BUCK ROGERS IN THE 25TH CENTURY (1979) Reviews and overview

 

‘The original space man! The ultimate trip!’

Buck Rogers in the 25th Century is a 1979 American science-fiction film about an astronaut who comes out of 500 years of suspended animation. He finds himself in a future time where Earth is threatened by alien invaders.

Directed by Daniel Haller (The Dunwich Horror; The Wild Racers; Devil’s Angels; Die, Monster, Die!) from a screenplay co-written by producer Glen A. Larson and Leslie Stevens, based on the character Buck Rogers created by Philip Francis Nowlan in 1928. The movie stars Gil Gerard, Pamela Hensley, Erin Gray and Henry Silva.

Originally made as a television movie pilot, Universal Studios opted to release the film theatrically on March 30th 1979 several months before the subsequent television series aired.

Reviews:

“As the princess, Pamela Hensley is all kinds of sexy, but the movie is sunk by stupid touches like a campy dance sequence, horrible jokes, pervy costumes (must everything be skin-tight?), and a cutesy robot voiced by Mel Blanc. Whereas Battlestar aimed for the all-ages appeal of Star Wars by mixing grown-up themes with aliens and laser fights, Buck Rogers targets infantile viewers with comic-book-style silliness.” Every 70s Movie

“The movie eventually descends into a series of double-entendres that are reminiscent of Matt Helm at his worst, and this, combined with the lousy script and the presence of one of the most obnoxious “cute” robots I’ve ever seen (I’m sure there must have been a “Dismantle Twiki” movement somewhere), I not only found this pretty painful but I wondered just who it was intended for.” Fantastic Movie Musings and Ramblings

” …it is the film’s attempts to be hip that ultimately derail it. Gil Gerard gives an irritably smug performance. The cute robots are dubbed with smartass lines like “I’m freezing my ball-bearings off” or looking on a bikini-clad Pamela Hensley “What a body”. Twiki’s “beedeebeedeebeedee”‘s become extremely grating within a very short space of time. There is a terribly dated scene where Buck introduces disco dancing to the uptight 25th Century…” Moria

“Daniel Haller, who learned his trade with Roger Corman, may not be the wittiest of directors but he displays a brisk, no-nonsense approach to filmmaking that is immensely helpful in this kind of film. The movie is paced to hold the interest of the smallest brain. The special effects? We see space ships, the 25th-century city that has replaced 20th-century Chicago, dread mutants deformed by the earlier holocaust and all sorts of other, theoretically unbelievable things.” The New York Times, March 30, 1979

” …the Dads who took their kids to matinee showings of this film were probably happy to see Erin Gray and Pamela Hensley prominently featured in the film and Henry Silva is a great villain as always.  As with a lot of the sci-fi films that were released in the immediate wake of Star Wars, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century does have a definite camp appeal.  It’s bad but some people will enjoy it on a nostalgic level.” Through the Shattered Lens

Cast and characters:

Gil Gerard … Captain William ‘Buck’ Rogers
Pamela Hensley … Princess Ardala
Erin Gray … Colonel Wilma Deering
Henry Silva … Kane
Tim O’Connor … Doctor Elias Huer
Joseph Wiseman … King Draco
Duke Butler … Tigerman
H.B. Haggerty … Tigerman #1
Felix Silla … Twiki (body)
Caroline Smith … Delta Section
John Dewey Carter … Supervisor (as John Dewey-Carter)
Kevin Coates … Pilot
David Cadiente … Comtel Officer
Gil Serna … Technician
Larry Duran … Draconian Guard

Filming locations:

Westin Bonaventure Hotel & Suites – 404 S. Figueroa Street, Downtown, Los Angeles, California
Universal Studios – 100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City, California

Technical details:

89 minutes
Technicolor
Aspect ratio: 1.33: 1
Audio: Mono

Box office:

Budgeted at a reported $3.5 million, the movie took $21.7 million.

Related:

FLASH GORDON (1980) and LIFE AFTER FLASH (2017) Reviews and updated with documentary review too