Updated: Wed, 04 Dec 2013 17:30:00 GMT | By Seán Francis Condon
Young warriors on film

The Last Starfighter (1984)

The Last Starfighter (1984) (© Rex Features)
  • The Last Starfighter (1984) (© Rex Features)
  • Cloak & Dagger (1984) (© Rex Features)
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This lightweight, almost old-school-matinee fantasy has rolled up a cult following far more devoted than the general indifference it experienced on theatrical release (though it did, at the time, turn a profit). Lance Guest is a teen handyman at the trailer park where he lives with his devoted mother (Barbara Bosson, then riding high as a regular cast member of Hill Street Blues), and he spends his off-time wandering somewhat lonely and endlessly playing an arcade game called – you guessed it – The Last Starfighter. When the game’s inventor (Robert Preston, tipping his experienced hat to his old days in The Music Man) friendlies up to Guest and offers him a ride, the poor lad suddenly realizes he’s being thrust into a real war that has been playing out on his arcade screen.

The Last Starfighter is full of Saturday-afternoon hokum, but in its own way that’s all of the charm of Guest’s journey. This one didn’t exactly set the world on fire or start a mad rush toward video-game films, but there is undoubtedly something about The Last Starfighter that makes it at least a guilty teen pleasure.