Movie Review: Battle Beyond the Stars

Battle Beyond the StarsBattle Beyond the Stars, starring Richard Thomas, Robert Vaughn, John Saxon, George Peppard, and a host of others is the story of a young man who ventures out from his pacifist home planet when it comes under attack by the evil tyrant Sador. His mission is to find mercenaries who will come defend Akira and save his people. His vessel, Nell (which reminds me of a flying moose with breasts) is the last corsair in existence and comes with a sharp-tongued artificial intelligence.

Among the notables he picks up as soldiers of fortune are Gelt (Robert Vaughn) an ex-assassin who has nowhere to spend the vast wealth he has accumulated because he’s banned from every inhabited planet, Cowboy (George Peppard) an Earth man arms dealer, Saint-Examin (Sybil Danning) from a warrior race with a penchant for skimpy costumes, and Nanelia (Darlanne Fluegel) and android engineer who turns into Shad’s (R. Thomas) love interest.

Together this band of eccentric guns for hire return to Akira and prepare for Sador’s return. The battle that ensues is an epic space-opera style battle, and is fairly well done considering producer Roger Corman was on a 2 million dollar budget and half of that was spent on an abandoned lumberyard for use as a sound stage (according to the special features reel).

When it was released in 1980 Battle Beyond the Stars did well at the box offices in Germany, USA, and Sweden. Since that time this film has gone on to become a cult favorite and still enjoys brisk sales of the DVD. It is a movie ripe for rediscovery.  The characters are colorful, if somewhat stereotypical, the dialogue is good and the effects are well done given the movie’s age and the very limited budget. Since the story centers around a battle between two forces there is a fair amount of sci-fi violence, though none of it is blood-spattered or gory. There is some mild language, and Saint’s costumes to consider if you are a parent. The film is rated PG and runs 104 minutes. If you’re a fan of classic sci-fi space battles and don’t mind them being just a little on the racy side, this is a great movie for you.

This 30th Anniversary Special Edition is available from Amazon in DVD and Blu-Ray and has  added features about the making of the movie.  Here’s a trailer for you.

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