E.T.: The Extraterrestrial starts in a forest outside a California suburb. An alien spacecraft lands, and several extraterrestrials emerge, gathering flora samples. Suspicious humans arrive, the aliens escape, leaving one behind. He hides in a backyard shed, discovered by a 10-year-old boy named Elliott (Henry Thomas). Startled and scared, Elliott hides the alien, whom he dubs “E.T.,” in his room, and they become friends. E.T. determines to find his way back to his world by gathering the materials necessary to build a transmitter and “phone home” for his kin to come back and get him, as he appears to be growing weaker the longer he remains on Earth. However, Earth’s scientists aren’t going to let such an extraordinary creature get away quickly. STeven Spielberg directs. Dee Wallace, Robert MacNaughton, Drew Barrymore, and Peter Coyote also appear.
Richard Dreyfuss stars as Muncie, Indiana electricity lineman, Roy Neary, one of many people in the world to experience a close encounter with a UFO. Others experiencing the phenomenon exhibit the same odd behavior — radiation burns and an obsession with a mountainous shape. Roy’s obsession strains his relationship with his family, who think he is mentally ill. The eyewitnesses are compelled to converge at a location where the US military also plans for a close encounter of the third kind. Francois Truffaut, Teri Garr, Cary Guffey, and Melinda Dillon also appear in this influential film written and directed by Steven Spielberg.
Roy Scheider stars as police chief Martin Brody of Amity, a Long Island resort community just about to enjoy its most popular season of the year, in the sun and fun of the 4th of July. All is not idyllic on this day, however. A teenage girl has been found washed up on the beach, apparently the victim of a shark attack. Brody’s instinct is to close the beach, but he pulls back when the mayor of Amity reminds him how important it is to keep the tourists coming, warning that news of a shark in the water could cost the community dearly. Meanwhile, the attacks continue. Try as they might to keep a lid on things, they are soon forced with a decision to close the beach or catch the shark themselves. Enlisting the help of a wealthy oceanographer (Richard Dreyfuss) and charismatic shark hunter (Shaw), Brody sets to the ocean in order to lure the large Great White shark near to go for the kill.
Steven Spielberg directs this shocker on the sea from the novel by Peter Benchley.
Last Crusade begins with River Phoenix playing a young Indiana Jones, even at a young age, having a thirst for adventure. His father (Connery), who is also professor of Medieval literature, is acutely obsessed with tracking down any information he can get regarding the whereabouts of the legendary Holy Grail, the cup used by Jesus at the Last Supper, and, as a result, little attention is paid to young Indy. Flash forward to 1938, where Indiana (Harrison Ford) finds that his father has been kidnapped by the Nazis, who are also looking for the Holy Grail, and the legendary powers of immortality it may hold. Indy and his dad have never quite seen eye to eye, which makes Indiana’s subsequent rescue attempts all the more interesting, as he tries to impress a man who only lives for the Grail. Steven Spielberg directs, with another memorable John Williams score in what was intended to be the iconic character’s final cinematic adventure.
While INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM is a sequel to Raiders of the Lost Ark, it’s really a prequel, set in 1935, a year before. Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) finds himself in Shanghai on the hunt for a precious diamond, but gets in over his head, chased out of town with his assistant, a young boy nicknamed Short Round (Jonathan Ke Quan), and Willie Scott (Kate Capshaw), a ditsy, blonde, nightclub singer. Having to make a hasty exit into the Himalayas from a crashing airplane, Indy and friends find themselves in a starving village in India, who see their visitors as saviors destined to save their children who they believe have been taken away by resurrected forces of evil at a formerly abandoned palace. The trio set off for the palace in search of lost children, a sacred stone…and fortune and glory.
The year is 1936, just before the rise of Hitler and the Nazi regime. Hitler has been seeking the long-lost Ark of the Covenant, the container for the original tablets containing the Ten Commandments, reportedly used by God’s people in the days of old to crush their enemies using its vast powers. For over 2,000 years, the Ark has been completely hidden somewhere, and the Nazis are digging in one of the sites reported to be a resting place for it. The American government seeks fame and fortune hunter, Dr. Henry Jones, to find the Ark before it ends up in the wrong hands, but it’s easier said than done, as he must not only face peril at every turn, he must bring along an old flame who no longer has much tolerance for the likes of Indiana Jones.
Harrison Ford would catapult to super-stardom after this one, with Steven Spielberg and George Lucas solidifying their place as they greatest blockbuster filmmakers of their generation. Can’t forget that amazing John Williams score, either.
Sean Astin stars as Mikey, the youngest of two brothers who are about to move from their home in Astoria, Oregon because their family lacks the funds to stop a developer from taking over the area to expand a lush country club. This would end many friendships with the other children in the area, which they’ve dubbed “the Goondocks”, and their crew call themselves The Goonies, who are united in their quest for adventure and shenanigans. Things take an interesting turn when a map is discovered in Mikey’s father’s collection of antiques in their attic, which promises to lead to the secret fortune of the infamous One-Eyed Willy, whose cache of jewels promises to make them rich beyond imagination, once they get though all the pirate booty-traps (er, I mean, booby-traps). The gang end up finding the entrance to the caves where the loot is hidden, but a rival group of thieves threatens to get there first, and to kill anyone who gets in their way. Steven Spielberg produces, Chris Columbus scripts, and Richard Donner directs. Also features Josh Brolin, Jeff Cohen, Corey Feldman, Jonathan Ke Quan, Kerri Green, Martha Plimpton, Anne Ramsey, John Matuszak, Robert Davi, and Joe Pantoliano.
Real-life married couple Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy star as Frank and Faye Riley, the owners of a small diner in a dilapidated building that also houses their apartment in the slums of Manhattan. The rest of the tenants of the building are being paid off to evacuate ASAP, so that greedy land developers can take over and demolish the building in order to erect some high-rise corporate edifices. Those that refuse are being threatened with injury “or worse” by some local thugs that are also on the corporate payroll to scare the bejesus out of the remaining tenants. Without anyone to turn to, a desperate plea may have saved the day, as a couple of miniature flying saucers arrive, consuming metal materials and then fixing up damaged parts of the building. The saucers befriend the remaining tenants, although the thugs and land developers are determined to put an end to this new development even if it costs lives in the process. Steven Spielberg produced this quaint sci-fi fairy tale.
Don Bluth collaborates with executive producer Steven Spielberg again, this time also joining forces with George Lucas for THE LAND BEFORE TIME, the film that would kick off a series of ten additional straight-to-video animated features for kids. Dinosaurs were all the rage, and Bluth and co. rode the wave to box office success with this feature about a young dinosaur that must find his way to the Great Valley, with the help of a variety of adorably cute dino friends.
Don Bluth’s second feature film as director sees him joining forces with producer Steven Spielberg for AN AMERICAN TAIL, which details the immigrant experience for many of American ancestors in their long journey to the land of freedom and opportunity. Drawing from anecdotal material from Spielberg’s own grandfather’s stories, this heartwarming animated feature would go on to earn the most money up to that point at the box office for a film on its first run. The first of several animated adventures featuring hero Fievel Mousekewitz.
In this episode, Vince takes a look at “Innerspace” from director Joe Dante, starring Dennis Quaid, Martin Short, and Meg Ryan. produced by Steven Spielberg, this sci-fi based comedy riffs on “Fantastic Voyage” where an unassuming supermarket clerk is injected with the microscopic vessel containing an ace test pilot who is wanted by hi-tech thieves looking to score.