Thursday, August 29, 2013

Top Ten Box Office Hits of 1981

The year was 1981.  
In world news, US-Iran agreement would free 52 hostages held in Tehran since 1979, Pope John Paul II was wounded by a gunman, and Egypt's president Sadat was assassinated by Islamic extremists during a military parade in Cairo.
In US news, Ronald Reagan took oath as the 40th president of the United States and was wounded by a gunman just three months and ten days later, the US Supreme court ruled 4-4 that former president Nixon and three aides were required to pay for damages resulting from wiretapping the home telephone number of the former national security aid, and air controllers went on strike which interrupted flights for over a week.
The cost of a first class stamp was fifteen cents, Oakland beat Philadelphia 27-10 in the Super Bowl, MTV went on the air for the very first time showing music videos 24/7, Pacman-mania swept the country, and the #1 Box Office hit was... well, follow this countdown and you're sure to find out...
Kevin, an imaginative child, goes on a time-travelling adventure with a bunch of treasure-hunting dwarves, who have "borrowed" a map to the Universe's time holes from The Supreme Being.  This adventure starred David Warner, Kenny Baker, and Craig Warnock and had numerous cameos including John Cleese, Sean Connery, Shelley Duvall, Katherine Helmond, Ian Holm, Michael Palin, Ralph Richardson, Peter Vaughan, and David Rappaport.  The biggest hit ever for Embassy Studios, "Time Bandits" grossed over $42.3 million.


In "The Four Seasons", three middle-aged wealthy couples take vacations together in Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter.  Along the way we are treated to mid-life, marital, parental and other crises they encounter.  The film stars Alan Alda (who also wrote and directed the film), Carol Burnett, Len Cariou, Sandy Dennis, Rita Moreno, Jack Weston, and Bess Armstrong.  Nominated for four Golden Globes including Best Picture, this often humorous yet touching film grossed over $50.4 million at the Box Office.
Roger Moore is James Bond (aka 007) and is assigned to hunt for a lost British encryption device and prevent it from falling into enemy hands.  Also starring Carole Bouquet, Topol, Lynn-Holly Johnson, and Julian Glover, "For Your Eyes Only" grossed over $54.8 million at the Box Office.

The story, told in flashback, of two young British sprinters competing for fame in the 1924 Olympics. Eric, a devout Scottish missionary runs because he knows it must please God. Harold, the son of a newly rich Jew runs to prove his place in Cambridge society.  Nominated for seven Academy Awards and winning four including Best Picture, "Chariots of Fire" starred Nicholas Farrell, Nigel Havers, Ian Charleson, Ben Cross and co-starred Daniel Gerroll and Ian Holm who was Oscar-nominated for his performance.  At the Box Office, the film grossed over $58.9 million.
A wide variety of eccentric competitors participate in a wild and illegal cross-country car race.  "The Cannonball Run" had a huge all-star cast with such mega-stars as Peter Fonda, Burt Reynolds, Dom DeLuise, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., Farrah Fawcett, Roger Moore, Jack Elam, Adrienne Barbeau, Terry Bradshaw, Burt Convy, Jamie Farr, and Jackie Chan.  Accompanied with the action and comedy, perhaps it was the star power that earned this film over $72.1 million at the Box Office.

Thanks to a run of bad luck and go-nowhere jobs, John convinces Russell to join the army so they can get in shape, likening it to a health spa. Once in boot camp, wiseguy John tangles with his by-the-book Sgt. and becomes the unofficial leader for his platoon, made up mostly of other misfits and assorted losers.  "Stripes" starred Bill Murray, Harold Ramis, and Warren Oates.  A hilarious comedy, this film brought in over $85.2 million at the Box Office.
Arthur is a happy drunk with no pretensions at any ambition. He is also the heir to a vast fortune which he is told will only be his if he marries Susan. He does not love Susan, but she will make something of him the family expects. Arthur proposes but then meets a girl with no money who he could easily fall in love with.  A delightful and touching comedy, "Arthur" starred Dudley Moore, Liza Minnelli, and John Gielgud in an Oscar-winning performance.  At the Box Office, the film raked in over $95.4 million.
Superman agrees to sacrifice his powers to marry Lois, unaware that three Kryptonian criminals he inadvertently released are conquering Earth.  Oddly enough, this sequel to its huge-hit predecessor made its premiere in Australia, France, Norway, Spain, Argentina, Brazil, Denmark, Portugal, West Germany, the UK, Finland and Japan before making its broad US release.  "Superman II" found Christopher Reeve, Margot Kidder, and Gene Hackman reprising their roles.  The long-awaited film grossed over $108.1 million at the Box Office.
The loons are back again on Golden Pond and so are Norman Thayer, a retired professor, and Ethel who have had a summer cottage there since early in their marriage. This summer their daughter Chelsea -- whom they haven't seen for years -- feels she must be there for Norman's birthday.  But there's more to her visit than just that.  A very touching drama which was difficult for stars and real life father and daughter Henry Fonda and Jane Fonda to film, "On Golden Pond" also starred Katherine Hepburn, Dabney Coleman, and Doug McKeon.  Nominated for ten Academy Awards, this film won three including Best Actor and Best Actress for both Henry and Katherine and earned every bit of its $119.2 million at the Box Office.
The year is 1936. A professor who studies archeology named Indiana Jones hears from a museum curator named Marcus Brody about a biblical artifact called The Ark of the Covenant, which can hold the key to humanly existence. Jones has to venture to vast places such as Nepal and Egypt to find this artifact. However, he will have to fight his enemy Renee Belloq and a band of Nazis in order to reach it.  Directed by Steven Spielberg, "Raiders of the Lost Ark" starred Harrison Ford, Karen Allen, and Paul Freeman.  The first of four of its film franchise (soon to be a 5th with Harrison Ford reprising his role), the Box Office heavy with its gross of over $212.2 million.
And now you know.
Of the 10 films listed, you can find 4 of them blogged by me on the list to your right.  As always, since this is blog page isn't quite half a year old yet as per this entry, the other films will be blogged about in time.
If you haven't seen some of these, I highly recommend them.  Enjoy!

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