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10 Life lessons that we took from 80s movies

BY Ben Stanley

1st Jan 2015 Film & TV

10 Life lessons that we took from 80s movies

Films can be a brief getaway from our everyday lives but they can also shape and alter our real life viewpoints. Here are 10 of the best lessons from classic 1980s movies.

1. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)

Life is short! Live it up!

Ferris Bueller

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it.”

It has been 30 years since Mathew Broderick’s Ferris Bueller skipped school with his best friend and girlfriend to get up to no good in the heart of Chicago.

Ferris is the personification of ‘cool’ as he gives both the audience and his anxious buddy, Cameron, a once in a lifetime adventure.

Throughout the film, Ferris reiterates that life is short and that sometimes spontaneously changing up your routine can make you feel young and free. Singing Twist and Shout on a parade float to show off may be a step too far for most of us though…


2. Gremlins (1984)

The danger of leaving things until the last minute

Image via Wiki

Produced by Hollywood legend, Steven Spielberg, Gremlins combines the magic of E.T with the scares of Jaws.

The film opens with a father buying the lovable yet complex gremlin Mogwai, as a Christmas present for his son from a mysterious store in Chinatown.

Mogwai comes with a set of very strict rules that, if not followed, could cause a world-ending scenario. Perhaps this was the first sign that a gift voucher would have made a smarter present…

It’s likely that your last minute gifts won’t call forth an army of green-scaled gremlins, but it might be best to buy those presents early, just to be on the safe side. 


3. Say Anything (1989)

The best romantic gestures are unexpected

Say Anything

John Cusack’s Llyod is heartbroken after being dumped by the love of his life, but he isn’t going to give up that easily. Instead, he goes all out in order to win her back, equipped with only his determination… and a boom box.

The modern day equivalent of standing outside your beloved's house holding up an iPhone doesn’t have quite the same gravitas, but the message remains. Being romantic in an unexpected way is the best way to keep them on their toes. 


4. Risky Business (1983)

Dance like nobody’s watching

risky business dance like nobody's watching

Risky Business invited us to dance like nobody was watching, both figuratively and literally. Tom Cruise’s Joel takes full advantage of being home alone, from driving fast cars to dancing around in his pants.

Spending time alone every now and then is important, and no matter our age we can all appreciate having space to do what we please. Sometimes we all just need to rock out in our underwear to some great music!


5. The Breakfast Club (1985)

Meet new people

breakfast club

“We're all pretty bizarre. Some of us are just better at hiding it, that's all”

A group of high school students from all walks of life are trapped together, connected by nothing but their detention duties.  

During their time together they start to dig deeper, revealing that they have more in common than originally expected. This creates a group friendship that wouldn’t have been ignited in their usual school dynamic.

Meeting new people can create relationships and bonds that could change your life. Sometimes the best friendships come from the most unlikely places. 


6. The Shining (1980)

Know when to take a break

the shining

If you are offered a job that sounds too good to be true then, unfortunately, it probably is.

Jack Torrance initially considers the opportunity to caretake an isolated hotel a great chance to relight his writing flare. But with constant work, comes constant stress.

We see Jack transform from a loving family man into a literal axe murderer. While overworking might not have quite such a strong effect on everyone, "all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy", so remember it's important to give yourself a break. 


7. Pretty in Pink (1986)

Love isn't always enough

Pretty in Pink

"You can’t make it happen. It either will or it won’t"

Pretty in Pink explores the negative impact of falling in love from a variety of perspectives.

Andie, our leading lady, is too afraid to reveal who she really is to her boyfriend. Ducky is head over heels in love with Andie, but she only sees him as friend. Meanwhile, Andie’s father is still hopelessly in love with the wife that abandoned him.

Coming to terms with the fact that someone doesn’t feel the same way as you do is awful but, you can grow stronger from the experience.


8. Porky’s (1982)

Things could always be worse


Porky’s is often referred to as a pioneer in the teen sex comedy genre that is better to cringe at than to take advice from.

If nothing else, it will remind you that your memories of school could have been worse, especially in the changing room department.


9. Uncle Buck (1989)

Don't judge a book by its cover

Uncle Buck

When the Russell family find themselves in the middle of an emergency, the only one they can turn to is the last person they would want help from, Uncle Buck.

Buck has every worrying trait in the book, from his constant cigar smoking to his gambling obsessions. He is far from the ideal candidate to babysit.

Even though he isn’t qualified, Buck gives his all when caring for the three Russell kids, because they are his family. Even the most unlikely person can surprise you in matters of the heart. 


10. The Karate Kid (1984)

Never stop learning

the karate kid

"Wax on, wax off"

Moving to a new area can be tough at any age, but it is especially hard when a group of karate-trained bullies start to pick on you. Young Daniel naturally does what any of us would in that situation… enrol in karate lessons from the old Japanese caretaker.

The teachings of the wise Miyagi may seem ridiculous, with trials including catching flies with chopsticks and waxing a car, but the message behind these obscure tasks is irrefutable. Practice makes perfect, and if you are patient enough, you can conquer any skill.


What life lessons have you learned from 80s movies? Let us know in the comments below

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Ferris Bueller