Nothing says Christmas more than Clint Eastwood blowing holes in child-abducting psychopaths. The original Dirty Harry hit theaters today in 1971, bringing holiday cheer and police brutality in equal measures. (Star Trek fans take note: the mad killer in this film was played by Andrew Robinson, who went on to play Garak — one of the coolest Trek characters ever — in Deep Space Nine.)
Robin Williams had flirted with straight drama, but his comedic persona still dominated his onscreen appearances. Good Morning Vietnam did an excellent job of having its cake and eating it too on that front. Not only did if give Williams an ideal fulcrum from his stream-of-consciousness humor, but it let him demonstrate that he was much more than a stand-up comic. (He scored an Oscar nomination in the process, losing to Michael Douglas’s turn in Wall Street.) The film opened today in 1987.
Other notable releases include Arthur Penn’s subversive Little Big Man in 1970, and a pair of effects classics: Disney’s well-regarded take on 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea in 1954; and the Ray Harryhausen masterpiece The 7th Voyage of Sinbad in 1958.
And in our “I can’t believe I’m even mentioning it” section, the original Street Fighter was released in 1994… when Jean-Claude Van Damme was still a thing.
God bless us everyone. Punks.