If you killed his father, you should probably prepare to die.

My Top 20:

  1. The Princess Bride
  2. Au revoir les enfants
  3. Hope and Glory
  4. Empire of the Sun
  5. Broadcast News
  6. Manon of the Spring
  7. The Dead
  8. The Last Emperor
  9. Matewan
  10. Full Metal Jacket
  11. Jean de Florette
  12. House of Games
  13. The Untouchables
  14. Roxanne
  15. Radio Days
  16. My Life as a Dog
  17. River’s Edge
  18. The Big Easy
  19. Raising Arizona
  20. Evil Dead II

Consensus Awards:

  • Best Picture:  Hope and Glory
  • Best Director:  Bernardo Bertolucci  (The Last Emperor)
  • Best Actor:  Michael Douglas  (Wall Street)
  • Best Actress:  Holly Hunter  (Broadcast News)
  • Best Supporting Actor:  Morgan Freeman  (Street Smart)
  • Best Supporting Actress:  Olympia Dukakis  (Moonstruck)
  • Best Adapted Screenplay:  The Last Emperor
  • Best Original Screenplay:  Hope and Glory
  • Best Cinematography:  The Last Emperor
  • Best Foreign Film:  Jean de Florette

Academy Awards:

  • Best Picture:  The Last Emperor
  • Best Director:  Bernardo Bertolucci  (The Last Emperor)
  • Best Actor:  Michael Douglas  (Wall Street)
  • Best Actress:  Cher  (Moonstruck)
  • Best Supporting Actor:  Sean Connery  (The Untouchables)
  • Best Supporting Actress:  Olympia Dukakis  (Moonstruck)
  • Best Adapted Screenplay:  The Last Emperor
  • Best Original Screenplay:  Moonstruck
  • Best Cinematography:  The Last Emperor
  • Best Foreign Film:  Babette’s Feast

Critics just love their Kubrick. Full Metal Jacket becomes the fourth Kubrick film to top the Top 1000 list in a year.

Top 10 Films  (Top 1000):

  1. Full Metal Jacket  –  #377
  2. The Dead  –  #416
  3. My Life as a Dog  –  #421
  4. Evil Dead II  –  #448
  5. Raising Arizona  –  #602
  6. Law of Desire  –  #672
  7. The Princess Bride  –  #701
  8. Yeleen  –  #725
  9. Radio Days  –  #880
  10. Empire of the Sun  –  #963

Top 5 Films  (1987 Best Picture Awards):

  1. Hope and Glory
  2. The Last Emperor
  3. Broadcast News
  4. Empire of the Sun
  5. Jean de Florette

Top 10 Films  (Awards Points):

  1. The Last Emperor  –  1554
  2. Hope and Glory  –  1322
  3. Broadcast News  –  1139
  4. Moonstruck  –  879
  5. Empire of the Sun  –  643
  6. Fatal Attraction  –  567
  7. Jean de Florette  –  503
  8. Cry Freedom  –  429
  9. The Untouchables  –  410
  10. Street Smart  –  336

Notes:  Broadcast News becomes the highest film ever to not earn any BAFTA points (broken in 2002).  Jean de Florette becomes the second highest film ever (after Scenes from a Marriage) to not earn any Oscar points.

Top 10 Films  (Box Office Gross):

  1. Three Men and a Baby  –  $167.78 mil
  2. Fatal Attraction  –  $156.64 mil
  3. Beverly Hills Cop II  –  $153.66 mil
  4. Good Morning, Vietnam  –  $123.92 mil
  5. Moonstruck  –  $80.64 mil
  6. The Untouchables  –  $76.27 mil
  7. The Secret of My Success  –  $66.99 mil
  8. Stakeout  –  $65.67 mil
  9. Lethal Weapon  –  $65.20 mil
  10. The Witches of Eastwick  –  $63.76 mil

Ebert Great Films:

  • House of Games
  • Planes, Trains and Automobiles
  • Moonstruck
  • The Dead
  • Au revoir les enfants
  • Withnail & I

Nighthawk Golden Globes:


  • Best Picture:  Au revoir les enfants
  • Best Director:  Steven Spielberg  (Empire of the Sun)
  • Best Actor:  Jack Nicholson  (Ironweed)
  • Best Actress:  Anjelica Huston  (The Dead)
  • Best Supporting Actor:  Denzel Washington  (Cry Freedom)
  • Best Supporting Actress:  Kathy Baker  (Street Smart)
  • Best Adapted Screenplay:  The Dead
  • Best Original Screenplay:  Au revoir les enfants

The hilarious, brilliant and oh so sexy Holly Hunter in Broadcast News (1987) - Nighthawk winner for Best Actress


  • Best Picture:  The Princess Bride
  • Best Director:  John Boorman  (Hope and Glory)
  • Best Actor:  William Hurt  (Broadcast News)
  • Best Actress:  Holly Hunter  (Broadcast News)
  • Best Supporting Actor:  Mandy Patinken  (The Princess Bride)
  • Best Supporting Actress:  Olympia Dukakis  (Moonstruck)
  • Best Adapted Screenplay:  The Princess Bride
  • Best Original Screenplay:  Broadcast News

Nighthawk Awards:

  • Best Picture:  The Princess Bride
  • Best Director:  Steven Spielberg  (Empire of the Sun)
  • Best Actor:  William Hurt  (Broadcast News)
  • Best Actress:  Holly Hunter  (Broadcast News)
  • Best Supporting Actor:  Mandy Patinken  (The Princess Bride)
  • Best Supporting Actress:  Kathy Baker  (Street Smart)
  • Best Adapted Screenplay:  The Princess Bride
  • Best Original Screenplay:  Au revoir les enfants
  • Best Editing:  The Princess Bride
  • Best Cinematography:  Empire of the Sun
  • Best Original Score:  The Princess Bride
  • Best Sound:  Empire of the Sun
  • Best Art Direction:  The Last Emperor
  • Best Visual Effects:  Innerspace
  • Best Sound Editing:  Empire of the Sun
  • Best Costume Design:  The Last Emperor
  • Best Makeup:  The Princess Bride
  • Best Original Song:  “Storybook Love” from The Princess Bride
  • Best Foreign Film:  Au revoir les enfants

"Inconceivable!" "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."

Nighthawk Notables:

  • Best Film to Watch Over and Over:  The Princess Bride
  • Best Line:  see below
  • Best Line not from The Princess Bride:  “Now you see that evil will always triumph because good is dumb.”  Rick Moranis in Spaceballs
  • Best Opening:  Spaceballs
  • Best Ending:  The Princess Bride
  • Best Scene:  “I’m not left handed either.”  The Princess Bride
  • Best Use of a Song:  “Can’t Help Falling in Love” in Some Kind of Wonderful
  • Best Soundtrack:  Good Morning, Vietnam
  • Best Ensemble:  The Dead
  • Funniest Film:  The Princess Bride
  • Best Guilty Pleasure:  The Secret of My Success
  • Performance to Fall in Love With:  Robin Wright in The Princess Bride
  • Sexiest Performance:  Holly Hunter in Broadcast News
  • Best Cameo:  Jack Nicholson in Broadcast News
  • Most Over-rated Film:  Fatal Attraction
  • Worst Film:  Death Wish 4
  • Worst Film I Saw in the Theater:  Back to the Beach
  • Best Original Song from a Bad Film:  “Who’s That Girl” from Who’s That Girl

Top 10 Lines from The Princess Bride:

  1. “Give us the gate key.”  “I have no gate key.”  “Fezzick, tear his arms off.”  “Oh, you mean this gate key.”
  2. “Hello.  My name is Inigo Montoya.  You killed my father.  Prepare to die.”
  3. “It’s inconceivable.”
  4. “You seem a decent fellow.  I hate to kill you.”  “You seem a decent fellow.  I hate to die.”
  5. “Have you ever heard of Plato, Aristotle, Socrates?”  “Yes.”  “Morons.”
  6. “As you wish.”
  7. “Life is pain, highness.  Anyone who says differently is selling something.”
  8. “Love truly is the greatest thing in the world, except for a nice MLT – mutton, lettuce and tomato sandwich, where the mutton is nice and lean and the tomato is ripe.”
  9. “He’s right on top of us.  I wonder if he is using the same wind we are using.”
  10. “Is this a kissing book?”

The Hollywood sign as it looked in February of 1987.

Film History:  The colorization of films goes in front of Congress.  John Huston finishes his final film, The Dead, and then dies in August.  Timothy Dalton becomes the first new James Bond in 14 years.  For the 100th anniversary of Hollywood (Hollywood Ranch was registered as a subdivision by Harvey Henderson Wilcox in 1887) on 27 February, several Caltech students (one of whom may or may not have been related to me – I’m not saying) change the Hollywood sign to read Caltech.  John Landis is found “not guilty” in charges relating to the on-set deaths of The Twilight Zone Movie.  Bob Fosse dies of a heart attack on 24 September.  “Greed is, for lack of a better word, good,” becomes one of the most famous and misquoted lines of all-time when first said in Wall Street.  Robert Preston dies on 21 March, the last of my mother’s three favorite actors who die within a year (James Cagney and Cary Grant had died during the later part of the previous year).  Under the Sun of Satan wins the Golden Palm at Cannes – the first French film to do since 1966.  Rita Hayworth dies in May and Fred Astaire in June.  Au revoir les enfants wins the Golden Lion in Venice.  Waiting for the Moon wins the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance.  River’s Edge wins Best Picture at the Independent Spirit Awards.  Leonard Part 6 wins three Razzies, including Worst Picture over Ishtar.

Academy Awards:  Going 9 for 9, The Last Emperor becomes the first film to sweep at the Oscars since Gigi in 1958.  However, like Gigi, it also fails to earn any acting accolades from the Academy and is the first film since Gigi to win Best Picture without any acting nominations.  The 9 wins are the most since 1961 and it ties Gigi for fourth place all-time.  It also becomes the first film since Lawrence of Arabia to win all five major technical awards.  Empire of the Sun, on the other hand, becomes the first film since Chinatown to get nominated for all five major technical awards and not win any of them.  It also becomes only the second film (and most recent) to get nominated for all five without a Best Picture nomination since 1972; the only other film to do that since 1972 is another film directed by Spielberg – Close Encounters of the Third KindIronweed becomes the first film in 17 years to get nominated for Actor and Actress but no other awards.  Wall Street becomes the first film to win Best Actor with only the one nomination since Charly in 1968.  Denmark gets a nomination for Best Foreign Film for the first time since 1961 and wins its first Oscar.  For the first time since 1972, three Best Picture nominees fail to win an Oscar (Broadcast News, Hope and Glory and Fatal Attraction, which go a combined 0 for 18).  39 different feature films are nominated for an Oscar – the most since 1964; however, only 9 of them (23%) actually win an Oscar – the lowest percentage since 1966.

The Academy does fairly decently with its winners.  Though I rarely agree, only three of them fall outside of my top 8 – Adapted Screenplay and Editing for The Last Emperor (the two weakest links in the film) and Makeup for Harry and the Hendersons (why The Last Emperor didn’t get a nomination there is beyond me).  But it’s hard for me to decide on a top five in a lot of categories – in Picture, there are three films I hold above all (The Princess Bride, Au revoir les enfants, Hope and Glory) and then the next seven films are all pretty close.  I heartily pick Holly Hunter and Mandy Patinken as winners, but Actor and Supporting Actress aren’t nearly so obvious.  The biggest disappointments are the slough of nominations for the dreadful Fatal Attraction while passing over The Princess Bride in everything but Best Original Song.  And the passing over of Wings of Desire in Best Foreign Film?  Really?  Just remember this about this year – the Academy nominated the script for Fatal Attraction over the single most quotable film of our lifetimes.

  • Worst Oscar:  Best Editing for The Last Emperor
  • Worst Oscar Nomination:  Best Picture for Fatal Attraction
  • Worst Oscar Omission:  Best Screenplay – Adapted from Another Medium for  The Princess Bride
  • Worst Oscar-Nominated Film:  Mannequin
  • Best Eligible Film with No Oscar Nominations:  Manon of the Spring
  • Best Eligible English-Language Film with No Oscar Nominations:  House of Games
  • Best Foreign Film Submitted but Not Nominated:  Wings of Desire  (West Germany)
  • Worst Oscar Category:  Best Editing
  • Best Oscar Category:  Best Cinematography
  • Oscar / Nighthawk Award Agreements:  Best Art Direction, Visual Effects, Costume Design

Golden Globes:  The Last Emperor wins Picture (Drama), Director, Screenplay and Score.  Meanwhile, the other four films nominated for Picture and Director go a combined 1 for 15 – with Hope and Glory winning Picture (Comedy) while Broadcast News, Fatal Attraction and Cry Freedom all win nothing.  In fact, Moonstruck, winning Actress (Comedy) and Supporting Actress (while losing Picture (Comedy) and Screenplay) is the only film aside from The Last Emperor to win more than one award.  In fact, while no film eligible for Best Picture had won Best Actor in either Drama or Comedy without a Picture nomination since 1977, this year both acting winners – Michael Douglas in Wall Street and Robin Williams in Good Morning, Vietnam, were from films that failed to earn Best Picture nominations (Gandhi and Educating Rita had both won but both were considered Foreign films – the last eligible film to fail to earn a Best Picture nomination but win Best Actor had been Equus – and the last in the Comedy / Musical category had been Goodbye Mr. Chips in 1969).  Meanwhile, in the Actress (Drama) category, where Sally Kirkland had an aggressive ad campaign for her performance in Anna, won Best Actress without a Best Picture nomination – the first time that had happened in the Actress (Drama) category since Jane Fonda in Klute in 1971.

Awards:  Broadcast News joins Cries and Whispers and Annie Hall by winning Picture, Director, Screenplay and Actress at the New York Film Critics (and A Man for All Seasons which won Actor instead of Actress).  It also does well at the Boston Society of Film Critics, taking home Actor, Actress and Screenplay.  But Hope and Glory wins Picture at Boston (though nothing else).  Hope and Glory also wins Picture, Director, Screenplay and Cinematography from the LA Film Critics and Director, Screenplay and Cinematography from the National Society of Film Critics.  But it loses Best Picture at the NSFC to The Dead, which wins nothing else from any critics group.  The final Best Picture award, from the National Board of Review, goes to Empire of the Sun, which also wins Director.  Meanwhile, Oscar winner The Last Emperor had to make do with three Cinematography awards (NYFC, LAFC, BSFC) and one Best Score (LAFC).  The only other big winner is Street Smart which won the NYFC, LAFC and NSFC Best Supporting Actor award for Morgan Freeman and NSFC and BSFC Best Supporting Actress award for Kathy Baker – the first time any film since The World According to Garp in 1982 at the LAFC had won both supporting awards.

The Last Emperor becomes the first film nominated for the DGA, WGA, ACE (Editors) and ASC (Cinematographers), but only wins the DGA and ACE (and, surprisingly, is nominated as an Original at the WGA).  The other DGA nominees all get nominated for at least one other guild except My Life as a DogBroadcast News gets WGA and ACE noms, Fatal Attraction gets WGA and ACE and Empire of the Sun wins the ASC.  The Untouchables gets nominated at the WGA and the ASC.  But the winners at the WGA fail to earn any other nominations – Roxanne (Adapted) and Moonstruck (Original).  Nominated at the WGA is Radio Days, which make Woody Allen the only person in WGA history to earn five straight nominations (also his ninth nomination in 11 years).  Roxanne becomes the first film since the reduction of the WGA to two categories to win the WGA and fail to get nominated for an Oscar (and to date, is the only Adapted winner to fail to get nominated).  Steven Spielberg is nominated for a DGA but not an Oscar for the third time – joining Sidney Lumet in that dubious category (Lumet did it four times and Hitchcock did it three times, but both of them had instances when there were far more than 5 DGA nominees).

The Last Emperor becomes the only film between Gandhi and Schindler’s List to win the BAFTA and the Oscar, but that doesn’t happen until 1988.  In this year, Jean de Florette becomes the third film in four years to win Picture and Screenplay but not Director.  Best Director goes to Platoon, which wins two awards (Editing is the other) but only earns three nominations (Cinematography is the third).  Jean de Florette adds Supporting Actor and Cinematography for four total wins among 10 nominations.  Hope and Glory is the leader with 13 nominations, in every category except Actor, Visual Effects and Foreign Film, but only manages to win Supporting Actress.  The other two Best Picture nominees are Cry Freedom (7 noms, including Director but only wins Sound) and Radio Days (7 noms, wins Art Direction and Costume Design, but no Director nomination and it breaks Woody Allen’s Screenplay winning streak after 3 straight wins).  Jean de Florette, in spite of winning Best Picture, loses Best Foreign Film (to The Sacrifice), setting a precedent for the return of the Best British Film category where the Best Picture will nearly always fail to repeat in the British category.

And, the award for biggest star to ever come out of my high school is . . .

Under-appreciated Film of 1987:

No Way Out  (dir. Roger Donaldson)

It’s not easy being a genre film.  It’s also not easy being a remake.  The Academy never gave either one a whole lot of respect, but hopefully The Departed will have permanently ended that.  In this case, it also doesn’t help that it shares the name with another classic film (made in 1950), not the film it was remade from (The Big Clock – 1948).  It starred an American film star, just bursting into the bloom of his stardom (released, as it was, between The Untouchables and Bull Durham) and was made by an Australian director.  These two would later cooperate on a greater film and I will end the suspense right now and point out that it will be the under-appreciated film of 2000 (Thirteen Days).

No Way Out is an effective thriller for a variety of reasons.  First of all, in Kevin Costner, it has a star with a sense of determination and purpose, who is believable at every step of the way.  Second, it surrounds him with character actors doing the kind of thing they best – people like Gene Hackman, Will Patton and Fred Thompson.  Next, it has one of the great all-time sex scenes, complete with a humorous break during it – a sex scene so good it was parodied a few years later in the second Hot Shots (although, going back and watching it again, I was struck by how awful the music is during that scene).  But, most of all, it gives a great premise for a thriller (an innocent man is being hunted over a death with a number of clues pointing his way – with the additional twist that many films don’t have in that he knows who did do it and has to find a way to prove it).

The premise of the original film revolved around a newspaper office.  This one has been ramped up by having the action take place at the Pentagon.  This allows for a couple of absolutely superb chase scenes – one that begins in the parking lot of the Pentagon and continues through Georgetown (with a great moment where Costner leaps up on the hood of a moving car – a move that almost got the director fired) and a second, later one, that takes place inside the Pentagon itself.  Both of them work so well, not because of any unbelievable stunts, but because Costner’s character is willing to take larger risks (like sliding down the middle of an escalator) and manages to stay just ahead of the pursuit.

Then we come to the ending.  There are some, I suppose, who would complain about the ending.  But I think it’s a perfect end – a little extra thing to add on top of a thriller that has kept us on the edge of our seats all the way through, the way the best thrillers do.