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Best Science Fiction Film of the Eighties


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Sure, the Fifties are always associated with science fiction films, but I think the Eighties gave us a lot of impressive entries in the genre as well.

 

Blade Runner

Road Warrior

The Terminator

Aliens

Robocop

Dreamscape

The Abyss

as well as most of the Star Trek and Star Wars movies if you like those.

 

So which are your favorites? Why? What memories do they have for you?

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Thank you. I had forgotten "Altered States," although I liked that when it first came out. William Hurt had a run of good pictures after that, but the female in that film, (Betsy Blair?) seems to have faded out quickly thereafter. Still, it was a very good film that gave us a SF idea with an interesting human couple.

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Yes, the Eighties were a rich decade for science fiction movies. I had forgotten "Buckaroo Banzai" and "Brazil," even though I like them tremendously, perhaps because I don't think of them as primarily science fiction. (But that is a whole different issue.)

 

"Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai" is marvelous. I've never understood why it never took off and found an audience. (Although I remember reading somewhere that the original marketing for the film was poor. They tried to be a big presence at the science fiction conventions and ended up alienating people.) Still, it is a tremendously funny movie. I love all the Orson Welles references, and John Lithgow is great as Dr. Emlio Lizzardo.

 

"Brazil" is terrific. It does take you into another world. It is funny and scary, and the brilliance lies in Michael Pallin's performance, how he moves from being a cheery buffoon to a torturer in a believable way. Thank goodness that Terry Gilliam fought the studio and got his version of the movie released.

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Another favorite of mine is borderline sci-fi since it is set in an undetermined future. Escape From New York is a great "B" type action movie that is a lot of fun. Anytime John Carpenter and Kurt Russell teamed up you knew they were enjoying themselves. Tron was another interesting 80's flick. Not much depth to the story, but very interesting visuals for the time.

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If it had been "The Adventures of Dr. Lizzardo!" it would have been a MUCH MUCH better film. Buckaroo was just too damn sweet and nice and Jeff Goldblum. They could have released a companion music album, "Doc Lizzardo Sings the Blues". Now, that would have been truely vomit enducing. Lovely. Lovely.

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My favourite 80s science fiction films:

 

the David Lynch Dune

Akira

Time Bandits (OK, maybe more fantasy than science fiction )

Roger Corman's Frankenstein Unbound (OK it's from 1990 but it's a very underrated movie)

Blade Runner

John Carpenter's The Thing

 

Overall not a great decade for science fiction.

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For me it would be:

 

Time Bandits (1982)

One thing that is often forgotten in SiFi is humor. The film also works on deeper levels as well.

 

Escape From New York (1981)

This is a nice little flick made on a small budget that works well because the actors all do a credible job. Proof that you don't have to have tons of special effects to make a good movie.

 

Robocop (1987)

A halarious satire that still has moments that will touch your heart. One of the only great films of the 80's where the male and the female DON'T sleep together. Think about that.

 

Naussica of the Valley of the Wind (1984)

Naussica is one of the greatest heroines in film history. She is strong, yet caring. Kind, but can kill. She is loyal to the point of death--who could not fall in love with her?

 

Blade Runner (1982)

Beautiful special effects with a great storyline. Harrison Ford may have hated playing Deckard, but it's hard to imagine anyone else in the role. His world weary approach provides a centering effect for the film. Is Deckard a replicant as well?

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Thank you for mentioning "Predator." I guess I usually think of it as a horror movie, but it is very entertaining. I love the way that the final section of the film is without dialogue, but the audience still knows what the characters are thinking. It is one of Arnold's best.

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The best would be by far The Empire Strikes Back, because it brought a real sense of humanity (and human error) to the saga.

 

Visually it was a very exciting decade, thanks to Blade Runner, Brazil and Tron.

 

Lastly, for purely visceral effect nothing can top Robocop or Aliens.

 

The Abyss is also noteworthy, not only because it stands as something of a counterpoint to Titanic but also because it served as foreshadowing for the change that was to come by way of CGI.

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"The Last Starfighter" is very entertaining. My kids and I watched it last year, and they still make references to it. I like the way it balances humor with the "save the universe" plot.

 

Leigh Brackett had an interesting career. She helped write "The Big Sleep" for Howard Hawks, and then he had her work on "Rio Bravo." Her own SF was mostly sword and planet adventure, but her most serious SF novel was "The Long Tomorrow," about the aftermath of nuclear war. Then she helped write "Empire Strikes Back."

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Leigh Brackett had an interesting career. She helped write "The Big Sleep" for Howard Hawks, and then he had her work on "Rio Bravo." Her own SF was mostly sword and planet adventure, but her most serious SF novel was "The Long Tomorrow," about the aftermath of nuclear war. Then she helped write "Empire Strikes Back."

 

I've always loved that about TESB! B-)

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