Stand By Me

Stand By Me

Based on a Stephen King novella about a group of young boys who take a trek to find a dead body in the woods, Stand By Me is a touching, coming-of-age tale about four inseparable friends growing up in Oregon during the late fifties. With an extraordinary ensemble of young actors, led by the directing skills of Rob Reiner, the film quickly endeared itself to millions for its poignant look at the power of childhood friendships. Continue reading...

Star Wars

Star Wars

When George Lucas spent $11 million to produce a little labor of love called Star Wars, he likely had high hopes for the ambitious science-fiction film. It is hard to imagine that he came even remotely close to envisioning the impact or success that the film would go on to achieve. In terms of box-office numbers, in terms of successful sequels (and prequels,) in terms of a massive marketing machine, in terms of astounding special effects, the film simply has few rivals. And if you were one of the first to stand in line in 1977, the first to see the text scroll up the screen, you likely remember the experience as if it were yesterday. Continue reading...

Superman

Superman

There has simply never been a comic book icon as popular as Superman. From his Action Comics origins in 1938 to radio, cartoons and movie serials in the 40's, to a television series in the 50's, to animated adventures in the 60's and 70's, the Man of Steel was the superhero's superhero, a mild-mannered good guy fighting for truth, justice and the American Way. Continue reading...

Swiss Family Robinson

Swiss Family Robinson

Apparently, most of America did indeed dream of a house in the trees. Disney's version of Johann David Wyss' Swiss Family Robinson allowed audiences to live that dream vicariously, and they responded by making the 1960 film Disney's biggest live-action hit to that date. Continue reading...

The Apple Dumpling Gang

The Apple Dumpling Gang

Two of America’s most beloved funnymen, Tim Conway and Don Knotts, had appeared plenty of times together on television, but it wasn’t until 1975 that they began starring together in feature-length comedy films. Their first foray was as a pair of bumbling crooks in The Apple Dumpling Gang, one of the biggest live-action successes for the Walt Disney Company in the 70s decade. Continue reading...

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The Aristocats

For their first animated feature without Walt at the helm, Disney introduced audiences to a lovable collection of felines in the 1971 film, The Aristocats. Featuring an all-star cast of voices including Eva Gabor, Phil Harris. Scatman Crothers and Sterling Holloway, this entertaining romp through Paris and the surrounding countryside proved that, with or without their leader, the Disney name would remain synonymous with quality animated films. Continue reading...

The Bad News Bears

The Bad News Bears

Written by Bill Lancaster (Burt's son) and directed by Michael Ritchie (who had helmed adult fare like The Candidate and Smile), this winning 1976 film worked on a lot of levels-and not just the "hey, those naughty kids are cussing" level either. There was the underdog triumph story at the movie's core; there was the satire of the uniquely American institution of Little League and its overly-involved bench parents (in the year of our country's bicentennial, no less). There was also a redemptive character piece at work, as Buttermaker, via his group of misfits, tried to get his shambled life together once and for all. Continue reading...

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The Black Cauldron

If you are searching for a story from which to make a successful animated film, there are certain elements that you can’t go wrong with - swords and a bit of sorcery (couldn’t hurt), a battle between good and evil (now you’re talking), a brave young hero on a quest to save the world (gotta have it) and, of course, a psychic pig (Right? Right?). Put all these ingredients in a pot, give it a good stir, and the result is The Black Cauldron, an 1985 animated Disney film based on Lloyd Alexander’s fantasy book series, The Chronicles of Prydain. Continue reading...