Everyone enjoys a good laugh which is why comedy films have always been a huge draw for audiences. Since the beginning of motion pictures, there have always been movies designed to make audiences laugh out loud and the genre has changed quite a lot over the years. One particularly significant decade for comedy films was the 80s.
The 80s are not always looked so fondly on in terms of films. Indeed, there are quite a few comedies that are painful to revisit. Even some of the so-called classics from the era don’t hold up particularly well. But there are also those undiscovered gems that prove there were plenty of laughs to be found. Here are the most underrated and overrated comedies of the 80s.
10 Underrated: Fletch
Chevy Chase was once an icon of 80s comedies with many classic movies throughout the decade, but his best performance was in Fletch. Chase stars as a determined reporter who finds himself mixed up in a conspiracy.
Fletch’s penchant for donning disguises and impersonating people is the perfect way for Chase to showcase his trademark wit. Though the movie was well-received and even garnered a sequel, it gets overshadowed by some of Chase’s biggest movies. However, the fun and energetic movie gives Chase his best character.
9 Overrated: Caddyshack
Just looking at the cast of Caddyshack makes it clear why it is considered such a classic. The movie follows the exploits of employees and golfers at a luxury golf resort over one summer. It stars Chevy Chase, Bill Murray, and Rodney Dangerfield all giving hilarious performances.
While the movie has plenty of memorable one-liners and hilarious moments, it is a pretty uneven movie to be considered a classic. There isn’t much script to speak of and the movie really relies on its three superstars in supporting roles.
8 Underrated: Running Scared
The buddy-cop movie has always been a staple of the comedy genre. The success of these movies often relies on how good the two actors are who are paired together. That plays a big part in making Running Scared such a fun ride as Gregory Hines and Billy Crystal make for a great team.
Hines and Crystal play Chicago cops who are forced to go on vacation after a drug lord tries to kill them. When they return to finish their case, they find that the vacation has caused them to lose their edge. It makes for a funny and forgotten action-comedy with two likable leads.
7 Overrated: Crocodile Dundee
Crocodile Dundee feels like a movie that could only come out of the 80s. This fish-out-of-water comedy stars Paul Hogan as a tough Australian crocodile hunter who travels to New York City with his new girlfriend where plenty of antics ensue.
The film is not bad but the fact that it received an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay is a bit ridiculous. It is a fine, light romp with some good gags. But the gimmick of someone from the outback trying to understand New York makes for a pretty one-note film.
6 Underrated: A Christmas Story
There are plenty of classic Christmas movies that are a tradition to watch during the holiday season like It’s a Wonderful Life and Scrooge. But one Christmas comedy that seems to get overlooked by people is A Christmas Story.
The sweet and charming movie is the simple story of a young boy named Ralphie who wants a BB gun for Christmas. The movie is filled with the kind of joy and excitement a kid gets around Christmas. After disappointing commercially when it was released, the movie has slowly gained fans, but it remains one of the best Christmas movies of all time.
5 Overrated: The Cannonball Run
The Cannonball Run is a star-studded comedy in which a bunch of wacky characters take part in a road race across the country. The film is jam-packed with famous faces from the era, including Burt Reynolds, Roger Moore, Farah Fawcett, Sammy Davis Jr, and Jackie Chan, to name only a few.
Unfortunately, getting all those stars together is pretty much where the creativity stopped with this movie. The plot serves as an excuse for these celebrities to hang out with each other. Apart from some fun car stunts, the film is a pretty forgettable ride.
4 Underrated: Raising Arizona
The Coen Brothers are some of the best American filmmakers of all time and many of their movies are considered modern classics. However, Raising Arizona remains one of their best yet one of their most underrated films.
The hilarious comedy stars Nicholas Cage and Holly Hunter as a couple who cannot conceive a child of their own so they kidnap one from a wealthy family. The zany characters and slapstick violence make it seem like a live-action cartoon. While that might throw some audiences off, it is a clever and entertaining comedy.
3 Overrated: The Breakfast Club
John Hughes is one of the most important filmmakers of the 80s. He is responsible for so many defining films of the decade and helped launch the careers of many talented actors. The Breakfast Club is regarded as one of his finer films and tells the story of a group of very different students stuck in detention together over the weekend.
The movie was praised as giving a voice to the younger generation and their problems. While it is a fine film, the carbon copy characters seem so generic now. That might not be totally fair as this film probably influenced many others, but it doesn’t have the same lasting impact as Hughes’ other films.
2 Underrated: Midnight Run
Robert De Niro is no stranger to comedies nowadays, but there was a time when seeing him embrace his funny side was a novelty. Midnight Run remains one of his best comedies and one of the most entertaining action-comedies ever made.
De Niro stars as a bounty hunter who must take a convict (Charles Grodin) across the country as law enforcement, mobsters and rival bounty hunters try to stop him. The cast is amazing, the comedy is hilarious and the action is thrilling. It is a wonder why this movie isn’t considered a classic by more people.
1 Overrated: Revenge Of The Nerds
The 80s comedies were not subtle about leaning into character archetypes. It shouldn’t be surprising that there was a comedy about a bunch of very stereotypical nerds taking on a fraternity of stereotypical jocks.
Revenge of the Nerds was a comedy about cheering for the underdog and spawned three sequels. Though there is some fun stuff in the film, it is also filled with plenty of mean-spirited and disturbing moments that make it awfully hard to root for these nerds.