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John Drew

First "Grown Up" film you saw as a kid (in 2 parts)

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From the Lincoln thread...

Ali and I saw this on New Year's Day and took along our nine year-old. Ali and I loved it, and our daughter, while a bit bored, sat dutifully. I suppose that was an odd choice, but I recall my mom dragging me along to see Gandhi with her and her girlfriends when I wasn't much older than that, and wanted to share the love. The theater where they'd put Lincoln had awful speakers, and the dialogue was tough to make out. Bad news for such a dialogue-heavy movie. I complained to the manager and they adjusted it, but it wasn't great.

Fast forward to this week. I shared with our daughter that Lincoln had been nominated for a ton of Oscars. She replied, "Not for sound, I hope."

Thanks for sharing this, Russ, and inspiring an idea. I thought this might make an interesting topic. I did a similar one for books, but couldn't find one for movies.

Part 1) What was the first "Grown Up" film you remember seeing with your parents?

Part 2) What was the first "Grown Up" film you saw with your parents that you came away understanding and appreciating.

I realize for some of you it may be the same film. For me, that wasn't the case.

My first film would be The French Connection in 1972, I was 7, and I had no idea what was going on (it was at a drive-in, and I think my parents thought I would just sleep through it). All I remembered was the chase.

The second film was All the President's Men in early 1977. That one hooked me, and I remember not wanting to go to this (I was missing a friend's birthday party, and they were going to see the skateboarder flick Go for It).

Edited by John Drew

Formerly Baal_T'shuvah

"Everyone has the right to make an ass out of themselves. You just can't let the world judge you too much." - Maude 
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The films are different for me as well.

1) The first "Grown Up" film I remember seeing with my parents was Gone with the Wind. It was New Year's Eve; I was 7 or 8, and my parents thought it would be good long film to cover the whole evening. My sisters and I were bored through most of it, not really understanding the subtleties of the plot, and two of my sisters were very upset/frightened by the carnage during the second half. At that point, my parents decided the movie had been a failure and shut it off. (We rewatched it several years later, and the whole family did enjoy it.)

2) The first "grown up" film that I appreciated and understood... There are two candidates, both of which I saw within a few months of each other when I was 11 or 12. It was either Rear Window or A Man for All Seasons. I was absolutely glued to the screen, and although I thought I knew the ultimate outcome, I was dying to know how the film would arrive there. I am pretty sure this film was A Man for All Seasons, which interestingly my Dad saw in theatres with his parents when he was 6, and at the time he did not understand it.

Edited by Evan C

"Anyway, in general I love tragic artists, especially classical ones."

"Even the forms for expressing truth can be multiform, and this is indeed necessary for the transmission of the Gospel in its timeless meaning."

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Is "grown up" here a euphemism for "porn"? Because I don't remember Lincoln showing any skin...(though, to be honest, my attention wavered).

Maybe I should revisit this one; might explain why so many people liked it more than I did!

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Saw with my parents at a theater, or on TV?

I'm having trouble remembering what I might have seen with them at the theater. Going to the movies with my parents was rare.


"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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The first one at the movies was The Island of Dr. Moreau, which we saw on a drive-in double bill with Star Wars, when I was five or six. As I remember it, we stayed for about 30 minutes, or until I got scared. That's my first memory of understanding there was such thing as a movie for adults.

My life as a cinephile began a few years later, when my parents were the first people in the neighborhood to get a VCR. My parents have pretty lousy taste in movies, generally, but they loved Hitchcock and classic Hollywood musicals. The first "adult" movie I saw and connected with was Rear Window.

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I have a vivid memory of watching The Yearling at age 6 or 7 with my parents and being bored stiff by most of it, except a few scenes in the middle where one of the boy's friends gets sick and dies. I think that was the first time I was exposed to the possibility of dying as a child and it obliterated everything else about the movie. I have no memory of the actual ending - for a while when I would read about the film, I assumed people found it sad because of the scene that hit me so hard.

The film that unlocked "grown up" films for me was Amadeus. My dad's VHS loomed large in his collection, and I would always see it sitting on the shelf and consider it The Ultimate Boring Movie For Grown Ups. When I was 13, my dad convinced my brother and I to give it a go. Bam. Loved it.

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I saw The Man Who Fell To Earth, Wise Blood, and Alien w my Pop when I was nine... bored by all three (ok, the first 45 min of Alien). Within the ensuing years I saw The Shining, and then w cable and a VCR was introduced to many other films, like Blues Bros and Kramer v Kramer...

The Verdict w my Mom when I was 12, and really loved it. I now hate it, but that's another story.


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Westerns. All of them. My dad watched westerns on the weekends, and those are my first real media memories other than the soap operas mom watched while ironing. Eastwood's "man with no name" films are what I recall watching. My first arthouse, grown-up, movies are a whole new world film was A Clockwork Orange at around 10.


"...the vivid crossing of borders between film and theology may save the film from the banality of cinema and festival business, and it may also save the church from the deep sleep of the habitual and the always known."

(Hans Werner Dannowski)

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Tim Burton's Batman. It was a sharp transition from the Adam West stuff, but Mom helped by skipping over Jack Nicholson setting another fellow's head on fire via electrocution trick. This was around 1990 or 1991 (or not long after the VHS release--this was a 1989 film, right?). So I was five or six.

There were several movies in between that stand out (Jurassic Park, for instance), but if this thread were to turn into a "significant moments in growing up as a moviegoer" in terms of appreciation and love, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind would be a pivotal film for me. When I was a senior in high school, and a couple other kids had organized a trip for a particular class (a course, not the entire senior class) to see The Passion of the Christ, I organized a class trip to see ESOTSM (true story--it was a "media literacy" class at my public school). I think this worried my mom at the time.

Edited by Nick Olson

"What is inside is also outside." -Goethe via Merleau-Ponty, in conclusion to the latter's one extended rumination on film
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I'm not sure how to define "grown-up movie" here.

I know my parents took the entire family to see Superman shortly after it opened in December 1978 (I was eight years old at the time, and I can remember how my parents had to keep leaving the theatre because my baby brother, who was born in July 1978, kept crying during the film). And of course, my dad took me to see Star Wars over a year before that, possibly before my seventh birthday (and thus when I was still six years old). Star Wars was clearly made *for* kids on some level, but I'm not sure how we'd classify Superman, which had some grown-up elements.

And then there are For Your Eyes Only and Raiders of the Lost Ark, which I saw (in that order) on a weekend trip to the States with my dad in the fall of 1981. Are James Bond and Indiana Jones movies "grown-up"?

I remember seeing Chariots of Fire sometime between its release in October 1981 and its Oscar win in March 1982, and, at the time, it was kind of a boring movie to me -- definitely for grown-ups.

The first movie I can remember seeing that was rated R in the United States and 14-A in British Columbia was The Killing Fields, which is officially a 1984 film but apparently didn't get a wide release until the Oscar season in February 1985. I would have been 14 then.

Somewhere in here, there is also the question of video and TV. My parents bought our first VCR in 1978 or 1979 (certainly in time for the school musical I took part in when I was eight years old, in the spring of 1979; it was aired on the local community channel and my parents taped it off TV). So I probably watched some of the "grown-up" movies they taped off TV then, but I can't remember which ones would have been first. One of the earliest films I saw on video was The Court Jester with Danny Kaye -- is that "grown-up"? Certainly some of the humour looks a little more risque to me now than it did back then, now that I'm a grown-up and I "get" some of the subtexts. What about The Ten Commandments, which was "edited for television" when my parents taped it off TV? (The networks apparently thought that violent bits appropriate for the big screen in 1956 were *not* appropriate for television circa 1980.) The movie was often played in Sunday school classes back when I was growing up, but does that make it any less "grown-up"?

Etc., etc.

Nick Olson wrote:

: This was around 1990 or 1991 (or not long after the VHS release--this was a 1989 film, right?).

Not only that, but it was one of the first major films to come out on VHS the same year it came out in theatres (and priced to sell, too, if memory serves). I remember friends of mine being rather startled to see the film in video stores so soon after it played in theatres.


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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The Ghost and the Darkness, I say that because it was the first more or less "violent" film I saw, involving gore and lion attacks, etc.

First r-rated would be Alien, but I watched the "watered down" version that my dad taped off tv, pretty sure the chestburster scene was still in it though.

And I guess I'd include Independence Day for the scene of Vivica A Fox dancing. My first real introduction to sex in movies.

Edited by Justin Hanvey

"The truth is you're the weak, and I'm the tyranny of evil men. But I'm tryin Ringo, I'm tryin real hard to be the shepherd." Pulp Fiction

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Forgot to mention that films like Stand By Me and Goonies and all those other 80s "kid" films made a big mark on me as well - which all contain very adult elements and jokes. Cory Feldman's speech in the

in Goonies has always struck me as near identical to the "This is this" speech in the
in The Deer Hunter (very NSFW). ("Stanley, see this? This is this. This ain't something else. This is this.")

I am not sure if I am just out of touch or not, but it seems that other than the Pixar films, studios just don't make those kind of live action films anymore. Is that correct?

Edited by M. Leary

"...the vivid crossing of borders between film and theology may save the film from the banality of cinema and festival business, and it may also save the church from the deep sleep of the habitual and the always known."

(Hans Werner Dannowski)

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I remember seeing Chariots of Fire sometime between its release in October 1981 and its Oscar win in March 1982, and, at the time, it was kind of a boring movie to me -- definitely for grown-ups.

Yeah, this is definitely the film I think of. I went with my Dad. I was eleven or twelve. I think I got it, but didn't think much of it at the time. I haven't seen it since, but I've read lots about it, and I know it's actually a pretty great "adult" film. Some day I'd like to see it again.


In an interstellar burst, I am back to save the Universe.

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I remember seeing Chariots of Fire sometime between its release in October 1981 and its Oscar win in March 1982, and, at the time, it was kind of a boring movie to me -- definitely for grown-ups.

Yeah, this is definitely the film I think of. I went with my Dad. I was eleven or twelve. I think I got it, but didn't think much of it at the time. I haven't seen it since, but I've read lots about it, and I know it's actually a pretty great "adult" film. Some day I'd like to see it again.

I've been thinking of this film also, and for the same reason.

I think I got it too, and I seem to recall feeling that while it was a little grown-up/slow for me, I was still glad I had seen it and thought it was a good film. I know I saw parts of other grown-up movies earlier (Fiddler on the Roof is one that comes to mind), but I'm not sure I saw any grown-up film beginning to end prior to Chariots.

Naturally, Liddell's refusal to run on Sunday assumed an outsize significance for me, since that's what I had been told about the film beforehand. The first time I watched it as an adult, I was surprised what a small part of the story it was.

Also, of course, Vangelis' theme was absolutely ubiquitous in the early 80s, which gave me something else to be surprised about watching the film as an adult: It's hardly there at all (perhaps only opening sequence and closing credits?).

Edited by SDG

“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O'Connor

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First adult film I remember seeing was probably THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN, in theaters in 1975. I remember not getting much of it but enjoying it for very boyish reasons ("midgets with squeaky French voices are funny"), and as someone else noted above James Bond, despite all the adult elements, is kinda cartoony anyway, at least in the Roger Moore period in question.

The first unquestionably adult film, that I connected with and enjoyed on something like an adult level that I would find defensible today ... that would be THE CHINA SYNDROME, which we watched as a family on HBO just after we get cable TV, around 1980.

For perspective: I was born in 1966.

Edited by vjmorton

Yeah ... well ... I'm gonna have to go ahead and disagree with you there on that one.

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The first grown up film I could remember seeing in a theater was Breaking Away. I think I was 11 at the time. I loved the film and it became one of my all time favorites.

The first R-rated film I saw in a theater was Beverly Hills Cop. My Mom took me and my brother. She was a reserve police officer at the time, so she was interested in cop films.

Edited by Crow

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Every time I see this thread title, I think it's about an Adam Sandler movie.


"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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SDG wrote:

: Also, of course, Vangelis' theme was absolutely ubiquitous in the early 80s, which gave me something else to be surprised about watching the film as an adult: It's hardly there at all (perhaps only opening sequence and closing credits?).

I used to play that album when I went to bed All. The. Time. in my pre-teen and early-teen years. But only the first side of the LP is from the actual movie; the second side is, like, a 20-minute-or-so composition that plays on some of the themes from the film but is original to the album.

I do believe there are at least five separate cues on the first side, and I'd be surprised (based on the titles for those tracks, if nothing else) if they didn't all appear within the film itself. But, yeah, it's a two-hour movie with maybe 20 minutes of score (at least as far as the LP was concerned). And those 20 minutes *might* include the choir singing the distinctly non-Vangelis William Blake song 'Jerusalem' (which, in the film, plays over one of the bookend scenes, I think).

M. Leary wrote:

: Forgot to mention that films like Stand By Me and Goonies and all those other 80s "kid" films made a big mark on me as well - which all contain very adult elements and jokes

Yes, and Stand By Me, in particular, was rated R in the U.S. (though it was rated PG here in B.C.). So definitely "grown-up", as far as that goes.


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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A couple of years before I saw Gandhi I remember sitting through two different versions of Beau Geste. Looking at the descriptions, I can't be sure which ones they were. WJAC, the Johnstown NBC affiliate, used to program some great things in the 4:00 hour on weekdays, just a little after I got home from school. Godzilla week. Thriller week. Monster movies. I remember looking through the TV Guide when it'd come in the mail to see what was playing in those slots and planning ahead. My sentimental longing for the days when network affiliates programed creatively is tempered by the lingering suspicion that I should have been doing something better with my time.


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Some of the first film memories I had were from Raiders of the Lost Ark and The Empire Strikes Back; I especially remember the final "melty face" scene of the former. Makes an impact when you're four or five! I'm still terrified of seeing melting / damaged faces or heads in movies. Ick.

But I specifically remember my dad playing stuff like A Bridge Too Far, Zulu, and Fort Apache when I was of a similar age. I think the first R film I remember too was either Invasion U.S.A. or Commando, both right after their releases on VHS.

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Whoa, I suddenly remembered a candidate that well preceded Chariots of Fire: In the 1970s, my aunt took me to see Jaws in the theater. Does that count?

In 1975, I would have been seven at the oldest. Could it possibly have been a later year? Did it get a rerelease?

I was old enough to appreciate the suspenseful bits, though I didn't understand the psychological dynamics between Schneider, Shaw and Dreyfuss. My biggest impression from that first screening, alas, was Robert Shaw going bloodily into the shark's maw.

Even at seven, or however old I was, I could see that the shark was fake, but it was still gruesome, and I had a definite sense that I was inappropriately young for that (I was astonished several years ago to discover that it was only rated PG).

I knew it wasn't real, but I think I had the idea that the movie had depicted Shaw bitten in half, and it puzzled me. Or perhaps I got that idea from my aunt's garbled attempt, afterward, to explain how the special effects might have worked. I suppose she wanted to make sure I was clear nobody had really been killed.


“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O'Connor

Writing at the new Decent Films | Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

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Even at seven, or however old I was, I could see that the shark was fake, but it was still gruesome, and I had a definite sense that I was inappropriately young for that (I was astonished several years ago to discover that it was only rated PG).

Jaws is one of the reasons the PG-13 rating was created.


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Even at seven, or however old I was, I could see that the shark was fake, but it was still gruesome, and I had a definite sense that I was inappropriately young for that (I was astonished several years ago to discover that it was only rated PG).

Jaws is one of the reasons the PG-13 rating was created.

If that's true, it was a remote factor. The tipping point was nine years later with Temple of Doom and Gremlins, both 1984. Wikipedia also cites Poltergeist (1982) and, stretching a bit IMO, Clash of the Titans (1981). The first film to actually receive the PG-13 rating was Red Dawn (1984).

I'm inclined to say that even if PG-13 had been available in 1975, Jaws should have received an R.


“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O'Connor

Writing at the new Decent Films | Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

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I'm inclined to say that even if PG-13 had been available in 1975, Jaws should have received an R.

I dunno. I saw it first during early adolescence (12 or 13 years old). That seems to me to be the right age for JAWS.

12 or 13-year-olds can watch R-rated films. So can 7-year-olds or even 3-year-olds, for that matter. It's a messed-up system.


“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O'Connor

Writing at the new Decent Films | Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

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