Timeline of Greatest Film
Milestones and Turning Points
in Film History


The Year 1985

Timeline of Greatest Film History Milestones and Turning Points
(by decade and year)
Introduction | Pre-1900s | 1900s | 1910s | 1920s | 1930s | 1940s | 1950s
1960s | 1970s | 1980s | 1990s | 2000s | 2010s
1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989

The Year 1985
Year
Event and Significance
1985
Robert Redford's Sundance Institute (established in 1980) took over the Utah/US Film Festival by 1986. It was named after Redford's character in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969). Later in 1991, it was renamed the Sundance Film Festival (held annually since 1981 in January in Park City, Utah and expanded in length) - "dedicated to the support and development of emerging screenwriters and directors of vision, and to the national and international exhibition of new, independent dramatic and documentary films." The first Grand Jury Prize went to the Coen Brothers noirish debut film Blood Simple (1984).
1985
The first Blockbuster Video store opened in Dallas, Texas.
1985
Cable-TV's The Discovery Channel launched or debuted on June 17, 1985.
1985
The 6th highest-grossing (domestic) film at the box-office in 1985 was director Ron Howard's science-fiction Cocoon (1985), at $76.1 million. It was the winner of two Oscar Academy Awards: Best Visual Effects, and Best Supporting Actor (Don Ameche). It wove together a story about elderly folks in the Sunny Shores retirement home, and a group of peaceful aliens from the planet Antarea. A group of retired residents, including Ben (Wilford Brimley), Arthur (Don Ameche) and Joe (Hume Cronyn), became rejuvenated in a swimming pool by the youthful energy of the aliens. Its sequel Cocoon: The Return (1988), was both a critical and financial failure.
1985
Tim Burton's feature-length film directorial debut was for Pee-wee's Big Adventure (1985), starring Paul Reubens as eccentric man-child Pee-wee Herman. Surprisingly, it was a very successful film, ranked 19th in domestic films of 1985, with $40.9 million in revenue. The comedy-adventure film was very loosely inspired by The Bicycle Thief (1948, It.) about the search for a stolen bicycle. Reubens had been the star of a stage show titled The Pee-wee Herman Show (which was taped and aired as an HBO special), and went on the following year to star in CBS-TV's Pee-wee's Playhouse, running from 1986-1990. A film sequel also followed - Big Top Pee-wee (1988).
1985
Director Just Jaeckin's Emmanuelle (1974, Fr.), the first of a series of soft-core films (and lots of imitations) starring Sylvia Kristel, finished its record 10 year plus showing (since June 1974) in early February 1985 at the Paris Triomphe Cinema on the Champs-Elysées, beating out previous record-holder West Side Story.
1985
One of Arnold Schwarzenegger's best action-thriller films was Commando (1985), with a huge body count and lots of quotable one-liners (for example: "I eat Green Berets for breakfast. And right now, I'm very hungry!," and "Don't disturb my friend, he's dead tired," and "Let off some steam, Bennett..."). It took in $35.1 million (domestic) and was ranked 25th in the year's rankings of domestic box-office revenue. The actor declined to appear in the sequel planned for the following year. The script was reworked with a new central character, eventually played by Bruce Willis in Die Hard (1988).
1985
More than 45 top American recording artists gathered after the American Music Award ceremony on January 28, 1985 to record We Are the World, a single written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie, released to raise money for African famine relief.
1985
John Hughes' coming-of-age teen film The Breakfast Club (1985) was one of the best high school movies of the decade. It was extremely influential in its depiction of five stereotypical teen characters (populars, jocks, druggies, brains, and loner groups), all portrayed by Brat Packers. They were attendees at a Saturday school detention while experiencing teen angst - struggling with issues of conformity and parental values. In the end, they all wrote one letter to Mr. Vernon, signed "The Breakfast Club," to describe their group as a whole: "...we think you are crazy for making us write an essay telling you who we think we are. You see us as you want to see us, in the most simplest term, in the most convenient definitions. But what we found out, is that each one of us is a brain, and an athlete, and a basket case, a princess, and a criminal. Does that answer your question?" It was one of the biggest hits of 1985 (#16), earning $45.9 million (domestic), on a budget of about $1 million.
1985
The low-quality Blood Cult (1985) about devil worship, shot entirely on videotape, was the first horror film designed explicitly for the video market. It signaled the start of features made specifically for the home-video market (also the destination for sub-standard feature films unworthy of release), now that VCRs were abundant.
1985
Steven Spielberg's The Color Purple (1985) was nominated for eleven Academy Awards and won zero Oscars - tying a record. This 'un-achievement' tied the shutout record held previously by The Turning Point (1977) - both films had the most nominations (11) without a single win.
1985
Female director Lisa Gottlieb's intelligent, PG-13 rated film Just One of the Guys (1985) was a teen sex 'comedy of errors' (about gender switching and cross-dressing), partly inspired by the Shakespeare play 'Twelfth Night'. It told about a frustrated aspiring high school journalism senior, Theresa Griffith (busty Joyce Hyser), who switched high schools and went undercover, masquerading as freshman boy Terry (also Hyser), in order to write a serious article on gender discrimination. The film's startling conclusion was when Terry ripped off her shirt to reveal her breasts - to prove that she was female and not gay.
1985
75 year-old Japanese director Akira Kurosawa's historical samurai epic Ran (1985, Jp.), a re-interpretation of Shakespeare's King Lear, was released. It was the last of his great masterpieces.
1985
Hunk film star Rock Hudson, a closet homosexual, died at his home in Beverly Hills, California, at age 59 after a battle with AIDS. He was the first celebrity to announce publically that he had AIDS. As a result of the disclosure, the Reagan Administration finally responded to and acknowledged the burgeoning AIDS epidemic.
1985
The comedy Topper (1937) was the very first B/W feature film to be released to the home video market in 1985 in a 'colorized' version, using computer technology - a controversial modernizing technique at the timee.
1985
Bill Watterson's syndicated daily comic strip Calvin and Hobbes debuted on November 18, 1985, featuring a six year-old boy and his stuffed Tiger.
1985
The second highest-grossing (domestic) horror film of the year, behind A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge (1985) at $30 million, was Fright Night (1985) at almost $25 million. It was the first vampire film to spend $1 miillion on special effects, from its production budget of $9.5 million. The film told of teenaged Charley Brewster (William Ragsdale) who feared that his next door neighbor Jerry Dandrige (Chris Sarandon) was a vampire. He finally persuaded disbelieving Peter Vincent (Roddy McDowall), the vampire killer from his favorite late-night horror TV show, to team up with him. A sequel followed, Fright Night Part 2 (1988), and a remake Fright Night (2011).
1985
When the classic Miracle on 34th Street (1947), converted by Color Systems Technology (CST) for 20th Century Fox to a colorized version, aired in 1985, it became the highest rated non-network movie in syndication.
1985
Another installment (14th) of the long-running James Bond franchise was released, A View to a Kill (1985), and the 13th ranked film at the box-office (domestic) for the year, at $50.3 million. It was the last of seven films (over twelve years) with aging 57 year-old Roger Moore as James Bond. In reality, Moore was older than the mother of his co-star Tanya Roberts (who was nominated for a Razzie Award as Worst Actress). It was also the last film with Lois Maxwell in the role of Miss Moneypenny. It was one of the least-liked of the films in the series, accused of being uninspired and tired. It was particularly criticized for playing the Beach Boys' 'California Girls' on the soundtrack during a snow-surfing pursuit-chase in the pre-title credits sequence.
1985
Writer/director John Hughes' teen comedy classic Weird Science (1985) told about two teenaged nerds or geeks, Gary Wallace (Anthony Michael Hall, one of the Brat Packers) and Wyatt Donnelly (Ilan Mitchell-Smith), continually frustrated by not being popular with the girls. Inspired by The Bride of Frankenstein (1935), the two used Wyatt's computer to create a "perfect" woman named Lisa (Kelly LeBrock), named after one of Apple's computers. It was a moderately successful film, at $23.8 million (domestic). The film inspired a TV series of the same name, that ran for four seasons from 1994-1998.
1985
Disney's PG-rated film The Black Cauldron (1985) (their 25th full-length animated film) was the first animated feature film to contain 3-D CGI elements (digital fire and a boat), and the first Disney animated feature to use 3-D computer graphics technology. In fact, it was the studio's first PG-rated animated theatrical feature film.
1985
The fourth film in the popular Rocky series, Rocky IV (1985) became the most financially successful sports film of all-time (to date), and was the third highest-grossing (domestic) film of the year. It had a production budget of $31 million, and box-office gross receipts of $127.9 million (domestic) and $300 million (worldwide).
1985
The highest-grossing (domestic) film of 1985 was the fantasy film Back to the Future (1985), at $210.6 million. It was a defining film of the 80s decade. It was the first of three popular films starring Michael J. Fox, and helped to encourage an onslaught of time-travel related films in the 80s and 90s. The movie has often been considered one of the greatest teen flicks of the 1980s - notable for its special effects, for the Huey Lewis and the News soundtrack, and for promoting the craze of skateboarding. The second highest-grossing (domestic) film of the year, Rambo, First Blood Part II (1985), wasn't even close at $150.4 million.
1985
Clue (1985), the first film based on a board game, came from the popular Parker Brothers mystery board game. Three separate endings were shot and screened in different theatres. Each ending had a different solution for the various murders. Some newspaper print ads specified the ending (Ending A, B, or C), although in most cases, viewers were frustrated by the arbitrary nature of the solution and the ambiguous clues that led up to the ending. The first two endings were "What If?" endings, and the third ending was the actual ending.
1985
Richard Donner's adventure comedy The Goonies (1985) was about a group of pre-teens (the "goonies") who went on an adventure to find the treasured fortune of 17th century pirate One-Eyed Willie after discovering an old Spanish map. It was among the top ten highest-grossing films of 1985, at # 9, with $61.4 million (domestic) box-office revenue.
1985
A typical 80s teen movie, Teen Wolf (1985) was advertised to bank on the previous success of Michael J. Fox and Back to the Future (1985). Its tagline was: "MICHAEL J. FOX is back from the future in a NEW COMEDY..." It was part of a strong wave of werewolf movies released in the 80s, including: An American Werewolf in London (1981), Full Moon High (1981), The Howling (1981), Wolfen (1981), The Company of Wolves (1984), and sequels Howling II: ... Your Sister Is a Werewolf (1985) and The Marsupials: The Howling III (1987). Its own sequel was Teen Wolf Too (1987), in addition to a spin-off Saturday morning cartoon series Teen Wolf (1986-1988), and a rebooted MTV TV series titled Teen Wolf in 2011.
1985
British character actress Marianne Stone was noted as having the most screen credits for a living actress - a record-breaking 159 films, from 1943-1985. Her most notable roles were in the UK's series of Carry On films, and in Kubrick's Lolita (1962) as Vivian Darkbloom. She died at the age of 87 in late 2009.
1985
The third of George Miller's post-apocalyptic adventure-action 'Mad Max' films was released, Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985), starring Mel Gibson as the title character Max Rockatansky, and singer Tina Turner as Aunty Entity, the ruler of Bartertown. It was the first film in the trilogy with American financial backing - and the most expensive film of the three. It was the 24th highest-grossing (domestic) film of the year, with $36.2 million in revenue. After 30 years, a new installment was added to the trilogy, Mad Max: Fury Road (2015).
1985-6
Pixar Animation Studios, originally part of Lucasfilm (and Industrial Light and Magic (ILM)) specialized in developing animation created exclusively on computers. It was purchased by Apple Computer's Steve Jobs and made an independent company in 1986. The first fully 3-D digital (or CGI)-animated character in a full-length feature film, known as the 'stained-glass knight', was created for the Spielberg-produced Young Sherlock Holmes (1985) by Pixar, when Pixar was still part of Lucasfilm (and Industrial Light and Magic). It brought them a Best Visual Effects nomination.
1985
The national average ticket price for theatre admission was $3.55, according to the National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO).


Previous Page Next Page