Kirk Douglas Once Explained to Michael Douglas Why ‘Romancing the Stone’ Is His Most ‘Important’ Movie


Actor Michael Douglas also works behind the scenes on features, such as Romancing the Stone. His father, Kirk, had a lot of respect for his son both in front of and behind the camera. However, he had some particularly strong feelings about one movie in particular. Kirk once explained to Douglas why Romancing the Stone is actually his most “important” movie.

Michael Douglas starred in and produced ‘Romancing the Stone’

Douglas starred in and produced Romancing the Stone, but directed by Robert Zemeckis. The story follows a romantic-adventure writer who finds herself in real-life danger in the Colombian jungle. A group of dangerous captors kidnapped her sister, who will kill her if they don’t receive a specific treasure map. However, the adventurer is not alone. She has the help of a mercenary, who seek out the gem on the map.

Romancing the Stone earned positive reviews from critics and audiences on Rotten Tomatoes. It currently sits at 86% from critics and 69% from audiences. The consensus points to the film’s ability to return viewers back to classic Saturday morning serials, but it’s the “sparkling chemistry” that allows the feature to shine.

James Bawden and Ron Miller’s Conversations with Classic Film Stars spoke with Kirk about box office performances. However, Miller noted that Kirk’s most memorable movies weren’t necessarily financial successes. He explained his role in Hollywood successes and why Douglas’ most important movie is Romancing the Stone.

“Well, I’ve made millions and millions of dollars for studios,” Kirk said. “A few of those have dribbled down to me. But boy, before they’ve dribbled down to me, the studios have made a fortune!”

Kirk continued: “I told Michael that Romancing the Stone is his most important picture because it’s entertaining and it’s making a fortune for the studio. I’ve always placed a very high emphasis on entertainment. I can afford to say this because I’ve also made a lot of pictures that were socially significant.”

“One of my pet peeves is directors who only want to make significant pictures,” Kirk said. “If you have significance in a picture, it should be secondary. It’s there for those who can see it. A person doesn’t go to a movie to learn something. He goes to forget his problems. You have to make an exciting movie that, hopefully, will entertain them.”

Romancing the Stone wasn’t the first time that Douglas moved into the producer role. They worked together on bringing One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest to life outside of the Hollywood machine. However, that isn’t why Kirk admired his son’s ability as a producer.

“I told him, ‘Michael, you’re the kind of producer I’d like to work with because you give everything to the other person even when you’re in the movie,’” Kirk said. “He did that in Romancing the Stone [1984]. He focused all the attention on the girl [Kathleen Turner].”

Kirk continued: “I haven’t been that generous. I’ve been a producer, but I find a product like Spartacus or The Vikings or Seven Days in May or Paths of Glory, and somehow there always seems to be a good part for me.”


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