New Barbie Film Puts a Spin on the Nostalgic Toy

History of Barbie ahead of new movie
Everett Collection/Barbie Media

Barbie girls everywhere can rejoice that a brand-new Barbie film is coming this summer. Unlike the cartoons geared towards children, this film has a huge star-studded cast and will be the first live-action Barbie film. The movie is rated PG-13, so it may not be suitable for the youngest of Barbie lovers but will share a journey of self-discovery as Barbie, played by Margot Robbie, is kicked out of the very, very pink Barbieland for not looking and acting like dolls there should. She’s joined by Ken, played by Ryan Gosling, and a cast of many Barbies and Kens, with Will Ferrell playing the toy company CEO.

The film, premiering on July 21, 2023, proves that the craze is certainly not over. Barbara Millicent Roberts, better known as Barbie, was first introduced as a tall plastic doll in 1959 by Mattel, Inc. Her appearance was based on the German Bild Lilli doll, which was a gag gift for men and certainly not made for children. No wonder Barbie has often been under fire in recent years for her unattainable figure. Over the years, Barbie has been criticized for her body shape, lack of diversity, and materialism. Recently Mattel released the Barbie Fahionistas line to offer more diverse representations of the beloved doll.

The Barbie Craze is far from over

Barbie in 1959

Barbie Media

In 1961, Barbie’s boyfriend Ken was introduced. The doll names were based on the creator, Ruth Handler’s children Barbara and Ken. As the ’60s rolled on, Barbie and Ken had a crew of friends including best friend Midge and little sister Skipper. Of course, we cannot forget Barbie’s many accessories including doll houses, cars, clothing, and other gadgets. As styles changed over the years, Barbie had more and more versions and accessories including the ever-popular career Barbies, featuring Doctor Barbies or Veterinarian Barbies. Some of the most valuable Barbies include the original, the first Black Barbie released in the ’60s, the Pink Jubilee Barbie, the Chicago Cubs Barbie, and the Totally Hair Barbie from the ’90s.


Mattel/Everett Collection

Barbie has truly been intertwined into our culture, with almost every little girl owning several. Not just movies, Mattel has released Barbie video games, comic books, and even albums. Barbie was one of the first toys to be advertised on television, most notably during Disney’s iconic show The Mickey Mouse Club. The first Barbie cost just $3. In 2023, regular Barbies cost around $10, with prices varying depending on the doll and accessories included. However, collectible Barbie prices can go up to the thousands.

BARBIE, US character poster, Margot Robbie as Barbie, 2023

Warner Bros./Everett Collection

Insider put together an incredible list of what Barbie looked like each year since its inception. Find out what Barbie looked like on the year you were born or a special year in your life. What was your favorite Barbie? Do you still own any of the classics?

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Kid Stuff

June 2018

Unleash your inner child by reliving your favorite kids TV shows, cartoons, toys and more!

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