8:05 am PDT, June 16, 2020
Ah the 80s! While the decade is widely known for its daring fashion and even bolder hairstyles, it also served quality movies … especially musical variety. Such a movie? “The Blues Brothers” with John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd as two brothers who reunite their group with the goal of saving the orphanage in which they grew up. John Landis’ movie – which is available to watch on Hulu and Amazon Prime Video – is as candid as it is downright hilarious. To celebrate the iconic film’s 40th anniversary on June 20, 2020, Wonderwall.com takes a look at the best musical films of the 80s. Read on to find out more …
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“Little Shop of Horrors” on Hulu and Amazon Prime Video
What does “Little Shop of Horrors” not understand? Rick Moranis plays the socially awkward trader Seymour, who finds himself in deep water after a plant he finds named Audrey II begins to crave one thing: human flesh and bones. As the once ailing store begins to resume operations after Audrey II arrives, Seymour must find a way to protect those he cares for from the tyrannical, bloodthirsty plant. Despite being over three decades old, âLittle Shopâ remains a must-have for any music lover. From “Somewhere That’s Green” to the iconic “Suddenly, Seymour”, there’s no shortage of good songs in this 1986 horror musical.
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“Dirty Dancing” on Hulu and Amazon Prime Video
Nobody puts baby in a corner! Starring Jennifer Gray and Patrick Swayze, 1987’s âDirty Dancingâ is a modern classic that tells the story of Frances âBabyâ Houseman, a young woman who falls in love with her dance teacher, Johnny Castle. As it traces Baby’s progression from awkward and uncomfortable to confident and fluid, the film includes epic, totally ’80s dance montages. It goes without sayingâ¦ but that iconic elevator scene is absolutely everything. Seriously, ask Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone at “Crazy Stupid Love” – ââit’s the ultimate date.
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“Beat Street” on YouTube and Pluto TV
Directed by Guy Davis and Rae Dawn Chong, “Beat Street” is a 1984 musical that focuses on Kenny Kirkland, a struggling DJ who, with the help of choreographer and songwriter Tracy Carlson, fulfills his dream of showing off his music. talent beyond the South Bronx region. to bear fruit. Set in the ’80s, the upbeat film shines a light on early New York City hip-hop culture and features cameos from pioneering bands like Treacherous Three, Rocky Steady Crew, Soulsonic Force and more.
“Purple Rain” on Amazon Prime Video
Much like the album of the same name, 1984’s “Purple Rain” was a beloved film directed by none other than Prince himself. The legendary rocker stars as a troubled Minneapolis musician who, in an effort to escape his toxic family life, spends most of his time performing at a local nightclub. The musical romance was an absolute hit with fans thanks to tracks like “Let’s Go Crazy”, “Take Me With U” and “The Beautiful Ones”. It won two Oscars for Best Original Music and Best Original Music in 1985.
“The Little Mermaid” on Disney +
âThe Little Mermaidâ is a fantasy film and an even greater musical film for many reasons. From Ariel’s desire to become human and live a life of freedom and mobility to her adorable friendships with Flounder and Sebastian, the 1989 film certainly has heart. And with songs like âUnder the Sea,â âPart of Your World,â and âKiss the Girl,â the Disney animated film was filled with catchy and infectious tunes from start to finish. While there have been a slew of other Disney musical films since, âThe Little Mermaidâ remains a star of the group regardless of the decade.
“Flashdance” on Amazon Prime Video
With Jennifer Beals, “Flashdance” centers on Alex Owens, an aspiring artist who works in a steel mill by day and dances in a bar by night. The film explores her journey as she works towards her big dream of becoming a professional ballerina and being accepted into a renowned dance conservatory. Michael Nouri and Lilia Skala also star in the 1983 dance-themed mega-hit. A moment to remember? When Alex is (dramatically) sprayed with water mid-performance. Iconic!
“Xanadu” on Hulu and Amazon Prime Video
While the premise of this one certainly exists, the 1980s “Xanadu” is still worth watching, if only for its country side! After spotting a beautiful anonymous woman in the background of one of his photographs, artist Sonny Malone (Michael Beck) revisits the place where the photo was taken. There, he finds the mysterious woman – a Greek muse named Kira (Olivia Newton-John) who, with the help of Danny McGuire (Gene Kelly), convinces him to start a nightclub for roller skating. Although the cult classic was considered a total box office failure, the soundtrack was double platinum in the United States. The song “Magic”, which was recorded by Olivia for the film, reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100.
“Fame” on YouTube and Amazon Prime Video
While “Dirty Dancing” and “Flashdance” were hugely popular dance films of the decade, it’s important to remember who started it all. Set in New York City, âFameâ focuses on a group of High School of Performing Arts students as they prepare and audition while going through high school movements. The teenage musical drama, which debuted in 1980, stars Irene Cara, Debbie Allen, Gene Anthony Ray, Lee Curreri and more. “Fame” won two Oscars for Best Original Song and Best Original Music. It has also spawned musicals, TV series, and a 2009 movie remake.
“Annie” on Google Play and Amazon Prime Video
It’s a difficult lifeâ¦ for us! Set during the Great Depression, “Annie” tells the story of an orphaned little girl who ends up living big after being chosen to move in with billionaire Oliver Warbucks. Based on the 1977 Broadway musical of the same name, the 1982 film adaptation won two Oscars in 1983, including Best Original Score. With iconic songs like “Tomorrow”, “Maybe”, “Little Girls” and “We Got Annie”, it’s no wonder this hit Broadway musical has received the Hollywood treatment!
“Grease 2” on Amazon Prime Video and Google Play
âGreaseâ was the highest-grossing musical film of all time – so a sequel made sense, right? Well, not exactly. “Grease 2”, which debuted in 1982, follows English exchange student Michael Carrington (Maxwell Caulfield) as he tries to get the attention of the beautiful and newly single leader of Rydell’s Pink Ladies. High School, Stephanie Zinone (Michelle Pfeiffer). While this follow-up pales in comparison to its predecessor, to its credit, “Grease 2” is fun due to its country character. With some catchy tracks like “Back to School Again”, “Score Again”, “Who’s That Guy?” and âCool Rider,â the movie is still worth watching.
“A Chorus Line” on Google Play and Amazon Prime Video
Based on the eponymous 1975 Broadway musical, the 1985 film “A Chorus Line” tells the story of Cassie (Alyson Reed), a former star who, after failing to land concerts for over a year, desperately wants to join a new production is run by its old flame (Michael Douglas) – even if it’s just under the chorus line. The musical focuses on the 17 competitive Broadway prospects who audition for places in the choir line. Despite being a box office failure, âA Chorus Lineâ had a plethora of catchy songs from âOneâ and âI Can Do Thatâ to âWhat I Did For Loveâ and more.
“Footloose” on Google Play and YouTube
Kevin Bacon rose to fame with Ren McCormack, a suave Chicagoan who moves to a conservative Midwestern town where rock music and dancing are illegal. Along with his friends Willard Hewitt (Christopher Penn) and Ariel Moore (Lori Singer), Ren tries all he can to shake things up in the Rigid City – albeit with a powerful man like Ariel’s father (John Lithgow) so resistant to change, it’s easier said than done. With catchy songs like the title song of the film, 1984’s “Footloose” is a musical dance classic.
“La Bamba” on YouTube and Amazon Prime Video
With the release of his ballad “Donna”, which he wrote for his girlfriend whose parents didn’t want her to date a Latino man, teenager Ritchie Valens (Lou Diamond Phillips) became a promising young musician. . The 1987 biopic “La Bamba” explores the teenager’s tumultuous (and ultimately tragic) life as he continued to climb the ranks of the rock’n’roll scene – his strained relationship with his jealous half-brother ( Esai Morales) to his fear of flying and recurring nightmares about a plane crash that claimed the life of his best friend. The film was recognized for its cultural and historical significance: in 2017, it was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress.
“Stay Alive” on Crackle and Amazon Prime Video
1983’s “Staying Alive” – ââthe sequel to the hit phenomenon “Saturday Night Fever” – follows a (slightly) more mature Tony Manero (John Travolta) as he works in New York as a dance teacher with the dream of become big Broadway. However, after his girlfriend, Jackie (Cynthia Rhodes), auditions him for a new show, Tony falls for a Broadway star named Laura (Finola Hughes). Although the sequel did not live up to the first installment, the song “Far from Over”, which appeared on the film’s soundtrack and recorded by director Sylvester Stallone’s younger brother, Frank Stallone, peaked at the 10th place on the Billboard Hot 100..