Friday, May 6, 2011

News: BATTLE BEYOND THE STARS (1980) Blu-ray & DVD Details

After months of rumors and speculation, Shout! Factory has finally issued an official press release regarding the forthcoming DVD and Blu-ray editions of Roger Corman's 1980 space opera, Battle Beyond The Stars, which will be on sale on July 12, (just a few days after my birthday!). Here are the details:
A Battle Beyond Time … Beyond Space

A long time ago, in a studio far far away (actually 1980 in Venice, Calif.), Roger Corman gathered together a fledgling team of filmmakers to make one of the best low-budget science fiction films of all time, Battle Beyond the Stars, a space opera that managed to playfully borrow from Star Wars and The Magnificent Seven, to come up with an enduring cult classic. Long out of print, Battle Beyond the Stars has been meticulously restored with a new anamorphic widescreen transfer (1.85:1) from the internegative, boasting a new 5.1 DTS Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray, and featuring a galaxy of extras, including commentary by writer John Sayles and Roger Corman; a new interview with actor Richard Thomas; a behind-the-scenes technical featurette and much more. Roger Corman’s Cult Classics: Battle Beyond the Stars 30th Anniversary Special Edition is a must-have for fans of Roger Corman, science fiction enthusiasts and collectors — available July 12, 2011 on Blu-ray ($26.97) and DVD ($19.93) from Shout! Factory, in association with New Horizons Picture Corporation. Pre-order now on and major retailers.

Special Note: Fans who pre-order Roger Corman’s Cult Classics: Battle Beyond the Stars 30th Anniversary Special Edition from will receive an iron-on of the original Battle Beyond the Stars theatrical key art as a gift-with-purchase.

“This was the most expensive production I had financed. I always liked science fiction, and my idea was to do something of the feeling of Star Wars. What I came up with was The Seven Samurai in Outer Space.” — Roger Corman

Corman brought together some extremely talented people — who went on to bigger and better things — to make Battle Beyond the Stars. John Sayles (Eight Men Out, Lone Star) wrote the script, his third for Corman after Piranha and The Lady in Red; James Cameron, who went on, of course, to be king of the world with Titanic and then king of the universe with Avatar, handled the art direction and special effects; Academy Award®–winning composer James Horner (Titanic, Avatar) wrote the score, which he recycled two years later for Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Also on hand as production manager was Gale Anne Hurd, who went on to produce The Terminator with Cameron as well as The Incredible Hulk and AMC’s The Walking Dead.

What’s a small, peace loving planet to do when they’re threatened with destruction by a group of malevolent mutants headed up by the most despicable villain? Why they enlist a sweet young boy to travel the galaxy in search of mercenaries to fend off the tyrant.

When the evil Sador the Conqueror (John Saxon) and his hideous Malmori army threaten the peaceful planet of Akir, the inhabitants, known as the Akira (in reference to Seven Samurai director Akira Kurosawa) sends young Shad (Richard Thomas of The Waltons) on an intergalactic journey to hire mercenaries to defend the planet. Piloting a sarcastic pre-LEXX talking female spaceship (with breasts!), Shad assembles a fleet of seven spaceships to fend off the bad guys.

There’s love interest Nanelia (Darlanne Fluegel), whose spaceship houses a sophisticated computer to help the cause; a scotch-drinking space cowboy from Earth (George Peppard of The A-Team); Gelt, an outlaw with a bounty on his head, played by Robert Vaughn in a role similar to the character Lee he played in The Magnificent Seven; the reptilian Cayman (Morgan Woodward), who has his own score to settle with Sador; Saint-Exmin of the Valkyrie (the voluptuous Sybil Danning), whose motto, “Live fast, fight well and have a beautiful ending” carries her into action; five clones with a collective consciousness known as the Nestor; and a pair of aliens who communicate by emanating heat from their bodies. The “magnificent seven” mercenary ships — headed up by Shad and Nell — travel back to Akir for the final conflict.

The cast of Battle Beyond the Stars also included Marta Kristen (Judy Robinson of TV’s Lost in Space), Jeff Corey as the wise old Zed the Corsair, Sam Jaffe as Nanelia’s father, and a very young Julia Duffy (Newhart and Designing Women).

Made on a reported budget of $2 million, the film opened in late 1980 and quickly made back its investment. The film grossed $1.7 million on opening weekend alone. And the spectacular space battles and explosions were used over and over again in future Corman productions.

Roger Corman’s Cult Classics: Battle Beyond the Stars 30th Anniversary Special Edition Special Features:

New anamorphic widescreen transfer (1.85:1) from the internegative

New 5.1 DTS Master Audio (Blu-ray)

Dolby Digital 5.1 (DVD)

Commentary by writer John Sayles and Roger Corman

Commentary by production manager Gale Anne Hurd

The Man Who Would Be Shad – New interview with actor Richard Thomas

Space Opera on a Shoestring – A comprehensive look at the technical challenges and postproduction of the film with Aaron Lipstadt, Alec Gillis, Alex Hajdu, Allan Holzman, R.J. Kizer, Robert & Dennis Skotak, Thom Shouse and Tony Randel

Trailer, TV and radio spots
You can pre-order the discs from Amazon through these links:

   Battle Beyond the Stars [Roger Corman's Cult Classics] [Blu-ray]

Battle Beyond The Stars [Roger Corman's Cult Classics]


  1. Finally! Now if they'd only put Message From Space out on Blu-Ray!

  2. I wouldn't hold my breath for Message, but I'm still hopeful that Disney might clean up and re-master The Black Hole one day....

  3. Gads that is one hot space babe!

  4. I'm glad the Sayles / Corman commentary from the first release is coming back -- I always considered it one of the best commentary tracks ever. For those who haven't heard it, it starts out talking about BBTS, but quickly turns into a nostalgic discussion of low-budget filmmaking, including a hilarious story about a young Robert DeNiro. Priceless!

    Hey, I wonder if they asked James Cameron to participate in the making-of documentary?

  5. I can see two great reasons to buy this already !! :)

  6. This will make quite a nice addition to my piranha and galaxy of terror Shout Factory Blurays......... the extra material those guys include is fantastic!

    Dude...that Sybil Danning shot is UNREAL!

  7. Unfortunately, I didn't yet have that Sybil Danning shot when she was March's "Space Babe." I've been waiting for an opportunity to post it... ;)

  8. I remember reading that when NBC showed BBTS on network TV (just one time, unfortunately), they had to recut a lot of scenes and introduce some strategic blurring because of Sybil Danning's costumes.

    And that, my friends, is why censorship is a crime against arts and humanity.

  9. I watched Battle on NBC (the first time I saw the film, actually - it didn't play at any local theaters, as I recall) and they definitely blurred out Sybil's cleavage. It was very noticeable.

  10. Key moment for an 11 year old lad, Sybil Danning in BBTS. Vividly remember a full page colour pic of her in full busty St Exmin gear in the British movie mag 'Starburst', which I sadly, no longer own.
    No UK release planned for BBTS anyway, which is very disappointing if you don't have a multi-region player

  11. I have that edition of Starburst, I don't have a working scanner at the moment so here's a digital photo of the back cover photo !! Sybil Danning

  12. Hey, cheers for that. She wasn't shy was she? I'd forgotten the picture was taken in a bad Travelodge though

  13. Bad Travelodge, that's the command room of a class 3 starship I hope you know ! :)