What makes a movie a classic? Is it some kind of social significance? Or, is it what the movie meant to people when it first came out? Or maybe its just fondly remembered for its amazing cheesiness and being so bad its good? I’m pretty sure Roger Corman’s Battle Beyond the Stars falls into that last category.
However, even if it happens to be made of 100% real cheese, that doesn’t stop it from also begin pretty awesome and, shall we say it, a classic. Now this film is getting the Blu-ray and DVD treatment it deserves with a super special 30th anniversary edition, soon to be released by Shout! Factory.
To begin to understand the scope of this film’s cult classic status, you have to take a look at the people involved in it. They represent some of the biggest names working in movies today. Back then, they were just a bunch of kids with an idea for a space movie.
Here’s a small list of those involved. See if you recognize any of the names: John Sayles, Richard Thomas, Robert Vaughn, George Peppard, John Saxon, James Horner, Gale Anne Hurd and, of course, Roger Corman. Oh yeah, James cameron also did the special effects for the movie. He’s come a long way since then.
Click throuhg for the full info from Shout! Factory. Look for Battle Beyond the Stars in stores on June 12th. Also after the break we’ve included the original trailer for the film as well. It’s not great quality but watch it and you’ll see exactly what I’m talking about.
BATTLE BEYOND THE STARS
Starring Richard Thomas, Robert Vaughn, George Peppard, John Saxon,
Darlanne Fluegel and Sybil Danning
30th ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL EDITION BLU-RAY™ and DVD LANDING ON HOME ENTERTAINMENT SHELVES JULY 12 FROM SHOUT! FACTORY
Digitally Restored and Presented in Anamorphic Widescreen
Revealing Bonus Content and More!
A Battle Beyond Time … Beyond Space
A long time ago, in a studio far far away (actually 1980 in Venice, Calif.), Roger Corman gathered together a fledgling team of filmmakers to make one of the best low-budget science fiction films of all time, Battle Beyond the Stars, a space opera that managed to playfully borrow from Star Wars and The Magnificent Seven, to come up with an enduring cult classic. Long out of print, Battle Beyond the Stars has been meticulously restored with a new anamorphic widescreen transfer (1.85:1) from the internegative, boasting a new 5.1 DTS Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray, and featuring a galaxy of extras, including commentary by writer John Sayles and Roger Corman; a new interview with actor Richard Thomas; a behind-the-scenes technical featurette and much more. Roger Corman’s Cult Classics: Battle Beyond the Stars 30th Anniversary Special Edition is a must-have for fans of Roger Corman, science fiction enthusiasts and collectors — available July 12, 2011 on Blu-ray ($26.97) and DVD ($19.93) from Shout! Factory, in association with New Horizons Picture Corporation. Pre-order now on Amazon.com and major retailers.
Special Note: Fans who pre-order Roger Corman’s Cult Classics: Battle Beyond the Stars 30th Anniversary Special Edition from ShoutFactoryStore.com will receive an iron-on of the original Battle Beyond the Stars theatrical key art as a gift-with-purchase.
“This was the most expensive production I had financed. I always liked science fiction, and my idea was to do something of the feeling of Star Wars. What I came up with was The Seven Samurai in Outer Space.” — Roger Corman
Corman brought together some extremely talented people — who went on to bigger and better things — to make Battle Beyond the Stars. John Sayles (Eight Men Out, Lone Star) wrote the script, his third for Corman after Piranha and The Lady in Red; James Cameron, who went on, of course, to be king of the world with Titanic and then king of the universe with Avatar, handled the art direction and special effects; Academy Award®–winning composer James Horner (Titanic, Avatar) wrote the score, which he recycled two years later for Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Also on hand as production manager was Gale Anne Hurd, who went on to produce The Terminator with Cameron as well as The Incredible Hulk and AMC’s The Walking Dead.
What’s a small, peace loving planet to do when they’re threatened with destruction by a group of malevolent mutants headed up by the most despicable villain? Why they enlist a sweet young boy to travel the galaxy in search of mercenaries to fend off the tyrant.
When the evil Sador the Conqueror (John Saxon) and his hideous Malmori army threaten the peaceful planet of Akir, the inhabitants, known as the Akira (in reference to Seven Samurai director Akira Kurosawa) sends young Shad (Richard Thomas of The Waltons) on an intergalactic journey to hire mercenaries to defend the planet. Piloting a sarcastic pre-LEXX talking female spaceship (with breasts!), Shad assembles a fleet of seven spaceships to fend off the bad guys.
There’s love interest Nanelia (Darlanne Fluegel), whose spaceship houses a sophisticated computer to help the cause; a scotch-drinking space cowboy from Earth (George Peppard of The A-Team); Gelt, an outlaw with a bounty on his head, played by Robert Vaughn in a role similar to the character Lee he played in The Magnificent Seven; the reptilian Cayman (Morgan Woodward), who has his own score to settle with Sador; Saint-Exmin of the Valkyrie (the voluptuous Sybil Danning), whose motto, “Live fast, fight well and have a beautiful ending” carries her into action; five clones with a collective consciousness known as the Nestor; and a pair of aliens who communicate by emanating heat from their bodies. The “magnificent seven” mercenary ships — headed up by Shad and Nell — travel back to Akir for the final conflict.
The cast of Battle Beyond the Stars also included Marta Kristen (Judy Robinson of TV’s Lost in Space), Jeff Corey as the wise old Zed the Corsair, Sam Jaffe as Nanelia’s father, and a very young Julia Duffy (Newhart and Designing Women).
Made on a reported budget of $2 million, the film opened in late 1980 and quickly made back its investment. The film grossed $1.7 million on opening weekend alone. And the spectacular space battles and explosions were used over and over again in future Corman productions.
Roger Corman’s Cult Classics: Battle Beyond the Stars 30th Anniversary Special Edition Special Features:
New anamorphic widescreen transfer (1.85:1) from the internegative
New 5.1 DTS Master Audio (Blu-ray)
Dolby Digital 5.1 (DVD)
Commentary by writer John Sayles and Roger Corman
Commentary by production manager Gale Anne Hurd
The Man Who Would Be Shad – New interview with actor Richard Thomas
Space Opera on a Shoestring – A comprehensive look at the technical challenges and postproduction of the film with Aaron Lipstadt, Alec Gillis, Alex Hajdu, Allan Holzman, R.J. Kizer, Robert & Dennis Skotak, Thom Shouse and Tony Randel
Trailer, TV and radio spots
BATTLE BEYOND THE STARS (1980)
New World Pictures presents A Roger Corman Production
Starring Richard Thomas, Robert Vaughn, John Saxon, George Peppard, Darlanne Fluegel, Sybil Danning, Sam Jaffe, Jeff Corey, Morgan Woodward, Marta Kristen, Julia Duffy
Executive Producer: Roger Corman
Produced by Ed Carlin
Directed by Jimmy T. Murakami
Screenplay by John Sayles
Story by John Sayles and Anne Dyer
Director of Photography: Daniel Lacambre
Edited by Allan Holzman, R.J. Kizer
Art Direction: James Cameron, Charles Breen
Music Composed by James Horner
Running time: 104 minutes
Special features are not rated