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Throwback Thursday: Top 10 80’s Movies for Your Next Home Movie Night

I love home movie night. Whether I’m curled up on the couch with my husband or with my children, snuggling up under some cozy blankets for an at-home movie night is always a good time. Turn off the news, stash technology far from reach, and get cozy with these 80’s classics for Throwback Thursday movie night. The following are a few of our favorite 80’s movies in no particular order. Enjoy!

Throwback 80’s Family Movies:

1. Labyrinth: Starring David Bowie and Jennifer Connelly, Labyrinth was a musical fantasy film by puppeteer Jim Henson. At its inception, it didn’t do so well, financially, and theatrically. Despite its rocky start, Labyrinth built up a cult following and remains popular to this day with millennials and Gen X viewers like ourselves. Teenage Sarah (played by Connelly) is tired of everyone and everything, like her stepmother and baby half-brother. Out of frustration, disbelief, and adolescent fury, she summons the Goblin King (played by Bowie) who happily sends his muppet minions out to kidnap Sarah’s baby half-brother, Toby. When she realized what she’s done, she enters the realm of the Goblin King, determined to rescue baby Toby. My favorite part of the movie? The soundtrack. Anything made by David Bowie is gold to my ears.

2. The Karate Kid: Andy and I are How I Met Your Mother (HIMYM) fans and we’ve also watched The Karate Kid eons before we ever met. Like most people, we rooted for underdog Ralph Macchio who was taught by the infamous Mr. Miyagi in preparation for his big fight against William Zabka. Well, Barney Stinson of HIMYM made us reconsider who the hero is of this film. Barney would argue vehemently in numerous episodes how William Zabka was the true karate kid. After much consideration, although we still root for Ralph Macchio in the climactic final fight scene, William Zabka seems far deeper as a character than his initial impression implies.

3. Ghostbusters: “Ray, when someone asks you if you’re a god, you say ‘YES’!” Since the original 1984 Ghostbusters movie, there have been sequels and reboots. My favorite is still the original Ghostbusters starring Dan Aykroyd and Bill Murray. After being fired from Columbia University because their research into the paranormal lacked scientific credibility, the original ghostbusters decided to take their interest in ghosts to the private sector. Well, they found ghosts, they found credibility, and they found fame and success in the streets of haunted New York City.

4. Back to the Future: Like Ghostbusters, Back to the Future inspired sequels and countless parodies. Marty McFly, portrayed by Michael J. Fox, literally flies back in time to the 1950s with scientist neighbor Doc Brown, played by Christopher Lloyd. Marty realizes his entire existence depends on getting his teenage parents to fall in love except, whoops, his teenage mom now has the hots for Marty. After getting his parents together, Marty flies back to the future (and does it a few more times in a few sequels of varying success).

5. The Princess Bride: Although I’m classifying this movie as a “family” movie because of its family-friendly content, it could easily have fit in as an innocent date movie. Structurally a story-within-a-story, a grandfather reads his sick grandson a story of a farm-boy turned pirate who is on a quest to find his true love. His love, Buttercup, believing he was killed, agreed to marry Prince Humperdink despite her heart belonging to Westley. “As you wish,” this romance melts your heart, even as they venture through the fire swamp, torture, magic, and miracles. In the end, Westley and Buttercup ride into the sunset with a couple of new friends.

Throwback 80’s Date Night Movies:

6. The John Hughes Illinois Trilogy: Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink, and Sixteen Candles: Even though these are technically three movies and these movies technically are not a trilogy, I still group them. They all star Molly Ringwald and take place in Illinois during the 1980s. The Breakfast Club is a Saturday detention for five students who are caricatures of teenage social labels: a nerd, a jock, a criminal, a princess, and a weirdo. When we watch Pretty in Pink, Andy will tell me how he was Ducky in high school. Despite his unrequited love for Molly Ringwald, Ducky gives her his blessing at the end to pursue the rich boy she liked. In Sixteen Candles, she turns 16 but no one remembers. Everyone in her family is all sucked up in preparations for her older sister’s wedding. She feels invisible, but, as in all John Hughes movies starring Molly Ringwall, closes up by making out with her love interest before the closing credits.

7. When Harry Met Sally: One of my all-time favorites, When Harry Met Sally is a pure classic. Sometimes, we meet the love of our life and not only not realize it, can not even like that person. That’s what happened with Harry and Sally. They met in college and drove together from Chicago to New York. Sally thought Harry was a jerk. They ran into each other again several years later. Sally still thought Harry was a jerk. Then they ran into each other again a few years after that and struck up an unlikely friendship. Their friendship to romance followed anything but a natural progression, but by the end, it’s clear that Harry and Sally were meant to be.

8. Say Anything: This whole 80s teenage love story is great, but no other part of the movie beats the iconic scene of John Cusack holding a boom box outside of Diane’s window playing “In Your Eyes” by Peter Gabriel in his proclamation of love. There’s a lot more to the story, but it’s this one scene that I go back to when I watch this movie: a boom box in John Cusack’s hands playing “In Your Eyes.”

9. Coming to America: Coming to America is Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall at their best. Eddie Murphy plays an African prince who is looking for his queen. Disinterested in the eligible women in his country, he decides to find an American woman for his wife. When looking for a queen, where better to find her than in Queens, New York?

10. Dirty Dancing: Nobody puts Baby in a corner. Frances called Baby goes to the Catskills Mountains in the summer with her family. There, she discovers dirty dancing with Patrick Swayze. Like The Rocky Horror Picture Show, if you’re feeling extra energetic, follow along with dance sequences and take a shot at some dirty dancing yourself. Note: Unless you want your imitating child to gyrate along with the dirty dancing moves, you may want to watch this sans kids. My kid (Hazel) is quick to jump and dance to Word Party or any other dancing on the television screen.


11. Nightmare on Elm Street: Sometimes, it’s fun to watch something scary for date night. Have the kids tucked in away in bed with the door closed and watch the classic Nightmare on Elm Street. This movie introduces the iconic Freddy Krueger who will make you not want to sleep ever again. Cuddle close and don’t scream during the scary parts. You don’t want the kids to watch this one!


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