The 80s Teen Movies We Moms Gushed About

We all have that one movie that changed our lives forever—the one we have seen countless times that we have memorized the dialogues and monologues of every character. While Netflix, one of the most popular video streaming services, only launched in the 1990s, we mothers had also gushed about nostalgic 80s teen movies.

It seemed like the film industry served the 1980s teen with a whole new genre on its own: the 1980s teenage films. Once you watch these iconic 80s movies listed in this post, you can never get enough of it. Don’t you believe me? Check these movies for yourself and get ready to binge!

popular 80s movies

A Blast from the Past: The 80s Teen Movies Collection

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)

Favorite Movie Quote: “The question isn’t ‘what are we going to do?’ The question is ‘what aren’t we going to do?’”

Faking sickness and cutting classes? That’s Ferris Bueller’s forte! In a film by John Hughes, Ferris Bueller is a cute guy but a high school slacker who cut classes and gets away with it. Wanting to “seize the day” before he graduates, he called in sick, borrowed a car from his best friend’s father, got ready to drive, and went on the Chicago journey of his lifetime.

In this adventure, will the high school principal successfully catch him in the act?

Apart from portraying the life of a truant and happy-go-lucky student, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is the perfect film that represents the architectural prominence and spirit of Chicago. It features the city’s landmarks, including Sears Tower (now Willis Tower), Wrigley Field, and the Art Institute of Chicago. Because of its cultural and historical significance, the Library of Congress selected the film for preservation in the National Film Registry. Moreover, the film has its unique style of presenting the story to the audience, since the character breaks the fourth wall constantly. This means that he directly talks to the audience to convey his thoughts as if he knows he’s in a movie.

Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982)

Favorite Movie Quote: “Learn it. Know it. Live it.”

Fast Times at Ridgemont High is one of the most popular 80s teen movies. It features Jennifer Jason Leigh, Brian Backer, Phoebe Cates, Robert Romanus, Sean Penn, and cameos from actors who became rising stars like Nicolas Cage. The film revolves around the lives and romances of a group of high school students. In the movie, Stacy Hamilton (Jennifer Jason Leigh) is a pretty teenager who knows so little about dating. Meanwhile, her friend Linda Barrett (Phoebe Cates), gives her advice about teenage relationships. The movie also talks about the love life of Stacy’s brother, Brad, and his longtime girlfriend who he wanted to break up with so he can play the field.

Directed by Amy Heckerling, the film gives us a peek into the lives of slackers, jocks, and dorks of a high school class. While some considered it as one of the best teen comedies, times are different and society’s perception of what they should consider acceptable humor has changed as well. Regardless, the movie provides valuable career lessons to the viewers. It makes us realize that it only takes a second to ruin your career no matter how long you built it up, just like how Brad’s career fell apart when he snapped at a customer.

Pretty in Pink (1986)

Favorite Movie Quote: “Drinking and driving don’t mix. That’s why I ride a bike.”

Written by John Hughes, Pretty in Pink is a romance-comedy movie that highlights high school stereotypes represented by cliques during the 1980s. Furthermore, the film dramatizes the life and struggles of a teenager in high school. It circles the life of Andie Walsh, who is an outcast in her school. And then her life changed when Blane, who is one of the most popular guys at school, asked her out. As she dates Blane, can she adjust to a different social environment? Watch the film and find it out!

Say Anything (1989)

john hughes

Favorite Movie Quote: “You must chill. You must chill.”

Say Anything is an American film directed by Cameron Crowe. The movie follows the tale of the eternal optimist named Lloyd Dobler who wishes to capture the heart of a high-achieving and beautiful high school student, Diane Court. Although Diane was an unattainable beauty and Lloyd is an awkward teenage boy, Lloyd’s positive outlook in life and perseverance has successfully captured Diane’s heart. The seemingly out-of-league girl returns the sentiment to Lloyd, as unbelievable as it might be. But it isn’t a happy ending just yet, Diane’s father didn’t approve of the relationship. Apart from the power of love? What does it take for them to sustain their relationship?

With the right balance of humor and romance, film critics have declared Say Anything as one of the best 80s teen movies to ever exist. In fact, it was 11th on the list of Entertainment Weekly’s 50 best high school movies. And do you ever wonder where that iconic declaration of love by holding a boombox above the head came from? It’s from this movie. Since then, it has become one of Hollywood’s memorable images.

Sixteen Candles (1984)

sixteen candles

Favorite Movie Quote: “Would you stop feeling sorry for yourself? It’s bad for your complexion.”

The 1980s was really the time for John Hughes’ films to shine. In another one of his masterpiece, Sixteen Candles follows the life of Samantha Baker who is about to celebrate her sixteenth birthday. While she is hopeful that this will be the beginning of a great year in her life, her family forgets about her birthday because of her sister’s wedding. Moreover, the film also features Samantha’s longing for the attention of the popular senior, Jake. However, there’s only one boy in school who is interested in her: Ted, the nerd one. Who do you think will she end up with and what will happen on her sixteenth birthday?

Some Kind of Wonderful (1987)

Favorite Movie Quote: “It’s better to swallow pride than blood.”

Some Kind of Wonderful is yet another one of John Hughes’ successful teen films during the 1980s. This movie tells another story of a high school misfit who falls in love with a popular girl. Keith Nelson sought help from his tomboy best friend, Watts, so he can win a date with the popular girl, Amanda Jones. But as time goes by, Watts realizes that she wants Keith to be more than just her friend. Will she continue to persuade him to pursue Amanda?

The Breakfast Club (1985)

teen movies

Favorite Movie Quote: “You ought to spend a little more trying to do something with yourself and a little less trying to impress people.”

Guess who wrote, directed, and produced The Breakfast Club. Did we hear John Hughes? You’re right. John Hughes is probably the patron saint of 80s teen movies This film started with a group of high school teenagers who were in detention on a Saturday. These youngsters come from different cliques with different personalities and life experiences. Claire Standish is a princess, Brian Johnson is a straight-A student, Andrew Clark is an athlete, John Bender is a rebel, and Allison Reynolds is an “emo”. These are the teenage stereotypes these group of students encountered.

As they stayed in the library, the group started to open up to each other and reveal their secrets. This was the time when they realized that despite their differences, they are dealing with the same struggles their parents have caused. In the end, they understood each other’s challenges and became friends.

For as far as memory serves us, people have chosen to watch movies as a form of entertainment. For this reason, classic films earn millions and billions of dollars. During the 1980s, one of the most popular movies was Steven Spielberg’s E.T. – The Extra-Terrestrial. According to Business Insider, the film earned a box-office gross of $663 million. And up until today, movies have influenced our way of living, sense of fashion, and mindset. What about you? What’s your favorite 80s teen movie?

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