Spies Like Us (1985) – The Russian phrase spoken by Dan Aykroyd to the Russian agents is: “Chem men’she znaesh’, tem lushche.” This translates as: “The less you know, the better.”
Stripes (1981) – John Winger’s use of the phrase “We are the wretched refuse” to describe how the platoon was made up of men from around the world is a reference to a poem, “The New Colossus”, by the nineteenth-century American poet Emma Lazarus. “The New Colossus”, describing the Statue of Liberty, appears on a plaque at the base of the statue.
The Fifth Element (1997) – This is one of two science-fiction movies featuring Ian Holm in which there is a character by the name of Dallas. The other one is Alien (1979), which stars Tom Skerritt as Captain Dallas.
Moonstruck (1987) – Olympia Dukakis is only 15 years older than her on-screen daughter Cher.
Colossus: The Forbin Project (1970) – Ok, this one is hard for me to pick just one because I’m such a computer geek but here goes:
Producer Stanley Chase said that while it’s frightening to suppose a computer could take over the world, it was indeed possible. His technical advisor said that a machine like Colossus actually existed at that time. The model for Colossus was supposedly the NORAD system that controlled our national defense systems, and that’s why the computer programming center in the film was located in the Rocky Mountains, which is also the home of NORAD. The government wouldn’t allow a film crew on the NORAD grounds, so the exteriors were filmed at the Lawrence Hall of Science in Berkeley, California. The missile sites were photographed in the California desert near Palmdale.
WarGames (1983) – Are you sensing a theme here? Self aware computers. It’s coming faster than you think.
When David comes home the day after the NORAD computer break-in, the newscaster on the television is talking about a prophylactic recycling center.
The Terminator (1984) – Shots through the Terminator’s vision shows a dump of the ROM assembler code for the Apple II operation system. If you own an Apple II, enter at the basic prompt: ] call -151 * p This will give you the terminator view. Other code visible is written in COBOL.
Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977) – George Lucas planned to score the film with existing classical music like Stanley Kubrick had done on 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) before Steven Spielberg introduced him to composer John Williams. Lucas and Williams agreed on a classical 19th-century Romantic music style with liberal use of leitmotif for the score. Since the movie would show worlds never seen before, the music had to serve as an “emotional anchor” for the audience to relate. – Uh huh, I can still hear that theme echoing in my head.
Only two more? Damn!
The Incredibles (2004) – Syndrome’s zero-point energy beam is based on an actual physics concept, the zero-point field, demonstrated in 1948 via the Casimir Effect and essential to Stephen Hawking’s theory that black holes eventually evaporate. Harnessing the zero-point field would be quite a feat, as it would yield a truly infinite source of energy.
Beautiful Thing (1996) – When Sandra recalls that Cass Elliot died by choking on a sandwich she is repeating an urban legend. “Mama” Cass actually died of heart failure. Reports immediately after her death (before the autopsy) apparently quoted her doctor as saying she probably died by choking on a sandwich. Despite the results of the autopsy, the sandwich story has stuck.