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Most Popular Comedy Movies of the 80s

The 1980s were filled with great comedic movies. These movies have given the public a lot of memorable movies that are still not forgotten. When it comes to 1980s comedies, John Hughes prevailed in the series of the best teen romantic comedies that have now become cult classics. From Sixteen Candles to The Breakfast Club, all the movies that came out in the 80s are the most popular comedy movies of the era.

During the 1980s, comedy films flourished and became a golden age of comedy in American cinema. After a string of grainy and dark films were released in the 1970s, the audience was ready for something fun and light. Before the 1980s, movies reflected the country’s state of disillusionment after Watergate and Vietnam. You can also find out the top television stars of the 80s here. 

Most Popular Comedy Movies of the 80s

Revenge of the Nerds – 1984 

Revenge of the Nerds – 1984

How this movie fell into oblivion is a blast. It was because of a teenage sex comedy that defined the generation of the era. A group of nerds designed to conform completely to the stereotype is harassed by a group of athletes at their university. 

The movie is filled with a lot of stereotypes, misogyny, racism, and full of typical comedy tropes. The downright fun and silly makes it to watch as long as you take it for what it was made. The viewers of the movie should understand that the movie is much more offensive than most people remember it. It was criticized universally by the critics. This comedy movie had a positive underlying theme.

Ruthless People – 1986

Dubbed a black comedy, the film marks Bill Pullman’s film debut. Also, it starred Danny DeVito, Judge Reinhold, and Bette Midler. This comedy movie is about a couple who decide to take revenge on their former boss by kidnapping his wife in an attempt to extort money from the boss. The plan fails because the boss did not agree on paying money to get his wife. Although he planned to kill her himself. 

Back To School – 1986

The 80s comedy movie list would be incomplete without mentioning an entry from Rodney Dangerfield. He appeared in tons of movies during the 80s era. Back To School is one of his lesser-known movies. The plot of the movie revolved around Dangerfield’s character who supports his son by attending college with him. 

The character of Dangerfield was a rich character but uneducated. So, he supports his son by joining the college. The main purpose of the movie is to make people laugh. And when it comes to making people laugh, sitcoms also come on our list. Also, it contains an important lesson: money cannot buy happiness or education. 

Fletch – 1985

When someone thinks of Chevy Chase in the 80s, they automatically think of National Lampoon and Caddyshack and the National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, released in 1989. It is their part in a movie. He was in another popular film during the 80s. but this was the neo-noir comedic thriller. 

In this movie, Chase plays a Los Angeles Times reporter who is offered a ridiculous amount of money by a millionaire. It was offered to kill a rich man after his diagnosis of terminal cancer. It turns out that the man was not sick at all and as Fletch digs deeper, his own life is in danger. 

It sounds pretty grim that might explain why the film is often not recognized for the comedic tone. Still, it is one of the most underrated comedy movies of the 80s. 

Diner – 1982

Not many people will realize that this dramatic comedy existed. It was among the best comedy-drama of the decade. It starred Steve Guttenberg, Mickey Rourke, Daniel Stern, Kevin Bacon, Paul Reiser, Ellen Barkin, and Timothy Daly. The story of this comedy-drama revolves around a group of friends who meet in a Baltimore restaurant in 1959. They gather to celebrate the current wedding of one of them. 

It was a semi-autobiographical film with dramatic overtones that examines how people change with age and their priorities change. Also, how their relationships change over time. But it was still fun deep down. 

Trading Places – 1983

The idea of two people exchanging their lives and even bodies were popular in the 80s. This movie is one of the long-lost films that are worth watching again. It stars Dan Aykroyd as a wealthy commodity broker and Eddie Murphy as a poor street con artist. The couple becomes the object of a bet to see how each would fare in the circumstances of life of the other. 

Naturally, the result is a lot of fun, in large part thanks to the two amazing tracks which are interesting because of the roles. The roles were originally intended for Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor. Also, the racial jokes and language used in the movie make it the best comedy movie of the era. 

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels – 1988

Steve Martin, in one of his best roles, starred in this movie alongside Michael Caine. They were icons of the 80s. Among all the movies and projects of the decade they were involved in; this movie did not get much recognition. The comedy, remake of the 1964 film Bedtime Story, starring David Niven and Marlon Brando, were two con artists trying to get $50,000 from a wealthy heiress. 

To be fair, the film has not been completely forgotten. It was a remake in the form of a gender reversal in 2019 in the movie named The Hustle, starring Rebel Wilson and Anne Hathaway. 

Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure – 1985

Pee-wee Herman himself is an iconic and memorable character but the movie is one of the most popular comedy movies in the 80s. Pee-wee, an overgrown man-boy is a carefree and innocent character in the movie. It was when his precious bicycle was stolen and he goes on a mission to find it. The fun adventure begins at this time. 

Beetlejuice – 1988

The combination of a star cast including Alec Baldwin, Michael Keaton, Geena Davis, Jeffrey Jones, Catherine O’Hara, and Winona Ryder, starred in a fun fantasy movie. It was a comedy of gold. Keaton’s Beetlejuice is an iconic character that balances evil and funny wonderfully. 

The movie was overshadowed by many other major comedy films of the decade in the same genre. Due to the creepy elements of the movie, Beetlejuice still stands as one of the best comedy movies in the 80s. 

Weekend at Bernie’s -1989

The boss of Larry Wilson (Andrew McCarthy), Richard Parker (Jonathan Silverman), and other employees is Bernie Lomax (Terry Kiser), the president of the company. Bernie gave Larry and Richard a weekend at the beach house as a reward for finding an error in the business’s records. Bernie hired a hit guy to kill Larry and Richard over the weekend trip. When Bernie dies, the plot suddenly takes a drastic turn. 

Larry and Richard didn’t want Bernie’s passing to disrupt their vacation, so they cleaned up the corpse and pretended that he was still alive when they discovered his body floating out on the sea. When it comes to death, some films, such as Warm Bodies (2013) or Beetlejuice (1988), have a slightly gloomier tone than Weekend at Bernie’s (1989). By bringing Bernie everywhere they go, Larry and Richard had the absurd notion that they could prove Bernie was still alive and well.

You may also check out our list of the Top 80s Movies That Everyone Should Watch for more recommendations.

Funny Farm -1988

Couple Chevy Chase ( Andy Farmer) and Elizabeth ( Madolyn Smith Osborne) move to the Vermont countryside.  Andy wished he would relax and sleep soon. He is going to get inspiration from nature while visiting the countryside for his upcoming best-selling book. The couple encountered their drunken mailman every day, discovered human remains buried in their backyard, and learned what was the specialty of the neighborhood eatery, among other surprises. In funny Farm (1988)’s main characters discovered that country life was not what it looked like. With its unique characters and hilarious situations, fans of National Lampoon’s Vacation (1983), starring Chevy Chase, would probably appreciate this movie. You can watch Funny Farm on YouTube.

Overboard- 1987

Style-obsessed and haughty Joanna Stayton (Goldie Hawn) led a lavish lifestyle. Carpenter Dean Proffitt (Kurt Russell), a widowed father, was employed to clean the carpet on the Staytons’ yacht. Joanna’s wardrobe had the wrong sort of wood fitted by mistake; Dean suggested fixing it, but she didn’t want him to keep working and wouldn’t pay him. The following night, during a furious argument with Joanna, she went overboard and ended up in the hospital with amnesia. To exact retribution, Dean pretended to be his spouse in the hospital.

In the 2018 remake of the 1987 movie Overboard, the characters were switched around, and a poor single mother deceived a rich, arrogant guy who fell off his yacht into thinking he was her husband. The natural chemistry between Hawn and Russell in the 1987 version, though, makes it still worthwhile to watch. On Hulu, Overboard is accessible.

Comedy Movies Of the 80s – Unforgotten And Best Movies

Comedy movies of the 80s ruled the era after the country’s state of disillusionment after Watergate and Vietnam. Starting from Revenge of the Nerds to Beetlejuice, there are a lot of comedy movies starring different iconic Hollywood stars. The audience was not ready for the comedy-drama or movie but they enjoyed it because of the dark country’s state depicted in the previous era of the movies. 

Back To School, starring Dangerfield’s character as a rich dad but uneducated joins the college to support his son. On the other hand, Ruthless People, where two people kidnap the boss’ wife for ransom denies paying it and kills her himself. All these iconic and comedy movies are still watchable. If you find this post interesting, read on to find out the top television stars of the 90s

You may also read our article How Did Stand-Up Comedy Specials on Cable TV Catapult Comedians to Fame? to find out more about stand-up comedy and comedians back in the 1980s.

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