ByNate Ferro, writer at
Marvel Comics fanatic with the occasional pinch of DC/Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, and Harry Potter expert/Playstation Enthusiast
Nate Ferro

The film industry has come a long way since 1986. From CGI, 3D, IMAX, animation, the rise of superheroes, and countless other additions, it's important to look back to simpler times and see how effective cinema was made with what we'd call today "scarce resources." With the slew of terrific cinematic releases from 1986, it was difficult to just pinpoint five, but here they are:

5. Pretty In Pink

Back when teenage movies had John Hughes's charisma, Molly Ringwald was a superstar, and James Spader still had hair, Pretty In Pink continued the '80s streak of teen angst films that were enjoyed by everyone, even older folks. There's no doubt John Hughes's directing and screenplay were responsible for Pretty in Pink's success, but the attitudes of the characters and their performances furthermore added to the fact that movies that would normally classify as "chick flicks" can have heart, emotion, and actual reliability. Not much of a common trait in today's teenage movies.

4. Top Gun

There were no CGI fighter jets to be seen in Top Gun; in today's industry that may have been the case to make things easier, but that would ultimately not have proven as successful as the utilization of actual Navy air crafts. When these metal birds shot off into the sunrise in the middle of the ocean to the tune of Kenny Loggins's "Highway to the Danger Zone," viewers felt as if they too were sky rocketing into the danger zone. Full of practical effects, unpredictable plot events, and perhaps one of Tom Cruise's most memorable roles, Top Gun was a brilliant adaptation of intense avian combat and a pop culture sensation. To this day, people still use the "Maverick and Goose" analogy.

3. Aliens

We all remember James Cameron today for Avatar, Titanic, and Terminator but back in 1986, he directed and wrote a horror/thriller flick. Why did he ever stop? Aliens is an undisputed classic amidst the horror/thriller genre and none of the films in the genre in recent memory have managed to parallel the suspense and execution of Aliens. If you weren't planning on sleeping tonight anyway, perhaps you should check out Aliens.

2. Ferris Bueller's Day Off

Deadpool was certainly not the first on-screen character to break the fourth wall. The only other person who has done it with the same charisma and frequency was Ferris Bueller. This is one of the best "feel good" movies of its time and still upholds today. The reasons? Let's see: skipping school to go on a day trip to downtown Chicago, driving around in a Ferrari, a principle with the luck of a black cat standing underneath a ladder, the best ever parade displayed in a film, etc. Oh ya, John Hughes did this one too. There is no "unlikable" character in Ferris Bueller's Day Off; just some people you'd like to see get away with being in trouble and people you laugh at while they try to get foil the lovable protagonists' perfect day.

1. Platoon

No, it has nothing to do with being a Best Picture winner. Well, maybe a little. Say what you want about Charlie Sheen, his performance in Platoon was absolutely brilliant, as was the supporting cast. Alongside Saving Private Ryan and Apocalypse Now, Platoon is one of the best movies about the hardships of warfare before 9/11. The difference, Platoon was the only one of the three to capture the title of Best Picture at the Oscars. The thing is though, it's more than just a great war movie, it's ultimately a great movie. Not to mention, the shot above is one of the most iconic in the history of cinema.

In closing...

1986 had a lot to offer and was a prime year for setting the bar for different genres in the film industry. Looking back is always something interesting to refer to when comparing quality, originality, and utilization of technology of the time. These five films certainly are stand outs, the next question is, which five films from 2016 will be the most memorable in 2046? Time will tell.


What's your favorite movie from 1986?


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