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40 Is So Young
by Jon Schuller

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We're all age conscious, right? We measure so many aspects of our lives in how old we are, what we were doing "x" years ago, how fast our children grow up, who's here or not and many other comparisons. I find it depressing sometimes, to be honest. Yes, it's frightening and inevitable but let's go elsewhere.

40 years ago 225 movies premiered worldwide and many became classics. The Top 10 grossing films in America were
1.Kramer vs. Kramer $106,260,000
2.The Amityville Horror $86,432,520
3.Rocky II $85,182,160
4.Apocalypse Now $83,471,511
5.Star Trek: The Motion Picture $82,258,456
6.Alien $80,931,801
7.10 $74,865,517
8.The Jerk $73,691,419
9.Moonraker $70,308,099
10. The Muppet Movie $65,200,000

Academy Awards and Golden Globes went to: Best
Picture: Kramer vs. Kramer - Jaffe
Best Director: Robert Benton - Kramer vs. Kramer; Francis Ford Coppola, Apocalypse Now
Best Actor: Dustin Hoffman - Kramer vs. Kramer; Peter Sellers, Being There
Best Actress: Sally Field - Norma Rae; Bette Midler, The Rose
Best Supporting Actor: Melvyn Douglas - Being There; Robert Duval, Apocalypse Now
Best Supporting Actress: Meryl Streep - Kramer vs. Kramer
Best Foreign Language Film: The Tin Drum (Die Blechtrommel), directed by Volker Schlöndorff, W. Germany

Many other films made lasting impressions in 1979 and are still, today, doing the same thing.
1941, directed by Steven Speilberg (see my column "1941, The Movie Not the Year", March 2011)
All That Jazz, directed by Bob Fosse
The Black Stallion, directed by Carroll Ballard
Breaking Away, directed by Peter Yates
The Champ, directed by Franco Zefferelli
The China Syndrome, directed by James Bridges The Electric Horseman, directed by Sydney Pollack
Escape From Alcatraz,
directed by Don Siegel
The Great Santini, directed by Louis John Carlino
Hanover Street, directed by Peter Hyams
Kramer vs. Kramer, directed by Robert Benton
Mad Max, directed by George Miller
Manhattan, directed by Woody Allen
Monty Python's Life of Brian, directed by Terry Gilliam
Moonraker, directed by Lewis Gilbert
The Muppet Movie, directed by Jim Henson
Norma Rae, directed by Martin Ritt
The Onion Field, directed by Harold Becker
Rocky II, directed by Sylvester Stallone
The Rose, directed by Mark Rydell
Star Trek: The Motion Picture, directed by Robert Wise
Starting Over, directed by Alan J. Pakula
Time After Time, directed by Nicholas Meyer

Some now-famous actors and actresses made their movie debuts in 1979:
Lorraine Braco
Ted Danson
Danny Glover
David Paymer
Jean Reno
Mickey Rourke
Daniel Stern
Patrick Swayze
Martin Short
Christoph Waltz

Some films were so successful they spawned (no pun intended) sequels which were equally great. Alien premiered in May, 1979; it was scary and ground-breaking as the idea that life in
other galaxies not only existed but human beings from earth would encounter them with deadly consequences. The Champ premiered in April, 1979 and was based on a 1931 classic starring Wallace Beery as a washed-up fighter and a young Jackie Cooper as his son. The 1979 version starred Jon Voight and Ricky Schroder. Rocky II premiered in June, 1979 and continued the saga of the fighter who's given a chance to win and inspire others by his story. It had the same cast and Rocky comes back to the ring to win a decisive victory. He becomes a dad too.

There are other examples of many films that have remained as popular and interesting as they were when they hit the Big Screens across the country. I never tire of discussing this phenomenon here and with people I know. My fascination with motion pictures has an important component which, I am sure, comes out again and again; hopefully not in a boring way for you. The complexities of making films can blend so well when a particular picture makes a deep impression on society and that mark remains almost fresh so many years later.

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Cinema Savant
Every other Thursday

My views on an eclectic mix of films and personalties, past and present; emotional interpretations; some laughs, some cries.

Other Columns
Other columns by Jon Schuller:

Have You Been Spying On Me Lately? For How Long?

But Can She Act? That's What I Want to Know

They're Not the Same People They Used To Be

Time Does Fly When We Watch Movies

Before Minimum or Maximum, There Was Only Prison

All Columns

Jon Schuller
I am a former New Jersey native, living in Charlotte, N.C. for almost 30 years. I am a lifelong movie lover with lots of movie trivia knowledge and soundtracks in my CD collection. I enjoy sharing my love of films with everyone and have so many fond memories growing up in darkened movie theaters. I have been married 50 years (as of December 22, 2018) and we both share a passion for film (and each other of course).

If you have a comment, question, or suggestion, you can send a message to Jon Schuller by clicking here.

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