One of the biggest moments of my childhood was seeing _Poltergeist_ for the first time at 7 years old. I saw it on a 4:3 set on a very old DVD in my parents' bedroom, after my mom had recently come home from the hospital after surgery. One night, my dad came home from the library with some DVDs, and one of them was _Poltergeist_.
I popped it into the DVD player without hesitation as I'd wanted to see it since I was 5. I knew from the moment it started, _Poltergeist_ was going to be a great movie, but little did I know it would become my favorite movie of all time, and I'd want to experience it again and again.
Craig T. Nelson and JoBeth Williams star in this classic as Steve and Diane Freeling, who live with their three children, 16-year-old Dana (Dominique Dunne), 8-year-old Robbie (Oliver Robins), and 5-year-old Carol Anne (Heather O'Rourke) in Cuesta Verde, CA, soon learn that their home is haunted, and that the spirits talk to Carol Anne through their television. Everything seem normal at first. Dana gives construction workers the finger and talks on the phone later than she's supposed to, Robbie is a huge Star Wars fan, and Carol Anne feeds her goldfish an entire tube of food. One night, a tree tries to eat Robbie, but they quickly save him. When the ghosts kidnap Carol Anne through the closet, they are forced to fight the evil spirit that holds their daughter if they ever want to see her again.
Well-acted, well-written, and well-directed, with great special effects, _Poltergeist_ is, in my opinion, the greatest ghost story of all time. Let's start with the acting. The way lines are said, the facial expressions, body language, everything about the characters feels real. Craig T. Nelson's performance as Steve is the most real dad in a movie I've ever seen. JoBeth Williams' performance as Diane is the most real mom in a movie I've ever seen. Heather O'Rourke gives the best performance by a 5-year-old I've ever seen. Zelda Rubinstein is also great. It doesn't even seem like they're acting. The performances are top-notch.
The special effects still hold up, because they still look real.
The plot is still _very_ original, because it's set in modern suburban America, and it's about a normal family that loves each other, rather than an abusive husband and father.
_Poltergeist_ is so well-written that nobody has to die, nor does it have to be gory to keep us on the edge of our seats.
Hooper and Spielberg keep it subtle by hardly showing the ghosts.
_Poltergeist_ features a great plot, great acting, great directing, and great writing. I can't recommend _Poltergeist_ enough. _Poltergeist_ **is** a kid's movie, so it's not all that scary, though there are scenes that may scare you or creep you out, but you won't be scarred for life. In the end it really is a fun thrill ride. It's a movie every kid must see by the time they're 8 years old. For some reason, I find myself trying, sometimes unsuccessfully, to hold back tears every time I see it.
_Poltergeist_ is my favorite movie of all time, it truly is a great classic, and it still holds up after over 30 years as its message is still relevant today. _Poltergeist_ tells the story of a family nothing can tear apart. It's a classic good versus evil story, a story of perseverance in spite of your worst fears coming to light, and holding it together in spite of everything seeming to fall apart. It's about never giving up hope. When I watched Craig T. Nelson, I saw my dad on that screen, and I see him on that screen even more now. When I watched JoBeth Williams, I saw my mom on that screen, and I see her on that screen even more now. Your experience might not be exactly like this, but there's no denying that this movie is awesome. I know you're probably worried because of things you've read online about it being scary, gory, or boring, but don't be. The violence is never gory. The occasional cursing never gets too bad. Despite everything that happens, there's a sense of hope that stays the entire movie. Let your kids see it. They'll thank you.