80s Movies still impacting American Film

The golden age of creativity leads a shift in pop culture

Audrey White, Opinions Section Editor

Many people often credit the 1980s as the golden age of creativity in all artistic fields- music, cable networks, and blockbuster films. Films such as Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986), Sixteen Candles (1984), and Adventures in Babysitting (1987) are only a few of the numerous influential classics of the time period that greatly impacted the future of the American film industry.


Personally, I find that 80s films seem to behold a sense of nostalgia, even without having lived during the time period. From the addictive soundtracks to the enthralling chemistry and cohesion of the casts, there seems to be a sort of kinship between the audience and the film’s world-lost adventures that thaws as the story unfolds. Movies produced in the 80s behold a charm that allures the viewer into an intrepid atmosphere.


It is worth noting that many classics in the film industry originated in the 80s, mainly due in part to the culmination of crisp technologies, the selection of actors, and originality in screenwriting. Films started to become digitized during the 80s, when compared to the traditional methods. The 80s allowed exciting, cutting-edge graphics to be shown onscreen that had never been seen before. As for the actors, they genuinely fulfilled the art of acting instead of relying on obnoxious imagery. The authenticity of screenwriting fueled the growing motion picture industry. The market, unlike today, was not over-saturated with duplication of material.


One aspect of 80s films that I genuinely love is the total acceptance of absurdity. Generally, films did not take on the seriousness of movies produced today. Non-plausible storylines maintain an imaginative element like that of a child. The scripts are positively nonsensical in some regards to comedies, and simplistic in a variety of genres. The storylines are not overly complex and overwhelming, but keep to a formula of minimalism while harnessing different subsets of emotion for the audience.


Additionally, 80s films virtually changed the course of pop culture forever. Famous lines such as, “I’ll be back” delivered by the Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger) from The Terminator (1984) and “‘Wax on, wax off'” is delivered by Mr. Miyagi (Pat Morita) in The Karate Kid (1984) have frequent usage in recent television programs, as well as merchandise, books, and even memes. 


The visuals in 80s movies are gritty and real. My biggest issue with modern films is the overuse of computer graphics (CG); I find that it hinders a person’s imagination and ability to discern reality from fantasy. Despite the fact that 80s graphics and special effects now look “cheesy” while once seeming sharp, the landscapes were, at times, painted, creating a sort of fantastical look. 


Nowadays, it appears that the film industry mainly recreates once-popular films, further revealing the rewatchability factor that was effortlessly generated in 80s films. Today, films lack elements of captivity, leaving producers to revive the successful films in attempts to earn profits off past creative ventures.


While there are gems in the modern-day film industry, I believe that the creative world is suffering from a lull in innovation; a depth that was once present in the fresh ideas of 80s films is lacking in film today. Until the next creative era dawns, we can all enjoy the classics born in the last.