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Monday, 27 January 2014

80 great 80's films

For no good reason other than it just popped into my head, I thought I’d compile a list of what I like to call classic 80’s films.  No, not films based on the antics of people in their 80’s (well, apart from one), but those films which were released during that halcyon cinematic decade known as the 1980’s.  Here we have a list of films perfect for those with a sense of nostalgia, or who were perhaps a kid during that decade (like my good self), or perhaps for those who were born in later decades and would like to do some historical research on the time.  

Anyhoo, here’s the list, grouped loosely under vague and, in some cases, debatable headings, and in absolutely no kind of order whatsoever.


  • Caddyshack (worthy of a listing just for Bill Murray’s performance)
  • Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (a great slacker movie)
  • Police Academy (good film but do not watch any of the sequels -- the film series that proved the ‘law of diminishing returns’)
  • National Lampoon’s Vacation (what holidays are all about)
  • Trading Places (Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd trade, er, places)
  • Coming to America (Eddie works at a burger joint)
  • Twins (Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny De Vito are twins... I know, crazy idea)


  • The Lost Boys (horror-lite, but filled with some great lines and a memorable soundtrack)
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street (Freddy wears a stripy jumper and yet somehow that’s scary!)
  • The Shining (Jack goes crazy and loses his comb... probably needs some sleeping pills too)


  • Top Gun (Tom Cruise flies, sings a bit, plays volleyball, gets all maudlin, then flies some more)
  • Die Hard (Bruce Willis in a manky vest and barefoot against a bunch of terrorists who take over a building)
  • Aliens (technically a Sci-Fi film, but I’m placing it under Action because - frankly - there’s a lot of action)
  • Terminator (again, technically a Sci-Fi film, and arguably horror, but there’s a lot of action so...)
  • Mad Max (Mel Gibson gets mad)
  • Lethal Weapon (Mel at his best, before... well, difficult times and possibly real madness)
  • The Karate Kid (ok, not massive action by any means, but when I saw it as a young kid, there was action enough)
  • Commando (Arnie getting mighty pissed with some people who kidnap his daughter)
  • Predator (Arnie covered in mud and getting mighty pissed at some badass hunter-alien dude)
  • Total Recall (Arnie getting... I forget what happened in this one... I’m sure it will come back to me...)
  • Rocky 4 (East versus West in a film held together by a great soundtrack, umpteen training montages and a barn-storming fight)
  • Tango and Cash (a silly film, but entertaining in a brain-dead kind of way)
  • The Untouchables (Sean Connery plays an Irish-American with a Scottish accent)
  • The Hunt for Red October (Sean Connery plays a Russian with a Scottish accent)
  • Highlander (Sean Connery plays an Egyptian/Spaniard with a Scottish accent, and a Frenchman plays a Scot with God only knows what kind of accent -- great soundtrack though)
  • Raging Bull (De Niro ate a lot of ice-cream between the two parts of this film...)
  • Scarface (brutal and crazy)
  • Beverly Hills Cop (Eddie Murphy talks very quickly, a lot, and solves a crime while breaking several laws himself)
  • Full Metal Jacket (the drill sergeant guy is awesome, but at times quite a harrowing film)
  • Platoon (one heck of a war film)
  • Escape from New York (Kurt Russell wears an eye patch and doesn’t say very much)


  • The Last Starfighter (notable for some very early computer-generated effects)
  • Tron (notable for some very very very early computer-generated effects)
  • Krull (a bit like a cheap Lord of the Rings but with a bunch of strange aliens)
  • ET (I saw this at the cinema back in 1982 and I remember a lot of people crying)
  • Back to the Future (first thing I did once I passed my driving test was take my crappy old car up to 88 mph - metaphorically-speaking, officer...)
  • Labyrinth (David Bowie in spandex and big Tina Turner hair - genius)
  • The Princess Bride (nearly every line is quotable)
  • Big (Tom Hanks before he got, er, too big a star)
  • The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (lying can be a good thing)
  • Time Bandits (an anarchic romp through history)
  • Indiana Jones (1 to 3, although if you don’t see 2, you’re not missing too much)
  • Cocoon (oldies on drugs, basically)
  • The Goonies (has a bit of everything and should be watched at least once a year)
  • The Dark Crystal (the first film I ever saw on video - and surprisingly scary for a young kid too!)
  • Blade Runner (Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?... Do they, Mister Ford, do they??)
  • Ghostbusters (should have placed this under True Stories really...)
  • Teen Wolf (Michael J Fox becomes a fox... should have been, but no, he becomes a wolf)
  • Crocodile Dundee (the film that single-handedly boosted tourism in Australia)
  • Robocop (ultra-violent, and the scene where the dude is melting is pretty grim)
  • Empire Strikes Back (paternal issues abound)
  • Running Man (like an early version of The Hunger Games, except it’s Arnie and he gets mighty pissed at a lot of people... again)
  • Big Trouble in Little China (Kurt Russell has a thing for a girl with green eyes, but he’s not the only one)


  • Poltergeist (ha - I’m kidding - horror)
  • When Harry Met Sally (more of a rom-com than an out-and-out romance, but then I don’t think I’ve knowingly watched an out-and-out romance so I wouldn’t know!)


  • Wall Street (everything that happens in this film is still going on today - nothing ever changes)
  • Rain Man (I don’t think it rains once during the film...)

Others (basically being ones I haven’t really seen myself but which the good folk of Twitter have brought to my attention)

  • Breakfast Club 
  • Dirty Dancing (have seen this one actually, but not a personal favourite of mine - well-loved by a lot of people though)
  • Pretty in Pink
  • 16 Candles (I’m not sure this is even a real film, but someone assured me it was...)
  • St. Elmo’s Fire 
  • Airplane (was this even released in the 80s...? *after copious research turns out it was*)
  • Top Secret
  • Dragnet 
  • Field of Dreams
  • Class of 1999
  • Heathers
  • The Thing
  • Footloose

I’m quite sure I’ve missed out some really good films from the list. So, in the interests of fairness, if you’ve got a burning desire to give air to a favourite 80’s films, please feel free to leave a comment.

Cheers for reading and happy watching!