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.
#5 – “BACK TO THE FUTURE”
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.
#4 – “FRIGHT NIGHT”
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”.
#3 – “COMMANDO”
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”.
#2 – “THE BREAKFAST CLUB”
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!