Streets of Fire (1984) Poster

User Reviews

Add a Review
169 ReviewsOrdered By: Helpfulness
The Searcher's in the 60's.
monster-monster30 November 2005
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.
28 out of 31 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Extraordinary kinetic work
fertilecelluloid23 December 2005
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!
62 out of 73 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Comic book action story with style
madvikins15 January 2005
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 poetry!

Best Regards

60 out of 71 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Great forgotten 1980s movie
preppy-33 January 2000
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 save her.

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.
63 out of 77 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
The movie of my childhood
lrw025024 March 2006
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 roll!

"I'm not an angel but at least I'm a girl"-
42 out of 50 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Having missed this movie so many years ago, I'm so glad I finally watched Streets of Fire
tavm22 July 2010
After about 25 years, I finally watched this underrated Walter Hill film that not only had several action sequences but also a few complete musical performances that just blew my breath away. I mean, seeing Diane Lane in the opening and closing numbers were some of the most awesome scenes in this movie. By the way, that's not her singing but that of Holly Sherwood. Another singer, Laurie Sargent, also dubs her in another musical segment. Her, I remember from the video "10-9-8" with her group Face to Face, who portray Lane's group The Attackers, whenever it showed on the TBS weekend late night music video compilation show "Night Tracks" during the '80s. Anyway, Michael Pare plays the antihero lead Tom Cody who agrees to rescue former flame Ellen Aim (Ms. Lane's character) from the clutches of Raven Shaddock (Willem Dafoe) for a price. Rick Moranis-as Aim's manager Billy Fish-agrees to provide the dough while Amy Madigan-as the tough-as-nails McCoy-tags along. Along the way, we meet Cody's sister Reva (Deborah Van Valkenburgh), Clyde the Bartender (Bill Paxton), Bill Gunn-the guy who reveals where Ellen and Raven are (Ed Begley, Jr.), Greer-one of the members of Shaddock's gang: The Bombers (Lee Ving), and the musical group The Sorels of which two of those members are B.J. (Mykelti Willimson) and Lester (Robert Townsend). I'll stop there and just mention that I found the whole thing awesome with the look of the picture especially when they showed those subway trains that I actually rode on when I briefly went back to my birthtown of Chicago, Ill. as a 10-year-old kid in the summer of 1977. And most of the dialogue-courtesy of Hill and Larry Gross-just cackles with atmosphere, especially when Pare, Madigan, and especially Moranis put in their two cents as their characters. In fact, this is quite a departure for the latter as he usually is more comically nerdy compared to the more straight character he plays here though he gets some point-on wisecracks. And all the songs are just so great especially when they're written by such luminaries as Lieber & Stoller, Stevie Nicks, and Jim Steinman. And what about that score by Ry Cooder with some help by Jimmy Iovine! In summation, Streets of Fire was just such a cool movie to watch so that's a high recommendation. P.S. One of those great songs was "I Can Dream About You" which The Sorels lip-synced to Winston Ford's vocals though the single release was performed by that song's writer, Dan Hartman, who was previously known for singing on The Edgar Winter Group's "Free Ride" as well as the Disco hit, "Instant Replay". The dancer on the table at Torchie's was one Marine Jahan who the previous year was revealed to be Jennifer Beals' dance double in Flashdance. Besides knowing Moranis from "SCTV" and some other movies and Ed Begley, Jr. from "St. Elsewhere", I also recognized Deborah Van Valkenburgh from "Too Close for Comfort" and Lee Ving as the lead singer of the punk band Fear when they appeared on "Saturday Night Live". And since I just mentioned that I was born in Chicago, I also feel like noting the other players that came from there: Amy Madigan-who graduated from Marquette University which is where one of my younger sisters also finished school, Robert Townsend, and Kathy Griffin who appears as a concert goer here.
8 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
leader of the pack steals queen of the hop and soldier boy comes home to save the day
robscottw19 August 2005
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.
26 out of 33 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
A futuristic rock n roll love story
goya-421 September 2000
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 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
25 out of 32 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Wonderful adventure in comic-book style with attractive images and pulsating rock soundtrack
ma-cortes5 September 2015
Enjoyable urban/modern Western combined with rock 'n roll , displaying a satisfying and impressive directorial by Walter Hill . It is an entertaining compendium of noisy action , rock music , a love story , sadistic as well as violent bikers , fights , state-of-the-art frames and many other surprising things . A famous female rock singer called Ellen Aim (Diane Lane) is captured by a motorcycle gang led by Raven (Willem Dafoe) . As an embittered mercenary named Tom Cody (Michael Pare) goes after his ex-Sweetheart who has been kidnapped by the cruel band .

It's a diverting action/thriller/musical with adventures , non-stop action , shootouts , breathtaking scenarios ; but also melancholy , friendship , unlovable camaraderie , emotionalism and including marvelous songs . Gorgeous scenarios set to rocking backbeat , mostly in sumptuous interiors , reflecting wonderfully the luminous spaces filled with neon lights , they are splendidly photographed by excellent cameraman Andrew Laszlo , and mainly on a soundstage . It is an enjoyable storytelling set in a mythic world that combines a futuristic feel with 1950s styles and attitudes . Impressive and evocative musical score by Ry Cooder , Hill's ordinary musician , adding catching songs . Nice acting by Michael Pare as two-fisted hero , a former boyfriend who sets out to save his ex-girlfriend , an enticing female rock star well played by Diane Lane . Stunning support cast , plenty of familiar faces such as Rick Moranis , Deborah Van Valkenburgh , Richard Lawson , Rick Rossovich , Bill Paxton , Robert Townsend , Mykelti Williamson , Elizabeth Daily , John Dennis Johnston , Stoney Jackson , Lee Ving , Peter Jason , Ed Begley Jr , among others . And special mention for Amy Madigan , a tomboy playing a tough warrior woman who helps starring to take on the nasty biker finely performed by Williem Dafoe .

This stylized retelling was very well directed by Walter Hill , a Western expert , such as he proved in ¨Will Bill¨ and ¨Long riders¨ . Hill's skillful direction is assured and firm and occasionally quite inspired . Director Walter Hill gets too much experience on western genre , thus : ¨The long riders¨ , ¨Will Bill¨ , ¨Geronimo¨, and "Broken Trail". Besides , he has directed modern westerns such as ¨Streets of fire¨ , ¨Extreme prejudice¨ and ¨Last man standing¨. His best Western called ¨Geronimo¨ was followed , by his biggest hit to date, ¨ 48 hours¨ and with a sequel¨ Another 48 hours¨ . Since then, his movies have not made huge amounts at the box-office, though the best of them ¨ Streets of fire¨ retains a certain primitive drive strangely to be found elsewhere . Rating : Better than average and well worth watching for the proficient film-making . It's a magnificent movie , and an unforgettable , unchallenged classic modern flick.
6 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Bombers, Blasters, Attackers and Streets of Fire.
Spikeopath18 April 2015
Streets of Fire is directed by Walter Hill who also co-writes the screenplay with Larry Gross. It stars Michael Paré, Diane Lane, Rick Moranis, Amy Madigan and Willem Dafoe. Music is scored by Ry Cooder and cinematography is by Andrew Laszlo.

When the lead singer of Ellen Aim and the Attackers is kidnapped by biker gang The Bombers, her ex-soldier of fortune boyfriend is contacted and hired to go get her back...

There were a couple of movies released in 1984 by maverick directors that were frowned upon at the time, but are now significantly held in high regard and define the saying "cult movie". One was Alex Cox's Repo Man, the other was Walter Hill's Streets of Fire.

Streets of Fire is a bastard hybrid of ideas and influences. In part a rock opera set to the backdrop of blink blink blinkity blink neonvillle, an unnamed place that lives and breathes between 50s angst and 80s futurism, in others it's a straight forward road/mission movie headed up by an anti-hero taking notes from Snake Plissken whilst jostling for cool space with Kyle Reese. It's a film, that by Hill's own admission, is unashamedly a collage of things he finds cool in cinema. Yet this is not a detriment to the pic, the narrative is straightforward as can be and Hill throws everything he can into the mix, and it works.

In essence it's a live action comic book, it knows it's just a film and has no pretencions to seem remotely real life. The look is wonderfully flamboyant and campy, where the hero and villain wear braces and PVC overalls respectively. The girls are a mixture of a teenage diva babe and a beer swilling roughneck babe. The city itself is a vibrant mix of colours and carnage, beauty and beats, and where the streets literally are on fire. Hill weighs in with his adroit flair for action, always kinetic, while the soundtrack rocks and the dialogue bubbles with self aware glee. Cast are super, some sexy and tough, others weaselly and weak, but all pumping the pop culture blood through the veins of the movie.

With style and cool to burn, both only beaten out by the action quotient, Streets of Fire is an ode to live action fun. And watching it now you can see just how it has influenced many a film maker post its release. Streets of Fire, one bad ass bitch funky sex machine. 9/10
6 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Amazing, underrated movie
MisterFahrenheit10 December 2005
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
35 out of 47 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Tonight Is What It Means To Be Young
Warning: Spoilers
This film is another example of Mr. Walter Hill delivering the goods with a great story, great visuals and great action. The performances are pretty good, although our star Michael Pare is a bit one-note. It doesn't help that Tom Cody (his character) is a bit of a jerk at times. But the mega-jerk award must go to Rick Moranis as the slimy Billy Fish. He's ultimately a good guy, but he is so snide and unlikeable that I actually said 'thank you' when Willem Dafoe's number two punches him out. That said, Moranis proves he can be good in a straight role.

Willem Dafoe himself excels as biker king Raven. He has proved time and time again that he can be the best when he plays a bad guy (but what was with those leather dungarees?). Diane Lane and Amy Madigan are great as Ellen and McCoy respectively. The whole look of the film was great. The story seems to be taking place in some 50s/80s hybrid (classic muscle cars are all around, and yet 80s rock 'n roll blares on the soundtrack and neon-lit clubs show music videos on various monitors).

The music by Ry Cooder and songs composed by Jim Steinman, Stevie Nicks and Tom Petty are excellent. I love how the film begins and ends with the two Steinman numbers. I was a bit disappointed when I read that Diane Lane only lip-synchs in the film because the two songs, Nowhere Fast and Tonight Is What It Means To Be Young, kick ass! I liked how down-on-their-luck crooners the Sorels are hired to be Ellen's opening act at the end. They perform the soundtracks' big hit single, I Can Dream About You (performed by Dan Hartman when it was released).

The action hardly ever lets up as Cody blasts at enemy vehicles with his trusty twelve-gauge and he and Raven have a climactic final duel.

I'm glad that this film has been released on DVD in the UK, but with NO extras. I really think UK DVD customers get shafted! I wish Mr. Hill would do commentaries, because I think SOF ranks up there with THE WARRIORS as one of his best. Don't miss this one! You'll regret it!
9 out of 10 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
A Stylish Homage to Rock & Roll
Claudio Carvalho21 April 2008
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 neighborhood.

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")
18 out of 23 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Flashy entertainment.
Scott LeBrun26 January 2012
Co-writer / director Walter Hill's "rock 'n' roll fable" is well realized, visually stunning stuff with stylistic and thematic ties to his earlier movie "The Warriors". If nothing else, he and his crew create the perfect look for this wild update of 1950's B movies. A rising rock star named Ellen Aim (Diane Lane) is kidnapped by a motorcycle gang led by creepy Raven Shaddock (Willem Dafoe). Local diner owner Reva (Deborah Van Valkenburgh) appeals to her long lost brother Tom (Michael Pare), who used to date Ellen, to rescue her (although it's not necessarily just the girl that needs to be saved, but the neighbourhood in general), and he agrees to do so - as long as he gets paid. He and his motley collection of sidekicks, Ellen's nerdy but aggressive manager, Billy Fish (Rick Moranis) and his spunky new acquaintance, McCoy (Amy Madigan) team up to track Ellen down and get her back. A few key personnel help to make this a pleasure to both look at and listen to, and those are production designer John Vallone, cinematographer Andrew Laszlo, and composer Ry Cooder. The ambiance of the various sets seriously smokes, creating the perfect backdrop for this engaging bit of pulp story telling, the story definitely hearkening back to "The Warriors" as our unlikely group have to embark on a bit of a journey to get back to where they need to be. And, as others have said, while the movie is not without its dramatic moments, it never pretends to be truly serious about what it's doing. It's all in fun. The soundtrack (including such irresistible material as "One Bad Stud") is absolutely incredible, and may have the viewers bopping along to it without realizing they're doing so. The cast is very well chosen, with Pare displaying low key bad ass charisma and Dafoe investing his villain with plenty of swagger. Lane is of course just lovely, Moranis very good as a basically annoying character, and Madigan quite appealing. Tons of familiar faces turn up in supporting parts and bits: Richard Lawson, Rick Rossovich, Bill Paxton, Lee Ving, Grand L. Bush, Mykelti Williamson, Robert Townsend, Elizabeth Daily, Lynne Thigpen, Ed Begley Jr., John Dennis Johnston, Olivia Brown, Peter Jason, and Matthew Laurance. "Streets of Fire" may be one of those cases where the style matters more than the substance, but when the style works this well - right down to the scene transitions - it's hard to really complain. Eight out of 10.
4 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Sensational Little Shoot'em Up!!!
zardoz-1324 March 2017
Warning: Spoilers
"Extreme Prejudice" director Walter Hill's "Streets of Fire," with Michael Paré, Diane Lane, and Willem Dafoe, ranks as one of those obscure urban adventure epics that nobody appreciated when it was released in 1984. Most critics hated it, and the film coined only about half of its reported $14.5 million budget. Admittedly, it seems like a goulash of genres, ranging from musicals to actioneers to neo-noir thrillers, and comedy, that flies all over the place like buckshot without wearing out its welcome. Happily, Will and co-scenarist Larry Gross swirl these elements so that they all come together beautifully in a neat little actioneer. The bloodless action takes place in what appears to be the 1950s in an anonymous city that resembles Chicago considering that the skyline is dominated by elevated railways. The characters dress as if they are from the 1950s, and the cars look like they hail from the same era. Composer Ry Cooder's soundtrack and the various top-40 songs used in it are ideal for the action. The concert scenes are incredibly charismatic, and Diane Lane behaves like a genuine rock star. The beautifully lensed action follows the formula of a myth about heroes who embark on a journey of hardship to a faraway destination to save an imprisoned damsel-in-distress from a slimy, pugnacious villain. What sets this movie apart from most is its reluctance to wallow in bloodshed and death. If you watch closely nobody bites the dust, and there isn't a lot of gritty action. The climactic, close-quarters combat scene between Mind you, the settings and the heroes and villains all look rugged and dirty, but "Streets of Fire" doesn't turn into a high-octane opus.

Raven Shaddock (Willem Dafoe of "Platoon") and his gang of obnoxious motorcycle maniacs nick-named 'the Bombers' kidnap popular singer Ellen Aim (Diane Lane of "Unfaithful") during a concert and haul her off to a remote location where Shaddock wants to play house with her. Reva Cody (Deborah Van Valkenburgh of "The Warriors") watches the gang drag Ellen off stage during a concert, and she contacts her brother Tom Cody (Michael Paré of "Eddie and the Cruisers") who used to date her and asks him to rescue her. "Look, Tom, you were always real close with Ellen," Reva reminds him. "She wasn't like all those tramps you used to run around with." Meantime, Aim's manager/boyfriend Billy Fish (Rick Moranis of "Ghostbusters") reluctantly agrees to hire Tom for $10-thousand. As it happens, Tom decides to bring along a gruff Army mechanic McCoy (Amy Madigan of "Field of Dreams") to act as his back-up. He met her during a brief bar fight when she slugged the barkeep from trying to run her off. McCoy is a tough looking gal who knows how to handle firearms. "I need the job. I'm plenty good enough and I ain't gonna let you down," she assures Tom. No sooner do all three meet than brusque Billy Fish looks with utter contempt at her, and she whittles him down to size with sarcasm. "You know, it's hard to figure out what's more pathetic, the way you talk or the way you dress." Neither of them back off throughout this tightly forged rock'n roll fable.

Cody, Fish, and McCoy enter a murky place called 'The Battery' where low-lifers and perverts hang out, guzzle liquor, and raise hell. They learn from a shadowy denizen of the area, Ben Gunn (Ed Begley Jr. of "Cat People"), where Raven has holed up with Ellen. Cody starts blasting away at bikers as they careen around the Battery while McCoy keeps several of them distracted long enough for Cody to snatch Ellen. Raven confronts Cody as Ellen and he are about to depart. "Looks like I finally ran into someone that likes to play as rough as I do," Raven observes and then vows to come after Cody. "I'll be coming for her, and I'll be coming for you too." Tom is terribly impressed with Raven's threat. Says Tom, "Sure, you will, and I'll be waiting." Unable to use the convertible that Cody had commandeered earlier from a bunch of snotty-nosed kids at Reva's dinner, they appropriate a bus belonging to an African-American singing group the Sorels. Eventually, Raven and Cody square off in a daylight brawl wielding fireman axes. Predictably, Tom defeat Raven. Ellen is pleased that Tom rescued her, but these two—no matter how much they loved each other before—cannot walk off hand-in-hand. Tom explains, "Look, I know you're gonna be going places with your singing and stuff, but then I'm not the kind of guy to be carrying your guitars around for you. But if you ever need me for something, I'll be there." They walk away from each in a bittersweet finale.

Reportedly, Hill had planned to develop a franchise from "Streets of Fire," but the box office failure of the film sealed its doom. Nevertheless, I love this film, have seen it many times, and think the soundtrack is fabulous. The dialogue is very hop, too. Nobody gives a bad performance. Michael Paré is ideal as the wandering soldier, and Diane Lane looks like a real heartbreaker. Amy Madigan is superb as the gun-toting mechanic. Of course, Willem Dafoe makes a terrific villain. "Streets of Fire" is an incendiary actioneer with loads of atmosphere and catchy dialogue.
3 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
A solid gold classic. There's never been anything like it, and likely never will. Too good to be true.
Walter Hill's Streets Of Fire is just too good to be true, and yet it exists. It's like the type of dream concept for a movie that you and your coolest friend think up after a bunch of beers and wish you had the time, money and resources to make yourself. It's just cool right down to the bone, a beautiful little opus of 1950's style gang trouble set to a so-good-it-hurts rock n' roll soundtrack devised by the legendary Ry Cooper, Hill's go to music maestro. It's so 80's it's bursting at the seams with the stylistic notes of that decade, and both Hill and the actors stitch up those seams with all the soda jerk, greaser yowls and musical mania of the 50's. Anyone reading up to this point who isn't salivating right now and logging onto amazon to order a copy, well there's just no hope for you. I only say that because for sooommeee reason upon release this one was a financial and critical dud, floundering at the box office and erasing any hope for the sequels which Hill had planned to do. I guess some people just aren't cool enough to get it (can you tell I'm bitter? Lol). Anywho, there's nothing quite like it and it deserves a dig up, Blu Ray transfer and many a revisit. In a nocturnal, neon flared part of a nameless town that looks a little like New York, the streets are humming with excitement as everyone prepares for the nightly musical extravaganza. Darling songstress Ellen Aim (young Diane Lane♡♡) is about to belt out an epic rock ballad in a warehouse dance hall for droves of screaming fans. There's one fan who has plans to do more than just watch, though. Evil biker gang leader Raven Shaddock (Willem Dafoe, looking like Satan crossed with Richard Ramirez) kidnaps her as the last notes of her song drift away, his gang terrorizes the streets and disappears off into the night with poor Ellen as their prisoner. The locals need a hero to go up against Raven and rescue Ellen, and so estranged badass Tom Cody (Michael Paré) is called back to town after leaving years before. He's a strong and silent hotshot who takes no guff from no one, and is soon on the rampage to Raven's part of town. He's got two buddies as well: two fisted, beer guzzling brawler chick McCoy (Amy Madigan), and sniveling event planner Billy Fish (Rick Moranis). That's as much plot as you get and it's all you need, a delightful dime store yarn with shades of The Outsiders and a soundtrack that will have your jaw drop two floors down. The two songs which Ellen sings are heart thumping legends. 'Nowhere Fast' gives us a huge glam-rock welcome into the story, and 'Tonight Is What It Means To Be Young' ushers us out with a monumental bang before the credits roll, and damn if Hill doesn't know how to stage the two songs with rousing and much welcomed auditory excess that'll have you humming for days. Paré is great as the brooding hero, and you won't find too many solid roles like this in his career. He's a guy who somewhat strayed off the path into questionable waters (he's in like every Uwe Boll movie) but he pops up now and again I'm some cool stuff, like his scene stealing cameo in The Lincoln Lawyer. Dafoe clocks in right on time for his shift at the creepshow factory, giving Raven a glowering, makeup frosted grimace that's purely vampiric and altogether unnerving. Him and Paré are great in their street side sledgehammer smackdown in the last act. Bottom line, this is one for the books and it still saddens me how unfavorably it was received... like what were they thinking? A gem in Hill's career, and a solid pulse punding rock opera fable. Oh, and watch for both an obnoxious turn from Bill Paxton and a bizarre cameo from a homeless looking Ed Begley Jr.
3 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Great forgotten 80's romp...
Byrnstar4 August 2015
This's as if the 50's and the 80's had a love child, and it that child was William Defoe, channeling Kiefer Sutherland's David from the Lost Boys plus Edward Cullen...and then they gave him crack. If you thought the man was creepy before, there's a particular scene with latex overalls and fire that just cranks it up to 11.

Great movie if you love the 80's. The visuals are awesome, a combination of 50's scenery and cars mixed with tons of neon and 80's punk dress/music. Plot is so-so – the concept is straightforward but halfway through the movie it turns into a live action series of TV Tropes (which are fun, don't get me wrong, but send the plot all over the place). There are numerous scenes where the actors are clearly reading rather than performing their lines, and there's no chemistry between the male lead and his damsel in distress. But seeing Rick Moranis hamming it up as a sniveling business manager, Bill Paxton in a bit part as a wimpy barkey, Amy Madigan as a surprisingly interesting Action Girl and a young William Defoe being a creepy creeper of all creeps is more than worth it.

If you want a movie that will trigger 80's nostalgia and is a good romp to watch with a beer, this is it. If you're looking for art, you probably want something else. But this movie is what gave us the 80's hit song 'I Can Dream About You', and for that alone I give it top marks.
3 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Streets of Fire: A 'Walter Hill' film which is as entertaining now as it was in 1984.
FilmCriticLalitRao2 February 2015
It is a total mystery how 'Streets of Fire' had been declared as a box office disaster at the time of its initial release. However, it is the music and action sequences from this film which keep viewers glued to their screens. This film is a complete entertainer which doesn't hesitate at all in disassociating itself from being a "mere rock and roll fable". "Streets of Fire" launched the career of débutant actor Michael Paré who is remarkable is his role as a man who would not hesitate in liberating his ex-flame from the clutches of an evil man. Hollywood director Walter Hill has made some of the best films in the realm of American cinema. They have made great deal of money and have also enabled viewers to have a nice time by watching them. Most astute viewers know about some of his best box office successes. One can easily cite the names of profitable films namely "48 hours" and "Brewster's Millions". Lastly, "Streets of Fire" needs to be seen by all viewers who would like to see a balanced yet interesting melange of action, music and songs.
3 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
NOWHERE EVEN FASTER: The definition of an era
Alan Smithee27 May 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Trashed by the critics, failed at the box office and hailed by a young generation of MTV addicted fans!

It's a typical or - in retrospect - a state-of-the art film of the mid 1980s; violent, superficial and excessively stylish with something less than a minimalistic plot:


celebrated rock singer Ellen Aim get kidnapped by gang, ex boyfriend/cynical lone wolf/paid gunslinger character going off to gangland to fight them and try to break her free.


The film is set in a slight futuristic but yet quite familiar surrounding with a breath of a West Side Story kind of atmosphere, a time and place where law and order seems to be corrupt, broken down or absent.

"Grease" had overturned the box office charts a little less than a decade earlier, and the Happy Days 1950 nostalgia were on a re-run. The air of the 50s is quite obvious with the cars, the diners and the gangs and all.

But never the less; everything seems blown out of its proportions and somewhat out of time and place. The key here is the tag line: "A Rock & Roll Fable", suggesting equivalence with a fantasy or a fairy tale, but in hard core rock'n roll style.

If you asked me in what time it takes place, I would say about 15 minutes into the future...

According to the film critics there were too much violence and it was too nicely choreographed. Neither did they care very much for the surreal and anachronistic settings, nor the compressed (i.e. lack of) plot.

But the final nail in the coffin seems to have been the rather daring and for the genré very unusual musical concept with music video inspired segments breaking up the action, and the film critics of that time just didn't seem to get it.

The film failed horribly at the box office of course, but for the very same reasons it all worked out extremely well with the MTV generation. All that self-indulgent irony (irony => see PS at the end) suddenly fell into place, and soon enough it became a cult film in the true sense; hard to get to see but very much appreciated by a solid core of MTV addicted fans.

Some of the music is nothing less than fantastic, and the Fire Inc. speed-in-blood performance of "Nowhere Fast" with the distinctive beat/heavy baseline and build up to climax is an all time classic. In fact, it was recited in a scene in Black Cat, White Cat by Balkan/Serbian filmmaker Emir Kusturica.

Streets of Fire is one of those movies really capturing, or rather defining, the excessive and polished mannerisms of the 1980s, and it is a very good place to start if you want to explore that era.

If you like it and want more, there are some other movies you might want to check out (indifferent order):

Blade Runner - Ridley Scott

Subway - Luke Besson

Escape From New York - John Carpenter

Manhunter - Michael Mann

The Lost Boys - Joel Schumacher



Quote from A Dictionary of Modern English Usage by Henry Watson Fowler:

"Irony is a form of utterance that postulates a double audience, consisting of one party that hearing shall hear & shall not understand, & another party that, when more is meant than meets the ear, is aware both of that more & of the outsiders' incomprehension"
3 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Surreal, New Wave cult movie
Matt Kracht24 December 2012
The plot: After his girlfriend is kidnapped, a soldier goes off to rescue her, reluctantly assisted by one of her ex-boyfriends.

Streets of Fire is a surreal movie focused on blending together opposites: 1950s and 1980s pop culture, retro and modern style, comic books and Westerns, musicals and action movies, parody and homage, twerpy nerds and cocky soldiers. Whether it works or not is a bit of a contentious issue among audiences, but I thought it was great. If nothing else, it's creative and stylistic. If you were expecting a straightforward movie, I can understand how you might be disappointed by the kind of unfocused, manic creativity. The movie intentionally refuses to settle down on a single tone or genre. It amazes me that some people take it incredibly seriously, saying that it's unintentionally funny or that it's not a comedy. I can't even comprehend how you could think that.

If you like surreal, comic bookish movies, such as The Warriors, Buckaroo Banzai, and Big Trouble in Little China, I highly recommend you try Streets of Fire. It's definitely not for everyone, but it's deserving of its cult status, in my opinion.
3 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
An Excellent,Stylish Action-Musical And Cult Classic. One of Walter Hill's Best.
jcbutthead8616 June 2012
Streets Of Fire is an excellent,stylish underrated film that combines Action,Rock N'Roll,Humor,and Adventure. Although the film wasn't a box office hit,Streets Of Fire has become a Cult Favorite over the years and is one of Walter Hill's best films and is also one of my favorite movies.

Set in Another Time and Another Place,Streets Of Fire tells the story of a rock star named Ellen Aim(Diane Lane)who returns to her home town the Richmond to perform a concert. While there,a gang named the bombers led by Raven Shaddock(Willem Dafoe) kidnap Ellen Aim and have captured. Ellen's ex-boyfriend and soldier Tom Cody(Michael Pare) returns to the Richmond and is hired to get Ellen back. With the help of Ellen's boyfriend/manager Billy Fish(Rick Moranis) and tough as nails McCoy(Amy Madigan),the three head into a world where Rock N'Roll is king and the only law is a loaded gun.

Streets Of Fire is a movie that's great and works so well because of the setting,characters and where style wins over substance. The setting and time period of Streets Of Fire is unique because the film gives us a timeless world mixing the 50s,60s and 80s where Rock N'Roll is dominant and all over the place,a world where your not sure what year it's in. Is it the future? Is it the past? A combination of both? Or is it somewhere in between the past and the future. That's one of the great things that makes this movie work is because we'll never know the answer to those questions. The characters in the film are well-drawn and memorable because of the dialog. The dialog is stylized,over the top and spoken with the in a tough and aggressive way that wouldn't fit in the modern world,but in the world of the 30s,40s and 50s and would also fit in the very strange,weird and surreal world that SOF sets up and shows. The Humor works well in the film because most of the dialog or lines are not always spoken in complete sentences,but with one-liners,insults and reactions. The situations and style of the film build up the humor,where you don't always see the characters smile or tell or joke,but you know in the back of the characters minds and your mind that the laughs work as the film goes along. While the film is more about style than character development,you get to know a little bit about the characters Tom Cody,Ellen Aim and McCoy,who they are,why they do the things they do and their motivations in some of the events of the film. The three characters are stylized but also human and likable. The Action and fight scenes are well done and fit in with the film's bigger than life,over the top style with thrilling gunfights,explosions and fist fights. Hill knows and breathes Action. Walter Hill has always said that every film he's made is a Western and it's evident in this film. SOF is almost a retelling of the John Ford/John Wayne classic The Searchers in which a young girl is kidnapped by Indians and the John Wayne character searches for her. The Western influence is still here with the character Tom Cody being a Clint Eastwood/John Wayne cowboy in the big city and the Bombers as Indians and Ellen Aim as the kidnapped girl. SOF doesn't have dust,dirt,horses or large stagecoaches that are often associated with the great Western genre,but you'll notice the influence with repeated viewings. The is beautiful and visually stunning to look with the neon colors,production designs and photography that just comes off the screen and hits you in the eye. The film is like a comic book coming to life and the movie brings into it's own world and makes you feel like you're in the film. Maybe the only film that I can compare with in terms of visuals,style and timelessness is the movie Sin City,but Streets Of Fire is a unique,visually stunning film on it's own and one of the reasons why I love the film so much. The ending is excellent and stylish and is filled with great Rock N'Roll brilliance that will have viewers cheering and smiling. An amazing music-packed ending.

The cast does a wonderful job in their roles. Michael Pare does a excellent job as Tom Cody,a tough guy who fights,shoots and asks questions later. Diane Lane is amazing as Ellen Aim and has great scenes with Pare. Rick Moranis is fantastic as Billy Fish,Ellen's jerk boyfriend and manager. Amy Madigan is brilliant as Tom's tough female sidekick McCoy,with Madigan saying great one-liners and not taking any crap. Willam Dafoe is terrific as villain Raven Shaddocks,leader of The Bombers. Richard Lawson does a great job as officer Ed Price,a local cop. Elizabeth Daily is wonderful in her small role as Baby Doll,a girl that's a fan of Ellen Aim. Deborah Van Valkenberg(Reva Cody),Stoney Jackson(Bird,The Sorels),Lee Ving(Greer)and Rick Rossovich(Officer Cooley)give good performances as well. Also,lookout for early roles with Bill Paxton(Clyde),Robert Townsend(Lester,The Sorels),Mikelti Williamson(B.J.,The Sorels),Grand L. Bush(Reggie,The Sorels)and Ed Begley Jr.(Ben Gunn)

The direction by Walter Hill is brilliant and stylish,with Hill always moving the camera giving the film a wonderful pace and bringing a unique visual style to the film and also does a great job with the Action and fight scenes. Amazing direction,Hill.

The score by Ry Cooder is amazing,with Cooder's score bringing Rock N'Roll,excitement and grit. Great score by Cooder. The film has a fantastic soundtrack with songs by Fire Inc.(Nowhere Fast,Tonight Is What It Mean To Be Young),Laurie Sargent(Sorcerer),The Blasters(One Bad Stud,Blue Shadows)Winston Ford(I can dream about you,Countdown To Love)and The Fixx(Deeper And Deeper). A fantastic and memorable soundtrack.

In final word,if you love Walter Hill,Action films,Musicals,Cult Films or Cult films like Big Trouble In Little China,Repo Man and The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai,I Highly suggest you check out Streets Of Fire an excellent,underrated film that you can watch again and again and is one of Walter Hill's best films. Highly Recommended. 10/10.
3 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
A melange of fantastic Americana
XRANDY4 December 2001
This great film is a fantasy that mixes all the enjoyable elements from rock-n-roll and the old west. It is a veritable pastiche of Americana motifs. It uses an urban setting to support it's farrago of 50s costumes and cars, 60s and 70s motorcycles and beautiful anachronistic music. The best was taken of disparate decades in pop culture and put together in a good old-fashioned rescue story.

As the opening words proclaim, this is a `rock and roll fable' taking place in `another time and another place'. This is a rock fantasy in every sense of the word! Cool music, sexy girls, lawlessness, and self-destructive behavior. The story is played out in a world that while not anarchy is at least nihilistic. It is not so much a dystopia as it is a futuristic anomie. There are no elders shown in this dimension and apparently no central authority. In fact the only administration shown are glimpses of (often-corrupt) cops who function mainly as factional representatives with limited power. They are analogous to the old west lawmen trying to keep peace among rowdy outlaws. The filmmakers were adroit in not trying to explain this strange world. And it is better for viewers to simply accept it, and enjoy it.

The casting was brilliant for this film as Michael Pere is perfect as the reluctant hero Tom Cody and William Defoe is equally adept as the perverse Raven. Rick Moranis was made for his role as the indignant, offensive music-manager Fish. He also has the pleasure of delivering one of the flick's best lines as he unwillingly pays off a hobo for information, `Go buy some soap!'

By the way I think it is no coincidence that Jim Steinman (songwriter for Meatlaof) penned the opening and ending tunes. He has always espoused his love for the character Peter Pan because he stays eternally young. That is the type of thinking that obviously inspired such a movie as this.
3 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
A great movie of the 1980's with style and music.
jeffman5200129 December 2004
Streets Of Fire is one of the most stylish and underrated films in the 1980's,great action,awesome music,and a great cast.The movie has a 1950's look,but a 1980's sound when it comes to music.This movie has class.I remember when it came out in 1984.

The movie starts out as Ellen Aim,played beautifully by the beautiful Diane Lane(The Outsiders,The Cotton Club and My Dog Skip)who is a rock star,is abducted by a motorcycle gang called "The Bombers".The leader of the bombers,Raven Shaddock,played by Willem Dafoe(Platoon,Mississippi Burning,and White Sands)takes Ellen Aim from a concert she is performing at to their place in a bad district of the town called "The Battery"where they are at a bar called "Torchys".

Ellen Aim's former boyfriend,Tom Cody,a former soldier,played awesome by Michael Pare(The Greatest American Hero,Eddie and The Cruisers 1 and 2,and The Philadelphia Experiment)gets a letter from his sister Reva,played by Deborah Van Valenburgh(The Warriors and Too Close For Comfort),telling Tom about Ellen being kidnapped.Tom comes to town to see Reva,she explains what has happened.Tom goes to the bar to have a drink and meets McCoy,played superbly by Amy Madigan(Love Child and The Alamo Bay),she is a former soldier too.McCoy is having a drink at the bar,the bartender,Clyde,played great by Bill Paxton(Weird Science,One False Move,and Twister)gives McCoy a hard time,she punches him out.Tom meets McCoy and they talk with one another,McCoy needs a place to stay,so Tom Cody offers her a place to stay at his sister's place where he is staying.Tom tells his sister he will rescue Ellen Aim.In the morning at the restaurant,Tom meets up with Billy Fish,a very arrogant,selfish jerk,played great by Rick Moranis(Ghostbusters 1 and 2,Honey I Shunk The Kids movies and Spaceballs),Billy Fish is Ellen Aim's manager and new boyfriend.Tom want to rescue her,for $10,000,he needs Billy Fish to show him through "The Battery".McCoy wants to come along to help since she was a soldier.They all go to "The Battery" and get Ellen out of their but have to ditch the car.A fan of Ellen Aim's,played by Elizabeth Daily(Rugrats,Pee Wee's Big Adventure,and Better Off Dead)comes along.

They get new transportation on a bus with the singing group called"The Sorels".Bird,played by Stoney Jackson,Reggie,played by Grand L. Bush(Lethal Weapon 1 and 2,and Colors),Lester,played by Robert Townsend(Hollywood Shuffle),B.J.,played by Mikelti Williamson(Con Air,Species II,and Midnight Caller)are the members of "The Sorels".They all driving and run into a road block of Ardmore cops,the one Cop,Harry,played by Peter Jason(48 hours,Alien Nation and They Live)is a dirty cop,wants a payoff,but is realizing that they found what they are looking for.Tom deals with the cops,blows up their cars and gets away.Ellen gets back into town,but is mad to find out that Tom is getting money to rescue her.Tom acts like a jerk,but realizes he still loves her and Ellen loves him too.

Raven Shaddock wants Tom Cody,Tom and Raven end up fighting it out.Tom defeats Raven,"The Bombers"all leave and things are better between Tom and Ellen,even Billy Fish is a better person at the end.

I give this movie 10/10 stars and 2 thumbs up.Walter Hill did a great job at directing this movie,like he did with "The Warriors","48 Hours","Another 48 Hours",and "Red Heat".

The supporting cast is also awesome,Richard Lawson(V The Mini Series,and Poltergeist)as Officer Ed Price,Rick Rossovich(The Terminator,Top Gun,and Pacific Blue)as Officer Cooley,the late Lynne Thigpen(The District,The Warriors,and Lean On Me)as the train engineer.Lee Ving as Greer.Olivia Brown(48 Hours,Miami Vice,and Dear John)as Addie,a waitress who works with Reva at the cafe.

The songs in the film are so cool,"I Can Dream About You",by the late Dan Hartman,"Deeper and Deeper" by The Fixx,and the songs that Ellen Aim sang in the movie,the band at "Torchys"is also awesome.
5 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Two big thumbs up!!!!!!!!
babydoll_yg31 May 2006
"Lyin in the bed on a Saturday night you're sweating buckets and it's not even hot..." I catch myself so many time singing the songs from this movie in the shower. It is a low budget piece but as an aspiring film maker it is a classic story. I love it. Should so be remade. (By me!!LOL!) Diane Lane was so cute as the "rockstar" kidnapped by a vicious motorcycle gang.I loved that my idol (Robert Townsend) was in it.It wasn't Oscar material but it is an oldie but goo-die with me. A classic hero story with an amazing sound track.I think it should be in every aspiring movie maker's collection.I love it it is a great picture with great music!
4 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
An error has occured. Please try again.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews