Welcome to an exciting year-long project here at The Nerdy. 1983 was an exciting year for films giving us a lot of films that would go on to be beloved favorites and cult classics. It was also the start to a major shift in cultural and societal norms, and some of those still reverberate to this day.
We’re going to pick and choose which movies we hit, but right now the list stands at nearly four dozen.
Yes, we’re insane, but 1983 was that great of a year for film.
The articles will come out – in most cases – on the same day the films hit theaters in 1983 so that it is their true 40th anniversary. All films are also watched again for the purposes of these reviews and are not being done from memory. In some cases, it truly will be the first time we’ve seen them.
This time around, it’s October 28th, 1983, and we’re off to see Educating Rita and The Wicked Lady.
Quick side note: Since we launched this series this year, we’ve discovered that Vintage Video Podcast is doing the exact same project with two differences: First, it’s audio (naturally), and second, they are doing every major film. We’ve listened to numerous episodes and it’s fun checking off their thoughts against my own. Check them out over at Vintage Video Podcast.
Educating Rita was one of the first British productions I remember watching and recognizing as such. I think it definitely contributed to my ongoing love of British movies and television. And all of this makes me wonder why it is so difficult to watch at this time.
The story follows Susan “Rita” White (Julie Walters) as she goes to see Dr. Frank Bryant (Michael Caine) for tutoring so she can some day take exams that she feels will improve her lot in life. At home, she faces resistance from her husband and her family to wanting to find anything different what they all know. Meanwhile, Frank is facing the fact that his career may be coming to an end as he is no longer inspired to write. As one might suspect, it turns out they were the best things to happen to one another and they end the story in new chapters in their lives.
Based on a novel of the same name, I’ve heard that quite a bit of supposed fluff was added to the film, but I definitely take issue with calling it such. There is every chance that the film could have gone down a route where these two ended up as a couple, and it’s clear that Frank develops feelings for her, but it resists this temptation. It knew this was the wrong decision and what they ended up with was a much stronger friendship that most people could only hope to achieve.
It’s a cute, fun film that at times does feel a bit well-tread, but you don’t mind as you stay fully engaged throughout.
I definitely recommend this one.
The Wicked Lady
If you had ever told me Faye Dunaway starred in a movie by the Cannon Group, I would have laughed my head off, but here we are.
The Wicked Lady is a remake of the 1945 film of the same name, which was in turned based on Magdalen King-Hall’s Life and Death of the Wicked Lady Skelton. The film follows Barbara as she steals the Lord Skeleton from an old friend on the day of their wedding and she ends up marrying him herself. While she at first thinks she has everything she wants, she finds herself bored. By happenstance, she ends up having to get a much-loved piece of jewelry back from someone and takes on the guise of a Highwayman robber to get it back. She finds herself quickly addicted to the rush of it, but as one might assume, her life doesn’t turn out for the best.
As Cannon Group films go, this isn’t a bad one. Yes, it finds you every reason under the sun to show you topless women, and it takes itself a bit too seriously at times, but it’s competently made. Something you can’t say about many productions from Cannon. Good costuming. Well acted. And I didn’t at any time find the need to go “… what is happening?” in disbelief.
Okay… maybe the whip fight.
You can definitely skip it, but it may be worth a look just simply to see Cannon make a decent film.
1983 Movie Reviews will return on Nov. 4, 2023 with Deal of the Century and The Osterman Weekend!