5 Must-Watch 80’s Teen Movies

They don’t make films like this anymore…that classic 80’s teen movie. Directors such as John Hughes or Cameron Crowe brought teen angst to the big screen, with messages on life, love and growing up. Coming of age was all the rage. The actors were young, fresh, and compared to the perfect Hollywood look of today, appeared decidedly normal.  Here are five must-watch 80’s teen movies, with meaning and heart, how many have you seen?

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off has to be my all-time favorite film. It’s funny, sweet and it’s guaranteed to lift your mood. The plot follows Ferris (Matthew Broderick), as he attempts to get away with skipping school for the 9th time in a year. Along the way he drags his friend Cameron (Alan Ruck), and girlfriend Sloane (Mia Sara), along for the ride, which sees them ‘’borrow’’ Cameron’s Dad’s 1961 Ferrari 250GT California, perform in a street parade, and dodge their school principle through a series of creative and scheming methods (perfect if you need any ideas on how to skive school kids).

It might all seem like fun and games, but the film carries a mix of messages, from learning to let loose once in a while, believing in yourself, to learning to grow up at your own pace. It’s about taking in the world around you, the good, the bad, and discovering that occasionally rules are made to be broken.

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

The Breakfast Club

The classic teen movie, the Breakfast Club, tells the story of five high schoolers and their day in Saturday detention. All the classic teen tropes are represented in the characters, Claire, the princess, Bria, the geek, Allison, the freak, Andy the jock and Bender the juvenile delinquent John Bender.

The film, which was written and directed by the genius that is John Hughes (Pretty in Pink, Home Alone), featured a group of young actors, nicknamed the Brat Pack, who would go on to star in a number of coming of age films together throughout the 80s. The elite club included actors such as Molly Ringwald and Judd Nelson.

The film made an impressive $51.5 Million dollars, its budget was just $1 million. Its success was due to realistic portrayal of teenage friendships, fears and pressure. Topics such as virginity, drugs, and relationships with parents all came into focus, with the character realizing that they have more in common with each other than they might have thought. If you take anything from this film, it’s that everyone has their own story, but it doesn’t mean they don’t share the same emotions and anxieties as you.

“We’re all pretty bizarre. Some of us are just better at hiding it, that’s all.”

St Elmo’s Fire

So technically this is not a teen movie, given that most of the characters are in their early twenties, but if you’ve recently graduated university or just starting your final year and are feeling a bit lost about what comes next…well this film is for you. St Elmo’s fire centres on a group of college graduates, played by (you guessed it) members of the Brat Pack. The plot follows the characters as they get to grips with the real world, and how friendships and relationships can change and develop. In short the move is about learning to understand that not all people are good for you, and you might not be good for them. Its learning to let go, that memories are memories and you can’t hang on to them you’re whole life.

This film is full of comedy but also drama, so get ready for the emotional roller-coaster that young adult life. I guarantee that you will feel wiser for watching this cinematic gem.

“She is the only evidence of God I have seen with the exception of the mysterious force that removes one sock from the dryer every time I do my laundry.”

Say Anything

A classic tale of romance, young love and family betrayal, Say Anything is jam packed with emotions and romantic gestures for the modern age; aka standing outside someone’s window holding a boom box, blasting out a classic 80s tune…who said romance was dead?

The storyline follows the geekishly charming Lloyd (John Cusack) as he tries to woo the Diane (Ione Skye), the class valedictorian and all round beauty. In his pursuit of Diane, he has the challenge of making sure Diane’s father Jim approves. But there is more to the story than just a teen romance, as the future nears and family secrets reveal some shady behavior from Jim (that’s all I’ll say). From first loves to heartbreak the film is beloved by many and critically acclaimed. If you haven’t seen it…what are you doing still reading this article? Say Anything is a must-watch.

“One question: are you here ‘cause you need someone, or ‘cause you need me?”


Oh yeah, baby… You didn’t think I would make a list of 80s teen movies and not include Kevin Bacon in the mix…Picture this a sleepy middle American town, a priest, an outsider, a rebellious daughter…and a law that prohibits dancing! The combination makes for a masterpiece (in my opinion).

Ren (Kevin Bacon), the new boy in town, can’t seem to understand why music, and dancing are banned. He doesn’t mean to cause trouble but can’t help meddling. With the help of Willard, Ariel, and Rusty (Sarah Jessica Parker), (after a series of dramatic events) he brings music and dancing back to the town. Some classic dance numbers provide entertainment throughout — what’s not to love?

“I just don’t know that I believe in everything you believe in. But I believe in you.”


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