Favorite nostalgic 80's films I grew up with

The last Unicorn -- In retrospect, there isn't much to enjoy about this movie.  Basically a unicorn runs around complaining that she's the last but she doesn't know why.  I think as a kid I used to enjoy the song featured by, "America," and I always though the Red Bull was bad ass.  Waddayah know, when I watched it later on, the bull was still just as bad ass, but the rest of the movie is pretty boring.  Yet, it was my favorite movie as a kid.

Naussicaa of the Valley of the Wind -- This is a weird throw in, but is mentioned because as a kid, a butchered version of this film appeared on the american TV screen.  It was titled warriors of the wind.  I nebver knew the name, I just remembered seeing a cartoon on TV as a kid that featured a princess, very large bugs, and a monster that was trying to blow them up.  Later in life, I googled these elements and found out that it was a Miyazaki classic!

The Dark Crystal -- I still don't remeber wtf this movie is about.

Never ending Story -- As a children's adventure story, there's a lot more to this film that has set a precedence for other films like it.  Films where one cannot draw a fine line between a child's fantasy and reality.  Although there were films before it, Alice in Wonderland or The Wizerd of Oz, it fits into the same catagory but remains original.

The Secret of Nimh -- Based on the would be children's book, "Mrs. Brisbey & the Rats of Nihm,"  Although I can't recommend this for really young kids, it is a cartoon, but it's what I'd refer to as a horror cartoon for kids, if there is such a word.  As a mouse, Mrs. Brisbey's world is animated from her point of view, and simple animals like a cat and an owl are animated in an exaggerated manner to appear as ferocious beasts.  Lots of wild stuff here, some elements just a tad heavy for kids but adventurous for those who can handle it, for example: SPOILER: The secret of the Nihm organization, is that they ran awful experiments on a bunch of animals, particularly a number of rats that were injected with hypodermic needles and became intelligent as a result and escaped.  The scene where this occurs is quite intense.

Ghostbusters -- Best fucking comedy ever made.  Sci-fi comedy I guess.  The dialouge is perfect.  Bill Murray has some of the best lines ever.  It's a film I still quote today.

Coffee? Yes have some.

Oh-keeee! Who brought the dog. the louis party scene is hilarious in its entirety

Dogs and cats, living together, mass hysteria, the dead rising from the grave! (believe it or not, the dogs and cats thing is an indirect biblical reference)

I am vince clortho key master of gozer (ummm, sure you are)

then, during the rectification of the voldroni, the traveler came in the form of a large and moving torg!  (wow, it was large, and moving?)

E.T. -- You know, this film ain't that bad and seems to be some of Spielberg's better work.  Childhood adventure?  PG-13 at it's finest?  I don't know, it's not action, it's not horror, it's just a weird relationship between a boy and an alien but it never comes off corny.


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You forgot the most famous GHOSTBUSTERS line

FearlessFreep's picture

"He slimed me."


Great post, TMundo.

HS's picture

I was just thinking about this topic the other night when I was watching The Last Starfighter on cable.  Man, has that movie not aged well....


I will echo your sentiments about The Neverending Story, The Secret of NIMH, Ghostbusters, and E.T....and add the following to the list:

D.A.R.Y.L. - remember Barrett Oliver of The Neverending Story?  Remember also, this stood for Data Analyzing Robot Youth Lifeform.

Cloak and Dagger - Henry Thomas from E.T. teams up with Dabney Coleman as his father/imaginative government agent buddy.

The Karate Kid - Wax on, wax off, the crane move, some teen angst, and a very foxy Elisabeth Shue.

The Karate Kid Part 2 - Almost as good as the original, except in Okinawa.  Subtract Elisabeth Shue but add a cute Japanese girl and a tsunami.

Explorers - Fun stuff with Ethan Hawke and River Phoenix as kids who build a spaceship out of a tilt-a-whirl car.

Legend - Tom Cruise, Mia Sara, and Tim Curry in this Ridley Scott-directed fantasy about unicorns and some other stuff that I hardly remember, and, I suspect, wouldn't like much anymore if I were to watch it today.  Oh well.

The Outsiders - S.E. Hinton's classic wrong-side-of-the-tracks teen novel as adapted by none other than Francis Ford Coppola and starring C. Thomas Howell, Rob Lowe, Patrick Swayze, Emilio Estevez, and Ralph Macchio.

The Goonies - this belongs on any 80's nostalgia list.  Okay, so Corey Feldman and Ke Huay Quan fell off Hollywood's radar, but it also stars a very young Sean Astin and recent Oscar nominee Josh Brolin!






FearlessFreep's picture

I didn't care for the scene where the energy ray or whatever it was burnt a hole in a CLASSICS ILLUSTRATED comic.  I have good memories of CLASSICS ILLUSTRATED! (Though the Norman Nodell version of Victor Hugo's THE MAN WHO LAUGHS was so grotesque my sister and I are still traumatized today!)

I never saw GOONIES, but I remember how we were still getting Goonies cards inside our Cheerios nine months after the movie came out! (One of them was captioned "Is this the last of the Goonies!" I said, "Let's hope so.")


I knew I left some stuff off the list but u filled in the blanks

TMundo's picture

pretty well I might add.

Hmmm, what about inner space?  And why didn't I bring up back to the future?

Anyway, The Explorers!!  Awesome kids film!  Flying around in a glass-like sphere with a tilt-o' whirl inside it that carries it's own physical laws separate from the world around it. (nice way to escape suspension of disbelief when you make up your own laws)  I forgot about that one, definite nostalgia on that.  Aliens that think humans hate them because they watch american sci-fi films too much.

The Goonies -- How could I have left this one out.  Speilberg again right?  ORV.....Bullet holes! Me solth, you chunk!

Cloak and Dagger, one of my faves as a kid.  Another fantasy vs reality flick as well.  Interesting to note that Captain Jack Flack and the boy's father were the same person.  He idolized his father and he didn't even know it.

The Karate Kid made every kid wanna punch and kick there way all over the place.  And part 2 and 3 were decent sequels.

I never saw D.A.R.Y.L.


HS's picture

Good observation about Dabney Coleman playing both Captain Jack Black (yes!!! I forgot his name!) and the boy's father.

Innerspace was a fun movie too, I forgot about that one.  What about Tron?  I hear they're finally gonna make a sequel to it (no, seriously).

Back to the Future sort of goes without saying.  That is such a re-watchable movie, and best of all, the time-travel "rules" stand up to thorough analysis, unlike The Terminator and many others.

Oh, and Spielberg PRODUCED The Goonies (and B2TF), while Richard Donner directed.


HS, who also liked The Manhattan Project.  Remember that one, about the kid who builds an atomic bomb for his science project?

Sorry, Karate Kid 3 was not

jazzdrive3's picture

Sorry, Karate Kid 3 was not a decent sequel. It had one of the most incomprehensible plots of movie existence. The antagonist wants to cover the world with "evil" karate dojo's and education centers? Oh No!

Really? What's an evil karate dojo anyway?

I seem to remeber the brainwashing thing in Karate Kid 3 was OK

TMunnyMundo's picture

You're not talking about the 4th one with the girl in it, are you?

In the third one a friend of the owner of the opposing dojo tells Mr. Myagi that the owner has died. He then befriends Daniel and offers to train him instead of Myagi. He basically brainwashes Danial with some anger training and gets him all messed up. Daniel finally goes to quit only to discover that the owner of the dojo is still alive. They rough him up but Myagi comes to the resque and beats the crap out of all of them.

The side project was Myagi opening a bansi tree store with the inspirational tree from the logo actually planted at the bottom of a deep hole in the woods. Daniel goes to get it to suprise Myagi and gets trapped by his would be 'bad boy' opponent. They sucker him in to the competition by refusing to let him up unless he signs the contract to fight in the next competition.

Still....evil karate dojos?

jazzdrive3's picture

Still....evil karate dojos?

I'll admit, evil karate dojos is a stupid concept...

TMundo's picture

...however, I don't remember them actually using the term evil dojos in the movie.  I think the guy that owned the place was just a jerk, and it seemed to come out in the way he trained the kids.  Wearas, Myagi's training was more traditional stuff, supposedly.  You might be hard pressed to find anyone in japan who trains like that, I dunno.  Still, the climactic fight scene in part 3 was more of the same crap.  During the final round, instead of doing a crane kick, Daniel begins doing kata before the ref yells go, and wins the fight by doing so.  In part two he uses a manuever he learned from using the drum rattle.  It seems to be hard for some movie writers to break the pattern of the first movie when doing a sequel.  Why is it they feel they have to use the first movie as a form or stencil for the other two?  A good trilogy must break form completely.

One I liked is FIRSTBORN

FearlessFreep's picture

That's the one about the teenager whose divorced mother takes up with a slippery drug dealer, causing difficulties for the whole household.  The supporting cast includes Corey Haim, Robert Downey and Sarah Jessica Parker.


Did no one mention Caddy Shack?

Rajah's picture

Gophers Rule!

I still wanna try that Baby Ruth in the pool prank!

Lot's of good performances by the whole cast especially Bill Murray

I'm alright, don't nobody worry 'bout me!

You missed a few...

MH's picture

Tron - Yeah, kinda goofy by today's standards, but if you grew up on video games how can you not like a film about a guy who literally goes into a video game?

Gremlins - Little monsters wrecking havoc on Christmas (and the sequel, which has little monsters wrecking havoc in a giant building/TV studio)

The Neverending Story - Flying dog-thing, rock monster, kinda oddball special FX, etc

Short Circuit - OK, this one doesn't hold up that well, but you have 80s mainstays Steve Guttenberg and Ally Sheedy alongside a cute-but-annoying robot

Leonard Part 6 - I knew how bad it was as a kid, but I also found it weirdly fascinating (see also: Howard the Duck)

The Terminator/Robocop - R-rated movies which I saw earlier then I probably should have, lots of fun with killer robots

Can't really think of that many animated films from that era which hold up (though I think Last Unicorn holds up fine) - Disney was at kind of an low point, and I didn't see most of the more "adult" stuff til years later


FearlessFreep's picture

Columbia made that one when David Puttnam (British producer of CHARIOTS OF FIRE etc.) was briefly in charge of the studio.  Puttnam knew the script stank, but he didn't dare say no to Bill Cosby because Cosby had a special relationship with the Coca-Cola company which then owned the studio (doing Coke commercials, playing golf with its directors etc.).

Puttnam's successor OKed GHOST DAD for much the same reasons.


QUELESH!! Leonard Part 6

TMundo's picture

That was classic stuff.

We can go on and on.

HS's picture

Crocodile Dundee

License to Drive


The Legend of Billie Jean

Brewster's Millions





Spaceballs sucked

Rajah's picture

I'm sorry but it just wasn't funny

Mel Brooks went down hill after Young Frankenstein

His films became a formula like the Zucker brothers' movies did after Airplane

How dare you defame Spaceballs...

TMundo's picture

"This is now!  Whatever you're watching now, is happening now!"

"What happened to then?"

"We missed it."


"Just now."

"When will now become then?


Stand by Me. I missed Stand by Me

TMundo's picture

Jerry O'Connell, Corey Feldman, River Phoenix & Whil Wheaton.  Based on the Steven King story The Body.  Even has the classic king inserted writer within the story.  Some great useless but fun diversions, stories that Gordie would tell his friends. Plus, Keifer and Kusack.

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