Who Doesn’t Love an 80’s Movie?

The other night I was flipping through channels and I came across the last 15 minutes of Sixteen Candles– the best part! You know, when Jake finds his girlfriend with the geek, then waits for Samantha outside her sister’s wedding. That part ruined me for any guy that would later cross my path. Oh Jake Ryan….

So this got me thinking about how much I love 80’s movies. They just don’t make them like they used to! Or maybe they do and I’m too busy with kids and life to sit and watch them. But I don’t think so. I bet if you looked (which I do not have the time to research so trust me), you’d find that the number of movies made now is exponentially higher than it was back then. The current market is saturated with so many Indie, low budget, half-baked movies that it’s hard to find the good ones among all the weeds. But the 80’s proved quality over quantity, my friend. And yes, I just referred to Tom Cruise dancing in his underwear (Risky Business) and a bunch of grown men fighting evil spirits (Ghostbusters) as quality. Quality entertainment at least.

The 80’s made up my life from two years old to 12. I can name so many movies that added to my great childhood memories (I realize as I type that I was probably younger than my daughter when I saw some of these. Yikes! That’s what parenting of the fifth child looks like I suppose). Movies like, The Goonies, Back to the Future, and Stand by Me are classics. The series of Die Hard, National Lampoon’s Vacation, and Lethal Weapon were born in this decade. If your family is anything like mine you find yourself quoting these classics and finding camaraderie in random places when you share about your favorite 80’s flick.

Thanks to genius writer John Hughes, many films made in the 80’s highlighted high school and young adulthood, making growing up look so appealing. The dorky girls got the good guys…that alone was hope for a big glasses wearing introvert. They were filled with so many great messages (of what NOT to do sometimes), angst we could relate to, dreams that we dreamed about. Oh, the good ol’ days….

Here are my top ten most memorable 80’s movies, in no particular order. Narrowing it down was so hard. I could call in sick for a week and still not make it through my full list of favorites. Did yours make it on here? If I missed your favorite tell me what it is and why you love it!

Sixteen Candles

  • Best overall. Hands down my favorite movie of all time. If you don’t agree, at least a little bit, we probably can’t be friends. I grew up in a big family so I get how a birthday can be overlooked. I remember what it was like to pine after the king of popularity. I remember feeling like I was in that middle spot, too good for the nerds, not good enough for the cool kids (don’t judge, high school is rough). That ending. Have you ever tried to recreate the cake scene? I wonder how many takes it took to not put a knee in the frosting or singe their clothes on the candles. Yeah, that film definitely set a girl up for some stupidly high expectations in the romance department.

Dirty Dancing

  • Nobody puts baby in the corner! Am I right? What girl didn’t dream of escaping during a family vacay to find a hunky rebel to teach her to dance? When I was younger I could listen to this soundtrack for days.

Fast Times at Ridgemont High

  • Spicoli. The soundtrack. Every time I hear “Somebody’s Baby” on the radio I get the urge to watch this movie.  A little crude, not for the faint- heartedt. But so funny.

Top Gun

  • So many quotable lines. I know you’re smiling at remembering a scene or two. Who didn’t love Goose? Or that volleyball match? Back in the day before Tom Cruise got weird…
    • Negative ghost rider, the pattern is full.
    • M: She’s lost that loving feeling. G: No she hasn’t!
    • Maverick, you big stud… Take me to bed or lose me forever.
    • I: You can be my wingman anytime. M: Bullshit, you can be mine.

Breakfast Club

  • This movie will always be in style because the jocks, the preppies, the smart kids, and the odd balls will always exist.  “Does Barry Manilow know you raid his wardrobe?” “Can you describe the ruckus sir?” Only in movies is detention so fun. But there are a lot of good messages between the laughs. Good times.

Revenge of the Nerds

  • If only for the ingenuous way the nerds outsmarted the jocks, this one is a winner. I love me a romantic and handsome hero, but not a jerky jock. My college-aged nieces and nephews need to watch this.

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

  • Every time I hear someone call out a name more than once I hear instead, “Bueller. Bueller?” I’ll never forget I had my own Ferris moment cutting school one day (stop it, judgy pants). Thank God my mother drove with blinders on because I sat next to her at a stop light when I should have been in school and it was the longest 30 seconds of my life! I’m sure that day consisted of a McDonald’s run though, not eating at a fancy restaurant and singing on a float in a parade.

Pretty in Pink

  • I apologize if there is too much Molly Ringwald on this list but the other option was Weird Science and then I would have been Anthony Michael Hall heavy (who actually turned down the roll of Ducky). I do love this one, but I wish Ducky had gotten the girl. In fact that was how it was supposed to end but during a test run the audience didn’t like it. When they called Andrew McCarthy back to reshoot the ending he had lost a ton of weight for a new movie he was filming and had shaved his head. Check out how different he looks at prom than the rest of movie and see if you can tell!


  • The music, the obnoxious preacher (I could never enjoy him in another movie because of that role he played), the red boots. The DANCE! My favorite part is the tractor race!


  • This one may seem a little random, but I feel like this movie was the start of really making super heroes cool again. I loved Jack Nicholson as the Joker. “Ever danced with the devil in the pale moon light?” Regardless of the actor, the various versions of batman are entertaining with that classic touch of good vs. evil.

Don’t forget to share your favorite!!


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