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The 80’s: A Generation of Film

Updated: Jul 27, 2023

Written By Kyle Johnson

Growing up during the 80’s would have been one of the best times to be a teenager. This generation had everything; malls, skating rinks, arcades, etc. There were so many things to stay busy on weekends, but there was one thing that stood apart from them: the movies. What made movies stand apart? There was something special about movies released during the 80’s. Apart from being the decade when some of the most famous franchises were released, the 80’s was an exciting time to be a moviegoer. With movies like Raiders of the Lost Ark and Top Gun releasing during this decade films reached an all time high in

popularity.

The 80’s was a very big turning point for Hollywood. The number of substantial movies released during this time period is truly astounding. Movies that even to this day would continue to have such a cult following that decades after release, they still manage to remain popular for all ages. What made it possible for these movies to stand the test of time? The incredible story telling, and high octane adventures are certainly a reason why, but there is something more to it than that. These movies introduced average moviegoers to new stories and experiences.

One very well known film franchise that has yet to fall from popularity is the Back to The Future trilogy. Almost three decades after the release of the first film in the trilogy, it has still managed to remain very popular amongst movie fans. Why is it so popular? The 80’s was such a big decade of trying new things, and Back to The Future was definitely a new thing considering the standards for movies from recent years. Back to The Future told a story that spanned across three films. Beginning and ending in the span of 5 years, the Back to The Future franchise introduced audiences to time travel in a way that movies have never shown them before. Even to this day, this movie holds up because it was able to tell a creative and engaging story across three separate movies that showed audiences what it would be like to time travel in a DeLorean.

Another film that manages to keep new and old audiences hooked decades after its release is Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman. Being one of the first modern comic book movies released, it is no wonder that this movie would keep such a fanbase. Following the success of Richard Donner’s Superman, Burton’s Batman did something many prior comic book movies have not done before. Burton managed to tell a dark, wacky and story driven superhero film. The 80’s were a time of darker and bolder movies, and Batman manages to check both of those boxes. This movie introduced many fans to the story of Batman. Due to the dark story and visually appealing sets and camerawork, Batman has remained one of the most famous and well known 80’s movies ever.

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, another significant movie released during this time period, also went places that many movies before did not. This movie told the story of a high school senior and his antics while skipping school. Instead of following the same storytelling that most teen movies went with, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off used the main character as a narrator of the events that took place in the movie. Ferris would occasionally speak to the audience or break the fourth wall to explain or give his thoughts on the events that just occurred. At the time this was not a very popular thing amongst directors, but thanks to this movie it has become more commonly used today. So how did this movie hold up after all these years? It was this movie’s breaking of the fourth wall that keeps drawing in new fans and keeping old ones. The creativity that director John Hughes used to tell a story about a teen and his two friends on their day off, helping this movie into becoming one of the most popular and recognizable films even to this day.


Creativity, visuals, and storytelling are just some of the things that made it possible for movies from the 80’s to remain popular even to this day. But there was something more to it than that. Many movies during the 80’s felt very different from one another. Only for some did it ever feel like watching the exact same movie. But that is what appears to be what made 80’s movies so popular. Almost each and every movie released during this decade felt divergent from one another. No two movies ever felt the exact same. Of course some were very similar, but they never seemed like cut and paste copies of each other. These movies were able to hold strong, because they all were different from each other. That is why the 80’s were a great decade for movies, every movie released during this time period differed from the previous.




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