Decade Definers: 1980s – Birth Of The Action Hero

Written by Chris Gelderd

Like most things in life, it’s hard to pin-point the exact formation of something. A season. A movement. A trend. These things just seem to happen when every factor around it comes into alignment and all the signs point to go. Somethings just naturally work with the environment around them. The film industry also does this and has done for over 100 years

The 1980s saw the formation of many things that changed the industry forever. The emergence of special effects allowed film-makers to really let their imagination blossom. Risks were being taken across horror, sci-fi and comedy with franchises taking off left right and centre, content being pushed for teen audiences (the introduction of the US PG-13 rating for such an occasion) and talent was setting the bar high in their chosen genres, such as Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, Jane Fonda and Eddie Murphy to name but a few.

Yet the 80s was a decade that discovered a new wave of acting and creative talent that changed the way we look at action movies and their heroes forever, and we can see that winning template is used in films today to cater to new generations.

The world needed heroes, and the right men – and women – came along at the right time to deliver. Not satisfied with your suave Brit Sir Roger Moore and his family friendly James Bond adventures, mature audiences wanted more. More action! More violence! More stars! More outrageous, exciting, balls-to-the-wall popcorn entertainment!

The studios listened. The creative talent put pen to paper. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the 1980s and the birth of the action hero!

Ask any film fan to name 5 action stars and they will probably give the same names.  From just a rather small selection of big name stars throughout the 1980s, we certainly got a truckload of memorable and long-standing action films from them. Some spawned franchises that still are going strong today, others simply one off treasures. Either way, they helped shape a genre that inspired much of what we see today on the big (and small) screen.

Let’s take a look at some of the big names that came to be during the 1980s and how they helped shape the action movie itself.

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Arnold Schwarzenegger

One man proved you didn’t need to be the next Charlton Heston of the acting world in order to make shockwaves across Hollywood and the world. Sometimes all you needed was a thick, inimitable European accent, muscles the size of watermelons and the passion to chase the American dream. Arnold Schwarzenegger, the ‘Austrian Oak’, did just that when he launched onto the scene during the 1980s with his imposing, unique frame as a bit player in cheaply produced movies before the studio execs took a risk and cast him in films where dialogue and plot were minimal, but action and iconography where high.

Arnie gave us 9 movies during the 1980s that became classics of the genre and his trademark style of witty one-liners, high violence, break-neck stunts and blending action into sci-fi, fantasy and comedy. From ‘Conan The Destroyer’ in 1982 that tested his boundaries for taking any role seriously and dishing out action in any form he was given, he soon was given movies such as ‘The Terminator’ in 1984, ‘Commando’ in 1985 and ‘Predator’ in 1987.

Each film was unique and different, letting Arnie win over fans and critics not with his acting, but with his ability to be an action hero across any genre who was tough talking, physically imposing and looked like a demi-God with his muscles and strong stance. He used any means at his disposal to eradicate bad guys – and sometimes good guys – and gave James Bond a run for his money with the one liners. Arnie became synonymous with action films and many of his 80s films stand strong today and shape franchise on the big and small screen in a career built on action that doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon.

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Sylvester Stallone

Stallone gave us two big ‘R’s throughout the 70s and 80s…and 90s and 00s, all things considered. Rocky Balboa was his character for sport and drama, but Rambo was his character for action and excitement. From 1982 to 1988 (and 2008, but we’re not here for that), Stallone carved a new niche for his action ability in the form of John Rambo, a traumatized Vietnam veteran.

After a debut in ‘First Blood’ that actually gave us a grounded action film that used drama, humanity and tension as its main driving points, it’s two sequels “First Blood Part II” and “Rambo III” threw humanity out the window (literally) and cranked up the chaos to 10.

Muscles bulging as he waged war against the Vietnamese and Russians to save POWs and innocent people, Rambo became the invincible one-man army whom America and the world could count on.  Armed with  rocket launchers and sub-machine guns, bow and arrows and hunting knifes, Rambo proved Stallone could deliver the sort of story fuelled action audiences wanted, and it continued over his career with the likes ‘Tango & Cash’, ‘Demolition Man’ and ‘The Expendables’.

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Bruce Willis

An interesting case study indeed when you look at it. Out of all the action heroes of the 80s, Willis looked least likely. He wasn’t imposing to look at, not intimidating to hear talk and his career launched in the 1984 US comedy drama TV show ‘Moonlighting’ and the 1987 comedy romance film ‘Blind Date’.

Fox produced a film based on a 1979 novel ‘Nothing Lasts Forever’, a sequel to the 1966 book ‘The Detective’, which was adapted into a 1968 film starring Frank Sinatra and allowed Sinatra to accept or decline to star in the new film. He declined. Arnold Schwarzenegger declined it as a sequel to ‘Commando’. Who was left to cast? Bruce Willis, obviously.

Now when you say the words ‘Die Hard’, it conjures up a film often agreed to be the greatest action film of the 1980s. A simple story about a New York cop saving hostages inside a skyscraper whilst taking down a small army of European terrorists was just what people wanted. Full of explosive action, snappy humour, a surprising world-weary and iconic portrayal by Willis of NYPD cop John McClane and a villain as dastardly and suave as them come in the guise of the late, great Alan Rickman as Hans Gruber.

‘Die Hard’ quickly became a template to base an action hero saving the day against the odds, and shaped the hero who could be an everyday cop in the wrong place at the wrong time, not just a muscle bound war hero or super soldier. It launched four sequels, video games and also Willis’s career into action orbit and also the greatest debate going in movies today – “Is Die Hard a Christmas film or not?”.

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Sigourney Weaver

The 80s action market was a place for men. Women had little chance to show they could do as much damage as the guys sadly, but one woman took a role, built it up over a franchise and proved that with the right support, it wasn’t just the men who could kick ass and save the world…or galaxy.

Sigourney Weaver has her niche in drama and comedy, but her action debut came in a little known sci-fi film in the late 1970s called ‘Alien’ that had her go up and survive against a deadly alien being in space, where nobody could hear her or her ill-fated male crew scream. The role of Warrant Officer Ellen Ripley was a big boost to female talent at that time, and while Weaver continued her box-office draw in comedy with other classics such as ‘Ghostbusters’ and ‘Working Girl’, the 80s saw her return to the role of Ripley in 1986s ‘Aliens’.

This time, Weaver led a group of male supporting actors as space marines to return to and wipe out the colony of aliens and their queen to save the galaxy from extinction. Weaver gave just as good as she got in terms of attitude, action and ability. A fine actress of her generation, she carried over a humane side to her tough-talking and ass-kicking Ripley going up against the deadly aliens and held her own, much like John McClane in ‘Die Hard’, being an everyday person up against the odds but who handles weaponry and heavy machinery as easy as breathing. Weaver cemented a successful and iconic role in an already iconic franchise and is one of the few female actors to carve out a successful action hero over the years.

Now, sadly, I have to rein this piece in because I could go on exploring defining actors and their roles for many more pages, but you all have lives and I must let you get on with them.

I hope this small glimpse into what the 1980s gave us in terms of action resonates with you. A handful of international actors helped produced dozens of action films with the support of creative talent such as James Cameron and Joel Silver that would resonate for years to come and also help launch female talent in front of and behind the camera around the world. The 80s gave us simple pleasures without the need for extensive plots, complicated stories and bloated character development. The era is almost a golden age of simplicity and it’s that simplicity that makes it so easy to return to watch any action film of the time for nothing but entertainment and enjoyment.

There are many more stars out there I could have mentioned. I’ll leave you with a handful more here to explore in your own time as ones who also helped define the action decade:

  • Jackie Chan (‘Police Story’, ‘Project A’)
  • Jean-Claude Van Damme (‘Bloodsport’, ‘Kickboxer’)
  • Harrison Ford (‘Raiders Of The Lost Ark’, ‘Blade Runner’)
  • Mel Gibson (‘Mad Max 2’, ‘Lethal Weapon’)
  • Chuck Norris (‘The Delta Force’, ‘Missing In Action’)
  • Kurt Russell (‘The Thing’, ‘Big Trouble In Little China’)

Yippie-ki-yay, mother f….

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JUMPCUT’S Favourites: License to Kill

Here at JUMPCUT we love to discuss all kinds of films, but nothing beats talking about your absolute all-time favourite! We asked our team to write a piece on their #1 film of all time to share with our readers and tell us just what makes it so great.

This is the first post of our series, which will be continuing over the next few weeks in-between our regular reviews and news posts.

License To Kill

Year: 1989
Directed by: John Glen
Starring: Timothy Dalton, Robert Davi, Carey Lowell, Talisa Soto

Written by Chris Gelderd

In 2006, Daniel Craig arrived at the right time to re-invent James Bond as a more faithful interpretation of the darker secret agent that author Ian Fleming originally penned in 1953s ‘Casino Royale’. It was all about timing. 4 years after the fantasy mess of ‘Die Another Day’, Bond was in trouble and needed a drastic change which he certainly got. Critics heaped praise upon ‘Casino Royale’s story, cast, crew and our modern day 007, Daniel Craig.

But rewind the franchise back twenty years to 1986 and one Timothy Dalton did exactly the same thing taking over from the late, great Sir Roger Moore in ‘The Living Daylights’. But it is his second and final Bond film stands tallest. 1989’s ‘Licence To Kill’.

This is a truly excellent and refreshingly different 007 adventure, yet sadly seen as a being “too dark” as a Bond film, and many finding it hard to cope with a drastic transition of 2 very different actors. This just means the world wasn’t ready for the Fleming-esque qualities Dalton brilliantly brought to the role.  It’s also sad that he bows out after just 2 films. But he does so in explosive fashion as James Bond seeks revenge with him operating outside of Her Majesty’s Secret Service and going rogue inside the heart of the drug operation fronted by the ruthless Franz Sanchez, played wonderfully by Robert Davi.

 

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We are limited to the gadgets, one-liners and the flamboyance of super-villains and super-weapons. It’s a real-world threat of taking down a powerful drug baron and his cartel responsible for endangering the lives of millions without the need for destroying the world itself. We see the darker side to 007 as his world is turned upside down at the hands of Sanchez. The cast are grounded in their roles and not one feels out of place. Our Bond girl, Carey Lowell, is tough, resourceful and kicks as much ass as 007. It’s also nice to see David Hedison return as Felix Leiter, last seen in 1973s ‘Live And Let Die’.

This is a real dose of grown up action for the Bond series which never lets me down and boasts some of the most exciting and dangerous stunt work and action sequences in a 007 film, like the water-ski escape from the Florida Keys to the finale set around an explosive tanker truck chase down a winding mountain road. There is also a real sense of espionage to this which was often lost in previous films with lots of infiltration inside the criminal underworld, manipulation and working above the law to get the job done, just as you’d expect James Bond to do.

And as this was the first ever James Bond film I saw 23 years ago that I picked from the recorded video collection of some secret agent called James Bond that my late Grandad passed onto me, it holds a special place in my heart for that reason above all else.

Watch This Space: 9th – 15th October

Every Monday we will be recommending films that are on TV that week, films playing at the cinema, and also remind you of those brilliant films hiding on streaming services, such as Netflix and Amazon Prime, and possibly in your own collection.

In Cinemas

Blade Runner 2049: Fans of the original have waited 35 years for a sequel to ‘Blade Runner’, and last week their wish was granted. It may not be receiving the best numbers at the box office, but fans and critics alike can’t help but share their love the this masterpiece. Our full review will be on site later today!

Star Wars: The Last Jedi: Whilst we know it’s not December yet, we thought we’d take this opportunity to remind you that tickets for ‘The Last Jedi’ go on sale Tuesday AM (UK), and with them comes a brand new trailer! We’ll have it up on site as soon as it hits the web!

The Mountain Between Us: Idris Elba and Kate Winslet are stranded after a tragic plane crash. They must forge a connection to survive the extreme elements of a remote snow covered mountain. ‘The Mountain Between Us’ opened in UK cinemas last Friday, and our full review will be up soon!

On TV

Monday

Se7en (1995): If you discount ‘Alien 3’ because, well, who wouldn’t, ‘Se7en’ was our introduction to a master filmmaker. David Fincher has blessed us with numerous films that rightfully earn their place on countless best films ever lists, though arguably none have managed to be as high on said lists as ‘Se7en.’ It’s a crime noir starring a pre-Fight Club and Morgan Freeman as they investigate a string of murders all based on the seven deadly sins. It’s a deceptively clever thriller that keeps you engaged, guessing, and shocked at some of the truly messed up ways the sins have been visualised as murder scenes. On a personal note, ‘Se7en’ is one of my favourite films of all time. This film can be watched and rewatched countless times and you will still find new things to love about it, right up until it’s brilliant, soul-crushing climax.

 

Tuesday

Southpaw (2015): Directed by Antoine Fuqua and starring Jake Gyllenhaal, ‘Southpaw‘ is the gritty drama about a successful pro boxer who goes off the hinges after his wife is shot at a press event. Gyllenhaal delivers a strong and heavyweight performance as Billy “The Great’ Hope, a husband and father who wins titles in the ring, but ultimately loses himself outside. He’s on top of the world, beating opponents to a pulp with a fight fueled by anger. Hope must rehabilitate himself in order to take back his life and the custody of his daughter. Gyllenhaal’s character is aggressive and the onscreen punches are impressive. If you want something decent and gritty that isn’t afraid to throw punches, this is your film. Catch this knockout boxing drama on Film4 at 9pm.

Wednesday

Locke (2013): One of Tom Hardy’s most astonishing performances makes for an audacious film. Almost entirely a one-man monologue delivered over the course of a long night-time road trip. We watch as Locke slowly unravels and details of his career and personal life are revealed through a series of confessional phone conversations. Remarkable that this film was made at all and I’m very glad it was. Alongside ‘The Drop’ – one of Hardy’s best but underseen roles. Highly recommend.

Dirty Dancing (1987): An iconic soundtrack runs throughout this 80s classic, set in the 60s and telling the tale of a summer romance. Rich girl Baby meets bad boy and dirtier dancer Johnny and an illicit affair is sparked. Throw in a watermelon, a botched abortion and a corner where NOBODY puts Baby and you have one of the most quotable films of a generation. Again, if you haven’t seen it, why not? Rectify this immediately!

The Green Mile (1999): In the season of Stephen King adaptations, why not visit one of the most profound and heart-breaking? Tom Hanks (one of Hollywood’s most reliable actors) stars as Paul Edgecomb, who accompanies men down the ‘mile’, the walk cons take to the chair, to the death. When he meets the simple and naive John Coffey (played to perfection by Michael Clarke Duncan), a giant of a man accused of murdering two young girls, Paul begins to question John’s guilt.

Legally Blonde (2001): Elle Woods (Reese Witherspoon) has everything: hot shot law student boyfriend, top spot in a prestigious sorority house, a stellar fashion sense, and the most infectiously lovely personality. When her sure-to-be future husband unceremoniously dumps her for being too blonde, she is determined to win him back. Using her unstoppable willpower and wit, she gets into Harvard Law School, and brings all her charm, a splash of pink and her chihuahua with her. Riotously fun and positive, Legally Blonde is the perfect antidote to the darker nights.

Thursday

License to Kill (1989): Rewind 17 years before Daniel Craig made James Bond a badass, and you’ll find Timothy Dalton doing it just as good if not better this time in the darkest 007 film of all. Going up against drug baron Robert Davi with the aid of the kick-ass Carey Lowell, Dalton shoots, stabs, water-skis, parachutes and punches his way into the heart of a dangerous drug cartel to bring them down from the inside in a mission of revenge. Blistering action, brutal violence and a real film of it’s time. The world wasn’t ready for a darker 007. Well, they are now. Enjoy!

Titanic (1997): What can be said about the biggest film in the world? I can’t imagine there are many people left who haven’t seen it. It’s a classic tale of boy meets girl, girl meets enormous blue diamond, iceberg meets boat, floating door not big enough for two people. Despite all the cliches, the second half of the film is still quite thrilling and visually spectacular. Get it in your eyeballs.

Friday

GoldenEye (1995): The Cold War is over, but there are plenty of reasons for James Bond to thrill us in the wake of a 6 year absence from an early end to Timothy Dalton’s run in 1989. Old and new cast and crew come together to take 007 to new heights with classic elements laced with a new, modern twist. Pierce Brosnon re-introduces Bond to a new generation of fans going up against rogue agent Sean Bean from bringing the world to it’s knees with a hi-tech super-weapon. With death-defying stunts, loud action sequences, a rousing theme and all the martinis, girls and guns we’ve come to expect from 007, it’s a new era but one that proves nobody does it better still.

Last Action Hero (1993):  The film that easily divides many Arnold Schwarzenegger fans, this is actually far cleverer than it appears and delves into the self-parodying track of spoofing the action genre and Hollywood in general. Director John McTiernan makes sure the action is played out tongue-in-cheek as we jump from inside the silver screen and beyond when Arnie goes up against villain Charles Dance. As long as the film is understood to be a mockery of the thing it tries to be, it comes across more enjoyable than if watched to be a serious actioner. And don’t worry, there are many Arnie one-liners a plenty here. “Iced that guy, to cone a phrase!”

Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part I (2011): The Twilight Saga lives on with its second to last installment, based on the novel Breaking Dawn. Bella Swan, the average girl who fell hard for vampire stud Edward Cullen, gets married and soon becomes impregnated with a half-mortal, half-immortal child. Seen as a potential threat to the local wolf pack and humans, the Cullen family must help Bella survive her pregnancy, and protect their livelihood in Washington. The young Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson reprise their roles in this fairytale drama that grossed big box office numbers among book and film fans alike.Catch the popular endearing story on E4 at 9pm.

Gladiator (2000): It’s Friday, and we all know what that means. A cosy night in, all snuggled up in front of the TV with snacks aplenty. And what better way to spend your Friday evening by watching Ridley Scott’s epic ‘Gladiator’, a 155-minute spectacle that throws you into the gladiator pits of Ancient Rome. With mesmerising cinematography by John Mathieson and career-defining performances from Russell Crowe and Joaquin Phoenix, ‘Gladiator’ is an epic that stands shoulder-to-shoulder with other grand, cinematic spectacles like ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ and ‘Ben-Hur’. A must-see.

 

Hiding Online / In Our Collection / Out This Week

 

Wonder Woman (2017): Yesterday we were treated to the final ‘Justice League’ trailer in which we saw Wonder Woman, along with Bruce Wayne, assemble the League to save the world. As of today, ‘Wonder Woman’ is yours to take home on DVD/Blu-ray in the UK! With it’s record breaking run at the box office almost complete, we can probably expect more records to be broken on her home release.

Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (1994): Allllrriigghhttyy then! 1994 was a very good year for Jim Carrey. During this breakout year he starred in not one, not two, but three comedy classics. Dumb and Dumber and The Mask were great for Carrey to showcase his talents, but Ace Ventura was the one that he really was allowed to let loose in. With his rubber face cranked up to 11 and his limbs in a non stop hurricane of madness, Ace is a character that Jim Carrey looked like he had the best time playing. It shines through in his performance. The premise is simple. Ace Ventura is hired by the Miami Dolphins to find their missing mascot, Snowflake the Dolphin. What follows is 87 minutes of pure 90s gold. With support from Courtney Cox and Sean Young, Jim Carrey’s Ace Ventura Pet Detective is an easy, fun comedy which will keep you entertained for all its duration. They don’t really make them like this anymore so catch it while you can.

Fast Five (2011): The Fast and Furious franchise, whether you love it or hate it, can be an entertaining breakaway from the mundaneness of everyday life. The absurd car chases, the improbable yet insanely fun shootouts, even the fast-paced fight sequences in which the franchise is renowned for is especially present in the fifth instalment; ‘Fast Five’. Arguably the best in the now 8-film series, ‘Fast Five’ is relentless in its presentation, and with the addition of Dwayne Johnson’s hulking Hobbs joining the rest of the charismatic roster, ‘Fast Five’ rejuvenated a franchise that most felt was on its way out. Popcorn entertainment has never looked so good, so be sure not to miss it!

The Notebook (2004):  If you’re a hopeless romantic, the latest addition to the Netflix roster is for you. Adapted from a Nicholas Sparks novel (king of the rom-com), The Notebook is a story of everlasting love told in two timelines. With notes of The Princess Bride (‘Always’) and Romeo & Juliet (forbidden love), the lead characters are so irresistible to root for. Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams as Noah and Allie bring to screen one of the most authentic representations of first love and teenage love, one that is sure to make you feel sentimental. Watch this under a blanket with a hot cup of cocoa.

A huge thank you to contributors this week: Dave Curtis, Chris Gelderd, Jessica Peña, Rhys Bowen-Jones, Fiona Underhill, Corey Hughes, Sasha Hornby

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It’s Official – Daniel Craig Confirms Return As James Bond

After flip-flopping over the subject for many months now, Daniel Craig has officially confirmed he will return for the role as James Bond for the 25th film of the franchise. He made the statement on ‘The Late Show with Stephen Colbert’, which you can see in the video below.

Craig also apologised to people who had previously interviewed him before this announcement who he told that he wasn’t returning to the role. Craig does go on to say that he does feel that this next film will be hist last and that he wants to “go out on a high”, although he did say the same thing during the press tour of ‘Spectre’, and here we are!

The As-Yet-Untitled ‘Bond 25’ has a release date of 8th November 2019

Sir Roger Moore – Nobody Did It Better

Written by Chris Gelderd

Mention the name James Bond to anyone. What do they think of? The danger of Sir Sean Connery? The gadgets, girls and guns? The hunky Daniel Craig? Quite possibly, but in a few seconds they will think about memorable villains who one actor faced, a classic opening theme who one actor entered to, lots of eye-rolling puns that one actor made iconic and a charming British persona that was, and still is, unmatched.

This one actor blended so much classic iconography into the role of James Bond that, favourite or not, he became quite possible the defining face of Britain’s number one spy; Sir Roger Moore.

Sir Roger, the beloved actor who played James Bond for 7 years, has sadly passed away after a brave battle with cancer. It is my honour to write a short piece on the man we knew and loved both on and off screen.

Born in 1927 and following a wonderfully ordinary childhood, Roger George Moore wanted to be an actor from a very early age, but his dreams were cut short with national service as the Second World War hit, and National Service loomed. It was only after the war did Roger study at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, learning much and meeting many faces who would shape and influence his career.

After graduation and working as male model and taking extra television work when he could, Roger didn’t hit the big-time. Even with his dashing good looks and British charm, not even a film contract with MGM IN 1954 helped boost his name, with a few small roles here and there. Nor did a move to Warner Brothers in 1959. Roger Moore was, effectively, a nobody.

Turning his attention to the small screen back to his home country of England, what better role could fit this aforementioned handsome, charming man than Sir Wilfred of Ivanhoe in ‘Ivanhoe’, an adaptation of the 1819 romance novel in in the 12th century.  That was when the small-screen called. Following ‘Ivanhoe’, Roger followed suit with ‘The Alaskans’ and later ‘Maverick’, both American westerns.

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From these roles that helped expand his quality at acting, screen presence and passion for the industry, another TV show came along. ‘The Saint’.  In 1962 (when a little film called ‘Dr.No’ was released introducing the world to James Bond), Roger Moore was launched internationally as a household name in playing the suave, womanising, cunning and dangerous Simon Templar for 7 years.

Following that, a newly married (for the 3rd time!) Roger starred in ‘The Persuaders!’ from 1971 to 1973 alongside Tony Curtis as a couple of millionaire playboys who got into all sorts of adventures. It was also in 1971 that Sean Connery stepped down for the final time as James Bond, leaving the door wide open for a new actor to take on the role as the suave, sophisticated secret agent.

Free from his television contracts, Roger, the most famous Brit on TV at that time, was signed by Bond producers Albert R Broccoli and Harry Saltzman to appear as 007 in 1973s ‘Live And Let Die’. Nothing was ever the same again. Not even the everyday raise of the eyebrow.

Spanning twelve years from 1973 to 1985 and covering 7 movies, Roger Moore became, and still is, the longest serving James Bond actor, and also the oldest, aged 43 in his debut and 58 in his finale. Not one to shy from work he loved, Roger starred in many dramas and action films during his Bond era that shaped him as an actor to bring charm, humour, excitement and action to his roles, such as ‘The Wild Geese’, ‘The Cannonball Run’ and ‘Gold’.

Roger was a very different Bond from Sean Connery, and has never been matched. He brought warmth and humour to the role, but was never afraid to show a dangerous side to his spy. He was the “family friendly” Bond that appealed to all generations and helped Bond gain many new followers and fans. He was also part of some iconic Bond moments that are memorable 40 years on. From the villains he faced, to the gadgets he used, the cars he drove and the one-liners he purred out, Roger Moore gave us a 007 like never before.

Following his finale of ‘A View To A Kill’ in 1985 as Roger hung up his Walther PPK, he took a deserved break from acting until 1990 when he started a quieter career in select films, television work and even pantomimes, injecting that trademark self-parody and passion to any role he took on as actor or presenter.

But it wasn’t just acting that Roger took on. In 1991 he was inspired by good friend Audrey Hepburn and became a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador. It was the continued acting and charity work that led to Roger becoming a ‘Commander of the Order of the British Empire’ (CBE) in 1999 followed by a ‘Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire’ (KBE) in 2003 to take the title “Sir”. He also met his fourth wife, Kristina Tholstrup in 2002 whom he was with until the end, but not before suffering a tragedy in 2016 when they lost their daughter, Christina, 47, to cancer.

Roger continued to work in voice-over and adverts from 2009 onwards, as well as his dedicated charity work. He also continued to be the unofficial ambassador for James Bond 20 years after he parted the role. From stage shows to talk about his life, promoting new 007 merchandise and writing books on his life and career, Roger never stopped, and nor did his passion for his work, his family and his fans.

Suave, sophisticated and not remotely serious, which is why we loved him and will continue to love him, thanks to his legacy on and off screen.

Thank you, Sir Roger. Thank you for keeping the British end up.

Sir Roger Moore, 1927 – 2017.

Decade Definers: 1960s

Written by Chris Winterbottom and Jakob Lewis Barnes

Throughout history, cinema has reflected, echoed and even preempted societal shifts that occur through the ages, and that’s where our Decade Definers series comes in. We’ll take a look at the world, decade by decade, and discuss how the films of that era represented the attitudes, fears, desires and innovations of our society.

In this, the first of the series, we take a look at the 1960s – a period which produced some of the most awe-inspiring, revolutionary and shocking moments in modern history. The swinging sixties; what a time to be alive! A time of political upheaval, technological revolution, sexual and ideological liberation and of course, rock and roll. Presidents were killed, people fought and died for freedom and equality, music transcended entertainment, and man even walked on the moon. In our lifetime, there have been many events that have shook the world – both positively, and overwhelmingly negatively – but perhaps not as frequently as the events seen throughout the 1960s. So, which really encapsulate what this fascinating decade was all about?

Continue reading

Is Bond 25 Production More Advanced Than Initially Thought?

It always seems to be the way that not long after the dust settles with one Bond film, speculation begins about the next. Bond 25 is no exception to this, with conjecture and rumour all over the internet. ‘Spectre’ was barely in cinemas when Daniel Craig in no subtle terms indicated that he would rather slash his wrists than play James Bond again, leaving many fans believing that Craig had just tendered his resignation with immediate effect. This said, producers have vehemently tried to get Daniel Craig on board by reportedly offering him $150 million for his commitment to another two films, although this sum has not been confirmed by the studio or any representative of the actor.

Daniel Craig’s involvement in the next film grows tenuous, as replacement names emerge from Hollywood’s ether; notably Tom Hiddleston gave an impressive performance during his James Bond screen test, otherwise known as ‘The Night Manager’. You would certainly be forgiven for believing that Bond 25 is just a mishmash of gossip, desperate pleas, and tabloid misinterpretations. With no Bond, no title, no director, and no whiff of a plot to speak of, it must be said that the future direction of the franchise seems very uncertain. Almost too uncertain perhaps? A few weeks ago a German aviation museum in Wernigerode confirmed that a Bell UHD-1D helicopter was purchased by the James Bond production company (Eon) and is to be transported to the UK. This is then followed by the Mayor of Dubrovnik (Croatia) confirming that the city and Eon Productions are in advanced negotiations for filming of Bond 25 to begin later this year. This won’t be the first time that Dubrovnik has hosted film productions with ‘Game of Thrones’ and ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ filming in the city in 2016, and ‘Robin Hood: Origins’ set to start filming soon.

With props being bought and locations scouted, this scarcely seems the activities of a studio without an idea. I wouldn’t be surprised if we soon hear more news surrounding the next film. Although one thing is for certain, producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson know how to play their cards very close to their chest.

Written by Mark F. Putley

Top 10 Movie Characters of All Time

Written by Daniel Chadwick

It’s the age old debate – who is the best character to ever grace the silver screen. In my introduction to JumpCut UK, I will try to tackle this tricky question and offer some insight into the ultimate form of art. For every Han Solo, there is also an Atticus Finch, and this list tries to find the balance between the nerdy and the dramatic. So here we go…


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10. Lou Bloom (Nightcrawler) – Jake Gyllenhaal

Jake Gyllenhaal is without a doubt one of the greatest actors of our time. It’s honestly a shock that the man only has one Oscar nomination, especially considering his turn in this underrated crime-noir masterpiece. In ‘Nightcrawler’, Gyllenhaal stars as Lou Bloom, an ambitious man who will do whatever it takes to find success in this crazy world. So he decides to become a nightcrawler; filming crimes and accidents, and delivering them to the local news station for a sweet fee. Gyllenhaal not only transformed drastically for the role, but completely captures the sociopathic tendencies of this character. He’s creepy, darkly funny and delivers the performance of his career. For us, he was much more deserving of an Oscar win than Eddie Redmayne, and worse still, he didn’t even get nominated for this performance.


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9. Tony Stark AKA Iron-Man (Marvel Cinematic Universe) – Robert Downey Jr.

Iron-Man is pretty much the reason the Marvel Cinematic Universe exists and thrives today. This special character is the reason so many comic book movies have been made, and studios have taken risks on movies like ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ and ‘Deadpool’ have been made. This character also jump-started Robert Downey Jr.’s career. As Tony Stark, he’s suave, charming, funny and a lot of the time is the best part of any Marvel movie. We have a lot to thank Iron-Man for, and he definitely earns his spot in this top 10 movie characters of all time.


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8. Mr. White (Reservoir Dogs) – Harvey Keitel

Quentin Tarantino writes so many instantly memorable characters, that the perpetual debate as to which is the best still rages on today. Some cite Hans Landa (Christoph Waltz) from ‘Inglorious Basterds’, others might say The Bride from ‘Kill Bill’. But for me the one character that always stands out is Mr. White from Tarantino’s first (and in my opinion his best) film, ‘Reservoir Dogs’. Harvey Keitel portrays a cool, collected criminal and is by far the stand-out star of a movie filled with talent. Somehow he makes Tarantino’s script even better and that’s no mean feat. He’s one of the only Dogs that you connect to, considering most of them are sociopaths (or psychopaths) and his father-like love for Tim Roth’s Mr. Orange is visibly moving.


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7. James Bond (Bond Series) – Sean Connery

People constantly argue about who the best James Bond is, with many millennials claiming that Daniel Craig’s Bond is the best, but that’s far from the truth. The man who brought Bond to life on the screen for the first time, Sean Connery, was the definitive Bond and is by far the most faithful adaptation of the ultimate spy. Bond was always supposed to be a little corny, and Connery embraced that completely. He had an abundance of fantastic one-liners – way before Arnold Schwarzenegger came along – and he completely captured the cool, suave characteristics of the greatest spy to ever grace the screen. Long live the one true Bond.


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6. Han Solo (Star Wars Franchise) – Harrison Ford

Han Solo has slowly but surely become the epitome of ‘Star Wars’ nerdendom. Fans, whether they be nerds or just part of the mainstream audience, adore Harrison Ford’s iconic character, and the beloved character is one of the major factors in ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ being so popular. He’s the ultimate hero, has quotes that are so memorable they are immortalised on posters and t-shirts the world over, and is just an all-round awesome movie character. If there’s one thing you can thank George Lucas for, besides bringing us ‘Star Wars’, it is creating this loveable rogue.


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5.  Sarah Connor (Terminator Franchise) – Linda Hamilton

Sarah Connor lives on in action folklore as one of the most kick-ass women to ever hit the big screen. James Cameron created a character that was not only good with a gun, but also interesting, layered and brave. There’s a lot of people who would not even consider fighting a Terminator on this list, but she is not one of them, that’s for sure. Forget ‘Terminator Genysis’, if you want the real Sarah Connor go no further than Linda Hamilton in the first two ‘Terminator’ movies.


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4. The Joker (The Dark Knight) – Heath Ledger

With Jared Leto starring in ‘Suicide Squad’ as the Joker, it’s inevitable that everyone is talking about how he’ll compare to Heath Ledger and Jack Nicholson. I’m going to come out and say the honest truth that we are all thinking – no one will ever come close to Ledger. His bloody, crazy performance as the Joker will never be topped ,and I stand by that fully. He may be a full-on psychopath, but that doesn’t mean he’s not a seriously cool depiction of the most infamous comic book villain. Ledger completely transforms in the role in a way that I’ve never seen before on film (and I doubt I will ever see again). Rest in peace Heath Ledger, because you will be remembered for decades to come.


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3. Indiana Jones (Indiana Jones Franchise) – Harrison Ford

There are probably some of you in shock right now, wondering how Indy is not sitting pretty at number one on the list. ‘Indiana Jones’ is one of the best adventure stories out there, and the leading man would easily have been number one on the list if it hadn’t been for the pretty average ‘Kingdom of the Crystal Skull’. Indy is smooth with the ladies, knows how to use his whip and beats Nazis like it’s nobodies business. Here’s hoping for a brilliant ‘Indiana Jones 5’.


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2. Gandalf (The Lord of the Rings & The Hobbit Trilogies) – Ian McKellen

It was always going to be hard to find an actor who could live up to the greatness of Gandalf in ‘The Lord of the Rings’ adaptations. But in Sir Ian McKellen, they found a brilliant Gandalf and someone who did so well with the character that he got an Oscar nomination for his portrayal. This wizard is as mysterious as he is awesome, and McKellen translates that perfectly. He’s also brilliant in ‘The Hobbit’ series, even though those movies were not close to the brilliance of ‘The Lord of the Rings’.


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1. Atticus Finch (To Kill a Mockingbird) – Gregory Peck

The great Gregory Peck played many brilliant characters throughout his legendary career, but none as effective and brilliant as Atticus Finch, a man who fought for what was right, even when it meant going against the norm. This character is firm, righteous and has so many memorable monologues that it’s hard to keep track. It’s unbelievable to think that Peck’s performance made Finch even better in the movie than he was in the book; a worthy winner for me.


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Honourable mentions have to be given to Neo (Keanu Reeves) in ‘The Matrix’ and Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale) in ‘American Psycho’; close, but no cigar guys. What do you think of my list? If you think I missed anyone out, or just want to congratulate me on a job well done, find me on Twitter @GetReelMovies and let’s have a good ol’ debate.

Watch This Space: October 26 – November 1

Welcome to your weekly go-to film guide – WatchThisSpace – where we recommend what to watch in the cinema and on the television, and remind you of those brilliant films hiding in your DVD collection. This week, it’s all about spooks and scares, as we celebrate Hallowe’en!

IN THE CINEMA

It’s seemed like an eternity since the cinematic release date for ‘Spectre’ was announced, but the time is finally here! James Bond’s return to the big screen promises to be fantastic. Cast and crew have all claimed that this is the most ambitious Bond film of all time, in terms of scale and stunts. This may also be the final time that Daniel Craig will be starring as Britain’s best suave, super-spy, so we’re hoping this will be a fitting end to arguably the best Bond era there has ever been.

ON THE TV

Seeing as though it’s Hallowe’en this week (and given the fact that this is an awful week for films on television), we’ve decided to give you a run down of the best spooky films on offer on the 31st.

16:55 GMT: They’re creepy and they’re kooky, mysterious and spooky. They’re altogether ooky. The Addams Family! At least that’s all I needed to get in the mood to watch this one! Watch the playful, family friendly, ‘The Addams Family’ on Film4 this afternoon.

18:00 GMT: Simply a classic in the genre of all things ghoulish, ‘Ghostbusters’ is a must watch this Hallowe’en on Comedy Central. It will make for some pleasant family afternoon viewing before the really scary stuff starts later on at night. So make the most of it whilst you can!

21:00 GMT: One of many adaptations of Bram Stoker’s famous fictional vampire, but 1992’s ‘Dracula’ is regarded by many as one of the best. Starring Gary Oldman, Anthony Hopkins, Winona Ryder and Keanu Reeves under the direction of Francis Ford Coppola, this star studded adaptation hits all the right notes for a spooky night in. Tune in to Film4 for this classic horror/romance.

22:00 GMT: Undoubtedly one of the “big three”, ‘A Nightmare On Elm Street’ is more than a match for the ‘Halloween’ and ‘Friday the 13th’ franchises, in definitively classic Halloween Horror movies, with plenty of sequels out of which to make a malicious movie marathon. Don’t miss Freddy Kruger at his filthiest on Dave and make sure to tuck in the covers extra tight! A near-perfect Halloween weekend picture.

22:25 GMT: Drew Goddard’s ‘The Cabin In The Woods’ is a film which has really divided audiences down the years. Some praise the originality, whilst others call it completely ridiculous and nonsensical. It’s a film that certainly ticks the boxes in terms of scares, gore and monsters but the plot is pretty far fetched. If you can open up your imagination and get involved in the narrative, head to Channel 5 tonight and get behind the sofa!

DIG IT OUT

This is our favourite part of the WatchThisSpace section. We delve into our own DVD collection and pick out some amazing films, that may not instantly spring to mind when you’re stuck for inspiration to make your movie night a success. Maybe you’ve never seen a film that we pick – or even heard of them for that matter – but you’re gonna have to trust us on this one, and Dig It Out.

Creep: Not the Radiohead documentary we’ve all been craving. Instead, a delightfully dark, found-footage thriller, starring the terrific two man duet of Mark Duplass and Patrick Brice. When a videographer answers a Craigslist ad for a one-day shoot in a remote mountain town, he finds his client is not at all what he initially seems. A tremendously unnerving indie picture, that debuted out of 2014’s SXSW Film Festival, ‘Creep’ is a must-watch for anybody who likes Duplass’ work, and is sure to keep you on the edge of your seat!

Phantom Of The Opera: The 2004 film adaption of the masterpiece musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber and French Novel, Le Fantôme de l’Opéra. A tremendous box-office success, ‘Phantom Of The Opera’, is delightfully mysterious, spooky, and musically inclined. Although panned by critics, this horror drama, directed by Joel Schumacher, is entertaining nonetheless for fans of the classic tale. Catch Gerard Butler in his best pre-spartan role, and dwell in the fantastic sets, magnificent costumes, great art direction, and imaginative camera work that will immerse you in such a dangerous time!

The Purge: You know the annoying guy in your office who’s always bragging about how great life is? Or the jerk that cuts you off in traffic with a stupid smirking face? Well, it’s time for payback. Release your vicious angst and vengeful thoughts with this horrifyingly wicked, mischievously original concept – for 24 hours, once every year, there is no law. Find out how truly terrifying it can be when there is no way to protect yourself and your family with this underrated hit.

Slumdog Millionaire: Danny Boyle’s new biopic, ‘Steve Jobs’, premiered in London this week, to a widely warm reception, with it already being tipped for academy awards. One of Boyle’s most celebrated films, by audiences and critics alike, was the 2008 smash hit, ‘Slumdog Millionaire’. If you’re done with frights and trick or treaters, this winner of 8 Academy Awards, is perfect. The film follows Jamal (Dev Patel), who is arrested under suspicion of cheating his way to a fortune on India’s favourite game show, Who Wants to Be A Millionaire. The film takes you on a journey through every walk of life across India, from the grand palaces and the Taj Mahal to the criminal undergrounds where human traffickers rule the cities. This moving and breathtaking film is an absolute must see if you haven’t already.

This week’s WatchThisSpace was compiled by Nick Deal and Patrick Alexander.