I wasn't quite old enough to watch movies on my own in the 80's (though I do recall tickets weren't that unaffordable for a student), but I still got to watch a tonload of movies at home. Back then, cable TV wasn't quite as common as it is today; only rich people and hotels had them. DVDs were unheard of; compact disks weren't yet that popular, and they weren't yet nicknamed "CDs". Those disks were darned expensive, so you handled them with paranoid care, even if they only played music you couldn't rip.
Additional entertainment was provided by a then-useful gadget called the Betamax, a.k.a. the VCR. Kids could just walk over to the nearest video rental place (every other corner had one), rent a few beta for 10 to 15 bucks each and watch and re-watch to their heart's content. That's where the other handy-dandy gadget came in: the rewinder.
This here is a list of my fave 80's movies - most of which I watched via Betamax. Most of them I liked as a child, some I still love. Others made it to my list not necessarily because i enjoyed them, but because they were big chunks of the 80's ladscape from my perspective.
My fave 80's sci-fi / fantasy flicks
- Labyrinth (1986) - This was groundbreaking in its time, me thinks. And David Bowie was just so cool (O Goblin King, Goblin King, I don't have a kid brother but if you're that cute I hope you visit my room next).
- The Empire Strikes Back (1980), and
- Return of the Jedi (1983) - Love to the point of committing it to memory. As expected from a geek like me. And who wouldn't remember that scene -
" I am your father! -- "
- Back To The Future (1985) - I've seen it soooo many times, there was I point I could recite it from memory.
- Willow (1988) - Magic and stuff. I never knew that was Val Kilmer until lately.
- Legend - fantasy with a love story on the side, starring a young, awkward Tom Cruise.
- Flight of the Navigator (1986) - Another amazing Disney that fed my fantasy-hunger. The most unforgettable bits were the protagonist's first flying lessons, the ending, and the silver, liquid-metal ship.
- The Last Starfighter (1984) - It wasn't that great a movie, but I enjoyed it, watched it over and over until I memorized it.
- Neverending Story - What 80's kid wouldn't have this in his list of faves?
- E. T. - I thought (still do) that the alien was incredibly gross, but I enjoyed the story.
- Ghostbusters - Monumental, me thinks. The movie spurred on a cartoon, a sequel, tons of toys and various merchadise that were all part of the 80's experience. My fave would be the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.
- Return to Oz (1985)
- Short Circuit (1986)
- Tron - I think this was the first film to use CGI, so that makes it a landmark of sorts in film history. The characters were a bit two-dimensional - well, because, they really were. It's one of those iconic movies that can't be remade - because it would just seem absolutely low-tech and stupid; updating the story would require a 99% overhaul and that won't be a remake anymore.
- The Princess Bride (1987) - A lighthearted classic.
" My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die. "
My fave 80's drama flicks
- Empire of the Sun (1987)- Intense. The young Christian Bale was remarkable. It helps that he was cute, too.
- The Last Emperor (1987) - Though found it immense, I wanted to know more about Henry Pu Yi and China. I felt sorry for Pu Yi though he was a jerky kid who grew up into a careless statesman. Watching it helped me with my Asian history in later years. To this day I can still recite the dynasties of China in order.
- Full Metal Jacket (1987) - Unforgettable and powerful. My parents should not have let me see this with them.
- St. Elmo's Fire
- Dead Poets' Society (1988) - Profound story, wonderful script, delightful cast.
" I sound my barbaric yawp over the rooftops of the world. "
" Oh Captain, My Captain. "
- Excalibur - I think this would be the best King Arthur movie I've seen ever. Or do I feel that only because i was young (too young, actually; it was R-rated) when i saw it? I think my knowledge of the Arthur legend is based on what I saw in Excalibur ).
- Dirty Dancing - Cute. I heard Jennifer Grey later had a nose job that made her so much cuter, but no one wanted to cast her anymore because her new look just didn't have that edge.
- Gandhi - Heaaaavy.
- Stand By Me (1986) - Indelible, like its theme song.
My fave teen cheese flicks from the 80's
Some of them were actually silly, but they were light enough for my young mind to appreciate and remember:
- Sixteen Candles (1984) - From the late great John Hughes, this flick featured the teen movie archetypes. I still think it's a laugh trip, and I still love the soundtrack.
- Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986) - I LOVE this. The ultimate feelgood movie.
- Pretty In Pink - This was actually a painfully sucky movie - Molly Ringwald must roll her eyes at this now - but I still put it on my list of likes because it's iconic. And besides, I love the soundtrack.
- The Breakfast Club
- 3'o Clock High
- Satisfaction - It's corny, I know, but I liked it. It made me want to be in an all-girl rock band too.
- Can't Buy Me Love - Back in the day when Patrick Dempsey was cast as one of the "loser" kids
- Some Kind of Wonderful - Cheesy romantic but memorable.
- Footloose - Kevin Bacon in a teen movie.
- Karate Kid - So many themes to this story.
" Wax on, wax off... "
- Only You - Still one of my fave romance flicks to date. I fell in love with Marisa Tomei and Robert Downey and Rome in this flick.
- Chances Are - Really sweet.
- When Harry Met Sally - Though it took me a few years to get what that diner scene was about. The more recent "A Lot Like Love" (Ashton Kutcher, Claire Forlani) is SOOO similar.
- Mannequin - I actually thought it was cool back then, the song too. These days I'd be ashamed to admit it publicly.
- The Secret of My Succe$s - I was a Michael J. Fox fan; did't care if the movie reeked. I thought it was a brilliant thing to do to make for yourself a non-superhero alter-ego.
- Oh God, You Devil - Had a valuable lesson.
My fave animated / children's movies from the 80's
- Annie - As far as i recall, this was the first movie I watched in the cinema
- The Explorers - with a very young but already cute Ethan Hawke
- The Little Mermaid (1989) - The first Disney fairy tale in a long while was certainly impressive, given its fresh, more modern flavor
- Transformers: The Movie - no, not the Megan Fox one; the cartoon.
" Baa weep gran na weep nin ni bong! "
- Starchaser: the Legend of Orin - The one with the bladeless sword.
- Who Framed Roger Rabbit? - It fascinated me when it came out but it got old quickly.
- Rainbow Brite - A girl cartoon, of course. I watched it before almost everyone else did and that was a big thing to me. My best friend and I had a make-believe game pattered around Rainbowland.
- Rock & Rule - I think it had a bit of adult things in it, but I recall enjoying it
- Macross: the Movie
" Stage fright, go away ... this is my big day... "
- Troop Beverly Hills (1989) - Ever wonder how Tori Spelling looked before the nose job? But besides that, it was entertaining for pre-teen girls. This movie was special to me because I shared it with my best friend.
- The Secret of NIMH - This was profound for a cartoon, me thought. Of course years later I started thinking it's just a cartoon.
- Scrappy - First movie that made me cry. It was a really sad cartoon movie about a lost dog. It had a happy edong of course.
My fave 80's Action / Adventure flicks
- Big Trouble in Little China - When I was a kid, i thought this was thrilling, fast-paced and complex. I caught it on cable lately and suddenly it seems a lot simpler than I thought it was - but still good. For an 80's flick i mean.
- Batman - Tim Burton trumps Joel Schumacher.
- The Adventures of Baron Munchausen - I wouldn't mind watching this now and letting my kids see it (except for the part with Uma's exposed breast prolly).
- Terminator - Another iconic flick.
- Inner Space - I found it fasciating, the thought of a miniaturized pilot being able to explore the human body from the inside. I thought I wanted to do it too.
- Robocop - It was disturbing for me as a kid, but I liked it.
- Crocodile Dundee - There was something cool about it, but I can't seem to recall... the knife, perhaps?
- Jake speed (1986) - Cornball flick, but it grew on me since it was one of those TV movies that were played over and over as fillers in the afternoons.
- Indiana Jones - I grew up thinking i never saw a single 'Indiana Jones'. A year ago just before "Crystal skull' came out, I borrowed some DVDs of the first three 'Indies'. It turns out I already watched all of them as a kid, I just forgot. There were a lot of "treasure hunt" movies in the mid-80's and they all managed to merge into one in my head.
- Die Hard - Bruce Willis rocked. This is the only 'Die Hard' that I like because he actually looked credible as an action star.
Spookies i didn't necessarily enjoy but were nonetheless unforgettable parts of my childhood
- The Fly - Okay, not too spooky, but gross.
- The Abyss - Back then, the CGI in this one was considered flawless.
- Nightmare On Elm Street - I never wanted to watch this, but my mom shared an office with a video rental place and it was showing one afternoon.
" One, two, he's coming for you,
Three, four, better lock your door
Five, six, get a crucifix,
Seven, eight, better stay up late... "
- Poltergeist - First watched it with some playmates. Darnit. Gave me paranoia for days. I watched it again recently and despite my adulthood and the movie's old-school visual effects, it still spooked me.
- The Shining
- Jaws - This is another thing parents shouldn't let their kids watch.
- Beetlejuice - I loved this.