Classic Movies From The 80s
The 1980s was a great decade for movies and many of the movies from these years have become classic favorites, that are watched time and time again. Movies from the 80s include several major blockbusters that became iconic and started major trends. There were great movies in every genre launched in the 80s and the best news is that they are just as good to watch today!
The blockbuster movies
One of the greatest classic movies from this decade was Rain man (1988). Tom Cruise plays Charlie Babbitt, a self-centered car dealer who takes his elder autistic brother Raymond (Dustin Hoffman) on a trip – even though he only vaguely knows him. His motive is to ‘persuade’ Raymond into giving up the money left to him by their late father. The movie is exceptionally well done as it explores many issues including mental health and it scooped eight Oscars including one for Dustin Hoffman’s portrayal of Raymond.
In 1981, Indiana Jones made his debut in the Steven Spielberg epic – Raiders of the Lost Ark. Harrison Ford plays this ‘larger than life’ super chilled and gun-toting archaeologist – who does not always do things ‘by the book’.
Another ‘must see’ from this era is Top Gun (1986) when the gorgeous young Tom Cruise filled the screen, dressed in military uniform. It was this movie that launched him as one of the biggest stars of the decade. There is romance, action, and an excellent baseball scene. Not surprisingly, the film was an instant success!
Robin Williams is sadly missed by his many fans and he certainly captured many hearts in Dead Poets’ Society (1989). In the movie, Williams plays the exuberant English teacher, John Keating, who manages to nurture a love of poetry in his class of prep school lads – what a funny and memorable movie!
Ranking amongst the top movies of the decade is Batman which was released in 1989 and shows our cloaked superhero pitched against a particularly devious Joker portrayed by Jack Nicholson.
The decade kicked off with Star Wars Episode 5 – The Empire Strikes Back, which is the first of two Star Wars movies released in the 80s and considered by many to be the best of all. The Return of the Jedi was released three years later.
The 1980s saw the arrival of some great new supernatural characters. The biggest blockbuster movie was ET – meaning Extra-Terrestrial. Little-known Drew Barrymore took the lead role in this iconic movie which tells the heart-warming story of how Elliott (Henry Thomas) and his pals befriend a stranded alien and try to help him go on his way home. The movie had everyone quoting the phrase ‘ET Go home”!
Steven Spielberg’s Poltergeist (1982) certainly took the meaning of the word ‘terrifying’ to new levels in this suspense-packed drama in which an American family is turned upside down by evil spirits who abduct Carol Ann- their little girl.
The Ghostbusters arrive in 1984 in ‘They’re Here to Save the World’ and they quickly became a huge new phenomenon. The idea of a comedy about ghosts had seemed a little strange to movie fans at first, but it worked and went on to inspire many look-a-likes.
Two years later, in 1986, movie screens were filled by Aliens – an unusually successful sequel with Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) and her team of highly proficient marines trying to kill the aliens who have taken control of a space settlement.
Back to the Future was released halfway through the decade and established Michael J Fox as an A-Lister. He plays Marty McFly who travels back in time to when his parents were in high school. Things do not go quite to plan as he suddenly finds that he is jeopardizing his own existence.
…And a little romance
The biggest romance movie was the 1987 Dirty Dancing which is the epic love story about the forbidden romance between Baby and Johnny and features one of the most amazing dance routines of all time.
When Harry Met Sally (1985) is a fun start to finish as Harry Burns (Billy Crystal) and Sally Albright (Meg Ryan) discover that although they are good pals, they are falling in love.
An Officer and a Gentleman was a huge box office success with Richard Gere in the role of a United States Naval Officer cadet who is focusing on his new career when he suddenly falls for a local factory worker.
Believe it or not, these are not the only good movies that appeared in the 1980s – there are many others worth seeing. The great news is that if you did not see any of these the first time around, there is plenty of opportunity to enjoy them now in the comfort of your living room – popcorn is optional!