18 Movies That Shaped My Formative Years

Over the weekend my wife and I inflicted our children with one of favorite movies growing up, The NeverEnding Story. It got me thinking about all the other movies that impacted me when I was about their age. Once I started, the floodgates let loose and movies I hadn’t thought about in years rose from the depths like Morla from the Swamps of Sadness. Here’s a (not so) short list of them in no particular order. Although I’m positive I’ve missed a lot more.

  1. The NeverEnding Story (1984)
    Who didn’t want a Luck Dragon after seeing this movie?
  2.  The Goonies (1985)
    Oh, the truffle shuffle.
  3. Labyrinth (1986)
    You remind me of the babe.
  4. The Dark Crystal (1982)
    This movie still haunts my imagination today.
  5. Superman I-IV (1978, 1980, 1983, and 1987 respectively)
    The first movie I saw on the big screen.

    Hands down the best of the series.

  6. Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark, …Temple of Doom, …Last Crusade (1981, 1984, and 1989 respectively)

    They’re melting!

    Best of the series, though Crusade is a very close second.

    Though my wife might hate it, I still have my very own Indy hat.
  7. Back to the Future I – III (1985, 1989, and 1990 respectively)
    Never wanted to ride a skateboard more than after watching this film.

    Arguably the worst of the three, but necessary to understand the third.

    For me, this was the best in the series.
  8. The Princess Bride (1987)
    At random times I still yell through the house, “HELLO! My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.”
  9. Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
    My world was never the same.
  10. Transformers: The Movie (1986)
    Did he say, “shit?” My mind was blown.
  11. Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi (1977, 1980, and 1983 respectively)

    The second movie I’ve seen in the theater.

    I don’t think there was another movie that I anticipated more than this one.
  12. Harvey and Arsenic And Old Lace (1950 and 1944 respectively)
    The only two black and white films to make my list.
    I always found something so incredibly likable in Elwood.

    Something about little old ladies killing. Does it to me every time.
  13. A Christmas Story (1983)
    I still subject my family to this movie every year.
  14. Strange Brew (1983)
    To this day my dad and I still greet each other a la Bob and Doug McKenzie.
  15. Ghostbusters I & II (1984 and 1989 respectively)
    Who you gonna call?

    I won tickets to see the sneak preview.
  16. Die Hard (1988)
    No better Christmas movie. Ever.
  17. The Great Outdoors (1988)
    I was bummed they never followed this one up with its obvious sequel.
  18. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)

Not all of the movie I listed are blockbusters. Some of them I can’t watch fully anymore. But, each one effected me when I originally watched them. I know I’m forgetting some. Even as I write this A few more trickle in: Short Circuit, E.T., D.A.R.Y.L., Cloak & Dagger.

So how about you. Can you think of any movies that affected your formidable years? I know I’m missing some. Maybe you can help fill in those blanks.


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