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breakfast club- iconic movie scenes
breakfast club- iconic movie scenes

80s

12 Most Iconic Movie Scenes Of The ’80s

The most iconic movie scenes from a well-loved era in film

Scenes that will bring back fond memories of the 1980s.

From bad perms to legwarmers and sports cars to neon signs, there’s an endless supply of reasons as to why the ’80s is admired more now than it ever was.

It was a decade full of distinctive style, self-expression and passion, which is probably why we’re still seeing its aesthetic qualities cross over into contemporary pop culture today. And luckily for us, that also includes cinema.

So, for a little trip down nostalgia lane, let’s take a look at some of the most memorable scenes from the movies we love the most.

The Shining: Here’s Johnny!

In a behind-the-scenes featurette, we learn that Jack Nicolson’s intense performance wasn’t just a matter of exercising his best acting techniques for the camera, but his calculated increase of irritation we see over the course of the film is actually a result of director Stanley Kubrick only allowing the actor to live on nothing but cheese sandwiches for a number of days – knowing very well it was Nicholson’s least favourite thing to eat.

Nicholson wasn’t just emotionally unhinged or demonically possessed, he was just plain hungry and that’s more than enough to justify his axe-chopping frenzy. 

IMDb Rating: 8.4/10

Cast: Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Danny Lloyd and more

How to stream The Shining

Footloose: Warehouse Dance

First came Flashdance and then came Footloose, and while both were similar in terms of theme and plot, this highlight is slightly more memorable mostly because it was the one that defined Kevin Bacon’s career.

We see him arrive at a deserted warehouse in his car, he knocks back a beer and then proceeds to perform what would become one of the most unforgettable dance sequences ever produced for the big screen.

Bacon’s fast-paced acrobatic, gymnastic and jazzy dance moves brought some much-needed energy and light into such a gloomy environment and we are still thanking him for it.

IMDb Rating: 6.6/10

Cast: Kevin Bacon, Lori Singer, Sarah Jessica Parker and more

How to stream Footloose

When Harry Met Sally: I’ll Have What She’s Having

As far as iconic scenes from romantic comedies go, this one might just win first place from all the eras so far.

While in a downtown diner, Meg Ryan lets all of her inhibitions go just to prove a point to her ex (Billy Crystal) that she’s good at, well…’faking it’, and oh boy does she prove him wrong.

After a very audible performance that has all the other customers staring in awe, Ryan finally finishes her moaning, continues eating her dessert and then an older female patron in the restaurant says to the waiter “I’ll have what she’s having”. It really is a moment that’s almost better than the entire movie itself. 

IMDb Rating: 7.6/10

Cast: Meg Ryan, Billy Crystal, Carrie Fisher and more

How to stream When Harry Met Sally

E.T: Night Ride

An ultimate family classic that’s managed to successfully span across decades for capturing a sense of intergalactic wonder unlike any other Hollywood production to date, ET won the hearts of audiences near and far in the ’80s and still continues to be a favourite in many households till this very day.

Spielberg’s heart-warming classic was inspired by memories from his own childhood and that’s probably why the movie has so many genuinely emotional moments, but if there’s one enchanting image that’s impossible to forget (aside from a devastating goodbye at the end), it’s when little Elliot and ET take-off into the night sky together on a bicycle and their silhouettes can be seen riding across the full moon. It’s absolutely magical.

IMDb Rating: 7.8/10

Cast: Henry Thomas, Drew Barrymore, Dee Wallace and more

How to stream E.T

Moonstruck: Snap Out Of It!

Cher and Nicholas Cage are certainly an odd match, but there’s a variety of unconventional elements that come together more seamlessly than they should in Moonstruck and the crackling chemistry between both of its talented leads is just one of them.

After waking up in bed with her fiancé’s brother Ronny (Cage), Loretta Castorini (Cher) gives Ronny a double slap across the face when he proclaims his love for her and it’s a moment of pure comical gold.

The situation plays out with an over-dramatised sincerity that’s impossible to resist and when you think about it, there’s nothing more Italian than expressing your deepest love for someone in the angriest way possible.  

IMDb Rating: 7.1/10

Cast: Cher, Olympia Dukakis, Nicolas Cage and more

How to stream Moonstruck

Ghostbusters:  Marshmallow Man

No one would have guessed that the most memorable thing from a movie about ghosts wouldn’t actually be a ghost itself, but a giant marshmallow man the size of Godzilla that storms its way through the streets of Manhattan.

Of all the goofy humour and paranormal lunacy that goes on in this rollercoaster ride of a film, this scene felt the most climatic – not just in scale and size, but for all the craziness that accompanied it.

IMDb Rating: 7.8/10

Cast: Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis and more

How to stream Ghostbusters

Dirty Dancing: Time Of My Life

For something that’s universally known for its soundtrack as much as it is for featuring one of Patrick Swayze’s most treasured performances, the seductive choreography is just a small part of what makes Dirty Dancing qualify as a classic in the ‘feel-good’ movie canon.

When the secret relationship between Baby (Jennifer Grey) and Johnny (Swayze) is exposed and the two lovebirds are torn apart, they come together at the end and whisk up this final dance to Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes’ ‘Time of my Life’, and it really is a wonderful moment to witness. If not for its cheesy romanticism, for Swayze’s on-screen charisma that will live on through each and every frame. 

IMDb Rating: 7/10

Cast: Patrick Swayze, Jennifer Grey, Cynthia Rhodes and more

How to stream Dirty Dancing

Aliens: Get Away From Her You B#*ch!

The mere reason that James Cameron’s ‘Aliens’ is still just as brilliant as it ever was, is because of how masterfully the entire experience is constructed from beginning to end.

After almost two hours of non-stop action, Cameron tricks us into believing that the movie has already reached its dramatic peak…but then this scene happens. Between Sigourney Weaver shouting her famous line of dialogue at the mother alien while in high-tech body armour and Cameron’s flawless direction that uses genius lighting techniques and sound design to build tension, there’s a solid reason why this showdown is considered one of the greatest of all time and it will always be a tough one to top. 

IMDb Rating: 8.3/10

Cast: Sigourney Weaver, Carrie Henn, Michael Biehn and more

How to stream Aliens

Back To The Future: 88mph

Just as Marty McFly and his vibrant red vest are about to take a trip into the past inside the radical DeLorean time machine, Doc Brown goes on to say “If my calculations are correct, when this baby hits 88mph, you’re going to see some serious s#*t!” – and it’s because of that hilarious line of dialogue spoken by one of the looniest characters in 80’s cinema that this super slick first entry of the franchise has stood the test of time. Ha! Go figure.

IMDb Rating: 8.5/10

Cast: Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson and more

How to stream Back To The Future

The Breakfast Club: Dancing In Detention

The ’80s served us with some fantastic and often awkwardly accurate depictions of the emotional mess that is ‘high school’, but The Breakfast Club was one that really stood out from the rest because it wasn’t scared to show just as many highs as it did lows.

Not to mention, the movie kickstarted the careers of many of the cast members. But in true juvenile fashion, the scene in which the group of kids break out into a drug-fuelled dance while in detention is something that lights the flame of teen rebellion in us all and resisting the urge to smile during it is almost impossible.

IMDb Rating: 7.8/10

Cast: Molly Ringwald, Judd Nelson, Ally Sheedy and more

How to stream The Breakfast Club

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off: Street Parade

Matthew Broderick got a handful of juicy roles to play in the ’80s, but nothing quite compares to his portrayal of Ferris Bueller.

Of all the shenanigans that he gets up to on his day off from skipping school, his surprise act of hijacking a float in the local street parade that gets the whole crowd dancing to ‘twist and shout’, is precisely the kind of cinema you just can’t replicate and will never lose its entertainment factor. 

IMDb Rating: 7.8/10

Cast: Matthew Broderick, Alan Ruck, Mia Sara and more

How to stream Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

Beetlejuice: Lobster Party

If it were possible to prove that the afterlife was always this much fun, then the concept of death would seem a lot less scary in reality. And if there’s one thing that Tim Burton knows how to do well, it’s making the dark side of life look enjoyable, with Beetlejuice by far his best example of that.

This spooky little adventure is basically sewn together with one iconic scene after the next, but when the recently deceased newlyweds, Adam (Alec Baldwin) and Barbara (Geena Davis), possess the dinner party of their new home-owners in an attempt to scare them off for good, we know this scene is something special. Especially since it starts with an exotic dance and ends with cooked lobster hands jumping off dinner plates onto peoples’ faces. Ah, perfection!

IMDb Rating: 7.5/10

Cast: Michael Keaton, Winona Ryder, Alec Baldwin and more

How to stream Beetlejuice

See Also: 12 Most Iconic Movie Scenes Of The ’90s

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