Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Time To Feel Old: All Of These Movies Were Released 30 Years Ago

Some movies are timeless no matter when they were released or when you see them. The technology the characters use can be dated, the references might be confusing, and even the vision of the future posed by said film may be wildly inaccurate, but the soul of the movie remains intact. You're transported into that world no matter how old you or the movie happen to be at the time. 

Then the movie ends, and you look at the release date, and you have a quiet little moment of surprise and alarm when you realize it's been 30 years since one of your favorites hit theaters. Whether you first saw it the week it came out or years later in your living room, that revelation can hit you hard, which is why it's usually better to face those facts with a little emotional support. We're here for you.

In that spirit, here are more than a dozen films that were released in 1989, which means they all turn 30 this year. Brace yourselves and think young thoughts. 


In the 1980s, the only big-screen superhero megastar was Superman, and the last major live-action effort for Batman starred Adam West. Then came Tim Burton, Michael Keaton, Jack Nicholson, and an effort to capture some of the darker Batman spirit made so popular by the comics of the '70s and '80s. Batman was an immediate commercial hit and one of the most talked-about films of 1989.

Starring Michael Keaton (a controversial casting choice at the time, as he was known for goofy comedies) as the Dark Knight and Jack Nicholson as the Joker, Batman imagines a Gotham City that lives up to its name with bold set design choices, memorable costumes, a gorgeously lonesome Wayne Manor, and Danny Elfman's sweeping score (including that unforgettable main theme we still all have in our heads to this day). The film has its flaws — imagining a rather contrived origin for the Joker among them — but even today it holds up as a classic of the genre. 

Other Batman films have come since, some great (The Dark Knight) and some dismal (Batman & Robin), but Burton's film still holds a certain kind of sway over '80s and '90s kids. It spawned one direct sequel (Batman Returns) and remains one of the most influential superhero films ever made, so much so that every comic book film of the 1990s and even into the 2000s was a reaction to it in some way.

Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan

As of this writing, the Friday the 13th franchise has stalled, and the last film released was a reboot a decade ago. That makes it somewhat difficult to remember, at least for some audiences, that this slasher series was once a box office powerhouse. Producers cranked out eight Friday films in the 1980s — a rate which puts some of the most prolific series of today to shame — and quickly established Jason Voorhees' reputation as an iconic killing machine who just won't go away.

Jason Takes Manhattan is... not the best of these films, but it is among the most interesting. It follows a group of high school seniors who are all set to take a little boat trip up to the Big Apple, but there's one problem: the trip begins at Crystal Lake, into which Jason sank at the end of the last film. He's reanimated by an electrical accident, climbs aboard, and begins causing havoc. Sadly, he only really "takes" Manhattan in the final minutes, but in between there's a brutal and often silly cruise that some Friday fans love and others loathe. Whether you dig the film or not, it remains a fascinating cultural artifact in terms of how far slasher franchises were willing to go in the '80s to keep churning out sequels.

Honey, I Shrunk The Kids

Rick Moranis hasn't made a major live-action film appearance in more than two decades, but once upon a time he was a comedy powerhouse, and Honey, I Shrunk the Kids was one of his most successful showcases. Moranis is a master of in-over-your-head, nerdy comedy, and in that regard he was perhaps never more perfectly cast than he is in this film as struggling inventor Wayne Szalinski.

Wayne has created a shrink ray that never seems to quite work, until the day it accidentally shrinks the Szalinski kids and their neighbors, the Thompson children. While Wayne and his wife Diane try desperately to find the kids while keeping the incident under wraps, the kids themselves embark on an epic journey through the backyard, trying to get home and alert their parents to their newly diminutive state. Kids of a certain age watched this film over and over when it hit home video. As a result, certain '90s kids still harbor a secret desire to build a makeshift device that will swing them over their lawns so they can peer into the grass with a magnifying glass.

Back to the Future Part II

The Back to the Future trilogy's middle entry seems half-forgotten by some viewers, stuck between "the original" and "the one where they go to the Old West," but Back to the Future Part II is in many ways the most interesting of the three films. For one thing, it's the only one of the three that imagines a version of "the future," rather than jumping to the past and then back to the film's present. For another, the film's version of the future is just bonkers. The 2015 imagined by the Back to the Future franchise is equal parts whimsical gags about dehydrated Pizza Hut and nightmarish hellscape in which an egomanical businessman seems to cheat his way to unchecked power.

Though it's definitely weaker than its predecessor, Part II is full of instantly memorable moments, from the introduction of the hoverboard to Biff's lair to the ridiculous fashion choices of "2015." Plus, we will never stop making jokes about the power of sports almanacs because of this movie.

Field of Dreams

With one line — "If you build it, he will come" — Field of Dreams cemented its place in the pop culture lexicon as one of the most quoted films ever made, but it's so much more than a memorable phrase. The story of a man who hears a voice and sees a vision of a baseball diamond in his cornfield, the film is a sweeping declaration of American optimism, and the kind of movie that will make even the most baseball-phobic person in your life fall in love with the game, if only for a little while.

Field of Dreams didn't need the benefit of time for people to recognize its greatness. The film was nominated for three Oscars after its release, including Best Picture, and immediately became the kind of film certain families wanted to rent on home video again and again. In the years since, it's become the kind of basic cable staple on which pretty much everyone in the living room can agree, and even if you're seeing it for the hundredth time, there's a certain kind of magic in its simplicity. That juxtaposition of the swaying corn and the dirt on the diamond never really gets old.

Star Trek V: The Final Frontier

Even the worst Star Trek films are still interesting in their ambition. Star Trek V: The Final Frontier is perhaps the best example of this, though some fans still dub it the absolute worst movie the franchise ever produced. Directed by William Shatner (who was following up two straight Trek films directed by co-star Leonard Nimoy), the film chronicles the Enterprise crew's involvement in a quest to find "God" in a mystical location somewhere in the center of the galaxy. It's a big idea, and even though the results are mixed, the big idea still has power.

Of course, that power is masked by questionable directing choices, subpar visual effects, and a concept that just kind of... fizzles out by the end. It might be the most dated Trek film the original cast made, at least conceptually, but despite that it still maintains a sense of personality. Kirk, Spock, and Bones all hanging out around a campfire together just works.

Pet Sematary

Stephen King adaptations are culturally ubiquitous, and they have been for decades. The man's work is so popular among film producers that he's launched whole horror franchises with a single short story, and filmmakers are often so eager to capitalize on his name that they'll only very loosely tie their stories to his concepts (see The Lawnmower Man). When an adaptation works, though, it really works, and Pet Sematary is one of the films that works.

The film famously tells the story of a family who moves into a new house near a pet cemetery set up by the local children to bury the animals who are hit by cars on the dangerous nearby road. When the family cat dies, it's buried at the cemetery, only to be brought back to life — in a manner of speaking — by the land's mysterious powers. Then the family's young son is killed... and the rest is the stuff of nightmares. The climactic scares of Pet Sematary are still among the most memorable of any horror film released in the 1980s, and the story is so powerful that it's easy to see why a remake is hitting theaters this spring.

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

For a very long time, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade was the final entry in the franchise, with no competition from other, later entries, and for a long time it was the perfect way for Indy to (quite literally) ride into the sunset. After the misstep of The Temple of Doom, filmmakers George Lucas and Steven Spielberg returned to the trope of Indy searching for fabled religious artifacts, and sent him after the Holy Grail.

The result is a film that's better than the second Indy but not quite as good as the first (because Raiders is basically perfect), and something that still holds up three decades later, thanks in no small part to the chemistry between Indy and his father, Henry Jones Sr. (the great Sean Connery). It's not quite the action masterpiece that Raiders of the Lost Ark was, but it's still great adventure fun, and it gives you an excuse to say, "He chose... poorly," every time you watch it.


The canon of great teen comedies of the 1980s is vast and surprisingly varied. You have your unrepentant sex comedies like Porky's, your slightly more contemplative fare like Sixteen Candles, your dramedies like The Breakfast Club, and you've even got slasher movies occasionally veering off into comedy. Then you've got Heathers, which is something all its own.

Heathers took the sense of aggression and venom that was bubbling under the surface of so many other teen comedies and put it front and center, creating a deliciously nasty brew that's as brutal as it is brutally hilarious. Winona Ryder gives one of the best performances of her career, the film cemented Christian Slater and Shannen Doherty as icons of their era, and though its box office left something to be desired, it became one of the most important cult films of the early '90s video market. We're still feeling its influence today in everything from horror movies to YA novels to its own TV remake.

Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure

Speaking of teen comedies from the '80s that are in a class by themselves, there's Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, a film that combines metalhead slacker culture with time travel. If you haven't seen it, the results are exactly as bonkers as you'd expect.

The great thing about Bill and Ted, and what's allowed it to hold up as well as it has for 30 years, is the very real sense of sincerity running throughout the film. It's not necessarily mocking Bill and Ted (Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves, respectively) for being who they are, nor is it necessarily letting them off the hook. It delivers the time travel goods and the slacker comedy goods simultaneously, and it somehow manages to combine all of that with a kind of wish fulfillment as the boys gather a cadre of historical figures together and cram them into a phone booth. 

Most importantly, though, there's a tremendous self-awareness running through the film that allows Bill and Ted to be both genuinely likable and viciously self-deprecating at the same time. It's a deceptively simple movie with some very complex comedy running through it. Oh, and it makes you want to bust out your best air guitar.

Licence To Kill

Licence To Kill is perhaps the most infamous of the 24 (and counting) James Bond films released by Eon Productions in the years since Dr. No debuted in 1962. The second and final film to star Timothy Dalton as Bond, it's also viewed by many fans as the film that put the franchise on hold for more than half a decade, as producers tried to adapt Ian Fleming's superspy to changing times. 

That level of blame is perhaps a bit harsh, as Licence to Kill remains a very watchable film. Its biggest problem — if you're a Bond fan, anyway — might be that it feels the least like a Bond film of any of the Eon releases. It feels more like a gritty '80s drug cartel drama with Bond inserted into it, and while that could work under the right circumstances, the odd tonal mix never quite worked here. 

Still, Dalton is a good Bond, and would have been a formidable megastar if he'd been given different material and a different era in which to work. If nothing else, we should keep revisiting this film to remember how the franchise evolved, and to remember that Dalton actually did make a dashing 007, however brief his tenure turned out to be.

Even more films turning 30 in 2019

Are you feeling old yet? Have those 11 films thoroughly hammered the passage of time into your head to the point that you're now looking through old yearbooks and reminiscing about summer vacations when you were free and able to just ride your bike and play in the pool in peace? No? Well, those are from the only films turning 30 this year. 

Among the other movies hitting the three-decade mark in 2019 are Jean-Claude Van Damme's action classic Kickboxer, Tom Hanks' cult horror-comedy The 'Burbs, James Cameron's groundbreaking effects-driven sci-fi film The Abyss, and the horror franchise installments Halloween V: The Revenge of Michael Myers and A Nightmare on Elm Street V: The Dream Child. If you really want to time travel, take all 16 of these movies and plan yourself a week-long marathon. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll scream, you'll laugh some more, and then you'll cry again because time marches ever onward and you just wasted a bunch of it watching some 30-year-old movies you've already seen. Then you'll recover and watch Field of Dreams one more time, because that movie is still wonderful three decades later.