke out its 80's logo for first half, had the commentators also wearing the iconic yellow ABC Sports blazers and even sponsor State Farm using its pre-2012 logo all throughout. The 60's started out in Deliberate Monochrome before being lightly colored as it ended, the 70's retained the warm color filter with simple orange text, the 80's drawing from CBS's sport package and the 90's paying homage to NBC's coverage complete with usage of "Roundball Rock".

    Tabletop Games 

    Web Animation 


    Web Original 

    Web Videos 

     Western Animation 

  • The Chinook Centre Scotiabank Theatre in Calgary, Alberta contains an exterior and decor themed to Ancient Egypt and so could be considered one to the lavishly themed theatres of the early 20th century.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): George Lucas Throwback


A Hat in Time

A Hat in Time is a Spiritual Successor and Genre Throwback to the Collect-a-Thon Platformers of The Fifth Generation of Console Video Games, including Super Mario 64, Banjo-Kazooie, Spyro the Dragon, and Donkey Kong 64, though with a brightly colored cel-shaded visual style reminiscent of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / CollectAThonPlatformer

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