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Film / Paradise

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Paradise is a 1982 teenage romance and adventure film starring Phoebe Cates and Willie Aames. The movie also has a theme song sung by Cates, which was one of the leaders of the pop music hit parade around the world for a long time, becoming one of the biggest hits of the 1980s and giving resultant fame to the film, more so than the reverse.

The film is set in the Middle East, in the year 1823, in which a rich British girl named Sarah meets David, the son of two Christian Missionaries. They and their respective parties join a caravan from Baghdad to Damascus, which is soon attacked by raiders led by a relentless sex slave dealer known as The Jackal. David and Sarah escape, eventually coming upon an oasis where the two fall in love. In between enjoying their paradise, Sarah and David find themselves constantly fleeing the Jackal and trying to find civilization.


The film has been compared to the more famous The Blue Lagoon, which has similar themes; Two young people find themselves abandoned in a world with no adult supervision, in fact no other people anywhere. Thus they have total freedom, inevitably learning all about love and sex, as well as basic survival techniques.


  • All Men Are Perverts and All Women Are Prudes: Inverted, David is the more prudish of the two (at first), due to his religious upbringing.
  • Ambiguous Syntax:
    Sarah: Doctors have to look at you with no clothes on.
    David: The doctors have no clothes on?
  • "Arabian Nights" Days: The setting, essentially.
  • Artistic Licence – Biology: A minor but obvious one, but Doc and Eve, two chimpanzees, have a baby, but the baby is clearly an infant baboon.
  • Artistic License – Religion: Played for Laughs:
    David: My father told me it was wrong to look upon nakedness.
    Sarah: Well, Adam and Eve were naked.
    David: They were not. They wore leaves. Big ones.
    Sarah: How do you know? Where you there?
    David: No, but I've seen lots of pictures in churches and they always wore leaves.
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  • As the Good Book Says...: David's father, who pulls a sword out during the Jackal's massacre:
    "Vengeance is mine, saith the lord..."
  • Babies Ever After: Doc and Eve have a baby together shortly before parting ways with David and Sarah. Also Sarah is pregnant with David's baby by the time the film ends. Apparently they are far along enough for the baby to be kicking.
  • Badass Preacher: David's father, who pulls a sword out during the Jackal's massacre, not that it does him very good.
  • Bathe Her and Bring Her to Me: Occurs when Sarah is briefly captured:
    The Jackal: You need to bathe, and have fresh clothes. Then you will be fit to come to me.
  • Belly Dancer: In the beginning of the film, David goes out to fetch some water and overhears music and cheering nearby. He goes to investigate and is treated to the movements of a flirtatious dancer.
  • Big Bad: The Jackal, who is a constant threat to the protagonists and is a big reason they got lost in the desert in the first place.
  • Book Burning: David tries to burn their medical book because he thinks the nude illustrations are corrupting Sarah. When she tries to stop him, he ends up throwing it into the ocean instead. It turns out to be a bad decision when he gets bit by a scorpion later on.
  • Children Are Innocent: David and Sarah, while in their mid-to-late teens have a childlike innocence in regards to their relationship...sexuality aside.
  • A Date with Rosie Palms: Doc, the chimpanzee masturbates. Sarah finds it hilarious, while David's disgusted.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: After David kills the Jackal, he and Sarah finally reach civilization in the city of Damascus.
  • Even the Doc is ashamed: Doc Facepalms when David practices archery.
  • Godiva Hair: Sarah during a Waterfall Shower
  • Misplaced Wildlife: Chimpanzees are indigenous to sub-Saharan Africa. They do not live naturally in Arabia.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Playing an upper-class English girl from the nineteenth century, Phoebe Cates doesn't bother to sound like anything other than a modern-day American teenager. The fact that her manservant is very British only serves to make the problem even more obvious.
  • One-Word Title: "Paradise" is the movie's title
  • Our Nudity Is Different: Averted where it shouldn't be. During the period in which the film takes place, Western culture considered exposed female legs to be more risqué than exposed female breasts. In the film, Sarah is clearly pretty shy about being seen topless, but runs around bare-legged without a second thought.
  • Papa Wolf: David's father, who tries to protect his family during the Jackal's massacre. David himself is this by default, Sarah was pregnant with his baby by the time he kills the Jackal.
  • Sex Slave: What the Jackal wants Sarah for
  • Team Pet: Doc and Eve, two chimpanzees David and Sarah befriend.
  • Teen Pregnancy: Sarah by the end of the film.
  • Took a Level in Badass: David, albeit downplayed, due to his hunting experience, manages to kill the Jackal, before he and Sarah reach civilization.
  • Vile Villain, Saccharine Show: The film is very light hearted with the love story, and has sprinkles of humor here and there - the Jackal wipes it all away with his presence.
  • Waterfall Shower: Sarah takes multiple showers beneath the waterfall in the lagoon.