So you’re going to Jack FM’s Flashback Prom May 10th, eh? Have you brushed up on your 80’s movies yet? We might test you at the door before we let you in, you know, to prove your worthiness, which means you’re gonna have to be prepared.
Well don’t worry, we’re here to help. All you have to do is watch all the movies in this comprehensive list of some of the most iconic films of the 80’s, and you’re good to go. Think of it as a study guide of sorts. You’re welcome.
Oh, and Star Wars is not on the list, because if you haven’t seen Star Wars yet, you’re not welcomed anywhere. Like seriously.
1. Back to the Future (part I and II) What better way to get a sense of the 80’s than a movie about time travel? You get the perspective of how “advanced” people of the 80’s thought they were compared to their 1950’s counterparts, and also how they thought they’d be remembered 30 years later. Plus, it’s a Delorean time machine.
2. Literally anything touched by John Hughes Sixteen Candles, Pretty in Pink, The Breakfast Club, Weird Science, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Vacation, just to name a few. Hughes was arguably the definitive director/writer of the decade. His soundtracks, by the way, are the stuff of legends.
3. Fast Times at Ridgemont High Two words: Spicoli. Okay, that’s one word. It’s still awesome.
4. Top Gun The best recruiting tool the military used during the era. It made F-14 pilots the coolest people in the world. It also made you think Tom Cruise wasn’t bat sh*t crazy. It did, however, make you think he was dangerous, Ice Man.
5. The Karate Kid This movie spawned so many 80’s-isms. “Wax on, wax off. Sand the floor.” It made you believe you could learn karate–and about life–while performing mundane household chores. It also made you believe major knee injuries could be healed in a matter of minutes with a massage, and that the “crane kick” was unstoppable. Yeah, you deserved to be beat up.
6. E.T. the Extra Terrestrial If you were a kid growing up in the 80’s, E.T. was your babysitter while your parents did who knows what.
7. The Indiana Jones series Defined the term action/adventure for a generation of people
8. The Terminator One scary movie, especially now that we’re that much closer to actually being enslaved by robot overlords.
9. The Goonies Every kid wished their summer vacation was like this.
10. Airplane! Surely one of the greatest comedies of all time. Slapstick at it’s finest. And don’t call me Shirley.
11. Scarface Ask any gangster what their favorite movie is. Go ahead, ask.
12. Rambo series Rocky may have made Sylvester Stallone a household name, but the Rambo series defined his career as a generic machine gun toting, arm flexing, unintelligible schmuck.
13. Lost Boys The 80’s were a time when vampire movies were cool, and this was the coolest of them all. Dig the Echo and the Bunnymen cover of “People are Strange.”
14. Poltergeist If this movie didn’t scare you, it’s because you were already dead. You’ll never think of TV static the same way again.
15. Gremlins Gizmo. ‘Nuff said.
16. Ghost Busters When I say, “Who you gonna call?” you say…
17. Pee Wee’s Big Adventure Before the “indecent exposure” charges (read: masturbating in a porn theater), Pee Wee Herman owned Saturday mornings. Seeing him on the big screen ruled.
18. Robocop Hey, if there is a petition to build a Robocop statue in Detroit 25 frickin’ years after the original movie, then you know Robocop was a bad ass. DROP IT!
19. Aliens One of the most influential sci-fi movies ever made. Don’t believe us? Ever play a game called Halo…
20. Stand By Me A young River Phoenix stole this movie. It foreshadowed his brilliance as an actor, and unintentionally, also foreshadowed his untimely death.
– Carlos Delgado, CBS Radio