Memory Lane - The Movies


Fishy stuff from 80s movie supremo Steven Spielberg. Premiered in London at Christmas 1975, and then on general release across the UK in 1976. We were too young to get in and see it, and had to wait until it was released on VHS, Betamax, or Video 2000. Police Chief Martin Brody (Roy Scheider), Matt Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss) and Quint (Robert Shaw) go hunting for a man-eating shark predating upon the folk of Amity. Won 3 oscars and ensured that for the summer of '76, simply running from the sea smeared in ketchup and yelling 'shark' could clear the beach in about 2 minutes flat.

Sylvester Stallone's first outing as Rocky Balboa, an enforcer for a loan shark, who is asked to fight Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers) in a bout held on New Year's Day 1976, the year of the American Bicentennial. Rocky's manager Mickey Goldmill is played by Burgess Meredith.


Star Wars
Released just after Christmas, Star Wars was The Biggest Thing Ever if you were a small boy growing up in the 70s. George Lucas's fairy tale translated to the big screen with revolutionary special effects producing a landmark film that changed movie history. Lucas wrote and directed it. Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) sets out to rescue Princess Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher) from the clutches of Darth Vader (David Prowse, voiced by James Earl Jones) and save the universe from the Empire, assisted by Ben Obi-Wan Kenobi (Alec Guinness), Han Solo (Harrison Ford), and Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew). The movie gave the world androids like C-3PO and R2-D2, and Princess Leia's hairstyle-now a recognised fetish. It gave Harrison Ford his big break, re-energised SF as a genre, and created both an entirely new weapon in the lightsabre, and an alternative religion in the Force. Epic theme by John Williams. They really don't make them like this any more.


Ridley Scott's epic SF chiller. Genuinely creepy. One of the few movies that made people scream out loud in the cinema. Sigourney Weaver's finest hour as Ripley. A class supporting cast (including John Hurt and Ian Holm), a ship's computer called Mother, and a mother of an alien. We were too young to see this at the cinema, so it was one of those films you had to blag on VHS or betamax in a big box from the video rental shop.

Mad Max
The post-apocalyptic road movie that gave Mel Gibson his big break as Max Rockatansky. The sequels were glossier movies, but this was a low-budget Aussie flick, and the uncut original is fairly brutal. This was another one of those movies you had to blag a video of.

Rocky II
Stallone returns as Rocky Balboa for a rematch with Apollo Creed. The movie includes the scene with Rocky running up the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Star Trek: The Motion Picture
Riding on the Star Wars wave, Star Trek made its big screen debut as the Christmas movie of 1979. William Shatner (Kirk), Leonard Nimoy (Spock), DeForest Kelley (Bones), James Doohan (Scotty), George Takei (Sulu), Walter Koeni (Chekov), and Nichelle Nichols (Uhura) drag the Enterprise out of mothballs and kick off a new era for Trekkies, ten years after the TV series had ended.


The Empire Strikes Back
The action begins on the ice planet of Hoth and introduces Lando Calrissian and Yoda. Luke learns the truth about Vader. The film suffers from being the second of what was then a trilogy, lacking the epic qualities of Star Wars and the dramatic closure of Return of the Jedi.

The big hit of the summer of 1980. Directed by Alan Parker. Coco Hernandez (Irene Cara), Bruno Martelli (Lee Curreri), and Leroy Johnson (Gene Anthony Ray) attend the New York High School for the Performing Arts under the tutelage of Lydia Grant (Debbie Allen), Benjamin Shorofsky (Albert Hague), and Elizabeth Sherwood (Anne Meara). So good they made it twice, with a spin-off series for TV racking up huge audience figures from 1982-1987.


For Your Eyes Only
Roger Moore as 007, charged with recovering the ATAC submarine communications device before the Ruskies get to it. Features Topol as Milos Columbo and Janet Brown as the PM. Super theme tune sung by Sheena Easton.

Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior
Mel Gibson returns with a bigger budget and some special effects. Featured Emil Minty as The Feral Kid, Kjell Nilsson as Lord Humungus and Bruce Spence as The Gyro Captain (Jedediah).


E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial
The film that sold a zillion Speak'n'Spells. Spielberg's record-breaking Christmas movie won 4 Oscars and out-grossed Star Wars. The tag line was 'He is afraid. He is totally alone. He is 3 million light years from home', but everyone remembers the line ' home', and the image of the flying bike against the full moon. Henry Thomas as Elliott, Drew Barrymore as his sister Gertie, and Dee Wallace as Mary, their mother. A lovely film.

Rocky III
Stallone returns in the summer of 1982. Defeated by Clubber Lang, Rocky Balboa is retrained by Apollo Creed for a rematch. The theme tune, Eye of the Tiger by Survivor was a big hit, and has become an iconic sports anthem.


Steel-worker-by-day, exotic-dancer-by-night Alex Owens (Jennifer Beals) dreams of making it as a professional dancer. The title track, sung by Irene Cara of Fame fame, welded itself to the number one spot around the world, and won the film an Oscar. I live next to one of the largest steel works on the planet, and none of the employees look anything like Jennifer Beals.

The summer's Bond movie with Roger Moore as 007 and Maude Adams as Octopussy. The one with the Fabergé egg and the dead agent (009) with much of the action set in India. The theme was All Time High sung by Rita Coolidge.

Return of the Jedi
The third Star Wars film to be released. Luke rescues Han Solo from Jabba the Hutt and must destroy the new Death Star. The one with all those Ewoks in it. Luke and Vader have a big final scene, and Han gets off with Leia.

Risky Business
The film that gave Tom Cruise his big break, featuring that scene where he plays air guitar in his underwear, as emulated by Homer Simpson and most of the male population of planet Earth at some point since. The plot (such as it is): Joel (Cruise) trashes the family Porsche 928 whilst his parents are on holiday. Instead of reporting it stolen like any normal person, he starts up a brothel to raise the funds to get it fixed and becomes a male gigalo. The perfect 80s teen movie, most teenage boys wanting to be Cruise in it, most teenage girls just wanting Cruise.

Terms of Endearment
A weepie adapted from Larry McMurtry's novel that went on to win 5 Oscars. Aurora Greenway (Shirley MacLaine), Garrett Breedlove (Jack Nicholson), Emma Greenway Horton (Debra Winger), Flap Horton (Jeff Daniels), and Vernon Dahlart (Danny DeVito). Impeccably acted emotional drama sees Shirley Maclaine spar with her neighbour, ex-astronaut Jack Nicholson. Debra Winger copes with terminal cancer and her feckless hubby, Jeff Daniels. If you want to know what happened next, the sequel The Evening Star was released in the UK in 1997.

The ultimate teen fantasy movie for geeks, released during the August holiday. Hacker David Lightman (Matthew Broderick) uses his computer skills to impress Jennifer Mack (Ally Sheedy) and prevent World War III. Moral: with nuclear war, the only winning move is not to play.


The top Christmas movie of 1984. Dr. Peter Venkman (Bill Murray), Dr. Raymond Stantz (Dan Aykroyd), Dr. Egon Spengler (Harold Ramis), and Winston Zeddemore (Ernie Hudson) will remove your ghostly infestations. 'Who ya gonna call? Ghostbusters!'. Theme tune by Ray Parker Jr. Romantic interest provided by Sigourney Weaver as Dana Barrett. Guest appearance by the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. An excellent feel-good comedy.

The other big Christmas movie of 1984-a good Christmas for movies. A cast with no big stars supports Gizmo, the cute, cuddly mogwai. Just don't get him wet, expose him to bright lights, or feed him after midnight. Do this and you'll unleash the muppets from hell on to the sleepy town of Kingston Falls. Directed by Joe Dante, the film had a good deal more edge than a Spielberg movie. The kitchen mixer scene is a cracker.

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
Steven Spielberg's super summer adventure set in India. Romantic interest provided by Kate Capshaw as Wilhelmina 'Willie' Scott. The film was actually a prequel to Raiders of the Lost Ark being set in 1935.

Police Academy
Spawning a host of lesser sequels, this was the original. Cadet Carey Mahoney (Steve Guttenberg), Cadet Karen Thompson (Kim Cattrall), Lt. Thaddeus Harris (G. W. Bailey), Cadet Moses Hightower (Bubba Smith), Cadet Leslie Barbara (Donovan Scott), Cadet George Martín (Andrew Rubin), Cadet Eugene Tackleberry (David Graf), Cmndt. Eric Lassard (George Gaynes), Sgt. Debbie Callahan (Leslie Easterbrook). Some priceless scenes.

Purple Rain
Prince at his most purple. Only in the 80s could you change your name to a symbol, do the purple thing, and still make an absolute fortune. Purple Rain won an Oscar and Prince Rogers Nelson spent the decade getting richer and doing his own thing with wild abandon. To his credit, the guy is both a serious musician and a vegan. You probably bought the single or the album or saw the film Purple Rain. You probably didn't catch the cinematic sequel, Graffiti Bridge (1990).

Romancing the Stone
An oddly cast Raiders of the Lost Ark style adventure flick with Michael Douglas as Jack T. Colton, Kathleen Turner as Joan Wilder, and Danny DeVito as Ralph.

A fantasy with Daryl Hannah as Madison the mermaid, and Tom Hanks as Allen Bauer, whom she saves from drowning. Madison takes her name from a Madison Avenue road sign. The film is credited with popularising the name. In the movie John Candy plays the part of Hanks' brother, Freddie Bauer.


The life of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Tom Hulce) told retrospectively by Antonio Salieri (F. Murray Abraham). Based on Peter Shaffer's 1979 play, the movie won 8 Oscars. Falco's Rock Me Amadeus was inspired by the movie.

Back to the Future
The big Christmas hit of 1985 and the biggest grossing film of the year. Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) travels back to 1955 in a time-travelling DeLorean invented by Dr. Emmett Brown (Christopher Lloyd) and threatens his own existence by coming between his mother and father. Theme: The Power of Love by Huey Lewis and the News. One of the most watchable movies ever made. Just sit back and enjoy. Sadly, even without a flux capacitor, a De Lorean DMC-12 will set you back a serious wadge of dosh. Of the 9000 produced, about 6000 are believed to still exist. Only 23 of them are right-hand drive as the car was originally designed for the US market. The gull-wing doors and rear engine make the cars instantly recognisable.

Beverly Hills Cop
Eddie Murphy hit the big-time as detective Axel Foley. The theme tune Axel F.

was a hit for Harold Faltermeyer. The soundtrack also included Glenn Frey's The Heat is On. Although listed as a 1984 movie, it was released in the UK in January 1985.

Mad Max 3: Beyond Thunderdome
Hollywood does Mad Max, with Tina Turner as Aunty Entity. The title theme was Tina Turner singing We Don't Need Another Hero.

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