The 80s are one of the most beloved of all generations — and not only by those who lived through it, but also by those who get to look back at it and go, “what the f*** were you guys on?!”.
The world advanced in social consciousness, political awareness, and technological advancement. I mean, where would we be without bouffant hair and leg warmers?
But, in addition to all the innovation and discovery, the 80s were just plain fun. Women were finding their own voice and making their place in the workforce more than ever before. Teens were becoming more than just children who had to be “seen and not heard”. And MTV and cinema spread new vocabularies, culture, and music across the world.
Out of these times came some amazingly fun movies. Here are ten that show the decade in its best light. Gnarly, dude.
10 Weird Science (1985)
“How ’bout a nice greasy pork sandwich served in a dirty ashtray?” – Chet
High school nerd friends, Gary (Anthony Michael Hall) and Wyatt (Ilan Mitchell-Smith), spend a weekend evening watching the classic movie Frankenstein. Since they are computer geeks, they decide to create their own perfect female human by hooking up a Barbie doll to their computer. With the additional power provided from hacking into a government system, the boys are able to bring the “perfect” woman to life. Played by beautiful Kelly LeBrock, “Lisa” is able to help the boys find their confidence and real girls of their own.
9 Back to the Future (1985)
“Well, that is your name, isn’t it? Calvin Klein? It’s written all over your underwear.” – Lorraine Baines
Combine a time-travelling DeLorean and Michael J. Fox, and you have the makings of one of the most awesome 1980s movies of all. As teenager Marty McFly, Fox is propelled into the past where he meets his father and mother before they became a couple. But, rather awkwardly, Marty becomes the focus of his own mother’s crush. He has to find a way to get his mother together with his nerdy father so that he can still existent when he returns to the future.
8 Heathers (1988)
“I prayed for the death of Heather Chandler many times and I felt bad every time I did it but I kept doing it anyway. Now I know you understood everything. Praise Jesus, Hallelujah.” – Heather Duke
Heather was a popular name for girls in the 80s and there were often several girls with that name in one school. In the movie Heathers the three most popular girls in a high school all share the same name. Average student Veronica befriends the ‘Heathers’ but things go seriously wrong when she meets a sociopath boyfriend. The movie stars Winona Ryder, Shannen Doherty, and Christian Slater.
7 Ghostbusters (1984)
“It’s the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.” – Dr. Ray Stantz
What do professors do when they’re fired from their teaching positions? Start up a business tracking down ghosts and other paranormal creatures, of course! In this 80s movie, three unemployed professors do just that and end up experiencing more supernatural happenings than they ever imagined. Ghosts and demons lurk around every corner and a portal to another world opens up allowing evil to enter. The Ghostbusters are the only thing that stands between the ghosts and the complete destruction of New York City.
6 The Breakfast Club (1982)
“Shut up bitch! Go fix me a turkey pot pie.” – John Bender
When five students from different high school groups are combined together for a morning of Saturday detention, the personalities are doomed to clash. However, after spending an entire morning together away from their cliques, they find out they are more alike than different. Unlikely friendships and couples come together such as the reject and the jock, and the rebel and the princess. And the nerd learns that it’s okay to be just who he is and not try to make others happy.
5 Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)
“Pardon my French, but Cameron is so tight that if you stuck a lump of coal up his ass, in two weeks you’d have a diamond.” – Ferris Bueller
Who didn’t fake a cold or stomach-ache once or twice when they were in school? In this 80s film, high school student Ferris Bueller (Matthew Broderick) finds that he has school burn-out and needs a day off to play hooky. Since he has his parents tricked into believing he’s innocent and sweet, playing sick is no problem. But how can you have fun alone? Ferris devises a plan to get his uptight best friend and his girlfriend to join him. They spend an epic day trying to evade their high school principal while having fun and relaxing.
4 Better Off Dead (1985)
“The K-12 dude. You make a gnarly run like that and girls will get sterile just looking at you.” – Charles De Mar
Dumped by his girlfriend, Lane Meyer is completely devastated. In addition to being alone and broken-hearted, Lane also faces the fact that he is a failure — at suicide. Dealing with crazy parents, neighbors, and friends, Lane begins to feel he is going crazy as well. He and his friend come up with a genius plan for him to become a winner again and get his girlfriend and sanity back. In the end he learns that the superficial girl he so wanted wasn’t worth his time after all.
3 Risky Business (1980)
“I don’t believe this! I’ve got a trig midterm tomorrow, and I’m being chased by Guido the killer pimp.” – Miles
Way back before he was the brightest star in the Church of Scientology, Tom Cruise was the heartthrob in Risky Business. As high school teenager Joel, Cruise spends a weekend partying while his parents are out of town. But after borrowing his father’s Porsche, and accidentally allowing it to roll into Lake Michigan, he has to find a fast way to earn big money for repairs. What better way than pimping hookers from his parent’s expensive home?
2 Sixteen Candles (1984)
“What was he wearing? Well, uh, let’s see, he was wearing a red argyle sweater, and tan trousers, and red shoes… Hmm? No, he’s not retarded.” – Howard
Almost 16, Samantha (Molly Ringwald) is excited for her big birthday. The problem is that her special day is overshadowed by her older sister’s wedding and all the plans associated with her event. No one seems to remember, not even her grandparents. And, to add to her misery she is being pursued by the school nerd even though she is madly crushing on a high school senior. Like most 80s movies, it comes to a happy ending where dreams can happen and true love prevails.
1 Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989)
“Seven minutes ago…we, your forefathers, were brought forth upon a most excellent adventure conceived by our new friends, Bill… and Ted. These two great gentlemen are dedicated to a proposition which was true in my time, just as it’s true today. Be excellent to each other. And…PARTY ON, DUDES!” – Abraham Lincoln
Bill (Alex Winter) and Ted (Keanu Reeves) are teenagers who are more interested in music and starting a rock band than school and passing tests. Unfortunately, their happiness hinges on passing a history exam. Failing high school will lead to a future in military school and the end of their band. With help from a traveler from the future (Rufus), the boys are able to travel through time learning from historical figures who can help them pass their test. It’s thanks to Bill and Ted that the 80s gave us such gems of phrases as “bogus”, “excellent”, “bodacious”, and “dude”.