Walk through any quality ’80s film, and the reoccurring theme is staying power.

Daniel LaRusso, Rocky Balboa, Indiana Jones, Luke Skywalker, and Han Solo? Staying power.

Axel Foley, Ripley (Aliens), John McClane, Mr Miyagi, and Maverick?

Again, staying power.

Add to this, characters played by some of the 80’s best female actors: Meryl Streep, Michelle Pfeiffer, Kathleen Turner, and Goldie Hawn.

Their undeniable hidden strength is staying power.

Look at the real-life examples of Bruce Lee, Louis Gossett Jnr, James Hong, Jim Caviezel, and the women who’ve turned down roles because they refused to sleep with the director.

None of them went out on the devil’s terms.

Strong Characters

Case by case, they all persevered through clear examples of blacklisting, sporadic racism, misogyny, and Hollywood’s seedy sexualised quid pro quo culture.

This is why audiences keep returning to those films, and why Hollywood keeps reviving — and in some cases ruining — them.

Audiences bounce back to these films largely because they want to be hit with hope.

There’s a longing to revisit a time when joyful, transcendent defiance, in the face of tremendous odds, trumped the fear of annihilation.

Staying power is the slow, but sure tenacity of the boy David, entering a battle before an insecure king, to slay the child-slaughtering giant.

It’s holding the line when everything in you says run.

Staying power’s earthy grit of no surrender, cemented flawed characters as role models.

They put faith, hope, and love before the grind. This gave those films, scores and scripts longevity.


The general statistics tell us that 50% of marriages fail.

Fathers have lost their families, and homes have lost fathers.

Fatherlessness is an epidemic because we’ve lost staying power.

Hook-up culture, hyper-individualism and throw-away consumerism are partly to blame.

As are irresponsible mothers, and irreplaceable fathers who’ve bought into the lie that they are replaceable.

With the exception of all forms of spousal abuse, staying power is by and large now a forgotten virtue.

Building on Cambridge’s definition, staying power is best illustrated by the person who understands that a vocation half lived out, is a vocation not lived out.

In other words, there is no such thing as a half-dad, half-mum, or half-marriage.

Parenting, much the same as marriage, is an all-in commitment.

Sticking Together

A pastor reflecting on staying power in a piece for Ministry Magazine wrote,

“So many times, there seemed to be sufficient reasons [for he and his wife] to allow our differences to drive a wedge between them.”

Staying power became the glue that held his family together.

The 7 ingredients of this glue were choice, respect, tolerance, authenticity, community, humour, and grace.

They chose to work the problem, not become the problem.

Respect allowed for disagreement.

While tolerance, as defined by physics, gave them the “capacity to endure pain or hardship.”

Choice, respect, and tolerance combined created staying power, which meant the “ability to deal with pain and hardships, without the family disintegrating.”

Authenticity was being all there, and practising what was preached.

Community, the 5th aspect of staying power, was the family doing life together.

Like much of the world around them, they had staying power because they weren’t strangers to each other.

On humour, he explained,

“Families with staying power have this wonderful ability to discover the funny side of life, and that acts as additional glue binding them together.”

The final ingredient was grace.

What they discovered, he concluded, was “that staying power resides in God’s commitment to us and our surrender to that commitment.”

In answering, “Why are we still together?” the Ministry Magazine writer credited God for funding the necessary ‘elements.

This was something they did not have within themselves.

I think this is why ’80s films still command both our attention and affection.

They reflect back to us, what we’ve lost as a society: the determination to not quit when life gets hard, or somebody’s feelings get hurt.

In other words, staying power.


Photo by Mart Production.

About the Author: Rod Lampard

Rod, his wife Jonda, and their five kids are homeschooling veterans. Rod spent 12 years in management at Koorong, has a Bachelor’s Degree in Ministry & Theology, and is a writer for the theological, politically edgy news site Caldron Pool. Rod also writes for the Spectator. Find his personal blog here.

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