A quest to help an adorable alien phone home. A hunt for pirate’s treasures with childhood buddies. A trip to the past in a flying car. If you were a child of the 80s, your movie world would be filled with endless adventures. The decade was a period where dreams were big, imagination was limitless and things were much simpler.
All these 80s nostalgia and more are encapsulated in Steven Spielberg’s latest film outing, Ready Player One. Based on Ernest Cline's 2011 science fiction novel, the movie is set in a dystopian world in 2045 and follows the adventures of a group of teenagers (Olivia Cooke, Tye Sheridan) in a virtual reality game. The movie brings us back to the past, with hints of our beloved 80s movies showing up in bits and parts.
If the movie sends you waves of nostalgia, then you should re-watch these definitive 80s movies.
The Goonies (1985)
The Goonies never say die! Co-written by Spielberg and Chris Columbus, The Goonies is a blend of 80s optimism and innocent charm, and is still as good decades after its release. A group of kids (Corey Feldman, Jonathan Ke Quan, Sean Astin and Jeff Cohen) stumble upon a chance to raise money to save their home from foreclosure and set out on an adventure to find the hidden treasure of the pirate “One-Eyed Willy”. They find themselves in precarious situations, which only strengthens their bond. Complemented with an awesome soundtrack, the movie sends kids in the 80s into heady dreams of wild adventures.
Back to the Future (1985)
It’s not every day that you get to go back to the past, but Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) has the chance of a lifetime when his close friend, the maverick scientist Doctor Emmett Brown (Christopher Lloyd), accidentally sends him back to 1955. There, Marty meets his parents as teenagers and through a series of events, he prevents his parents from meeting, and must right this wrong in order to make sure they do meet and fall in love to prevent himself from being erased from existence. When Back to the Future first came out, it was refreshing, innovative and ahead of its time. It was so popular that is spawned two equally thrilling sequels. Time-travelling movies are often tricky, but Back to the Future is both entertaining and relatable.
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
Harrison Ford as an archaeologist on an adventure to recover a precious treasure. There’s everything to love about the Indiana Jones series, but the best has to be the first in the series- Raiders of the Lost Ark. In this first movie, we see Indiana (Indy for short) travel half the world to crack ancient mysteries, dodge risky booby-traps, battle Nazis and stare down snakes in his quest to locate the mystical Ark of the Covenant. Suffice to say, after watching, all men secretly want to be Indy and the ladies want to be with Indy. And it’s still good after all these years.
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
“E.T. phone home…” That line became one of the most repeated sentences after the phenomenal E.T. was released. Combining special effects, creature effects and an enduring story that is simple yet moving, Spielberg created inimitable movie magic that made E.T. the best-selling movie of the decade. Elliot (Henry Thomas), a sensitive, lonely boy finds himself face to face with an extra-terrestrial who accidentally gets stranded on Earth. They strike up an unlikely friendship that forms into a tight bond. But Elliot knows that their journey must end, and helps E.T. find his way home. It was a movie experience that not only moved a whole generation but inspired a band of filmmakers to push their boundaries and tell stories that were bold, imaginative and inspiring.
Along with Grease and Flashdance, Footloose is one of the 80s iconic dance films, and brought us the catchy song “Footloose”. The story follows big city-boy Ren McCormick (Kevin Bacon) who finds himself in the stuffy Midwestern town where dancing and rock music are banned. With the school prom coming up, he revolts against the uptight minister (John Lithgow) responsible for repressing the town and liberates his suppressed youth. Loosely based on real events in the small, rural, and religious community of Elmore City, Oklahoma, Footloose is a celebration of freedom like no other.
The Shining (1980)
At the turn of the decade, Stanley Kubrick made The Shining, which ended up having a profound influence on pop-culture. The film is widely regarded as one of the greatest horror films ever made. Based on Stephen King’s novel of the same name, the film is about a writer (Jack Nicholson) who, wanting to get some inspiration, takes up a job as an off-season caretaker of a remote hotel. Soon after, he starts to be influenced by a supernatural presence that sees him sinking slowly into madness.
Blade Runner (1982)
It is a complex story told at a sluggish pace, but Blade Runner became a cult film and was hailed as one of the best science fiction movies of all time. Set in a dystopian 2019, where synthetic humans, referred to as replicants, are bio-engineered by the powerful Tyrell Corporation to work in off-world colonies. However, a rebel fugitive group of replicants escape back to earth and a cop, Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), is sent to hunt them down. Blade Runner sparked off analyses among academics on its meaning and influenced future filmmakers, including Blade Runner 2049 director Denis Villeneuve.