Skip to main content

80 Greatest '80s Movie Moments

Society (1989)

The Moment: Adopted son Billy Warlock discovers his family are deformed creatures who ‘shunt’ with each other. What’s ‘shunting’? It’s best not to ask.

Only In The '80s: ...would this be deemed beyond the pale (it didn’t get a U.S. release until 1992).

If It Was Made Today: It’d really test horror filmmakers in how to better its gloopy disgust.

Trading Places (1983)

The Moment: Disgraced millionaire Dan Ackroyd is reduced to a drunken bum, dressed as Santa and trying to nosh down salmon through his beard.

Only In The '80s: ...was Dan Ackroyd a reliable barometer of a good laugh. John Landis, too, for that matter.

If It Was Made Today: It would be more relevant than ever.

Raising Arizona (1987)

The Moment: The simple act of buying nappies becomes a comic ordeal as Nic Cage is pursued by cops, dogs, a shop assistant with a shotgun and - scariest of all - his angry wife Holly Hunter.

Only In The '80s: (and, to some extent, the '90s) ...did Nic Cage choose his projects with care.

If It Was Made Today: The yodelling soundtrack would be focus-grouped out of contention in favour of good 'ol Country & Western.

The Fly (1986)

The Moment: Jeff Goldblum, in the process of turning into a fly, gets philosophical as his body parts fall off and dreams of becoming the first insect politician.

Only In The '80s: ...would a body-horror / romance merge be seen by pundits as a state-of-the-nation AIDS allegory.

If It Was Made Today: Seth Brundle would actually become a politician.

Mad Max 2 (1981)

The Moment: The final chase, coming on like a limb-lopping, post-punk remake of Wacky Races .

Only In The '80s: ...would a sequel get rebranded in America (as The Road Warrior ) to ensure good box-office.

If It Was Made Today: Hopes are high for the planned Tom Hardy-starring reboot.

Roxanne (1987)

The Moment: Steve Martin’s big-nosed fire chief silences his critics by making up the jokes himself.

Only In The '80s: ...did Steve Martin find that balance between schmaltz and sharpness.

If It Was Made Today: A comedy based on classic literature? It’d be set in high school.

Beverly Hills Cop (1984)

The Moment: Eddie Murphy shows Californian law enforcement where to stick it by shoving a banana up the exhaust pipe of the car assigned to tail him.

Only In The '80s: Could Harold Faltermeyer's instrumental theme tunes make it to the Top Ten. See also: Miami Vice .

If It Was Made Today: To be honest, Crazy Frog has rather exhausted our tolerance for Axel F .

The Blues Brothers (1980)

The Moment: The Blues accidentally get booked into a Country & Western bar, forcing them to improvise a set. "Rolling, rolling, rolling..."

Only In The '80s: ...would a fictional band become so popular they end up touring. See also: Spinal Tap.

If It Was Made Today: The band would sing Shania Twain's Man I Feel Like a Woman .

Flash Gordon (1980)

The Moment: Brian Blessed expresses his surprise that Flash Gordon has survived Ming's attempts to kill him.

Only In The '80s: ...were kids' movies this kinky. Seriously, go and watch it again.

If It Was Made Today: Brian Blessed would sue; after all, he has repeated his immortal line so often he probably thinks he owns the copyright.

Withnail and I (1987)

The Moment: Back from going on holiday by mistake, Richard E. Grant and Paul McGann see out the 1960s by sharing a Camberwell Carrot with stoner mate Ralph Brown.

Only In The '80s: ...could two future Doctor Whos share a spliff on-screen.

If It Was Made Today: Preview audiences baffled by the name Camberwell. Scene reshot as Cannabis Carrot, totally ruining the joke.