Why the 80s were iconic in five movies
Some say it was the best decade ever. Frizzy hair, synth-driven music, the A-Team and tons of memorable movies still make us nostalgic about a time we played with dolls and got to taste the first advancements in video games. Nostalgia and the 80s go hand in hand, another reason why we remember them as a decade that gave birth to some of the best pop culture gems. These are five films – and scores – that got stuck in our hearts.
Rain Man (Hans Zimmer), 1988
An instant classic, and one of Dustin Hoffman’s best performances to date. His compelling approach to an autistic man role, combined with Cruise’s caricature of a selfish businessman with no dependants in his life, are two of the many reasons why this picture made history. This late 80s road movie transports us through Charlie’s (Cruise) journey, when his past comes back after his father’s death, resulting in some of the most iconic scenes in cinema: two men in grey suits, one black jack match. No need to mention anything else.
Well perhaps the incredible score, composed by the one and only Hans Zimmer. For those not familiar with it, electronic keyboards take the lead in this soundtrack, which brings us inside Raymond’s (Hoffman) mind and beyond. Every note is placed to hit the right emotional state, elevate the scene and transcend through the screen. Hans Zimmer at his best.
Out of Africa (John Barry), 1985
Another Oscar movie makes our list. Although it’s not one of those movies you immediately think about when the 80s theme comes up, especially because the story develops in 1913. But we couldn’t leave out this epic romance between Meryl Streep and Robert Redford with Kenya’s landscape in the background. This tragic story is told by Sydney Pollack in a very human and compassionate manner. We get to see how love is not always enough, as they say, and social and cultural differences are able to make a relationship break. John Barry gifts us with one of the best scores we can remember.
Back to the Future (Alan Silvestri), 1985
This masterpiece from Robert Zemeckis became a cult movie right after its release. If you were a kid born in the 80s you’d sure know how it feels to hear: “Wait a minute, Doc. Are you telling me that you built a time machine out of a DeLorean?”. Every scene taken out of this movie feels nostalgic. Every step of Marty’s adventures to secure his existence is better than the previous one. And as if this were not enough to make a timeless rewatchable classic, Alan Silvestri takes care of the score, from the 80s back to the 50s.
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (Arthur Baker, Ira Newborn, John Robie ), 1986
We all know John Hughes and the 80s are essentially synonyms. We could have mentioned Sixteen Candles, Pretty in Pink, or the super classic Breakfast Club, but we’ve chosen Ferris Bueller’s Day Off because of the high school, the clothes and especially because of the Broderick’s charm, and the music. This 1986 classic explores how fun (and complicated) being a teenager can be through a single day where Ferris, his girlfriend and his best friend take a day off from high school to spend it in the wonderful city of Chicago. Music takes a central part in this dramatic comedy, and one of these examples is the parade scene, when Ferris and the rest of the city sing and dance to The Beatles’ version of Twist and Shout.
Raiders of the Lost Arc (John Williams), 1981
We couldn’t finish the list without mentioning the best action hero of the decade, archaeologist Dr Henry Walton Jones Jr – aka “Indy”. The intrepid Indiana, professor by day and treasure hunter in his spare time, brings us into his very first adventure, where he competes with the Nazis for the Ark of the Covenant. The director teams up not only with George Lucas and Lawrence Kasdan of Star Wars for the script but also with the great John Williams, who comes up with one of the most recognisable themes ever made, achieving the very embodiment of a time and its American hero.