The 8 Best References to Past Barbie Dolls in the New ‘Barbie’ Film

'Barbie' movie still.
Warner Bros. Entertainment

*Warning: Minor spoilers ahead*

Not only is the new Barbie film a colorful feast for the eyes and a comical joyride that will surely be filling theaters all summer long, but it's also a major nostalgia trip.

You can tell that the creators put a lot of research into this film, from the references to discontinued dolls to the use of iconic accessories. All we can say is, viewers who grew up collecting Barbies will certainly appreciate these special details.

Here are our favorite references to past Barbies in Greta Gerwig's 2023 Barbie film.

Barbie Doll.
Mattel/Natural Museum of American History

1. The First-Ever Barbie Doll

In the first shot of the movie, in a scene that spoofs the beginning of 2001: A Space Odyssey, we see the arrival of Barbie. Naturally, star Margot Robbie is dressed in the same ensemble that outfitted the first-ever Barbie doll from 1959. It's a glorious wink to the doll that started it all.

midge hero

2. Midge, the Pregnant Barbie

Barbie's bestie, Midge (Emerald Fennell), shows up in the film, and she's pregnant, just like the controversial 2002 Mattel doll that was quickly pulled off shelves (because some people thought it encouraged teenage pregnancy).

Ruby Lane

3. Allan

Speaking of Midge, her hubby Allan makes an appearance as well (and he's comically played by a red-haired Michael Cera).

Sugar Daddy doll.
Mattel/Entertainment Earth

4. The ‘Sugar Daddy’ Doll

Perhaps one of the strangest Barbies ever created—the “Sugar Daddy” doll (played by Rob Brydon)—makes a cameo in Barbie too. As he jokes in the film, his name is “Sugar Daddy” because he's the daddy to his dog, Sugar.

Merman Ken.

5. Merman Ken

In a blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment in Barbie, John Cena appears as a merman, seemingly playing off this sea-cruising doll that was introduced in 2020.


6. Video Girl Barbie

This Barbie loved screens so much that she even had a TV in her back. No wonder she appears on the big screen in Barbie.


7. Skipper

Skipper was designed by Mattel in 1964 to be Barbie's younger sister, so of course she got a little screen time in Barbie.


8. Teen Talk Barbie

Barbie collectors may recognize the film's nod to this ’90s doll, which could actually talk to its owners (but it only had a few different catchphrases).

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‘Barbie’ Lives Up to the Hype and Feels Like a Classic from the First Viewing

Joel Calfee

Associate Editor, News and Entertainment

Joel is the Associate Editor for News & Entertainment and has been reporting on all things pop culture for over 5 years. Before working at PureWow, he served as a Features...
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