Was 1984 The Best Year Ever For Summer Movies?

Have you noticed that a lot of really awesome things are celebrating their 30th anniversaries this year? The Macintosh computer, Tetris, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles? 1984 was also a really good year for movies, but I'll go farther than that: This particular week in 1984 was probably the best week ever to see a movie in the theater.


It was a tweet from @staypuft that got me investigating the topic, and what I uncovered was pretty incredible. During the first week of summer in 1984 (this week, 30 years ago) these are a few of the films that you might have seen at an American movie theater:

These are some of the best summer movies ever: classic, feel-good hits that were successes at both the box office and with critics. And they're all films that stand up—maybe even get better!—after multiple repeat viewings.

Even if you're only a fan of one or two of the movies listed, you have to admit: This is an exceptionally good list of films! You've got:

  • One of the best movies of all time.
  • The first film to successfully champion the horror-comedy genre, making a scary movie that was also pee-your-pants funny.
  • The best Indiana Jones and one of the best movies of all time.
  • A coming-of-age story that empowered all of us to take control of our lives and respect our elders. And also Peter Cetera.
  • The best Star Trek film and a much better one than the one with the stupid whales.
  • One of the best films about baseball, ever.
  • One of the best comedies, ever.

I've added links to watch all the movies above so you can organize your own 1984 summer movie film festival. And if that's not enough to convince you of 1984's cinematic greatness, consider this: Revenge of the Nerds, Purple Rain, Beverly Hills Cop, A Nightmare on Elm Street, The Neverending Story, and The Terminator all came out later that year.

Did you see any of these at the theater? I remember seeing Ghostbusters, and I also remember that my parents thought Gremlins was too scary for me to watch. My best 1984 movie experience was saved for later in the summer, when I saw Temple of Doom from the roof of my parents' van at the drive-in.


Great summer? Yes.

Best summer? No.

That is 1982.

Blade Runner


Star Trek II


The Road Warrior

The Thing


Rocky III

Fast Times

Conan the Barbarian

The Last Unicorn

The Dark Crystal