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Romancing the Stone [1984]

Director:Robert Zemeckis
Writer:Diane Thomas
Composer:Alan Silvestri
Length:106 minutes
(1 hour 46 minutes)
MPAA Rating:PG
Sorting Category:Adventure
IMDB Rating:6.9/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating:85%
Amazon Rating:4.5/5 stars
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Synopsis: A mousy romance novelist sets off for Colombia to ransom her kidnapped sister, and soon finds herself in the middle of a dangerous adventure hunting for treasure with a mercenary rogue.

Reaction: One of the more successful attempts at recreating the Indiana Jones formulas. This largely works due to the interaction between Douglas and Turner.

Personal Rating: 7/10

Robert Zemeckis => Director
Diane Thomas => Writer
Alan Silvestri => Composer
Alfonso Arau => Juan
Danny DeVito => Ralph
Holland Taylor => Gloria
José Chávez => Santos
Kathleen Turner => Joan Wilder
Manuel Ojeda => Zolo
Mary Ellen Trainor => Elaine
Michael Douglas => Jack Colton
Rodrigo Puebla => Bad Hombre
Ron Silver => Vendor
Ted White => Grogan
Zack Norman => Ira

Random Trivia For This Title:

  • At the end of the film, Jack and Joan "sail off" down the street in Jack's new boat 'Angelina' - the name of the female character featured in the book Joan is writing at the beginning of the film.
  • This was Michael Douglas' first action film.
  • Sylvester Stallone turned down the role of Jack T. Colton in order to star in Rhinestone (1984), a decision he deeply regretted.
  • Paul Newman was offered the part of Jack Colton but felt there was unnecessary and excessive violence in the movie.
  • Jessica Lange turned down the part of Joan Wilder in order to tackle "more serious" work.
  • Lesley Ann Warren turned down a chance to audition for the female lead.
  • This film marked the beginning of director Robert Zemeckis' partnership with composer Alan Silvestri. Ever since then, Silvestri has composed the music for every Zemeckis-directed film.
  • Clint Eastwood, Jack Nicholson, Christopher Reeve turned down the role of Jack T. Colton, before Michael Douglas accepted the part.
  • Bob Hoskins turned down the role of Ralph, which eventually went to Danny DeVito. Hoskins and Robert Zemeckis would work together four years later in Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988). Kathleen Turner, who plays Joan, would also provide the voice of Jessica Rabbit.
  • [?] Treva Silverman made an uncredited change to the script in an attempt to make Joan Wilder more likeable. She changed the opening scene so that the character had a cat that she adored, as opposed to being alone.
  • The phrase "Romancing the Stone" is a piece of jewelers' jargon, referring to a step in preparing a gem for use in jewelry.
  • Michael Douglas was intrigued by the script despite some initial hesitation, but was ultimately won over by the opportunity to exhibit the rock climbing skills he'd honed as a teenager. When he was around 16 years old, Michael would enjoy rock climbing with his father during breaks in the filming of Spartacus (1960), which was shot largely in Death Valley, California.
  • According to Kathleen Turner's memoir, Michael Douglas originally offered the role of Joan to [?] Debra Winger. They met at a Mexican restaurant to discuss it but, according to Douglas, she ended up biting him. She didn't get the part.
  • Mary Ellen Trainor who plays Elaine, Joan's sister, was also one of the writers.
  • According to the RTS DVD extra Rekindling the Romance: A Look Back at 'Romancing the Stone' (2006) mini documentary, Michael Douglas and Danny DeVito were roommates during their time in NYC when 'starting out' in show business. Additionally, DeVito notes that Douglas got his break first with the TV series The Streets of San Francisco (1972) but continued to pay his share of the rent even after leaving their apartment in NYC for Hollywood. He would later, as producer and reluctant lead character, Jack T. Colton, offer the part of 'Ralph' to DeVito which DeVito admits was good exposure and helpful to his career.
  • In the famous dance scene, Michael Douglas was not aware that he was being filmed. He was dancing with Kathleen Turner and some extras, and was surprised to find Robert Zemeckis had been filming the entire time.
  • The film was originally to be filmed in Colombia, where the story takes place. However, life imitated art, in that Colombia also suffered an increase in American kidnappings, so production was moved to Mexico.
  • Alan Silvestri was hired to do a temporary score for the film, but director Robert Zemeckis liked his work so much that he kept him on as composer.
  • Studio executives were so sure this film would flop that Robert Zemeckis was pre-emptively fired from directing Cocoon (1985). It turned out to be such a success that Zemeckis was able to go forward on his own project, Back to the Future (1985).
  • Though described by some film critics as a "rip-off" of 1981's Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), the original screenplay had actually been written five years earlier around 1979.
  • This was the only produced screenplay for writer Diane Thomas. She had been working as a waitress in Malibu when producer/star Michael Douglas optioned her script for $250,000, allowing her to quit her job. Sadly, Thomas died in a car accident, while working on a new movie project with Steven Spielberg the following year, about seven weeks before the opening of this film's sequel, The Jewel of the Nile (1985). She was a passenger while her boyfriend was driving a Porsche that Douglas had bought for her as a thank you gift. The Jewel of the Nile (1985) was dedicated "In Memory of" Thomas.
  • Zolo loses his hand to a crocodile in a similar fashion to how Captain Hook loses his hand to the ticking crocodile in "Peter Pan". Both villains threaten a female character, (Wendy Darling in Captain Hook's case; Joan Wilder in Zolo's case). Both villains lose their left hand to a crocodile. The only difference between the two incidents is how; Zolo's hand is bitten off, after catching El Corazon, while Captain Hook's hand is chopped off and thrown to the crocodile by Peter Pan.