We often think of the 80s as a time of excess, florescent clothes and silly moments. The 80s were full of fun-loving wise-cracking ne’re-do-wells. It was also the beginning of the future and a great many advances to come. In National Geographic’s six-part series, The 80s: The Decade that Made Us, some of the most memorable movers and shakers of the time remind us that we were headed for great things. In fact, you only have to take a closer look at some of the best 80s movie and their heroes to see that the decade had heart. Here are five movies you should watch (again) and reminisce about the lessons the 80s had to teach us.

Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

The 80s was a comfortable decade, but one movie reminded America to seek adventure and that a sense of humor could get you out of any jam. Indiana Jones also taught us that college professors and archeologists were sexy, making everyone wonder about their teacher’s secret lives. History suddenly became more interesting and crushing on our professor was a given.

Karate Kid (1984)

If you know  80s rhetoric then you have heard that it was tough to be a kid from Reseda, California. However, apprenticing under a martial arts master can help you become better than your past. Under the tutelage of Mr. Miyagi, Daniel-san learns how to be an honorable adult, stand tall, and get the girl. He also taught a whole generation of teenagers to have pride while waxing cars, painting houses, and sanding floors.

Back to the Future (1985)

Seventeen-year-old Marty McFly had a pretty bleak California upbringing as well. Embarrassed by his parents and disappointed by his life, he didn’t realize what he was missing until he was sent back in time. Marty taught us that home is where the heart is and to never look at our parents the same again. Turns out all those stodgy 80s parents had actually been teenagers just like us once and that most of them were pretty cool.

Princess Bride (1986)

Think the 80s were a time of self-centered materialism? Then you should watch The Princess Bride again. An entire decade of teenagers and two decades that have followed learned not just to recite the lines of this movie, but what it meant to find true love. Buttercup and Wesley didn’t have it easy, but they found something that so many people in the 80s found and still hope to find.

Die Hard (1988)

Anyone can be a hero. Even a wise-cracking cop, struggling through a failed marriage can find himself in the wrong place at the wrong time and rise above it all. John McClane was the hero that each of us could be, that many kids in the 80s imagined they would be and the reason we all still say, “Yippe kai yay…”

 

You say you want more 80s? As you wish! The 80s: The Decade that Made Us, a three-night, six-part event, premieres April 14 at 8 PM ET/PT on NGC. You won’t want to miss it!