Everyone has their own spiritual image when they think of the 1980s. Whether it is now the hair bands, bombasties modestyle, of retro games, it’s hard to argue that 80s movies did not have the greatest lasting impact, even spread out a whole range of breakfast cereals. Movies from the 80’s are like time capsules, preserving all the sounds and sights that people of the decade have loved. With shows like Strange things and musicians like Dua Lipa embraces the nostalgia for the decade, and The Karate Kid spin-off Kobra Kai By building great popularity, it can be helpful to look back at the most culturally important films of this period.
There are so many deserving films that have helped to define cinema and pop culture to this day, with movies like Terminator, Bill and Ted, Gremlins, Batman, and The Karate Kid everything definitely creates lasting impact on the social lexicon. Just as each person forms a unique and different mental image when considering the 80’s, so they also choose movies differently. With that in mind, let’s dive into just a few of our favorite and most impactful 80s movies.
8 Dirty Dancing
I’m not sure there is a more iconic pairing than Dirty Dancing and the song “(I’ve Had) TheTime of My Life”. I would be willing to bet that when you see or hear one you immediately think of the other. Even if you do not like Dirty Dancing or have never seen the full movie, have you absolutely seen a duo try to perform the dance movement not to fail miserably. This simple romantic film has penetrated the cultural zeitgeist, and is almost automatically remembered at weddings or parties when the song plays, sometimes leading to hilarious awkward results. No Dirty Dancing means no humorous dance fails. A movie without which we can not live.
7 The Empire strikes back
There is honestly not much anyone can say about it The Empire strikes back which has not been said at any time. Known as one of the best movies ever Star Wars sage, even Mark Hamill reflects on himself on his time to shoot the movie as it approaches its 40th anniversary. It’s hard to get through a week, sometimes even a day without seeing or hearing some Star Wars reference. Do you have a “Baby Yoda” something or other in your home? A pet named “Chewie”? Do you look at your children and utter “I am your father” in a strange deep voice? If not you, then you know someone who is likely to answer yes to these questions. We have Rich to thank for it, and with The book by Boba Fett now stream, it looks like Star Wars does not go away quickly.
Do you know how every time you go on a trip and your spouse finds the fortune teller machine to make a wish? Oh … It’s just me? Well, if it do applies to you or someone you know, it’s all because of the movie Big. The irony here is that she … uh, um, these “people” who use the machine did not even see the movie Big, which is truly a testament to how iconic that concept is. It also helped to influence a whole slew of popular body swap movies, but we all know that true magic is here Big Zoltar made who he is today.
5 The Breakfast Club
The original teen “drama,” The Breakfast Club showed the world what that genre could be, and paved the way for John Hughes to keep making movies about the normal, everyday lives of young people. A group of children caught in custody, a teenager who just wants a day off from school Ferris Bueller, a child who is abandoned Alone at home, and even a story about a guy trying to get home for the holidays in Planes, trains and cars. All of his movies are recognizable, and they just work, even if they’s a little outdated.
For the theme song alone and its famous line “Who ya gonna call,” Ghostbreakers make the list. Everyone knows both of those things, and with the recent release of Ghostbusters: Hereafter, anyone who does not do so will surely. On top of that, Bill Murray and Harold Ramis deliver iconic, proven performances in this hilarious box office hit. It’s hard to imagine a childhood (or an adulthood) without having the Ghostbusters. There is no escape, and why would we want to? If only they would bring back the Slimer-themed ecto cooler juice boxes.
3 Back to the Future
Michael J. Fox self recently reflected about how the Back to the Future franchises still affect people to this day. The movie not only produced shoe styles, hoverboard imitations and current fan favorite cartoon Rick and Morty, but the DeLorean Motor Company still facilitates the sales of his classic early and mid-80s cars, as shown in the movie. As recently as Avengers: Endgame we were confronted with a debate about the “rules” set out in it Back to the Future. The film holds up surprisingly well due to the era-specific settings of the time travel themes, which sets the standard for what a time travel movie should be to this day.
Another science fiction classic, ET builds on director Steven Spielberg’s success with Close encounters of the third kind and led the way to a genre of alien science fiction that did not spin around an awful world-destroying alien domination. With an unforgettable glowing finger and the phrase “ET phone home”, ET is instantly recognizable even among many of today’s youth. If you grew up in the ’80s and’ 90s, it was an absolute staple, and it probably shaped how our foreign films looked and compared going forward. It also scared us all for hazmat packs. Oh … it’s just me again?
1 Raiders of the Lost Ark
The very first Indiana Jones movie has produced a whole subset of global adventure media. Note, Tomb Raider and Unknown dived into both video games and film, all while retaining the spirit of ‘treasure hunt meets supernatural mumbo jumbo’ Raiders of the Lost Ark brought to life in the 80s. Warm down the success of Star Wars, Harrison Ford delivers a character who is almost as iconic as his peer Han Solo. Aging remarkably well due to the period in which the original films play out, we can only hope that the coming Indiana Jones 5 capture all the wonderful wonder of the originals.
Indiana Jones 5 is expected to hit theaters on July 29, with Harrison Ford returning and James Mangold taking over for Spielberg as director.
About the author