GFT Blog: Our Movie Childhood


Do the truffle shuffle because we’re going to need a bigger boat to help E.T. phone home. GFT’s summer season Our Movie Childhood celebrates the films that defined 1970s and 1980s childhood - these were the films that inspired iconic quotes and endless parodies - on the blog this month the GFT team talk about the films that made them. Tell us yours in the comments!

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It wasn’t one of the first films I fell in love with but it’s one that I – and all my pals – fell for hard: Clueless. I can’t remember where we’d all started hearing about it but by the time we could see it, we were buzzing with excitement. I remember none of us were 12 and so sent the oldest looking one in the group to Blockbusters to rent and watch it at a sleepover. The soundtrack, the mini-skirts and knee socks style, the fluffy pens – we were completely hooked. It’s cool when you catch a film at the ‘right age’ (which is why I’m so pleased for any teenager who’s able to watch Booksmart).

There are lessons to be learned under all the superficiality (don’t go meddling in other folk’s lives being a good one) but the dialogue is the what I love most about it – and the aspect that has endured. Not only did we immediately adopt talking like valley girls when we were 10 but my friend recently rsvp’d to my sister’s wedding with ‘and there is no RVSP on the State of Liberty!’

Georgia Stride 
Knowledge & Network Coordinator, Film Hub Scotland

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I remember that every Friday night from the ages of 6 to 8 - when my mum would go out with my gran - my dad would buy my sister and I some sweets and rent a film to enjoy for those few hours. Indiana Jones, E.T., Ghostbusters, Disney films like The Lion King, a plethora of excellent choices…

But the ones that stuck with me the longest were the original Star Wars trilogy – the first three films he rented (in consecutive weeks of course). I’d only ever seen such fantastical scenarios, such incredible action in cartoons or what few video games I’d played back then. I was awestruck as these characters interacted with aliens, wielded terrifying weapons, rocketed through the depths of space and ultimately triumphed against evil.

They didn’t spark a love of science or turn me into a budding astronaut aching to touch the stars. They merely helped turn me into the considerable nerd I am today (and led to me subjecting myself to the much-maligned prequels). But would I trade those evenings with my family watching that moment from Empire Strikes Back for something else? 

Not a chance.

Andrew Kane
GSFF Assistant

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When I was 10 or 11, Gregory’s Girl was shot where I lived and in the school I would attend the following year. 

The crew were based at a house in the next street (same number) and we frequently got their mail and my Mum would send me up there. I was quite a cheeky monkey and would probably ask if Bill (Forsyth) was in.  A lot of my friends are in the film, mostly in the background and I saw numerous scenes being shot. It was exactly how life was then.

Almost 40 years on the film is still a thrill to watch, takes me right back to great times and some of those friends are still in my life.  I turned on the TV in New York once and there it was but with posher Scottish accents. I nearly fell off my chair.  Bella Bella is still a common saying amongst Abronhill folk.

The recent film Beats was also filmed in parts in my old stomping ground, some of my friend’s kids still live there and I hope they have the same fond memories of Beats as I do of Gregory’s Girl

Aileen Jardine
GFT Volunteer 

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As far back as I can remember, I have loved Ghostbusters. I'm sure like many people of a similar age to me I had a ratty old, VHS that had Ghostbusters taped from the telly on it. Sure my VHS version had several ad breaks and cut certain risqué scenes (Dan Ackroyd? In bed? With a ghost?) from the movie that I was shocked to find out existed when I got older and finally bought an official VHS copy of the movie, but that didn't matter. It didn't stop me from commandeering the living room, suiting up with my official proton pack (best Christmas present ever btw) and acting out every scene as it happened. Basically I didn't just enjoy Ghostbusters, I lived Ghostbusters. What a film. 

Chris Kumar
Programme Coordinator

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I read a lot as a kid. My mum used to take us to the local library and I would plonk myself down in a beanbag, and get lost in a book for while. The first time I saw the film Matilda, I remember being upset and confused at the humans on my screen instead of the illustrations I knew so well. I think this was probably the first time I had ever watched a book adaptation that I knew, and it was a weird experience: seeing something be so recognisable, and yet so different? In the end I loved Matilda, and watched it again and again growing up. I think all those viewings drummed into me the need pay attention at school, be myself and to stand up for what I believe in (and be wary of Danny DeVito), but I didn't realise at the time, back then I really just wanted to learn how to make pancakes float around the kitchen.

Margaret Smith
Press & Marketing Coordinator 

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“Going to the pictures” was a regular family outing, but this was something different. We were told this film was going to be popular, we were told we would have to queue for tickets. You didn’t have online booking systems back then. A cold Saturday morning in early 1978. We turn up early, before 11am. The queue outside the Odeon on Renfield Street is already wrapped halfway round the building. We join the end of it, it’s in West Regent Lane. And we wait.

An eternity later, the queue starts to move. We have already agreed that if we can’t get into the first screening that we are staying in the queue for the next one. But we get in. The adverts are already playing and the cinema is packed, but we manage to locate seats together. It’s the first time I have sat in a sold out screening. It’s a little intimidating and very noisy… That is, until the 20th Century Fox fanfare plays. And those first words appear. And then there’s the blast of horns that silences everyone.

The words “Chapter IV” and “A New Hope” appear, but no one pays any attention to them.

This was “STAR WARS” and nothing would ever be the same again.

David Gattens
Finance/Commercial Director

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I was a very sensitive child when it came to watching films - nothing like the voracious movie-watcher I grew up to be – and I would be quite wary of watching a film that I thought might be too scary or in any way distressing. This definitely informed my behaviour on the day my dad took me and my brothers to the video shop and the majority decision was that we were going to rent E.T. Something in my 8-year-old brain strongly took against this idea, and I’m pretty sure I demonstrated my disapproval with tears, shouting and a general sense of injustice. The mists of time have now obscured to me what it was about the E.T video box that I reacted so negatively to, but whatever my reasons, I still sat down and watched it with the family when we got home. And man, if the tears were flowing before the film, they were pouring a river afterwards, but with a key difference: these post-film tears were pure Spielberg-honed floods of empathy for Elliot and his little wrinkled buddy. The master of movie emotion had hooked me, and my life would never be the same.  

Paul Gallagher
Programme Manager

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In 1996 I turned 13, and sleepovers were all the rage in my friend group. One Saturday night, me and four gal pals donned our pyjamas, ripped open snacks and cuddled up under duvets to watch the film pick of that week: supernatural girl power American horror, The Craft. I vividly remember the grainy soft focus of the candlelight rituals, THAT hair colour changing moment, and the epic storm scene on the beach. For a 1990's teen flick, this had everything we wanted and needed. 

We never wanted to be witches, but as if they'd be lifted straight out of Beverley Hills 90210, the girls looked SO cool and I had never wanted more to don Doc Marten boots, a short skirt and tie a checked shirt round my waist, and I have no shame in admitting that "light as a feather, stiff as a board" was whispered with laughter round our friend group for MANY years to come afterwards.

The Craft still stands the test of time in my book and 23 years later it's remains firmly on my list of corny, cult classics that are always worth a rewatch on wintery nights cuddled up under my duvet.

Jodie Wilkinson
Public Engagement Coordinator

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My Dad had Ivanhoe on VHS, I’ve no idea why. It had IVANHOE scrawled in fancy metallic lettering in a suitably medieval font across the cover and Robert Taylor’s face burnished in glorious technicolour tones. It hasn’t aged particularly badly if you rewatch it now. As an adaptation of a rather trickily plotted Walter Scott novel, it hits the marks it needs to. The star of the show is really George Sanders as Brian de Bois-Guilbert, giving a dramatic and sturdy turn as the piece’s sympathetic villain. It’s not always subtle, but it has got spectacle and the score really stands up as a brilliant piece of cinematic music. There was something about it that caught my imagination. The dramatic action, the colours and pageantry, fire, death, romance, all mixed into a glorious concoction that left a mark on me. The moment when Ivanhoe throws his gauntlet into the trial of Rebecca (played by Elizabeth Taylor with suitable melodrama) remains ingrained in my memory. But it’s the final climactic battle between Ivanhoe and de Bois-Guilbert which always enthralled me. The score stops, and all that can be heard is the slow death roll of the drums and the clash of steel. For my 8-year-old self it was an intense and heart-stopping watch. It sparked two things in me. The love of cinema and the love of history. I studied the latter at University and now work with the former. It really drove home the powerful story-telling that film could deliver (even if I didn’t recognise it at the time), and I’ve owned a copy ever since. Every so often I take a trip down memory lane and watch it all again. It stirs the same emotions in me now as it did 25 years ago. If any single film could be said to have shaped my life its Ivanhoe. Thanks Dad.

Gavin Crosby
Design and Digital Coordinator


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