Romancing the Stone (1984)

romancing the stone poster 1984 movie
8.5 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 8/10

Good chemistry between Turner and Douglas, fun action

Some dating

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Romancing the Stone

Studio:  20th Century Fox/El Corazon Produccions S.A./Nina Saxon Film

Genre(s):  Action/Adventure/Romance/Comedy

Release Date(s):  March 24, 1984 (Premiere)/March 30, 1984 (US)

MPAA Rating:  PG

romancing the stone michael douglas kathleen turner mudslide

Welcome to South America, Joan

Joan Wilder (Kathleen Turner) is a romance novelist who has been pulled into a story from one of her own novels.  When her sister is kidnapped in Columbia, Joan is forced to head to South America to exchange a treasure map for her sister.  Unfortunately kidnappers Ralph and Ira (Danny Devito and Zack Norman) lose Joan to a rival faction led by Colonel Zolo (Manuel Ojedo).  Joan escapes death by fleeing into the jungle with a con-artist American named Jack T. Colton (Michael Douglas).  Now, Jack and Joan are after the treasure and the danger has never been greater.

Directed by Robert Zemeckis, Romancing the Stone is an action-adventure romantic comedy.  The film received positive reviews and a strong box office return.  The movie was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Film Editing.

BasementRejects reviews Romancing the Stone 1984

So…wait…some guy found the stone and returned and put it in a cheap rabbit statue in the same location?

The movie is a really fun, romantic-comedy adventure.  We used to have a copy of it on VHS, and my friends and I would watch it over and over again.  It was one of those ’80s movies that you can watch today, and it still seems pretty fresh (setting it in South America helps aspects of the story not date as much).

A lot of reasons Romancing the Stone works are the same reason that Raiders of the Lost Ark works…but it also puts a bit of a twist on the action-adventure.  The action is put together in a way that is easy to follow.  The scenes are simple, but they still have a lot of energy and fun.  A kid can enjoy it, and an adult can also like aspects of the story.  There were tons of comparisons to Raiders of the Lost Ark by the media but that was a bit unfair since this was actually written before Raiders of the Lost Ark was release but took a while to get made.

The chemistry between Kathleen Turner and Michael Douglas really works. They seem like a real couple and this might be why they teamed up again for the sequel and then later (with Danny DeVito in tow) for War of the Roses.  It would have been a lot different if Sylvester Stallone or Christopher Reeves had taken the Jack role as originally planned.

romancing the stone joan wilder colonel zolo kathleen turner manuel ojedo

Hey…I have an alligator that is eager to meet you!

The movie is PG, but it is a 1980s PG.  There is a lot of shooting, a lot of fighting, and a very hungry alligator.  The movie has that almost old serial style to it that has the adventure of two white people into a foreign world (they are outsiders and therefore…better as movies often used to work).  In hindsight, it is kind of racist in that sense, but it isn’t as egregious as other films…plus, you could argue that it is all Joan’s interpretation of the story instead of the real people.

I was surprised how well Romancing the Stone held up…this makes it worse that talks of a remake have floated around (proving Hollywood doesn’t reward new ideas.  Instead, stick to the classic and share it with a new generation…it is something that a kid might still enjoy.  Romancing the Stone was followed by The Jewel of the Nile in 1985.

Related Links:

The Jewel of the Nile (1985)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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