Some of the best movies we’ve ever seen were released in the 80’s. They shaped who we were, the music we listened to, and how afraid of the dark we turned out to be. Here are just 25 of these movies, in no particular order, and why they’re worth another look.
1 – The Princess Bride (1987)
The most romantic story of true love, redemption, sick kids, and sweet grandpas that there ever was.
2 – Short Circuit (1986)
A military prototype robot is struck by lightning and given free will, and our collective hearts. Because of Johnny 5, I still yell, ‘No disassemble!!’ if I feel threatened in any way.
3 – Sixteen Candles (1984)
This coming of age love story centers around a forgotten birthday, involves a pantie loan, and includes a Long Duk Dong. Despite all that, remember how warm and fuzzy you felt at the end? “Oh sexy girrrrlfriennnnnnd!”
4 – The Wraith (1986)
This dark film was full of teen angst and murderous, drag-racing car thieves who got picked off one by one until, in the end, there was only true love and one hot car left.
5 – Purple Rain (1984)
Two words: killer soundtrack. Of all the 80’s movies we danced along to, this one absolutely had the best music and the most awesome hair.
6 – Overboard – (1987)
A widowed, hard-working carpenter convinces a spoiled, amnesiac heiress that she’s his wife and the mother of his 4 scruffy sons. Chaos, then love ensues and, before you know it it, folks are leaping off ships all willy-nilly and we loved every second of it.
7 – The Last Starfighter (1984)
At some point in our lives, we’ve all dreamed of playing a game so well that our talents would be recognized and we’d be expected to play every day, forever. That’s just what happens when a gamer kid from a trailer park gets recruited to outer space to help defend a planet being attacked by evil forces.
8 – Back to the Future (1985)
Sending a teenager backwards in time from 1985 to 1955, and then bringing him back, turned out to be just as amazing as we thought it would be, for a DeLorean-driving, plutonium-stealing mad scientist, am I right?
9 – Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)
Watch this to be reminded that no matter how cool we all thought we were in school, we were never ‘Ferris’ cool.
10 – The Breakfast Club (1985)
5 kids, from 5 different backgrounds converge in the Shermer High School library for one epic, montage-filled Saturday detention.
11 – The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
The second installment in the Star Wars trilogy was just as spellbinding as the first. Met Yoda, we did.
12 – Ghostbusters (1984)
This movie made ghosts fun! We all wanted to be on the streets of New York City watching the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man bounce by.
13 – Friday, the 13th (1980)
ch-ch-ch, ah-ah-ah. No kid wanted to go to camp after learning about the Voorhees family. And lakes in the nighttime? Fuggettaboutit.
14 – Beverly Hills Cop (1984)
Thanks to a hard-nosed Detroit detective going head-to-head with a corrupt Beverly Hills art gallery owner, we all learned about the wonders of a banana in a tailpipe and herpes simplex 10.
15 – E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
After seeing this film, I believed that all aliens were good and would make excellent house guests. Until I meet an actual extra terrestrial who changes our minds, this logic will stand.
16 – The Karate Kid (1984)
This film is to blame for all the kids who karate’d the crap out of each other throughout the 80’s. Watching again will strengthen your crane technique.
17 – The Lost Boys (1987)
You have to admit, all the laughing you did while watching this made the terrifying parts a little easier to swallow.
18 – Footloose (1984)
Another great soundtrack that made NOT dancing impossible, hence the plot. Just remember the next time you don’t feel like going out dancing, that there are kids in a small town somewhere who are only allowed to dance in barns outside the city limits. And stop being so selfish.
19 – Beetlejuice (1988)
Ghosts, a freelance bio-exorcist, and a pretty fantastic calypso scene make this film an instant classic. “Dayyyy-o!”
20 – Labyrinth (1986)
Who doesn’t want to see David frackin’ Bowie as the Goblin King who steals toddlers and puts them in mazes again? Jim Henson’s puppets added a colorful, if chill-inducing flair to this musical fantasy.
21 – The NeverEnding Story (1984)
This fantastical tale of Bastian and Atreyu and the nothingness that threatened to eat away at everything had us holding our breath throughout the whole 107 minutes.
22 – Gremlins (1984)
Those of us who babysat younger siblings already knew how a tiny something could go from cherubic and sweet to monster-crazy, and this film captured it perfectly.
23 – Dirty Dancing (1987)
The film that confirmed all our parents fears about how we probably danced when they weren’t looking.
24 – Top Gun (1986)
The testosterone dripping from every scene in this movie should’ve had its own space on the payroll of this tale about fast boys and their dangerous toys.
25 – Child’s Play (1988)
Watch again to be reminded about why most of us will never trust a doll in the dark again.