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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 There are some parts of this con artist turn good citizen storyline which is a little outdated.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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9 Bands You Forgot Played Themselves In Movies

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Wayne's World image
Paramount Pictures

There are more bands than you think that played themselves on the big screen. Here are nine bands you might’ve forgotten appeared in movies.

1. Alice Cooper – Wayne’s World (1992)

Being a teenager in the nineties was great for many reasons. Two of those being the release of the Wayne’s World movies. The genius that is Mike Myers created one of the best music-based films of all time. Plus, he convinced one of the greatest rock musicians of all time to be in it. If you’re not a geek like me, you may have forgotten that Alice Cooper was featured in the film. It had the iconic scene of Wayne and Garth meeting, Alice, backstage on bent knees. We’re not worthy, indeed. Alice himself pulls off the diva Rockstar brilliantly, even though he’s a genuine, down-to-earth guy who plays a lot of golf.

2. Primus – Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey (1991)

Let’s try and erase the recent Bill & Ted movie from our memory and head back to 1991 for their bogus journey. They come from the future to kill the non-robot versions of themselves and ruin their performance at a Battle of the Bands competition. What’s cool is the band who are playing before them. Californian alt-metal kings Primus. Although the clip is only short, they play themselves and sound as you would expect. Epic.

3. Fall Out Boy – Sex Drive (2008)

You’d be forgiven for forgetting about this one. The teen sex comedy from 2008 is forgettable and won’t really appeal to anyone apart from its teen target audience. If you can sit through all the cringe-inducing moments, you will spot pop-rockers Fall Out Boy. They are performing in a barn in front of some drunk Amish teenagers. There’s a reason for that, but I won’t bore you with it here. What is good, is the soundtrack of the film. As well as Fall Out Boy, it features Airbourne, AC/DC and weirdly, Kenny Loggins.

4. Twisted Sister – Pee Wee’s Big Adventure (1985)

Paul Reuben’s character Pee Wee Herman made his big-screen outing in 1985. The children’s show star had a scene where he is being chased through a studio parking lot. Unbeknown to him, glam rockers Twisted Sister are recording a music video on a car. Lead singer Dee Snider is always up for a laugh, so it’s no surprise they’re featured. The clip is brilliant. Pee Wee’s prop-laden bike is just about to crash into Twisted Sister and the look on Dee’s face is genius. Go check out the clip.

5. David Bowie – Zoolander (2001)

Who can forget the brilliant Zoolander? Starring Ben Stiller as the dippy model, it’s one of the funniest comedies ever made. One of the best scenes of the film is the walk-off. This involved Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson’s characters doing a catwalk-off. Of sorts. Can you remember who refereed it? The legend himself, David Bowie. It’s not the first time Bowie was in a movie – remember Labyrinth? But this time, he plays himself. And does it with all the cool swagger you would expect.

6. The Mighty Mighty Bosstones – Clueless (1995)

I can’t say that I was a massive fan of this teen comedy at the time. The plot revolves around Alicia Silverstone’s character giving her friend a makeover. The premise doesn’t sound like it lends itself to a cool band cameo. You’d be wrong, though. There’s a scene where the lead characters go watch a gig. The band that are playing are The Mighty Mighty Bosstones. The Boston ska-punk legends are only on stage for a moment, but it’s a slick clip. It certainly brings the film up a level on the cool stakes.

7. Daft Punk – Tron: Legacy (2010)

This sequel to the original sci-fi classic is a cracking movie. The visuals and effects are stunning, as is the atmosphere of the film. The music to the film is also rather special. A futuristic and dystopian movie could only have one act doing the score, and that’s Daft Punk. It works a treat. The music is intertwined into the movie and becomes a part of it. The delicious electronica is the perfect complement to the visuals. The French electronic masters also have a cameo at the end of the movie. They’re spinning the decks in a blink-and-you-miss-it scene.

8. Aerosmith – Wayne’s World (1993)

We’ve already had an appearance from the first film further up our list, and the second doesn’t disappoint either. The plot revolves around Wayne and Garth putting on their own music festival. Book them and they will come, is the advice given. And they certainly did. The headline band for the festival were none other than Aerosmith themselves. They do a sterling effort on stage as performers. And Steven Tyler also shows that he can handle his own on the acting front too.

9. Reel Big Fish – BASEketball (1998)

Trey Parker and Matt Stone star in this bizarre and hilarious sports comedy. Written by the king of spoof David Zucker, it’s become a cult classic. The soundtrack heavily features ska-punkers Reel Big Fish. They do a brilliant rendition of A-HA’s Take on Me, which they also perform in the movie. The band are the entertainment at the stadium where Parker and Stone are competing. You can tell by the footage that the band are clearly enjoying themselves. They add a touch more fun to an already hugely funny film.


That’s our list of nine bands who played themselves in movies. Did we miss any of your favourites? Let us know in the comments below.


Check out our list of actors in bands HERE.

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