The Movie Inspirations Behind The Bachelor's Most Iconic Dates Revealed

Exclusive: Executive producer Bennett Graebner reveals the inspiration behind some of The Bachelor's most iconic dates. Plus, a Winter Games sneak peek

By Tierney Bricker Feb 20, 2018 8:05 PMTags

"You don't want to be in love. You want to be in love in a movie."

Sorry, Sleepless in Seattle, but that quote doesn't apply to The Bachelor franchise, which has been offering up dates worthy of big screen swoons for over 15 years. And it turns out they pull a lot of their ideas from iconic movies. 

In the exclusive sneak peek from tonight's episode of The Bachelor Winter Games above, Ashley Iaconetti and her Canadian beau Kevin Wendt go on a pottery date, and, of course, pay homage to Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze's infamous pottery scene in Ghost. And recreating an iconic film scene, like the Ghost one, is one of The Bachelor producers' go-to moves when coming up with date ideas.

"When we were tooling across rural Vermont looking for dates for the Winter Games, we came to this great little pottery studio. It felt like the perfect spot for a date, but how can you do a romantic pottery date without thinking of that classic scene in Ghost?" executive producer Bennett Graebner exclusively tells E! News. "Our director of photography loved the idea of recreating that scene, and he worked his magic. With the right lighting and the appropriate music cue, we had a great date on our hands, no pun intended."

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Ashley and Kevin's Ghost-inspired date is definitely one of the franchise's most romantic homages, but it's far from its first. Below, Graebner reveals the surprising movies that have inspired classic Bachelor moments in recent seasons: 

Season 19, Episode 7: Chris Soules recreates the ending of The Breakfast Club
In this episode, Prince Farming brought Jade to his hometown of Arlington, Iowa, and they visited his old high school and attended a football game. The nostalgia rubbed off on the producers, as Graebner explains. "We couldn't help but end the date the same way John Hughes had ended The Breakfast Club, with an outstretched fist held high while walking off the field."

Before filming the homage, it seems the Bachelor needed a quick refresh of the iconic movie. "Funny enough, Chris didn't really remember the movie so we had to pull it up on YouTube for him. He instantly got it, and we knocked this out in about five minutes, which shows that sometimes these anecdotes can be added in as easily as that."

Paramount Pictures

Season 20, Episode 8: Ben Higgins and Caila Quinn recreate the ending of An Officer and a Gentleman
Obviously Ben Higgins (aka one of the most popular Bachelors in history) would be the one to pay homage to one of the most beloved movie endings of all-time, one of Graebner's personal favorites. "Caila took Ben to her dad's toy factory for her hometown date, and it was very much a working factory. I always loved that scene at the end of An Officer and a Gentleman when Richard Gere shows up to profess his love to Debra Winger before picking her up and whisking her away. Ben and Caila were gracious enough to recreate the moment for us."

However, it seems neither Ben or Caila knew of the iconic moment they were recreating, with Graebner saying, "I'm sure not everyone picked up on the reference, but again, that's OK!"


Season 21, Episode 9: Raven Gates pays homage to 500 Days of Summer's musical montage after spending the night in the Fantasy Suite
After admitting to the Bachelor she had never experienced an orgasm, Raven was seemingly on cloud nine post-Fantasy Suite time. Cue the joyous music! "We wanted to visually depict Raven's mood post fantasy suite, and we knew we would never do better than Joseph Gordon-Levitt did in 500 Days of Summer, so we used that film as a reference point," Graebner says. "We only had the scenery of Lapland, Finland to work with, but I think we got the point across!"


Season 21, Episode 9: Nick Viall works out like Rocky Balboa
What better way to reference Nick's transformation over the Bachelor years than with a workout montage, putting his hard work on display with a snowy workout in Finland a la a rugged Rocky in Russia in Rocky IV? And guess what? It was actually Nick's idea. "This sequence of Nick training in the snow ended up in the credits for the penultimate episode of the season," Graebner says. "Nick is a big Rocky fan, and he came up with this idea which was not only really fun but also gave him a good workout."


Season 22, Episode 4: Arie Luyendyk Jr. takes the women on a Best in Show group date
The show upped the homage factor by getting Best in Show star Fred Willard to serve as Chris Harrison's co-host for the women's dog show, which Graebner admits production knew might be challenging. "We thought there was a chance that this date might be a disaster because kids and animals can be difficult to film with. So, we thought we would have a little fun and see if legendary Fred Willard was available to lend it a comedic touch just as he had in Best in Show. It ended up working out great with he and Chris Harrison just being absolutely hilarious together."


Season 22, Episode 5: Arie recreates The Big Lebowski by licking a bowling ball
"Arie got to the bowling alley a little early that day so we could have some fun with this," Graebner said of the show's unexpected homage to the 1998 cult classic. "There is no bowling movie like The Big Lebowski, and Arie was game to recreate the moment that John Turturro made famous." However, it seems not every member of Bachelor Nation has seen the movie, as Graebner adds, "I did see a lot of people on social media wondering why Arie was licking a bowling ball. They obviously hadn't seen The Big Lebowski, and they should!" 

The Bachelor airs Mondays at 8 p.m., while The Bachelor Winter Games airs tonight and Thursday at 8 p.m., all on ABC.