By ELISE STAHL
I am of the persuasion that the years from 1980 to 1989 constitute the greatest decade that has happened to humankind.
Even as someone who was born at the tail end of the ’90s, I love immersing myself in ’80s culture, and I feel a desirous nostalgia for the eccentric years of shoulder pads, huge hair and Michael Jackson’s unique beats.
I am especially fond of the decade’s films. Occasionally formulaic, often resonant and sometimes just plain bizarre, there are almost too many to properly rank. All the same, I have compiled a list of what I consider to be 10 of the most iconic movies from the 1980s.
- “Heathers” (1988)
Winona Ryder and Christian Slater make a beautiful but deadly couple in this movie about a suicide/murder epidemic gone out of control. This was the first movie that made me realize that ’80s film isn’t all cheesy and feel-good.
- “Ghostbusters” (1984)
The dynamic between Bill Murray and Sigourney Weaver in this kooky film is one that I’ve never seen attained in other filmography. That, paired with the movie’s hilarious trippiness, makes this perhaps the classic movie of the decade.
- “The Terminator” (1984)
No movie list is complete without some Schwarzenegger action, especially human/robot hybrid Schwarzenegger action. But even without Schwarzenegger skin, the practically unstoppable Terminator is the most frightening robot I have ever seen.
- “The Breakfast Club” (1985)
This is arguably the best teen movie ever made. It is John Hughes-style formulaic but packed with heartfelt struggles, teenage tomfoolery (yes, I did just use that word; I’m an old soul) and a redemptive ending for the ages.
- “Raiders of the Lost Ark” (1981)
Wild adventure? Narrow escapes? A dashing hero? That’s just a typical day with Indiana Jones, plus a gratifying amount of Nazi face-melting. Also, the movie did well with its soundtrack, because as soon as I wrote “Indiana Jones,” his theme song got stuck in your head.
- “Beetlejuice” (1988)
This movie has two standout characters: Michael Keaton, an antagonist reminiscent of the Joker (but a heck of a lot funnier), and Winona Ryder, the ultimate emo teen who spouts almost parodically angsty quotes. The film also features a hilarious possession scene where uppity white adults sing the Banana Boat Song.
- “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” (1986)
Wild adventure? Narrow escapes? A dashing hero? This is no Indiana Jones; this is the life of Ferris Bueller in the cult classic that makes playing hooky in real life a little less fun because “Save [your name here]” never gets painted on the water tower.
- “The Empire Strikes Back” (1980)
This movie has it all: plot-twisting family secrets, a training montage and Han Solo. It focuses on the human element instead of relying on fancy special effects to sell itself. This second installment of the “Star Wars” saga is a classic example of sci-fi done right.
- “Return of the Jedi” (1983)
That’s right, “Star Wars” is on here twice. It’s good. The epic conclusion to the original trilogy, this film is the ultimate tale of redemption and a testament to the fact that there’s always a little bit of the light side in everyone.
- “The Princess Bride” (1987)
Before she was Jenny Curran or Claire Underwood, Robin Wright was “The Princess Bride,” in what may be the most iconic movie of all time. Beyoncé and Jay-Z don’t even hold a candle to the #couplegoals status of Buttercup and Wesley.