My friends and coworkers have all been talking about Stranger Things, the new Netflix series that has a decidedly retro vibe. My husband and I had fun this weekend reminiscing about the movies from our childhood the series was inspired by. If you too are feeling nostalgia for the 1980s, or for our younger readers who are curious to see more films with a similar feel for the first time, here are a few 80s films worth borrowing from HPL or other BCCLS libraries that feature average kids and teens in extraordinary circumstances.
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
Starting out the list, I of course have to mention Steven Spielberg’s E.T., the now classic tale of a gentle alien and the young boy who befriends him and attempts to help him get home. This family friendly sci-fi/fantasy set the tone for future movies in this genre. The movie spawned everything from what was widely considered the worst video game ever to a Universal Studios theme park ride that allows you to recreate the classic flying bicycle scene. In 1994, E.T. was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry for its cultural significance to American films.
My younger sister and I probably watched The Goonies, another Spielberg classic from 1985, for what seemed like at least a hundred times (the VHS tape definitely got a work out) when we were kids. The Goonies follows the adventures of two brothers and their friends who use a treasure map to track down pirate gold in order to save their home. Like many 80s films it features Corey Feldman, but also The Goonies marks the feature film debut of Sean Astin.
Ed. note: The Goonies is an awesome movie, but Cyndi Lauper’s track for the film, “Goonies ‘R’ Good Enough” (on Freegal and CD) is awesome too! -kw
Explorers from 1984 stars the debuts of both Ethan Hawke and River Phoenix who along with Jason Presson star as young preteens who manages to build their own spaceship that they use to take an out of this world adventure. The movie although not a huge success during its release, has over the years become a cult classic for science fiction fans.
The Monster Squad
Another film falling in to the cult classic category, is The Monster Squad from 1987. In this film a clever group of kids must ban together to stop Count Dracula and other classic movie monsters including The Wolf Man, The Mummy, and Frankenstein’s Monster. This was one of my husband’s favorites that he looks forward to sharing with our son.
Have other movies from the 1980s to recommend? Leave a comment and tell us about your favorite film from the 1980s that our readers should borrow!
-Written by Aimee Harris, Head of Reference