Best Cinematography – 1983

Official Nominations: Fanny & Alexander. Flashdance. The Right Stuff. WarGames. Zelig

Once again we can omit Fanny & Alexander’s official win due to it being a 1982 release, which leaves our choices wide open. WarGames is an interesting inclusion given that it is mostly seen as a kids/teen movie, yet there’s no doubting how inventive it was for the time. Flashdance was one of a handful of movies in the 80s which inexplicably made dancing look mildly interesting – much of that coming from the music video look and feel where everything is shadowed and sultry. Zelig is the only real competition to my winner, with Woody Allen and Gordon Willis combining to give the film an authentic newsreel, documentary style.

But The Right Stuff is a clear winner here, a film which could so easily have come off as a bland spectacle but perfectly blends experimentalism with realism and character to create something as colourful and entertaining as it is beautiful.

My Winner: The Right Stuff.

THE RIGHT STUFF (1983) Cinematographer: Caleb Deschanel Aspect Ratio:  1.85:1 Director: Philip Kaufman | Cinematography, Movie scenes, Cinema

My Nominations: The Right Stuff. Zelig. Liquid Sky. Blue Thunder. Le Dernier Combat. Eureka. The Hunger. The Keep. Rumble Fish. Scarface.

A bunch of potential winners added to my list. Getting the least likely offers out of the way, Blue Thunder is mostly remembered for its thrilling, and wonderfully shot helicopter action scenes through LA, while Le Dernier Combat is notable for its stark end of the world black and white visuals. The Keep is ultimately a bit of a mess, but it has moments of visual brilliance, contrasted with The Hunger whose visual brilliance is more sustained and coupled with a more interesting story.

Eureka is a lesser seen Nic Roeg film, but one which you can rely on to provide haunting and unique visuals. Liquid Sky is highly experimental in its look, feel, and how its story unravels, and Rumble Fish gave Coppola a chance to be somewhat more challenging with his presentation. Finally, Scarface nails the excess of its story by being shot with a leery, sweaty, gaudy glaze.

My Winner: The Right Stuff.

Let us know your winner in the comments!

One thought on “Best Cinematography – 1983

  1. John Charet February 7, 2023 / 11:08 pm

    Great post 🙂 You can’t go wrong with The Right Stuff 🙂 Anyway, keep up the great work as always 🙂

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