33+ Fascinating Facts About Your Favourite 80s Films

Growing up in the 80s we were blessed with a massive amount of quality films that over the years have become classics that we love to watch again and again.

In Western cinema, the decade saw the return of studio-driven pictures, coming from filmmaker-driven New Hollywood era of the 70s. Movies in the 8os were easily marketable, understandable and had uncomplicated plots that could be summarised in one tagline.

One could argue that the modern blockbuster was born in the 1980s. Producer Don Simpson is usually credited with the creation of the high-concept picture of the modern Hollywood blockbuster.

The 80s were also a time where more and more people were getting rid of their clothes in film.

Film franchises were also at the forefront of cinema, especially in the fiction, horror and action genres.

This was in part due to the success of Star Wars at the beginning of the decade and the new cinematic effects the films helped pioneer. Teen comedy also rose in popularity during this time.

In 1984, the PG-13 rating was introduced to accommodate films that fell between PG and R. This was mostly due to controversies surrounding the violent content of the PG films  Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and Gremlins (both 1984).

In terms of the quality of films released, in retrospect, some have called it one of the weaker decades for American cinema.

But for every critic, there is a champion who thinks that the eighties will go down in history as golden age of cinema.

We decided it was about time that we celebrated this by compiling 33 fascinating facts about 8 of our very favourites, and we really hope you’ll enjoy reading them…

Aliens

Sigourney Weaver Was Paid 28 Times More Than Her Alien Salary

Weaver was paid $35’000 for the first film and $1 million for the sequel. (She went on to earn $4 million for Alien 3 and $11 million for Alien: Resurrection).

ALIENS1 33+ Fascinating Facts About Your Favourite 80s Films

Carrie Henn Got The Role Of Newt By Not Smiling

Approximately 500 schoolchildren were auditioned for the role of Newt, but many of them had acted in commercials would always smile after saying their lines.

Carrie Henn had no previous acting experience so was not accustomed to this.

The On Screen Marines Really Trained Together

Actors who played marines underwent military training, including running, lifting weights, learning salutes, marching and manoeuvres.

Director James Cameron wanted them to train together so that they would form bonds that would hopefully show on-screen

ALIENS2 33+ Fascinating Facts About Your Favourite 80s Films

Sigourney Weaver Didn’t Want To Use A Gun

Weaver lobbied James Cameron to let Ripley go the entire film without using a gun, but Cameron talked her into it after taking her to a shooting range.

Back To The Future

The Script Was Rejected 40 Times By Many Different Studios

The Back to the Future script was rejected 40 times before finally being accepted by Universal.

BACK1 33+ Fascinating Facts About Your Favourite 80s Films

The DeLorean Wasn’t First OR Second Choice For The Time Machine

The time machine was initially housed in a fridge, then in a tank. Producers settled on a DeLorean because of its similarities to a spaceship.

Eric Stoltz May Appear In The Film After All

Stoltz, who was sacked from playing Marty after filming had begun, may well still appear in at least two shots of the first film.

For example, there is a shot where Marty dives into the DeLorean at the beginning of the film that many think is Stoltz rather than Fox.

BACK2 33+ Fascinating Facts About Your Favourite 80s Films

It Was Finished In Super Quick Time

From the day the film finished shooting to the day it was released, only 9 and a half weeks had passed.

Nowadays there’s probably single CGI shots that take longer than that to complete!

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Blade Runner

The ‘Tears In Rain’ Line Was Written By The Actor Delivering It

Actor Rutger Hauer thought the monologue in the script was overblown, so he was allowed to cut out several lines and add in the most famous himself: “All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain.”

BLADE1 33+ Fascinating Facts About Your Favourite 80s Films

Harrison Ford And Sean Young Didn’t Get On

Harrison Ford and Sean Young (who plays replicant Rachael), had such a bad relationship when filming that crew members jokingly referred to their love scene as ‘the hate scene’.

Ridley Scott And Harrison Ford Both Hated The Voiceover

After terrible preview screenings, a voiceover was written for Deckard to make the film easier to follow.

Urban legend has it that Harrison Ford intentionally gave a bad performance on it hoping (unsuccessfully) that the voiceover would be binned.

BLADE2 33+ Fascinating Facts About Your Favourite 80s Films

It Put A Curse On A Number Of Companies

Many businesses whose logos appear in the film, including Atari, Pan Am, RCA, Cuisinart, and Bell Phones, all suffered severe business problems in the years immediately following the film’s release.

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Dirty Dancing

The Story Is Based On Fact

Dirty Dancing is partly based on screenwriter Eleanor Bergstein’s own childhood, as she is the younger daughter of a Jewish doctor from New York, spent summers participating in ‘Dirty Dancing’ competitions, and was nicknamed ‘Baby’ as a girl.

DIRTY1 33+ Fascinating Facts About Your Favourite 80s Films

Dancing Runs In Jennifer Grey’s Family

Jennifer Grey is daughter of the oscar-winning actor and dancer Joel Grey, star of the film Cabaret. Her father was also a trained dancer.

The Famous ‘Crawling’ Scene Was Spontaneous

The scene where Baby and Johnny crawl towards each other was initially performed spontaneously as Grey and Swayze warmed up before filming. The director liked it so much that he asked them to replicate it with the camera rolling.

DIRTY2 33+ Fascinating Facts About Your Favourite 80s Films

The Arm Tickling Scene Was An ‘Issue’

When filming the famous scene where Johnny trails his fingers down Baby’s arm, Jennifer Grey could not stop giggling. There’s video evidence proving that Swayze found Grey’s behavior extremely annoying.

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Ghostbusters

It Originally Had A Different Name

The film was originally called ‘Ghost Smashers’, because the film studio had yet to secure the name ‘The Ghost Busters’, which had previously been the title of a 1970’s live action kid’s TV show.

GHOST1 33+ Fascinating Facts About Your Favourite 80s Films

It Was Inspired By Real Life Events

Ghostbusters was inspired by Dan Aykroyd’s genuine interest in real-life paranormal events. Aykroyd, who co-wrote the film with Harold Ramis, even claims that his grandfather invented a device that would allow people to communicate with ghosts via radio waves.

The Ghostbusters’ Phone Number Actually Worked

In the original trailer, the ‘555’ number seen in the film was replaced by a working 1-800 number, which led to a recording of Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd. The number received a thousand calls an hour, 24 hours a day, for six weeks.

GHOST2 33+ Fascinating Facts About Your Favourite 80s Films

The Ending Was Added At The Last Minute

Aykroyd and Ramis came upon the idea of ‘crossing the streams’ during filming of the finale. This meant that an earlier ‘set-up’ scene had to be filmed and edited in, explaining the danger of combining the energy streams in that way.

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Return Of The Jedi

It Could Have Been Directed By Lynch Or Cronenberg

George Lucas met with David Lynch who had just had a critical hit with ‘The Elephant Man’. Lynch showed initial interest but declined after the meeting. Lucas also approached David Cronenberg but he wanted to focus on more personal projects, and thus also declined.

JEDI1 33+ Fascinating Facts About Your Favourite 80s Films

Han Solo Could Have Already Been Dead

Unlike some of the other actors, Harrison Ford did not want to sign up for all three films, preferring to take one at a time. To prepare for the outcome that he wouldn’t want to star in Return of the Jedi (which was thought more likely as he had found success elsewhere in ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’), the plan was that he would die whilst frozen in carbonite between the two films and that Lando Calrissian would fill the ‘loveable rogue’ shaped hole he would leave behind.

A Dwarf Was Injured Whilst Operating Jabba The Hutt

Jabba took eight people to operate, which included a dwarf operating his tail. Unfortunately he sustained a painful injury, as when filming Jabba’s death scene Carrie Fisher climbed over the Jabba puppet, and one of her stiletto heels went right through the body and into the head of the operator.

JEDI2 33+ Fascinating Facts About Your Favourite 80s Films

Yoda Was Only In The Film Due To Child Psychologists

Yoda wasn’t meant to be in this film, but was added after a consultation with child psychologists helped George Lucas decide he needed an independent character to confirm Darth Vader’s claim that he is Luke Skywalker’s father.

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The Terminator

James Cameron Was Living In His Car When He Wrote The Terminator

According to an interview with Lance Henriksen, James Cameron was living in his car when he wrote the script for the film. He didn’t even have an agent because he had fired him for not liking the story he had conceived for The Terminator.

TERMINATOR1 33+ Fascinating Facts About Your Favourite 80s Films

Cameron Wrote Aliens Whilst Waiting For Filming To Begin

Filming of ‘The Terminator’ was delayed for 9 months because Arnie already had a commitment to ‘Conan the Destroyer’. During this wait, James Cameron wrote a little film called ‘Aliens’.

O.J. Simpson Could Have Been The Terminator

O.J. Simpson was considered for the role of the Terminator, but producers thought he was ‘too nice’ to be taken seriously as a killer. Hah!

TERMINATOR2 33+ Fascinating Facts About Your Favourite 80s Films

That Line Could Have Been “I’ll Come Back”

Yes, Arnie’s legendary line “I’ll be back” was originally written as “I’ll come back.”

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Top Gun

It Could Have Starred Tom Hanks

Among those who were considered for the role of Maverick were Sean Penn, Patrick Swayze, Emilio Estevez, Nicolas Cage, John Cusack, Matthew Broderick, Michael J. Fox and Tom Hanks.

TOP1 33+ Fascinating Facts About Your Favourite 80s Films

Filming Was Very Expensive

The film studio paid up to $7,800 per hour for fuel whenever aircraft were flown outside their normal duties. It was also reported that the director had to write a $25,000 cheque in order to have an aircraft carrier moved. This was simply to enable him to film for an extra 5 minutes and get that ‘perfect’ shot.

A Stunt Pilot Died During Filming

Tragically, stunt pilot Art Scholl was killed during production of the film. His plane went into a tail-spin before crashing into the Pacific Ocean. The film is dedicated to him.

TOP2 33+ Fascinating Facts About Your Favourite 80s Films

Tom Cruise Is Shorter Than Kelly McGillis

The notoriously short Cruise had to have some ‘help’ with his height when filming scenes with McGillis, due to the fact that he is 5 feet 7 inches, 3 inches shorter than his on screen love interest.

The US Navy Used The Film As A Recruitment Tool

The US Navy used the film as a recruitment drive, setting up recruitment booths outside cinemas showing it.

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Raiders Of The Lost Ark

1. 44 33+ Fascinating Facts About Your Favourite 80s Films

There’s a Star Wars Reference

Freeze-framing during the Well of Souls scene, you can notice a golden pillar with a tiny engraving of R2-D2 and C-3PO from the Star Wars saga. They are also on the wall behind Indy when they first approach the Ark.

2. 42 33+ Fascinating Facts About Your Favourite 80s Films

E.T Was Written On Location

Steven Spielberg and Melissa Mathison wrote a script during shooting breaks on the location of the film. Mathison was there because well, her husband was Harrison Ford. This film turned out to be E.T.

Everyone Got Sick On Location

Apart from director, Steven Spielberg. It is thought that Spielberg avoided illness by not eating any of the local food and only eating food he brought with him; lots of Spaghetti-O’s.

3. 46 33+ Fascinating Facts About Your Favourite 80s Films

Someone Was Bitten By A Snake

During filming, one of the First Unit Directors was bitten by a snake. They had to ‘whip’ the snake off so the motion would ripple up its body and it would let go. Both the director and the snake was fine.

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Gremlins

There Can Never Be Enough Gremlins

One of the studio notes to director Joe Dante and producer Steven Spielberg on seeing the first cut was that there were too many gremlins. Spielberg suggested cutting them all out and calling the film “People”.

6. 25 33+ Fascinating Facts About Your Favourite 80s Films

A Scene Inspired By Texas Chainsaw Masacre

The scene in the department store where Stripe attacks Billy with a chainsaw was not in the script. It was added by Joe Dante and Zach Galligan as a homage to The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974).
Good Guy Vs Bad Guy
Originally Stripe and Gizmo were the same character. Steven Spielberg insisted one of the Gremlins be a good guy that the audience could identify with.
7. 24 33+ Fascinating Facts About Your Favourite 80s Films
Burgers Vs. Humans
The original script contained a scene where the gremlins attacked a McDonald’s, eating customers instead of burgers.
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The Empire Strikes Back

8. 16 33+ Fascinating Facts About Your Favourite 80s Films

May The Force Be With You

The shots where Luke uses his Jedi powers to retrieve his lightsaber from a distance were achieved by having Mark Hamill throw the lightsaber away and then running the film in reverse.

Carrie Fisher Stood On A Box

Carrie Fisher stood on a box for many of her scenes with Harrison Ford in order to make up for the height difference and have her appear in the frame with him. Carrie Fisher(5’1) was a foot shorter than Harrison Ford (6’1).

9. 12 33+ Fascinating Facts About Your Favourite 80s Films

Trying To Get Yoda an Oscar

George Lucas was so impressed by Frank Oz’s performance as Yoda that he spent thousands of dollars on an advertising campaign to try and get him an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor. Lucas’s campaign ultimately failed because it was felt that a puppeteer wasn’t an actor. Lucas felt this wasn’t fair to Oz, who honestly didn’t care.

10. 9 33+ Fascinating Facts About Your Favourite 80s Films

Becoming Independent From Hollywood

One of George Lucas’ goals in doing a Star Wars sequel was to become financially independent from Hollywood, and he succeeded in this goal.

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The Lost Boys

The Two Coreys Were Formed

This was Corey Haim and Corey Feldman’s first film together, which marked the start of a popular 80s trend “The Two Coreys” in which Corey Feldman and Corey Haim starred together in a number of teenage films.

a. 33+ Fascinating Facts About Your Favourite 80s Films

The Peter Pan Influence

The film is titled after the companions of J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan, who remained forever young.

It Didn’t Take Long To Film

The film only took three weeks to finish shooting.

b. 33+ Fascinating Facts About Your Favourite 80s Films

It Influenced Buffy The Vampire Slayer

This movie invented the phrase “vamp out,” which had passed into common usage on the TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1996).

c. 1 33+ Fascinating Facts About Your Favourite 80s Films

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RoboCop

The Suit Was Good For Weight-Loss

The RoboCop suit was so hot and heavy that Peter Weller was losing 3 lbs a day from water loss. Eventually, an air conditioner was installed in the suit.

11. 8 33+ Fascinating Facts About Your Favourite 80s Films

The Director Originally Threw The Script Away

The screenplay had been offered to (and been rejected by) virtually every big director in Hollywood before Paul Verhoeven got hold of it. He threw it away after reading the first pages, convinced it was just a dumb action movie. However, his wife read it all the way through and convinced him that the story was layered with many satirical and allegorical elements, after which Verhoeven finally decided to direct the film.

12. 5 33+ Fascinating Facts About Your Favourite 80s Films

A Statue Is Going To Be Placed In Detroit

After a Kickstarter campaign, a 12 foot statue of RoboCop is in production and will be erected in Detroit.

13. 5 33+ Fascinating Facts About Your Favourite 80s Films

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