Saturday, August 31, 2013

Top Ten Box Office Hits of 1983

The year was 1983.
In World News: Pope John Paul II signed a new Roman Catholic code incorporating changes brought about by the Second Vatican Council,  Benigno S. Aquino, Jr., political rival of Philippines president Ferdinand Marcos, was assasinated in Manila, and a South Korean Boeing 747 jetliner bound for Seoul apparently strayed into Soviet air space and was shot down by a Soviet SU-15 fighter after it had tracked the jetliner for two hours; all 269 aboard were killed.
In US News: The second Space Shuttle, Challenger, made it successful maiden voyage which included the first US space walk in 9 years, the US Supreme Court declared many local abortion restrictions unconstitutional, and the US admitted to shielding former Nazi Gestapo chief Klaus Barbie, the "Butcher of Lyon", wanted in France for war crimes.
In other news: CDs were introduced and the sales of vinyl records began a steep decline, Harvey Fierstein's "Torch Song Trilogy" won both the New York Drama Critics Circle Award as well as the Tony Award for Best Play, marking the acceptance of gay theater, singer Karen Carpenter died of complications from anorexia nervosa at the age of 32, and more than 125 million viewers tuned in to watch the last episode of M*A*S*H.
Some of the movies to make their debut in the theaters were "Something Wicked This Way Comes", "Tender Mercies", "The Year of Living Dangerously", "Doctor Detroit", "The Survivors", "Educating Rita", "Monty Python's 'The Meaning of Life'", "Cheech & Chong Still Smokin'", "All the Right Moves", "Valley Girl", "Christine", "Cujo", "The Right Stuff", "Silkwood", "Yentl", "Scarface", "Jaws 3-D", "The Big Chill", "Superman III", and "National Lampoon's Vacation".
So what were the Top Ten movies at the Box Office in 1983?  Let's do the countdown and see, shall we?...
A suburban Chicago teenager's parents leave on vacation, and he cuts loose. An unauthorized trip in his father's Porsche means a sudden need for lots of money, which he raises in a creative way.  Tom Cruise gave a memorable performance in this 80s favorite.  Other stars in "Risky Business" were Rebecca De Mornay, Joe Pantoliano, Bronson Pinchot, and Curtis Armstrong.  This film earned over $63.5 million at the Box Office.
Jack and Caroline are a couple making a decent living when Jack suddenly loses his job. They agree that he should stay at home and look after the house while Caroline works. It's just that he's never done it before, and really doesn't have a clue as to what he's doing.  "Mr. Mom" starred Michael Keaton, Teri Garr, Martin Mull, and co-starred Ann Jillian, Jeffrey Tambor, and Christopher Lloyd.  At the Box Office the film fell slightly behind "Staying Alive", bringing in $64,783,827.

It's five years later and Tony Manero's Saturday Night Fever is still burning. Now he's strutting toward his biggest challenger yet - making it as a dancer on the Broadway stage.  Directed by Sylvester Stallone (who also has a brief cameo in the film), "Staying Alive" had John Travolta reprising his role from the 1977 sensation "Saturday Night Fever".  Other actors and actresses were Cynthia Rhodes, Finola Hughes, Steve Inwood, Julie Bovasso, and Charles Ward.  This film squeaked by "Mr. Mom", grossing $64,892,670.
A rape victim is exacting revenge on her aggressors in a small town outside San Francisco. Dirty Harry, on suspension for angering his superiors (again), is assigned to the case.  "Sudden Impact" was directed by Clint Eastwood who also starred as the lead character, "Dirty Harry".  Sondra Locke, Pat Hingle, Bradford Dillman, and Paul Drake also starred in the film.  The movie took in over $67.6 million at the Box Office.
A fake Fabergé egg and a fellow agent's death leads James Bond to uncovering an international jewel smuggling operation, headed by the mysterious Octopussy, being used to disguise a nuclear attack on NATO forces.  Roger Moore reprised his role as James Bond (Agent 007).  Others actors and actresses were Maud Adams, Louis Jourdan, Kristina Wayborn, Kabir Bedi, and Steven Berkoff.  Throngs flocked to the theaters to see yet another Bond film which helped "Octopussy" get past "Sudden Impact" by earning over $67.8 million at the Box Office.
A young computer whizz kid accidentally connects into a top secret super-computer which has complete control over the U.S. nuclear arsenal. It challenges him to a game between America and Russia, and he, naively, innocently starts the countdown to World War 3. Can he convince the computer he wanted to play a game and not the real thing?  "WarGames" Matthew Broderick (his second film after "Max Dugan Returns" which came out the same year), Dabney Coleman, John Wood, Ally Sheedy, and Barry Corbin.  Nominated for three Academy Awards including Best Original Screenplay, the film grossed more than $79.5 million at the Box Office.
A snobbish investor and a wily street con artist find their positions reversed as part of a bet by two callous millionaires.  "Trading Places" received an Oscar nomination for its Musical Score and starred Eddie Murphy, Dan Aykroyd, Jamie Lee Curtis, Ralph Bellamy, Don Ameche, and Paul Gleason.  The Box Office records show that this film raked in over $90.4 million.
Alex Owens is a female dynamo: steel worker by day, exotic dancer by night. Her dream is to get into a real dance company, though, and with encouragement from her boss/boyfriend, she may get her chance.  "Flashdance" was nominated for four Academy Awards, two of them being for Best Original Song: "Maniac" and "Flashdance... What a Feeling".  "What a Feeling" took home the Oscar.  The film starred Jennifer Beals.  Though she was uncredited for a bit part in the 1980 film "My Bodyguard", "Flashdance" is considered her film debut.  Other stars were Michael Nouri, Kyle T. Heffner, Sunny Johnson, and Lee Ving.  The film danced up over $92.9 million at the Box Office.
Aurora and Emma are mother and daughter who march to different drummers. Beginning with Emma's marriage, Aurora shows how difficult and loving she can be. The movie covers several years of their lives as each finds different reasons to go on living and find joy.  This film was nominated for a whopping 11 Academy Awards and won the top 5: Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Actress (Shirley MacLaine), Best Actor (Jack Nicholson), Best Director (James L. Brooks), and Best Picture.  Debra Winger, Jeff Daniels, John Lithgow, and Danny DeVito also starred in the film.  Touching millions of hearts and making many cry (myself included), "Terms of Endearment" earned more than $108.4 million at the Box Office.
After rescuing Han Solo from the palace of Jabba the Hutt, the Rebels attempt to destroy the Second Death Star, while Luke Skywalker tries to bring his father back to the Light Side of the Force.  The anticipated "Return of the Jedi" had Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, David Prowse, and Kenny Baker reprising their roles.  The Force helped this film become #1 at the Box Office, bringing in over $252.5 million.
And now you know.
For you "Star Wars" fans, it has been rumored for quite some time now (as of August 31, 2013, that is), that Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, and Carrie Fisher would reprise their roles again for the upcoming "Stars Wars: Episode VII".  The film is slated for a 2015 release and is currently in its pre-production stages.
1983 was the year of a lot of good films, some of them being great and fan favorites.  I shall continue blogging about them as much as I can.  For now, I've already blogged on 5 of the top 10 films of 1983.  You'll find them on the list to the right of this page.

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