You Probably Missed This One Major Movie Reference In 'Stranger Things'
Fans of Netflix's new '80s supernatural cinema-homage series “Stranger Things” have spent the past two weeks seeking connections between the show and their favorite films.
Plenty of videos, blogs and memes have been created to document these connections.
During an interview with Esquire, the series' creators, Matt and Ross Duffer, admitted they've actually seen tons of these fan creations.
Matt told the site,
The internet's fucking amazing. I mean, they find anything. Even when we're referencing an obscure -- or I guess I thought it was kinda more obscure -- anime.
One reference no one seems to have found until now, though, is the connection in the second episode of "ST" to the 1985 Harrison Ford film “Witness.”
In the source scene, Samuel, a young Amish boy, walks through a police station where Harrison Ford's character, John Book, works as an officer. Samuel comes across a proudly displayed newspaper clipping of a lieutenant he identifies with his tiny baby finger as the perp in a murder investigation.
There's also a whole weird romance situation between Harrison Ford's character and Samuel's mom, but that's not super related to this post in any way. I just felt the need to prep you for that, in the event the clip above moves you to plan a movie night.
In “Stranger Things,” Eleven walks through Mike's bedroom where she comes across a photo of him and his friends. When she spots Will, the boy who goes missing in episode one, she identifies him just as Samuel identified the crooked cop.
Matt told Esquire,
We shot that and scored that pretty much to match identically the scene in that Harrison Ford/Peter Weir movie. I don't think anyone picked up on that because I don't know why anyone would think that we were referencing this drama. But Peter Weir is one of our favorite filmmakers; even though he doesn't work in the genre, he's a big inspiration to us.
Subtle tributes like this are what make “Stranger Things” an example of nostalgia at its best. Rather than follow the reboot/reunion/remake trend, the Duffer Brothers drew inspiration from directors like Weir and Steven Spielberg to create something both thrillingly new and comfortingly familiar.
There was some of it that was like intentionally not trying to match with the format. You know, I think it's so funny with TV, I think we've seen so many fucking movies and so they start becoming very predictable. One reason I started to fall in love with TV was it starts to break narrative rules… It feels like anything can happen… that kinda stuff was really inspiring to us.
Based on the amount of amazing fan-generated "Stranger Things" content, the chain of inspiration continues.