The Eight Most Rewatchable Films of the Eighties

September 8, 201510 min
THE BREAKFAST CLUB, Judd Nelson, Emilio Estevez, Ally Sheedy, Molly Ringwald, Anthony Michael Hall, 1985. ©Universal Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

If you were like me, and you grew up in the eighties, movies played a big part in your life. With little entertainment options, movies didn’t get lost, and those trips to the theater were just as much about the movie as it was hanging out with your friends. Because of all of that, movies have a way of making you reminisce about the past, and while we all have our own list of those movies, this is not what this one is all about. What we have here are those movies that you can watch over and over again, kind of like that Christmas marathon of “A Christmas Story” that for some reason you can’t take your eyes off of. While that movie is not on this list (Thanks T.N.T.), there are plenty to choose from, and since it’s the Eighties I settled on eight in no particular order.

8. “Gremlins”
There are many reasons why this film makes this list, but I mean, could you ever get enough of Gizmo? From the minds of Chris Columbus and Joe Dante comes a story with three simple rules, but then again who follows rules? Well not following these rules unleashes a horde of mischievous monsters on a small town. It’s all up to a boy, a girl, and good gremlin to save the day. The perfect blend of mild horror and humor makes this a classic that belongs on the Christmas movie night rotation right between “A Christmas Story” and “It’s a Wonderful Life”, or maybe just watch it after midnight.

7. “Airplane”
The seventies was the decade of disasters, not the real kind, I’m talking about disaster movies. Everything was getting destroyed, and with one of the more popular series being the Airport films. Enter the eighties and Jim Abrahams, with the Zucker brothers, David and Jerry, who decide that it was just the right time to make fun of those films. With a Captain who seems to like gladiator movies a little too much, a hero with a drinking problem (no not that one, a funnier one), and a doctor trying to save a plane of sick passengers you don’t want to call ‘surely’. With jokes that are even funnier now that we are adults, “Airplane” is still able to deliver the laughs thirty-five years later.

6. “Die Hard”
Ever had one of those nights where you go and visit your estranged wife at her new job, only to have her building taken over by terrorists and you are the only one who can save them, while you are barefoot? That’s what it’s like to be John McClane, a New York cop in Los Angeles during Christmas. This movie had such a reach; it created its own sub-genre: “Its Die Hard on a bus, on a boat, on a plane, in a suburb, etc. Like they say though imitation is the best form of flattery but not many films have done it as well as “Die Hard”.

5. Raiders of the Lost Ark”
Hollywood Legend has it Steven Spielberg always wanted to do a Bond film. When he wasn’t able to (because of the unwritten rule of ‘you had to be British’ to direct one), George Lucas stepped in with an idea that would give Spielberg something better. There is no auguring that “Raiders” might be the perfect adventure film, and for me it is my personal favorite film of all time. It wasn’t just the story and the great action; it was also Harrison Ford, who made Indiana Jones a character for the ages, and “Raiders” one of the best movies ever.

4. “Back to the Future”
The true sign of a film you can rewatch multiple times how timeless it is (Get it). Every time you hear 88 MPH how can you not think of Doc Brown and Marty McFly? With the simple story about a boy who travels back in time and meets his parents, his adventures to make sure he still exists take multiple turns that lead to some of the most memorable moments in film. “Back to the Future” never gets old.

3. “Ghostbusters”
Not many films have made me laugh like “Ghostbusters” has, and still does every time I see it. With the golden comedic cast and the near genius sci-fi/horror/humor material for them, lighting was indeed captured in a bottle for this film. Everything seems to work, add to that, Bill Murray, being, well Bill Murray, and there is no doubt who you are gonna call whenever you want some fun and laughs.

2. “The Breakfast Club”
You can’t write anything about the greatness of the eighties, without including John Hughes. Everyone has his or her favorite Hughes movie, but none have stayed the test of time like “The Breakfast Club”. That faithful Saturday in the school library is like a picture that never seems to fade. To me it’s because we all see ourselves as one of those characters serving detention that day. No film has captured what its like to be in High School better than this, and the sheer quotability of this film for me is what makes it eternally re-watchable.

1. “The Princess Bride”
As a kid, listing to any story about true love and such would not be the ideal bedtime story. Even less so being read to by your grandfather while your sick. But add some fencing, fighting, tourture, monsters, and a trip though the fire swamp, and now you got my attention. This is a film that found an afterlife on home video, and it turned it into a classic, and a must on any list on movies from the eighties. Not everyone loves a fairy tale, but when it comes to “The Princess Bride”, it’s hard to find someone who doesn’t love this film.

–Brian Taylor

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