A cursory look over the career biography of Eric Roberts may surprise movie enthusiasts. "Prolific" serves as an appropriate adjective to describe his career. Over the past decade, Roberts made appearances in scores of movies, television shows, and short subjects. While his current output is impressive, his work in the early 1980s reveals several of the best remembered Eric Roberts movies. Not only do these films display excellent acting talent, but the features also present moral lessons for viewers to learn.
Cautionary Tales and Eric Roberts Movies
The physical action and unfolding plots of early Eric Roberts movies tell straightforward cautionary tales. The symbolism and allegories found in the films create an even more impressive and powerful impact. Three films, in particular, may give the viewer pause for thought about the dangers lurking in life:
Runaway Train (1985): Is there not a better symbol for a life gone off the rails than a train careening out of control down the tracks? In the classic film, Roberts plays an escaped convict who seeks a path to freedom on a hijacked train. The character's runaway life lead him, ironically, to a stable life behind bars. Upon escaping, his life goes out of control once again as experienced through the life-threatening journey on a runaway train.
The Pope of Greenwich Village (1984): Eric Roberts character wants the easy life, so he seeks it the seemingly easiest way possible: by stealing. When he robs an underworld figure, he finds his life becomes more complicated. Not must the character dodge the police, but he must also worry about retaliation from the mob. A lesson to learn here is taking the "easy way" in life makes like more of a struggle.
Star 80 (1983): The most frightening aspect of this film is it is based on the real-life events surrounding the murder of Playboy centerfold Dorothy Stratten. Roberts' character eventually murders Stratten as played by Mariel Hemingway. During the first third of the film, the Roberts character reveals himself to be selfish, self-serving, and borderline psychotic. A multitude of warning signs loomed, but they weren't heeded. The sad lesson here is obvious. The most chilling aspect of the tale is the brutal fictionalized events played out on film aren't far removed from real life.
Of course, Eric Roberts long career places him in roles outside the malcontent typecast. His 1980s output as a bad guy at the center of the plot remains the actor's best remembered work—and deservedly so.