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Eight great movies that are turning 40 this year (and where you can watch them)


Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands, the All Whites made their debut at football’s World Cup and Toots and Maytals topped the Kiwi music charts with Beautiful Woman.

For Kiwi cinemagoers, 1982 was an exciting year with Sam Pillsbury’s atmospheric adaptation of Ronald Hugh Morrieson’s The Scarecrow providing the thrills, with the Bruno Lawrence and John Bach-starring Hollywood production Battletruck provided the spills.

It was a great time to be a teen, with memorable, sometimes edgy fare like Porky’s, Cat People, Conan the Barbarian, Gregory’s Girl, 48 Hours and The World According to Garp all providing plenty of visual and verbal delights, while the likes of Das Boot, Sophie’s Choice and The Man From Snowy River kept older audiences entertained.

However, to celebrate the impending second season of Netflix’s Russian Doll reminding us how different life was exactly four decades ago, Stuff to Watch has looked back at the movies from that year and come up with a list of our eight favourites – and where you can watch them right now.

Tootsie, Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan and E.T. the Extra Terrestrial are amongst 1982’s greatest movies.

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Tootsie, Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan and E.T. the Extra Terrestrial are amongst 1982’s greatest movies.

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In Blade Runner, Harrison Ford is on the trail of replicants in a dystopian-looking 2019 Los Angeles.

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In Blade Runner, Harrison Ford is on the trail of replicants in a dystopian-looking 2019 Los Angeles.

Blade Runner (iTunes, GooglePlay, AroVision, YouTube, Academy OnDemand, Roxy OnDemand)

Based on Philip K Dick’s 1968 novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Ridley Scott’s film (which he has pretty much constantly tinkered with over the ensuring four decades) sees Harrison Ford track down genetically engineered replicants, which are visually indistinguishable from adult humans, in a dark, dystopian 2019 (it is November) Los Angeles.

While it managed to successfully predict the use of voice-command computers, video phones and massive electronic billboards, it also proved to be something of a curse for companies like Pan Am, Atari and RCA.

Elliott and E.T. go off-road in the film’s pivotal chase scene.

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Elliott and E.T. go off-road in the film’s pivotal chase scene.

E.T. the Extra Terrestrial (Amazon Prime Video)

While Gremlins, Ghostbusters, The Goonies and Back to the Future all have legitimate claims, it’s hard not to go past Steven Spielberg’s wide-eyed and wondrous domestic alien invasion movie as the family film of the 1980s.

Overflowing with charming moments, terrific performances from the young cast (especially the amazing Drew Barrymore) and character moments from that era’s “Baby Yoda”, this sported just the right amount of peril, magic and kitchen-sink drama to ensure everyone was engrossed and cared deeply about the fate of Elliott’s new mate.

Fast Times at Ridgemont High helped launch the career of a cadre of young actors, including Sean Penn.

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Fast Times at Ridgemont High helped launch the career of a cadre of young actors, including Sean Penn.

Fast Times at Ridgemont High (iTunes, GooglePlay, YouTube)

Sean Penn, Nicolas Cage, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Phoebe Cates and Forest Whitaker headline this at-the-time-anarchic coming-of- age tale.

Without it, there would have been no Superbad, no American Pie, no Jerry Maguire (the director of that film, Cameron Crowe, wrote this screenplay) and maybe even no Breakfast Club. It also contains one of the most freeze-framed moments in video history.

If you can hunt it down, The Last American Virgin is also worth a look, if only for its incredible, jaw-dropping conclusion.

Rohini Hattangady, Anthony Sagger and Ben Kingsley star in Gandhi.

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Rohini Hattangady, Anthony Sagger and Ben Kingsley star in Gandhi.

Gandhi (Netflix)

If you only know Sir Ben Kingsley as Marvel’s Trevor Slattery or Sexy Beast’s Don Logan, then Richard Attenborough’s lovingly crafted biopic of influential Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi is going to blow your mind.

The Yorkshire-born actor, born Krishna Pandit Bhanji, is simply mesmerising at the heart of this more than three-hour long tale that spans 55 years, from a significant incident in 1890s South Africa to Gandhi’s tragic death in 1948. Candice Bergen, Edward Fox, Martin Sheen and John Gielgud also feature.

Ricardo Montalbahn’s Khan Noonien Singh is one of the great Star Trek villains.

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Ricardo Montalbahn’s Khan Noonien Singh is one of the great Star Trek villains.

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (iTunes, GooglePlay, YouTube)

As a life-long fan of the original Trek and enthusiast of many of its offshoots, I still consider this Nicholas Meyer-directed adventure the finest hours of Gene Roddenberry’s-creation.

One of the most thrilling and greatest science-fiction movies of the entire decade, it is hard not to be enthralled and engrossed from start to finish, the finale running you through a gamut of emotions few other movies can rival (helped immensely by a stirring James Horner score and the best villain in Trek history in Ricardo Montalbahn’s Khan Noonien Singh).

Kurt Russell leads the battle against an alien invader in The Thing.

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Kurt Russell leads the battle against an alien invader in The Thing.

The Thing (iTunes, GooglePlay, YouTube, AroVision, Academy OnDemand)

John Carpenter’s remake of the 1951 horror The Thing From Another World is notable for its perfectly pitched sense of dread, terrific evocation of place and space, wild creature effects and THAT downbeat ending.

Clearly inspired by both Alien and the 1970s version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, it’s a simple premise, brilliantly executed, with memorably visceral visuals, a palpable sense of increasing panic and paranoia and Ennio Morricone’s creepily atmospheric score. The brilliant cast includes Kurt Russell, Wilfred Brimley and Keith David.

Dustin Hoffman and Charles Durning teamed up for Tootsie.

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Dustin Hoffman and Charles Durning teamed up for Tootsie.

Tootsie (iTunes. GooglePlay, YouTube)

Dustin Hoffman delivers one of his most animated and charismatic performances in this beloved comedy about a struggling actor who decides extreme measures are required in order to secure the role he covets on a hospital soap.

As Michael Dorsey becomes Dorothy Michaels, he finds the daily transformation the least of his worries. Jessica Lange won an Oscar for her supporting role, while the magnificent ensemble also includes Teri Garr, Dabney Coleman, Sydney Pollack, Charles Durning and Bill Murray.

In Tron, Jeff Bridges finds himself trapped inside a computer.

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In Tron, Jeff Bridges finds himself trapped inside a computer.

Tron (Disney+)

Whether it was the neon-infused special effects, the lightcycles, or the very idea of being trapped inside a computer game, this was a family fantasy flick that proved to teens that Disney could make more than just cartoons and movies that would be better suited to two-part Sunday teatime viewing.

Jeff Bridges and Bruce Boxleitner are our heroes battling to stay alive against the seemingly undefeatable forces of the Master Control Program, while, fresh from playing pure Evil in Time Bandits, David Warner provided another bout of sleepless nights for young moviegoers.



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