Best of 1997

I have numerous favourite years based on what happened in them that are directly or indirectly related to my interests as long as those years have something to do with 3, 5, 6, 7 or 9. One of my favourite years is 1997 because it was when I visited one of my (seven) favourite countries for the first time, (the East African nation of) Kenya (the others which I am as passionate about as I am for Kenya are Singapore, New Zealand, South Africa, Namibia, China, Malaysia, Uganda, Thailand and Ireland due to their Exotic levels) deeply engraved in many aspects, mostly film although this does not belittle the music, movies, literature, television or events related to countries that have to do with countries of Paradise





January 31st
For its 20th Anniversary, the original Star Wars (directed by George Lucas) is re-released to theatres. The re-release of the film also celebrates the beginning of production of The Phantom Menace, a film which is set 32 years before the release of Star Wars



February 21st
Following the re-release of the original Star Wars, its sequel The Empire Strikes Back (directed by Irvin Kershner) is re-released to theatres for its 19th Anniversary



February 28th
Donnie Brasco (directed by Mike Newell) is based on the true story of how FBI agent Joseph Pistone infiltrated the villainous Bonanno mafia



March 14th
The second Star Wars sequel Return of the Jedi (directed by Richard Marquand) is re-released, for its 14th Anniversary, completing the re-release of the Star Wars trilogy



March 20th
Street Smart (directed by Jerry Schatzberg), a film which gave Morgan Freeman his first Oscar (and Golden Globe) nomination as well as a Los Angeles film Critic Award win, celebrates its 10th Anniversary



March 21st
Selena (directed by Gregory Nava) is a biographical film about the life and death of Mexican-American singer Selena Perez



March 28th
Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie (directed by David Winning and Shuki Levy) is the sequel to the 1995 film Mighty Morphin Power Rangers which is in turn based on the television series of the same name. It is the last Power Rangers film released until a reboot 20 years later



April 11th
Anaconda (directed by Luis Llosa) follows a documentary crew who are forced by a snake hunter to help him find a giant killer anaconda


May 6th
The world’s most famous victim of injustice, former boxer Rubin Carter, nicknamed Hurricane for the way he fought in the ring (and was immortalised by Bob Dylan in the protest song Hurricane) celebrates his 60th birthday. Despite having been twice wrongly convicted of a triple murder in 1966 and 1976 (which he had nothing to do with), Carter was freed in 1985 on the grounds of racism (as well as withholding of evidence that could have prevented him being imprisoned) and for four years has devoted himself to fight injustice and help prevent wrongful convictions



May 25th
The Lost World: Jurassic Park (directed by Steven Spielberg) is based on the 1995 novel of the same name by author Michael Crichton that serves as a sequel to his 1990 book Jurassic Park (about a disastrous attempt to create a theme park of cloned dinosaurs) and its film version (also directed by Spielberg) that released four years earlier (on June 11th 1993). It releases on Memorial Day



June 1st
Morgan Freeman celebrates his 60th birthday




June 13th
Hercules (directed by Ron Clements and John Musker) follows the eponymous Greek hero (Heracles) who is the son of Zeus, king of the Greek Gods. It is the fifth Disney film released during an era known as the ‘Renaissance’ which began with The Little Mermaid (eight years earlier in 1989 by the same directors) and ends two years later in 1999 with Tarzan (directed by Kevin Lima and Chris Buck)



June 17th
The Deep (directed by Peter Yates) which is based on the book of the same name by Peter Benchley (the author of the book that became Steven Spielberg’s blockbuster film Jaws) celebrates its 20th Anniversary despite the fact that during its original release (in 1977) while it broke the opening record of Jaws, both films were overthrown in their records by Star Wars. The film receives a remake eight years later (in 2005) Into the Blue (directed by John Stockwell)



June 26th
Filming begins on The Phantom Menace (directed by George Lucas), a film set 32 years before the release of the original Star Wars. Filming ends three months later in September (on the 26th)



July 2nd
Men In Black (directed by Barry Sonfield) is based on the comics of the same name, about a government organisation that monitors alien activity on Earth. It is followed by a sequel, Men In Black 2 (also directed by Sonfield)  five years later (on July 3rd 2002) and a spinoff, Men In Black: International (directed by Felix Gary Gray) 22 years later (on June 14th 2019)




August 1st
Jungle Emperor Leo is a film based on the Anime and Manga Kimba the White Lion




August 5th
Pooh’s Grand Adventure: The Search for Christopher Robin (directed by Karl Geurs) based on the Winnie-the-Pooh books by A.A Milne releases on the 20th Anniversary of the first Winnie-the-Pooh film, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (directed by John Lounsberry and Wolfgang Reitherman) although it is released directly to video rather than having a theatrical release




September 19th
Wishmaster (directed by Robert Kurtzman) centres on a corrupt genie and his ambition to take over humanity. It is followed by a sequel Wishmaster 2: Evil Never Dies (directed by Jack Sholder) released 2 years later (on March 12th 1999) although released directly to video rather than having a theatrical release




September 26th
The Edge is the second Hollywood feature film for New Zealand filmmaker Lee Tamahori (after Mulholland Falls the previous year on April 26th 1996). It follows three men who survive a plane crash in the Alaskan wilderness and struggle not only to return home but also to escape a man-eating Kodiak bear



October 3rd
Kiss the Girls (directed by Gary Fleder) is based on James Patterson’s second book about African-American detective and forensic psychologist Alex Cross. Its sequel Along Came a Spider (directed by Lee Tamahori)  released four years later (on April 6th 2001) is based on the first book and the character does not return to the screen again until 11 years later (on October 19th 2012) with the release of Alex Cross (directed by Rob Cohen), a reboot which is based on one of Patterson’s new books about character.



October 11th
Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas (directed by Andy Knight) is a sequel to the 1991 Disney film Beauty and the Beast (directed by Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise) which in turn is based on the fairy tale of the same name. It is not actually a (direct) sequel but takes place during the events of the first film.



October 14th
Disney’s 1989 film The Little Mermaid (directed by Jon Clements and Ron Musker) based on the fairy tale of the same name is re-released to theatres.



November 16th
Close Encounters of the third Kind (directed by Steven Spielberg) celebrates its 20th Anniversary.



December 21st
Disney’s first feature film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs based on the fairy tale of the same name celebrates its 60th Anniversary.



December 31st
(Sir) Anthony Hopkins celebrates his 60th birthday shortly before the year ends





January 31st
The Cartoon Network channel is officially launched in New Zealand although by 1999 it is restricted to the country’s cable channel, Sky Television which was created a decade ago (in 1987)



April 1st
The Manga Pokémon debuts as an Anime series. It is the longest-running Anime series to date, breaking the records of other Manga and Anime series such as Kimba the White Lion and Zoids


April 6th
Playhouse Disney debuts on Disney Channel


June 17th
BBC’s Walking With Dinosaurs which attempts to showcase what dinosaurs might really have been like enters its second year of production. It airs two years later (in 1999)



September 1st
Disney Channel transforms from a subscription to a basic cable channel after 14 years


September 13th
Recess debuts on Disney Channel






Bram Stoker‘s (breakthrough) gothic-horror novel Dracula celebrates its 100th Anniversary. Most of the novel’s film adaptations beginning in 1922 never followed the book closely except with Francis Ford Coppola‘s five-year-old adaptation of the novel which for the most part was faithful to the plot of the book, a pattern repeated earlier in 1970 with Count Dracula (directed by Jesús Franco) to a lesser extent. A two-year-old version of the book directed by Mel Brooks, Dracula: Dead and Loving It was not directly based on the book but did contain references to the book as well Coppola’s film.


The Howling by Gary Brandner about a village of werewolves and their ambition to take over the human race celebrates its 20th Anniversary.

The television series based on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comics celebrates its 10th Anniversary while its first film adaptation its 7th. Ten years later, the first CGI film in the franchise is released.







January 9th
The day after his 50th birthday, David Bowie performs in New York as a tribute to that with many popular musical celebrities in attendance. The following month, he receives a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame


January 20th
Four years after forming in 1993 the French electronic duo Daft Punk release their music album Homework


March 26th
8 years after forming in 1989, Danish pop group Aqua debuts with their music album Aquarium







January 1st 
The Singapore Kindness Movement is officially launched.


White Sands opens to the public.


2nd January
In the 1997 General Election, the People’s Action Party team led by Goh Chok Tong won 81 out of 83 seats (including 47 uncontested seats) with a vote share of 65.0%. The opposition won the remaining two, with one seat going to the Workers’ Party and the Singapore People’s Party winning the other seat. Meanwhile, the Singapore Democratic Party lost all three seats.



25th January – Temasek Polytechnic’s new campus is officially opened.


15 February
The Battle Box museum is officially opened.


The Toa Payoh Hospital and Changi Hospital are closed and merged into New Changi Hospital.


24th February
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has launched the Home Team concept, which aims to strengthen collaboration between agencies of MHA



1st March
The National Dental Centre Singapore starts operations.


3rd March
Singapore Airlines launches its (in-flight) entertainment system known as ‘KrisWorld’


7th March
The Senoko Gasworks officially opens, replaced Kallang Gasworks (which closes the following year in 1998)



1st April
The telecommunications company, M1 launches cellular services. It is the second telco after SingTel telecommunications company


14th April
Neptune Orient Lines announced that it will buy APL Logistics in a merger.


21st April
The Asian Civilisations Museum is officially opened.


17th May
National Education is launched to encourage national cohesion and national identity.


19th May
SingPost which manages posting (both locally and internationally) in Singapore launches the SAM machines, allowing people to buy stamps on the go.


30th May
The Singapore Expo starts construction to replace World Trade Centre Halls 1 and 2, first announced on 24 July 1996. The MTI (Ministry of Trade and Industry) appoints PSA to run the centre.





June 1st
A new standard for grading food stalls is launched, with hygiene, cleanliness and housekeeping standards taken into account. There are four grades, mainly A, B, C and D.


2nd June
The Ministry of Education unveiled a new strategy known as ‘Thinking Schools, Learning Nation’. The new strategy aims to encourage lifelong learning and creativity.


9th June
The Singapore ONE broadband network is launched with new interactive features, making Singapore the first country in the world to have such a system. The network is launched commercially the following year.


June – Changi Business Park is launched by JTC (Jurong Town Corporation).


21st July
Racial Harmony Day is celebrated for the first time as an overthrowing of the 1964 race riots that saw a conflict between Chinese and Malays


22nd July
Suntec City, a mixed-use development with a convention centre officially opened.


28th July
Dover MRT station is announced to link commuters to Singapore Polytechnic, with completion four years later


2nd August
The Esplanade Bridge and the Nicoll Highway extension is opened to traffic, after its official opening held the day before.


5th August
The Land Transport Authority awards SMRT the licence to operate the Bukit Panjang LRT line due to its experience with the MRT.


20 August
A landmark appeal of Abdul Nasir Amer Hamsah who killed one Japanese tourist and injured another in 1994 led to the definition of life imprisonment to change from “life” to “natural life” from the day after 20 August 1997 onwards for future offences. At that time before 20 August 1997, life imprisonment in Singapore was defined as a jail term of 20 years, entitled with the usual practice of one-third remission for good behaviour. Chief Justice Yong Pung How, in the Court of Appeal, also decided that life imprisonment should be considered as a term of incarceration for the remainder of a convicted prisoner’s natural life, with the possibility of parole after serving at least 20 years.


September 2nd
Senoko Fishing Port starts operations, moving from Punggol for the construction of Punggol New Town. It officially opened on 6 December


3rd September
Construction starts on the Automobile Megamart, a car hub in Ubi


12th September
Raffles Medical Group and Pidemco Land (now CapitaLand) formed a joint-venture company to convert Blanco Court into a hospital, which is the second-largest private hospital in Singapore. The hospital will be later known as Raffles Hospital


15th September
Singapore Airlines launches its flight entertainment system KrisWorld that enables passengers to watch movies, play games and even do shopping, making it the world’s first airline to have an inflight system. The airline also celebrates its 50th Anniversary


1st October
Great World City opens to the public.


Cathay Cineleisure Orchard opens on the former site of Orchard Cinema.


PSA Corporation (present-day PSA International) is formed as a result of corporatisation of port activities.


The Community Involvement Programme is launched.


10th October
The new KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital building is officially opened.


8th November
The first I-Weekly issue is published


12th November
SBS Limited is now known as DelGro Corporation (present day ComfortDelGro)


15 November – SingTel launches Magix, a broadband network.


17 November
The Ayer Rajah Expressway extension to Tuas is officially opened, formed by the expansion of Jalan Ahmad Ibrahim into an expressway. The route will cater for the opening of the Second Link in 1998.


19 November – The Singapore Tourism Promotion Board is renamed the Singapore Tourism Board.


25 November – Construction of the North East MRT line starts. In addition, the Land Transport Authority has been conducting studies on potential MRT extensions.


2 thoughts on “Best of 1997”

    1. Thanks so much. Wikipedia has more knowledge about this year than I do actually. What is seen in this blogpost is my favourite moments about the year

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