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Orion Pictures

Rejoice, we've got a special spotlight section!

I have been a little obsessed with Orion Pictures lately and, since Scarecrow is putting up a staff curated “Best of the ‘80s” section, I thought it would be a good time to put together a special companion piece containing the many films distributed by the independent American movie company.


Even though Orion was in business from 1978-1998 their most notable works came out in the 80s and it seemed like every other “good” movie I saw in during that decade had something to do with Orion. Founded by three former United Artists executives the company developed crucial relationships with some of the best directors of the era (Woody Allen, Milos Forman and Jonathan Demme to name a few) and had a reputation for high quality output.


When looking at their filmography as an entirety it is a confounding mix of Oscar winners (Silence of the Lambs and Dances with Wolves are two of their biggies), oddball comedies (UHF and Yellowbeard), prestigious failures (Cotton Club and Valmont), and guilty pleasures (Amityville 2 and Code of Silence). Orion distributed a staggering amount of beloved films of the era (Everything from Caddyshack to RoboCop to Scarecrow favorites like Miami Blues and Time After Time).


Orion also had a specialty arthouse division called Orion Classics that handled a splendid assortment of foreign, indie and art films that wouldn’t fit into the limited space in the store but, perhaps, we will do a special Orion Classics spotlight section in the future.


Unfortunately Orion seemed to always have money troubles and by the time they started raking in Academy Awards the company was already stuck in a downward spiral that, eventually, lead to their demise. There are few film companies with such a consistently cool library and if you don’t believe me come into Scarecrow Video and check out the rental section that I put together with the hard work of Joel Fisher.—Spenser Hoyt

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