While it wasn't the most innovative decade in terms of advances in technology (that came both earlier and later), nor the most lucrative at the box office, the 1980s was a special lightning-in-a-bottle sort of period whose movies have fermented intoxicatingly like few other decades before or since.
Sure, other decades had stand-outs and seminal releases, but none have come to define whole stages of existence quite like Ferris Bueller's Day Off or The Breakfast Club or E.T. And that's precisely why generations who weren't even born can be obsessively nostalgic about the decade, as if it is some mythical, magical alien world. Looking back, that's sort of exactly what it was.
It was also a hell of a time to be a fan of blockbuster movies: it's where the idea of a franchise was basically born and where some of THE most iconic characters in all of cultural history were first unleashed. Where would cinema be without the names of McFly, Jones, Venkman, Bueller, McClane, Rambo...? This was a theatre of characters who would become brands: heroes and villains who would transcend even the limits of their own movies.
But what were the movies that '80s contemporaries loved most (those they flocked to cinemas most to see) and which of them stands up as the best 30 years on?