Top 5 ’80s Movies the have stood the test of time

DIRTY DANCING (Image Credit: CBS)
DIRTY DANCING (Image Credit: CBS)

This was probably the hardest list I’ve ever made and frankly I think it’s impossible to only name five.  I grew up in the ’80s and there were so many films that benchmarked my development but these five are particular favorites.  I tried to ensure every target audience was accounted for so they wouldn’t all only pertain to a person in his or her early 30s like myself – again, I agonized over this list.  Nonetheless, here are my top five ’80s movies that have stood the test of time.

E.T.

This movie will forever be remembered and studied as a children’s classic film.  Who can’t relate to Elliott who finds and saves a vulnerable, friendly outsider that “the man” wants to experiment on and hurt?  Spielberg magic is at its peak with this film and our friend with the glowing finger certainly stands the test of time.  “Ouch.”

THE BREAKFAST CLUB (Image Credit: Universal Pictures)
THE BREAKFAST CLUB (Image Credit: Universal Pictures)

The Breakfast Club

Although it’s unlikely that all teenagers have been in this type of detention scenario, I do think we’ve all experienced a time when we connected to a person outside our normal friend group.  Throughout adolescence we stick to our cliques like glue, afraid to branch out and risk being ostracized until we reach a point where we realize that none of it matters in the big picture.  Those are the moments that define us as individuals and that transition from kid to adult will always be relevant.

Dirty Dancing

Who hasn’t gone on a summer vacation with our family and fallen head over heels in love with Patrick Swayze?  Seriously, as a teenage girl I was always crushing on mysterious older guys when I was on vacation.  Did anything ever happen with them?  No way, I was very shy.  However, the class system, abortion, breaking away from our parents, and falling in love are all themes that one sees in movies today.  Some things never change.  Side note: this was the first PG-13 I saw without my parents permission – worth it!

WHEN HARRY MET SALLY (Image Credit: MGM)
WHEN HARRY MET SALLY (Image Credit: MGM)

When Harry Met Sally…

“I’ll have what she’s having.”  An iconic and controversial scene in a film that I believe inspired/allowed other programs that found the humor in sex (i.e. Sex & the City) to exist.  Not to mention the universal problem, will sleeping with my friend ruin the friendship?  Well, guess what?  It does – personal experience.   This classic Nora Ephron film will always ring true for those that have experienced singledom past the age of 30.

The Untouchables

Mafia stories are always a hit in America, the fascination with the true stories of Al Capone (among other notable mobsters) will never die.  Eliot Ness and his vendetta against Capone inspires many people to join the FBI to this day, not to mention Brian De Palma, Kevin Costner, Sean Connery and Robert De Niro do an amazing job in this film.  Nominated for Oscars and continually included on Top 100 movie lists of all time, this film’s relevance will last the test of time.

When I started this list it was riddled with movies that skewed Gen Y until I started browsing IMDB’s The Best 80’s Movies list – talk about making my life difficult.  So, let me give some shout outs to movies that were on my much larger list but didn’t make the cut: Sixteen Candles, Weird Science, Footloose, Back to the Future, Star Wars: V & VI, Indiana Jones: ALL, The Princess Bride, Working Girl, Adventures in Babysitting, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, The Karate Kid, The Goonies (this was a really difficult choice), Die Hard, Terms of Endearment, The NeverEnding Story, Beaches, Steel Magnolias….okay, I can’t stop.  Impossible, I tell you!  I can find reasons for why all of these still relate to life today – in fact, I was listening to the Footloose soundtrack while I was writing this because the music is brilliant.

♪♫ “Dancing in the sheets…”  ♪♫

 

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BreAna Hansen studied Film & Media Studies at the University of California, Irvine graduating Magna Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa. She won two UCI screenwriting awards while earning her Bachelors and continues to develop screenplays in her free time. BreAna is a member of Women in Film Seattle and the Society for Cinema & Media Studies. She is also the creator and principle writer of A Girl with Glasses, an entertainment blog.

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