An absolute cult-classic that never got the love it deserved, Tron was an absolutely revolutionary movie for both Disney and the film industry as a whole, thanks to its pioneering of computer graphics being used in movies. While audiences didn't respond well when it came out, we all love it these days, and some of these facts will make you love it even more.
It was denied an Oscar nomination because of its effects.
The Academy viewed the use of computers as "cheating" in 1982. Oh how times have changed...
Jeff Bridges was really into video games while filming.
Disney had set up real arcade machines on the set so the actors could stay immersed in the world of the film. Bridges was apparently by far the best at them, and it was often hard to get him to stop playing so they could film a take.
The arcade game made more money than the movie did.
The movie was a commercial flop, but the Tron arcade game and its followup, Discs of Tron, were immensely popular in arcades nationwide.
Bridges had to wear a dance belt.
His crotch bulge was hilariously prominent in the costume, so it had to be held back by a dance belt.
The CG effects had to be done frame by frame.
Computers at the time couldn't actually "animate" scenes the way they do now, so the animators had to add the effects frame by frame, just like traditional animation.
The facts just get crazier from here...
Many Disney animators refused to work on the movie.
They were worried that computers were going to put them out of a job... and they were right. Disney would close its last "traditional animation" section of its studio 22 years later.
The score was really hard to get for a long time.
The original master tapes had degraded so badly that, when it came time to remaster the film for its Blu-Ray release, new restoration techniques had to be developed to get them to be usable.
The game Flynn plays in the arcade was more advanced than actual games at the time.
"Space Paranoids" uses 3D Vector graphics made up of individual lines and polygons, which wouldn't become prevalent in video games for another ten years. There's even a playable version now at Disneyland! (Note: the high scores are all held by "FLN")
There is actually a computer command called "TRON."
It stands for "TRace ON" in the BASIC programming language. Director Steven Lisberger says he based the name on "elecTRONics."
The computer scenes were actually filmed in black and white.
All of the color and lighting was added digitally after filming was done.
A famous video game character makes a cameo...
You can see Pac-Man on the giant screen behind Sark in one scene.
And so does Mickey Mouse.
You can see a silhouette of the world's most famous mouse in the Solar Sailer scene.