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Big Guns, Bigger Heroes: The 1980's and the Rise of the Action Film (2012)

An informative and brief register that shed light on the spectacular rise of action movies in the 1980's; the reasons behind its huge demand in that period; the movies that redefined the ... See full summary »


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Cast overview:
John Meroney ... Himself, writer, The Atlantic
Leo Braudy Leo Braudy ... Himself, cultural historian
Susan Jeffords Susan Jeffords ... Herself - author of 'Hard Bodies: Hollywood Masculinity In the Reagan Era'
Chris Carle ... Himself, entertainment editorial director, ign.com
Ted Kotcheff ... Himself
Sylvester Stallone ... Himself
Steven E. de Souza ... Himself
Jeph Loeb ... Himself
Randy Couture ... Himself
Ron Reagan Ron Reagan ... Himself, author of 'My Father At 100'
Simon West ... Himself


An informative and brief register that shed light on the spectacular rise of action movies in the 1980's; the reasons behind its huge demand in that period; the movies that redefined the genre and the famous action stars who conquered audiences, some critics and the box-office with their larger than life pictures. Directors, actors and historians debate the reasons why audiences embraced the action films in that decade and the importance those films would have in popular culture and in the film industry in the following decades. Written by Rodrigo Amaro

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Documentary | Short







Release Date:

20 November 2012 (USA) See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?


References Coming Home (1978) See more »

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User Reviews

Too brief to deal with such a detailed and interesting subject but manageable.
30 May 2014 | by Rodrigo_AmaroSee all my reviews

I'm not sure if today's generation know the real dimension action movies had in the 1980's, so I definitely suggest film-buff beginners to watch this movie to have a brief understanding of the impact they had back many years ago and still have in our culture. This was made along with the then upcoming "The Expendables 2" which gathered many huge action stars from the golden era like Stallone, Schwarzenegger, Willis, Lundgren and many others, and that's the most reference any viewer can get. But, you really have to experience their old movies, the whole list: Rambo, Terminator, Die Hard, their sequels and other ventures.

Here's the views of film historians, scholars, Stallone, Randy Couture, writer Steven E. De Souza and others about the impact of action films in the 1980's among the audience and Hollywood, both embracing it as a powerful weapon of entertainment, excitement and dreams with their explosions, guns, fights, blood, muscles and all. Many of the opinions shared reflect that the demand for action was so popular as being a reflection of the time, with the B-star turned into man-of-action-who-defeated Communism Ronald Reagan being the American president, leaving behind the numbness of the indecisive Carter of the late 1970's. The Reagan era was a pivotal part, sure, but I think the interviewees are overreacting a bit this aspect; before the 1980's action movies already existed and they were fine. I can only admit is that they got better and bigger. Successful formulas to engage the public were created (I loved the way they talked about "48 Hrs.") but a lot of crap came in that period as well (I don't need to mention those).

The limited time (30 minutes) explores a few good titles and the reasons why audiences related with the lone heroes like John McClane, Rambo, John Matrix and Murtaugh/Riggs team; or the villains like The Terminator. It's the briefest brief of all, and that can be upsetting to hardcore film enthusiasts who love to know everything about movies, like myself, but I enjoyed its proposition. It rings true though omissions and overlooks happen to the left and the right. We needed a three hour documentary on this. Don't have a point to start, this can be a good and fun guide. Or better: just check the flicks listed in the movie connections of this doc and hunt them down one by one. You won't regret it. 7/10

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