Recently, our managing editor Jerod posted a question on Facebook (where only the most crucial discussions take place) that deserved much contemplation and generated considerable debate:
The discussion quickly gathered steam, as various other ’80s movies were thrown into the conversation.
Naturally, we moved the discussion to our MSF writers’ forum and discussed our favorites. That brought about the idea of making an aggregate list of “must-see” ’80s movies, taking each writer’s opinions and choices into account.
Since there is an entire generation of adults who weren’t alive to see these movies (geez, just typing that makes me feel old), this could serve as a guide to helping America’s youth strike cinematic gold.
This list was created with one notable caveat: no sports movies allowed.
What follows is a list of movies that if you haven’t seen, you need to to take the time to see.
MSF writers Amanda Lawson, Jim McGrew, Josh Tinley and Jerod Morris contributed, with their comments included below, as well as a couple of movie buffs I know (trust me, these guys know their stuff). The list is presented as a power ranking, taking into account where each contributor placed each movie on their respective lists.
As always, if you feel we left something out (which we inevitably do – these lists are obviously subjective), please comment below and get the discussion going on here just as we did on Jerod’s original Facebook post.
This list isn’t meant to be the best ’80s movies, just a list that a bunch of sports bloggers think you need to see.
15. Revenge of the Nerds – 1984
Keith: Revenge of the Nerds is a classic raunchy comedy. Watching it today, one is amazed at how politically incorrect it is, but that’s part of what makes it so hilarious. It’s also a true underdog story, and who can’t get behind that?
The film spawned two mostly terrible sequels, but the original is great, even after about thirty viewings.
The only thing that still confuses me is why Dudley “Booger” Dawson was considered a nerd. As far as I’m concerned, that guy is one of the coolest characters ever to grace the screen. Just take a look at the t-shirts he wears during the movie for proof.
14. Die Hard – 1988
Ryan: For an 80′s movie, Die Hard had it all: action, drama, the hero, etc. The main character was based around the everyday normal dad / hero that you could put yourself into. John McClane wasn’t a robot or a 6’5, 280 lbs. muscled action hero. Just an average everyday dude.
The movie had intense action – so intense that you can replay the helicopter explosion / jump scene over in your head without even watching the movie because it’s burned into your memory.
Last but not least, though many people don’t pay attention to dialogue, Die Hard had one of the most memorable movie lines ever (besides “Hasta la vista”). It had kids and teenagers dropping the mother bomb everywhere… Yippie Ki-Yay MF’er!
13. The Neverending Story – 1984
Jerod: The Neverending Story is a compelling fantasy story with a great message about the importance of imagination.
Keith: I will never look at giant white dogs and not call them “Falkor.” Plus, Atreyu is the name of a metalcore band who had 1 1/2 good albums.
12. Big Trouble In Little China – 1986
Adam: This movie combines a ton of things that I love: martial arts, fantasy/sci-fi, John Carpenter, Kurt Russell, brothels, Asian culture, and some great ’80s fashion. I could list about 5 Kurt Russell movies in my list, but this is the best of the bunch.
Author’s Note: This is also my favorite movie of all time, so even though Adam and I were the only ones to list it, I’m including it. Perks of being the one to put the post together.
11. The Breakfast Club – 1985
Keith: In my opinion, this is John Hughes’ finest work and the finest movie ever made about the high school experience. It manages to be funny, sincere and though-provoking, all while minimizing cheesiness (except the dancing scene, that was pretty cheesy) that has always been so prevalent in teen movies.
The struggles that the kids go through are so relatable, and the movie resonates because the stereotypical character roles are accurate and believable, even 27 years later.
Plus, what teenager didn’t want to let their inner John Bender out to a teacher, principal or boss?
10. Fast Times at Ridgemont High – 1982
Jim: The pool scene alone with Phoebe Cates is worth the price of admission, and Judge Reinhold is absolutely hilarious, as is surferdude Sean Penn.
While not really one of the best films of the 80s, it may have 4-5 of the sexiest and funniest scenes ever.
WARNING: Don’t drive with your pirate costume on!
9. Platoon – 1986
Amanda: I watched this in a high school 20th Century War History Class, and it stuck with me. I was at the age where I was finally starting to understand what “war” meant and the challenges brave men and women face when they fight for our country.
Jim: A haunting look at the Vietnam War with outstanding performances by Charlie Sheen, Tom Berenger and Willem Dafoe.
8. Who Framed Roger Rabbit? – 1988
Jerod: Another underrated movie. People forget how revolutionary it was when it came out with the animated characters interplaying with the live actors. I still have nightmares about Christopher Lloyd and his weird crazy eyes at the end of this movie.
Amanda: Roger Rabbit is kind of annoying but I think the combination of Betty Boop and Veronica Rabbit was the reason I enjoyed this movie, and I’m sure some of the MSF fellas would agree. I have never wanted to be a redhead more in my entire life, than I did after watching this movie.
Eight movies have been revealed, with seven left to go.
As Keith concludes his countdown, see his and the MSF team’s thoughts on:
- The clear-cut best of the Star Wars movies
- The best of the Indiana Jones movies?
- The movie that is more inspirational even than Rudy
And, of course, the most must-see 80s movie of all-time.