My Top Ten Favorite Movies of the 1980's

My Top Ten Favorite Movies of the 1980's

In my opinion, there is no better decade for movies than the 1980's. Yes, I was a 90's kid. Yes, I am a 90's junkie just like many other people and I'm one of those people who praise the 1990's. I think the 90's had the best TV shows, best music(arguably), and best video games, but I think they're tier two when it comes to movies....but the 1980's had the best movies I've seen. Period.

It was a transitional decade to where special effects had finally emerged and comedy had turned golden. This list was very difficult for me to make. Very difficult. I struggld just to compile it. Truth be told, there are at LEAST 30 other movies which could have made this list, but number one is not negotiable. Number one is number one, period. So, are you ready to kick off this list? I know I am.

Honorable Mention: Field of Dreams (Debuted in April, 1989, starring Kevin Costner.) This movie hits me hard in my nostalgic chest, but at the same time, it's a little overrated.

10. Moving (Debuted March, 1988)

Genre: Comedy

Starring: Richard Pryor, Randy Quaid, Dana Carvey

To elaborate on my love for movies in the 1980's, the number ten slot here could probably make a top five spot for movies in any other decade in history.

Moving is comedic gold and is nothing short of a gut-buster. The plot follows a New Jersey man named Arlo Pear, and his family, which consist of his wife, daughter and twin sons. One day, at his office job, he attempts to go into work and he finds another woman in his office. His boss informs him that the only way he can keep his job is if he transfers to another location inBoise, Idaho, which not only disappoints him but enrages his entire family. This is where the chaos begins and the laughs follow.

That's about all I can say for now but I can guarantee you this movie will have you in tears laughing. Richard Pryor and Randy Quaid work perfect with each other, and a bizarre performance by Dana Carvey puts the icing on the cake. I compare this movie to the Vacation series, except it's focuses more on the aftermath of the trip, instead of the trip itself. I would recommend this movie to anyone who likes whacky comedy!

Sequels/other movies: There aren't any sequels or prequels but as I mentioned earlier, the Vacation series can compare to this movie. In a way, I could compare this to Max Keeble's Big Move but that's a stretch.

9. The Shining (Debuted May, 1980)

Genre: Horror/Thriller

Starring: Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall

This movie is a movie adaption of a Stephen King novel of the same title. And boy, was it a major thriller. This movie to this day still gives me the chills.

The movie follows a man named Jack and his family, who movie into Overlook hotel solely for the Winter season. He will do this as a job as a caretaker, as the place closes down for the Winter. It's isolated and several miles away from the city, but that's not the problem. The problem is, the hotel is known to be haunted and things start to become eerie has they stay in the hotel........

You won't see a more eerie performance from Jack Nicholson, who is the sole reason this movie is what it is. The famous line "Honey, I'm hoooome!" still gives me chills and his facial expressions may haunt you in your nightmares. The wife in distress and her fears make you nervous, and it turns out to be a cat-mouse game. I would recommend this movie to any Stephen King fan, horror fan or Jack Nicholson fan.

Sequels/Other movies: Since Stephen King has yet to make a prequel or sequel to this novel, there obviously aren't any for this movie either. But there was a mini television series of the same title in 1997 but it wasn't near as good, and the plot actually changed for the worse.

8. A Christmas Story (Debuted November, 1983)

Genre: Comedy, Family, Adventure

Starring: Darren McGavin, Peter Billingsley, Melinda Dillon

This is regarded as the greatest Christmas movie of all time. I respectfully disagree but I can't deny it to be a true classic and an overall fantastic movie.

The movie follows a young boy named Ralphie and his very own Christmas story(hence the title.) It focuses on how dysfunctional, yet, funny his family is and it focuses on ONE Christmas wish of is: A bebe gun. The problem is, everyone and his mother uses the same reason not to give him one: "You'll shoot your eye out kid"! What will happen? Will he get his bebe gun? Will his Christmas be happy afterall?

The movie sounds cheesy but there is a reason why TBS decided to do a 24 hour marathon every year on Christmas Eve. It's a true classic. It's funny and suitable for the whole family. It also makes me wonder how many people realize Ralphie's father in this movie was the same guy who played Adam Sandler's father in Billy Madison. This is a movie literally anyone can enjoy.

Sequels/Other movies: Are you ready to be mind-blown? The 1994 movie My Summer Story(also released as It Runs in the Family but NOT to be confused with the 2003 movie It Runs in the Family), is an actual sequel to this movie. The problem is, hardly anyone liked it(except me) and hardly anyone knows it's a sequel. Why did it fall flat? All the actors and actresses were different for the parts. Ralphie, his brother and his parents were all played by different people. And it didn't have the "classic" tone like A Christmas Story. I still would recommend it regardless.

7. The Goonies (Debuted June, 1985)

Genre: Comedy, Adventure, Family

Starring: Corey Feldman, Anne Ramsey, Sean Astin, Josh Brolin, Jeff Cohen, Kerri Green, Martha Plimpton, Ke Huy Quan

Once a goonie, always a goonie, right? This is one of those movies we watch as kids and wish we could have joined their adventure. I personally wish I could find someone like the character Sloth, just because he looks fun to hang out with.

The movie revolves around a group of kids, who enjoy playing with each other and riding their bikes together. One day, they find a rock with a hole in it, and they hold it up to their eyes, and find out it matches the exact same shape of a rock in the ocean. Now, they are on a quest to find out why this is and hopefully find some treasure!

That sounded like the storyline of a video game, didn't it? Again, we have a movie which primarily focuses on kids and that's why this is a classic. We all imagined ourselves being these kids on a pirate treasure adventure. Anne Ramsey gives a stellar performance as usual and we imagine being afraid of her as well. There is no other movie I would recommend for a family than this one. I still love watching it to this day.

6. The Breakfast Club (Debuted February, 1985)

Genre: Comedy, Drama

Starring: Emilio Estevez, Paul Gleason, Anthony Michael Hall, Judd Nelson, Molly Ringwald, Ally Sheedy

Not only is this a great movie, I think this movie is important for people to watch. It's not just another teen movie, nor is it any random comedy or drama. It's a movie with a message.

This movie is about a group of students who have to serve a detention on a Saturday morning, for one reason or another. In this particular grop, we have the "nerd", the "popular" girl, the "outcast", the "jock" and the "bad" kid who is used to getting in trouble and serving Saturday detentions. On the surface, this high school teens have nothing in common but they will soon find out they have a lot more in common than they think.

This movie has one message: To prove everyone has problems and why we should quit diving ourselves by label. Everyone has a problem, everyone has issues and that is the reason why I relished in this movie. Unlike what the principal in this movie states, this movie is not "another one", it's a unique movie, and the comedic elements enhance the experience.

This movie could be for any adult but I recommend it especially for teenagers in high school.

5. Pet Sematary (Debuted April, 1989)

Genre: Horror/Thriller

Starring: Dale Midkiff, Fred Gwynn, Denise Crosby

Nevermind the critical reception this movie received. Nevermind the people who say "It doesn't compare to the book." Nevermind the fact most of the cast is not recognizable by name. Nevermind the fact this was released at the end of the decade, where things started going "downhill."

This is still arguably the scariest movie I've seen in my life. It also has the scariest movie character I've ever seen, which used to haunt me as a kid.

The movie follows a woman named Rachel and her husband and son, who has just moved into a house. The house seems great but a local neighbor warns them it's right next to haunted pet cemetary. He claims whatever is buried in it, comes from the dead to haunt the people in the town. However, this may not be a rumor. And it may not be solely pets who come back from the dead..........

This movie is a masterpiece! Anyone who likes thrillers or horror films should check this out. This is Stephen King's finest work indeed. The movie still gives me chills, even without the new fancy special effects.

Sequels/Other movies: Pet Sematary Two was released as a sequel in 1992, directed by the same lady, which follows an entirely different family. Oddly enough, Stephen King has never wrote a sequel to the novel, so this movie is entirely the director's idea. I've seen it and it's not good at all. It's lousy. I recommend not watching it. I don't agree with a director making sequels to a movie-adaption to a novel(which never had a sequel in the first place.)

4. The Great Outdoors (Debuted June, 1988)

Genre: Comedy

Starring: John Candy, Dan Aykroyd

The movie stars John Candy and Dan Aykroyd, two comedic geniuses, so that right there is all I need to justify that for a top five spot. However, this whacky comedy doesn't get enough credit and may be the most underrated movie on this list.

The movie follows a Chicago man named Chet and his family who go out in the wilderness of Wisconsin for a vacation in a cabin in the woods. Under the impression everything will go fine and peaceful, he later finds out his brother Roman and his family barge in on them and live with them. Chet, who is infuriated, doesn't have the guts to kick his own brother out, so he allows him to stay. However, Roman is more annoying than anticipated and that's where this hilarious movie takes off.

The movie is not the most slapstick movie but its punchlines and dry humor will have you dying. Dan Aykroyd is hatable, yet, lovable at the same time. John Candy is that "fat kid who won't quit whining" but at the same time, you fall in love with his character too. There is rarely a dull moment in this movie, and surprisingly, the movie itself has a deep plot with some twists.

There is no reason why this movie should fly under the radar: Watch this movie.

Sequels/other movies: There has still not been any sequels or prequels, probably because John Candy died in 1994. The only movie I think can compare is Uncle Buck, which stars John Candy but I don't put that on the same calibar as this movie. Not even close.

3. Stand By Me (Debuted August, 1986)

Genre: Suspense, Adventure

Starring: Will Wheaton, River Phoenix, Corey Feldman, Jerry O' Connell, Kiefer Sutherland

I know, I committed a cardinal sin. I put, yet, another movie based off a work by Stephen King. Go ahead and hunt me down, oh no! But let's face it, this decade has the best movies based off Stephen King novels possible. It's based off a novella titled "The Body", which was published in a large collections book titled Different Seasons.

In a way, this movie is the suspense version of The Goonies. It starts off witha group of kids, who like to hand out and go on adventures together(sound familiar?) Anyway, one day, one of the kids hears a rumor that there is a dead body roughly 20-30 miles away near a train tracks, and him and the group agree there is nothing more "swell" than seeing a dead body(Remember, this is set in the 1950's, so kids actually spent time outside.) Now, they are on a quest-But the quest won't be easy, since there are many obstacles ahead.

This isn't your typical Stephen King work. First of all, it's 100 percent realistic. Second of all, it focuses more on the suspense and drama, not the horror/triller aspect he usually points at. You'll find yourself holding your breath at times, and you'll also find yourself just as anticipated as the kids are. What will happen? Will they see the body? Why does this all matter? You'll have to watch and find out.

Sequels/other movies: Stephen King never wrote a sequel/prequel to his short story, nor was there a movie version as well. This movie, as I mentioned, can be compared to The Goonies but in a silly way. I also compare this to the 2001 movie based off a Stephen King novel titled Hearts in Atlantis.

2. National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (Debuted December, 1989)

Genre: Comedy

Starring: Chevy Chase, Beverly D'Angelo, Randy Quaid

Here it is: My favorite Christmas movie of all time, which just happens to be part of my favorite movie series of all time, the Vacation series.

What is up with the Griswalds this time? Since it's Christmas time, they decided to stay home and have a Christmas vacation. While they're at it, they invite almost everyone in the family to stay over and have a great Christmas time. Suddenly, the obnoxious cousin Eddie shows up, and this is the beginning of the problems they go through.

This movie just BARELY made the decade, but it works. If you haven't seen a movie in the Vacation series, you need to. It's amazing. And I would recommend this movie to any Christmas movie fan or any comedy fan in general.

Sequels/other movies: There are several(You'll find out soon enough.)

1. National Lampoon's Vacation (Debuted July, 1983)

Genre: Comedy/Adventure

Starring: Chevy Chase, Beverly D'Angelo, Randy Quaid and a special appearance by John Candy

Can one argue this is the best comedy of all time? Or possibly the greatest movie ever made? I would say, yes, that is possible, although I don't particularly agree with those notions. Many fans call this "Summer Vacation", it's the movie that spurred off the series. It's the legendary movie that wasn't even expected to do that well, and that was said by the creators themselves. I make it a tradition to watch this movie at least once a Summer....and I usually end up watching it several times a year. One thing most people don't know, is this movie is based off the short story titled "Vacation '58", wrote by the director of this movie John Hughes, which was in his short story collection known as National Lampoon, and you guessed it, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation was a short story of the same collection titled "Vacation '59."

Just in case you're one of those people who still have never seen this movie(or a Vacation movie in general), it kicks off with a family known as the Griswalds, who are proud of their home city of Chicago. They decided to drive across the country to California, to visit the amazing "Wally World" amuesment park. However, it won't be easy, because they face a series of obstacles and unfortunate events along the way.

This movie will have you in tears watching! You will empathize with them, as you imagine yourself on the vacation. One of the reasons I loved the movie so much is because they remind me a LOT like my family. Clark Griswald IS my dad. Cousin Eddie IS my uncle. The movie is nostalgic and the plot is amazing, especially for a comedy. The ending is epic and pure comedy, which is another thing to look forward to in the movie. This movie is recommended for anyone who likes movies. Period.

Sequels/other movies: Here are the rest of the movies in this series in order: National Lampoon's European Vacation(1985), as I stated above, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation(1989), Vegas Vacation(1997), National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation 2(2003, and this was a made-for-TV spin-off, following cousin Eddie's family, which apparently flopped), and the newest one titled simply Vacation was just released recently(July, 2015) and is a another sequel, following Rusty Griswald's family vacation to "Wally World", which I need to see so bad. There was also a short internet film released in 2010 titled Hotel Hell Vacation, which was a bonus movie with Clark Griswald spending the night at a lousy hotel(I've still never seen it.) Either way, this movie series is monumental.


So, how was this list? The greatest decade for movies truly wore me out. Again, I could add at least 30(maybe 40) other movies to this list if I had to, but it was so difficult to solely pick ten. In case anyone asks, because I'm expecting this question, I've never seen any movie from The Godfather series. So that's why none of them made this list.


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What Girls Said 4

  • Firstly you need to watch the Godfather...

    Secondly you missed out ET, Back to the Future, Ferris Buellers Day Off, Indiana Jones, Star Wars, Top Gun, The Terminator, Karate Kid, Big, Poltergeist, Labyrinth, Caddyshack...

    I know it is your own opinion, just feel they are worth mentioning, if nothing else so you watch them :)

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    • @CincinnatiRedsfan Hahaha yeah, I kinda figured so, from your list. xD By the way, I just realized that none of the Godfather movies are actually from the 80s! =O The first two are 70s movies, while the third and last was released in 1990. The series skipped the 80s completely.

    • @nfigure Lol it figures...

      Well, I heard the second one was the best sequel of all time but the third one was one of the worst sequels of all time.

  • Who was your favorite character from the breakfast club?

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    • Brian was my favorite character (The "prep" played by Anthony Michael Hall), because it goes to show that even though some of these "smart, preppy" teens seem to have "perfect" lives, they are actually often depressed and often times, feel lonely.

      I was the lonely "jack of all trades" in high school but people would label me a "teacher's pet" or "prep", because I followed the rules, did all my work and I achieved high grades.

    • I liked Brian too. I liked all of them actually although I couldn't relate to any of them.

  • The Stephen Kings movies were pretty good. I'm sure I seen the others as a kid but Stand by Me and other Kings movies are memorable.

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    • Yes! Not only were the best movies in the 1980's, but the best Stephen King movies were in the 1980's as well.

  • I was expecting at least one Back to the Future movie to make the cut, oh well. :)

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What Guys Said 3

  • My votes are:
    Naked Gun
    Planes, Trains and Automobiles
    Trading Places

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  • Breakfast club and vacation are the only good ones on that list.

    You missed the classics: empire strikes back, et, raiders of the lost ark, back to the future, terminator.

    And some other notable movies: die hard, airplane, blade runner, platoon.

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    • p. s. the godfather came out in 1970 and it's number 2 on imdb's top 250 movies for a reason. its one of the best movies ever. watch it.

    • I had mistaken "The Godfather" for an 80's movie, my bad.

      Anyway, I've never heard of "Empire Strikes Back." I always did think "ET: Extra-Terrestrial" is overrated, as well as the "Back to the Future" series and I've never seen a movie in the "007" series. "Airplane" is great, but I didn't think it was top ten worthy. I've still never seen "Blade Runner" or "Platoon."

    • lol. clearly you're not a star wars fan. empire strikes back is the 2nd star wars movie that came out in 1980 and it's the best of all the star wars movies.

      The best james bond movies came out prior to the 80's.

  • Re-Animator was good too, if you read the book.

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    • I've never heard of it.

      After looking it up on Google, it seems like an interesting movie. I wouldn't mind reading the book as well.

    • It's one of H. P Lovecraft's short stories. It won't even take your 2 hour if you wonder.

    • I love to read! So I might give it a shot.

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