For many people, the 1980s is their favorite film decade, and it’s easy to see why. The stories were filled of adventure and had creative, practical effects. In addition, the ’80s saw the birth and/or continuation of many beloved classic franchises. Marty McFly could take you back in time, or Luke Skywalker can join him in a galaxy far away to defeat the Empire. Put simply, ’80s movies are fun.
This list contains interesting behind-the scenes information about some of the greatest films from the 1980s. It includes childhood classics and action movies.
10 Real Tears from E.T. Extra-Terrestrial
It is not easy to work with children actors, so Steven Spielberg had to do a lot of directing. E.T. Extra-Terrestrial(1982), but he still had a trick in his sleeve. The film was shot chronologically, which is a rare thing in Hollywood. He did this because it meant “the kids knew, emotionally, where they had been the day before, and they pretty much didn’t have any idea of where they were going the next day.” He goes on to say that when E.T. began to die, Drew Barrymore, Henry Thomas, and Robert MacNaughton “really believed that this was happening to their lives.” This emotional connection to the plot helped the kids to cry at the right moment.
Thomas, who played E.T.’s best friend Elliott, needed little help in summoning tears, though. In his audition, he was asked if he could do improv. He was able to cry upon command. Spielberg was moved by his emotional performance and declared Thomas the winner. got the job.
9 A Military Advisor was brought in for Predator
Predator(1987) was shot in Mexico. But, one week before principal photography was scheduled to begin, the cast arrived at Gary Goldman’s military training facility to receive instruction from him, who was an American officer in Vietnam. Director John McTiernan had told Goldman that “these guys look like a bunch of ballerinas. They don’t look like soldiers.” Goldman was brought in to run the actors through military simulations and critique their performance.
Goldman started by taking the cast on a run because while most of them had muscles, he states that “in combat, if you can’t run, you’re f—ed. It doesn’t matter how many inches your neck is.” He also taught them how to use weapons properly. Bill Duke’s character Mac carries a machine gun, and Goldman explains that “in real life, they fire in bursts of six, and you fire another burst of six, and another, and that keeps the barrel from melting.” Goldman set up the practice, and the actor fired off about “200 rounds in one thing, and Bill is just cackling like a madman.”
8 Cary Elwes’s Injuries during The Princess Bride
Cary Elwes was the Westley’s actress The Princess Bride(1987), Elwes was first hurt just a few weeks after filming began. André the Giant, who played Fezzik, convinced Elwes to have a go on his ATV, but he caught his big toe between the clutch and a rock and broke it. He tried to conceal the injuryFor fear of being fired, Rob Reiner is his director. He failed, but he continued to do his job. Elwes was careful to not put too much weight on his feet while filming. It is especially evident in the scene with Buttercup, Robin Wright, on top of the hill.
The second injury was sustained while filming, and was cut from the final version of the film. The scene where Count Rugen (Christopher Guest) knocks Westley out wasn’t working because Guest was being too gentle with his sword, which was a real weapon rather than a prop. Guest was convinced by Elwes to go for it, but he accidentally struck him too hard. Elwes was knocked to the floor and woke up in hospital, still wearing his costume, to receive stitches. The doctor was the same one who treated his broken toe and remarked, “Well, Zorro! You seem to be a little accident prone, don’t you?”
7 Tension on Dirty Dancing Set
Partly, the reason why Baby (Jennifer Grey), Johnny (Patrick Swayze), is the onscreen chemistry that makes them so great together is because of their chemistry. Dirty Dancing(1987) This movie is a classic, but at the very beginning there was tension between them. Swayze was a professional dancer while Grey was a complete novice who was afraid to attempt potentially dangerous stunts (like that iconic lift). Grey describes their relationship as “a marriage where you have two opposites. He’d do anything, and I’d be scared to do anything.”
In his autobiography, Swayze went into more detail, explaining that they “had a rough start” on their first movie together, Red Dawn (1984). They did get along better during filming of Dirty DancingThere were moments of friction. Swayze writes that she “seemed particularly emotional, sometimes bursting into tears if someone criticized her. And other times, she slipped into silly moods, forcing us to do scenes over again when she’d start laughing.”
6 Toht’s Melting Face in Raiders of the Lost Ark
The scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) where Major Arnold Toht’s (Ronald Lacey) face melts off lives in the nightmares of many children, and they have special effects artist Chris Walas to thank for it. To achieve the effect, Walas began by sculpting Lacey’s head. The gelatin he created was able to melt at low temperatures. To create skin, muscle, or blood, he added different colored gelatin layers to the mold. This is what it looks like gelatin faceThe skull was then placed on top of a heat-resistant rock skull.
Two propane heaters were set up to melt the face while Walas “was underneath it with a heat gun with this hot gelatin dripping down on me” so that he could make “moment by moment adjustments.” The full melt took about 10 minutes but was sped up to just a few seconds for the movie. Director Steven Spielberg described it as “one of the most amazing effects I’d ever seen.”
5 The Pirate Ship in The Goonies
One of the most memorable scenes in The Goonies (1985) is when the titular group finally finds One-Eyed Willy’s ship, the Inferno. Director Richard Donner explains that production designer J. Michael Riva was determined “no matter what, to build a full-scale pirate ship.” And that is exactly what he did. Scenes with the ship in the cave were filmed on Stage 16, which was the largest stage Warner Bros. Studios had.
The Inferno measured 138 feet in length and could hold nearly 2.3 million gallons water in its tank. To capture their reactions, the ship was kept secret from the children actors. However, the Inferno was so impressive that Josh Brolin, who played Brand, the older brother of the Goonies leader Mikey (Sean Astin), yelled “F—k!” upon seeing it and the take had to be scrapped. In an Instagram post, Brolin admits that “F—k seems, even now, totally appropriate.” Sadly, no one wanted to buy the Inferno once the film wrapped and it was destroyed.
4 Martial Arts Training for the Karate Kid
The Karate Kid(1984) Ends with the showdown between Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio), the underdog, and Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka), at All Valley Karate Tournament. The match is presided over, although the referee is not known to most people, but he was vital to the film’s making. Pat E. Johnson, a martial artist, was the referee and served as the combat choreographer.
Johnson, who was trained with Chuck Norris and taught Macchio, Pat Morita (Mr. Miyagi), separately from the Cobra Kais. Johnson understood the importance and value of the mentor-student bond, so he encouraged it through his karate classes. Johnson explains that “they would share their aches and pains like two little old men, and they built camaraderie through the training.” When training the Cobra Kai actors, he “would be harsh, very strict” to mirror the ruthless teachings of Sensei Kreese (Martin Cove).
3 Sound Design For The Empire Strikes Back
Ben Burtt was the sound engineer for most of the Star Wars movies and created the sound of the lightsabers, R2-D2’s beeps, and Darth Vader’s heavy breathing. He is also responsible to popularize the term “The Simpsons”. Wilhelm scream. George Lucas wanted The Empire Strikes Back(1980) was bigger in scale and Burtt was assigned the task of creating new sounds. Burtt gave Star Wars a natural sounding soundtrack, unlike sci-fi movies which used electronic sounds to give it a futuristic feel.
Tauntaun sounds are slowed down recordings of an Asian Sea Otter. They make high-pitched squawks almost like talking. The wampa’s effects were created by combining the slurping of a lion eating a cow’s head with the roar of elephants. The noise of AT-AT’s walking is a mixture of a squeaky dumpster lid, a metal shearing machine, and artillery shells exploding. Burtt’s method ensures that audiences “don’t know what it is, but they realize it is real in some way, and that illusion is a key factor for all of the sound design in Star Wars.”
2 The Alien Queen in Aliens
When writing Aliens (1986), James Cameron knew that he had to bring in new elements to avoid simply rehashing the story of Ridley Scott’s Alien (1979). He thought that the adult alien form we see in the first movie “couldn’t possibly have laid the thousand or so eggs that filled the inside of the derelict ship.” This led to him creating and designing the alien queen, which was brought to life with the help of special effects artist Stan Winston.
Cameron thought of suspending a puppet using a crane, and then having two puppeteers operating it. Other parts of the puppet could also be controlled via hydraulics or external wires. Winston designed a prototype queen out of brooms and garbage bagsThe idea was tested. The final puppet, made of lightweight polyfoam and 14 feet high, was hung on various rigs depending on the shot. To create an organic performance, there were eight operators.
1 Recasts at Back to the Future
It’s hard to believe that anyone would think of Michael J. Marty McFly could have been Fox in Back to the Future(1985), however, the original role was played by Eric Stoltz. Robert Zemeckis, writer and director, had his heart set on Fox but the actor was filming at the time. Family Ties. Zemecjis was told by Gary Goldberg, series creator, that Fox was too busy. Stoltz was chosen instead. However, after only a few weeks, he was fired from the series because he did not bring enough humor.
Zemeckis contacted Fox again and he agreed to play the role. It was a difficult work schedule because he was simultaneously filming for the movie and the TV series. Fox says that he slept only three to four hours each night for the four months of filming. As a result, Fox noted that “I really, truly thought I was terrible.” Recasting McFly also meant recasting his girlfriend, Jennifer, who was played by Melora HardinStoltz was involved. Hardin was fired before she filmed any scenes. Zemeckis, Bob Gale and his co-writer felt she was too tall to be opposite Fox. Claudia Grace Wells, a shorter actress, was chosen to replace Hardin.