The 1980s are one of the few historical periods that have such strong cultural associations. Any mention of the 1980s quickly conjures up pictures of leg warmers, electro-pop, feathered hair, and the neon-drenched, bright optimism, even for people who weren’t alive during that time.
The 1980s may have had the greatest significant impact on cinema. To this day, many movies from that era are still viewed, recreated, and cited. Here is our list of the 1980s movies that had the most cultural impact.
Best 7 Most Culturally Influential Movies Of The 1980s
Below are some of the most influential movies of the 1980s we can’t stop watching:
✔ The Terminator
For us, these are the 80s films whose enormous influence on popular culture can still be seen today. It remains to be seen whether any movies from the current decade will compare. I’m coming back. Three words that virtually everyone living today will immediately link to the highly acclaimed James Cameron sci-fi film, which continues to be one of this genre’s most successful releases ever.
The movie centers on a sinister humanoid cyborg from the 2020s who is sent back in time to the 1980s to kill John Connor’s mother as he is on the brink of stopping a robotic conquest of Earth.
In a manner that only the 1980s truly could, the movie expertly balances being horrifying, thought-provoking, funny, and high-camp. More than a dozen video games and a handful of big office successes have been produced by the series since its first release.
One of the movies from that era with the most cultural impact is Ghostbusters. Not only is it well-liked enough to have a direct sequel and two different reboots, but fresh items, games, and other things are still being developed. Even those who missed the movie when it first came out still have a high regard for it.
In addition, it would be difficult to find a person in the US who doesn’t at least recognize the music of the well-known Ghostbusters theme song. Even if they don’t know all the lyrics, practically everyone is familiar with the song’s “Who You Gonna Call?” section. There is no doubting the original movie’s cultural influence on American popular culture, even if the next remake will presumably perform far better than the previous.
✔ Roger and Me
This movie from the 1980s is perhaps responsible for more famous quotations than any other, the most notable of which being the protagonist’s memorable slogan. First-person films existed before Michael Moore embarked on his mission to see Roger B. Smith, the chairman of General Motors and the person responsible for the loss of thousands of jobs in Flint, Michigan.
Undoubtedly, there were a great number of instances in which the format was used for the goal of muckraking. But it was Moore’s blend of man-on-the-street gotcha journalism, weird comedic vignettes, and indignation over the way the filmmaker’s city had been messed up that elevated this beyond your typical fist-shaking tirade to a higher level.
You can’t dispute the way he sets up his David v. Goliath fight here — and scores a victory for the small man even when the big guy slams the door on him. It was the uncommon documentary of its day to cross over into becoming a great, popular smash, and whether you believe Moore’s subsequent cult-of-personality notoriety has now become a burden or a benefit for the discourse, you can’t ignore the way it was the rare documentary
✔ The Empire Strikes Back
Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back is unquestionably the most culturally significant of all the movies that came out in the 1980s. Many Star Wars fans still hold this movie in high regard as the finest one ever created, which is a reasonable claim given all that transpired in the movie.
One of the most often repeated lines from any movie ever is the major revelation that Darth Vader is Luke Skywalker’s father. Additionally, the movie’s somewhat depressing finale increased its shock factor. The Star Wars film series has made repeated attempts to live up to The Empire Strikes Back’s standard. It is quite difficult to dispute the cultural influence that this one movie has had on American culture, despite the fact that it may not be everyone’s favorite in the series.
✔ Die Hard
With good cause, this movie was the catalyst for Bruce Willis’ meteoric rise to fame. Die Hard follows the efforts of a wisecracking NYPD officer who must thwart a theft attempt by a group of German terrorists with amazing facial hair. The action movie is set inside a posh hotel and office complex on Christmas Eve.
✔ When Harry meets Sally
When Harry Met Sally has to be on our list since it is one of the greatest love stories ever produced. Although the movie had many wonderful moments, the most well-known sequence is when Meg Ryan impersonates having an orgasm at a restaurant, leading to Estelle Reiner’s character’s famous phrase, “I’ll have what she’s having.”
Despite the movie providing numerous other chuckles, this particular sentence is still often cited today. In addition, the movie has a surprising level of depth because of its excellent analysis of male and female emotional relationships, which elevates it beyond the standard romantic comedy. This movie is also filled with amazing 80’s fashion for women you will love to check out.
✔ The Decline of Western Civilization
Filmmaker Penelope Spheeris released a documentary that showed how bands actually appeared and behaved in the streets of Los Angeles at the time a month before MTV established the stereotypical image of Eighties pop with new-wave videos full of shoulder pads the length of football fields and Aquanetted coiffures.
Hardcore punk was mocked in the first sequence of her Decline documentary, which also acts as a time capsule for the subculture: As leader Darby Crash mumbles his songs and quixotically tempts a tarantula with breakfast of scrambled eggs, it perfectly represents the filth in which Black Flag lived at the time, the wanton disdain Fear had for their listeners, and the grimy self-destruction of the Germs. It demonstrates how safe, wholesome, and dependable punk has become nowadays.
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