Fight Club was one of the most controversial and talked-about films of the 1990s. Like other films released that year, including Magnolia, Being John Malkovich, Eyes Wide Shut and Three Kings, Fight Club was recognized as an innovator in cinematic form and style since it exploited new developments in filmmaking technology. After Fight Club 's theatrical release, it became more popular via word of mouth, and the positive reception of the DVD established it as a cult film that David Ansen of Newsweek conjectured would enjoy "perennial" fame. The film's success also heightened Palahniuk's profile to global renown.
Following Fight Club 's release, several fight clubs were reported to have started in the United States. A "Gentleman's Fight Club" was started in Menlo Park, California in 2000 and had members mostly from the tech industry. Teens and preteens in Texas, New Jersey, Washington state, and Alaska also initiated fight clubs and posted videos of their fights online, leading authorities to break up the clubs. In 2006, an unwilling participant from a local high school was injured at a fight club in Arlington, Texas, and the DVD sales of the fight led to the arrest of six teenagers. An unsanctioned fight club was also started at Princeton University, where matches were held on campus. The film was suspected of influencing Luke Helder, a college student who planted pipe bombs in mailboxes in 2002. Helder's goal was to create a smiley pattern on the map of the United States, similar to the scene in Fight Club in which a building is vandalized to have a smiley on its exterior. On July 16, 2009, a 17-year-old who had formed his own fight club in Manhattan was charged with detonating a homemade bomb outside a Starbucks Coffee shop in the Upper East Side in May 2009; the New York City Police Department reported the suspect was trying to emulate "Project Mayhem".
In 2003, Fight Club was listed as one of the "50 Best Guy Movies of All Time" by Men's Journal. In 2006 and 2008, Fight Club was voted by Empire readers as the eighth and tenth greatest film of all time, respectively. Total Film ranked Fight Club as "The Greatest Film of our Lifetime" in 2007 during the magazine's tenth anniversary. In 2007, Premiere selected Tyler Durden's line, "The first rule of fight club is you do not talk about fight club," as the 27th greatest movie line of all time. In 2008, readers of Empire ranked Tyler Durden first on a list of the 100 Greatest Movie Characters. Empire also identified Fight Club as the 10th greatest movie of all time in its 2008 issue The 500 Greatest Movies of All Time.
In 2010, two viral mash-up videos featuring Fight Club were released. Ferris Club was a mash-up of Fight Club and the film Ferris Bueller's Day Off. It portrayed Ferris as Tyler Durden and Cameron as the narrator, "claiming to see the real psychological truth behind the John Hughes classic". The second video Jane Austen's Fight Club also gained popularity online as a mash-up of Fight Club 's fighting rules and the characters created by 19th century novelist Jane Austen.
American Film Institute nominations
- AFI's 100 Years...100 Movie Quotes -- "First rule of Fight Club is -- you do not talk about Fight Club."
- AFI's 100 Years...100 Movies (10th Anniversary Edition)