There’s nothing quite like taking a trip down memory lane and reliving the 80s. First, there was the fashion. The mullets and Aqua Net. The leg warmers and high-waisted jeans. The glitter. All the glitter. Then there were the names. Cher. Madonna. Clint. Michael. And let’s not forget the movie magic — the ’80s were a special time for the big screen.
It’s nearly impossible to compile a small list of favorite 80s movies, but we’ll do our best. Here are our top five picks:
At the onslaught of the 80s, it seemed like fantasy was to be replaced by sci-fi and action films. We watched as fantasy films like The Sword and the Sorcerer disappointed the masses, but then came The Princess Bride— possibly the most perfect fantasy film in the history of the genre (yeah, we might be biased). The film had the look and feel of a traditional fantasy film— with sorcery, fighting, and a damsel in distress— but it went for the jugular with humor and wit.
The parents of today were the children of the 80s, and the fact that they’re all willing to share the Brute Squad with the new generation speaks volumes. And hey, would fantasy mega-hits like The Lord of the Rings even exist without the example of The Princess Bride? We think not.
A top 80s films list must include Back to the Future.Honestly, does it get any better than the Delorean, a hoverboard, and Michael J. Fox in his prime? Nope, we didn’t think so either. This hilarious, feel-good film was perfect back when 88 mph was the magic speed and humor could get you through anything— time travel at the hand of a zany scientist included. Some of our greatest one-liners came from the movie (Great Scott!) and this film really set the bar for funny sci-fi films. In fact, we’re not sure we’ve seen anything comparable.
The icing on the cake though might be that Back to the Future in its current manifestation is all we’re getting. The trilogy is it. There will be no reboots or sequels, according to Robert Zemeckis himself. Remakes are either terrible or just okay, and we can’t lie: we’re happy to see that this film will live on in our memories (and our VCRs) as is. Back to the Futureis an obvious favorite, but the fact that it will live on in 80s perfection forever makes this pick even sweeter.
A group of wildly different teenagers painfully sharing a Saturday in detention? Yep, that definitely sounds like a winner. The Breakfast Club is a coming-of-age movie that defies time. It seems like no matter what decade comes to pass, an audience can relate to this one without a problem. Each of the members of the Brat Pack has issues to which we can relate: inability to fit in, a controlling parent, being labeled. The movie epitomizes the awkward, terrible, awesome experience that is high school.
The cult-classic has been referenced over and over again in movies to television shows, and it shows no sign of slowing down. For that, we’re stoked. We’re especially fans of the tribute to The Breakfast Club by the Barden Bellas in the finale performance of the movie, Pitch Perfect. Anna Kendrick, you have our approval.
If an adventure ride modeled after the movie is still going strong at Orlando’s Universal Studios, then E.T.the Extra-Terrestrialdefinitely makes the 80s hit movie list. This one is a classic for the family and can be enjoyed for ages to come (hmm… we’re sensing a theme in this list). With its feel-good ending and a hero that all can love the kids will take to this one no matter which decade in which they were born. Directed by Steven Spielberg, E.T. differs from the director’s other films because it deviates from his usual action-packed movies and delivers a true family film that is very much through the eyes of a child.
E.T. was a leap forward in cinematic effects. In the movie, the alien himself was the result of three actors, animatronics, and a mime. That’s right, a mime was responsible for E.T.’s hand and arm movements in much of the film.
And who will ever forget the iconic scene when Elliot and E.T. made that bold bike ride into the sky with the full moon as a backdrop? That whole scene was real— the moon, the trees— all of it was real, well, except for Elliot and E.T on the bike. That was a bit of movie magic. E.T.the Extra-Terrestrialwasn’t just a blockbuster hit for the 80s. It’s a hopeful and inspiring story about a friendship between two unlikely characters that transcends the barriers of time.
In the 80s, Eddie Murphy was a comedy king. His role on Saturday Night Live solidified him as one of the best in the comedy industry, but it was Beverly Hills Cop that is partly responsible for the incredible trajectory his career took. One of the first movies of its kind, Beverly Hills Cop brings an urban feel and the best in comedy to the big screen in a big way.
Murphy was at the top of his game in the 80s, and as the Detroit native and police officer, Axel Foley, he showed that he wasn’t just a master of comedy, but also a master of acting. The film is indeed hilarious, but it’s also packed with action and adventure— two roles audiences at the time didn’t associate with the comedian. Murphy played the character so well that Variety dubbed it one of his best.
There are a ton of other movies we love: Terminator, Predator, Freddy Kruger, Ghostbusters. We’d have all of these on our list if we could, but hey, we promised a top five. Whatever your favorite might be, commemorate your love for the 80s with an officially licensed t-shirt. We have tons to choose from. Check them out today!
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