It was a conversation started here in the Limited News offices last week – how is it that some films are still just as watchable decades on from their release, whilst others are windows into very specific eras? Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure and Back to the Future Part II may be the most awesome films of our generation (they are), but they’re fairly stuck in a mid-90s mentality. In stark contrast, we’ve put together the top 5 movies that still stand the test of time, and are equally enjoyable (if not more so), years on from their original cinematic release. We challenge you to re-watch them and find out for yourself.
Blade Runner (1982)
Deckard, a blade runner, has to track down and terminate four replicants who hijacked a ship in space and have returned to earth seeking their maker.
Ridley Scott’s sci-fi noir is usually up there in the top 10 of every film auteur. Maybe it’s the dark, moody undertones borrowed straight from Billy Wilder, melding with the imagery of an Asian-influenced post-apocalyptic future – it’s certainly a theme that remains popular in today’s culture. Perhaps it’s the narrative that questions what it is to be human, exposing our deep-seated fear of the very machines we create to make our lives easier. But really the timelessness of this movie comes from its floating place in history – it’s a future that could be twenty years on from the 80s or even from right now.
Jurassic Park (1993)
During a preview tour, a theme park suffers a major power breakdown that allows its cloned dinosaur exhibits to run amok.
Show us a kid born in the 80s who doesn’t know that a cup of water vibrating on the dash of a 4WD is a really bad premonition of what is to come. It’s actually quite amazing to re-watch this one and see that the CGI, puppetry and animatronics still look pretty damn crisp. Those raptors are still all bird-like and super creepy, and the prospect of a fully grown T-Rex bursting into your rattan-lined toilet cubicle in the middle of a tropical storm is enough to make me shit my pants, just like it did when I was 12 years old.
The Terminator (1984)
A human-looking, apparently unstoppable cyborg is sent from the future to kill Sarah Connor; Kyle Reese is sent to stop it.
It’s true, there is a shocking amount of boofy hair in this one that pretty clearly time-stamps it to the early to mid-80s, but nonetheless it’s still pretty cool that the suspension of disbelief exists in this one. The special effects still work, the story is still believable and we truly do still believe that the mechanical acting of Arnold Schwarzenegger can realistically represent the movements of an android. On second thought, that’s not really that much of a stretch.
Total Recall (1990)
When a man goes for virtual vacation memories of the planet Mars, an unexpected and harrowing series of events forces him to go to the planet for real, or does he?
Our second film featuring the magnificent work of the Austrian bodybuilder turned movie star turned US politician turned movie star again. Yes, we are well aware that this one contains the least realistic representations of triple boob, but nonetheless, the movie itself is as great today as it was way back in 1990. Director Paul Verhoeven is well known for his subversive take on the blockbuster action film, and perhaps it’s this over-the-top mentality that allows this movie to remain somewhat timeless. It’s a parody of itself, and therefore sits apart from others of its day.
Independence Day (1996)
The aliens are coming and their goal is to invade and destroy. Fighting superior technology, Man’s best weapon is the will to survive.
This one is creeping into the late 90s but we felt it just had to be included. I mean, c’mon – they blew up the White House! And Area 51! And Bill Pulman as the POTUS, delivering his cheesiest speech ever, right before hopping into a fighter jet and whipping some alien butt.
Don’t forget (as we clearly had) that there is a fleeting shot of Sydney being attacked as well. As if those aliens would bother.
Any others that we’ve missed? Add them in the comments.