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The History of American Cinema: 1985











Back to the Future (1985)





18/1 -

Ethan (producer) and Joel (director) Coens' debut feature, Blood Simple, a noir-tinged crime thriller, is released.   Frances McDormand, John Getz, Dan Hedaya and M. Emmet Walsh star. [ADD]





29/1 -

MGM-United Artists announce that they are to colourise the 1942 film Yankee Doodle Dandy using a new process developed by Color System Technology.   It is planned to be the first of 20 black-and-white films to be colourised by the studio. [ADD]





8/2 -

Peter Weirís thriller Witness, which delivers an original slant on a commonplace storyline, is released.   Harrison Ford stars as a police detective protecting an Amish child (Lukas Haas) who has witnessed a murder and his mother (Kelly McGillis) from the killers who are trying to prevent the child from testifying. [ADD]





15/2 -

Albert Brooksí comedy Lost in America is released.   Brooks also stars as an executive who drops out of the rat race and buys a motorhome in which he intends to explore America with his wife (Julie Hagerty). [ADD]





Feb -

Walt Disneyís Fantasia (1941) becomes the first film to be screened using digital sound when it is shown at Plitt Century Plaza Theatre, California. [ADD]





1/3 -

Woody Allen's The Purple Rose of Cairo is released.   The title refers to the depression-era movie-within-the-movie in which Jeff Daniels stars.   One day, Daniels steps out of the screen to enter the life of a battered wife (Mia Farrow). [ADD]





1/3 -

Rob Reiner's comedy, The Sure Thing, is released.   John Cusack stars as a college student embarking on a cross-country trip with the cute but strait-laced Allison (Daphne Zuniga), to visit a friend who assures him a Ďsure thingí (Nicolette Sheridan) is dying to meet him. [ADD]





7/3 -

Gene Kelly receives the American Film Institute's Life Achievement Award. [ADD]

    Mask (1985)




8/3 -

Peter Bogdanovich's Mask, starring Cher as the mother of a boy with a massively deformed skull (Eric Stoltz), is released.   Estelle Getty, Richard Dysart and Laura Dern also appear. [ADD]





14/3 -

Alan Ladd Jr is appointed head of production at Kirk Kerkorianís MGM/UA studio. [ADD]





25/3 -

Milos Formanís Amadeus wins eight Oscars at the 57th Annual Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor (F. Murray Abraham). [MORE]





31/3 -

Barbara Davisís book, My Motherís Keeper, which offers scandalous insights into her life with her movie star mother, Bette, is published. [ADD]





Mar -

Rupert Murdochís News Corporation acquires a 50% stake in 20th Century-Foxís parent company TCF Holdings from Marvin Davis for $162m, plus an advance of $88m. [ADD]





22/5 -

Rambo: First Blood, Part II is released by the newly-formed TriStar Studio into 2,000 cinemas across America, breaking the record previously set by Star Trek III (1,966 cinemas) in 1984.   Sylvester Stallone once again plays John Rambo, the Vietnam vet with a host of old scores to settle. [ADD]





21/6 -

Ron Howardís Cocoon, in which a group of Florida pensioners discover a fountain of youth belonging to visiting aliens is released.   Veteran actors Wilford Brimley, Jack Gilford, Hume Cronyn, Jessica Tandy, Maureen Stapleton, Gwen Verdon and Don Ameche are the OAPs who suddenly find a new zest for life. [ADD]





28/6 -

Pale Rider, Clint Eastwoodís first western for nine years, is released.   He plays a mysterious stranger who comes to the aid of a mining community under threat from a greedy mine owner and his band of killers. [ADD]

    St Elmo's Fire (1985)




28/6 -

Joel Schumacherís St. Elmoís Fire, in which the cream of Hollywoodís so-called Brat Pack shine, is released.   Emilio Estevez, Jenny Wright, Rob Lowe, Mare Winningham, Judd Nelson, Ally Sheedy, Demi Moore and Andrew McCarthy as a group of friends who experience a variety of ups and downs after they leave college. [ADD]





3/7 -

John Boormanís ecologically conscientious film The Emerald Forest is released.   Boormanís son, Charley, plays a boy who is adopted by an Indian tribe in the Brazilian jungle, while Powers Boothe is the father who refuses to give up his search for him. [ADD]





3/7 -

Robert Zemeckis' science fiction comedy Back to the Future is released.   Michael J. Fox stars as Marty McFly, a normal teenager who travels back to the 1950s in crackpot scientist Christopher Lloydís DeLorean and finds himself warding off the affections of his own mother. [ADD]





23/7 -

Woody Allen signs a new contract with Orion Pictures which includes a clause made at Allenís request forbidding the marketing of his films in South Africa because of its apartheid policy. [ADD]





9/8 -

Tim Burtonís directorial debut, Pee Wee's Big Adventure, is released.   Paul Reubens stars as the childlike Pee Wee in search of his stolen bicycle. [ADD]





16/8 -

Madonna and Sean Penn marry in a private ceremony in New York. [ADD]





Aug -

Ted Turner acquires control of MGM-UA from Kirk Kerkorianís Tracinda Corporation for $1,500 million.   Kerkorian immediately buys UA back for $470 million. [ADD]

    After Hours (1985)




13/9 -

Martin Scorseseís black comedy After Hours is released.   Griffin Dunne stars as an office worker whose disastrous night in New York concludes with him trapped inside a plaster of Paris body cast.  Also appearing are Verna Bloom, Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong, Linda Fiorentino, Teri Garr, John Heard, Catherine O'Hara, Dick Miller, Will Patton and Bronson Pinchot. [ADD]





19/9 -

Elisabeth Taylor announces she is to hold a gala evening to raise funds for the fight against AIDS. [ADD]





Sep -

Rupert Murdoch acquires full control of 20th Century-Foxís parent company, TCF Holdings, from Marvin Davis for $325m, making a total cost of $575m. [ADD]





7/10 -

Several thousand people take part in a demonstration against the Ďblasphemous natureí of Jean-Luc Godardís 'Je vous salue Marie' (Hail Mary), which is being screened as part of the 23rd New York Film Festival. [ADD]





16/10 -

A film clip of Yul Brynner beseeching smokers to give up the habit is released six days after the 70-year-old actor dies of lung cancer. [ADD]





13/12 -

Clue, British director Jonathan Lynnís adaptation of a popular board game, is released by Paramount with four different endings.   Tim Curry, Madeline KahnChristopher Lloyd and Eileen Brennan star. [ADD]





16/12 -

Terry Gilliamís Brazil wins best picture, best director and best screenplay (Gilliam, Tom Stoppard and Charles McKeown) at the Los Angeles Film Critics Association's annual vote. [ADD]





31/12 -

A marketing company claims that adolescent movie attendance dropped by 20% in 1985, although rentals by the same group increased threefold. [ADD]


Other Key American Films of 1985

    Prizzi's Honor (1985)

The Breakfast Club (John Hughes) [ADD]




A Chorus Line (Richard Attenborough) [ADD]




The Color Purple (Steven Spielberg) [ADD]




Desperately Seeking Susan (Susan Seidelman) [ADD]




Dim Sum Ė A Little Bit of Heart (Wayne Wang) [ADD]




Legend (Ridley Scott) [ADD]




Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters (Paul Schrader) [ADD]




Out of Africa (Sidney Pollack) [ADD]




Prizziís Honor (John Huston) [ADD]




Silverado (Lawrence Kasdan) [ADD]




The Trip to Bountiful (Peter Masterson) [ADD]


USA: 1984

USA: 1986




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