Unforgettable 80s and 90s Hollywood Films


I’m no American film buff. I rarely watch any these days. Who can find time from the 1000 some Indian films released every year? But I watched many growing up and there are some scenes from those films that revisit me time and again over the years. Here are some unforgettable American films and scenes that come to mind right now. Keep in mind that I found these films awesome when I was a kid, so don’t judge me on my film taste please!

Sleepless in Seattle 1993

Possibly my favorite American film of all time. I love everything about this film but my favorite scene is when Meg Ryan is driving on Christmas eve and singing along to Christmas songs on the radio: “horses, horses, horses.”

A Christmas Story 1983

Anyone who’s lived in the States for a while must have seen this gem of a film at least once. It’s a classic that’s shown every year at Christmas time. And what’s the most iconic part of the film? It’s no doubt that leg lamp!

Groundhog Day 1993

A man that lives the same exact day every single day he wakes up, and it’s Groundhog day, every day. It was such a different idea for a film at that time and  is one of those films that is difficult to forget. My favorite scenes in the film are those when he wakes up and realizes yet again that he’s in the same day.

Home Alone 1990

The American film I have seen the greatest number of times. My favorite scenes are those when  Kevin realizes he’s home all alone and starts having way too much fun. The best family film made yet. The sequels were good too but nothing beats the first one.

Hocus Pocus 1993

For those who don’t know, if you live in America, you watch Christmas films at Christmas and witch movies at Halloween. And when you start looking forward to watching these films, then you realize you’ve become an American. The second sign of becoming an American is developing seasonal allergies. The only unforgettable Halloween film for me is Hocus Pocus. Those three witches were scary and awesome at the same time.

Honey, I Shrunk the Kids 1989

What a fantastic film this was. For a child’s imaginative mind, this was as good as it got at the time. The rush of excitement I felt when those kids shrunk to a tiny size is unforgettable to me. Come to think of it, those sets were very impressive for those times.

Beetlejuice 1988

This list couldn’t be complete without Beetlejuice. I actually saw this film before I lived in the States. Turkish cinema, as is now, was very behind in comparison to Hollywood. So this film was the biggest thing at the time and all the kids loved it. In fact, my parents showed this film at our house for my 7th or 8th birthday party. The concept, the sets and the production technology was so new and unique for that time. The most unforgettable scene for me? Well there are actually many like when Beetlejuice is waiting his turn in the afterlife. But the best one is the Day-o Banana Boat song. Can anything beat that?! My mom to this day says that this is her favorite film and the Day-o song her favorite American film song. Are we crazy for loving Beetlejuice so much? I don’t know!

Mrs. Doubtfire 1993

Watching Robin Williams dress up as an old woman was just way too much fun. The family sentiments were also strong in this film.

Dead Poets Society 1989

Yet another unforgettable film. Possibly the best performance of Robin Williams. A film that can be watched repeatedly and many years later with just as much emotion and satisfaction. Talk about inspiration!

Ghostbusters 1984

I can’t believe this film came out so long ago! It feels just like yesterday that we were watching the Ghostbusters kick those ghosts’ ass. Another iconic film of my childhood that I will never forget. The most unforgettable part? Absolutely that Ghostbusters background song! I can hear it in my head right now!

Back to the Future 1985

Man, 90s films were great! Why don’t I feel so strongly of today’s Hollywood films? Is it because I was a child then and I was more imaginative? Was it because the stories of those films were more unique and creative? Whatever it was, I can’t seem to get the same flavor out of American films of today. And Back to the Future is on top of the list of best 90s films. The best part? Those sets and “Doc!”

Gremlins 1984

I was surprised to see this film categorized as a “horror comedy” because as a child, this was nothing but horror for me! I had nightmares after watching this movie! My brother certainly didn’t help by yelling “the gremlins are coming, the gremlins are coming!”

Child’s Play 1988

Talking about nightmares, here’s a film that gave every child nightmares at the time, the unforgettable Chucky series. I had quite a few sleepless nights as a result of this movie. The worse part was that at one point I had a doll that looked just like Chucky that continued to speak after I removed the batteries. Needless to say, that doll was in the trash bin five minutes later and I was holding on to my mother tightly. I did not dare to watch a Chucky film again.

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom 1984

Another unforgettable series, the Indiana Jones series. The one that is unforgettable to me is the second of the series from 1984. The best scene? The scene where they eat monkey brains of course.

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off 1986

This was an awesome fun movie that I had related to very well because I hated school and always wanted to run away and do other things. Of course, I never did. So I would comfort myself with this crazy fun film.

Problem Child 1990

I honestly don’t remember all that much from this movie. But I can never forget the birthday party scene with the song “It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to.” It was a hit film and a hit song at the time.

Coming to America 1988

I think this is my favorite Eddie Murphy film. This film was just so entertaining. My favorite scenes were when they were working at “McDowell’s.”

Jumanji 1995

I think this was my first fantasy adventure film. I found the concept very unique and interesting. I still remember that Jumanji board game.

Arachnophobia 1990

Another horror film from the 90s that had a huge effect on me, and in a bad way. I became very scared of spiders after this film, something that I’ve overcome as an adult. But the scenes from the film are still vivid in my mind, especially the scenes where the the spiders are coming out of the sink and crawl on the woman’s body as she’s showering. I think my parents let me watch too many horror films as a child.

Quantum Leap 1989-1993

This was not a film but a television series I adored growing up. Scientist Sam would leap from year to year, traveling in time in each episode. In each episode, he had the opportunity to fix something, to prevent something bad from happening. And he would always end up in a different body in each episode. What a thrilling and meaningful television series this was. I never missed an episode and watched re-runs for years. The best part? Al, who appears as a hologram and guides Sam in each episode.

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