24 Totally Rad Facts About Your Favorite '80s Films

Updated on October 24, 2019
Rachel M Johnson profile image

Rachel M. Johnson is a lover of all things pop culture. She's been writing about music and entertainment online for over two years.

The 1980s were a ground-breaking time in cinema that brought forth many beloved characters and films. From John Hughes classics like The Breakfast Club and Pretty in Pink to action flicks like Die Hard and Indiana Jones, the decade was a breeding ground for hit movies. Let's take a look at some fun facts about your favorite '80s films.


1. In The Breakfast Club (1985), Judd Nelson (John Bender) stayed in character off-camera, even bullying Molly Ringwald (Claire Standish). Director John Hughes nearly fired him over this, but Paul Gleason (Richard Vernon) defended Nelson, saying he was a good actor and was only trying to get into character.

2. Rob Lowe, Johnny Depp, John Cusack, Jim Carrey and Tom Cruise were all considered for the titular role in Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986) before Matthew Broderick was given the role.

3. In The Goonies (1985), when the rocks are falling from the cave ceiling, Jonathan Ke Quan (Data) screams "Holy S-H-I-T!" He said he spelled out the expletive because his mother made him promise not to use any bad language in the film.

4. The yellow classic automobile that Daniel polishes in the famous "wax-on/wax-off" scene in The Karate Kid (1984) was actually given to Ralph Macchio by the producer, and he still owns it. The car is a 1948 Ford Super De Luxe.

5. In Dirty Dancing (1987), Patrick Swayze (Johnny Castle) actually hated the iconic line "Nobody puts Baby in a corner" and he had to muster all his strength to get it out.

6. When asked what his favorite part was about making The Princess Bride (1987), André the Giant had said, without skipping a beat, "Nobody looks at me." He felt he was treated as an equal, without people staring at him because of his grand height.

Judd Nelson as Bender in The Breakfast Club.
Judd Nelson as Bender in The Breakfast Club. | Source
Matthew Broderick as Ferris Bueller.
Matthew Broderick as Ferris Bueller. | Source
André the Giant in The Princess Bride.
André the Giant in The Princess Bride. | Source

7. In Top Gun (1986), Tom Cruise (Maverick) actually had to wear lifts in his scenes with Kelly McGillis (Charlie); Cruise is 5'7" while McGillis is 5'10."

8. Dan Aykroyd initially wrote the script of Ghostbusters (1984) to star himself, Eddie Murphy and his friend and fellow Saturday Night Live alumnus John Belushi, before his accidental death in March 1982. Aykroyd would later recall the moment, saying "I was writing a line for John, and [producer and talent agent] Bernie Brillstein called and said they just found him...We loved each other as brothers." He then turned to former castmate Bill Muarry, who agreed to join the project.

9. In the lovemaking scene in Caddyshack (1980), Cindy Morgan (Lacey Underall) was so uncomfortable that director Harold Ramis ordered a closed set. Michael O'Keefe (Danny Noonan) asked all the cast and crew to take of their shirts for the scene to make her feel more comfortable.

10. For his masturbation scene in Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982), Judge Reinhold (Brad Hamilton) brought a large dildo to work with, unbeknownst to the rest of the cast. Phoebe Cates' (Linda Barrett) look of horror and disgust is very real.

11. Kiefer Sutherland claimed in an interview that in one of the locations of Stand by Me (1986), a Renaissance Fair was being held and the cast and crew attended and bought some cookies. Unfortunately, the cookies turned out to be pot cookies and two hours later, the crew found Jerry O'Connell (Vern) crying and high on the cookies in a park.

12. Though the two initially did not get along on the set of Sixteen Candles (1984), Molly Ringwald (Sam) and Anthony Michael Hall (Ted) dated briefly in real-life. They would appear together again on-screen a year later in The Breakfast Club (1985).

Kelly McGillis & Tom Cruise in Top Gun.
Kelly McGillis & Tom Cruise in Top Gun. | Source
Ghostbusters. | Source

13. In The NeverEnding Story (1984), Noah Hathaway (Atreyu) almost lost an eye during the fight scene versus Gmork. One of the claws on his giant paws poked him in the face. They only made one shot due to the risk that he could get seriously injured.

14. Kevin Bacon based his hairstyle in Footloose (1984) on rocker Sting's spiky hairdo as he was a big fan of The Police at the time.

15. Actors considered for the role of Indiana Jones included Nick Nolte, Bill Murray, Chevy Chase, Jack Nicholson and Tom Selleck. Harrison Ford was cast less than three weeks before principal photography began for Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981).

16. After Back to the Future (1985) was released, body kits were made for DeLoreans to make them look like the time machine.

17. One afternoon during a break of filming The Terminator (1984), Arnold Schwarzenegger went into a restaurant in downtown L.A. to get some lunch and realized all too late that he was still in terminator make-up: with a missing eye, burned flesh and exposed jawbone.

18. Michael Keaton ad-libbed 90% of his lines in Beetlejuice (1988).

Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones.
Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones. | Source
Kevin Bacon in Footloose.
Kevin Bacon in Footloose. | Source
Michael Keaton as Beetlejuice.
Michael Keaton as Beetlejuice. | Source

19. Many scenes in National Lampoon's Vacation (1983) were improvised, including Clark's dance with a sandwich, Clark's send-off to Aunt Edna and Rusty's chugging of a beer.

20. Harrison Ford, Sylvester Stallone, Clint Eastwood, Mel Gibson and Richard Gere all turned down the role of John McClane in Die Hard (1988) before Bruce Willis was ultimately cast. The films have since grossed a combined $1.4 billion worldwide.

21. In Pretty in Pink (1986), when Duckie gets thrown into the girl's bathroom, he says regarding the tampon machine, "We don't have a candy machine in the boys' room." This was ad-libbed by Jon Cryer.

22. Most of the full-body puppetry in E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982) was performed by a 2'10" tall stuntman, but the scenes in the kitchen were done using a 12-year-old boy who was born without legs but was an expert at walking on his hands.

23. The iconic orgasm scene in When Harry Met Sally (1989) was filmed at Katz's Deli, an actual restaurant on New York's E. Houston Street. The table at which the scene was filmed now has a plaque on it that reads, "Where Harry met Sally...hope you have what she had!"

24. It took Robert Englund about three hours to get into his Freddy Krueger make-up in A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984). He cut himself the first time he tried on the infamous Freddy glove.

When Harry Met Sally.
When Harry Met Sally. | Source
Robert Englund as Freddy Krueger in A Nightmare on Elm Street.
Robert Englund as Freddy Krueger in A Nightmare on Elm Street. | Source

© 2019 Rachel M Johnson


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