The 80s was a decade filled with movies experimenting with many wonderful ideas. Whether it was an action movie, sci-fi, or adventure comedy, these movies easily became classics of the time. More importantly, audiences always looked forward to a good comfort film that made them feel understood.
Even now, fans can watch certain films from the 80s and just be taken back to a better time, a different time. When movies like Back to the Future, The Karate Kid,and The Breakfast Clubcame out the filmmakers had no idea how much of an impact those films would make decades later. These were fun, wholesome, and heartfelt movies that have rewatch value.
‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off’ (1986)
When Ferris Bueller’s Day Off came out almost every single teenager wanted to be like Ferris (Matthew Broderick) and cut school. The movie had such a simple concept and that’s why it worked. Ferris, Sloane (Mia Sara), and Cameron (Alan Ruck) all had their idea of what a day skipping school would be like, and they lived it to the fullest.
Having fun on a school day needs to be accompanied by a fun soundtrack and The Beatle’s moment Ferris had was nothing short of iconic. This movie is the ultimate “sick day” movie all kids watched when they were either at home sick or playing sick to get out of going to school. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is streaming on Paramount Plus.
‘The Karate Kid’ (1984)
The Karate Kid is a movie that won the hearts of so many and even developed its fan base over the years. Even decades later Netflix created the original series Cobra Kai which has been an absolute hit for the streaming service. Karate was the new thing that everyone wanted to try after this movie came out and there was a surge in the 80s.
Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio), Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka), and Mr. Miyagi (Pat Morita) became household names after this. Mr. Miyagi was not only teaching Daniel, but he was also teaching the audience how to believe in themselves. It is an underdog story that warms the heart of so many. The Karate Kid is streaming on Netflix.
‘Back To The Future’ (1985)
There is just something about watching Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) and Doc (Christopher Lloyd) testing time travel in a Delorean that sparks joy in all movie fans. For the time Back to the Future was such a unique film that handled time travel reasonably well. Even though Marty’s storyline with his mother Lea Thompson was a bit weird, it was still a nice story about bringing the family together again.
It’s a movie that can be watched repeatedly because it’s a universal story tied conveniently together by time travel. Marty and Doc are also one of the best onscreen duos. Doc explaining the science to Marty and then Marty being the voice of reason on ground level made the perfect balance for this first installment. Back to the Future is streaming on Netflix and Prime Video.
‘Rocky 4’ (1985)
Rocky 4 was so much more than a boxing movie at the time, due to political reasons. Rocky has always been a feel-good movie because of the redemption arc. Rocky (Sylvester Stallone) has always been seen as the underdog, and this installment paralleled the stance of the United States against Russia.
The Rocky The franchise would be nothing without its training montages. Those montages along with the great soundtrack boosted the spirits of the entire audience as if they were getting ready for the fight. Rocky 4 attempted to bridge the gap in the boxing ring and that’s why it gave audiences an overwhelming sense of comfort when watching this. The message of unity and that everything will be okay moving forward.
‘The Goonies’ (1985)
Audiences will almost always connect with a group of young kids going on an adventure and that’s what makes The Goonies so special. There are distinct character traits with Mikey (Sean Astin), Chunk (Jeff Cohen), Data (Ke Huy Quan), and Mouth (Corey Feldman), that fans can at least identify with one of them.
When the banter between characters is so fun and natural, that is what makes the movie so comforting and enjoyable to watch. This movie made audiences feel like a kid again because of the adventure they all went on together. Fans always wanted to be part of their group and have fun searching for treasure. The Goonies is streaming on HBO Max.
Fans had a real treat when Ghostbusters came out because of everything that it brought to the genre. Dan Aykroyd and Bill Murray’s humor is a big part of what carried Saturday Night Live. And it is exactly the humor that made Ghostbusters so much fun to watch. Even though the story isn’t the strongest, it’s still a dumb-fun movie to watch in October for Halloween.
The cast is what makes this such a wholesome movie, and almost everyone wanted to be part of the squad. Additionally, the song by Ray Parker Jr. exploded in the 80s and made it a Halloween staple at parties and set the tone for the season. Ghostbusters is streaming on Netflix.
‘The Breakfast Club’ (1985)
John Hughes is one of the most prolific writers-directors who made teenage dramas all the rage in the 80s. The Brat Pack consisted of Molly Ringwald, Judd Nelson, Anthony Michael Hall, Demi Moore, Emilio Estevez, Ally Sheedy and Rob Lowe at the time. This group of actors all made the same movies together for a bit, and they ended up being some of the most heartfelt movies about high school and relationships.
The Breakfast Clubhad five different teenagers come together in detention, and they all shared their high school experiences. Even though some moments are sad, audiences seeing their own experiences on screen made this movie so important. The Breakfast Club is now streaming on Netflix.
‘Planes, Trains and Automobiles’ (1987)
When Planes, Trains, and Automobiles came out, during the peak of Steve Martin and John Candy’s careers, it became an instant classic. Martin and Candy’s comedic timing and playful banter carried the movie. This road trip comedy with an unlikely pair sparks so much joy around the holidays. The movie is usually watched annually by fans around Thanksgiving or Christmastime because of when it takes place.
Even though Martin played the grouch of the holiday season, Candy was a bundle of joy that countered that. He has always been such a warm, kindhearted, and lovable person that it just shines through in his characters. It is still one of the funniest movies of all time because of how intimate Candy gets with Martin. Planes, Trains, and Automobiles is available to stream on AMC +.
Almost every single person in their childhood wanted to grow up so fast. They wanted to have the freedom that adults do to make their own decisions and have fun. So when Big came out in the 80s, it became one of the best body switch movies ever. It felt like an out-of-body experience, but a young Tom Hanks still had the sparkle in his eyes of a child. Hanks acted like a big kid, but it did not feel cheesy at all.
A twelve-year-old ended up in a thirty-year-old body and went out to live the adult life. He got a job at a toy company, soon got a promotion, and even had a woman pining over him. The piano scene is one of the most iconic and joyous scenes in movie history. It’s so wholesome and that’s the reason fans find comfort in it. Big is streaming on Disney +.
‘The Princess Bride’ (1987)
Rob Reiner’s The Princess Bride is a giant fairytale with some wonderful characters. Such a simple form of storytelling that is filled with wonderment from a child’s point of view. This movie offered so much to audiences because it was not just a simple romantic comedy. It had a strong grandfather and nephew relationship, swashbuckling sword fights, and a fun group of misfits.
Audiences can find comfort in the retelling of this story because it feels like a bedtime story. It’s almost a soothing experience because of how the story is structured with a grandfather explaining the story to his nephew. At the time, this movie was adored by a handful of people, but now it has become a cult classic and a favorite to watch when anyone is feeling the blues. The Princess Bride is streaming on Disney +.
Next: Best Action Films From The 80s