When looking back over the movies that hit theaters in the 1980’s there were a wide range of what was emerging as the blockbuster. There were sequels and there were up and coming directors that are icons today. During this period we saw the introduction of the PG-13 rating which straddled the line between PG and R. There were lots of teen targeted movies for a new generation of movie goers. After a lot of reminiscing, I have to go with the movie that to this day I can still watch over and over and it gets me every time. It is a movie that thanks to DVD I could pass down to my kids and they are generations apart from me but love the movie the same as I did. My pick for the best classic 80’s movie is E. T. The Extra-Terrestrial.
Prior to making E.T., Steven Spielberg had teamed up with George Lucas in 1981 to create one of the most iconic characters to hit the screen in Raiders of the Lost Ark. But it wasn’t until Spielberg went it alone , directing the fairy-tale meets science-fiction story of E. T. that he shattered all records, earning $435 million. That was 40% more than any Star Wars film Lucas had created and double or triple 46 of the top 50 films of all times. I think Spielberg himself was a little surprised by the success of his little story of a lost alien and the boy who befriends him.
The story line is both incredible and touching. There are all kinds of emotions in this film from laughter, tears, thrills and suspense. Being left behind by his ship E.T. finds himself alone on a strange planet that they were visiting to collect vegetation samples. He makes his way from the woods to the tool shed in a suburban neighborhood. He is soon discovered by Elliott (Henry Thomas), who decides to keep him for his own. Elliott tries to hide him but it isn’t long until his sister (Drew Barrymore) and brother (Robert MacNaughton) discover Elliott’s secret.
A bond is formed between Elliott and E.T. and they begin to experience the same feelings. Soon Elliott understands that E.T. wants to contact his home planet in hopes that they will come and rescue him. Elliott helps E.T. build a communication device to contact this planet and they set in to motion a plain to get E.T. home.
All the while he is being sought after by government officials who want nothing more than to study and dissect the poor alien. Once Elliott’s home is under siege and quarantined they take both E.T. and Elliott to study both of them. E.T. is becoming weaker and is very sick, so Elliott feels the same pain as E.T.
E.T. fakes his own death which separates his feelings from Elliott’s. Elliott is left alone with E.T. to say goodbye when he notices his heart light is still glowing. He tells his brother and they devise a plan to help E.T. escape in time to meet his ship home.
It is a sad goodbye for Elliott and E.T. but he tells him “I’ll be right here” and touches his finger to Elliott’s head. To remind him that he will never forget.
This movie won 4 Oscars and was nominated for 5 more. It has received numerous other awards and is a one that will stand the test of time. If you have not seen this movie I encourage you to purchase a copy today and enjoy it. If you have seen it maybe you would like to share it with your children or grandchildren. It is truly a one of a kind masterpiece.
There are several places online you can purchase this movie in DVD format;
Barnes and Nobles