The 80s were one of the most fruitful decades, from an iconographic and cinephile point of view, in the entire history of the Seventh Art. There are several factors that have influenced: on one side of the ocean, the Reagan hedonism and the awakening of the nightmare of the war in Afghanistan gave a not indifferent impulse to the most sensitive authors to conceive and tell their stories; here, on the other hand, a new generation of authors coming from the (at the time) tough television and theater ranks landed in the cinema by innovating in language.
Nightmare, The Goonies, Blade Runner, ET, Back To The Future, Hellraiser, Tootsie, White, Red And Greenfinch, All We Can Do Is Cry, When Harry Met Sally: are just some of the best titles. But this time we don’t want to celebrate the “usual suspects”, but rather shine the spotlight on those films which are famous but which perhaps cannot be understood, in their overwhelming force, by those who were not introduced to cinema in the 80s.
10. A career woman (1988) by Mike Nichols
Tess, a frustrated secretary, makes a great suggestion to her boss, who steals her idea without giving her due credit.
The top of the range Mike Nichols. A director who is not particularly well known in himself, indeed unjustly neglected by the public and by a large part of the critics: who instead with this A career woman gave the spotlight to a rousing Melanie Griffith which anticipated the Julia Roberts of pretty woman. Here: if there hadn’t been that film today Working Girl would have the right notoriety that would have been due to him. Incredible soundtrack driven by the head smasher Let The River Run Of CarlySimon.
A career woman: is the reboot coming?
9. Mystic Pizza (1988) by Donald Petrie among the films that only those who grew up in the 80s can truly love
In a small town in Connecticut the sentimental stories of three girls intertwine, between hopes, disappointments and quarrels.
This film is here because it was only remembered (and celebrated) later, retroactively and just because it’s there Julia Roberts. Instead, Mystic Pizza he taught those who saw him for the first time that feelings, even the lightest ones, are a really serious matter. Big screen debut by Matt Dillon.
8. Rain Man (1988) by Barry Levinson
A selfish man discovers that his father’s rich inheritance has gone to an autistic brother he never knew existed.
Rain Man it’s a road trip loaded with nostalgia, and it showed that Tom Cruise not only was he a pretty face, but he could hold his own with a hulking one Dustin Hoffman in one of his last truly unforgettable roles. Top Guns it’s still there looking (even higher up the charts), yet Rain Man it has remained in our hearts because it is almost certainly the last bulwark of a classic cinema – in staging, in music, in history – before a silent revolution that changed cinema forever. Watch out for Valeria Golino between the interpreters.
Read also Rain Man: movie review
7. Friday the 13th (1980) by Sean Cunningham
A murderer wearing a hockey mask sows terror and victims in a group of kids on a trip to the lake.
The slasher, this genre so widespread today and therefore abused and therefore normalized, in the eighties was an almost absolute novelty, it was born with Halloween in the previous decade. But it was alone Friday the 13th (directed by one Sean Cunningham who was unable to do anything else afterwards) that we viewers understood that to be badly slaughtered by a machete-wielding madman you don’t need an auteur film: you just need a lot of fake blood and a good dose of madness. Cinema would (really) never be the same again.
The prequel series of Friday the 13th!
6. terminators (1984) by James Cameron
A cyborg from 2029 arrives in Los Angeles to kill Sarah Connor, destined to become the mother of the future leader of the human resistance in a world ruled by robots.
He shot two sequels which greatly raised the quality average of the sequels; brought the big screen to a visual aspect that no one ever expected; and made the most watched film in the history of cinema. But James Cameron remains and will always remain, for some, the creator of terminatorsthe science fiction film that made the governor of California famous Arnold Schwarzenegger. A film that rewrites an imaginary, is an incessant journey at the end of the night that fits into the discourse on meat which plays so much in the cinema of the eighties, consciously or not.
There comes an egg film from the saga of terminators?
5. The fleeting moment (1989) by Peter Weir
A teacher at a wealthy New England high school uses unconventional methods to exhort his students, under pressure from parents and school, to freedom and creativity.
It’s not easy to turn Picnic at Hanging Rock and The Truman Show and stay alive – or at least, be able to live up to their name. Peter Weir he is an elegant director who knows how to insinuate himself between images and reveal their restlessness: but when he has directed The fleeting moment little did he realize that he was making an entire generation of spectators adult. Today that film may seem outdated (in its contents, in its anarchic vein, in its small revolutionary nature), but the fact remains that robin williams who asks his students to get on the desks and they do so to the cry of “Captain, my captain” by Whitman… well, he still gives him some thrills today.
What happened to the actor de The fleeting moment and Dr. House?
4. Witness – The Witness (1985) by Peter Weir among the films that only those who grew up in the 80s can truly love
Samuel, a child of the Amish community, is waiting with his mother for a train at the Philadelphia station and is the only witness to a murder. Questioned by detective John Book, he recognizes one of the killers as a policeman. Book then realizes the dangers that the little one runs and hides him with his mother. But the cop killer and his accomplices are on their trail.
And two. Weir he is a great director, of course, but Witness is perhaps the most successful and unjustly forgotten thriller. There is Harrison Ford at its best, there is an atypical narration that makes continuous detours, there is an evocative power of images that is unlikely to be found in another contemporary. All to tell the comparison between the ancient and the modern: a watershed, because it is precisely the 1980s that divides the ancient era from the modern one.
3. Top Guns (1986) by Tony Scott
A fighter pilot falls in love with his blonde instructor, Charlotte Blackwood, and holds himself responsible for his co-pilot’s death. The experience in the training program forces him to grow.
Take my breath away, Kelly McGills, Tom Cruise: a trio that has marked eyes and broken hearts, more than you might think. Cruise certainly wasn’t at his peak, and Tony Scott certainly not a great craftsman: but sometimes the right man at the right time with the right story marks the time and the rhythm.
2. Christmas holidays (1983) by Carlo Vanzina among the films that only those who grew up in the 80s can truly love
A gallery of exuberant characters, portraits of different types of Italians, finds themselves celebrating Christmas in Cortina d’Ampezzo, giving life to hilarious adventures and uncomfortable love stories, which intertwine with unpredictable and comical results.
What will remain of those 80s in an epochal comedy, which unexpectedly combines in perfect balance an unbridled and irresistible comedy with a melancholic vein ready to describe the loneliness and sadness of the passing of time. In short, it is one of the real jewels that he has given us De Laurentiis (perhaps he didn’t know it either), who knows how to speak lucidly and cynicically about the gap between social classes, which is increasingly topical today.
1. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) by Steven Spielberg
Indiana Jones archaeologist battles snakes and Nazis to unearth the Ark of the Covenant and the Tablets of Moses.
Most prefer (rightly?) The Cursed Templeand Spielberg he was already in full maturity. But that bubbly opening, those sequences that have become iconic, that rhythm, those dialogues: adventure cinema, at the time, was just that. Wild rides, humour, exotic landscapes. Masterpiece.