1988 was a groundbreaking year for motion pictures. It was a time when inventive jaw-droppers rubbed shoulders with audience-pleasing dramas, and the art of special effects reached new heights. And it was 30 years ago. It seems impossible that so much time has passed, and yet here we are. In the subsequent three decades since the Class of ’88 hit theaters, not only has the world of movie-making changed but the way that audiences view them as well. Who could have conceived back then that the world of cinema would be literally at our fingertips? But the films of that era remain as enjoyable and influential as ever…whether you chose to view them in 4K Ultra HD or on an old VHS tape you have lying around your basement. Here then is a celebration of ten of our 1988 favorites. They don’t look a day over 25, wouldn’t you agree?
Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman made a box-office splash in this “road” drama about crass hustler Charlie Babbitt, who forms a bond with the autistic-savant brother, Raymond, he never knew he had during a cross-country car trip. Hoffman won a Best Actor Academy Award for his uncanny portrayal of human abacus Raymond, as did the film, screenplay, and Barry Levinson’s sensitive direction.
Tom Hanks stars in this hit comedy as the fast-rising toy company executive whose big success hides an ever-bigger secret: he’s really a 13-year-old kid who magically became an adult thanks to a carnival wishing machine. Hit “body-switch” farce also stars Elizabeth Perkins, Robert Loggia, John Heard, Jon Lovitz; directed by Penny Marshall.
The mind-blowing, Oscar-winning blend of Raymond Chandler and Tex Avery stars Bob Hoskins as a seedy private eye in a ’40s Hollywood populated by humans and animated “toons” who must clear cartoon star Roger Rabbit of a murder charge. With Christopher Lloyd, and the voices of Charles Fleischer and Kathleen Turner; cameos by Mickey Mouse, Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Donald Duck, and others.
Who do two newly dead spirits go to when their home is taken over by obnoxious humans? The “bio-exorcist” known as “Beetlejuice,” of course! Michael Keaton is frighteningly funny as the “ghost with the most” in the hit horror comedy from director Tim Burton. Geena Davis, Alec Baldwin, Catherine O’Hara and Winona Ryder co-star.
Jodie Foster earned a Best Actress Academy Award for her performance as the victim of a brutal gang rape in this gripping, fact-based drama. Although the incident occurred in a crowded bar with plenty of witnesses, Sarah Tobias’ (Foster) reputation as a “party girl” initially makes it difficult for the assistant district attorney (Kelly McGillis) to pursue serious charges against the three men responsible for the assault. With Bernie Coulson, Leo Rossi, Ann Hearn, Steve Antin.
In this classic comedic caper, sexy femme fatale Wanda (Jamie Lee Curtis), sublimely stupid sadist Otto (Kevin Kline), and stuttering icthyophile Ken (Michael Palin) all plan to double-cross each other after a jewel heist in London. To get the upper hand, Wanda schemes to seduce Archie (John Cleese, who also scripted), a bumbling barrister whom she believes can lead her to the loot that has somehow gone missing. With Maria Aitken, Tom Georgeson; directed by Charles Crichton.
Terrorists seize an L.A. skyscraper and hold everyone inside prisoner. That is, everyone except New York cop John McClane (Bruce Willis), whose estranged wife (Bonnie Bedelia) is among the hostages. Now, McClane must evade fire from the bad guys and gets little help from the local police as he mounts a daring one-man rescue mission. Slam-bang action hit also stars Alan Rickman, Reginald VelJohnson, Paul Gleason, William Atherton, Alexander Godunov.
Can a 21-year-old African prince find happiness and the girl of his dreams while working incognito at a fast food restaurant in Queens? In this hit comedy, Eddie Murphy plays the young royal who flees his country to escape an arranged marriage and find an American wife–but his deception could just as easily spoil the romance he starts up with the daughter (Shari Headley) of his employer (John Amos). Arsenio Hall, Madge Sinclair, and James Earl Jones also star.
Director Mike Nichols’ comedic ode to climbing the corporate ladder in the 1980s stars Melanie Griffith as Tess McGill, a Manhattan secretary who learns that the high-powered financial exec (Sigourney Weaver) she works for has stolen one of her ideas. And with her boss out of commission with a broken leg, Tess takes over her job in order to put together her own deal with a handsome investment banker (Harrison Ford). With Joan Cusack, Alec Baldwin.
Irritable ex-cop-turned-bounty hunter Jack Walsh (Robert De Niro) is hired to shepherd fugitive mob accountant John Mardukas (Charles Grodin) from New York to L.A. The supposedly easy run turns into a series of comical escapes as the mismatched pair must deal with F.B.I. agents, who want Mardukas to testify against his employers, as well as said crooks, who would rather see both men dead. Fast-paced action romp co-stars Yaphet Kotto, Joe Pantoliano.