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My 10 Teen Favourite Fantasy Films from the 1980s

Updated on January 15, 2014

10. Splash (1984)

Director: Ron Howard

Starring: Tom Hanks, Darryl Hannah, John Candy

Allen Bauer (Hanks) is trying to make something out of his life after his latest romantic disaster. His older brother Freddie (Candy) is not much help and therefore he decides to go to Cape Cod where, as a child, he had nearly drowned. Once again he falls in the sea and finds himself in difficulty only to be saved by a beautiful woman (Hannah). Allen immediately feels attracted to his saviour, not knowing that in reality she is a mermaid.

9. The Neverending Story (1984)

Director: Wolfgang Petersen

Starring: Barret Oliver, Noah Hathaway, Tami Stronach

Bastian (Oliver) is being bullied by some of his class mates. During one such incident on his way to school, he seeks shelter inside a book shop. There he finds a mysterious book called The Neverending Story. Intrigued, Bastian takes the book to school. He skives for the day, plants himself in the attic, and starts reading. Little does he know that he is going to be an influential character in the magical story of Fantasia.

8. Big Trouble in Little China (1986)

Director: John Carpenter

Starring: Kurt Russell, Kim Cattrall, Dennis Dun

Jack Burton (Russell) helps his friend Wang Chi (Dun) to rescue his girlfriend who has been abducted by a Chinese gang, The Lords of the Death. The two meet up with lawyer Gracie Law (Cattrall) and together they infiltrate a brothel where they think that Chi’s girlfriend is being held captive. However they do not know that they have to face the powerful sorcerer Lo Pan (James Hong), who wants to kill Gracie in order to break an ancient curse.

7. Conan the Destroyer (1984)

Director: Richard Fleischer

Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Olivia d’Abo, Grace Jones

Queen Taramis (Sarah Douglas) promises Conan (Schwarzenegger) that she will resurrect his defunct bride Valeria if he will take her niece Jehnna (d’Abo) on a quest to find a jewel that will awaken the god Dagoth. Conan accepts unaware that the Queen gave orders to Bombaata (Wilt Chamberlain) to kill the barbarian once the jewel is found. She also wants to offer her niece as a sacrifice to Dagoth.

6. The Princess Bride (1987)

Director: Rob Reiner

Starring: Robin Wright, Cary Elwes, Chris Sarandon

Grandpa (Peter Falk) reads a story to his sick grandson (Fred Savage) about the noble exploits of Westley (Elwes) who is looking for his beloved Buttercup (Wright). The two lovers were separated when Westley’s ship was attacked by the Dread Pirate Roberts. Believing him dead, Buttercup decides to marry the evil Prince Humperdinck (Sarandon). However Westley is determined to do his damnedest to prevent this marriage from taking place.

5. Highlander (1986)

Director: Russel Mulcahy

Starring: Christopher Lambert, Sean Connery, Clancy Brown

Connor McLeod (Lambert) is an immortal. He was born in 16th century Scotland and killed, for the first time, during a fierce battle with a rival clan. But when he returns to life, his own clan banishes him and Connor goes to live in the highlands. He marries Heather (Beatie Edney) and together they live a simple but contented life. Ramirez (Connery), another immortal, finds Connor and he tells him that Kurgan (Brown) wants his head.

4. Ghostbusters (1984)

Director: Ivan Reitman

Starring: Bill Murray, Sigourney Weaver, Dan Aykroyd

New York is pullulating with ghosts and supernatural researchers Peter Venkman (Murray), Raymond Stantz (Aykroyd), Egon Spengler (Harold Ramis) and Winston Zeddemore (Ernie Hudson) team up to rid New York of ghosts. Work is not lacking and before long they become celebrities. Little do they know that the increase in spectral phenomena is linked to the imminent arrival of Gozer, a shape-shifting god of destruction.

3. Labyrinth (1984)

Director: Jim Henson

Starring: Jennifer Connelly, David Bowie, Toby Froud

Sarah (Connelly) is not getting along with her parents and when they ask her to babysit her baby brother (Froud) she begs for him to be spirited away. Jareth (Bowie), the Goblin King, obliges, to Sarah’s immediate regret. The King promises her that he will return her brother only if she manages to solve his Labyrinth in thirteen hours. Sarah is thus transported to the land of Jareth and placed at the entrance of the Labyrinth.

2. Ladyhawke (1985)

Director: Richard Donner

Starring: Michelle Pfeiffer, Rutger Hauer, Matthew Broderick

Philippe Gaston (Broderick) is a petty thief who is always in trouble. The Bishop of Aquila (John Wood) sends his men to capture him but their mission is foiled by the appearance of a mysterious black knight. This man is Etienne of Navarre (Hauer), former Captain of the Guards, and he takes Philippe under his wing. Navarre has a score to settle with the Bishop and needs Philippe’s knowledge of the city’s sewers to do so.

1. Legend (1985)

Director: Ridley Scott

Starring: Tom Cruise, Mia Sara, Tim Curry

Princess Lili (Sara) meets her friend Jack (Cruise) in the forest where he is teaching her the language of animals. She throws her ring in the river, declaring that she will marry whoever finds it. Jack dives to retrieve it. Meanwhile Lili sees two unicorns and she touches one. In doing so she disrupts the natural order of the universe. Lili is then abducted by goblins and taken to the realm of Darkness (Curry). It is now up to Jack to find and rescue her.

Which one of these is your favourite?

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    • profile image

      Nusane 3 years ago

      I believe that every story has what you can call dnanomit components. In films like The Sixth Sense, Se7en and The Usual Suspects, the dnanomit component is the brilliant twist of the tail. Other films have other dnanomits: Barry Lyndon makes a painting out of every frame, while Life of Brian is all about Bible jokes.But the ending, the resolution of the story, is not all-important. In fact, if writers try to write brilliant endings to every story, they end up forcing themselves into too narrow a mould.Here's to a magnificent new decade of writing stories!

    • profile image

      Lola 3 years ago

      Pe5l's got a good point here. I rewatched The Fugitive toihgnt, the Andrew Davis movie starring Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee Jones. Excellent entertainment! And the resolution wasn't a big deal. Indeed, the viewer knows from the beginning that Ford is innocent of killing his wife, and the filmmakers don't make the mistake of turning it into a twist of any kind.The joy of The Fugitive is the chase, cheering Ford on as his character struggles to document his innocence, while Jones' incredibly bright US Marshall slowly figures out that the audience is right Ford must be innocent.Some people have applauded the twist ending of Frank Darabont's The Mist. I was utterly bored with the film, because it felt to me like the filmmakers had decided to have a twist ending, and forgotten about telling a good story in the meantime.New decade, new stories!

    • Noel Tanti profile image

      Noel Tanti 4 years ago from Malta

      i totally agree... it would certainly lack the magic of the original...

    • Geekdom profile image

      Geekdom 4 years ago

      Great List. Thank for the trip down memory lane. I just watched Big Trouble in Little China again last week. I still love it after all these year. But that film could not be made today.

    • Noel Tanti profile image

      Noel Tanti 4 years ago from Malta

      you're welcome :) thanks for the comment

    • loveofnight profile image

      loveofnight 4 years ago from Baltimore, Maryland

      9, 7, 5, 4 and 1 are my favorites. Thanks for sharing with us.

    • Noel Tanti profile image

      Noel Tanti 4 years ago from Malta

      there can be only one! :) thanks for your feedback :)

    • profile image

      Jayfort 4 years ago

      Excellent choices all! My favorite of the group is Highlander. Cool story, excellent music! Voted Up and Interesting!