ABC Film Challenge – 80’s Movies – P – Pale Rider (1985) Movie Review

Director: Clint Eastwood

Writer: Michael Butler, Dennis Shryack (Screenplay)

Starring: Clint Eastwood, Michael Moriarty, Carrie Snodgress, Chris Penn, Richard Dysart, Sydney Penny, Richard Kiel

Plot: A mysterious preacher (Clint Eastwood) protects a humble prospector village from a greedy mining company trying to encroach on their land.


Tagline – .. and hell followed with him.

Runtime: 1 Hour 55 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Gritty Western

Story: Pale Rider starts as we see how Hull Barret (Moriarty) is leading a prospector village that is getting terrorised by the LaHood mining company, owner Coy (Dysart) and his son Josh (Penn) are trying to run them off the land with the raids. Hull who is starting to mount up the debts finds himself being protected by a mysterious Preacher (Eastwood) who gives the village more hope than ever.

The Preacher proves that the men could fight back giving the village a reason to fight, but without him around the LaHood’s look to take advantage of the situation.

Thoughts on Pale Rider

Characters – The Preacher witnesses the attack on Hull, he shows how to win a fight in non-lethal combat, he stays with Hull’s family showing the whole village that they could have somebody to protect them, he doesn’t want any part of a war, just to support a hard-working village. Hull is the one member of the village everybody looks up to, he will continue to go against anything that the LaHood’s want and has been trying to keep the village together. Sarah is the woman Hull lives with, she has seen her husband pass away and wants the best for her daughter, even if that might end up being Hull, she only ever puts her daughter’s safety out first. Josh LaHood is the son of the owner of the mining company running the operations, he will use the dirty tactics to try and push Hull and his people out.

PerformancesClint Eastwood plays into his strengths through the film, not giving himself too many lines and playing the mysterious figure that has a past. Michael Moriarty and Carrie Snodgress bring the more serious longer sequences as the characters who seem to have more to lose if things don’t come out in their favour. Chris Penn does make his villainous figure stand out as somebody truly evil not just greedy.

StoryThe story here follows a prospector village that is being raided by a mining company that find an unlikely savoir in a mysterious preacher that brings them hope to defeat the rich company who is trying to push them out. The story does play out like nearly every western you have seen, a dangerous gang trying to use the numbers to put a small group under pressure before a stranger comes to their rescue. The pace plays out like normal to with the small incident slowly gathering steam before the two sides come to a full blown war towards each other. It might not be original, but it does the basics right with each moment feeling like it does make a big impact on the characters involved.

WesternThe western side of the film shows us just how the themes are being used to show what happens to the characters, with the sets and the story.

SettingsThe film does create the village you would expect to see for the time, the town and the backdrop looking beautiful through the film.


Scene of the Movie – Town showdown.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Way too much time spent deciding whether a 14/15-year-old should love an adult.

Final Thoughts This is a gritty by the book western, it does everything right without being anything we haven’t seen before.

Overall: By the Book Western.

Legend (1985) Movie Review

Director: Ridley Scott

Writer: William Hjortsberg (Screenplay)

Starring: Tom Cruise, Mia Sara, Tim Curry, David Bennent, Alice Playten, Billy Barty, Cork Hubbert

Plot: A young man must stop the Lord of Darkness from both destroying daylight and marrying the woman he loves.


Tagline – “No Good without Evil. No Love without Hate. No Innocence without Lust. I am Darkness.” 

Runtime: 1 Hour 34 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Typical 80s Fantasy Film

Story: Legend starts when a young beautiful princess Lili (Sara) spends her time into woods with the handsome Jack (Cruise) she gets too close to the unicorns, touching them, breaking the rules of the land. Lili is taken by the lord of darkness to become his bride, while Jack must go on an adventure in a land that has changed because of the events to save his love Lili.

Thoughts on Legend

Characters – Jack is the handsome young man that thrives in the woods, he knows every creature and how to communicate to them, he has been teaching Lili, only he won’t give up every secret. When we see what happens he will do everything he can to try and save her from the darkness that is looking to consume her. Lili is a princess who doesn’t want to be part of the royal life, she enjoys the woodland area only her curiosity only gets her in trouble when she touches a unicorn bringing darkness to the land, being taken by the dark lord to be his wife, she is torn between being seduced by this new world and escape to the world she enjoys being part of. Darkness has been waiting for somebody to make the mistake, now he has a chance to rule by marrying Lili bringing the darkness to the world forever.

PerformancesTom Cruise does show the world that he was going to be as an actor with this role that showed his skills to the world. Mia Sara does show us that she was one of the best actresses of the 80s. Tim Curry does add the class to the role as the villain.

StoryThe story here follows a young man that must travel across a mystical land in hopes of saving his love from the darkness which has taken her. This is typical fantasy styled story that does show us how the different levels of status within the people and creatures and how the legends of the area, must be obeyed or it could affect everyone. We see how one will put a group together to risk everything to get what they want from life, with most being escape from a different situation before a showdown with the big evil.

Adventure/Fantasy/RomanceThe adventure side of the film takes Jack and other creatures on the journey to save Lili, overcoming the difficulties coming their way, in this full-blown fantasy world, showing what will be done for love.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to show the different challenges that face Jack along the way, each one will become an obstacle for him to overcome.


Scene of the Movie – Final showdown.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – It does feel to 80s.

Final Thoughts This is an 80s filled adventure that does everything it can to fit the era of release, showing just how much somebody will do for love.

Overall: Pure 80s adventure.