Popeye, THE MOVIE!

Popeye the sailor is becoming a forgotten character. Soon he will be referred to as the “spinach guy” much like Gossamer is better know as “the big red monster”. I hope that isn’t the case, because one of the greatest, if not THE greatest cartoon-to-movies is Popeye. The film starred Robin Williams as the title character and Shelly Duvall as Olive Oyl. The cast played their characters spectacularly well. One of the best things about the film; the music. Harry Nilsson wrote much of the music. If I could purchase the soundtrack, I would.

If you haven’t seen this film, please do! Oh, and be on the look-out for many familiar faces (actors).

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Justin M. Salvato

Writer/Vlogger at Retroist
Seeker of 1980s nostalgia, rummager of vintage computers and player of retro video games.When not writing posts of The Retroist, I'm converting Retroist audio podcasts to Retroist video podcasts.My own videos can be found at www.YouTube.com/JustinSalvato.
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9 thoughts on “Popeye, THE MOVIE!

  1. I remember seeing the movie when it first came out. I liked it at the time, though I haven’t watched it again since then. The movie had a very distinct atmosphere to it, something with the sets & the way it was filmed, it had a very storybook feel. Perfectly suited to a cartoon-turned-live movie.

  2. Atari Adventure Square says:

    My respect for this movie increases every time I watch it.

    It was a big thing *before* it came out, being Williams’ debut and the prospect of live-action cartoon done in big-budget 80s style.
    It landed with a thud, but thankfully lives on.

    My cousin had bought the LP and we’d listen to it along with KISS records (yeah, it pretty much suffered in comparison) but the songs were (and still are) catchy, and today I’d just as soon listen to Nilsson’s music.

    He Needs Me, used effectively in Punch-Drunk Love, has niched itself in the recesses of my brain.

    It was weird seeing this in theaters, most folks didn’t know what to think of it.
    Popeye’s mumbled dialogue didn’t help, the cartoony characters weren’t terribly funny, just odd. The love story and thing with the piratey Pappy was kinda weird.

    I had been reading Popeye comics for years (and used to its odd stories) , but was growing into a rockin’ teen (and my comics now had super-heroes and talking ducks who dated super-models).
    So I was kinda jaded then, but truly enjoy it now.

    And I have always been deeply in love with Shelley Duvall.
    Maybe being a fan of Robert Altman movies has something to do with it.

  3. I LOVE this movie and watch it regularly. When he loses Swee’Pea in the crowd, I cry. Every time.

    The boxing scene is my favorite scene in the film. I wish Mezco could have continued their epc toyline to include a boxing Popeye, but it did include a couple nods to the film: http://toyriffic.blogspot.com/2010/01/id-glady-blog-this-tuesday-but-id.html

    Word is Genndy Tartakovsky is working on an animated (cgi – ugh) Popeye film now. It’s Tartakovsky, so I have hope.

    Also, IDW is currently publishing brand new Popeye stories in comic book format: http://toyriffic.blogspot.com/2012/06/comic-book-zen-i-yam-what-i-yam.html I’ve only read the first issue but it was a pip and any Popeye fan will love it!

    So I wouldn’t say he’s fading into obscurity just yet!

  4. I’ve basically never read any popeye comics. I did however grow up watching all the different popeye cartoons.

    I think I might have had the LP to the movie, I don’t remember for certain.
    I know I had a kiss LP, and absolutely any other LP I had sounded fantastic compared to that one. It was my first experience with kiss, and I made the mistake of getting one of the ones where they each did a solo album. Worse, I got the one by the lead singer. -_-; My god, did that album ever suck! Being my first experience with kiss, it made me steer clear of them for close to 10 years, thinking that all theiur stuff sucked as bad as that album. It wasn’t until the fuss of the makeup coming off & the “lets put the X in sex” song that I took notice of them again, and began to realize that not all their work was as crappy as paul stanley’s album.

  5. Great post, Justin! I love this movie as well, I believe I’ve mentioned before on the site that I wanted to see this film so bad as a kid that my Father actually took me to a midnight showing of it. He conked out and I was just won over by everything Robert Altman and the cast brought to this picture.

  6. I was a big fan of this movie and had a copy of it on VHS pretty early on. I even had a bunch of kids come over for my birthday party one year and we all watched it. There were definitely some puzzled looks in the room.

    I have the soundtrack on mp3 format and I still listen to it occasionally. I’m Mean, He’s Large, He Needs Me … so many classics.

    At work, on more than one occasion, I have told people they owe me an apologakasky.

  7. Although not a great movie, Popeye is an underrated one for which I have a soft spot. Robin Williams was a great fit for the title character but Shelley Duvall was born to play Olive Oyl much like Christopher Reeve was born to play Superman.

    I do agree that Popeye is fading from the limelight. Do they even sell Popeye cigarettes anymore? I always thought that was strange anyway, since Popeye smoked a pipe.

  8. Des says:

    Fair to say when my mother took me to see the film when i was 7 years old i was expecting something quite different. Raised on the cartoon in the morning daily, only had one vision fitting my age:)

    That said, watching it since i can appreciate nearly everything about it. Plays up to everything popeye was about, more so cartoons in general.

    You were ever to make a merry melody and put it to a live action, Popeye would be it.

    If i may, id suggest a podcast…. Lots of backstory on the film, a long list:)

  9. I watch Popeye about once a year, perhaps twice. A must own DVD.

    @bubba, everytime the scene comes on with Popeye writing the letter to Sweet Pea, I get up and leave the room immediately, because I bawl, BAWL! I don’t need a tissue, I need a towel. That scene gets me everytime.

    @flack, LOL, I wonder how many people get that reference. I find myself saying lines from that movie, though people look at me as if I have horns growing out of my head.

    It’s wonderful to read how much this film is liked and in some cases, loved. Thanks for the feedback folks.

    “Another thing I got is a sensk of humiligration. Now, maybe you swabs can pool your intelligensk and sees that I’m axking you for an apologeky.” – Popeye

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