Timeline of Greatest Film
Milestones and Turning Points
in Film History


The Year 1987

Timeline of Greatest Film History Milestones and Turning Points
(by decade and year)
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1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989

The Year 1987
Year
Event and Significance
1987
The first major Hollywood studio film produced (or shot) in the People's Republic of China (PRC), in Shanghai, was director Steven Spielberg's Empire of the Sun (1987).
1987
During hearings in 1987 in Congress regarding the colorizing of classic black and white films to broaden their appeal to audiences, Ginger Rogers testified and urged the prohibition of colorization of films, many of which she had starred in, saying the technique made her feel "painted up like a birthday cake." Jimmy Stewart claimed, "Our black and white films ain't broke, and they don't need fixin'." He also said to the press: "The colorization idea is a vicious, lousy, unkind thing to do to a motion picture." He was backed by Burt Lancaster and Katharine Hepburn. Representative Richard Gephardt proposed legislation in May 1987, called the Film Integrity Act, amending the Copyright Act of 1976 limiting material alteration, including colorization of motion pictures.
1987
Legendary Hollywood dancer Fred Astaire died at the age of 88 from the effects of pneumonia. He was a major dance innovator and choreographer, insisting on full-view camera shots of his dancing, and the integration of song/dance into the film plot. He became most famous for his series of nine film appearances with Ginger Rogers from 1933-1939, beginning with bit parts in RKO's Flying Down to Rio (1933) and ending with The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle (1939), and a tenth film ten years later, MGM's The Barkleys of Broadway (1949), the pair's only color film. Other dance partners during his long musical career included Eleanor Powell, Rita Hayworth, and Lucille Bremer, amongst others. Remarkably, Astaire was only nominated once for an Academy Award, as Best Supporting Actor for the disaster film The Towering Inferno (1974) at the end of his career. He was presented with an Honorary Academy Award in 1950 (during the ceremony honoring 1949's films) by Rogers "for his unique artistry and his contributions to the technique of musical pictures."
1987
Bernardo Bertolucci's The Last Emperor (1987) was nominated for nine Oscars and won all nine. It was one of only a few films with Oscar wins for every award for which it was nominated. It was the only film produced outside of America or Britain to have received the ultimate award for Best Picture. It was not considered a foreign-language film, however, and therefore was not nominated for Best Foreign Language Film. It was the first PG-13 rated film to win Best Picture. To date, the film was tied with Gigi (1958) as the third most honored film in the Academy's history, after Ben-Hur (1959) with 11 awards, and West Side Story (1961) with 10. It did not have a single nomination in any of the acting categories.
1987
The first Disney tie-in with fast food vendor McDonald's was its Happy Meal toys based on its animated cartoon TV-series DuckTales (i.e., Magic Motion Maps with magnifying glass, Scrooge McDuck in car, Webby on Tricycle, Huey Dewy and Louie on Surf Ski, etc.) - Disney Studio's first daily, half-hour animated series for television.
1987
The romantic coming-of-age drama Dirty Dancing (1987) from Vestron Pictures became a surprise hit, given its low-budget ($6 million), mostly unknown stars (including trained dancers/performers Patrick Swayze and Joel Grey's daughter Jennifer Grey), and short production schedule. It had an extremely popular soundtrack (including the Best Song Oscar-winning "(I've Had) The Time of My Life"), grossed almost $64 million (domestic), and was the first film to sell more than a million copies on home video - and it inspired an entire generation of moviegoers to dance and pursue their dreams.
1987
The comedy film Three Men and a Baby (1987), directed by Star Trek's Leonard Nimoy, was the first Disney film (distributed by Touchstone Pictures) to break the $100 million mark. It eventually became the biggest box office hit of the year (at $167.8 million), beating Fatal Attraction (at $156 million). It was followed by a less successful sequel, Three Men and a Little Lady (1990).
1987
Director Adrian Lyne's blockbuster Fatal Attraction (1987) was a cautionary horror tale about sexual carelessness. The milestone thriller film garnered six Oscar nominations (including Best Picture). It was the second highest-grossing (domestic) film of the year, at $156.6 million (domestic) and $320 million (worldwide). It told about a conflicted, unfaithful married man (Michael Douglas), a Manhattan attorney named Dan Gallagher, who cheated with career woman Alex Forrest (Glenn Close), a book editor who turned into a murderous, predatory psycho when scorned and who subsequently threatened his family. Its explicit sexuality, besieged white male protagonist after infidelity, and popcorn-slasher/horror elements were perfect for the AIDS-epidemic era. In the original ending, Alex killed herself, leaving Dan to be framed for her murder. When preview audiences demanded a more satisfying and catharctic ending, a new ending (the current theatrical ending) was shot in which Alex, wielding a knife, was shot dead by Dan's wife Beth (Anne Archer).
1987
The FCC dissolved the Fairness Doctrine in August 1987. It had required radio and TV stations to fairly present controversial issues since 1949.
1987
Half of US homes receive cable television.
1987
Denzel Washington had his first lead role in Richard Attenborough's Cry Freedom (1987), playing the role of martyred, anti-apartheid, South African activist Steve Biko.
1987
The longest film ever made, the bizarrely-experimental The Cure for Insomnia (1987), lasted 87 hours (5,220 minutes). It consisted mostly of poet L.D. Groban reading his own poem of over 4,000 pages.
1987
Timothy Dalton was the new 007 British agent James Bond, appearing initially in The Living Daylights (1987), the 15th film in the James Bond franchise. [Dalton appeared in only one other Bond film, Licence to Kill (1989)]. Dalton was credited with reinvigorating the Bond character by making him brooding, moody and darker. It was also the first of two films with a new love-starved Miss Moneypenny (Caroline Bliss). It was the first change in the Miss Moneypenny casting in 25 years (in 14 films).
1987
Columbia Pictures' and writer/director Elaine May's fourth and final feature film, Ishtar (1987), was a very expensive flop and sometimes funny comedy film, starring Warren Beatty, Isabelle Adjani and Dustin Hoffman (who won an Oscar the next year for Rain Man (1988)). It was finally budgeted at about $55 million with only a small box-office gross of about $14 million. The film was a tremendous disaster and considered by some reviewers to be one of the worst films ever made. It was nominated for three Razzie awards: Worst Picture (Beatty) and Worst Screenplay (Elaine May), including one win for Worst Director (May).
1987
Famed and legendary actor/director/scriptwriter John Huston died at the age of 87 of emphysema, following the completion of his last film, The Dead (1987). Some of the greatest films that he directed during his career included: The Maltese Falcon (1941), The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948), Key Largo (1948), The Asphalt Jungle (1950), The African Queen (1951), The Red Badge of Courage (1951), Moulin Rouge (1952), Moby Dick (1956), The Misfits (1961), The Man Who Would Be King (1975), and Prizzi's Honor (1985) (for which he received a Best Director Oscar nomination at the age of 79!). His most memorable acting appearance was as corrupt Noah Cross in Roman Polanski's Chinatown (1974).
1987
Vincent D'Onofrio set the record for the largest weight gain for a film role, when he bulked up to 70 lbs. for his role as Private Leonard Lawrence ("Gomer Pyle") in Stanley Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket (1987). His weight gain broke the record for the largest weight gained for a role that had been set by Robert De Niro, who gained approximately 60 pounds to portray boxer Jake La Motta in his early post-boxing years, in Martin Scorsese's Raging Bull (1980).
1987
Columbia Pictures' Leonard Part 6 (1987) was one of the biggest box-office flops of all time, with a domestic gross of only $4.9 million. Bill Cosby took the role of Leonard, a retired and wealthy agent or master spy named Leonard Parker. The movie - a parody of spy films - was so terrible, stupid and embarrassing for Bill Cosby that he encouraged audiences to deliberately avoid the stinker. The film was nominated for five Razzie Awards in 1988, including Worst Director and Worst Supporting Actress (Gloria Foster), and won three: Worst Actor and Picture (Bill Cosby) and Worst Screenplay (Cosby and co-writer Jonathan Reynolds). Cosby became the first Razzie winner to voluntarily collect his prizes - in person, in late April of 1988. They were presented to him as a gag on the Fox network's late-night talk show, The Late Show, a few weeks after the official Razzie ceremony was held.


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