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ROBOCOP (1987) 30th Anniversary Thread

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 


Celebrate today, July 17, the day Alex Murphy was rechristened as the future of law enforcement. Remember your first time seeing it? Your personal connections? A defense of the sequel(s)? Post it here.


I saw it when I was 5. It didn't click with me till I was in my teens. It's now neck and neck with Die Hard as my favorite action movie ever.


From the soulless, corporate villains to the unease at the world at large, the political and social commentary has barely aged.

post #2 of 23

Saw it originally on video thanks to one of my older brothers renting it. A lot of the humor went over my head at the time ("I'll buy that for a dollar" was always funny though) so I mainly just loved it for the crimson-soaked carnage on display. Seeing it more and more the following years the satirical elements made a much bigger impression on me. The movie just plain works on every level.


I'm cool with part 2, but pretty much every other live-action film or show has failed to sniff the original either in terms of action, characters, or humor.

post #3 of 23

I was a teenager in my  movie going prime in the late 80's. So many of the films I loved from that era are guilty pleasures at best, or unwatchable crap at worst. "Robocop" still holds up as a perfect revenge/action/sci-fi epic with a twisted brain in its head.

post #4 of 23

Here's what I had to say about RoboCop in the Re-Up thread recently:


Originally Posted by Bartleby_Scriven View Post

Also caught RoboCop for the first time in a while since it's making the rounds on Epix.


Man, how does it balance tone so well? On the one hand, Murphy is an incredibly compelling character from just 15 or 20 minutes of screentime before he's brutally murdered. Everything with his wanting to impress his son and his flashbacks to his loving relationship with his wife, to ironically his subtle flirting with Lewis, make him so damn likable. Then he's blown to bits.


And yet even while the movie is walking this fine line between brutally dark meditation on consumerism and man's place in a technological world, it's also a hard-hitting satire on people's capacity, or lack thereof, for empathy and the surge of cable TV (and by extension, the Internet and all media) in the '80s. At the center of this is Weller's incredibly emotional performance, mostly communicated through his eyes and stillness, all bolstered by the simultaneously rollicking and heart-string-tugging score by Basil Poledouris.


And then on the flipside of things, everyone is likable. Even Boddicker and his gang of evil, evil men. You even root for Bob Morton to succeed, mostly because he's pitted against Dick Jones. It's like everyone is having their own little mini-movies. With very little the whole cast is imbued with interior lives.


I really think I've taken this movie for granted. 

post #5 of 23


 Star Peter Weller will be onhand for the Alamo Drafthouse celebration Sept. 10.

Monday marks the official thirtieth anniversary of the 1987 classic, and Alamo Drafthouse is using RoboCop's birthday to unveil some good news. Director Paul Paul Verhoeven’s film is returning to theaters for a one-night event that will feature RoboCop himself, actor Peter Weller.


The RoboCop event will be live-streamed to theaters around the country from Dallas City Hall, where the production filmed its OCP Headquarters scenes. The Dallas event will feature food trucks, a full bar with RoboCop-themed cocktails and plenty of photo ops.

post #6 of 23
I just saw this again recently on the big screen (on a double-bill with "Starship Troopers"). It plays beautifully with a crowd. Everything works.
post #7 of 23
Thread Starter 

That was at the New Bev, right?


I saw it at the Coolidge Corner Theatre in Boston in 35mm last month. It wasn't packed, but oh man did the thing play to the hilt and I was mouthing every word I could along to it. Best part was a guy screaming ORION! when the logo appeared.


Alongside Lethal WeaponRoboCop killed the conservative, propaganda action film of the Reagan era. Much like New Hollywood in the 70's reacted to Nixon and Watergate, the villains are believable, powerful figures who we are supposed to trust, but are corrupted by financial and ideological greed in a society fueled by consumerism. While it wasn't written afterward, the timing of the Iran-Contra scandal and the tarnishing of Reagan's image as President was prescient too.


All said and done, the advent of a certain Twitter-obsessed wannabe dictator and his Legion of Doom, Dick Jones and Clarence Boddicker feel scarier now than they did in 1987.

post #8 of 23
It was at the New Bev!

My first theatrical viewing of it was back in '04, and Weller did a Q&A after.

There's an hour-long Q&A that he recently did at a Drafthouse screening that's been posted on YouTube.
post #9 of 23
"Robocop" was the first rated R-movie I saw in the theater. I was 12-- that summer I was in a theatre troupe with mainly older teens and a bunch of us saw it as a group after one of our shows. The movie theater wouldn't let me in with the other kids so my mom had to walk me up to the box office and buy my ticket... (That took less doing than you'd think considering my mom had read in Time Magazine that it had almost been rated-X for violence.)

So "Robocop" not only turned out to be one of my all-time favorite films, it's attached to a lot of fond coming-of-age-type memories for me. (With that same crew I also saw "Spaceballs" and "The Lost Boys"-- my second R film-- that year.)

And as a bonus, they shot the thing in my town-- and Dallas then as now was no hotbed of filmmaking-- so it was cooler than hell for me that I actually knew people that had been extras in it, or that I would occasionally find myself in one of the shooting locations in the following years. Two of the major spots, the police station and the cocaine factory, are excellent music venues where I would see a lot of great acts in my teens and twenties. It was nifty to watch, say, Siouxie and the Banshees or Frank Black, and over there is where Robocop tossed Clarence Boddicker through a bunch of plate glass windows.

The Alamo anniversary showing at City Hall is something I would definitely do, if I didn't have a job and a kid and stupid shit like that. I just gotta wonder what a Robocop-themed cocktail could possibly be like.
post #10 of 23
I like how the cocaine factory is literally an assembly line. I wonder how much automation negatively impacted blue-collar drug lab workers in Old Detroit.
post #11 of 23

Saw this on video when I was 3. I had a cool dad, but I grew up disappointed in the fact that not all R-rated movies are as violent as this. Clowns disturbed the shit out of me, but acid melted man got some laughs out of me. I was a disturbed little fuck. 

post #12 of 23
I actually found the movie more disturbing as I got older.
post #13 of 23

One of my all-time favorite movies. I recorded it on Showtime on a VHS tape and watched that thing until it wouldn't play anymore. Casting/score/effects/violence/satire/script . . . perfection. IIIIIIIIIII LIKE IT!

post #14 of 23

I posted this recent Verhoeven interview in the B Thread, but I wanted to share this part here:


Director Paul Verhoeven on Robocop, the Bit of 'American Nonsense' That Changed His Career

"I remember when I saw the movie for the first time in New York, and it was a very, let’s say, mixed ethnic audience and it was the first screening, a special screening. When the old man says “What’s your name, son?” the audience, before Murphy can answer, the audience was screaming in the theater, “Murphy!” For me, I think that was the most beautiful moment I’ve witnessed with a movie of myself. It was so staggering that the movie had proven to them at that time that a certain amount of humanity had come to back to RoboCop and that he basically owned his name again.
They felt that so precisely, the whole theater of 300 people yelled, “Murphy!” That was such an amazing moment. Even now thinking about that reaction, it nearly tears me up because it was so beautiful. Like one of the reviews was, “The movie never loses its heart to its hardware.” With our little group, we had succeeded in proving to the audience that Murphy, that the RoboCop, was back to a certain level of humanity. That was, I think, fantastic."
post #15 of 23

It seems like in some circles STARSHIP TROOPERS has become the hip Sci-Fi Verhoeven to champion. I like it a lot, but I think ROBO COP is the most special.  One of the perfect movies of the 80's.

post #16 of 23
Thread Starter 
I put Total Recall over Troopers, and I dig that one.
post #17 of 23
Troopers plays beautifully with a crowd, but it doesn't have as satisfying an ending as RoboCop.
post #18 of 23

ROBOCOP, RECALL, and TROOPERS are all wildly entertaining but ROBOCOP has a dirty layer of grit to it that puts it ever so slightly ahead of the other two.

post #19 of 23

A few of my favorite ROBOCOP trading cards, which were purchased by children from their local grocer or drug store:





And my favorite from ROBO 2:


post #20 of 23

I was 12, and talked my mother into taking me to ROBOCOP. Neither of us was prepared for what we saw.


She hid her eyes for much of the early going, while I was watching the most disturbing violence I had seen to that point. If she had kept looking, she'd probably have taken me out of the theater. Of course, by the end, she enjoyed the film (though still blamed me for tricking her into taking me), and I -loved- it. I can't claim to have gotten everything Verhoeven was saying, but I got the broad strokes and Murphy's journey resonated enough for me to recognize the drop-off when the sequels descended into cartoons.



But yeah, Robocop was always a favorite, and Verhoeven was probably the first director not named Lucas or Spielberg whose mention could get me in a theater for anything (even if at the time I only recognized him if the film said, "From the director of ROBOCOP!")

post #21 of 23
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Moltisanti View Post


And my favorite from ROBO 2:



Guess you can shoot a kid, fucker.


The grit of RoboCop puts it over Verhoeven's other sci-fi opuses, and yes, Troopers doesn't resound at the end quite the way RoboCop or Total Recall do.

post #22 of 23

Weller is also a huge difference-maker for the picture when compared to Verhoeven's other sci-fi flicks. Arnold is fine in RECALL and Van Dien does basically what's asked of him in TROOPERS. Weller though gives ROBOCOP its heart. He runs the gamut from being deadpan hilarious to genuinely worthy of sympathy. Not that easy to pull off in action films.

post #23 of 23

Quite a while ago I programmed a midnight series at my theatre and designed mini Polish-style 'posters' for each title. I'm happy with this one:


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