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Roger Corman's MAGNIFICENT SEVEN in Space...
cariart25 October 2003
BATTLE BEYOND THE STARS, Roger Corman's 'take' of the STAR WARS saga, is a film justly recognized as a cult classic. Shot in his new studio ("The paint was still wet," Corman has joked), in just five weeks, on a budget that would have paid for one of George Lucas' effects, the end result is proof that with the right talent, anything is possible!

A remarkable array of future industry giants participated in the creation of the film; the screenplay was co-written by John Sayles, whose breakthrough film as a maverick writer/director, RETURN OF THE SECAUCUS 7, would be released the same year...young model builder James Cameron impressed Corman so much that he was promoted to Art Director for the film, and it would be the first step in a career that led to TERMINATOR, ALIENS, and eventually, the most Oscar-honored film since BEN-HUR, TITANIC...James Horner, with only three prior film credits, gave Corman the STAR WARS-quality music he wanted, with an orchestra a fraction of the size of John Williams' London Philharmonic; Horner would eventually score two STAR TREK films, and a wide variety of other 'prestige' projects, culminating with two Oscars for TITANIC, and a place as one of America's finest film composers. BATTLE BEYOND THE STARS would have a 'look' and a 'sound' unlike any 'B'-movie ever made.

Based on Akira Kurosawa's THE SEVEN SAMURAI (which was also the source for the classic western, THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN), Sayles tried to keep the film as faithful to the original as possible (a tiny, defenseless village hires warriors to defend them against a band of outlaws), even naming the beleaguered people the Akira, as a homage to the director. As warriors from different races ally to face down the nearly invincible forces of Sador (veteran actor John Saxon), Corman paid tribute to John Sturges' western, as well, casting Robert Vaughn in virtually the same role as he'd played in THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN. Other terrific actors round out the cast; Richard Thomas, still appearing in 'The Waltons' at the time, played young Shad, the film's central character; George Peppard, who was about to achieve a MAJOR career resurgence with 'The A-Team', became boozy Earthman 'Cowboy'; 'B'-movie queen Sybil Danning portrayed Valkyrie-like Saint-Exmin; veteran TV and film 'tough guy' Morgan Woodward was wonderful, if unrecognizable as Cayman of the Lambda Zone; and Darlanne Fluegel, beginning a long career as a popular character actress, was cast as Shad's love, Nanelia. Corman then cast two long-time friends and Hollywood legends in cameo roles; Jeff Corey as blind Zed, who encourages the Akira to fight; and 89-year old Sam Jaffe as the robotics expert who introduces Shad to Nanelia.

A note about director Jimmy T. Murakami...a veteran animator, BATTLE BEYOND THE STARS marked his directorial debut, and he does an exceptionally good job, considering his budget restraints. After working on HUMANOIDS FROM THE DEEP, he married an Irish girl and settled in Europe, limiting his subsequent film career to an occasional project that interested him. Roger Corman's 'family' of filmmakers were NEVER dull...

While some of the FX are shaky, the overall production is very impressive, and holds up remarkably well, today. Roger Corman has called BATTLE BEYOND THE STARS one of his favorite films, and he has every right to be proud...the movie is a terrific SF adventure!
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10/10
Seven Samurai in Space
raegan_butcher16 July 2006
John Sayles was asked by Roger Corman to adapt The Seven Samurai into a sci fi picture and the result is this delightfully inventive tongue-in-cheek romp.

What is most enjoyable to me about the film is the fact that every mercenary hired by the peaceful "villagers" has a distinct personality and style and their motivations clearly defined. George Peppard, as the only human among them, is laid back and charming. Morgan Woodward seems to be having a grand old time playing the vengeful lizard-man--dig his gonzo war-cry during the climactic battle! Robert Vaughn does seem a bit bored but he effectively communicates his character's unpleasant coldness. Sybill Danning simply has one of the most stunning bodies to ever be stuffed into a styrofoam viking costume, even if she can't act. Add to these characters two elfin aliens who communicate thru heat (the Kelvin, wink, wink) and a troupe of what looks like Mimes called "Nestor" who operate sort of like the collectivist Borg from Star Trek and in disposition seem to anticipate the infectious optimism and curiosity of Mr Data as well.When first introduced they explain, "We believe you are seeking mercenaries for an adventure. We would like to participate." The costumes, sets and spfx are quite striking though obviously done on a low budget but that hardly detracts from the fun. Special mention must be made of John Saxon who, as the evil scourge of the galaxy Lord Sador, grabs his opportunity to chew the scenery with amusing gusto. Check the sequence where he gets to enact what must be every actors dream since Dr Strangelove: to have a battle with his own rebellious arm! He plays it all-out, with just the right mix of comic book theatrics and menacing humor. It is sometimes just enjoyable to watch veteran actors cut loose and have a good time, the spirit is infectious, as it certainly is with this film. Fun for the whole family as well as bonged-out college students and other usually disparaging types.
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Lotta bang for little bucks
jaywolfenstien12 October 2004
Now this is interesting. The movie is another producer's spin on Star Wars; Star Wars obviously being made by George Lucas. The name 'George Lucas' being synonymous with 'epic-scale effects budget.' Battle Beyond the Stars was produced by Roger Corman. The name 'Roger Corman' being synonymous with 'shoe-string budget.'

Let me break from my usual critique style to go over some of the plot - Sador (John Saxon) feels the need to conquer, and he's so powerful that he decides to conquer an essentially helpless (not to mention useless) civilization. But instead of conquering, he courteously shows up to conveniently schedule his conquest a week from now in case they want to mount some sort of defense. (Where's Arnold when you need him? 'I'll be back!')

In response, Shad takes a road trip (space trip?) in Nell the only ship on the planet to round up some misfits (mercenaries--same thing) who happen to be in the neighborhood. Everyone is interestingly (clichély) unique and has their own reasons for wanting to fight, not to mention the actors have a wide range of performances ranging from sliced ham to frighteningly Shakespearian seriousness. And, ah to hell with it, you get the idea. Point is, I have every reason to really hate the plot, hate the characters (Good God, I've hated characters for much much less), hate this movie . . . but I dunno, I don't really mind it.

Through all its narrative faults, Battle Beyond the Stars happens to hit the right goofball mixture of elements from a surprisingly good score by young 'Jamie Horner' to notably weird spaceships and decent effects (for an early 80s low-budget flick) to wacky and tame characters that somehow summons a funky B-movie charm. For the life of me, I can't hate this movie despite the plot that begs me to bash it to oblivion with the Stellar Converter.

The spaceship, Nell, proved to be the highpoint of the film . . . not because of the ship's design, rather because of its personality (no really.)

I've always wanted to see a spaceship with an attitude (the Star Trek equivalent of Kit from Knight Rider?) A perfect counterpoint to the naivety of Shad, flawlessly delivered by Richard Thomas. If I weren't constantly laughing at the characters cluelessness, I'd want to slap that kid around, and I'd sure as hell wouldn't want to charge him with saving my planet. I'd like to die with my dignity, thank you.

Battle Beyond the Stars has a number of positive attributes (especially considering the budget and experience of most people involved on the film at the time), it has a number of reasons to be proud, and it most definitely has a number of charms that surpass its truckload of flaws. I consider Battle Beyond the Stars the spending benchmark for all sci-fi flicks. I mean, if Corman can entertain me with Hollywood pocket change, Lucas, the Wachowskis, and the other heavy spenders better blow my socks off with their ungodly sized budgets . . .
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7/10
Definitely an under-appreciated film
Mister-67 October 1998
Of all the post "Star Wars" films, this one is decidedly the best of its ilk. The dependable storyline, stalwart acting and sometimes humorous special effects (LOVE the female-designed spaceship!) all make for an entertaining film. For all the flak it has received (even getting a "Dog of the Week" label from Siskel and Ebert upon its initial release), it has for all intents and purposes kept itself in the memories of all who have seen it and is most definitely a fantasy that is worthy of seeing again and again.
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6/10
As good now as it was then ... but was it good ?
mungflesh24 October 2011
Let's pretend we've never heard of Roger Corman nor The Magnificent Seven etc.

As a kid, that was me. I heard about this movie through my friends, when I was about 9 or 10. To us, this was another great space epic, along the lines of Star Wars. It had good effects, plenty of laser blasts and bad guy with a massive ship that could destroy planets. Awesome!

Many years later, I bought this on DVD and, to my pleasant surprise, found that it hadn't aged too badly. The low budget is very apparent but the movie is slickly edited such that it perhaps feels richer that it should. This is however it's biggest drawback because the character development is poor in places and the stars play second-fiddle to the ships and the costumes they inhabit. Gelt and Space Cowboy are perhaps the most fleshed-out of the pack, the remainder either being weak or there to make up the numbers.

The true star of the show is James Horner. It's a great score and all the best moments of Star Trek 2 are audible here first.

It's an inventive film, even if the invention is mainly facsimile, and an entertaining one. In the archives of sci-fi, there's no contest between this and its obvious "raison d'être" influence, as to which film is the better, but it's a noteworthy addition from the same era, what I consider to be the golden-age of special effects.
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A GOOD Roger Corman film? Amazing!
Bruce_Cook30 October 2001
Roger Corman was executive producer for this enjoyable and wonderfully campy sci-fi version of `The Magnificent Seven'. It even features Robert Vaughn as the same lost-his-nerve gunslinger he played in the original! John Sayle's script is loaded with fine humor. Director Jimmy T. Murakami obviously knew his film history, since the planet being attacked is called `Kira' -- a tribute to director Akira Kurasowa of `Seven Samurai', the inspiration for the original of this interesting trio of films.

Richard Thomas, star of TV's rustic melodrama `The Waltons', plays the brave young man who leaves his besieged home world to find mercenaries to fight against planet-conquering John Saxon. George Peppard plays `Cowboy', a space-going gunrunner with a Western fixation (another tribute to `Mag 7'). Sybil Danning is a feisty female warrior with a costume that defies description.

The special effects look a bit dated now, but that isn't the film's fault. Sam Jaffe (`The Day the Earth Stood Still') has a great part. Darlene Flugel is the attractive romantic interest for Thomas. James Horner's rousing score is a golden plus. When the movie was first released, sci-fi fans considered it a rip-off because it was released between `Star Wars - A New Hope' and `The Empire Strikes Back' -- tough competition.

Watch this movie as a double feature with `The Magnificent Seven' and you're guaranteed a good time. I've done, and it works just fine . ..

Let me know if it works for you, okay?
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When Battlefield Earth is released on video, watch it back to back with this film.
roarshock5 August 2000
I really enjoy these types of films. When they work it's because of their sheer flamboyance. They aren't afraid to steal from any source, EVERYTHING goes into the pot as long as it's got sparkle, splash, and action. This particular film works real well and I absolutely fell for it when I heard a phrase of music lifted directly from "Alexander Nevsky". It's pure, simple (repeat, simple) fun. The producers of "Battlefield Earth" could have learned something about making entertaining SF movies from repeated viewings of "Battle Beyond the Stars."
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Star Wars clone? Yes, but cheesy sci-fi fun!
Katatonia11 August 2003
Battle Beyond The Stars was one of the better Star Wars clones. The special effects weren't "great" even back in 1980, but they add to the low budget flavor of the movie. You have to remember that this movie had a substantially lower budget for special effects than an "A" picture like Star Wars. Early detailed models by James Cameron (TERMINATOR/TITANIC) are the high point of the special effects. A lot of people got their career start on this film, and Cameron was only one of many.

The script for Battle Beyond The Stars had a lot of things going for it, from the aliens to the quirky characters. I found the race of Nestor to be the most interesting concept of all. Just the thought of a race of beings that can hear/feel/think together as one conscious entity could be a great movie plot in itself.

The excellent casting of actors and actresses was another strong point in Battle Beyond The Stars. John Saxon, George Peppard, and Sybil Danning especially shine through in their acting performances in my opinion.

Battle Beyond The Stars is, quite simply, one of those movies that's so cheesy that's it's something special. It's a fun movie that never takes itself too seriously, and I don't either. I guess that's why I still enjoy it after all of these years.
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10/10
One of my favorites...
Shield-34 January 2000
Somebody re-release this movie on widescreen home video and DVD immediately, or I'll incinerate your planet with my stellar converter!

It's hard for me to describe how much I love this movie. I love the way Corman and company cheerfully cannibalize whatever movie they want to create their own unique film -- it's like they're giving the audience a sly wink and daring us to guess where this or that character or name or plotline comes from.

No matter how many times I see this movie, I still get a kick out of seeing John-Boy fighting alongside Hannibal Smith and Napoleon Solo. Most of the time I find Richard Thomas very irritating, but somehow, surrounded by cowboys, clones and Caiman, he comes through okay in this movie. George Peppard shows us his devil-may-care smile, Robert Vaughn is cool and deadly, and Sybil Danning is... well, it's too bad this movie wasn't made in 3-D, that's all I need to say about that.

There are some movies you watch that touch deep emotional chords within you, that portray the human condition on a majestic canvas so the audience can achieve catharsis. Then there are movies like "Battle," which don't aspire to anything more than being a fantastic thrill ride and a good time. Seeing it takes me back to happier days, when all you needed saw a blaster, a disparate group of friends, and a talking starship to defeat any challenge.

Ah, warm memories...
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7/10
Better than you may think
pumaye14 August 2003
Good variation on the Star Wars franchise, made in the aftermath of the first movie of the series, this Corman production - one of his finest - is almost a remake of the Magnificent Seven, but it is well-made on a limited budget, full of great ideas about the different alien races, with good characterization and several fine lines for the various protagonists. Fun, fun, fun
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6/10
Seven Samurai and The Magnificent Seven in Space
claudio_carvalho28 October 2016
The evil tyrant Sador (John Saxon) and his army of the mutants Malmori threatens the peaceful Akira farmers of the planet Akir with his Stellar Converter weapon and tells that he will return to collect their harvest. The former Akira warrior Zed (Jeff Corey) advises that they should hire mercenaries to protect them from Sador and offers his spaceship to seek them out. However, the Akira can only pay with food and lodging. The young Shad (Richard Thomas) offers to pilot the ship with the computer Nell to look for mercenaries. He meets Dr. Hephaestus (Sam Jaffe) and his beautiful daughter Nanelia (Darlanne Fluegel) in a space station where he unsuccessfully tries to find weapon. Nanelia comes with Shad and he teams up with the earthling Cowboy (George Peppard), who was going to deliver weapons to a planet that was destroyed by Sador and offers to give them to Shad. Then he meets five clones that share the mind of one entity called Nestor that join him. Shad also recruits the lonely and wealthy assassin Gelt (Robert Vaughn) that accepts the proposed payment. Then the sexy and annoying Valkyrie warrior St. Exmin (Sybil Danning) joins the group since she wants to battle. Shad also recruits Cayman (Morgan Woodward) that wants to kill Sador and does not require any payment. They return to Akir and Sador also returns to attack the planet. Who will win the battle?

"Battle Beyond the Stars" is an enjoyable cult movie with a story based on "Seven Samurai" and its remake "The Magnificent Seven" but in space. Inclusive the Akira is a tribute to Akira Kurosawa. "Battle Beyond the Stars" reuses material from other films ("Space Raiders", "Starquest II", "Dead Space" and "Bachelor Party"); the acting is only reasonable; and the special effects, sets and costumes are poor. But who cares? My vote is six.

Title (Brazil): "Mercenários das Galáxias" ("Mercenaries of the Galaxies")
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6/10
Seven Samurai in Space
SnoopyStyle15 March 2015
Space tyrant Sador (John Saxon) threatens the pacifist defenseless agricultural planet of Akir with his weapon Stellar Converter. He pledges to return after the harvest in seven risings of their sun as the planet's new master. The elders send young Shad (Richard Thomas) to find mercenaries willing to fight for limited wealth rewards. He recruits Nanelia (Darlanne Fluegel) escaping from her father in her weaponless ship, Space Cowboy from earth (George Peppard) whose customer has just been destroyed by Sador, rich assassin Gelt (Robert Vaughn) looking for a friendly harbor, a Valkyrie named Saint-Exmin (Sybil Danning) looking to prove herself in battle in her tiny ship, five telepathic alien clones from a single consciousness called Nestor and a reptilian slaver named Cayman looking for revenge.

It's cheap Roger Corman production with the bones of the great 'Seven Samurai' and the energetic F/X work of a newcomer named James Cameron. There is definitely cheesy goodness in this. It's a fun space thrill ride. There are some good performances. The writing isn't bad. The production is half cheese and half fun adventure. It all adds up to a fun competent 'Star Wars' inspired B-movie.
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6/10
"I will return in seven risings."
utgard1423 February 2014
John Boy from the Waltons goes out and recruits mercenaries to help fight off an evil space warlord. Among those he gets to help are the A-Team's Hannibal, the bad guy from Superman III, and Stirba the werewolf bitch. It's a fun cast. Roger Corman's sci-fi remake of Seven Samurai/Magnificent Seven is also the best Star Wars knockoff of the many that came out in the late '70s and early '80s. While many have called this movie cheap-looking, it's actually fairly impressive for a Corman production. He would reuse these sets and some footage for future crappier low-budgeters. This is a fun sci-fi adventure movie that should entertain you if you don't take it all so seriously.
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BRILLIANT MOVIE ! And very cheap too. :-)
Alcaminhante9 September 1999
There are movies, and there are Bad movies. But, BATTLE BEYOND THE STARS is an excellent BAD movie !

After STAR WARS, the theaters were flooded with bad rip-offs made with ridiculous budgets that tried to get some left over money from the audiences on the Star Wars genre craze. Many tried but few succeeded to create something really worth mentioning.

Whoever but ROGER CORMAN, the king of all rip-offs, could do it?

Story ? We don't need that, let's just rip-off the one from the SEVEN MAGNIFICENT, they ripped it off from THE SEVEN SAMURAIS didn't they ?...

Special effects ? Now we have to spend a little bit of money...but not to much. We can use the same explosion sequence over and over again, GALACTICA style.

Actors ? Well, i guess we can have a bunch of them, for the price of one in Star Wars! This is the B movies after all !

Production Design ?!! What for ? We can mix bits and pieces of the cardboard sets we have here around the studio, and pay some kids to do some mate paintings. Hell, we even can use the costumes we have from our barbarian and western movies ! And let's have some almost naked babe playing an amazon from space. With luck she will divert all the attentions to her and the audiences won't even notice the microphones appearing on camera. After all why spend money in higher mic supports ? Short bikinis cost must less !

And so a movie was born.

And surprisingly it's a great movie. True, it's really crappy stuff, but it has imagination in it, as much strange this may sound. And it has the greatest design for a spaceship ever !

Lots of characters, lots of spaceships and all very different, lots of diferent locations, cool riped off story, and evil bad guy in the classical style, cowboys in space, huge almost naked amazon women, battles in space, battles on planets, huge space cruisers, a talking spaceship, and microphones appearing on screen a couple of times ! What more could we ask for ?!!! It even has a good soundtrack.

And all this cost very cheap !

One of the best bad movies ever. A must see for every one who is into space-operas.

I only wished there was a sequel !....Unfortunately there isn't, so enjoy this. BATTLE BEYOND THE STARS, even the title is much cool than Star Wars!

I love it !
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5/10
Hey, grandma - there's a Walton in space....
CinemaSerf7 April 2020
This looks every inch the low budget affair it actually was - but it almost comes off as a fairly engaging sci-fi rip off of the "Magnificent Seven" - complete, even, with Robert Vaughn! "John-Boy" himself, Richard Thomas ("Shad") lives on one of those simple, peaceful, planets threatened by a megalomanic with a big laser cannon (John Saxon) who demands their harvest. "Shad" decides to try and rustle together some mercenaries to defend their home from this evil conqueror and so recruits a disparate band including George Peppard ("Cowboy") and a collection of inter-galactic misfits to help with their cause. Probably most notable for James Horner's score, this is an enjoyable enough sci-fi action adventure with plenty going on and not too much tedious philosophising; the special effects do their job fine, too.
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10/10
I'm not going to say much about this film
mbeswick9920 February 2004
other than it's great and everyone should see it. It has a great cast; it's wittily scripted and is pacy enough to hold anyone's attention. I saw it at the cinema back in the early 80s, and I've enjoyed it just as much every time since. I say this often, but it seems the point of a film like this was to be enjoyable as well as to make money. How many modern fantasy pictures can claim that?
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6/10
Oh Johnny Boy, the cheese, the cheese is calling......
Rob_Taylor24 December 2002
I'll try and summarize this terrible, yet good, movie briefly.

Seven Samurai in Space. Memorable moments such as a spaceship with tits and Sybil Danning with even bigger tits. She was always lying on her back a lot, too.....

Robert Vaughan playing an identical character to his role in The Magnificent Seven. John Saxon hamming it up as Sador, the villain. Some guy in a lizard suit. Some guys in white suits. A couple of midgets/kids in silver suits that look like escapees from a kid's road safety advert. George Peppard playing Hannibal the cowboy.

Lots of special effects, most of which were re-used so often in subsequent films/series that they must have paid for themselves. Oh yeah, and the ultimate in unbelievability....John Boy Walton as the main lead/hero. That's like getting Lindsey Lohan to lecture on why drinking to excess is a bad idea.

So bad, it's good.
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7/10
So cheesy.....no funny.....so Roger Corman.
zoefan-9771420 March 2017
Although i am not the biggest fan of Roger Corman even i have some films of his i like...Piranha is one....and this is the other,

"Battle Beyond the Stars"is a classic nineteen eighties cheese-fest and a quite brilliant "Star Wars" rip-off.

Not only did he get a fine cast together(Richard Thomas,John Saxon,Robert Vaughn,Sybil Danning and George Peppard)he also got a then un-known film score composer to score the film....the name of the composer?....the late and sadly missed James Horner. This might have been his film first film score but it's a real cracker.

In short....cheesy?Yes Fun?you bet!
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5/10
It's niche so it has limited appeal
ChrisinDesMoines31 January 2021
Unless you've been alive for about a half a century it's hard to imagine what life was like pre Star Wars and the impact that it had on cinema. Sure, there was some award winning Sci-fi flicks like 2001: A Space Odyssey and Planet of the Apes that got lots of critical attention and if you were a true Sci-Fi fanatic you knew about Silent Running, The Day the Earth Stood Still and Forbidden Planet but most Sci-fi fare was little on intellect and large on rubber monster suits.

After Star Wars though, Hollywood tried desperately to cash in on the Space Opera craze and as a result we got movies like Battle Beyond the Stars.

If you read the description and think it sounds familiar that's because it is. It's a remake of the Magnificent Seven which is in itself a remake of Seven Samurai and even Pixar's A Bug's Life which would come almost two decades later used this same plot. If you think it's odd to take a "Western" story and apply it to a Sci-fi movie, its not as crazy as you would think. Some of the scenes from Star Wars was inspired from several War and Western genre movies, most notably the scene when Luke rides up onto his farm and see's that its been attacked and burned down was taken almost shot by shot from the movie "The Searchers" so it shouldn't be much of a surprise that a classic western film was used as an inspiration for a Science Fiction movie.

This film has gained itself a bit of a cult following and its not hard to understand why. Most of the main characters were well known actors in their day. Richard Thomas was on the popular TV show The Waltons, Robert Vaughn was himself a well known actor, even playing the exact same role in Battle Beyond the Stars as he did in the 1960's Magnificent Seven while John Saxon was a teenage heartthrob in the 50's and George Peppard was in several well known movies in the 60's and was about to hit it big on the popular TV show The A-Team playing the team leader Hannibal Smith. Of course not all of the actors were as well known, or as good, some of the acting is subpar, but in some ways that actually helps play into its "cult movie" status.

As an avid Sci-fi fan and even as a growing Western fan, I can say that I'm glad I watched it on Roku the other day. Attempts to watch it in the past has always resulted in interruptions for some odd reason, including during my youth in the mid to late 80s when it was shown on Cinemax, so seeing it available with VOD made it much easier to ensure that I could watch it all the way through this time.

This movie is going to have a very niche audience, mostly those who like to watch Science Fiction where there's space battles and those who have a taste for low budget cult status films, the special effects are okay but haven't aged well but that all plays into the well earned cult film status. If you are one of those individuals then grab a bowl of popcorn, fill up a giant cup with soda, kick back in the recliner and enjoy the movie. If you're a fan of any of the actors then you'll likely enjoy it, their acting is just as good here as you would find in previous or later movies. If you're interested in watching a remake of Seven Samurai or The Magnificent Seven, forget it. Watch A Bug's Life instead, you'll enjoy it more.
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3/10
Battle Beyond the Stars: Better concept than movie
Platypuschow26 August 2018
I came across this during a binge of all the Seven Samurai (1954) remakes and was really quite elated to find something this different from the original content.

Unlike many of the other remakes this does resemble the original and I can to an extent appreciate that it is. Trouble is, in this guys opinion it's really not very good at all.

With an all star cast including Richard "John Boy Walton" Thomas, George "A-Team" Peppard, Robert "Everything" Vaughn and John "Nightmare on Elm Street" Saxon. Truth be told seeing this, the concept and the clear budget I was really expecting something special here.

It tells the story of an evil warlord who threatens to destroy a planet and it's people if they don't yield to him. A citizen sets out on a quest to find mercenaries to help combat the warlord which includes a wacky array of characters from a cowboy to a lizard man to a valkyrie to little people who communicate through temprature.

All the stars aligned here to make a truly fantastic movie, so why is it so unashamably bad?

It has poor structure, it isn't engaging, it has messy characterization. It's just an absolute mess of a painting, but made with the highest quality paint.

The Good:

Great cast

Solid concept

The Bad:

Very dated

Disjointed

Things I Learnt From This Movie:

Ageism is rife in space

Even in space, people can't see that the confederate flag is inappropriate

Smoking is the worst thing in the world
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3/10
Help us, John Boy, you're our only hope!
JoeB13113 June 2007
This movie was made in 1980, during the height of the popularity of Star Wars and the revival of Star Trek, when anyone could shop a Science Fiction concept past a major studio and not get laughed out the door.

Lo and behold, the king of cheesy movies, Roger Corman, did exactly that in this film, and actually did it with a fairly major budget. I mean, he had stars in this you've actually heard of, like John Saxon and George Peppard and Robert Vaughn. One can almost imagine the pitch. "Well, it's like the Seven Samurai. Oh, wait, that's Japanese, you probably never saw that. Okay, it's like the Maginficent Seven. A planet is threatened by bad guys and they recruit an unlikely crew of hired guns to defend them."

So the bad guys lead by John Saxon threaten this peaceful planet, and a wise old mentor sends out Richard Thomas (aka John Boy Walton) to recruit a bunch of mercenaries (no doubt, because Mark Hamill had better things to do at that time), including Robert Vaughn of original Magnificent Seven fame, and George Peppard, who continued his downward spiral as an actor that would eventually lead him to star in "The A-Team". Also included is Sybil Danning, queen of B-movies, who at least showed enormous restraint and kept her clothes on for the whole movie.

The space battle scenes might be familiar to aficionados of low-rent Science fiction films. That because old Roger, that sly dog, recouped some of his production costs by selling the FX shots to a lot of other B-list movies, and I think one or two porn films. If you think you've seen these shots before, just remember, in this film, THEY ALMOST MAKE SENSE.

There were a lot of interesting SF concepts pitched in this film, such as an alien with collective intelligence, aliens capable of storing radiant energy, a young woman raised entirely by androids, and a few others. Unfortunately, Roger takes no time to dwell on any of them.

Not to say that this film is all bad. It's just that we've seen better. Better acting, better special effects, better concepts.
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9/10
Nice idea
demonslayer0620 April 2003
This is probably one of the best underated sci-fi films I have ever seen. Good job to whom ever thought this movie up!I think this is one of Roger Corman`s best productions as well. I really hope that he gets the recognition for which he deserves.
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9/10
Amiable and enjoyable
Kanyak23 December 1998
Siskel and Ebert called this film "Dog of the week" when it was first released. S&E should have taken their heads out of their butts and sniffed the air around them once in a while.

This has to be one of the most *humane* SF films ever made.

PS: The (she's gotta be Jewish) mother ship is a stroke of genius.
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6/10
Beyond Star (Wars)
kosmasp1 June 2020
Roger Corman is a very well known producer - to any film afficionado that is. He made a lot of low budget movies and he also helped a lot of now very well established directors. The art director here? James Cameron ... just to name one person. And he is a very important one. This may be some peoples favorite over Star Wars - but it had nowhere near the budget.

So while this also has some fine actors in it and it does try to have an original story (though does lean in to steal/borrow from foreign cultures and other things), it will depend on your suspension of disbelief. This is not a great movie, but it can be a fun one (especially with some of the characters and some of the dialog - like the tasting of hot dog to name one). Bits and pieces and quite funny overall, if you let it.
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oh yes, tacky, trashy, but can i watch it again please ?
AJCrowley20 January 2003
I first saw this around 84/85 when it was put on to replace the cricket that had been cancelled. show you what channel 4 must have been thinking about it at the time.

saying that, it's cheese, on toast, with extra cheese, bad acting, dodgy effects, and yes, a valkyrie with big breasts, (to match the hero's ship no doubt) some wierd guys in white, and a nutter who tries other people's arms on for size.

but i can't not watch it if it's on. one of those films i guess which no-one wants to say is good, but which they'll watch over and over.

now, where's that DVD then.....
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