The Mancunion

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A Year In Film: 1979

When it came to film, 1979 saw it all – from aliens to union workers, world wars to Star Wars. Figures as diverse as cowboys,…

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When it came to film, 1979 saw it all – from aliens to union workers, world wars to Star Wars. Figures as diverse as cowboys, star trekkers and parents all hit the film headlines.

Whilst the film industry suffered a blow with the death of Western superstar John Wayne on June 11th, 1979 saw the rein of the incredible Dustin Hoffman, whose memorable and moving performance in Robert Benton’s Kramer vs. Kramer earned him his first Oscar, and will have no doubt contributed to the film’s other successes. Scooping up the academy awards for best film, best director and best supporting actress, it’s no wonder that it was the most successful film of 1979, and perhaps the most successful divorce in history!

The year also saw Sally Field win her first academy award for best actress in Norma Rae and Sylvester Stallone return to the screen as Rocky in Rocky II. On top of this, we had not only the release of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, but the beginnings of a new Star Wars film – with Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back going into production on March 5th.

There’s no doubt that the most memorable film event of 1979 was the release of Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now. Whilst only achieving fourth place in the year’s top grossing films, the combination of Marlon Brando, Martin Sheen and Robert Duvall in one cast list secured its place as not only the film of the year, but perhaps one of the most iconic films of the decade.

Anything else? Well there was also the release of the Alien – a major landmark of the science-fiction genre, as well as the start of production of Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark.

1979 was an incredible year for film, with iconic performances from acting royalty. Want to see if any year can top it? Then watch this space for the next issue!