Our Favourite Films from the 80’s


Our writers look back on the cinematic decade that was famous for excellent storytelling, exciting FX, and the Hollywood blockbuster!

A Grand Day Out (1989)

Source: Wikipedia

While I may be slightly cheating as it’s not a full-length theatrical film per say, director and co-writer Nick Park’s landmark short film, A Grand Day Out, deserves to be considered as one of the greats of the era.

A Grand Day Out follows the inventor, Wallace, alongside his dog, Gromit, as they plan, and eventually travel, to the moon as they believe the myth that the Moon is made of cheese. Peter Sallis’ iconic everyday Englishman performance as the titular Wallace, bringing a relatable warmth to proceedings, sets the tone of the content that would launch one of the biggest independent animation studios of all time, Aardman Animations. All in all, this debut, Wallace & Gromit, features near-silent cinema at its best. At a mere runtime of 23 minutes, it’s the ideal comic pick-me-up for those days where you just want something easy to laugh at. Therefore, it is no wonder that it is a staple of the BBC’s Christmas schedules to date. 

Along the way, they battle with a nameless robot who destines to travel back with them to Earth, resulting in a perfect balance of slapstick humour lovingly crafted through the simple yet emotion-provoking Plasticine builds. A Grand Day Out launched a love for stop-motion within me that continues, and its wry British humour has remained prevalent within the studio’s output to this day.

by Callum Joynes


Overboard (1987)

Source: IMDb

When a messed-around carpenter sees his chance to get back at the stuck-up rich woman who refused to pay him, he seeks advantage of her memory loss by pretending she’s his housewife and mother to his four children. Having no recollection of her life, before falling overboard from her yacht, Joanna (played by Goldie Hawn) enters a world entirely different to her true lavish lifestyle. Without realising, she’s replaced a beautifully kitted-out walk-in wardrobe with pre-owned thrift store clothes that are 5 sizes too big. Caviar is now a distant memory… and the yacht? That disappeared along with the husband that ditched her when he could. All she’s left with is an unfamiliar ‘well lived-in’ home, 4 chaotic and demanding “children”, and a “husband” (Dean, played by Kurt Russell) who gives her a list of chores as long as her arm. She’s gone from being a lady of leisure to a glorified maid who’s constantly rushed off her feet, all in the name of karma.

You may have read the previous paragraph and thought, well, this sounds like red flag after red flag; where’s the comedy? It’s actually a very funny movie with a lot of light-hearted moments. What adds to the charm is that Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell were an actual couple. In fact, at the time of filming, they had already been a real-life couple for 4 years and used to bring their baby on sets with them. He even makes a very brief cameo in the golf course scene as ‘the baby’ that Joanna meets.

Where, at first, the movie feels like it’s about revenge and comeuppance, the focus soon shifts to Joanna’s improving character and the fondness that develops between her and Dean (played by Kurt Russell). They initially have opposite attitudes and moral values, but this gradually changes as Annie (Joanna) adopts a motherly role. She grows to care for the children and shows this by sticking up for them to their dismissive teacher and caring for them when they’re poorly. Her maternal side is at the forefront, which pushes back her selfish attributes. With the previous lack of a maternal figure, the children and Dean eventually relish and thrive from what they’ve been missing. Even Annie misses parts of her pretentious life when she eventually remembers and returns to the life of luxury. 

So, although this movie is labelled as a romantic comedy, there’s a lot to be said about Annie’s character development: going from a stubborn, self-obsessed rich lady to a humbled, maternal and kind woman; highlighting that since 1987, life is not about the materialistic things you possess, but about the people you spend your life and time with.

by Rosie Spurrier

Evil Dead (1981)

Bridget Hoffman in The Evil Dead (1981)

Source: IMDb

The Evil Dead (1981) is Sam Raimi’s feature directorial debut, and it was a magnificent way to kick off a rather successful career. It features demonic zombies, a shady cabin in the woods, and a supernatural curse. The movie was so good that even though newcomers, like Raimi, to the horror industry were involved in the low-budget production, making it a risky move, Stephen King gave it his blessing, which boosted distribution. So, what makes it so good?

Firstly, there is the star of the entire film. Despite the small cast of only 8 people, Bruce Campbell steals the show as Ashley Joanna “Ash” Williams in this slightly campy supernatural horror as – spoilers for anyone who hasn’t watched it – the film’s final girl/guy. However, Campbell isn’t only the pretty face before the camera – he and Sam Raimi both worked behind the scenes on this film as they were childhood friends.

In fact, the production company was comprised mainly of Campbell, Raimi, and their friends and family. With that much love at the backdrop, it’s no wonder there was so much detail in both the writing (as Raimi himself wrote the film), practical effects, and set design that made this film such a massive success.

The Evil Dead is one of the most iconic horror films. Whilst its sequel, The Evil Dead II (1987), is typically the more beloved Evil Dead from the 80s because of the blend of comedy and horror that allowed Ash Williams to become the pop culture icon he is today, you can never beat the original.

by Laura M. Carpenter


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Film Editor 2022/23

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