Taglines: Tonight is what it means to be young.
In an unnamed city in a time period that resembles the 1950s (referred to within the film as ‘another time, another place’), Ellen Aim (Diane Lane), lead singer of Ellen Aim and The Attackers, has returned home to give a concert. The Bombers, a biker gang, led by Raven Shaddock (Willem Dafoe), kidnap Ellen.
Witnessing this is Reva Cody (Deborah Van Valkenburgh), who hires her brother Tom (Michael Paré), an ex-soldier and Ellen’s ex-boyfriend, to rescue her. Tom returns and checks out the local tavern, the Blackhawk. He is annoyed by a tomboyish ex-soldier named McCoy (Amy Madigan), a mechanic who “could drive anything” and who is good with her fists. They leave the bar and later Tom hires McCoy to be his driver. That night, Tom and Reva plan to rescue Ellen; Reva contacts Billy Fish (Rick Moranis), Ellen’s manager and current boyfriend.
While Reva and McCoy go to a diner to wait for Billy, Tom acquires a cache of weapons, including a pump action shotgun, a revolver, and a lever action rifle. Tom and Billy meet at the diner and Tom agrees to the rescue for $10,000, and that Billy goes with Tom back into “the Battery” to get Ellen.
In the Battery, they visit Torchie’s, where Billy used to book bands. They wait until nightfall under an overpass, watching bikers come and go. Raven has Ellen tied up in an upstairs bedroom. As Tom, Billy, and McCoy approach, Tom directs Billy to get the car and be out front in fifteen minutes.
McCoy enters and is stopped by one of the “Bombers”. McCoy, pretending to like him, follows him to his special “party room,” close to where Raven is playing poker. McCoy knocks him out. Tom finds a window and, as a distraction, starts shooting the gas tanks on the gang’s motorcycles; he then reaches Ellen’s room, cuts her free and, with McCoy’s help, escapes just as Billy arrives at the front door.
Riding in the convertible, Tom sends his crew off to meet at the Grant Street Overpass,and leaves to blow up the gas pumps outside a bar. Raven appears out of the flames and chaos to confront Tom. After learning who he is, Raven warns he will be back for Ellen and for him, too. Tom escapes on the one intact motorcycle. Billy is persuading Ellen the only reason her ex-boyfriend rescued her was for money. Tom returns as McCoy explains to Billy that Tom used to be Ellen’s boyfriend.
Streets of Fire is a 1984 film directed by Walter Hill and co-written by Hill and Larry Gross. It is described in its opening credits and posters as “A Rock & Roll Fable”. The film is a mix of musical, action, neo-noir, drama, and comedy, with elements of retro-1950s and 1980s. It stars Michael Paré as a soldier of fortune who returns home to rescue his ex-girlfriend (Diane Lane) who has been kidnapped by the leader of a biker gang (Willem Dafoe).
Some of the film was shot on the backlot of Universal Studios in California, on two large sets covered in a tarp 1,240 feet long by 220 feet wide, so that night scenes could be filmed during the day. The film grossed US$8 million in North America, against a production budget of $14.5 million.
Streets of Fire (1984)
Directed by: Walter Hill
Starring: Michael Paré, Diane Lane, Rick Moranis, Amy Madigan, Willem Dafoe, Deborah Van Valkenburgh, Richard Lawson, Elizabeth Daily
Screenplay by: Walter Hill, Larry Gross
Production Design by: John Vallone
Cinematography by: Andrew Laszlo
Film Editing by: James Coblentz, Freeman A. Davies, Michael Ripps
Costume Design by: Marilyn Vance
Set Decoration by: Richard C. Goddard
Art Direction by: James Allen
Music by: Ry Cooder
Distributed by: Universal Pictures
Release Date: June 1, 1984