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Director Walter Hill describes the movie this way: The Leader of the
Pack (Willem Dafoe) kidnaps the Queen of the Hop (Diane Lane) and
Soldier Boy (Michael Pare) comes home rescue her. Sounds REAL strange
but it works. It starts off with the words "A different time, a
different place" then goes whizzing into action. Ellen Aim (Lane) is
playing a concert in her home town. A guy from the bad side of town
(Dafoe) and his gang kidnap her. Her former lover (Pare comes back to
OK let's get the bad things out of the way--lousy poster (I've NEVER seen such bad artwork), laughable dialogue and what-the-hell-is going-on performances. But everything else is great! Incredible sets (all neon and moody lighting), fantastic rock score, colorful costumes, wonderful direction by Hill, great action sequences and a total refusal to take itself seriously. It moves VERY quickly and there's never a dull moment! It does lose a lot on video--this should be seen on a wide screen with stereo--that's how I originally saw it in 1984, and for the entire length of the movie I was mesmerized! This was a huge bomb in its day but now has a cult following
A great movie all the way. I give it a 10.
Walter Hill, whose fine directorial achievements include "Hard Times",
"The Warriors", "Southern Comfort", "Crossroads", "Johnny Handsome" and
"Extreme Prejudice", scored another creative bullseye with this
self-proclaimed "rock and roll fable". Though it is simplistic in the
extreme, it is an extraordinarily kinetic work with great music,
stunning cinematography, cutting edge editing (from Hill regular
Freeman Davies) and fantastic production design.
From a purely visual perspective, it was way ahead of its time, and like most things that were ahead of their time, it flopped badly (at the box office). So much of the film is worthy of praise -- the opening credit sequence employs a bravura graphic technique that has been much imitated; the kidnapping of Ellen Aim (Diane Lane) is a stunningly staged sequence, as is Lane's mimed rendition of Jim Steinman's fabulous "Tonight Is What It Means To Be Young". The climactic fight sequence between Michael Pare and Willem Dafoe (in one of his first screen roles) is magical, as are all the film's scenes of physical combat.
Hill makes mean, lean, muscular movies and populates them with both fresh faces and screen vets. Michael Pare, who had a limited career, is just fine as the mythical Tom Cody, the film's reluctant hero (is there any other?). Dafoe shines as Raven Shaddock, the lead of the kidnappers, and the MIA Amy Madigan is just terrific as the tough-talking McCoy, Pare's feisty sidekick.
Andrew Laszlo, who worked with Hill on "Southern Comfort" and even shot Tobe Hooper's "The Funhouse", does a knockout job with the cinematography and, working with ace production designer John Vallone (another Hill reg) creates a magnificent retro universe on the Universal backlot.
Not to be missed!
I seems that not everyone understands the greatness with this movie?
-The actors do a really good work-Moranis is one, and Pare is good, but
he has much less to play with as a carachter. -style is everything
here: the lines are like they where stolen from old westerns or movies
from the 50s. To really enjoy this movie: do not expect the ordinary
action...see it as a "musical" set in a theatre and admire the
artificial "artsiness" of this studio-style film! ...the bad guys are
really bad...but funny, -and the good guy is really brave... -This is
not suppose to be your ordinary action movie! -This is art...and
At the time of STREETS OF FIRE's release, director Walter Hill said in an
interview that he wanted to utilise every single known cliche and place it
in the context of the gangland arena we see. Well, from my own point of
view, the film is actually one of the best Hill has ever done and has a
great soundtrack to boot.
Interestingly enough, one of the film's tracks, I CAN DREAM ABOUT YOU by Dan Hartman, made it into the UK Top 30 in 1985, thanks in part to the now-disgraced pop entrepreneur Jonathan King, whose programmes ENTERTAINMENT USA and NO LIMITS introduced a lot of records that wouldn't have made it onto UK radio airplay without them. As it stands though, the film's opening credit sequence, featuring a fight sequence that would pave the way for similar ones in the LETHAL WEAPON saga is as good as the one for THE WARRIORS.
The cast is first-rate, Michael Pare, Diane Lane, Willem DaFoe, Amy Madigan and Rick Moranis (who always reminded me at the time of a pupil in my school who irritated the hell out of everybody!!!) and Ry Cooder provides another competent score.
If you haven't seen this film yet, then watch it in a double bill with any one of the other Joel Silver films such as the LETHAL WEAPON saga and especially THE MATRIX films to make the image and style association with this one.
Although I was only one when this film was released in 1984, my dad was
a big Walter Hill fan and bought the film on video when it came out. My
sister and I LOVED this film as kids. Honestly, I think we wore out
about three copies on video by watching it over and over. I think it
was the music (obviously), the bright lights and the fact that to an
eight year old girl Ellen Aim is the coolest person ever!! The final
stage scene at the end was up there with the last dance in Dirty
Dancing as our favourite film moments. Since watching it all those
years ago I have remained a fan ( I have Nowhere Fast and Tonight is
What it means to be Young on CD in my car- excellent driving
music!).However I am now also able to appreciate the amazing work of
Walter Hill in this film. The sets, the underscoring, the lighting, the
whole atmosphere of the movie is in a league of its own. It is so
unlike anything else I've ever seen and was obviously way ahead of its
time, which is perhaps the reason for its failure to do well when it
was released. There are so few people I know that have actually seen
this film which is a real shame because it really deserves to be
appreciated for the absolute fantasy that it is. Long live rock and
"I'm not an angel but at least I'm a girl"-
This is a brilliant film that is much more than it should be because of
one genius director - Walter Hill.
He understands and sets the tone and world of this pic perfectly - it has straight-forward, old-western style dialouge, clear good and bad characters and rip-roaring action that reminds you of the old classic westerns that Walter Hill admittedly loves, in particular the Searcher's.
I won't say much about the plot expect for a badboy returns home rescue the girl he once loved after she is kidnapped by a leather-clad motorcycle gang. It's pretty simple but what you have to watch out for here is Walter Hill's visual and editorial style which was probably the best around in the eighties.
There isn't any Oscar-worthy performances here but there was never meant to be none - Michael Pare does well with his limited John Wayne modelled role, Rick Moranis shows that he can play much more than the "nerdy-neurotic" character that made him world famous in the early nineties, William Defoe plays a better villain in this than he did in Spiderman and Diane Lane shows that she was once, the hottest woman in Hollywood (she still ain't too bad today!).
This film deserves more credit, votes, attention and DVD extra's than it presently has - definitely one of the best film's of the eighties.
This is a great film. It's not the most thought provoking film ever made but it never pretends to be either. The set designs are terrific, Michael Pare is a great hero and the direction is pacey. Diane Lane is quite possibly the most fantastically sexy leading lady ever in this movie, the concert scenes are incredible, especially the opening song. There's a lot of atmosphere in this flick, the '50's styling with '8o's music works well - the neon drenched, rain soaked streets are a joy to behold in the DVD transfer of the film. Streets of Fire is a much underrated film, and in my opinion much the best thing Walter Hill ever made. Everyone who had a hand in making it should be proud. It should take pride of place in any movie buff's collection
Campy? Yes. Played for laughs, you bet. Entertaining? Damn straight! But, this is a guy's movie. Few girls I've known (maybe 1 out of 10) really LIKED the movie, most just tolerate it. Its a buddy movie, but the buddys are a guy and a gal, little different. Lots of campy, sometimes just plain awful dialog, but some GEMS too. And there is a message, loyalty to your friends and community, integrity in your actions, understanding of others point of view and reasons for doing things. And that bad guys can get as many guns as they want, if peacable townspeople want peace they just may have to pick up a piece too now and then. Then there's the music, and the delicious Diane Lane, which makes rock and roll feel like it ought to feel. Too bad all concerts I've seen haven't been that good. This movie is a lot more fun than a lot of so-called "good" movies. Watch it, dream it, enjoy it.
In this dark musical drama a soldier of fortune must rescue his former girlfriend after she is kidnapped by a motorcycle gang. This is a very dark and energetic film with an excellent soundtrack and a story that keeps you involved..it has a great cast with Amy Madigan, Rick Moranis, Diane Lane, and others ..very underrated and ahead of its time on a scale of one to ten...7
When the successful rock and roll singer Ellen Aim (Diane Lane) is
kidnapped by Raven Shaddock (Willem Dafoe) and his motorcycle gang The
Bombers during a concert, the fan and owner of a bar Reva Cody (Deboran
Van Valkenburgh) writes a telegram to her brother and Ellen's
ex-boyfriend Tom Cody (Michael Paré) asking him to return to Richmond.
Tom meets the former soldier McCoy (Amy Madigan) in town seeking for
job and they are hired by Ellen's manager and boyfriend Billy Fish
(Rick Moranis) to rescue Ellen. Tom, McCoy and Billy travel in a car in
a journey to the Battery, burning down the streets of the dangerous
The cult "Streets of Fire" is a stylish homage to rock & roll. This movie has a awesome soundtrack with many wonderful songs of Ry Cooder and charming characters performed by the sexy Diane Lane; the annoying Rick Moranis; the funny Amy Madigan; the great villain Willem Dafoe; and the troublemaker "good guy" Michael Paré. In the end, this underrated movie is a great entertainment. My vote is seven.
Title (Brazil): "Ruas de Fogo" ("Streets of Fire")
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