Movies – 1980s

Witness (1985)

An innocent young Amish widow (Kelly McGillis) takes her small son Samuel (Lucas Haas) on his first train trip to visit a relative in Baltimore. During a change of trains in Philadelphia, the boy goes to the bathroom and witnesses a brutal murder. Unwittingly, these poor, simple people are plunged into a world of gruff(…)

Woman In Red, The (1984)

This comedy remake of the 1977 French farce Pardon Mon Affaire stars Gene Wilder (who also wrote and directed), Kelly LeBrock, Gilda Radner and Charles Grodin. Middle-aged Teddy Pierce (Wilder) becomes infatuated with Charlotte (LeBrock making her feature film debut), a model featuring in his company’s advertising campaign and embarks on a charm offensive. However, cheating on(…)

Working Girl (1988)

An ambitious and capable secretary (Griffith) from the wrong side of town – she commutes from Staten Island daily – can’t get ahead by the rules, so she pretends to be her own boss, while proper boss Sigourney Weaver is laid up sick in hospital. Along the way she attracts business-wiz Harrison Ford. A captivating(…)

World According To Garp, The (1982)

Splendid performances highlight this sharp, satirical adaptation of John Irving’s dark best-seller about the adventures of an illegitimate, eccentric young man hell-bent on being a writer. T.S. Garp, magnificently played by Robin Williams in an amalgam of emotions tinged with comic force but eventually moving and tearful as any great clown playing Pagliacci, is first(…)

Wrong Side Of The Road (1981)

Wrong Side Of The Road (1981)

Directed by Ned Lander, The Wrong Side of The Road tells the story of two Aboriginal rock bands – No Fixed Address and Us Mob – as they travel from one country gig to another in the outback of Australia. The improvised dialogue has some very awkward gaps, the film sometimes drifts and the sound is occasionally muddy.(…)

Xanadu (1980)

A struggling young artist, a heavenly muse and a sentimental millionaire join forces to open up a roller-disco palace. Olivia Newton-John plays Kira – the glowing, singing, roller-skating muse who inspires a young artist called Sonny Malone (pictured at right) to open the roller disco in partnership with clarinet-puffing money-bags Danny McGuire (dancing legend Gene Kelly).(…)

Year My Voice Broke, The (1987)

An intelligent, downbeat coming-of-age film set in Australia in 1962. The 15-year-old protagonist Danny (Noah Taylor) suffers heartbreak when the girl he loves – the beautiful and free-spirited Freya (Loene Carmen) – becomes pregnant by older boy Trevor (Ben Mendelsohn), and then leaves town. The young actors in the lovesick triangle – Taylor, Carmen, and(…)

Year of Living Dangerously, The (1982)

This thriller/romance is set in Indonesia (though filmed in the Philippines) in 1965, just before the fall of the Sukarno regime. Civil war is breaking out everywhere, and there is endless talk about Communist guerrillas, military coups, and the death of colonialism. Mel Gibson is an ambitious but naive Australian radio correspondent who has an(…)

Yellowbeard (1983)

Yellowbeard was the realisation of Graham Chapman’s long-standing desire to film a comic pirate romp in the style of Robert Newton’s celebrated Long John Silver. The movie tells the story of the infamous pirate Yellowbeard, whose 15 years in prison have done little to dampen his appetite for larceny, lechery and lunacy. No one knows(…)

Yentl (1984)

Barbra Streisand spent fifteen years of her life trying to get Yentl on the screen. Every cynic in the film industry told her it could not be done. In the end she co-wrote the film, produced it (with a great deal of her own personal financing) and directed it herself. Set in Eastern Europe in 1904, this(…)

Young Einstein (1988)

A chap called Yahoo Serious wrote, produced, directed and starred in this Australian spoof biography of Albert Einstein – a Naive Tasmanian scientist who invents rock ‘n’ roll and successfully splits the beer atom, and is then sent to the Australian mainland to make his family’s fortune from the breakthrough. As he develops a series of bizarre inventions, he(…)

Young Guns (1988)

In this version of the legend of Billy the Kid, the young William H Bonney joins a wealthy rancher’s gang of young guns. When the rancher is murdered by a ruthless landowner, the gang swear revenge, but their vigilante actions put them on the wrong side of the law – and make Bonney the most(…)

Zapped! (1982)

An entertaining cross between Porky’s and Carrie which stars Scott Baio, alias Chachi from Happy Days, as a nerdy high-school kid who gets zapped in a chem-lab explosion, and finds he has the power to move objects by thought alone. Cue lots of teen high jinks, such as telekinetically divesting the busty local girls of(…)

Zoot Suit (1981)

Luis Valdez directed this film adaptation of his hit stage musical, which is loosely based on the 1940s Sleepy Lagoon murder trial that unfairly convicted several Mexican-American zoot suit gang members. Except for the spirited musical numbers and an arresting performance by Edward James Olmos as the cynical conscience of gang member Daniel Valdez, the(…)