As we all know the 80’s was the home to some of the greatest films we have come to witness. Even to this day it’s still hard to beat those classic franchises that left us in wonderment as we left the cinema. I’m not sure what it was, but something about these films resonate more with us today as much as they did when they were first released.
They are much more story driven, with no reliance on over-the-top CG, it was simply just a good story, and if it wasn’t a good story then it was the sense of wonderment and adventure it gave you more than made up for that. And if everything else was missing, then the characters gave you something to care about. It really was a golden age in films. Who needs CG when you can simply have an old Zoltan machine on pier front fairground?
I know I’m now in my forties and whatnot but the 80’s was the home of some of the greatest pop culture references known to man. No matter where you there is always some reference to 1.21 gigawatts, Flux Capacitor, Trench Run, the boulder scene from Indiana Jones. The list is endless. There is a new brand of graphic design specifically for pop culture. I think I can safely say that in 20-30 years time there will be no pop culture references to Hunger Games, Batman v Superman, Twilight and the rest of the pap that’s out there right now. It just doesn’t inspire, except for maybe the Minions, but I’m kind of sick of those guys already.
So I thought I would compile a list of seven films from the 80’s. Yes I know there have been a gigaton of these lists before. And don’t go screaming at me if some real classics aren’t on this list, like Scarface and the like. This is simply a list of films that defined me, my childhood an who I am today, not the greatest 80’s films of all time list. Got that? Cause if I hear one word from you all, I’m gonna get the windmill on the go.
Anyways where was I? Oh yes a list of 80’s films that defined my childhood and I guess who I am today. In no particular order;
Big was a film that managed to tap into the very thing that most kids dream of. To make money from designing toys, to be a grown up.
In Big, you see a wish turns 12-year-old Josh Baskin into a fully grown man, but still with the mind of a child. He heads to New York City and gets a job testing, and then designing toys. of course he’s the best at it as he still has the mind of s child. Sound awesome right? Well no, because the pressure of living as an adult soon began to overwhelm Josh and decides to pack up his Manhattan apartment, his girlfriend and become a child again.
This film got it spot on because as a kid, all I dreamed of was making toys and getting paid for it, and having all the freedom that being an adult affords. I can still relate to this film today. Yes I am grown up, but boy would I love to go back to being a kid again. But the moral is, you only get one childhood and you need to make the most of it so don’t grow up to quick
Goonies is a film that is still talked about today. It’s one of the defining films of the 80’s and again managed to tap into the imagination of children around the world. I mean what kid doesn’t want to find a treasure map, and go hunting for a long-lost pirate ship? It really is the stuff of dreams.
Of course it’s not that simple as a group of bad guys are also after the treasure. It’s a properly exciting adventure and one that I could only dream of going on. Making a treasure map and hiding a packet of Rhubarb and custard sweets in the garden for my sister to find just didn’t cut it.
It had some great characters, and references to Chunk and, Truffle Shuffle, and the famous line, “hey you guys”, can still be seen and heard today. Some people have managed to make a successful website with that very name.
Solarwhat? I hear you cry? Perhaps not the most famous film in the world, and probably not the best either, certainly the worst titled film. I’m not really sure what made me watch it, but this film makes the list for two reasons. Firstly Roller skating. I remember watching this film and thinking these kids Roller skating around playing the hard-hitting post apocalyptic hockey game was the best thing ever. I had to get myself some roller skates. And so I did, and that was my thing. I skated every single day, even on my paper round (don’t try that at home kids).
Secondly, my love affair (fictional of course) with the female star Jamie Gertz started. As soon as I saw her, she was to be my wife. I honestly thought the more I skated the more chance I would have to meet her.ha ha ha ha *sigh* the minds of kids eh? and so I watched all her films, the greatest being Crossroads with that other 80’s star, Ralph Machio.
Back to the Future
Back to the Future was one of those films that blew my mind. From the hanging off the back of a truck skateboarding to the mind bending mechanics of Time Travel that took me years to fathom. I mean the concept of going back in time to see your parents was strange enough, but the fact that events in the past change the future just bewildered me. I never understood the ending to Back to the Future until a few years after I first saw it. But once I did, I just loved the potential of time travel. Amazing!
Then of course there were two more films, the second of course was the oh so amazing hover boards. What kid doesn’t want a hover board? I still do, and companies are genuinely out there trying to create them, just like the self lacing shoes. Nike will be releasing their real world ‘mag laces’ some time this year I think. What other film do you know that has companies spending millions of dollars to create a usable real-world prop?
Today as horror films go, this is probably as tame as it gets, and could probably be shown on CBBC. But at the time it scared the hell out of me. I wouldn’t say its the greatest horror film from the 80’s but it’s the one that has stuck with me to this day.
It has a simple plot. Parents go away for the night, kids have a sleep over and accidentally open the gates to the underworld. That is something we all can relate to which makes it kinda scary in itself. But The Gate also had two moments that give goosebumps even to this day. The dead builder who was plastered into the walls (don’t ask) of the house comes alive. You never see him you just see his shape moving in the wall. Terrifying. Probably what put me off becoming a builder for a trade. The other moment was when one of the boys played a heavy metal song backwards which inadvertently told how to open the gates of hell. I’m not really sure why but it really freaked me out. Who can forget the phone call where you hear the ceiling words “You’ve been Bad!” But I think its safe to say this was the start of a love of horror films that me and my childhood buddies still share to this day.
In the light of Game of Thrones, Krull seems a little rubbish. Well a lot rubbish, actually compared to anything and it’s not really that good a film. BUT, you cannot underestimate the power of visuals. When I was a kid the hero of Krull, Prince Colwyn had to put his hand in lava. LAVA, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. what a legend, what a hero I thought. Why did he put his hand in lava I hear you cry, well that leads me onto the main reason this film is in this list. It was so he could obtain the The Glaive. I mystical weapon that was needed to slay the beat that was holding his love captive. The Glaive was like a frisbee with blades. It was the best thing I had ever seen!
It could be thrown and return to its owner and could cut through anything. So of course with every empty cereal box, I cut out a Glaive of my own and was always my weapon of choice in the playground. And would be today too. I’m just waiting for a drone Glaive type thing with an accompanying app.
Clash of the Titans
Being a list of 80’s films this is about the original 1981 film, not the modern remake. So you have to understand that I was 4 when this came out. Naturally this took the mantle of being my favorite fantasy film. It had everything. A shield with a mirror, a sword that could cut and a helmet that made you invisible. What more does a young boy need? Beasts, that’s right he needs beasts and there were plenty in Clash of the Titans Cerberus, Medusa, giant scorpions and of course The Kraken. But above all that Clash of the Titans introduced me to Greek Mythology which I still love to this day. And I’m almost certain that had I not watch Clash of the Titans, I wouldn’t have picked up the original God of War. And if I had, it certainly made me enjoy it a lot more.
Star Chaser- the legend of Orin
Now, you might notice a glaring omission from this list, and that is the Star Wars trilogy (episodes 4-6). That’s because it deserves a special mention. Star Wars pretty much single-handedly made my childhood. The memories, the toys, the friends I still hang with today are too great to put in a list. The memories of walking to my local toy shop and looking in awe and the rows and rows of figures. Playing as Luke, Han or Darth Vader in nursery I can still remember to this day. Using any house hold item I could find to make a Millennium Falcon, made me think outside the box a little. (handy when you’re a designer) And the friends? well they’re like extended family now. We saw the prequels together, and just recently Episode 7 and Rogue One and we will see Episode 8 and 9 together too. Our love of Star Wars and movies and video games has kept us together, Culminating in Film blogs and gaming blogs and many nights of local multiplayer gaming madness, and lots and lots of pizza. Star Wars has to get a special mention, because it’s just too big.
So that is my personal list of films that I grew up on and kind of made me who I am today. These are the films I can watch over and over and not get board, films I can watch to take me back to happier times if I’m a bit down the dumps. These are the films that I hope and prey don’t get a remake (too late of Clash of the Titans) because they are perfect just the way they are.