So, just for fun, I thought it would be a great idea to try and show you what I consider to be my favourite 80’s movies of all time. These movies are the ones that I grew up with, and although I might have been too young to watch them at the time, it didn’t stop me (or my parents) in viewing them. This list was really hard to narrow down, and to be honest, I’ve probably missed out some movies that I totally forgot about (no doubt this list will be changed in the future!).
10 Howard the Duck
This will probably be one of the more controversial movies to have on my list, as it was panned by critics and movie goers alike. However, Howard The Duck brought a nice mix of comedy, animatronics and stop motion video bringing a fun movie to the home screen. At the time of seeing the movie for the first time, I was around 6 years old. Although some of the adult content whizzed straight over my head (the naked female duck in the bath and the condoms), it became a cult classic to me leaving a nice fuzzy feeling after watching it. The music score wasn’t that memorable (other than the opening title sequence), but the special effects were something that left it’s imprint. Most memorable scene: When the Dark Overlord’s are being beamed over to earth.
9 Big Trouble in Little China
This was one of the first John Carpenter movies I watched, and loved. Jack Burton is probably one of the most recognised characters from Mr C’s movies, as well as his one liners. I was always fascinated by the martial arts, the weird spiritual lore, and the old fashioned ‘get the girl and be the hero’ storyline. The music, for me, is memorable from the opening titles, to the little ident’s to remind you that this isn’t a traditional American movie, but a Chinese folk lore story, coupled with western elements. Most memorable scene: The ending where the monster’s hand jumps out and it starts to push it’s way out of hiding in Jack’s truck.
8 The Thing
This is the second of the two John Carpenter movies on this list. This one freaked me out. The first time I saw this movie, I must have been around 12 years old. I’d recorded it onto VHS when it was on telly one time (remember having to set the recorder) and I sat to watch it in my bedroom one night. I can tell you I didn’t sleep well at all after that! After viewing it recently the special effects are still brilliant. I’ve watched the behind the scenes, and this has somehow broke the magic of it all, but still brilliant. Music is dark and eerie, and still sends shivers when watching it. Most memorable scene: Two specific scenes for me, the first where the dog’s face splits open and spews out tendrils to eat the other huskies. The second scene has got to be where the stomach rips off the medic’s arms. Gory!
Dan Ackroyd and Harold Ramis are geniuses. This piece of comedy horror was one of the best and most identifiable movies of the 80’s, spawning a sequel and a popular kids tv show. Ghostbusters, for me, showcased how special effects define a movies success, even with a good storyline. The recent reboot of the movie highlights that CGI is overdone, and doesn’t portray the horror style of the original. Comedy wise, the funniest moments in the movie are when the characters are actually being serious. For example, Dan Ackroyd’s character saying the line “Listen! Do you smell something” is hilarious, but is acted in such a way that the character is deadly serious. The opening sequence to the movie, as a kid, gave me the shivers, as faces changing in the library with ghost was something I wasn’t expecting. Other than this, it’s an exceptional movie for it’s time, and hasn’t aged a bit. Most memorable scene: Sigourney Weaver being dragged from the living room in her chair by Zuul.
“You remind me of the babe”, “What babe?”, “The Babe with the power!” – Just utter these three sentences, and those who have watched Labrinyth will go into a full rendition of David Bowie’s lyrics of the song, Dance Magic Dance. This magically wonderful story takes you into your imagination, giving you puzzles and creatures galore. Characters like Sir Diddymus, King Jareth and Hoggle make for a fantasy story like no other, creating friendships and an adventure to rescue Sarah’s little brother. The inspiration for some of the scenes are from the mind of M C Esher which lure you into a world where directions don’t really exist. Jareth, the Goblin King, is by far the most alluring character of the movie, with his singing, comedic elements and juggling of crystal clear glass balls. The movie leaves you wanting more though, and a sequel would have been welcoming to all who enjoyed this movie. The music is by far one of the greatest soundtracks, with David Bowie’s rhythm and lyrics having the popular effect of staying with you after watching it, even for the first time. Most memorable scene: Sarah trying to enter the Labyrinth and meeting the book worm in the wall.
Apart from the typical Arnie Quotes, “Stick around”, this film, for me, doesn’t show it’s age. The music tries to portray an ethereal quality to try and give the viewer that the antagonist is not of this world. The story line is simple, effective and the effects are just as good now as they were back in the 80’s. The vision cut scenes provide the viewer with the feel of the group being hunted, without revealing certain elements of the predator, such as when it picks up the scorpion, all you see is the outline of the predator’s hand. The filming style of this movie is quite epic, with the close up shots of characters, their face’s showing their emotion, and the claustrophobia setting; being hunted in a jungle as long as it is wide, but not being able to hide from that which is tracking you down constantly. Most memorable scene: The true reveal of the Predator, when confronting dutch, removing his mask.
This horror gave me such a fright when I was younger (6 or 7 years old), but intrigued me to watch it when I was 13. Again, another movie that I recorded from TV, I remember watching it on a Sunday morning in bed after waking up. By this point, I remember that I had already seen certain bits of the movie, such as the chestbuster scene. But the new points to watch left me with a love of the whole Alien franchise (yes, even the crappy ones that made it stupid). However, the horror elements in this movie came when the alien either jumped out of the darkness, or slyly crept towards it’s unsuspecting victim, before breathing like a growling dog whilst extending it’s inner mandibles. No one can imitate or reproduce the ‘inner heroine’ like Sigourney Weaver did with Ellen Ripley. Ripley was the one true female action hero from the 80’s that can never been copied. The soundtrack from the film replicates the eerie and darkness of the movie. Most memorable scene: Chest Buster disrupting the dinner.
This movie I watched at my Nan’s house when I was 7. The blood, gore and violence wouldn’t be something I let my own child watch, however this obviously didn’t phase my parents at the time! I think that, at the time, I didn’t really understand the storyline to Robocop due to it’s heavily influenced political element of it, but as a young boy, I was far more interested in a man that becomes a robot cop. The visor and computer head’s up display was fascinating, a gun that hides away inside Murphy’s leg, and to top it all off, he fights crime! Of course, that wasn’t the only thing that I loved about this movie; Huge bipedal robots protecting municipal buildings, fights between robots, and toxic waste that melts a man. Ok, that last one’s not really something that I loved when I was younger, but the gory person inside me loves this scene now. The music is very 80’s; the synth emanates throughout giving the futuristic feel to the movie. It also resonates through you when a bad guy is stood there, and the main theme starts to play, you know they are going to get justice served to them! Most memorable scene: Boddicker’s last scene before RoboCop stabs him with his data access spike.
2 The Terminator
I know what you’re thinking – another robot movie. Well yes, yes it is. I think, by now, you’ve realised that this list is mainly a set of movies that have aliens, creatures, robots or space involved. And that certainly wont change for the top spot! The Terminator gave me my first look at a dystopian future of the world, that’s overrun by gun toting robots, who won’t stop until the human race is over, including imitating human skin over their exoskeletons. The music is mainly synth as the movie came out in the early eighties. This gave it it’s bleak future feel, as well as the T800 hunting down Kyle Reese. The sequel gave a more fluid sound to the music, keep the same tune, that fits with the T1000’s hunting down the Connor family. Most memorable scene: the T800 gouging it’s defective eye out of it’s socket.
1 Empire Strikes Back
By now, you should know that I’m a huge Star Wars fan. As this list was for movies that came out in the 80’s, I couldn’t include A New Hope on the list. I could, however include Empire Strikes Back. The first time I watched this was at home. It was Christmas, and it was on the TV (ITV to be precise as I remember the adverts). The exploits of the force kept me hooked into the series and then eventually a Star Wars fan. This would be the first time we encounter Yoda and his funny eccentric old man living on his own persona before showing his true self to Obi Wan Kenobi. Music wise, John Williams has always been a favourite, and can be identified to whichever soundtrack he composes as his style set is so unique. Originally, this would be the first time we hear the Imperial March that is now so iconic, it’s recognised the world over. It gave Darth Vader a further darkness that instilled fear to future young viewers. Most memorable scene: Darth Vader revealing his true link to Luke in Cloud City.
These movies made my childhood, and more than likely built my love for things Sci-Fi. There were many more movies, those that are popular with others, and those that appear quirky to some (unwatchable even) tend to be the ones I love most.
I can (and normally do) watch these movies over and over again, and have had these on multiple formats, from VHS over to Blu-Ray and digital. Sometimes, I even find something new in them, a theory or possibly some action in the background that I never noticed. That’s why I love to watch them.
What are your thoughts, is there something on this list that you think trumps one of the other movies? Make a comment below.
Image source: wikipedia.org