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The Top 20 John Hughes Movies

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Ferris Buller's Day Off John Hughes image
Paramount Pictures

Below is our John Hughes top 20 movies. You may know him by name, or you may not… but you will know him by his vast back catalogue of amazing 80’s and 90’s films. John Hughes wrote and directed film after film, hit after hit until his untimely death in 2009. For Generation X and Millennials, a lot of his films will forever be the backbone of our childhood and teen years. As well as shaping Christmas traditions for years to come.

So get reading and then get watching.

20. She’s Having A Baby (1988)

After a successful line of teenage films about relationships and general adolescent angst in the ’80s, Hughes decided to write a screenplay about adults who also didn’t have their lives together. ‘She’s Having a Baby’ met mixed box-office reviews. But, it’s been said that this was a personal labour of love for John Hughes. It was released a lot later than intended, due to post-production problems. Hughes took it very personally when the film didn’t do as well as he expected.

19. 101 Dalmatians (1996)

Hughes only worked with Disney studios a couple of times. The first was writing and producing the 1996 live-action remake of ‘101 Dalmatians’. The incredible Glenn Close was cast as Cruella DeVil. According to IMDB, she thought Hughes wrote the character too softly and deviated from the 1961 Cruella. This was due to a lot of the original movies line’s being too politically incorrect in 1996. So Close ended up having to take her cartoon predecessors’ characterisation as inspiration to appear more daunting… which worked.

18. Curly Sue (1991)

Billed as the smallest con artist. ‘Curley Sue’ is a rag to riches family story which was Hughes’ one and only film with Warner Brothers and his final outing as a director. There are some parts of this con artist turn good citizen storyline which is a little outdated. But 10-year-old Alisan Porter’s sassiness and ‘girls can do anything’ attitude carries the film into the 21st Century.

17. Beethoven 2nd (1993)

Keeping with the family-friendly movies and puppy love is Universals ‘Beethoven 2nd’. Yes this is a sequel and normally they are not as good as the originals, but something Hughes knew how to do well, was a sequel. This film easily makes the top 20 because of the fun storyline, the likeable Newton family and four adorable St Bernard puppies! What’s not to like?

16. Miracle on 34th street (1994)

Another genre of film that Hughes excelled in was Christmas films, and ‘Miracle on 34th street’ was no exception. Ok, so this wasn’t as successful as ‘Home Alone’ but it’s still a festive classic. Staring one of the most believable Kris Kringle’s ever – Richard Attenborough and 90’s child star Mara Wilson. This film is a true winter warmer and enforces that Christmas magic is real, as long as you believe.

15. The Great Outdoors (1988)

For a classic family comedy that never gets old, you can’t go wrong with ‘The Great Outdoors’. Starring two comedy heavy hitters Dan Aykroyd and John Candy. This story of two competing families at a woodland retreat, in true Hughes style, is riddled with misfortunes and hilarious stunts.

14. Flubber (1997)

Probably not Robin Williams’ best or most memorable film. But it’s still a great family watch. ‘Flubber’ was Hughes’ second and final film with Disney studios. Let’s face it if it’s written by Hughes, got William’s as its star, it’s a part of Disney studios and has green rubbery goo that dances… you know it’s at least worth a Sunday afternoon watch!

13. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)

The ‘National lampoon Vacation’ film series was based upon an original Hughes short Story, ‘Vacation ’58’. It was published by National Lampoon magazine. Since then Hughes wrote the screenplay and produced the first three films in the series. All starring Chevy Chase as the clumsy lead of the family Clark and Beverly D’Angelo as his wife Ellen. The third and final film in the trilogy was ‘National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation’ This film is full of falls, slips and in true Hughes style, electrocutions… RIP Kitty Carnage (the cat).

12. Pretty in Pink (1986)

Throughout the ’80s, Hughes wrote a handful of successful teen films. Snippets that really delved into the turmoil of navigating through life, relationships and friendships in your adolescent years. His fourth feature film in this genre was ‘Pretty in Pink’. Here you followed teen Andie (Molly Ringwald) as she starts dating the boy of her dreams, Blane (Andrew McCarthy) a ‘richy’ who won’t introduce her to his friends. Whilst all the time her best friend Duckie (Jon Cryer), pines for her in the background.

Fun fact, Robert Downey Junior was John Hughes’ original choice to play Duckie and in the original ending Andie would’ve ended up with RDJ.

11. National Lampoon’s Vacation (1983)

Just missing out of the top 10, is Hughes’ first instalment of the National Lampoon’s Vacation films. This is where you first meet the clumsy Clark (Chase) and his wife Ellen (D’Angelo), as they take a trip across America to California and meet up with family who just seems to encourage the mishaps even more.

The second instalment National Lampoon’s European Vacation (1985), didn’t quite make the top 20 list but if you are going to watch the first and last instalment you might as well watch this one too.

10. Some Kind of Wonderful (1987)

Released not long after ‘Pretty in Pink’, it’s clear to see there are some similarities between the two. It’s based on a girl-boy relationship where one of them realises they fancy the other. But, ‘Some Kind of Wonderful’ is somewhat more elevated than ‘Pretty in Pink’. First and foremost, it has 80’s heartthrobs Mary Stuart Masterson and Eric Stoltz at the heart of the film. It also bends the boundaries of a classic teenage female character with Masterson’s kick-ass character.

9. Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992)

The highest-ranking sequel in this list has to be Home Alone 2: Lost in New York. This perfect follow up to the first instalment, has also cemented itself as a Christmas must-watch. After the success of the second film, Hughes really wanted to do a third with Culkin where we meet Kevin as a teenager, however, the whole idea had to be scaped when Culkin quit acting in 1994. A third film was made for this franchise by Hughes but it unfortunately flopped.

8. Wired Science (1985)

This is another one of Hughes’ teen films, but it has a bit of a twist. ‘Wired Science’ taps into every teenage boy fantasy. Two outcast teenage boys Wyatt (Ilan Mitchell-Smith) and Garry (Anthony Michael Hall) use their computer to create a woman, Lisa played by 80’s bombshell (Kelly LeBrock). But before long things get a little wired for the pair as they lose control of the world they have created. This film is hilarious and brilliantly odd and you can just tell that Hughes was a part of bringing this comic book conception to life.

7. Sixteen Candles (1984)

Sixteen Candles was the first teen angst style film to be written and directed by Hughes and has stood the test of time to be a true classic for over 36 years. With a forgotten birthday on her mind 16-year-old, Samantha (Molly Ringwald) navigates herself through heartache and becoming a woman. This was also Hughes’ first time directing one of his films. Previous to this he had only written the screenplays, for his first outing, this film is one of his best.

6. Beethoven (1992)

We’ve had its sequel so there’s no wonder the original is in the top ten, narrowly missing out on the top 5. Co-written with Amy Holden Jones, Beethoven was an instant success at the box office and with family audiences. But, if you look at the credits you may see the name Edmond Dantes instead of John Hughes. This is because it’s his pseudonym and homage to ‘The Count of Monte Cristo’.

If you look closely at the scene where Teddy (Christopher Castle) is hiding from the bullies at the school bus you will see a very young Joseph Gordon-Levitt in is first ever film role.

5. The Breakfast Club (1985)

One of Hughes’ most popular and requoted films is ‘The Breakfast Club’. Yet another teen film, full of romantic adolescent views and angst, this classic is pretty much a film student’s ‘how to’ guide on building characters.

The movie is set over an 8-hour school detention on a Saturday. In this time we get to know each individual character as they connect and find out why they are the way they are. In this very small cast, Hughes once again enlists the acting skills of Ringwald with her classic red bob along with four other rising stars including Emilio Estevez, Anthony-Michael Hall, Ally Sheedy and Judd Nelson. John Hughes himself had a cameo role as Brian’s father at the end of the film. It’s an absolute classic and should be watched by everyone at least once in their lifetime.

I defy you not to pump the air when John Bender raises his fist to Simple Minds ‘Don’t you (forget about me)’

4. Planes Trains and Automobiles (1987)

Staring two film heroes John Candy and Steve Martin. This funny 93-minute film follows Neal (Martin) trying to get home to his family for Thanksgiving, whilst being joined and slightly tormented by a lovable salesman (Candy). Full of classic John Hughes mishaps and fumbles this is a must-watch for any Hughes, Candy or Martin fan. Just remember that those aren’t pillows!

3. Home Alone (1990)

There was no way this film was going to rank lower than the top 3. ‘Home Alone’ is an absolute Christmas favourite and needs no explanation, as it’s hard to believe anyone over the age of 20 hasn’t seen this movie at least once.

This was Hughes’ second film staring 10-year-old Macaulay Culkin. And even though the part was written with Culkin in mind, the casting directors still auditioned a few other boys as they didn’t want this film to clash with the other John Hughes film Culkin had just stared in (come to that soon). But after all the auditions it was undeniable that Culkin was the perfect fit for Kevin.

2. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)

The highest-ranking teen movie from Hughes has to be ‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off’. This film knocked it out of the park in the box office and became one of the top-grossing films in 1986. It’s also a classic and has a strong cult following. Who knew a film about playing truant from school could be so popular? It’s definitely a testament to Hughes who wrote, directed and co-produced the film, his co-producer Tom Jacobson and acting by 24-year-old Matthew Broderick. You just have to ignore that Ferris and Cameron are clearly too old to be at High School.

Don’t forget to stick around for those post-credit scenes. Gummy bear?

1. Uncle Buck (1989)

Ok, this might be controversial but in our top spot is John Candy at his best in Uncle Buck.

This was Candy’s first leading role in a Hughes movie and in true Hughes style, he allowed Candy to improve a lot of his lines. It was the first time John Hughes worked with Macaulay Culkin and where he started to have him in mind for Home Alone. This film is a sure-fire classic, heart-warming film and a well-deserved number one on our list. The big question would be is it really possible to make pancakes that big in your kitchen?

If you have never watched this before, what are you waiting for?


So, there we have it this is our top 20 John Hughes movies, how did we do? Would have you done it differently? If so let us know in the comments below.


Find out what would happen if Kevin was left Home Alone now, HERE.

read IMDb information on Uncle Buck HERE.

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Movie News

Hogwarts Houses For MCU Characters

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MCU Harry Potter houses image
Marvel Studios & Warner Bros.

Since its conception, Hogwarts houses have been a deciding factor in getting to know people. How someone answers “what Hogwarts house are you in?” can tell you a lot about a person. But where do some of our favourite MCU characters shape up when faced with the sorting hat?

Tony Stark/Iron Man- Ravenclaw

While Tony could be argued for almost any of the houses, Ravenclaw suits him best. Most of his development comes from the pursuit of knowledge. Aside from being one of the smartest characters in the MCU, he is constantly learning and improving upon his technology. He tends to approach large problems from a strategic and pragmatic standpoint, especially in his later films. Admittedly he can be brave and somewhat self-servingly ambitious. But who he is at the end of his arc and the way that he solves problems points to Iron Man being in Ravenclaw.

Steve Rogers/Captain America- Gryffindor

Is it even a question? Steve Rogers is definitely a Gryffindor. From day one, he has always strived to do what’s right. And he subtly wants a bit of glory for it too. He’s a natural leader and has always rushed into danger without a thought. He is undoubtedly driven by bravery and righteousness and is through and through a Gryffindor.

Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow- Hufflepuff

Natasha is tricky. She could truthfully swing in any direction. It may seem strange to put a spy in Hufflepuff, but if nothing else, Natasha is loyal. She cares deeply for those close to her and has shown that she’s willing to die for them. Her characterization throughout the MCU has been lacking, but her solo film has shown her to be fiercely loyal.

Bruce Banner/The Hulk- Ravenclaw

Another Ravenclaw. Similar to Tony, Bruce is very intelligent. While he seems to be less inclined to want to fight battles than Tony is, he is constantly learning. His relationship with the Hulk can even be characterized this way. By a desire to learn how to control him, then to understand him, then to become him. His arc is one that is driven by knowledge.

Thor- Gryffindor

Thor is always looking to prove himself. Even though he can lift the hammer, he is constantly looking for validation that he is worthy. He’s not usually afraid of much, and when he is, he faces it anyway. What makes Thor a Gryffindor though is his desire to be the hero. He’s not in Slytherin because he doesn’t desire to rule. He’s not ambitious, he just wants validation.

Peter Parker/Spiderman- Gryffindor

Peter is another hard one. He’s intelligent like Bruce and Tony, which could throw him into Ravenclaw. He’s loyal to his friends, which could put him into Hufflepuff. But at his core, Peter is in Gryffindor. The proof is in one of his first lines in the MCU. In Civil War, he tells Tony, “if you can do the things I do, and you don’t, then bad things happen because of you. (paraphrased)” He feels that because he’s special, he has to act. And unlike Steve and Thor, Peter is almost always afraid. He faces his challenges in spite of that. And while he wants to have a normal life, and a typical High School experience, he selflessly puts himself on the line. Once again, Peter is not looking for recognition, he’s just trying to do the right thing.

Dr Strange- Ravenclaw

Lots of Ravenclaws in the MCU. For Dr Strange, there really isn’t any other option. He is completely driven by the pursuit of knowledge. And while recognition came with that, we see with his journey into the mystic arts that his true motivation comes from learning. He’s a very similar character to Tony Stark, and both of them are textbook Ravenclaws.

Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch- Hufflepuff

Like Natasha, Wanda is driven by her relationships. She is faithfully loyal to her brother, then Vision, then her family. She is definitely motivated to protect and care for those she loves. Including creating an entire alternate reality to be with them! Wanda is brave and intelligent, but at her core, she is loyal.

Loki- Slytherin

Finally, a Slytherin. Once again, was there any other option? Loki is characterized by his cunning and ambition. He wants to rule. And he doesn’t get there by rushing into battle. He gets there by being sneaky and clever. Loki is a Slytherin through and through.

Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel- Slytherin

This may not feel like the obvious choice for Carol, but she definitely portrays characteristics of a Slytherin. She’s the best, and she wants people to know it. She’s confident and clever, and she likes attention. We don’t know her very well yet, but from what we’ve seen, she seems to relish in the attention her efforts provide. She is good, helpful, and ambitious.

T’Challa/Black Panther- Hufflepuff

T’Challa is also driven by loyalty. But while he is protective of those he loves, his true loyalty is to Wakanda. He’s not king because of ambition, he’s king out of duty. Everything he does is through the lens of “what is best for Wakanda?” While it’s a bit unconventional, his loyalty to Wakanda characterizes him as a Hufflepuff.

Scott Lang/Ant-Man- Gryffindor

At first, it appears that Scott would be in Hufflepuff. After all, he is very motivated by his relationship with his daughter. But if he were truly 100% driven by that, he would have made different choices. He would not have betrayed Hope and Hank and teamed up with Captain America without their permission. He also would not have stolen from his company and landed in jail in the first place. But both of those above decisions do characterize him as a Gryffindor. He wants to be in the action, and he doesn’t always consider the consequences. Scott isn’t really looking for recognition and is not that ambitious, but he does want to be involved in the big events. He wants to help people, and he bravely faces battles. Sometimes without discretion.


Do you agree with our picks for these MCU characters in Hogwarts Houses? If not or if we’ve missed any out, leave us a comment below.


Check out our review of Black Widow HERE.

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