Tom Cruise sparks 'Top Gun' feud between US Air Force, Navy

Tom Cruise sparks 'Top Gun' feud between US Air Force, Navy
Tom Cruise sparks 'Top Gun' feud between US Air Force, Navy

'80s movies: What we were watching

"Top Gun": After this 1986 film, Tom Cruise became the grown-up and bankable box office star we know today. It's about a cocky Navy fighter pilot -- callsign Maverick -- who, yes, gets the girl (an instructor, no less, played by Kelly McGillis). It introduced such unforgettable lines, as "I feel the need, the need for speed" and "It's classified. I could tell you, but then I'd have to kill you." But it was known just as much for its soundtrack, which included Berlin's steamy ballad "Take My Breath Away" and the Kenny Loggins tune "Danger Zone." Click through the gallery for more iconic '80s movies.

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'80s movies: What we were watching

"Ferris Bueller's Day Off": One of the first films to feature a smart-alecky voice-over, "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" lifts the minor plot device of playing hooky -- and getting away with it -- to a whole new level. In the title role, Matthew Broderick outwits his school principal while convincing his best friend to take his father's prized 1961 Ferrari for a romp through Chicago that includes appearing on a parade float and lip-synching the Beatles' "Twist and Shout."

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'80s movies: What we were watching

'Raging Bull': Robert De Niro lands a hard-hitting punch in a scene from Martin Scorsese's acclaimed 1980 film "Raging Bull," about real-life world middleweight champion Jake LaMotta.

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'80s movies: What we were watching

'The Shining': "Heeeere's Johnny!" In this 1980 adaptation of Stephen King's novel, Jack Nicholson plays an off-season caretaker of a haunted hotel whose young psychic son, Danny, has the unfortunate ability to see ghosts. Although this was director Stanley Kubrick's first horror film, many consider it among the most terrifying movies of all time. But King is apparently not a fan -- calling it "cold."

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'80s movies: What we were watching

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'80s movies: What we were watching

'The Blue Lagoon': Do two teen cousins + one shipwreck + pretty much zero clothing = cinematic success? Well, the 1980 film did gross nearly $60 million at the box office. The story follows two young people stranded on an island as they learn to survive, fall in love and have a baby. The movie drew controversy for its sexual content, especially because female lead Brooke Shields was only 14 when it was filmed.

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'80s movies: What we were watching

'The Elephant Man': The real Elephant Man, a severely deformed 19th century Englishman named Joseph Merrick, had been legendary for decades before this David Lynch-directed movie based on his life came out in 1980. The film, starring John Hurt, chronicles the sad story of a disfigured person who, forced to work as a freak show attraction, befriends a compassionate doctor who tries to help him. The movie received eight Oscar nominations and won several BAFTA awards, including one for Best Film.

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'80s movies: What we were watching

'Chariots of Fire': This 1981 Oscar-winning drama tells the story of two runners -- portrayed by actors Ben Cross and Ian Charleson -- overcoming barriers imposed by the British class system to compete in the 1924 Paris Olympics. The film's theme song by Greek composer Vangelis has become ubiquitous in pop culture because its melody evokes emotions linked to victory, triumph, joy -- and even defeat.

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'80s movies: What we were watching

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'80s movies: What we were watching

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'80s movies: What we were watching

'Poltergeist': "They're heeeere." In this Spielberg-produced 1982 horror classic, ghosts terrorize the Freeman family and abduct their daughter, Carol Anne. Actress Heather O'Rourke -- pictured here -- who played the young girl, died at age 12 from an illness shortly after filming the third "Poltergeist" installment. It's her death, along with a few other movie-related oddities and tragedies involving cast members, that have led some to suggest there was a "Poltergeist" curse.

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'80s movies: What we were watching

'E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial': Before "Poltergeist," Steven Spielberg developed a script for something called "Night Skies" — basically "Poltergeist" with aliens terrorizing a family instead of ghosts. He scrapped that idea in favor of "E.T.," a tale about a lonely boy named Elliot who finds friendship with a benevolent creature from another planet. So many people showed up to watch Elliot and his siblings help E.T. get home that the movie became the highest-grossing film of the decade.

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'80s movies: What we were watching

'Annie': From Cabbage Patch Kids to "Punky Brewster," the '80s saw its fair share of orphan/adoption storylines. So perhaps a movie version of "Annie" was inevitable. Originally a popular Broadway musical, "Annie" follows the journey of an orphan played by Aileen Quinn, who's taken in by a billionaire. According to The New York Times, the 1982 film was considered very expensive at the time: Screen rights to the musical alone cost $9.5 million.

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'80s movies: What we were watching

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'80s movies: What we were watching

'The Outsiders': This 1983 Francis Ford Coppola-directed film -- based on the incredible coming-of-age novel by S. E. Hinton -- introduced the world to a new generation of Hollywood hotties: Emilio Estevez (from left), as Two-Bit Matthews, Rob Lowe as Sodapop Curtis, C. Thomas Howell as Ponyboy Curtis, Patrick Swayze as Darrel Curtis and Tom Cruise as Steve Randle.

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'80s movies: What we were watching

'Scarface': In 1983, Al Pacino's "Scarface" remade a 1930s gangster flick and turned it into a colorful bloodfest chronicling the rise and fall of Tony Montana -- a "political refugee from Cuba" who becomes a Miami drug lord. A lot of lines from the script -- written by Oliver Stone by the way -- have become part of pop culture. Need proof? Many who've never even seen "Scarface" know the famous line Montana screams as he opens fire: "Say hello to my little friend!"

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'80s movies: What we were watching

'Yentl': Barbra Streisand, right, is shown in this 1984 film playing a Jewish woman who disguises herself as a man to be allowed to learn the Talmud -- the traditional book of Jewish law. Streisand not only took on the lead role, but she also co-produced and directed the film -- becoming the first woman to win a Golden Globe for directing.

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'80s movies: What we were watching

'The Killing Fields': In 1984, this film introduced many Americans to the Khmer Rouge's reign of terror in Cambodia through the story of photojournalist Dith Pran and Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Sydney Schanberg. Schanberg is played by Sam Waterston, shown here, who later went on to star in TV's long-running series "Law & Order."

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'80s movies: What we were watching

'Footloose': Kevin Bacon became a household name in 1984 when this film hit it big about a fleet-footed high school kid from the city who moves to a tiny, uptight town where dancing is banned. Bacon has fun playing chicken with farm vehicles, making friends with Chris Penn and making out with Lori Singer. Finally the whole school wins the right to boogie down at a big dance. Let's hear it for the boy!

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'80s movies: What we were watching

'Sixteen Candles': John Hughes' first movie introduced us to Molly Ringwald, who plays Samantha Baker. But what sets this film apart is the character of Jake Ryan -- Samantha's high school crush. Ryan -- played by Michael Schoeffling -- kind of became a poster boy for the perfect crush among countless teens in the '80s who watched this film. Ryan seals the deal when he takes Samantha home, brings out a candlelit birthday cake and reveals he has a big crush on Samantha too.

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'80s movies: What we were watching

'The Natural': Also released in 1984, "The Natural" stars Robert Redford as Roy Hobbs, a late-blooming baseball phenom who thrills fans with a bat named "Wonderboy" and his seemingly divine powers on the diamond. Directed by Barry Levinson, the movie's many artfully shot scenes include a dramatic slow motion home run when Hobbs hits the ball into the lights. And what a cast! Kim Basinger, Robert Duvall, Barbara Hershey and Glenn Close.

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'80s movies: What we were watching

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'80s movies: What we were watching

'The Karate Kid': In this 1984 film, Daniel is a new kid in high school who's getting pushed around by a bunch of bullies. But things begin to improve when Pat Morita -- as the wise old Mr. Miyagi -- teaches Daniel, played by Ralph Macchio, how to "wax on, wax off," and the ancient fighting skills of the martial arts. Suddenly an '80s classic is born.

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'80s movies: What we were watching

'Purple Rain': Prince's shockingly unexpected death has reminded us in the worst way what an endearing movie this was when it debuted in 1984. By then he was already a musical wunderkind with a handful of albums under his belt. The film baptized a wider mainstream audience to his lustful soul-rock style.

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'80s movies: What we were watching

"Terminator": Today, a story about a computer cyborg passing as a human who's really an evil time traveler from 2029 seems pretty old hat. But back in 1984 when this Arnold Schwarzenegger film came out, Americans had never seen anything like it. The film has the distinction of introducing the seminal one-liner "I'll be back" (said with requisite faux Austrian accent) into popular culture.

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'80s movies: What we were watching

"The Color Purple": Two words -- or make that four: Whoopi Goldberg and Oprah Winfrey. But not as you would see them today on daytime television. Goldberg and Winfrey starred in this 1985 Steven Spielberg adaptation of an Alice Walker novel about an uneducated woman named Celie who, after enduring unspeakable abuse, yearns to be loved and love in return. Although it won no Oscars, the film earned 11 Oscar nominations, including Best Actress for Goldberg and Best Actress in a Supporting Role for Winfrey.

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'80s movies: What we were watching

"The Breakfast Club" What '80s star wasn't in this film? Ally Sheedy, Molly Ringwald, Judd Nelson, Emilio Estevez and Anthony Michael Hall -- aka "The Breakfast Club" -- defined teen angst and cemented director John Hughes' reputation. The group begins a Saturday of detention as five people with little or nothing in common, except for some silly high school infraction, only to find at day's end that they're far more united than they thought.

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'80s movies: What we were watching

"Goonies": This lovable 1985 film was one of the first to celebrate nerd-dom. It launched the careers of kid actors like Josh Brolin, Corey Feldman and Martha Plimpton. With a Cyndi Lauper soundtrack, and a madcap plot about a band of young misfits searching for pirate's treasure in order to fend off foreclosure, the movie is a delightful ode to childhood gone by, as the teens and pre-teens embark on a day full of adventures including brushes with Mafia-like criminals, dead bodies and booby traps with few responsible adults in sight.

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'80s movies: What we were watching

"Back to the Future": In 1985's "Back to the Future," Michael J. Fox plays Marty McFly, who is hurled back to 1955 in a time-traveling DeLorean where he begins to unwittingly change history -- his own personal history -- by attracting the romantic attention of his mother. The (largely comical) perils of time travel are depicted through disappearing images of a family photo Marty has taken along with him. Most of the film, the year's top-grossing pic, pivots on Marty and a mad professor friend, played by Christopher Lloyd, devising a way to ride the DeLorean back to the future (ahem).

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'80s movies: What we were watching

"Stand By Me": A seminal coming-of-age film that for Americans of a certain age defines a tender moment in the often poignant process of growing up. Based on a short story by Stephen King (yes, Stephen King), the movie follows four boys in small-town Oregon circa 1959 who set out one summer day to find a dead body. At the end of the movie, directed by Rob Reiner, viewers learned the fates of the characters when they age off-screen into adulthood -- a motif that would unwittingly capture the brief essence of the lives of some of the film's young stars. River Phoenix, whose character Chris is said to die while trying to defuse an argument between two men, would succumb to a drug overdose in 1993 at age 23.

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'80s movies: What we were watching

"Crocodile Dundee": This film, about a rough-around-the-edges Australian from the Outback (back before that word was attached to steaks), took America by storm in 1986 and introduced Yankees to the Down-Under charms of actor Paul Hogan (he would also show up hawking Foster's beer in TV commercials). The movie even ushered in an era of acceptance for all-things-Australian that extended to wine. The movie follows the crocodile-hunter as he embarks on a trip to America where he subdues animals and charms New York's steely aristocrats with his signature greeting, "G'day Mate."

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'80s movies: What we were watching

"Good Morning Vietnam": There's a plot in here somewhere, but really the 1987 film was a star vehicle for Robin Williams who transformed the true story of an Army disc jockey into a laugh-out-loud showcase for his one-of-a-kind sense of humor. Williams played Adrian Cronauer, a real-life soldier who was transferred to Saigon during the Vietnam War with the assignment of bringing some color to Armed Forces Radio. Oh he did that, and more, with Williams winning a Best Actor nomination. The film, directed by Barry Levinson, is one of several '80s pictures to tackle the legacy of Vietnam. Some of Williams' best routines as the irreverent Cronauer took aim at the government's logic in pursuing the war, but the line most recalled from the film comes when the star leans into the microphone and shouts, "Good morning Vietnam!"

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'80s movies: What we were watching

"Die Hard": Yippie-ki-yay! Bruce Willis' "Die Hard" franchise was hailed by more than one collegiate film program for actor Alan Rickman (who passed away earlier this year). The first "Die Hard" film tells the story -- as if it matters -- of NYPD officer John McClane who in the course of attending a company function with his wife in Los Angeles has to save everyone from German terrorists including Rickman in a career-defining role. Think reality-defying brushes with bombs, guns and gravity. The key to the 1988 movie is the unlikely and life-saving rapport that develops between McClane and a local beat cop played by Reginald VelJohnson. VelJohnson would later play the father on TV's "Family Matters," the sit-com that introduced us to "Urkel."

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'80s movies: What we were watching

"Lean On Me": A star turn for actor Morgan Freeman, "Lean On Me" was one of a series of late-'80s films, including "Stand and Deliver," that aimed to shine a spotlight on the crumbling schools in some of America's most impoverished neighborhoods. Freeman plays a radical teacher-turned-school-principal who is determined to turn things around and prove something both to the naysayers and the doubting students who've been told they can't achieve. He notably padlocks the school's doors to shut down truancy, wields a baseball bat and uses a bullhorn to command the students' attention.

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'80s movies: What we were watching

"Do the Right Thing": This career-defining film for director Spike Lee tells the story of Mookie, a pizza-delivery guy (played by Lee) who begins a hot summer day in New York with no knowledge that the events of the day -- including a fire and the death of his friend at the hands of the police -- will change his neighborhood forever. From the casting (which included seminal African-American actors Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis, in addition to Lee, himself, Danny Aiello and a young John Turturro) to the cinematography (superbly executed by Ernest Dickerson) to the tense themes of race and police brutality and the unforgettable opening scene in which Rosie Perez dances free-form to Public Enemy's "Fight The Power," the film is one where Lee can do no wrong.

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'80s movies: What we were watching

"Born on the Fourth of July": A flick where Tom Cruise is not attractive? Where he's confined to a wheel chair for the most of the film and a horny drunk to boot? Yeah, that film exists and it's "Born on the Fourth of July" -- directed by Oliver Stone and based on the autobiography of real-life Vietnam vet Ron Kovic. A Marine who returned home a paraplegic, Kovic became one of the most visible -- and credible -- figures in the anti-war movement. The 1989 film is remembered for depicting paralysis and physical therapy in unusual detail, including emotionally difficult scenes in which Kovic and a fellow vet rampage drunk and wheel-chair bound, with nowhere to unload their sense of rage and impotence.

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