John Hughes was a legendary filmmaker and screenwriter who defined the teenage experience in the 1980s. His films captured the angst, humor, and heart of growing up, and they continue to resonate with audiences today. From The Breakfast Club to Ferris Bueller's Day Off, here are the 15 best John Hughes movies ever.
1. Sixteen Candles (1985)
Is it a ‘best of John Hughes' movie list if you don't include the iconic Molly Ringwald? Sixteen Candles has always been a fan favorite and is still relevant in pop culture today.
2. Vacation (1985)
Vacation is a Hughes film that doesn't often make the list when researching his best works. However, that changes today!
3. Home Alone (1990)
John Hughes wrote and produced this classic holiday film, which follows eight-year-old Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) as he defends his home from burglars after being accidentally left behind by his family during Christmas vacation. The movie became an instant hit, grossing over $470 million worldwide and spawning a successful franchise.
4. National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (1989)
John Hughes wrote the screenplay for this third installment in the National Lampoon's Vacation series, which sees the Griswold family attempting to have a traditional family Christmas that goes hilariously awry. The film was directed by Jeremiah S. Chechik and stars Chevy Chase, Beverly D'Angelo, and Randy Quaid. It's on everyone's annual Christmas watch list.
5. Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986)
Written, produced, and directed by John Hughes, this iconic comedy follows a high school student named Ferris Bueller (Matthew Broderick) who plays hooky to get out of school and instead has an adventure in Chicago with his best friend Cameron (Alan Ruck) and girlfriend Sloane (Mia Sara). The film has become a cultural touchstone and is widely regarded as one of the best teen movies ever made.
6. The Breakfast Club (1985)
John Hughes wrote, produced, and directed this charming coming-of-age film about five high school students from different social groups who are forced to spend a Saturday together in detention. The movie stars Emilio Estevez, Anthony Michael Hall, Judd Nelson, Molly Ringwald, and Ally Sheedy and has become a beloved classic that explores themes of identity, alienation, and teenage rebellion
7 – 101 Dalmations (1996)
John Hughes wrote the screenplay for this live-action adaptation of the classic Disney animated film. The movie stars Glenn Close as the villainous Cruella de Vil, who kidnaps a litter of Dalmatian puppies to make a fur coat. Directed by Stephen Herek, it was a commercial success, grossing over $320 million worldwide. As one of the staple films of my childhood, this one holds a special place in my heart.
8. Mr. Mom (1983)
Mr. Mom isn't all that bizarre to think about nowadays, but the film took on the question: “What if Dad took on the stay-at-home role?” After Jack Bulter (Micahel Keaton) is laid off, his wife heads back to work and he starts to take care of the family at home, only to realize he doesn't know how to take care of his own family.
9. Pretty in Pink (1986)
Hughes wrote the screenplay for this romantic comedy-drama about a teenage girl named Andie (Molly Ringwald) from the wrong side of the tracks who falls for a rich boy named Blane (Andrew McCarthy) despite pressure from her best friend Duckie (Jon Cryer) to date him instead. The film was directed by Howard Deutch and has become a cult classic that explores class differences and teenage love.
10. Planes, Trains & Automobiles (1987)
John Hughes wrote, produced, and directed this buddy comedy about an uptight businessman (Steve Martin) who is trying to get home for Thanksgiving but is forced to travel with a talkative and obnoxious salesman (John Candy). The film is known for its hilarious and heartfelt moments and is widely regarded as one of the best road trip movies ever made.
11. Uncle Buck (1989)
This family comedy is about a slovenly bachelor named Buck Russell (John Candy) who is called upon to babysit his brother's children when they leave town. John Hughes wrote and directed the film, and stars Amy Madigan and Jean Louisa Kelly. It became a cult classic showcasing Candy's comedic talent.
12. Weird Science (1985)
This science-fiction comedy written and directed by Hughes is about two high school nerds named Gary (Anthony Michael Hall) and Wyatt (Ilan Mitchell-Smith), who use their computers to create the perfect woman (Kelly LeBrock). The movie was a box office success and has become a cult classic that showcases Hughes' signature blend of humor and heart.
13. She's Having a Baby (1988)
She's Having a Baby is a romantic comedy-drama written and directed by John Hughes. It's about a young couple named Jake (Kevin Bacon) and Kristy (Elizabeth McGovern) who get married and start a family but soon realize that adulthood comes with its own challenges. The film explores themes of marriage, parenthood, and the pursuit of the American dream.
14. Some Kind of Wonderful (1987)
This romantic drama was directed by Howard Deutch, but the screenplay was written by John Hughes. It follows a working-class boy named Keith (Eric Stoltz) who falls in love with a wealthy girl named Amanda (Lea Thompson) and must choose between his loyalty to his best friend Watts (Mary Stuart Masterson) and his growing feelings for Amanda. It has become a cult classic that explores class differences and teenage love.
15. Curly Sue (1991)
Curly Sue is about a young girl and the man she cons people with as they try to survive on the streets of New York City. But when they meet a woman who needs the conning pair, their lives all change forever.