Lucas (1986): A Forgotten Gem of a Movie

Lucas (1986): A Forgotten Gem of a Movie
Lucas (1986): Film Review

Directed by David Seltzer and starring Corey Haim, Kerri Green, Charlie Sheen, and Winona Ryder, the 1986 coming-of-age film "Lucas" is an often overlooked gem that deserves a fresh look. With its honest portrayal of adolescence and genuine characters, this movie stands out as a heartwarming and relatable tale that still resonates with audiences today.

Lucas (1986) Trailer

Key Details

  • Year: 1986
  • Main Cast:
    • Corey Haim as Lucas Bly
    • Kerri Green as Maggie
    • Charlie Sheen as Cappie
    • Winona Ryder as Rina
  • Genre: Coming-of-age, teen drama
It's worth mentioning that many viewers claimed to develop huge crushes on both Green and Ryder after the film!

Haim's Standout Performance

In one of his earliest major roles, Corey Haim brings a charm and authenticity to Lucas that carry the film. He convincingly portrays an insecure boy with a good heart trying to find confidence and identity.

There are amusing montages of Lucas' clumsy attempts at various sports to impress Maggie and heartbreaking scenes where he faces harsh bullying. However, the most touching moments are Lucas simply spending time with Maggie, where Haim expresses so much with just shy glances. In our opinion, this is Haim's best work!

In the home stretch when events crescendo, Lucas experiences a surreal daydream where we glimpse his inner psyche through the imaginative metaphor of an insect breaking out of its cocoon. It’s an unforgettable moment highlighting Haim’s ability to wordlessly convey Lucas’ transformation.

Themes and Storyline

At its core, "Lucas" explores the universal themes of friendship, love, and self-acceptance. The film follows the titular character as he navigates the treacherous waters of the high school social hierarchy, facing bullying and ridicule from his peers. However, Lucas's unwavering determination and genuine nature ultimately win over the hearts of Maggie and Cappie, leading to a poignant story of unlikely bonds and personal growth.

Feature Film Debuts for: Winona Ryder, Courtney Thorne-Smith and Jeremy Piven

Critical Reception

Upon its release, "Lucas" received positive reviews from various sources, with critics praising its authentic and heartfelt storytelling. The New York Times described it as "a small, unassuming film that has a surprising amount of charm and humour," while Henry's Movie Guide called it "a warm and engaging coming-of-age story."

Roger Ebert Review

Box Office

The film "Lucas" (1986) did not achieve significant success at the box office, earning approximately $8 million. Despite its modest financial performance, the movie has garnered a dedicated following over the years for its authentic portrayal of adolescence and heartfelt storytelling. "Lucas" stands out as a hidden gem in the realm of 80s cinema, appreciated for its genuine depiction of teenage life and its ability to resonate with audiences on a deeper level beyond commercial success.

Lucas Box Office and Comparison Table / Courtesy: The Numbers

Comparison with Other 80s Teen Movies

While contemporaries like "Pretty in Pink," "The Breakfast Club," and "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" explored similar themes of teenage angst and social dynamics, "Lucas" stood out for its understated and grounded approach. Unlike its counterparts, which often leaned towards exaggerated stereotypes and melodrama, "Lucas" offered a more nuanced and realistic portrayal of adolescent experiences.

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Realistic Depiction of Teenage Life

Director David Seltzer aimed to break away from traditional teenage movie tropes by focusing on authentic experiences without the common elements of drugs, sex, or rock-and-roll. "Lucas" portrayed the everyday struggles and triumphs of high school life with refreshing honesty, making it a relatable and timeless tale for audiences of all ages.

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Yes, there were allegations of a sex scandal on the set of the film, involving Charlie Sheen and Corey Haim. According to reports, Sheen was accused of sexually assaulting 13-year-old Corey Haim on the set when Sheen was 19 years old. These allegations resurfaced in a documentary titled "My Truth: The Rape of Two Coreys," where Corey Feldman claimed that Sheen raped Haim during the filming of the movie. However, Judy Haim, Corey Haim's mother, addressed these allegations and named Dominick Brascia as the alleged abuser instead of Sheen. Charlie Sheen has consistently denied these accusations, stating that they are false and urging people to consider other sources of information. While the details surrounding these allegations remain disputed, the controversy has cast a shadow over the film's legacy and may contribute to the hesitancy of boutique labels to re-release it on Blu-ray. Please do your own research and draw your own conclusions.

Lucas DVD

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Unique Ending

One of the most memorable aspects of "Lucas" is its underrated ending, which features a slow-clap scene that has become iconic in cinematic history. As Lucas stands up to his tormentors, the entire school gradually joins in a silent, respectful applause, acknowledging his courage and individuality. This powerful moment, rarely seen in films of that era, added depth and emotional resonance to the film's conclusion.

The final scene was re-shot with an alternate ending six months after filming had wrapped. After the test screening, the original ending had mixed reactions from the audience.

Legacy and Impact

While not a box office smash, "Lucas" has endured as a beloved cult classic, with its impact extending far beyond its initial release. The film's themes of self-acceptance, friendship, and the power of kindness have resonated with generations of viewers, cementing its status as a heartwarming and inspiring coming-of-age story. "Lucas" serves as a reminder that sometimes the most impactful stories are found in the smallest and most unexpected places.

We highly recommend you give this gem a watch!