The 10 most iconic moments from '80s cinema

  • The 10 most iconic moments from '80s cinema

Cinema in the eighties didn't just produce some timeless teen films, set to cracking sound tracks – it also brought us some absolutely iconic film moments.

Moments that are not only iconic by the standards of the eighties, but legendary by the standards of cinematic history.

These classic movie moments have been well loved, much discussed, relentlessly parodied and have been cemented in pop culture for all time, influencing countless films since.

Check out our favourite iconic movie moments from the eighties:

10. A Close Call for Indiana Jones - Raiders of the Lost Ark, 1981

Steven Spielberg's Raiders of the Lost Ark introduced us to our favourite action hero-historian, warping an entire generation's understanding of archaeology as a potential career path forever.

The moment when Indy is chased by a boulder as part of a rather elaborate booby trap escalated the tension to the max and set the pace for the rest of the series.


9. 'Wax On, Wax Off' - The Karate Kid, 1984

The Karate Kid, the story of a bullied boy taken under the wing of the eccentric Mr Miyagi is given a seemingly useless piece of advice when determined to learn how to fight off his foes: "Wax on, wax off."

We still live in hope that other household chores can teach us some karate competition-winning moves too.



8. Training Montage, Rocky III, 1982

In no other film before, or since, has there been such a self-indulgent montage, set to an entire song – which is of course, Survivor's 'Eye of the Tiger.'

The song is now such a staple for any 'motivational montage', in homage to Rocky, it's now become a movie trope strictly reserved for the realm of parodies.



7. Triumphant Fist Pump - The Breakfast Club, 1985

Once again, the perfect marriage of a triumph paired with a rocking eighties song creates a timeless cinema moment, a brilliant end to a film with an evergreen message – no matter who you are, and what your background is... detention will always suck. 



6. 'Yippee Ki-yay...' - Die Hard, 1988

Bruce Willis' war-cry in Die Hard is pure dialogue magic.

John McClane embraces his outlaw-cop routine with this cowboy-esque catchphrase with a gratuitously crude punchline as he prepares to take down the bad guys. 

Unfortunately for TV censors, the second part of the catchphrase couldn't be broadcast, so they had to come up with a hilarious alternative.



5. The Lift - Dirty Dancing, 1987

In possibly the best moment of any dance film ever, Baby and Johnny perfectly pull off 'The Lift' whist dancing to '(I've had) The Time Of My Life', creating an iconic cinema moment doomed to be forever repeated by tipsy women on nights out everywhere.



4. Introducing the Aviators - Top Gun, 1986

Let's face it – the aviators worn by Tom Cruise and his crew in 'Top Gun' are as a big a star as he is.

Elevating every single scene in this movie to ice-cool, the accessories embody everything cool about this film.



3. 'Heeeeeere's Johnny!’ - The Shining, 1980

The most memorable moment from The Shining is the crescendo of Jack's madness – the perfect combination of Jack Nicholson's mad eyes and his complete loss of control, and the introduction of a frighteningly catchy sound bite makes for a famously terrifying moment in eighties cinema.

Just imagine if they'd have chosen Robin Williams for the role, like they initially had in mind for Jack Torrance.



2. 'I'll have what she's having' - When Harry Met Sally, 1989

Meg Ryan was the Katherine Heigl of the eighties – a poster girl for lightweight, easy-going rom-coms.

That's perhaps what made this moment so amusing – seeing Meg Ryan simulate a rather raunchy moment to a nonplussed Billy Crystal, much to the shock of a surrounding bunch of old biddies makes for one our favourite moments from When Harry Met Sally.



1. The DeLorean - Back To The Future, 1985

Let's be honest – the real star of Back to The Future wasn't The Doc or Marty – it was The DeLorean.

With its space-age style lifting doors, the moment our favourite retro time travelling car literally sets the road alight as it races back to the 50's launches Marty and Back To The Future solidly into our favourite eighties movies.



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