Top 20 Movies of the 80’s and 90’s


Katie Stover, Editorial Editor

In my opinion, the 80’s and 90’s were the decades of true cinematic genius. Personally, I believe the quality of the plots of modern movies is declining faster than a drunk walking downhill. I suggest everyone watch the following twenty movies before they die.

The Breakfast Club (1985):
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As I believe Molly Ringwald to be one of the best actresses of all time, I expect any movie she acts in to be gold. This is certainly true for this movie. The Breakfast Club is the story of five high school students from different cliques who must endure Saturday detention under the reign of a power-hungry principal. This rag tag group includes; rebel John, princess Claire, outcast Allison, brainy Brian, and Andrew the jock. They begin to see each other differently as each of them gets to tell his or her story. In the end they leave, wondering if the school will ever be the same again. I give this movie five stars, and suggest each and every person to watch it.

The Outsiders (1983):
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Filled with Greasers, Socials, and runaways, this movie will have you wondering what it was really like to live in the the 60’s. Based upon the book by S.E. Hilton, this movie is about a greaser gang from Oklahoma. As in any movie containing Greasers, there’s a major rivalry between the gang and their opposites, the Socials. So much so that when Ponyboy and Johnny get into a brawl it gets out of hand and a Social ends up dead. This forces them to go into hiding, and results in an epic adventure. However, the past always catches up with you, and soon they, along with Dallas and the other Greasers must face the consequences of their actions of the violent lives they have led. While some try their hardest to reach redemption for what they’ve done, others come to a tragic end.

Sixteen Candles (1984):
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Once again, Molly Ringwald. Samantha faces her 16th birthday, which her entire family forgets about with the stress of her older sister’s upcoming wedding. Samantha pines over Jake, but worries her lack of experience will send him running. All the while she spends day after day rejecting the affection of Ted, a nerdy boy who seems to be the only one interested in her. One of my favorite characters happens to be Long Duk Dong, an exchange student from China living with Samantha’s grandparents.

Heathers (1988):
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This movie is majorly screwed up. Filled with bullies, psychos, and antifreeze poisoning, but this movie is a classic. Veronica becomes part of the most popular clique at school, but doesn’t agree with the cruel actions of the other girls. After accidentally poisoning the head “leader” of the clique, Heather Chandler, Veronica and her new boyfriend, JD, cover it up as a suicide. As time goes on, Veronica realizes that JD is killing the students he does not like, and races to stop him. While all of this is happening, she continuously clashes with Heather Duke, the new clique leader.

Beetlejuice (1988):
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I believe Beetlejuice is what inspired my friend Jayleigh’s black and white stripe obsession. After Barbara and Adam are killed in a car accident, they are forced to haunt their old house, unable to leave the residence. Once the Deetzes move in, Adam and Barbara try to scare them away, with absolutely no success, and so comes Beetlegeuse. Beetlegeuse is a rambunctious bio exorcist who’s “help” becomes dangerous for Adam, Barbara, and the Deetzes daughter, Lydia. Spoiler Alert: child marriage to a deadman may be an issue.

Stand By Me (1986):
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The only reason I have been able to remember this movie is because of the scene in which the boys walk down a railroad singing “Lollypop.” After a stranger is accidentally killed near their home, four boys in Oregon go on a trip to see the body. Gordie Lachance, Vern Tessio, Chris Chambers, and Teddy Duchamp come by a mean junk man and a marsh full of leeches, all the while learning more about each other on this journey. As the adventure goes on, it becomes a defining event in their lives.

The Goonies (1985):
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I believe my fondness for the chocolate bar by the name of “Baby Ruth” started because of this movie. A band of adventurous kids oppose the property developing company which is trying to tear down their home and replace it with a country club. After discovering an old pirate map in the attic, it leads them to an underground cavern, and follows the search for lost treasure. However, along the way the kids come along their fair share of dangerous obstacles.

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The movie that truly highlighted Bill Murray’s acting career, “Ghostbusters” is a classic. After a team of scientists lose their positions at a university in New York City, they become “ghostbusters” to wage a high-tech battle with the supernatural for money. They stumble upon a gateway to another dimension, which could release evil upon the city. Now the Ghostbusters have to save New York from destruction.

Back to the Future (1985):
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This movie represented the question I had always wondered as a child, “what if my parents never fell in love?” After an experiment by his eccentric doctor friend, Doc Brown, goes wrong, Marty McFly is thrown back into the 1950’s. Marty comes across young versions of his parents while traveling through time in a modified DeLorean car, and must make sure they fall in love or he’ll cease to exist. To top it all off, Marty must return to his own time to save Doc Brown’s life.
The Shining (1980):
Jayleigh swears by this movie, believing it to be one of the best psychological thrillers in existence. Hoping to cure his writer’s block, Jack Torrance becomes the winter overtaker of the isolated Overlook Hotel in Colorado. He begins to settle in along with his wife, and son Danny, who has psychic premonitions. As his writing goes nowhere, and Danny’s visions become more disturbing Jack discovers the hotel’s dark secrets and starts to unravel into a homicidal maniac hell-bent on terrorizing his family.

Clueless (1995):
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I have watched this movie more times than I’d like to admit. I believe as a teenage girl it’s a right of passage. Cher is shallow, rich, and socially successful, so of course she is at the top of her school’s pecking scale. Seeing herself to be a matchmaker, she pushes two of her teachers together and causes them to start dating. To get a better grade in her debate class, of course. After her success, she decides giving Tai, the hopelessly klutzy new girl, a makeover is the most appropriate thing to do. Once Tai becomes more popular than herself, Cher realizes her disapproving ex-stepbrother was right- and then they start dating as well.

Forrest Gump (1994):
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This movie was a large part of my childhood, and of course it must be amazing if Tom Hanks is in it. However, I do not typically enjoy it when my family and friends tell me I have an accent similar to that of Forrest Gump’s. Forrest Gump is slow-witted but has never thought of himself as disadvantaged. He lives anything but a restricted life, all thanks to his supportive mother. He inspires people with his childlike optimism, whether it be on the gridiron as a football star, fighting in Vietnam, or captaining a shrimp boat. Sweet but troubled Jenny, his childhood love, is the one person Forrest cares about who he might not be able to save. If you have never watched this movie, we simply cannot be friends.

Edward Scissorhands (1990):
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This movie is the reason I taped scissors to my hand at six years old. As Johnny Depp plays in this movie, it is an all time favorite of mine, and of course it was directed by Tim Burton so it must be amazing. Edward is a gentle animated human who was built by a scientist. Edward was created by a scientist, but that man died before he could finish building him, which left him with scissors for hands. Peg, a loving suburban saleswoman, brings Edward home, where he falls for her teenage daughter, after discovering him all alone in a run down house. Edward’s odd appearance makes him an outcast, despite his kindness and artistic talent. A strange series of events leads up to Edward later being chased back into his run down house.

The Sandlot (1993):
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This movie resulted in my childhood crush on Mike Vitar. Scottie Smalls, the new kid in town, manages to make friends with a group of kids who play baseball at the sandlot. They go on a series of funny and touching adventures, but get into trouble after Smalls hits a ball over the fence, and beyond said fence is a large “ball-eating” dog that they call The Beast. The other problem is, the ball was Smalls’s step father’s ball.

Mrs. Doubtfire (1993):
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This movie is the best cross-dressing movie ever, other than “White Chicks” of course. Daniel Hillard comes up with an elaborate plan to see his children after he is granted little access to them after his divorce. With the help of his brother, he dresses up as a British nanny and convinces his ex-wife to hire him as a nanny. As “Mrs. Doubtfire” he wins over the children, and helps Daniel become a better parent. However, his secrets may be exposed when Daniel and “Mrs. Doubtfire” must meet different parties at the same restaurant.

The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993):
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The only acceptable Christmas movie to watch in October, and is my favorite Christmas movie of all time. I honestly love all of Tim Burton’s movies, and so of course I would absolutely recommend this one. Jack Skellington, beloved pumpkin king of Halloweentown, has become bored with the annual routine of scaring the people of the “real world.” He gets a new lease on life, after stumbling upon bright colored and warm spirited Christmastown. He plans to take control of Christmas by kidnapping Santa Claus and taking over his role. He soon discovers that even the best-laid plans of mice and skeleton men have the ability to go wrong.

Cry-Baby (1990):
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I discovered this movie over the summer during a 3 AM movie marathon, and believe it to be the better version of “Grease.” Johnny Depp also plays in this movie, so that’s very much so a plus. Wade Walker, a juvenile delinquent, takes Allison Vernon-Williams, a prim and proper schoolgirl, on a motorcycle ride against her mother’s wishes. This leads to a series of misadventures and a jailbreak.

Scream (1996):
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Scream was originally a parody of slasher movies, and is actually one of the most hilarious slasher movies to ever exist, at least in my opinion. High school students in middle-class suburbia are being stalked by a fright-masked maniac. As the body count rises you’ll soon learn that the victims aren’t always the ones you would expect.

Fight Club (1999):
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In all honesty the only reason I added this movie to the list is because I added “Sixteen Candles.” While typically the two movies would have nothing to do with each other, but after watching “To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before” I believe everyone should watch the two movies back to back. After meeting a strange soap salesman, a depressed man with insomnia finds himself living in his squalid house after his perfect apartment is destroyed. They from an underground fight club with strict rules, and fight other men who are bored with their mundane lifestyles. The partnership is perfect, but soon frays when a fellow support group casher, Marla, attracts Tyler’s attention.

Boyz N The Hood (1991):
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The main reason I have included this movie is because Ice Cube plays in it, which makes it an instant hit. Tre is forced to go live with his father in South Central Los Angeles. While his hard-nosed father teaches him proper values and respect, his devout girlfriend Brandi helps him find his faith. Tre’s friends Doughboy and Ricky aren’t given the same kind of support, and are soon pulled into the neighborhoods booming drug and gang culture, with an increasingly tragic ending.