For Movies, June 1981 Is A Very Good Vintage

So, when looking back, June 1981 was a very good month for movies. You may be thinking that’s pretty obvious since that was when Raiders of the Lost Ark, Superman II, and the latest James Bond caper For Your Eyes Only were released, but there were several other movies released that month that made it something special.

Released on June 12th, along with Raiders of the Lost Ark, Clash of the Titans tells the Greek myth of Perseus and his battles with Medusa and the Kraken to rescue the Princess Andromeda. It featured an all-star cast with names like Laurence Olivier, Maggie Smith, Ursula Andress, Harry Hamlin, and Burgess Meredith, but the real stars are the amazing stop-motion special effects created by Ray Harryhausen. This was basically Harryhausen’s swan song as the stop-motion process had fallen out of favor for more technologically advanced techniques. Maybe it was the mythology, or maybe just Perseus’ cool sword, but this was one of my favorite movies when I was growing up. I’ve probably seen it more than any other movie.

Also released on the 12th was Mel Brooks’ historical lampoon History of the World: Part I. Featuring Brooks and his usual collaborators, the movie gives a skewed overview of the dawn of man, the ten Commandments, the Roman Empire, the Spanish Inquisition, and the French Revolution. It also gave us the phrase “It’s Good to be the King.”

The 19th featured the release of The Cannonball Run. An over-the-top, celebrity packed comedy always needs a simple premise to be effective, and this is no exception: the antics of the participants in an illegal, cross country road race. And when I say celebrity packed, I mean it. Everyone from Burt Reynolds to Jackie Chan to Terry Bradshaw makes an appearance. As crazy as the movie is, it was actually based on the real Cannonball Baker Sea-To-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Dash.

The next week saw the release of Dragonslayer. A heavy dose of St. George and the Dragon with a dash of The Lottery, it tells of the exploits of a young wizard as he does battle with the local dragon. It was the big screen debut of Peter MacNicol, most famous for playing John Cage on Ally McBeal. Dragonslayer featured the first use of go-motion special effects, the modernized take on stop-motion, resulting in more believable movement. It was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Effects, Visual Effects.

Also released on the 26th was the Bill Murray/Harold Ramis/John Candy/Ivan Reitman army farce Stripes. Two buddies looking for a new direction in life decide to join the army because, well, what better place can you go to get in shape and meet girls. They tough it through boot camp and become heroes when they rescue their platoon from Communist forces in Czechoslovakia. The movie was a big hit for Bill Murray, but it was originally intended as a vehicle for Cheech and Chong, but they weren’t interested if they couldn’t have complete control of the production. Reitman eventually got his star from Meatballs (Murray) interested in the project.

5 comments to For Movies, June 1981 Is A Very Good Vintage

  • hmmmm, actually knew about Clash of The Titans, but besides that (I don’t like to say this) I was stumped. Great research — or memory.

  • Furious

    I wanted to write something about Clash of the Titans but I wasn’t sure what until I saw all the other movies released that month- I’ve seen and enjoyed all these movies. Most of it’s from memory, but the Internet always helps fill out the details.

  • yeah, well since when I was born they made the First Toy Story and Batman Forever so most of the movies are remember are VERY recent unless I dig deep and perform some research. So for the pre-200 movies this is where I learn the most. Another question: how did you get that huge RSS thing on the top of your header. I’m trying to find something like that and I am signed up for feedburner.


  • Furious

    The theme actually came that way and was one of the things I really liked about it. Do you have any experience editing your theme? I think I’ve learned enough from getting my new title up there that I could explain it without getting too confusing.

  • hmmm…if you mean ccs then I know nothing but I know a lot about editing my custom header. But just email me about it and I’ll try.


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