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The 80s Were Awesome: The Funniest Moments in 1980s Movies. How Many Still Make You Laugh? (Part 1)

John Bridges is a published author of history, and politics. His doctorate is in criminal justice.

The Funniest Moments of the 80s


Porkys: the Movie You Hoped Your Parents Didn’t See

Porky’s became a cult classic for many who were teenagers and young adults when it was released in 1982. For many of us, this was our first exposure to raunchy humor. The plot revolved around a group of High School boys trying to lose their virginity in the 1950’s. The most memorable character was Beulah Balbricker, the girl’s gym teacher who was determined that he boys would not get their wish.

Another memorable character was “Meat” played by Tony Ganois. The running joke throughout the movie was that “Meat” was exceptionally well endowed. In reality, Ganois was not. After the movies success, he was hounded by women asking to see it in person. Unable to match his characters notoriety, he fell into a drug-fueled depression. After recovery he opened a rehab clinic for men with length and girth insecurities.

Porky’s was the 5th highest grossing film of 1982. If you saw the movie, I am sure this one scene will bring back the laughter that made your sides hurt the first time you saw it.

Ferris Bueller: Making Even Credits Fun

When was the last time you not only sat through the movie credits but enjoyed them as much as the rest of the movie? Ferris Bueller's Day Off is a 1986 American teen comedy film written, and directed by John Hughes. The film stars Matthew Broderick as Ferris Bueller, a high-school slacker who spends a day off from school with his girlfriend and best friend. Ruck (Cameron) and Broderick were close friends in real life. This movie was one of the first acting experiences for Ben Stein, who had previously be a speech writer for Nixon and Ford.

Matthew Broderick and Jennifer Grey (who played Jeanie, Ferris’s sister) got engaged just before the movie's release. Cindy Pickett and Lyman Ward, who played Ferris's parents, met on the set of the movie and eventually got married as well.

Hughes wrote the screenplay in less than a week. He wanted to be sure it was completed prior to a looming writer’s guild strike. Filming began in September 1985 and finished in November 1985.

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Fast Times at Ridgemont High: Spicoli Stole the Show

Fast Times at Ridgemont High was made in 1982. It was a major boost for many now major stars who were relatively unknown at the time. Jennifer Jason Leigh secretly worked at a pizzeria for a month to prepare for her role. Although all actors were to be over the age of 18 in order to comply with labor laws, but a 17 year old name Nicolas (Cage) Coppola lied about his age. While he did not get cast as Brad, the part he auditioned for, he accepted a smaller role as one of Brad’s friends.

Jeff Spicoli was a secondary character in the movie but the amazingly funny interactions between him and his controlling history teacher, Mr. Hand are about all most people remember from this movie. The role propelled Sean Penn into stardom. Penn stayed in character even when not of screen. He had originally auditioned for the role of Brad. The role of Brad went to Judge Reinhold.

Airplane: Don’t Sneeze You Will Miss Something, and Don’t Call Me Shirley

Airplane was created in 1980. It was a very fast paced parody of the popular Airport disaster movies. Although there were some running gags stretching the length of the movie, they were merely there to tie together hysterical mini-scenes that could stand on their own. The film was an instant success and even today garners new fans. It is both classic and timeless humor.

At the beginning of the movie, the airport announcers are arguing about which color curb represented the no parking zones. They begin to argue about other things as though they were a married couple. In reality, the voice actors were married and were formally employed as airport announcers at Los Angeles International Airport.

Vacation: Even Fun to Watch with Grandma

Vacation, starring Chevy Chase is a cult classic about the misadventures of a family driving across country to visit a mythical amusement park known as Wally World. It premiered in 1983. It was shot in 15 locations and four states, making the filming a true vacation experience for those involved in the production. Five different cars were used during the movie, reflecting levels of damage sustained on the trip. Anthony Michael Hall (Rusty) grew 3 inches during the filming. Since filming often occurs out of sequence, it is noticeable if you look for it.

Vacation is filled with a series of running gags that build and build until a final climax. As such picking a scene that could stand on its own merits without the context of other running gags. This scene can stand on its own merits provided you know that Dinky the dog, was a vicious dog from hell, that pees on everything and attacks Clark. This scene between Chevy Chase and actor James Keach was almost entirely improvised and if you watch carefully you can see both actors are straining to keep from laughing.

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