In the 1983 Return of the Jedi (NBC Sunday at 8:30 p.m.) there is a sense of the closing of the circle in this thoroughly satisfying last installment of the “Star Wars” cycle. While we press on with the business of the Jedi knighthood and Rebel battles and with the question of Luke Skywalker’s parentage and his confrontation with the dark side of his own nature, director Richard Marquand and writer Lawrence Kasdan, who share the screenplay credit with producer/series creator George Lucas, see to it that the screen is filled to the gunwales with the galaxy’s best inventions yet. Mark Hamill stars as Luke.
It’s once again time for Judy Garland’s Dorothy and her dog Toto to trek down that Yellow Brick Road in The Wizard of Oz (CBS Sunday at 8 p.m.).
“Miami Vice’s” executive producer Michael Mann made a splashy 1981 directorial debut with the high-style, hard-edged Thief (Channel 5 Monday at 8 p.m.), in which James Caan (in top form) plays a professional criminal eager to break away and live a normal life.
Crude and sensational yet urgent and pertinent, Billy Jack (Channel 13 Monday at 8 p.m.), in its unique, awkward way became a key film of the early ‘70s. Tom Laughlin starred as well as directed and co-authored (with his wife and co-star Delores Taylor) this uneven yet powerful film about a half-breed casting his lot with the Indian side of his ancestry and coming to the aid of a progressive schoolteacher (Taylor), whose do-your-own-thing policies and hippie students clash with the conservative, bigoted town folk nearby.
Desperado: Avalanche at Devil’s Ridge (NBC Monday at 9 p.m.) is a 1988 TV movie Western starring Alex McArthur as roving cowboy Duell McCall, who is framed for murder. Rod Steiger co-stars.
James Toback’s 1983 Exposed (Channel 5 Tuesday at 8 p.m.) is a drenchingly romantic thriller lots stronger in style than credibility and inspired by the view that the redeeming maiden of Goethe’s “The Sorrows of Young Werther” is an angel of death--that for Werther death is redemption, his only salvation. Toback’s ambiguous angel is Nastassia Kinski, a beauty who captivates Rudolf Nureyev’s concert violinist and also Harvey Keitel’s Paris-based terrorist. Not wholly convincing but admirable for its wit, passion and bravura.
The 1984 Purple Hearts (CBS Tuesday at 9 p.m.) seems a deliberate (but pale) carbon of “An Officer and a Gentleman,” an old-fashioned, all-stops-out romance between a Marine Corps doctor (Ken Wahl) and a Navy nurse (Cheryl Ladd) played out against the Vietnam war.
Francis of Assisi (Channel 11 Wednesday at 8 p.m.) is a so-so 1961 religious epic, directed by Michael Curtiz and starring Bradford Dillman in the title role and Dolores Hart (who soon thereafter gave up her career for the convent).
Samson and Delilah (Channel 11 Thursday at 8 p.m.) is the lurid, spectacular--and often entertaining--De Mille Biblical saga starring Victor Mature and Hedy Lamarr in the title roles.
Alan J. Pakula’s 1971 Klute (Channel 13 Thursday at 8 p.m.) is a stylish thriller that is also a love story, involving Oscar-winning Jane Fonda’s Manhattan call girl and Donald Sutherland (in the title role) as a small-city Pennsylvania cop in pursuit of her tormentor, a dangerously disturbed client.
A Long Way Home (Channel 2 Thursday at 9 p.m.) is a worthy 1981 TV movie in which Timothy Hutton stars as a young man obsessed with locating his brother and sister, from whom he was separated in childhood when all three were abandoned by their parents.
In Coal Miner’s Daughter (Channel 13 Friday at 8 p.m.) Sissy Spacek is luminous portraying country music star Loretta Lynn--the poor Kentucky girl who married at 14 and had four children before she discovered her musical talents. The heart of the 1980 movie is Lynn’s relationship with her husband (played with strength and humor by Tommy Lee Jones).
The 1981 Hell Night (Channel 9 Saturday at 9 p.m.) more than lives up to its title. Director Tom De Simone and writer Randolph Feldman show us there are still plenty of scares to be found in the old haunted house with its creaks, squeaks, groans and things that go bump in the night. Linda Blair and Vincent Van Patten star.