George Orwell had it partly right; 1984 was a significant year, but not for its Big Brother-style surveillance techniques. Rather, it produced some of Hollywood’s most beloved movies in a decade fondly remembered for producing instant classics.
Molly Ringwald, prom-queen star of John Hughes’ iconic The Breakfast Club, kindly reminded us via Twitter that it has been 30 years since that golden era.
30 years ago today, The Breakfast Club met for detention. pic.twitter.com/kGT8Xuzteu
— Behind the Scenes (@MakingOfs) March 24, 2014
To celebrate, we take a look back at the magic of 1984 – a year which produced everything from a ghost-busting Bill Murray to Daryl Hannah as a mermaid.
The Breakfast Club
Although technically released in 1985, the opening scene of this high school detention flick takes place on March 24, 1984. John Hughes’ remarkably honest portrayal of youth paved the way for teen films and made every young person at the time feel that little bit less misunderstood.
Who can’t relate to at least one member of the mismatched Saturday detention group, if not all?
A few elements distinguished The Breakfast Club from its teen movie peers: The chemistry of the “brain, athlete, basket case, princess and criminal”, the use of the phrase “eat my shorts” and the powerful, fist-pumping closing scene.
If you still haven’t seen it, there’s no time like the present.
Memorable quote: “We’re all pretty bizarre. Some of us are just better at hiding it, that’s all.” – Andrew Clark (played by Emilio Estevez)
Song: Don’t you (forget about me) by Simple Minds
The recent death of star Harold Ramis reminded people just how much they loved this creepy caper, prompting an outpouring of nostalgia and a constant loop of the catchy theme song playing in our heads.
Ramis and his fellow ghostbusters, Dan Aykroyd and Bill Murray, crusaded against the supernatural in a particularly loveable way, earning fans for their wisecracks.
The delightfully evil Stay Puft Marshmallow Man was a stroke of genius and became an instant icon.
Memorable quote: “He slimed me.” – Dr Peter Venkman (played by Bill Murray)
Song: Ghostbusters theme song by Ray Parker Jr. (WHO YOU GONNA CALL?)
The Karate Kid
In the original and ultimate bullied-kid-fights-back tale, the wise, very-quotable Mr Miyagi, a karate expert, takes the dorky, friendless Daniel LaRusso under his wing to help him conquer his aggressive peers.
Daniel and the audience quickly learn there is more to the self-defence method than hand-to-hand combat. Subsequent remakes failed to measure up to that original perfect pairing.
Memorable quote: “Wax on, wax off.” – Mr Miyagi (played by Pat Morita)
Song: Cruel Summer by Bananarama
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
Harrison Ford was box office gold and the film had everything audiences craved: action, romance, chase scenes and exotic settings.
Memorable quote: “Fortune and glory, kid. Fortune and glory.” – Indiana Jones
Song: The theme song composed by John Williams
A Nightmare on Elm Street
The slasher film that kicked off the Wes Craven franchise brought us the star of all our nightmares, disfigured serial killer Freddy Krueger. It also introduced us to a young Johnny Depp, for which we are all eternally grateful.
Memorable quote: “Whatever you do… don’t fall asleep.” – Nancy (played by Heather Langenkamp)
Song: Freddy’s song (“One, two, Freddy’s coming for you…”)
Austrian body builder (and former governor of California) Arnold Schwarzenegger plays a cyborg sent from the future to kill a young woman of great significance. Schwarzenegger was perfectly believable as a robot thanks to those sculpted abs and the film was a surprise box office hit.
Memorable quote: “I’ll be back.” – Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger)
This Is Spinal Tap
A “rockumentary” following the adventures of a fake British heavy metal band, this was basically one big, brilliant send-up of rockstar culture. It was laugh-out-loud funny and so spot-on that it still manages to be relevant today.
Memorable quote: “These go to eleven.” – Nigel Tufnel (played by Christopher Guest)
Song: Big bottom by Spinal Tap
Dancing banned? Not if Kevin Bacon has his way! Bacon was effervescent as Ren McCormack, the city teen who is forced to move to a small town where dancing and music have been outlawed. Unsurprisingly, Ren shakes things up, literally and figuratively.
Bacon revisited his popular role recently during an appearance on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, entering the stage area dancing like crazy and proving that he’s still got it.
Memorable quote: “See, this is our time to dance. It is our way of celebrating life. It’s the way it was in the beginning. It’s the way it’s always been. It’s the way it should be now.” – Ren McCormack
Song: Footloose by Kenny Loggins
Beverly Hills Cop
Eddie Murphy became an instant comedy superstar when he played Axel Foley, a wisecracking Detroit cop transplanted in conservative Beverly Hills, in this quintessential 80s romp.
Memorable quote: “Disturbin’ the peace?! I got thrown out of a window! Then what do you call being hit by a car, jay-walking?!” – Axel Foley (played by Eddie Murphy)
Molly Ringwald’s breakout role before she was catapulted into the stratosphere with The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles is an unforgettable teen comedy that perfectly encapsulates what it is to be an awkward high schooler.
Memorable quote: “I can’t believe I gave my panties to a geek.” – Samantha Baker (played by Molly Ringwald)
Song: If you were here by Thompson Twins
Madison, a beautiful mermaid played by Daryl Hannah, washes up on a beach and wins the heart of charming New Yorker Allen Bauer, played by Tom Hanks in his break out role as a rom-com lead.
Thanks to the unique comedy, Hannah became a sex symbol and Hanks become a superstar.
Memorable quote: “I don’t understand. All my life I’ve been waiting for someone and when I find her, she’s… she’s a fish.” – Allen Bauer (played by Tom Hanks)
Song: Love Came For Me (Love Theme) by Lee Holdridge
A classic baseball film starring Robert Redford, The Natural follows the successes and failures of gifted player Roy Hobbs (Redford). It quickly became one of the most beloved sports films in cinema history.
Memorable quote: “Red, it took me 16 years to get here. You play me and I’ll give you the best I’ve got.” – Roy Hobbs
Song: The Natural Theme composed by Randy Newman
Based on the life of Wolfagang Amadeus Mozart, this eight-time Oscar winning film was a rich period drama featuring lush costumes and an incredible score.
Memorable quote: “This was a music I’d never heard. Filled with such longing, such unfulfillable longing, it had me trembling. It seemed to me that I was hearing the very voice of God.” – Antonio Salieri (played by F. Murray Abraham)
Song: The marriage of Figaro by Mozart