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Millon Dollar Movie

I don’t have a lot of movie memories before Star Wars which came out a few days before I turned six. My grandmother took me to see a Lassie movie at Radio City, but otherwise, Star Wars is the first movie I remember seeing in the theater. I went with my brother and my Old Man. A few years later, The Empire Strikes Back was a seminal summer movie–I saw it seven times in the theater, still a record for me–followed by summer blockbusters like Raiders, E.T., Ghostbusters, and later, Back to the Future.

Summer blockbusters. Which ones were your favorites as a kid (even as a grown kid)?

Categories:  Bronx Banter  Million Dollar Movie

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1 RagingTartabull   ~  Jun 2, 2010 2:57 pm

the experience of waiting on line opening night of Jurassic Park is burned into my memory. that thing wrapped around the block like whoa.

2 Jon DeRosa   ~  Jun 2, 2010 3:02 pm

This reminds me of Tom Shone's great book on the Summer Blockbuster.


Hard to pick, a favorite, but Jedi was the most anticipated movie of my life, no doubt. I was 7 in the summer of 83 and had seen Star Wars and Empire over a dozen times each by then. Jedi seemed to take forever to come out, but that was just probably me being impatient.

There was a theater around the corner from a Toys R Us, got a figure from the new movie, stood in a line that went around the side and we all sucked towards the wall where a little sliver of shade crept out over the hot concrete.

My brother was 14, so he was already hip to the lameness Lucas started to unleash in Jedi, and that definitely rubbed off on me even though i was oblivious to what exactly was wrong with it. i just knew it wasn't as good for some reason. Still saw it a bunch of times and loved it though.

3 Alex Belth   ~  Jun 2, 2010 3:09 pm

Jedi was the most anticipated movie of my life...

Agreed. And I was let down by the third movie, which we knew was already watered-down because they changed the name from "Revenge" to "Return."

4 Levi Stahl   ~  Jun 2, 2010 3:12 pm

It was Star Wars for me, when I was three--I still can't believe I was so entranced so young, but I was. It's Return of the Jedi, though, that I remember most clearly: I went on my 9th birthday with by mom and brother, hours after I'd gotten a new bicycle, and it was one of the most fun days of my life to that point--and still a great memory.

5 Just Fair   ~  Jun 2, 2010 3:21 pm

I remember watching either Star Wars or Empire with my grandpa in the theater. I kept looking over at him and wondering how he could sleep through so much action. What kills me is I don't know which one it was. Either grandpa was brave enough to take a 2 year old or 5 year old to the movie. It's gotta be Empire. The Temple of Doom was the first movie where my friend and I had to go and buy tickets (his dad drove) for a much later time b/c the lines were wrapped around the theater. Good times.

6 Jon DeRosa   ~  Jun 2, 2010 3:21 pm

[3] Did you ever hear Lucas talk about that? He said, at one point, that it couldn't be revenge because a Jedi would never seek "revenge." then why did i get a scholastic book order form in january 1983 with the title clearly showing "revenge of the jedi" ? clearly not as cut and dry as he explained years later.

[4] sounds like a great day. my affection for the film (and the memory of seeing it, like yours is one of my best) is not at all compromised by the fact that i don't think it's that great anymore.

7 Shaun P.   ~  Jun 2, 2010 3:22 pm

[1] Terminator 2: Judgment Day is the one that I remember most vividly as a kid. I think EVERYONE saw that movie. I remember going to see it on the Sunday of Labor Day weekend - the unofficial end to summer - and the theater was still packed.

As for a favorite, probably the first summer blockbuster I remember seeing as a kid: Tim Burton's "Batman". All I had known to that point about the Caped Crusader was the campy 60s TV show. It blew my mind.

As a grown kid, my sentimental favorites were probably Episode I (the first new Star Wars movie I ever saw in the theater, as I was too young when the original trilogy came out) and Michael Bay's "Transformers". "The Dark Knight" is the one I remember the most, though.

8 Shaun P.   ~  Jun 2, 2010 3:24 pm

[6] Really? I always heard it was because the second Star Trek movie was called "The Wrath of Kahn" and Lucas changed the title intentionally, because he didn't want anyone to think he was copying Star Trek.

Though, the Star Wars geek in me totally buys the "a Jedi wouldn't seek revenge!" bit.

9 Crazy8Rick   ~  Jun 2, 2010 3:25 pm

A toss up between the Godfather w/ Marlon Brando and the first Lord of the Rings movie Fellowship of the Ring. Man was I juiced for both of those. I had read both books twice (and I mean all 3 of Tolkien's trilogy) and so I must have been like Roger Rabbit on crack waiting in those long Godfrey Daniels lines to get into the balcony seats!!!

10 Alex Belth   ~  Jun 2, 2010 3:41 pm

Kid I knew, Jon Franks, had a REVENGE OF THE JEDI promotional poster that I coveted like nobodies business.

11 YankInEugene   ~  Jun 2, 2010 3:53 pm

This was hardly my first movie experience, but certainly my most memorable as a boy. I was about 12 or 13 when I saw 2001: A Space Odyssey at the Cinerama (do they still have these?) in Providence. Watching this great movie on such a wide screen got me hooked on Sci Fi for life.

12 Jon DeRosa   ~  Jun 2, 2010 3:59 pm

[8] exactly. as lucas looked back, he couldn't help but filter reality through the congealed notion of what a jedi was and therefore revised the reason he changed it.

seems to me lucas became confused (and embarrassed possibly) about why people acutally liked his movies. and i think this started after empire was made but before jedi.

3 words that sum it up better than i could: han fired first.

13 Sliced Bread   ~  Jun 2, 2010 4:00 pm

I had just turned 9 when Jaws came out in June of 1975, and I'll never forget the excitement of seeing it for the first time. My little brother was too young to see it (had to stay home with my grandparents), while my big sister and I (who just made the cut!) couldn't wait to get into the theater. That flick was the hugest movie experience of my childhood. Talked about it for weeks afterwards, and got heavily into drawing sharks.

The other blockbusters I loved as a kid: Poseidon Adventure, Towering Inferno, Rocky, Bad News Bears, Close Encounters, and of course Star Wars... those were the ones that blew my young mind.

14 RIYank   ~  Jun 2, 2010 4:07 pm

[11] That's awesome. There is definitely no Cinerama in Providence now, sorry to say. Where was it?

Thelarmis' first movie memory is "Close Encounters". I find this oddly reassuring, as if the universe makes sense after all.

Cliff slept through "Empire Strikes Back".

15 RIYank   ~  Jun 2, 2010 4:09 pm

Oh, and I also remember "2001" vividly. Went with my dad. He had to explain the profound parts to me. I thought about it for weeks afterward.

16 YankInEugene   ~  Jun 2, 2010 4:36 pm

RI Yank, the Cinerama use to be on Hope St. not far from the Rochambeau Public Library. There was a store nearby with a soda fountain and penny candy that we used to go to all the time. I'm sure that doesn't exist anymore. I grew up off of N Main St near one end of the North Burial ground, so the theater wasn't that far. I also remember seeing Ben Hur there as well which was pretty cool on surround type screen.

17 cult of basebaal   ~  Jun 2, 2010 4:50 pm

Luckily, I live in Los Angeles, home to the original Cinerama theatre, the Cineramadome.


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