As a great lover of film, over the summer holidays, I decided to spend my time marathoning some of the most influential films of the 1980s. Arguably one of the most culture-rich decades of the past century, the 1980s seem to be littered with cult classics, earning it the moniker ‘The Golden Age of Hollywood’. Directors such as Steven Spielberg, and John Hughes, shone through - not only making their name a household one, but making movies which would be remembered and relevant, even thirty years later.
Ferris Bueller’s day off
I may be a little biased in my description of this film, as it is not only my most favourite 80s movie, but also actually the movie I love most. The story follows it’s titular character, Ferris Bueller, as he spends the day skipping school. Although, perhaps, not the best role model, Ferris certainly knows how to have fun; dragging girlfriend Sloane, and best friend Cameron through the city of Chicago. Despite the air of immaturity, John Hughes, the director, is able to perfectly capture the freedom of youth, and the sadness that comes with growing up. Ferris’ occasional direct address to the camera, coupled with his inexplicable talent of getting out of trouble makes him a hero for children and adults of all ages. The fact that this film was released in 1986, and is still enjoyed by teenagers today, demonstrates how timelessly wonderful it truly is.
Like the majority of films throughout the 1980s, ‘Footloose’ is about growing up, discussing the struggle between adulthood and maturity, and youthful recklessness. Teenage boy Wren (Kevin Bacon) moves to a small southern town with his mother, and is shocked by the lack of… well, fun. Due to a tragic accident some years earlier, rock music and dancing, among other teenage-specific enjoyments, has been banned. A shocked Wren, who unites the other young adults of the town, is determined to prove that this ‘black and white’ thinking is not the way forward, and shows everyone who to cut loose. Footloose.
If you’re looking for a ghost story which won’t scare you into a sleepless night, then who’re you gonna call? ‘Ghostbusters’! Four friends, who all believe in the supernatural, decide to join forces in order to rid New York City of its supernatural population. However, when a portal to another dimension is discovered, the Ghostbusters have to take on more then they can handle. This film is especially relevant, as two remakes are currently in the works, which will undoubtedly hold many references to the original film. I would specifically recommend this for a go-to Halloween movie, especially for total wusses, like me.
Despite being another coming-of-age film, ‘The Goonies’’ protagonists are a little younger usual. It centres on a group of ordinary kids, who discover a treasure map, and go off in search of the pirate’s gold. Written by Steve Spielberg, the innocence of adventure shines through throughout the story. A strong sense of fairy-tale can be felt; due to the youth of the characters, as well as the caricatured archetypes of each character - the nerd, the klutz, the clown- the list goes on. This film is not only a classic for children, but a reminder of childhood for adults. A good choice for family movie night.
Despite all being released around thirty years ago, I hope these films spark your interest. All are still immensely popular for a reason, and not only does this allow great new fictional discoveries for younger people, but also an air of nostalgia for the adults, as they recall the films of their childhood and teenage years.