January 11, 2013
Henry Thomas and Dabney Coleman
Cloak and Dagger is my favorite type of movie to put
list. It is one of those movies that anyone who was a kid in
80's will read the title and immediately think, "Oh wow, Cloak and
Dagger. Henry Thomas. I haven't seen that in
And anyone who wasn't a kid in the 80's will read the title
simply think, "What the f is Cloak and Dagger?" It is one of
ultimate litmus tests to identify if you are a true child of the 80's
Before I get into the plot of the movie, I have to give you a little
backstory first. Because I have always had a very personal
connection to Cloak and Dagger. You will see why when you
In 1985, on the last day of school (I was in fifth
grade), the principal at my elementary school made a promise to all of
the kids. He said that since we had had such a good school
on the last day of the school he would open up the
room in the afternoon and we could all watch a movie. And,
if you have even been a student at an elementary school, you will know
that this was a very big deal. Watch a movie instead of being
class? And we could watch any movie we wanted to?
we sign up for that?
Remember, this was the year 1985. Not everybody owned a VCR.
The concept of watching your favorite movie at home any time
wanted to was still an insanely big deal. Especially if you
11 years old like I was.
Well the student body got to vote on what movie we wanted to watch, and
in the end it came down to two very close choices. It came
to either The Karate Kid or Cloak and Dagger. In June of
those were deemed the two most popular movies in America by the kids of
Yeah I know. This will surprise anyone who didn't grow up in
the 80's and has never heard of Cloak and Dagger before.
Well anyone who knows me in real life will be able to tell you that my
favorite movie of all time is The Karate Kid. This really
even up for debate. Anyone who knows me can tell you off the
of their head that "Mario Lanza" = "Loves the Karate Kid."
if there is any movie in the 80's that I loved more is like asking if
Bill S. Preston, esq., and Ted "Theodore" Logan were interested in
putting together some sort of a rock band.
So anyway, it is June of 1985, and the students of Bennett
Elementary were presented with a choice. Which movie do you
to watch on the last day of school? You can go to the music
and watch Cloak and Dagger. Or you can go to the multipurpose
room and watch The Karate Kid. This was the mid 80's
equivalent of Sophie's Choice. In which
direction do your loyalties lie?
Well of course you
know which movie I chose. The Karate Kid is my favorite movie
all time. There will never be a movie from the 80's that I
love more than The Karate Kid.
However, whenever I was ten years old, that was simply not the case at
In June of 1985 I went to the music room and I chose Cloak and Dagger.
Cloak and Dagger is the story of a kid named Davey Osborne.
Who, well let's face it, was a lot like me at that age.
loves video games. He loves roleplaying games. He
particularly loves playing a roleplaying game called "Cloak and
Dagger." He also doesn't do well in school.
because he spends every waking hour of his day thinking about playing
roleplaying games. Oh yeah, and also his father doesn't get
His father (Dabney Coleman) doesn't understand what
games or videogames are, and he thinks that his son has emotional
Well Davey is just going about his business one day, which involves
going around to different computer game companies and trying
get a copy of their latest games, when he accidentally witnesses a
murder. He sees a man being shot by two assassins.
before the murder victim dies, he hands Davey a copy of a video game
and tells him not to let the assassins gets their hands on it.
And from this point on, the rest of the movie is can Davey outsmart the
assassins and escape being murdered by them?
Oh yeah, and since his dad already thinks that Davey is nuts, no one
believes him when he says that people are trying to kill him.
Pretty dark for a kids movie, isn't it? Three men try to
Davey and Davey must try to escape them. That is basically
plot of the movie. In fact when I went back to watch Cloak
Dagger recently I was amazed and how grown up and dark it was.
Because remember, this is a movie that was marketed as a
movie! There is one scene in Cloak and Dagger where one of
assassins tells Davey in graphic detail how is going to use a
to blow Davey's kneecaps off. Not because he wants Davey to
of course, but because Davey "has been a real pain in the butt" and
because he wants him to suffer. I watched that scene recently
I was like woah. No WAY would that scene ever make it into a
family movie nowadays.
The head assassin (Michael Murphy) threatening to shred Davey's kneecaps
Cloak and Dagger is Exhibit A in the case of how kids
movies have changed over the past thirty years. Because like
I said before,
this movie was a huge hit in 1984. Every little kid loved it.
And we saw nothing dark or scary or offensive about it, this
just what PG movies were like back then. PG movies were
movies that weren't baby enough to be rated G, and weren't adult enough
to be rated R. Everything else was in the middle and was PG.
And you would happily watch any PG movie with your parents
because they were basically all "family movies." Which I know
nowadays sounds ridiculous because everyone thinks that kids are babies
and that they need to be shielded from this stuff. But in
Our principal happily showed us Cloak and Dagger in school
there was nothing wrong with it. It was simply a badass
PG movie for 10 year olds.
Cloak and Dagger was a huge movie for its time. And it
one of the best child actors of the time (Henry Thomas from
It also starred one of the most underrated actors of his era,
Dabney Coleman. In fact I could write an entire essay about
Dabney Coleman was the most underrated actor of the 80's, people forget
that he owned just about every movie he was ever in between 1980-1985.
And then in Cloak and Dagger he actually got to play a double
role. He played Davey's father, and he also played Davey's
imaginary playmate Jack Flack. And in both roles he is
Cloak and Dagger also has one of the more distinct
locations of any movie from the 80's. It was set in San
Texas, and the whole movie is just one famous San Antonio location
after another. Davey goes to the Riverwalk. Davey
the Alamo. Davey goes to the Japanese Gardens. In
I was a kid, this movie alone made me want to visit San Antonio one
day. I wish more movies were set in random cities that don't
used a lot in movies like Cloak and Dagger was.
Davey causing trouble at the Alamo
summary, Cloak and Dagger was an exceptional kids movie for its time,
and it was also an exceptional family movie. Okay sure, it
family movie that involved assassins, murder, abductions, and kids
having their kneecaps blown off, but still, it was an 80's family movie
nonetheless. I loved it as a kid-- when I was ten years old I
thought it was totally badass-- and even though it has been largely
forgotten by time I still love it even today. I showed it to
own kids a couple of months ago and they enjoyed it too. Even
though my daughter said to me, "Wow, little kids could just get on a
bus and ride around a city all on their own back in the 80's?"
Why yes, my little child of the 2010's. Yes they could.
They also made PG movies that were actually pretty awesome back then.
Davey and Kim just riding around on a city bus all day with their bus
favorite IMDB user reviews about Cloak and Dagger
Jack Flack always
escapes! - 30 September 2002
movies like this one that are the reason I love movies. One of the
greatest forgotten gems of the 80s, "Cloak & Dagger" is the
exciting tale of deadly spies, imaginary superheroes, and ATARI. Henry
Thomas ("E.T.") plays Davey Osborne, a lonely boy who has escaped into
the fantasy world of his favorite video game hero - Jack Flack. Dabney
Coleman gives the greatest performance of his career in the dual roles
of Jack Flack and Davey's father. Sporting the coolest-looking leather
bomber jacket and beret ever seen, Flack guides young Davey through the
treacherous world of real spies, real secrets, and real bullets. Davey
must keep an ATARI game cartridge containing plans for an invisible
bomber plane encoded inside of it out of traitorous spies' hands, but
no adult believes him, and he gets little help from the only person who
does - his even younger friend Kim. A young William Forsythe co-stars
as the gaming genius who unlocks the code within the cartridge. And
Louie Anderson also has a short cameo towards the end.
& Dagger" is an excellent movie about a boy who must face the
dangers of the world all by himself following the death of his mother
and his father's preoccupation with work. Dabney Coleman's character of
Jack Flack is the best imaginary mentor ever featured in a film,
preceding the likes of Tyler Durden and Frank the Bunny by over 15
years. The ending is truly touching and inspiring. This movie also has
a heartwarming message to it - that at some point, you must learn to
handle life's challenges all by yourself. And also that the greatest
heroes exist in real life, not in fantasy. "Cloak & Dagger" is
film suitable for the whole family whose time has finally come to get
the recognition it deserves. 10/10
How kids movies
have changed.. - 9 March 2008
fondly remember this movie and watch it to this day. Its amazing how,
as kids, we saw this movie in the 80s where a child is being chased,
shot at, almost stabbed, threaten to have his knee caps blown off and
shot in the gut, kill 3 guys (2 not by him but caused by him) and be
held hostage...and it was a family film rated PG! Still this movie
didn't dumb down the dangers of real violence, international terrorism,
espionage, and dangerous people. A movie made like this today would
make the kid a genius and the bad guys clumsy and stupid. I do miss
serious films like this for kids. They never dumbed it down and took
the audience seriously. Movies like Poltergeist, Raiders of the Lost
Ark, Dark Crystal (Which scared me to death), The Neverending Story,
and more always played to the intelligence of the audience. Now all we
have is fart jokes and one-note slapstick. When my kids get old enough
I do want them to watch these 80s film and learned to appreciate good
film-making, something lacking in the 21st century, and by box-office
results, the audience notices it too.
A Little Seen Gem - 21
& DAGGER is a wonderful film from the '80s, a touching story
a boy who has an overdeveloped imagination, largely due to his mother
being dead and his father being a career military man who often seems
too busy for his son. The boy, Davey, has an imaginary friend by the
name of Jack Flack who looks just like his dad. His imaginary spy games
and tall tales tend to get on his father's nerves, and there is talk of
sending him to a psychiatrist. When Davey actually does witness a
horrible murder and is given a video game cartridge with top secret
plans encoded inside, he tells his father about it and of course he
doesn't believe him. He thinks it's just another one of his son's tall
tales. Davey soon realizes that it's up to him and Jack Flack to get
out of this alive, and a deadly game of cat and mouse ensues with the
spies who are after the game cartridge. This film is great in large
part due to the gifts of Dabney Coleman. In a duel performance here,
he's equally perfect as both Col. Osborne, buttoned up military guy,
and as Jack Flack, the idealized, slicker version of the same man. It's
really a great father-son movie, with plenty of action to entertain
even the dimmest of children. Obviously inspired by the Bobby Driscoll
classic THE WINDOW, CLOAK & DAGGER is a timeless classic for
whole family to enjoy.
Dabney Coleman's five
years of dominance - 5 July 2005
and Dagger was one of my favorite films as a child and continues to
hold up well as time passes by. A reminder, in many ways, how much
Dabney Coleman's performances marked the years 1980-1985. Henry Thomas
remains in many ways one of a scant few child actors to make their mark
in multiple films (something Disney has struggled with in recent years,
even with the attempts to market mediocre talents like Hilary Duff and
Lindsey Lohan). And in an era where role playing games of any nature
were looked down on, this portrayed them in a heroic light-"Jack Flack
There are a number of skilled character actors
who make up the supporting cast for this film, and the script continues
to hold up to today's standards. In many ways, this film should act as
a template for movie studios looking to craft a story for young
audiences, as opposed to "Shark Boy and Lava Girl".
Come in Lady Ace...
- 5 April 2004
first saw Cloak and Dagger when a substitute teacher showed it to our
6th grade class. It was the coolest movie I'd ever seen because it was
an action movie about kids who solve a mystery and save the day.
Thomas is Davey Osbourne. His entire life is an imaginary world of
secret spies. And to aid in his games of eluding spies and dodging
secret plans of assasination, Davey defers to his wartime hero, Jack
Flack, an action hero that he has turned into an imaginary playmate as
well as a father figure guidance to make up for an absentee father.
Davey soon finds himself in trouble as the imaginary world becomes a
reality when he witnesses a shooting in a stairwell. But, before the
victim draws his last breath, he hands Davey a Cloak & Dagger
cartridge that contains top secret plans. And, while the adults think
he is just playing another game, Davey and his sassy friend Kim and
Jack Flack all try to solve the crime.
It is a great movie in
part because you get a peak at the imagination of a twelve-year-old-boy
and, once again, because a few clever kids get to save the day. It
definitely looked like a fun movie to make.
A film that will
be fondly remembered... - 31 July 2000
lot of people love E.T., my self included. I cannot recall whether I
saw it in the theaters, but Henry Thomas became a household name after
that movie came out. The truth is when I think of Henry Thomas, I don't
immediately think of E.T., but of CLOAK & DAGGER, which was one
my favorite films as a kid and will forever be one of my favorites. And
yet there is something truly bizarre that always comes to me while
watching it. I've never been a fan of video games. In fact, I think
most of them are stupid, a waste of time and money. CLOAK &
was a video game I believe (well, it is in the movie). Henry Thomas
stars as Davy Osbourne, an imaginitive 11-year-old who loves his
favorite superhero Jack Flack, who he likes to view as his make-believe
hero. Set in San Antonio during the summer, the film has Thomas going
to run an errand for a friend, and owner of a computer store, and gets
involved in something he never dreamed of: a real-life game involving
spies and a video game. No one will believe him after he reports of a
man being shot and murdered in front of his own eyes, including his own
father an Air Force sergeant, played just wonderfully by Dabney
Coleman, who I've enjoyed in everything from 9 to 5 to Tootsie. The
movie soon becomes a roller coaster ride as Thomas is attempting to get
away from the spies before they kill him. The plot is riveting and
believable, which is the real reason why this pulled me in at such a
young age. I can't imagine an actor better than Thomas in this lead
role. Coleman is equally memorable as his father, who also plays Jack
Flack. Michael Murphy, a great character actor, is chilling as the head
spy. I recommend this film for anyone and everyone.
favorite trivia about Cloak and Dagger
This isn't really trivia about the movie, just more about the first
time I saw it. The first time I saw Cloak and Dagger was at a
drive in theater in 1984. My mom drove my brother and me
part of a double feature. It was Cloak and Dagger followed by
Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan. Well, my mom was always late
time she went anywhere, and when we saw Cloak and Dagger it was
certainly no exception. We arrived at the theater nearly an
late. We got to the movie right when Davey was being attacked
a boat at the Riverwalk. It wasn't until the second time I
the movie that I actually got to see the first forty five minutes.
favorite scene in Cloak and Dagger:
It is tough to pick out a favorite scene, so I will just say I like
the last half hour of the movie. The minute Jack Flack tells
Davey that he isn't playing the game right, and Davey goes to Riverwalk
to have the showdown with Rice, it is just one big suspense scene after
another until the end. The ending is pretty good too.
the way, remind me again why this movie was forgotten after the 80's?
at the IMDB
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