April 16, 2024 | Jamie Hayes

Nostalgic Facts About Classic Films

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it". —Ferris Bueller

Not much takes you back to your childhood more than re-watching old, nostalgic movies. Here are 41 facts about some of the most iconic movies from the '80s, '90s, and '00s.

1. Amazing Improv

One of the hardest-hitting scenes in The Breakfast Club is when all of the kids sit in a circle and explain why they’re in detention. Amazingly enough, that scene was unscripted; John Hughes told the actors to ad lib.

classic films

2. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

In Disney’s 1991 animated film The Beauty and the Beast, Beast’s castle is filled with frightening sculptures. Rather than spend time designing each of these sculptures, most of them are actually just early versions of Beast that didn’t end up getting used for the character.

Classic Films FactsWalt Disney Pictures, Beauty and the Beast

3. Bender

John Hughes had some pretty unique writing habits. He would typically chain smoke and blare music, writing until the early morning. Seems like it worked for him: he wrote the script for Sixteen Candles over just one July 4th weekend.

Classic Films FactsSixteen Candles, ‎Universal Pictures

4. Murray-less

The character of Peter Venkman in Ghostbusters was originally written for John Belushi. Unfortunately, Belushi passed on before the movie could be made, but the part was also offered to both Chevy Chase and Michael Keaton before Bill Murray eventually landed the role.

Parks and Recreation factsGetty Images


5. Not Quite a Kid

Ralph Macchio was actually 22 years old when he filmed The Karate Kid.

Classic Films FactsWikimedia Commons


6. Priceless

Sean Astin got to keep the treasure map prop after he was done filming The Goonies. Today, it would have probably been one of the most sought after pieces of movie lore, but there’s just one problem: Astin’s mom, actress Patty Duke, found it one day and threw it out, thinking it was just a piece of scrap paper.

Classic Films FactsThe Goonies,Warner Bros.


7. Re-cast

Although producers wanted Michael J. Fox to play Marty McFly from the very beginning, schedule conflicts led to actor Eric Stoltz being cast. After filming for six weeks, it was decided Stoltz just wasn’t a fit for the role, and they started all over again, this time with Fox.

Michael J. Fox FactsGetty Images


8. Fake Ferrari

Car lovers all over the world cringed when Cameron’s dad’s Ferrari careened out of the window in Ferris Buellers Day Off. Thankfully, it was too expensive to use an actual Ferrari, so it was a replica that got smashed.

Classic Films FactsFerris Bueller


9. School Daze

Pretty in Pink was filmed at the same Los Angeles high school where they filmed Grease.

Classic Films FactsGrease,Paramount Pictures


10. Method Acting

In one scene from The Princess Bride, Christopher Guest’s Count Rugen hits Cary Elwes’ Westley over the head with the butt of his sword. When filming the scene, Elwes wanted it to look real, so he told Guest to tap him for real. The next thing Elwes remembers is waking up in the hospital; Guest accidentally knocked him out; the sword was heavier than either of them thought.

Classic Films FactsThe Princess Bride,20th Century Fox


11. Silent Film

George Lucas and Steven Spielberg originally planned to make The Land Before Time without any dialogue, but the idea was eventually abandoned to make the movie more appealing to kids.

Kurt Cobain FactsShutterstock


12. Mickey Under the Sea

Disney hid a little easter egg in the beginning of The Little Mermaid. As King Triton is riding into the arena, you can briefly see Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and Goofy standing in the crowd.

Classic Films FactsLittle Mermaid,Walt Disney Pictures


13. A Helping Head

In a scene from Uncle Buck, the precocious Miles rapid-fire interrogates Buck. To help Macaulay Culkin read the lines so quickly, John Candy wrote Miles’ lines on a piece of paper and put it on his head so Culkin could just read them as they shot. You’ll notice the top of Candy’s head is cut off for most of the scene.

Classic Films FactsUncle Buck,Universal Pictures


14. Honey, that Title was Bad

Before settling on Honey, I Shrunk The Kids, producers considered the name Teenie Weenies. It was decided that title would only appeal to kids and not to adults, and the name was scrapped.

Classic Films FactsHoney, I Shrunk the Kids,Walt Disney Pictures


15. The Ad-lib King of the Midwest

John Candy was on the set of Home Alone for only 23 hours, during which he filmed all of his scenes. He played “The Polka King of the Midwest” and he improvised his lines.

Home Alone factsHome Alone, 20th Century Fox


16. Villain's Voice

Tarzan’s loud, bellowing yell is one of the character’s most iconic traits. But in Disney’s 1999 adaptation of the story, it was Brian Blessed, who voiced the antagonist Clayton, who recorded the yell.

Classic Films FactsWikimedia Commons

17. Cameo Connection

At the beginning of Hook, fairy dust sprinkles on a couple kissing on a bridge, and they begin to float in the air. That couple was actually played by George Lucas and Carrie Fisher of Star Wars fame, even though they’re too far away to ever recognize them.

Classic Films FactsHook,TriStar Pictures


18. Cogsworth Cleese

The role of Cogsworth in Beauty and the Beast was originally offered to John Cleese, but he turned it down to play Cat R. Waul in An American Tail: Fievel Goes West. Coincidentally, the two films ended up being released on the same day.

Classic Films FactsWikimedia Commons


19. My House

The house that Vada, the main character from My Girl, lived in was actually a bed-and-breakfast in Florida called the Stanford Inn. Unfortunately, it went out of business in 2013.

Classic Films FactsMy Girl,Columbia Pictures


20. Toy Salary

As part of their salary, all of the children who acted as extras in Home Alone 2toy store scene were allowed to take home one toy of their choice. Macaulay Culkin was allowed to keep the Talkboy from the movie, even though it was just a prop and didn’t actually work. The actual Talkboy toy came out later, and was based off the version that appeared on screen.

Home Alone factsHome Alone 2: Lost in New York, 20th Century Fox


21. First Film

Long before he was famous, actor Joseph Gordon Levitt got his start with a small role in Beethoven. He played “Student #1".

Classic Films FactsWikimedia Commons


22. Oh, Are Ninjas Violent?

Disney was worried that 3 Ninjas was too violent for its audience, and they ended up adding cartoon sound effects to punches and kicks to try to soften the effects.

Classic Films Facts3 Ninjas, ‎Touchstone Pictures


23. Quack, Quack, Quack

The original name of the Anaheim Ducks was the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim. The team was owned by Disney when it entered the league, and they named the team after the Mighty Ducks movie franchise. After Disney sold the team, they rebranded to just the Anaheim Ducks.

Classic Films FactsThe Mighty Ducks,‎Walt Disney Pictures


24. An Adaptation of an Adaptation

Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey was a remake of a 1963 movie that was just called The Incredible Journey. That movie was, in turn, based on a book also called The Incredible Journey. 

Classic Films FactsHomeward Bound : The Incredible Journey,Walt Disney Pictures


25. Forever Young

Carol Kane played the role of Grandmama Addams in Addams Family Values. She was born in 1952. Anjelica Huston played Morticia, her daughter. She was born in 1951, and is one year older than Kane.

Classic Films FactsAddams Family Values,Paramount Pictures


26. Cool Friends

When the Jamaican bobsled team arrived at the Olympics in Cool Runnings, the other teams treat them with hostility. In the real Olympics, the Jamaicans were welcomed by the other teams, who even lent them a back-up sled during qualifiers.

Classic Films FactsCool Runnings, ‎Walt Disney Pictures


27. A Little of Everything

To create the iconic dinosaur’s roar for Jurassic Park, sound designers combined, among other things, the sound of a dog, penguin, tiger, alligator, and elephant.

Avatar factsFlickr


28. Pick Your Poison

Robin Williams was famous for his improvisation on film sets. Mrs. Doubtfire  was no different. Director Chris Columbus said that when filming was done, they had enough footage to cut together a PG, PG-13, R, or even NC-17 movie.

Mrs. Doubtfire FactsMrs. Doubtfire, Blue Wolf Productions


29. Movie Magic

The vomit from the carnival scene in The Sandlot was made from pea soup, baked beans, oatmeal, water, and movie gel.

Classic Films FactsThe Sandlot,Twentieth Century Fox


30. A Labor of Love

Though most of The Lion King is traditionally animated, the wildebeest stampede was computer generated. The CG department at Disney had to develop a new computer program that was capable of animating hundreds of animals at once, and creating the scene took them around three years.

Disney Movies FactsThe Lion King, Walt Disney Pictures


31. Page Master

Chistopher Lloyd’s character in The Pagemaster, Mr. Dewey, is named after the Dewey Decimal System.

Classic Films FactsThe Pagemaster,Twentieth Century Fox


32. Top of the World

For a short time in 1994, Tim Allen had the #1 TV Show (Home Improvement), the #1 New York Times best-selling book (Dont Stand Too Close to a N*ked Man) and the #1 movie at the box office (The Santa Clause).

Classic Films FactsWikimedia Commons


33. One Rich Klingon

Brian Bonsall, the star of Blank Check, was a pretty successful child actor. From 1992-1994, he played Worf’s son Alexander on Star Trek: The Next Generation, but he retired from acting shortly after.

Classic Films FactsBlank Check, ‎Walt Disney Pictures


34. Second Chances

Before they hired Tim Allen, Pixar offered Buzz Lightyear’s role in Toy Story to Billy Crystal, but he turned it down. When Crystal eventually saw the movie, he realized his mistake. John Lasseter heard about this and offered him the role of Mike Wazowski in Monsters Inc.

Classic Films FactsGetty Images


35. Low on Animals

Jumaji was set and filmed in New Hampshire, but surprisingly it is one of the very few states that doesn’t have even one zoo.

Classic Films FactsJumanji,TriStar Pictures


36. A Goofy Car

The silly car that Goofy drives in A Goofy Movie isn’t just a cartoon: It’s an AMC Pacer. The Pacer came out in 1975, and it’s been called one of the ugliest cars of all time.

Classic Films FactsWikipedia


37. True Friendship

The classic movie Casper was set in the seemingly fictional town of Friendship, Maine, but it’s an actual small town in Maine, and they shot most of the movie there.

Classic Films FactsCasper,Universal Pictures


38. Vintage

You can still find the perfectly preserved promotional website that Warner Brothers made for Space Jam online.

Classic Films FactsSpace Jam,Warner Bros. Animation


39. Satyr in Furs

In a scene from Disney’s Hercules, Hercules’ trainer Phil wipes himself off with a lion’s skin. If you look closely, you’ll see that it’s actually Scar from the Lion Kings skin.

Lion King factsHercules, Walt Disney Pictures


40. Horrifying

In its first stages, the Steven Spielberg classic E.T. was going to be a horror movie called Night Skies, featuring aliens who could kill with the tips of their fingers.

Acclaimed Movies factsGetty Images


41. No Treasure to be Found

Though so many animated Disney movies have been hugely successful, Treasure Planet  was not. It cost $180 million to make, but earned only $101 million worldwide. That’s a loss of $79 million, one of Disney’s biggest ever.

Classic Films FactsTreasure Planet,Walt Disney Pictures


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