The Last Starfighter is getting a 4K release for the UK. Apparently, it’s out in the US, but this new release is better. Arrow Video said about the UK version:

“Now newly restored from a 4K scan of the original negative and featuring a 4.1 mix originally created for the film’s 70mm release – never included on previous home video formats – The Last Starfighter arrives loaded with brand new and archival bonus features. Strap yourself in: the Blu-ray adventure of a lifetime is about to begin!”

This new release also includes:

  • Two commentaries
  • An in-depth look at the score, the special effects, the screenplay, and the namesake game
  • A collectible booklet
  • A limited-edition slipcover

This pleases me. The Last Starfighter was part of my childhood and is still a great movie. The story is simple:

High schooler Alex Rogan conquers the Starfighter video game, only to find out it was just a test, and is transported to another planet. He has been recruited to join a team of the best starfighters to defend their world from the attack.

The Last Starfighter stars Lance Guest, Robert Preston, Kay E. Kuter, Dan Manson, Dan O’Herlihy, Barbara Bosson, Norman Snow, Chris Herber and the lovley Catherine Mary Stewart. Nick Castle directed and Jonathan R. Betuel wrote it. Who can forget:

A Sci-Fi Classic

The Last Starfighter is a classic movie from the 80s, which was originally based on Excalibur. Writer, Betuel, was watching a kid playing a video game for hours on end in an arcade. At the time, he was reading a book about King Arthur, called The Once Future King. He wondered what if a video game was a metaphorical “sword in the stone”.

What if a video game was there to rack up an incredible score, could it have a ripple across the universe? In the movie, Centauri gets into trouble using the game to recruit, but he refers to it as The Excalibur Test.


This then leads Alex off on an adventure across the galaxy. You know the rest of the story and if you haven’t seen this movie, get off your ass and watch it now.


It was one of the first movies to ever have spaceships created by computers. The Cray X-MP computer created over 27 minutes in 300 shots. I couldn’t find out how long the rendering took, but I imagine it was longer than the 38-day live-action production.

The rest of the effects are mostly practical, with huge sets, a DeLorean-type car, with gull-wing doors, and even the small circuit board from a digital watch as Alex’s universal translator.

Ron Cobb, one of the creative directors of the movie, had previously worked on movies like Star Wars, Alien, and Raiders of the Lost Ark. The second Zando-Zan assassin’s ship was a rejected design from Alien.

The effects don’t look all that great today, they are far too clean, but it takes nothing away from the movie.

The Cast

Castle, the director, noticed Lance Guest while Halloween II was in post-production. He asked John Carpenter who Guest was and then considered him for the main role of Alex in The Last Starfighter. Castle was looking for an actor with “everyday man qualities” in the role and compared Guest to actors like James Stewart, Henry Fonda, and Gary Cooper.

The Last Starfighter was Robert Preston’s last movie on the big screen, appearing in a couple of TV movies, before his death in March 1987, due to lung cancer. Everyone on the set loved Preston and all said what a nice guy he was and what a great experience it was working with him.

Dan O’Herlihy played Grig, Alex’s alien co-pilot and friend. His makeup was excellent and still looks great now. When O’Herlihy met Preston for the first time, it was in full makeup and Preston joked he knew it was him, as he had “one of those faces”.

I was 9 years old when I saw the Last Starfighter and I was just starting to notice girls. I fell in love with, and still am in love with, Maggie, played by Catherine Mary Stewart. She was Alex’s girlfriend who didn’t notice he was away in space, as Alex was replaced with a Beta Unit, an android replacement.

Maggie was the perfect “girl next door”, there was nothing fancy about her, but that smile could melt a Beta Unit’s heart.

Still A Classic

The Last Starfighter defined a generation of kids like me. It wasn’t Star Wars, but it was right up there in the entertainment value. You had a great cast, the down-to-earth Alex, his beautiful girlfriend, a cocky space recruiter, and Grig, Alex’s co-pilot that helps him win the day.

It’s one of those movies that will always hold a special place in my heart and takes me back to being 9 years old again and watching a great sci-fi adventure.

I will definitely be getting my hands on the 4k re-release when it comes out in June.

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