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  • One has to give Walt Disney Pictures itself props for commissioning this film. Remember, at the time of this film's production, the company was sinking even more into irrelevance as George Lucas, Jim Henson and Steven Spielberg seized the culture zeitgeist the way Walt did in his prime. Furthermore, the company's one attempt to imitate them, The Black Hole, proved an embarrassment in 1979 and their animation department was barely surviving with new talent still suffering the loss of Don Bluth and his team and vision. Out of this despair, the company was approached by Steven Lisberger on this idea for a film with a radically different look with revolutionary visual effects technology, and took a chance in saying "yes" to producing it. Maybe it didn't work out all that well, but it was a gamble worth taking and a Cult Classic franchise was born regardless (albeit after the fact).
    • And the fact that so many little (and not-so-little) kids looked at this and went "Cool!" Then, some of those folks went on to found Pixar, including John Lasseter, who stated during the "Making of Tron" feature on the DVD that "without Tron, there would be no Toy Story".
    • Also the fact that this was something of a "coming out" album for Wendy Carlos after her gender reassignment surgery.
  • The film also inspired Barney's Law: "Data expands to fill a network."
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As for the movie itself:

  • The Light Cycle battle. Arguably the most famous sequence from the first film, making the Light Cycles the coolest bikes ever on film, and done with such incredible detail and pacing that it holds up thirty years later.
  • There is a scene where Tron defiantly catches a disk behind his back. Bruce Boxleitner actually did that. That's the take they put in the movie.
  • Dumont's approach to the guards. After telling Tron and Yori that he's been in the system too long to really believe their plan can work, and that so many "brave plans" failed before, he ends up relenting. While the MCP is putting him through Cold-Blooded Torture, he still has it in him to mouth off to Sark.
    Dumont: (in obvious pain) What do you want? I'm busy!
    Sark: Busy dying, you worn-out old excuse for a program?
    Dumont: Yeah, I'm old. Old enough to remember the MCP when he was just a chess program. He started small, and he'll end small!
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  • The scene where Tron makes contact with Alan. You hear through the film that Users are to the Programs what Gods are to us. The bright light, and the sheer joy on Tron's face drives home the analogy.
  • Flynn's Indy Ploy in making a brand new path for the Solar Sailer to traverse, escaping the Recognizers hot on their tail. How does he do it?
    Flynn: (still dizzy) Elementary physics: a beam of energy can always be diverted. Are we there yet, mommy?
  • Tron scoffing at Sark's insistence that he's just a slave, returning, "I'm also better than you", then splitting Sark's head open with his disk. Not only that, but Tron's throw is so powerful, it splits Sark's disc, which in the logic of the film should have deflected it.
  • Walter Gibbs proving how much of a Cool Old Guy and Honest Corporate Executive he is by being the only guy brave enough to confront Dillinger directly. Dillinger rubs the fact that he's pretty much locked Walter out of his own company in his face, saying "ENCOM isn't the business you started in your garage anymore." In response, Gibbs then says "Sometimes I wish I were back in that garage." When Dillinger then says "that can be arranged, Walter", Gibbs fires back with this:
    Gibbs: That was uncalled for. You know, you can remove men like Alan and me from the system, but we helped create it, and our spirit remains in every program we design for this computer!
    • Reality Subtext: According to Lisberger, there was still a question of who computers would belong to: the businesses or the artists. This movie helped the artists win (and in fact, gaming drives processing power to this day!)
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  • Tron's introduction into the story: a 4-on-1 Deathmatch on a cross-shaped battlefield, with Tron alone in the center. To face one opponent, he must turn his back on another and be flanked by the remaining two. Unlike in the sequel, there are no acrobatics; they just slug it out. He finishes three, even as one blow ricochets off his disc and changes direction to strike at his back. He grimly cuts down his now disarmed opponent and stands disc-up (like in the interface scene) in a defiant gladiator salute. Additionally, even though one opponent blocks Tron's disc, the blow is still enough to knock the guy off his feet. And that whole "disc changing direction in midair" thing? Tron's disc does it to circumvent a block attempt and finish the Program off.
  • When Tron and Yori are stealing the solar sailer, Tron takes on all the security forces, almost killing Flynn in the process. When Tron draws down on the last warrior - a staff-armed heavy - the guard shrugs, throws down his staff, and jumps to his death.
  • Tron and Ram merging their bikes' light trails to clock out a Light Cycle opponent.
    Ram: So long, sucker!
  • A quiet, understated moment of badassery, but how many can invoke a Xanatos Gambit as their Establishing Character Moment? Alan approaches Dillinger, asking why he's been locked out of his software. As established in the Novelization, Dillinger is disdainful of this nerdy, Boy Scout-like programmer, figuring Alan is far too naïve to actually be a threat. Just to placate Alan, Dillinger asks him what he is working on. Oh, it's just some security software. Oh yes, he submitted all the proper memos and kept his conduct above reproach. Why yes, Tron will run independently of Master Control. Yes, Tron will watchdog the AI. And Tron is capable of shutting down the AI if needed. That's not going to be a problem, will it? It's a testament to David Warner as Dillinger's face and body language go from Smug Snake to borderline Villainous Breakdown to Oh, Crap! as he realizes Alan has completely and utterly played him and Master Control.

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