Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983)

8.0 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 8/10

It's a Good Life, Nightmare at 20,000 Ft.

Time Out, Kick the Can

Movie Info

Movie Name: Twilight Zone:  The Movie

Studio: Warner Bros.

Genre(s): Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror

Release Date(s): June 23, 1983

MPAA Rating: PG


They’re excited to see Twilight Zone: The Movie

You unlock this door with the key of imagination. Beyond it is another dimension. A dimension of sound. A dimension of sight. A dimension of mind. You’re moving into a land of both shadow and substance of things and ideas. You’ve just crossed over into… The Twilight Zone.

Twilight Zone: The Movie presented four stories of The Twilight Zone with an intro and outro. The stories were directed by John Landis, Steven Spielberg, Joe Dante, and George Miller. The movie was pretty well received but had already gained notoriety before its release when a helicopter accident killed Vic Morrow and two young children.


Want to see something really scary?

Intro—Directed by John Landis

Traveling down a deserted road two men (Dan Aykroyd and Albert Brooks) reminisce about old television shows including The Twilight Zone. When one of the men suggest pulling over, the other man gets the scare of his life.

This intro scared the crap out of me as a kid. It is short and simple but when Aykroyd turns around as the monster, it freaked me out. The movie also has a fun mention of Burgess Meredith’s classic episode “Time Enough at Last” which leads into Burgess Meredith’s version of Rod Serling’s famous introduction to The Twilight Zone.


“Time Out”

“Time Out”—Directed by John Landis

Bill Connor (Vic Morrow) hates life. He blames everyone and every race for his own problems. When he leaves a bar Connor finds himself pulled into Nazi Germany and being accused of being a Jew, a black man in the South captured by the Ku Klux Klan, and a Vietnamese being hunted by Americans.

The second segment of The Twilight Zone: The Movie is the segment that gained notoriety. It is a modernized version of The Twilight Zone “A Quality of Mercy” and the only really “updated” story where things were greatly changed. The ending of the episode was cut because a helicopter accident decapitated Morrow and two children. The tragic event was even compounded more when it turns out the kids were getting paid under the table to avoid work regulations. As a result the segment ends with Morrow being taken away in a Nazi train. It is a shame that people died to make this segment because it isn’t very good and possibly the most boring segment. It does have a fun cameo of a young(er) John Laroquette as one of the Ku Klux Klan men.


“Kick the Can”

“Kick the Can”—Directed by Steven Spielberg

Mr. Bloom (Scatman Crothers) moves into an old folks home and begins to encourage the people to think younger. When Leo Conroy (Bill Quinn) refuses to play, he is unable to join in with a game of Kick the Can that has a magical effect on the other residents.

Another nice looking, but dull segment. It adapts the “Kick the Can” episode and is a bit more of a thinker than other segments. The segment features a lot of old character actors and is mean tot show how life can be changed by simply looking at it with younger eyes.


“It’s a Good Life”

“It’s a Good Life”—Directed by Joe Dante

Helen Foley (Kathleen Quinlan) saves a young boy named Anthony (Jeremy Licht) from bullies in a bar and agrees to take him home after striking his bike. Helen discovers that Anthony lives in an isolated house and that everyone in the home seems to fear him because Anthony is…different.

The story adapts the “It’s a Good Life” episode of The Twilight Zone and instead of controlling an entire town, Anthony just controls a home and the ending is quite different. This segment has the most fun with the original story and the Twilight Zone idea. Quinlan’s character tells Dante regular Dick Miller that she’s going to Willoughby…the location of another famous Twilight Zone episode. The bar scene also features a cameo by Bill Mumy who starred in the original It’s a Good Life episode. The characters being held by Anthony are all fun actors/actresses including Kevin McCarthy (of Invasion of the Body Snatchers and The Twilight Zone episode called “Long Live Walter Jameson”), Patricia Barry of I Dream of Jeannie and The Twilight Zone episode “The Chaser”), William Schallert (of The Patty Duke Show who also appeared in The Twilight Zone episode “Mr. Bevis”), and Nancy Cartwright (who went on to be the voice of Bart Simpson who later had Anthony’s powers in a Halloween episode and in this she is ironically pulled into a cartoon). The sets and the cinematography are fun and it might not be as creepy as “Nightmare at 20,000 Ft.” but much more stylish.


“Nightmare at 20,000 Ft.”

“Nightmare at 20,000 Ft.”—Directed by George Miller

John Valentine (John Lithgow) hates to fly and thinks he’s seen something out on the wing of the plane. As the gremlin begins to damage the plane, John finds he can’t convince anyone that what he sees is real.

This segment adapts the famous William Shattner episode of The Twilight Zone with Lithgow taking his place as the neurotic flyer. It is maybe the best segment (though “It’s a Good Life” is probably technically better). The fear of Lithgow seems very genuine and the gremlin is much creepier than the big stuffed bear looking gremlin of the original series. The movie wraps around with this segment by having John Lithgow meeting Dan Aykroyd on the way to the hospital.

Twilight Zone: The Movie was quite fun. It starts out quite slow but ends with a bang. It isn’t the best movie, but it is a fun collection of directors and actors bringing a classic TV show to the screen in a much more convincing way than many current TV to film adaptations.

Related Links:

The Twilight Zone—Season 1 Review and Complete Episode Guide

The Twilight Zone—Season 2 Review and Complete Episode Guide

The Twilight Zone—Season 3 Review and Complete Episode Guide

The Twilight Zone—Season 4 Review and Complete Episode Guide

The Twilight Zone—Season 5 Review and Complete Episode Guide

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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