Synopsis of Movie

With the phenomenal success of Steven Spielberg’s E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, a whole crop of directors got a chance to put to film the outer space daydreams of their youth. Among these directors was Joe Dante, whose Gremlins Spielberg himself had produced. Dante’s next film, Explorers, was an homage to the sci-fi matinee classics of his youth, which were referenced throughout the film.

The film opens with the dream of young Ben Crandall, a vision that computer geek buddy Wolfgang Müller interprets as alien communication. The two youths team up with social misfit Darren Woods and start construction on a spacecraft, based on a design from Ben’s dream.

The kids' interstellar project doesn't keep them from having to wade through the normal junior high challenges of school, love and bullies, but through it all, the boys pursue their goal with plucky determination. Amazingly enough, the design actually works, and after blasting off to the stars, Ben, Wolfgang and Darren make contact with a race of tentacled little green men who have a peculiar take on earth culture.

Explorers marked the debuts of young actors Ethan Hawke and River Phoenix as Ben and Wolfgang, respectively. Unfortunately, the budding stars had to compete with another gang of up-and-comers, The Goonies. After a disappointing theatrical release, Joe Dante re-edited the film for a more successful TV and video run.

Movie Release History

1985 - Explorers

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Ben Crandall Ethan Hawke
Wolfgang Muller River Phoenix
Steve Jackson Bobby Fite
Steve Jackson's Gang Bradley Gregg
Steve Jackson's Gang Georg Olden
Steve Jackson's Gang Chance Schwass
Lori Swenson Amanda Peterson
Nasty Kid at School Danny Nucci
Darren Woods Jason Presson
Freda Muller (Mrs. Muller) Dana Ivey
Ludwig Muller Taliesin Jaffe
Mr. Muller James Cromwell
Science Teacher Brooke Bundy
Girl in Classroom Tricia Bartholome
Darren's Teacher Eric Luke
Starkiller  Robert Picardo
Wak Robert Picardo
Wak and Neek's Father Robert Picardo
Starkiller's Girlfriend   Karen Mayo-Chandler
Starkiller's Girlfriend's Father  Robert Boyle
Couple at Drive-In   John P. Navin Jr.
Couple at Drive-In   Mary Hillstead
Snack Bar Girl   Simone Blue
Gordon Miller   Meshach Taylor
Charlie Drake   Dick Miller
Neek   Leslie Rickert
Special Vocal Effects  Frank Welker
Special Vocal Effects  Fred Newman
Special Vocal Effects  Joan Gerber
Special Vocal Effects  Belinda Balaski
Special Vocal Effects  Roger Behr
Special Vocal Effects  Roger Peltz
Special Vocal Effects  Neil Ross
Special Vocal Effects  Marilyn Schreffler
Special Vocal Effects  Bill Ratner
Special Vocal Effects  Jane Kean
Special Vocal Effects  Bob Holt
Special Vocal Effects  Jay Stewart
Mrs. Crandall   Mary Kay Place

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