People don’t give enough credit to the way 80s films have influenced the modern day era of movies. Unfortunately for us, we will never get to experience what it would be like to watch these films in the cinema and have your life be changed right there in the dark while munching on empty carbs. But through the wonderful forces of the cosmic universe, I discovered these movies one by one. These movies are very close to my heart, and have certainly taught me a lot of things about life, love, and how it’s sometimes okay to be cheesy. This is my list of what were, for me, the top ten “teen movies” from the 80s.
- Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
I think we all would have wanted to be Ferris when we were in high school; cool, well liked, ingenious. He calls sick from school and played hooky with his girlfriend and best friend in his best friend’s dad’s awesome Ferrari, and it’s basically the day-off-from-school-adventure that we would have all wanted at 17.
I love John Hughes, and I must warn you that this list is going to contain mostly John Hughes movies (since he pretty much dominated the genre in that era anyway) but even though Ferris Bueller’s Day Off wares high in pretty much all of the top ten lists on the net, I only really like it because I would have loved to have had a day off like that from school when I was in high school. I don’t know if it was because I was already in my 20s when I watched it, or because I was a dork who actually liked High School, but either way this movie does not go any higher on the list than at the very last.
Footloose, is a movie about a boy (Kevin Bacon) and his family moving to a strange town where all forms of dancing have been illegalized due to the fact that “the grownups” believe that it is one of the reasons that leads to crimes happening. Bacon, of course, fights for this and goes through a journey of discovery about himself and his love for dancing as he fights for his right to shake his thang. Yeah I said thang.
This is a movie that I first watched because I wanted nothing more than to watch a young Kevin Bacon strut his 80s dancing moves. I was too hypnotized by his gyrating that the movie pretty much passed with me in a daze (LOL) but after watching it a second, third, and fourth time, I really fell in love with it because in a way, it was one of the earliest forms of “saving art” movies that have ever came out.
- Sixteen Candles
Truly one of the most iconic films of that era, Sixteen Candles is probably the most popular 80s movies to the kinds of today. One of the many films of Molly Ringwald with John Hughes, this movie is about what it’s like to turn the delicate age of sixteen, and how more difficult it is when your whole family forgets all about it.
I think this movie is so popular because so many girls can connect to how Sam Baker (Ringwald) was so normal, yet awesome in her own right. She wasn’t a loser, but she wasn’t one of the popular kids as well. In the end, of course, she gets the guy, but it’s getting through the most difficult week of her young life that wins over the hearts of people. I really like this movie, but it doesn’t reach my top five as well. Although I do have to say that Jake Ryan (played by Michael Schoeffling) is so handsome I would literally swoon if he were to ever shine those dazzling pearly whites in my direction. I would just like to say: good job, God.
- Pretty In Pink
Pretty in Pink is lovely because it deals with such important and real issues when it comes to how serious high school issues can be. Sure most high school movies deal with shallow issues, but it’s a fact that there are some people out there who deal with serious issues such as class differences that affect their high school lives. I love that about this movie. That and the really awesome fashion. Haha, Also, who wouldn’t want their own Duckie for a best friend?
- Say Anything
A film by Cameron Crowe, Say Anything is iconic as well (I’m pretty sure anyone who has a Tumblr or Facebook account has at least come across the second picture above.) I think one of the reasons that Say Anything isn’t higher up on my list is because it challenges my pessimism too much. Say Anything dares you to hope, and to be honest I don’t hope for as much as this movies dares you too. I know that sounds emo and I’m not trying to be I swear. Haha. It is simply the truth. :)
But yeah, the line “friends with potential” is basically the story of my life.
- Weird Science
Weird Science is a movie about two geeky boys who are inspired by the film Frankenstein to create the perfect woman. The thing is, they actually succeed and create this absolutely amazing looking woman who is not only beautiful but also knows how to make all their dreams come true (you know, the usual, popularity, girlfriends, etc)
I actually discovered this movie by accident as a kid, and I was transfixed. This is the movie that actually started my love affair with 80s teen flicks. Who doesn’t love a hot woman and a happy ending? And besides, you get to see a really young Robert Downey Jr.!
- Some Kind Of Wonderful
Some Kind of Wonderful is the story of a boy who is absolutely in love with the most popular girl in school. He of course does not fit in to her crowd, but then eventually succeeds in asking her out, and they actually have the most amazing date of all time. But that’s not the story. The real story is the story of the guy’s best friend, Watts, who is this gorgeous girl who is too boyish for her own good. She’s so so painfully in love with the boy, and this is evident to everyone but the boy. Instead of being a brat, she instead tries her best despite hurting herself to try and help her best friend get the girl of his dreams.
I was really boyish as a kid, and growing up I think the character of Watts gave me hope that though I could be like the boys, that some day some boy was going to see me and love me that way. Yikee! Hahaha.
- Fast Times At Ridgemont High
If you want to see Sean Penn be a hilarious and ridiculous pot head, then you definitely need to see this movie. Another Cameron Crowe classic, Fast Times is, of course, another coming of age high school comedy that follows a group of lovable characters through their last year of high school. It goes through an entire school year, basically showing the seniors just coasting through the year and trying to graduate. Will definitely, definitely, make you miss high school.
- The Breakfast Club
If you watch the Breakfast Club now, you will definitely find it cliche. But think about it; this movie was released in 1985, which means that all the cliches of today are actually based on this movie. Believe me. Watch it and see the most diverse group of individuals come together, become friends, have a hell of a Saturday afternoon of detention, and even find love.
- St. Elmo’s Fire
What I believe is the best of the Brat Pack, St. Elmo’s Fire is my favorite 80s movie of all time. Ironically enough, even though the majority of the movies in this list is a John Hughes original, my number one movie is a Joel Schumacher film released in 1985. Although not technically a “teen movie,” it is still a coming-of-age story about a group of friends after what happens to them when they graduate college. I first watched this movie when I was just in elementary school, but I remember thinking about what life would be like after college back then and thinking, “I want to have it all together then.” Watching it again today, I realize that I can still connect to the issues of the characters. Twenty five years later and the whole coming-of-age, learning-how-to-become-adults phenomenon is still the same.
I love this movie so much that even the St. Elmo’s Fire theme music makes me tear up. Gah. I think I’m going to go watch it again now.
So, those were my Top Ten 80s teen movies of all time. What’s on your list?