1981

Arthur (1981)

Wealthy New York City playboy Arthur Bach (Dudley Moore) is perpetually drunk and completely rudderless. Dutifully supported by his sharp-tongued and quick-witted butler, Hobson (John Gielgud), Arthur reluctantly prepares to enter into an arranged marriage with heiress Susan Johnson (Jill Eikenberry). When he meets Linda Marolla (Liza Minnelli), a waitress from Queens, he falls head over heels in love, but if he backs out of his engagement with Susan, he may lose his fortune.

Taps (1981)

Bunker Hill Military Academy has been targeted by real estate developers for demolition. The students, outraged at the thought of their school being turned into condominiums, vow to fight back. Led by Cadet Maj. Brian Moreland (Timothy Hutton), they stage a school-wide rebellion that ends with them in charge of the campus. After winning over the headmaster (George C. Scott), Brian and his fellow cadets, Alex (Sean Penn) and David (Tom Cruise) face their toughest battle yet with the Army.

An American Werewolf in London (1981)

David (David Naughton) and Jack (Griffin Dunne), two American college students, are backpacking through Britain when a large wolf attacks them. David survives with a bite, but Jack is brutally killed. As David heals in the hospital, he’s plagued by violent nightmares of his mutilated friend, who warns David that he is becoming a werewolf. When David discovers the horrible truth, he contemplates committing suicide before the next full moon causes him to transform from man to murderous beast.

Student Bodies (1981)

In this seminal horror-comedy, an anonymous killer known only as “the Breather” (Richard Brando) terrorizes the teenagers of Lamab High by killing every student who indulges in sex. The long list of suspects includes the school’s psychoanalyst (Carl Jacobs), nurse (Janice E. O’Malley), principal (Joe Talarowski) and, most surprisingly, virginal student Toby (Kristen Riter), who’s always at the scene of the crime. Toby knows she’s innocent, however, and vows to catch the killer.

The Cannonball Run (1981)

Contestants in a cross-country car race from Connecticut to California include a speed-loving racing driver disguised as an ambulance driver and his dimwitted sidekick, a pair of Ferrari-driving priests, and a James Bond-type character kitted out with secret weapons. Jackie Chan appears in one of his first US film roles.

Escape to Victory (1981)

The head of a German POW camp, soccer enthusiast Karl von Steiner (Max von Sydow) organizes a match between Nazi players and their Allied captives. Orchestrated as a way to push the Third Reich agenda, the high-profile game is set to feature an international team led by John Colby (Michael Caine), a veteran British player. While the team, which also includes Luis Fernandez (Pelé) of Trinidad, trains for the match, Robert Hatch (Sylvester Stallone) plans a dangerous mass escape from the camp.

After avenging the death of his wife and young son at the hands of a vicious gang leader, Max (Mel Gibson) drives the post-apocalyptic highways of the Australian outback, fending off attacks from nomadic tribes that prey on outsiders. Falling into an encampment led by the relatively peaceful Pappagallo (Mike Preston), Max at first schemes to steal their oil, but soon becomes the group’s reluctant defender against the hulking Humungus (Kjell Nilsson) and his ruthless marauders.

Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981)

When we recorded this episode, the Coronavirus pandemic had just begun. Four weeks later, listener Jeremy’s commission gives us the timely 1981 post-apocalyptic Mad Max: Road Warrior. In this episode, Gene points out the worst choice of vehicle in a gas shortage and we discover the science of boomerangs and their connection to a lonely childhood and answer the question of who from the pod would be whom if cast in this movie. And, to wrap it all up, we get in a goodbye to every listener just in case the virus overtakes us all before we hit publish.

In 1997, a major war between the United States and the Soviet Union is concluding, and the entire island of Manhattan has been converted into a giant maximum-security prison. When Air Force One is hijacked and crashes into the island, the president (Donald Pleasence) is taken hostage by a group of inmates. Snake Plissken (Kurt Russell), a former Special Forces soldier turned criminal, is recruited to retrieve the president in exchange for his own freedom.

Escape from New York (1981)

In 1997, a major war between the United States and the Soviet Union is concluding, and the entire island of Manhattan has been converted into a giant maximum-security prison. When Air Force One is hijacked and crashes into the island, the president (Donald Pleasence) is taken hostage by a group of inmates. Snake Plissken (Kurt Russell), a former Special Forces soldier turned criminal, is recruited to retrieve the president in exchange for his own freedom.