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Best 11 Chick Flicks of the 1980s: A Nostalgic Movie Guide for 2023

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The 80s brought us an incredible array of chick flicks that catered to every taste, blending comedy and drama seamlessly. Prepare for a rollercoaster of emotions with movies like “Terms of Endearment” and “The Breakfast Club,” which can be described as dramedies, offering the best of both worlds. If you’re searching for a good laugh, look no further than the timeless John Hughes classic, “Sixteen Candles.” Get ready for a trip down memory lane with these iconic films featuring beloved actors and actresses who skyrocketed to fame in the 80s, including Julia Roberts, John Cusack, Patrick Swayze, and Winona Ryder.

This list is filled with must-watch classics that are sure to leave you entertained and craving more from the 80s. From the timeless romance of “When Harry Met Sally” to the electrifying energy of “Grease” and the heartwarming tales of sisterhood in “Steel Magnolias,” there’s an 80s chick flick for every mood. But the question remains, which one can truly be crowned the queen of the decade?

We’re eager to hear all about the chick flicks that captured your heart in the 80s. The best part? You don’t have to choose just one! Feel free to share all your favorites and even let us know which ones you wouldn’t want to watch again. Let the discussion begin!

1. The Breakfast Club

The Breakfast Club
The Breakfast Club, a 1985 film, brings together five high school students from different social cliques who find themselves in detention. There’s Brian Johnson, the brainy one, played by Anthony Michael Hall. Emilio Estevez portrays Andrew Clark, the athletic jock. Judd Nelson takes on the role of the rebellious John Bender. Molly Ringwald plays the princess-like Claire Standish. Lastly, Ally Sheedy portrays the outcast, Allison Reynolds.

During their Saturday detention, they are under the watchful eye of the strict assistant principal, Richard Vernon, played by Paul Gleason. As the day progresses, the students start to open up to each other and reveal their true selves, going beyond the stereotypes they embody in their daily lives.

Directed by John Hughes, this coming-of-age comedy-drama delves into themes of identity, peer pressure, and the challenges of adolescence. The film’s runtime of 97 minutes captures the essence of these themes. Even after all these years, The Breakfast Club remains a classic in the realm of teen cinema.

Released: 1985
Directed by: John Hughes
Actors: Emilio Estevez, Molly Ringwald, Judd Nelson

2. Dirty Dancing

Dirty Dancing
In the summer of 1963, Frances ‘Baby’ Houseman (played by Jennifer Grey) is enjoying a luxurious family vacation at a fancy Catskills resort. Despite being a sheltered and innocent girl, everything changes when she unexpectedly encounters Johnny Castle (portrayed by Patrick Swayze), the resort’s dance instructor. Johnny is a tough-talking guy from a less privileged background, and he introduces Baby to a thrilling world of provocative dancing and exciting late-night parties. As they dance together, they fall deeply in love, defying societal expectations and their own families. Dirty Dancing, a captivating drama filled with memorable music, even won the 1987 Oscar for Best Original Song. This timeless story revolves around love, personal growth, and the transformative power of dance.

Released: 1987
Directed by: Emile Ardolino
Actors: Jennifer Grey, Patrick Swayze, Jerry Orbach

3. Can’t Buy Me Love

Can't Buy Me Love
In Can’t Buy Me Love, we meet Ronald Miller (played by Patrick Dempsey), a high school nerd who dreams of being popular. Cindy Mancini (played by Amanda Peterson), the cheerleader queen of the school, unexpectedly becomes his ticket to the popular crowd. When Cindy’s mother’s expensive outfit gets ruined, she finds herself in a desperate situation. That’s when Ronald comes up with a proposition: he will pay for the dress if she pretends to be his girlfriend. This 80s teen comedy-drama takes us on a journey through teenage hierarchies and social expectations, delving into themes of acceptance, authenticity, and love that goes beyond surface-level appearances. With engaging performances from its leads, the movie offers a charmingly nostalgic trip back to high school life in the Reagan era.

Released: 1987
Directed by: Steve Rash
Actors: Patrick Dempsey, Amanda Peterson, Courtney Gains

4. Sixteen Candles

Sixteen Candles
Sixteen Candles, a classic 1984 coming-of-age comedy, was directed by John Hughes. It revolves around Samantha Baker (Molly Ringwald), who is celebrating her 16th birthday but feels ignored by her family due to her sister’s wedding taking precedence. Samantha has a crush on Jake Ryan (Michael Schoeffling), the popular guy in school, while she is being relentlessly pursued by a freshman named Ted (Anthony Michael Hall), who is a bit of a nerd. Throughout the day, we witness a series of hilarious and heartfelt moments, leading up to a birthday surprise that Samantha never saw coming. This film is a significant milestone in teenage cinema, as it portrays the realities of adolescent life in a refreshingly honest way.

Released: 1984
Directed by: John Hughes
Actors: Molly Ringwald, Anthony Michael Hall, Michael Schoeffling

5. Grease

The 1978 musical Grease tells the story of Danny Zuko (played by John Travolta), a popular guy at Rydell High, whose life takes an unexpected turn when Sandy Olsson (played by Olivia Newton-John), a girl he met during summer break, starts attending the same school. Set in a time of rock ‘n’ roll and speedy cars, the film delves into the complexities of teenage romance and the pressures of fitting in. With its catchy songs and lively dance sequences, Grease has become a cherished classic, receiving five Golden Globe nominations. Its vibrant portrayal of 1950s American culture remains an enduring symbol even in today’s world.

Released: 1978
Directed by: Randal Kleiser
Actors: John Travolta, Olivia Newton-John, Stockard Channing

6. Pretty in Pink

Pretty in Pink
In the classic ’80s teen drama “Pretty in Pink,” we follow high school senior Andie Walsh (Molly Ringwald) as she tries to navigate the social divide between wealth and poverty. Coming from a modest background, Andie finds herself caught between her childhood friend Duckie Dale (Jon Cryer), who has feelings for her that are not reciprocated, and the well-off Blane McDonough (Andrew McCarthy). With prom night approaching, Andie must confront the class differences that threaten to keep her and Blane apart, all while trying to handle Duckie’s romantic advances. This film beautifully explores the complexities of love and the impact of socio-economic disparity, making it a cherished favorite in its genre.

Released: 1986
Directed by: Howard Deutch
Actors: Molly Ringwald, Jon Cryer, Andrew McCarthy

7. The Princess Bride

The Princess Bride
The Princess Bride is a fantastic mix of adventure, romance, and comedy. We follow the journey of Westley, a simple farmhand-turned-pirate, who sets out on an epic quest to save his true love, Buttercup, from the clutches of the wicked Prince Humperdinck. Alongside a lively bunch of misfits, including the determined Inigo Montoya, seeking vengeance for his father’s murder, and the cunning strategist Vizzini, Westley must navigate dangerous terrain and outsmart his deadly enemies. This timeless story, filled with memorable quotes and unforgettable characters, was awarded the People’s Choice Award for Favorite Comedy Motion Picture in 1988. It’s a film that goes beyond genres and continues to be a beloved classic in popular culture.

Released: 1987
Directed by: Rob Reiner
Actors: Cary Elwes, Robin Wright, Mandy Patinkin

8. Footloose

The heart-thumping movie Footloose is all about a city teen named Ren McCormack, played by Kevin Bacon, who ends up in a tough situation in a small Midwestern town. This town has banned dancing and rock music, can you believe it? The person standing in Ren’s way is Reverend Shaw Moore, played by John Lithgow, who is not only the spiritual guide of the town but also the one enforcing this ban. Talk about a major obstacle!

Ren, being the rebellious guy that he is, decides to challenge this ban and shake things up. He wants to bring back the spirit of the youth in this town. One of the people he wants to inspire is Ariel Moore, played by Lori Singer, who happens to be the Reverend’s rebellious daughter. The movie is a musical drama that has some really catchy music and captures all the teenage angst you can imagine.

Footloose is basically a rhythmic dance of defiance against these unjust norms. Ren and his friends are determined to show the town that dancing and rock music are not something to be afraid of or banned. They want to remind everyone that it’s okay to have fun and express yourself.

So get ready for an exciting ride with Footloose, as Ren and his crew take on the challenge of breaking free from the restrictions placed on them. It’s a story that will make you tap your feet and maybe even inspire you to challenge some norms in your own life.

Released: 1984
Directed by: Herbert Ross
Actors: Kevin Bacon, Lori Singer, John Lithgow

9. When Harry Met Sally…

When Harry Met Sally...
In the classic rom-com ‘When Harry Met Sally…’, we follow the journey of Harry Burns, played by the hilarious Billy Crystal, and Sally Albright, portrayed by the lovely Meg Ryan. These two characters find themselves entangled in each other’s lives for a whopping 12 years. It all starts when they meet during a car ride from Chicago to New York. As time goes by, their relationship evolves from complete strangers to close friends. And of course, this leads to the age-old question – can men and women really be just friends?

All of this is beautifully brought to life by the talented director Rob Reiner. With his guidance, the film becomes a delightful mix of humor and heartfelt moments. But it’s not just the director who deserves praise. Nora Ephron’s screenplay is an absolute gem. In fact, it even won a prestigious BAFTA award for Best Original Screenplay. Ephron’s writing skillfully captures the intricate dynamics of modern relationships, and her wit shines through every line.

‘When Harry Met Sally…’ is a must-watch for anyone who appreciates a good romantic comedy. It offers a refreshing take on friendship and love, making us laugh and tugging at our heartstrings along the way.

Released: 1989
Directed by: Rob Reiner
Actors: Billy Crystal, Meg Ryan, Carrie Fisher

10. Steel Magnolias

Steel Magnolias
Steel Magnolias is a delightful mix of humor and heartfelt moments that unfolds in a charming small town in Louisiana. The story revolves around a tight-knit group of friends who share a special bond. We meet M’Lynn Eatenton, played by the talented Sally Field, and her vibrant daughter Shelby, portrayed by the incredible Julia Roberts. Alongside them are Truvy Jones, the owner of a beauty salon, played by the iconic Dolly Parton, the elegant widow Clairee Belcher, portrayed by the talented Olympia Dukakis, the irritable Ouiser Boudreaux, played by the brilliant Shirley MacLaine, and the timid newcomer Annelle Dupuy Desoto, brought to life by the talented Daryl Hannah. Together, they form the core cast of characters.

Their lives intertwine in the warm and welcoming atmosphere of Truvy’s beauty salon, where they find solace and support as they navigate the highs and lows of life. The film’s portrayal of their friendship is both heartwarming and relatable, reminding us of the importance of having a strong support system.

It’s worth mentioning that Julia Roberts’ outstanding performance in Steel Magnolias earned her a well-deserved Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress. Her portrayal of Shelby is truly remarkable, leaving a lasting impact on the audience.

Overall, Steel Magnolias is a dramedy that captivates viewers with its blend of humor and heartache. Set against the backdrop of a small town in Louisiana, this film brings together an exceptional cast, who navigate life’s challenges together in the comforting space of Truvy’s beauty salon.

Released: 1989
Directed by: Herbert Ross
Actors: Sally Field, Dolly Parton, Shirley MacLaine

11. Overboard

In the movie Overboard, we meet Joanna (played by Goldie Hawn), a wealthy and spoiled heiress, who hires a carpenter named Dean (played by Kurt Russell) to renovate her luxurious yacht. However, things take a turn for the worse when Joanna refuses to pay Dean for his hard work. This leads to a souring of their relationship.

But fate has a funny way of intervening. Joanna accidentally falls overboard and suffers from amnesia, losing all memory of her previous life. Sensing an opportunity for payback, Dean seizes the chance to convince Joanna that they are actually married and living a modest life.

As this hilarious and absurd story unfolds, Joanna slowly adapts to her new lifestyle while Dean grapples with the moral implications of his actions. Overboard is not just your typical romantic comedy; it also incorporates elements of drama. It delves into themes of social class differences and personal growth, all presented in a lighthearted yet meaningful manner.

Released: 1987
Directed by: Garry Marshall
Actors: Goldie Hawn, Kurt Russell, Edward Herrmann

Michael Bennett
Michael Bennett
With over 5 years of experience, Michael Bennett is an experienced entertainment blogger recognized for straightforward reviews. His research expertise and thoughtfully crafted blog posts make him a source for readers seeking movie and tv show recommendations.


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