The 7 Most Iconic 1980s Movie Scenes Set in a Bar

The 1980s were full of amazing movies, some of which have become classics and are still watched to this day. For example, almost everyone has seen Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Labyrinth, and A Christmas Story. While some movies are memorable because of their plot, others became famous for short scenes.

 If you’ve ever wondered why so many movies have bar scenes, it’s because a bar setting allows for infinite creativity to develop the story. Writers can use a bar scene to tell secrets, stage a fight, and give characters a reason to open up about their lives to explain details the audience wouldn’t have any other believable way of learning about.

 Bars are popular not just in movies, but in real life, too. There’s a reason people build bars in their homes and even backyard bars – they’re an excellent way to relax and unwind, or chill with friends, whether or not you serve alcoholic beverages.

 In the ‘80s, there were plenty of memorable bar scenes, and here’s a small list of the ones that made the biggest impact.


  1. Indiana Jones (1981+)


Steven Spielberg’s Indiana Jones movies have some memorable bar scenes. For example, in Raiders of the Lost Ark, the character Marion Ravenwood (Karen Allen) is introduced when she wins a drinking game.

 In Temple of Doom, Indiana, played by Harrison Ford, gets into the fight of his life in a bar called Obi Wan.

 In The Last Crusade, Indiana is at the Zeppelin’s bar with his father, played by Sean Connery, where they re-establish their relationship before having to flee from the Nazis in a biplane.


  1. The Goonies (1985)


In this classic movie, a dangerous group of criminals called the Fratellis are the most wanted criminals in Astoria, Oregon. After escaping from jail, they hole up in an old, closed bar called the Lighthouse Lounge and continue printing counterfeit money in the basement.

 A group of boys (the main characters) wander into the bar and disrupt the criminals, and although they end up getting away at first, they’re eventually captured and locked up.

 All this happens before they have their final showdown where they compete with the Fratellis to get some lost treasure.


  1. Top Gun (1986)


Not many bar scenes that break out into song can top Casablanca, but Top Gun comes close. In this famous scene, “Top Gun” trainee Maverick, played by Tom Cruise, hits on Charlie Blackwood (Kelly McGillis) by singing “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling.” The whole bar joins in to sing the chorus.

 Not long after this scene, Maverick discovers the girl he was hitting on is a Top Gun instructor.


  1. 48 Hours (1982)


This movie was Eddie Murphy’s first role on the big screen, and he stars as a smart-mouthed criminal named Hammond. In this iconic barroom scene, he pretends to be a cop and gets the owner of the bar to tell him where cop killer Bill Bear (Sonny Landham) is hiding.


  1. Near Dark (1987)


Long before Twilight, there was Near Dark – a vampire western with a bloody barroom scene. A bunch of ruthless vampires walk into a bar and kill some patrons just for fun as a newly-bitten member of the vampire gang, Caleb, watches. Caleb has refused to kill to live, and the rest of his vampire clan wanted to show him how it’s done.


  1. Roxanne (1987)


For anyone who has been bullied, the bar scene in Roxane is fun to watch. Steve Martin’s character, C.D. Bales, has an unusually large nose and is pretty sensitive about it. A man starts in on him with insults. They argue back and forth and soon, the whole bar is watching.


  1. The Shining (1980)


In Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, Jack Torrance starts losing his mind while gradually and sporadically slipping into the role of a hotel caretaker who murdered his wife and kids. He heads to a bar and meets a bartender who some say represents the devil, tempting Jack to give his soul to the hotel to become the new caretaker. The moment he drinks his bourbon, it’s a sealed deal.


The ’80s were full of great barroom scenes


Barroom scenes are timeless, and it seems that no matter how many times they’re used, they never get old. Bar scenes can be used to facilitate just about any type of action or dialogue, and are truly classic.

Author: Pia Sooney

Just a little obsessed with all things 80s, Pia still has her Swatch, her cassette tape collection, and her Converse Chucks. When not making friendship pins or listening to Depeche Mode, she runs a web design business.

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