5 Phenomenal Movies from 1985

movie_theatre - Phenom 5

I’ve had a ton of fun looking back at the movies from the 1980s. I grew up on these films and I’ve been making my way through them year by year. Today we stop in 1985 to look at five of the best films from that year. While 1985 wasn’t as rich with great movies as the previous year, there were still a number of fantastic flicks many of which have stood the test of time. There were a wide range of films that covered nearly every genre and a few turned out to be all-time classics. So considering all of that I won’t go as far as to call this the definitive list. But I firmly believe that these five films from 1985 are absolutely phenomenal.



I know that this would be #1 on most people’s list and I understand why. It’s a film from 1985 that many do regard as a true timeless classic. While I don’t personally hold it up that highly, I do think it’s a very good film that deserves to be on this list. The whole idea behind “Back to the Future” is just plain fun. It’s also a very “80s” movie that remarkably still holds up well today. Sure a lot of it is due to the nostalgia factor, but just as much is due to the great characters and numerous memorable lines. Michael J. Fox will always be remembered for his role as Marty McFly and watching him trying to get out of his time-jumping predicament is a blast.



Just disregard the lame sequels and poor remake. The original “Fright Night” from 1985 was a great horror picture written and directed by Tom Holland. There were several things that made “Fright Night” stand out. It didn’t just follow the same overused horror movie formula. It cleverly incorporated humor and homage into its creepy vampire tale. There are several laughs mixed in with the frights and the constant tips of the hat to the old classic B-movie horror pictures and television shows really works. But it also features some really good makeup effects from a time when we weren’t dependent on computers to enhance our films. Sure it’s a tad corny at times but that is easy for me to forgive. I’m still a big fan of “Fright Night”.



Laugh at me or say what you want but “Commando” is still one of my favorite action movies from the 1980s. This was one of the movies that launched Arnold Schwarzenegger into stardom and one of the original ‘one man army’ action pictures that became pretty common later in the decade. “Commando” is brimming with great action, super cheesy one-liners, and a bullet filled finale that I probably watched 100 times growing up. It certainly didn’t win an Oscar and Arnie didn’t earn accolades for his performance. But there are so many memorable moments and I still love watching this wild romp today. The amount of cheese is only surpassed by the body count, but the entertainment value is through the roof. So call me what you want but I do love “Commando”.



Talk about a movie that is right at home in the 80s! “The Breakfast Club” remains one of my favorite films from writer and director John Hughes. While this movie is loaded with hilarious moments, it also takes a serious look at a number of weighty teen problems that were often times glossed over during that time. Teen rebellion, social outcasting, suicide, peer pressure, parental pressure – it’s all addressed in a smart and responsible way. But it’s also a film that has fun. 80’s regulars Molly Ringwald, Emilio Estevez, Judd Nelson, Ally Sheedy, and Anthony Michael Hall each give great performances. But it may be the late Paul Gleason as the merciless assistant principal who steals the biggest laughs. “The Breakfast Club” is such a wonderful film and even as it approaches 30 years old it still doesn’t miss a beat.

#1 – “MASK”


We see so many ‘based on a true story’ movies these days and new biopics seem to pop up routinely. But few have ever carried the emotional pop that you’ll find in the 1985 drama simply titled “Mask”. The movie tells the true story of Roy “Rocky’ Dennis, a boy born with a severe cranial disorder. He’s had to grow up with his incurable facial disfigurement but you would never know it by being around him. His great attitude, chipper demeanor, and ambitious dreams make being around him infectuous. Eric Stoltz is fantastic as Rocky but it’s Cher who really blows me away. She plays his single mother who has had her share of personal troubles but is 100% dedicated to supporting her son. I won’t ruin the ending for you but let me just say if you haven’t seen “Mask” please do. It’s an unforgetable experience.

So there they are – 5 Phenomenal Movies from 1985. What do you think? See something I missed? Disagree with any of my choices? If so please take time to share your comments below. I would love to hear your thoughts on the movies of 1985!

48 thoughts on “5 Phenomenal Movies from 1985

  1. I’d have Fright Night at the top of the list, but all the others are good as well. I’m getting ready for my year long 30th anniversary review of 1984, a better year than 1985 but you found some good ones.

    • Oh 1984 was a better year. Not sure if you caught my list for that year but it was incredibly hard to narrow down. Great to hear the love for Fright Night. I still adore that picture.

  2. Tremendous list Keith, TBC i think only gets better (the nostalgia factor increases at least) with time. Mask I have to see, I had no idea Cher was in it. lol

  3. A vintage year! I’d forgotten about Mask, saw it as a teenager on TV in the late 80s or early 90s and found it really moving. I might give that another watch now. Good list with some interesting choices Keith.
    Michael J Fox had a good year – Teen Wolf came out in 1985 too.
    I’d go for Back To The Future, Witness, The Goonies, Brewster’s Millions and The Breakfast Club. Wait…Pale Rider. Can I have six? Haha.

    • Thanks. It’s good to hear someone else who appreciates Mask. It’s such a strong film. There were several other good movies from that year that I hated to leave off the list.

      • Mask is very strong. I don’t think it stands the test of time a well as Breakfast Club, which is why I would order the two differently, but Mask still brings a lot of good to the table.

        What other movies are you thinking about?

      • I actually haven’t seen most of those (Rambo being the main exception), so I got nothing … 🙂

        I guess that’s not surprising. I was very young in 1985.

  4. One or two you missed:
    Return of the Living Dead
    The Goonies
    Weird Science
    Teen Wolf
    Pee Wee’s Big Adventure
    Real Genius
    Better Off Dead
    Day of the Dead
    Spies Like Us
    European Vacation
    Brewster’s Millions
    Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome
    The Last Dragon
    Just One of the Guys
    Krush Groove
    My Science Project
    The Color Purple
    Godzilla 1985

    • Thanks. Surprisingly you’re the first person to mention Out of Africa. I was always kind of lukewarm with it. Certainly not a bad film but it never really swept me away.

      • Ah, well, if you appreciate Meryl as much as I do and the thought of Robert Redford as a love interest you’d be swept away. The cinematography is outstanding and the music great, oh and the book…it’s my idea of a chick-flick. 😉

    • Hey thanks! Mask didn’t stand out as one of those 80’s classics even though it was generally well received by critics. That’s just one reason I’m thrilled to get the word out about it. It’s a great movie.

    • Two very different but very good movies. Fright Night is a very old school horror picture. I just have a real soft spot for it. Mask is a potent and moving drama. You should really give them a watch.

  5. As good as “Back to the Future” is, some parts of it have undeniably dated very badly. No matter which way you frame it, Lorraine’s near-rape is so jarringly out-of-place in such a family-oriented film that it left a really bad taste in my mouth, which I’m sure (or at least, I hope) wasn’t Zemeckis’s intention at all. Still a classic, though.

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