Top 10 Movies I’ve Never Seen

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by Howard Decker @HowardTheDeck on June 5, 2012

in Movies

I am publishing this most embarrassing list today for a reason.

I grew up as a child of the 80s just like many of you, watching classic sitcoms & cartoons, playing with toys, reading comics, etc. The one gaping hole in my 80s childhood was movies. I’m not sure if my parents deliberately sheltered me, and I tend to think that is not the case since they’d let me watch shows like Married With Children and The Golden Girls with them as a pre-teen, and Blanche’s lines alone caused many an uncomfortable silence. Regardless, my folks were not theater people, so I rarely got to the movies.

Whatever the case, I missed out on a lot of classic movies from the time period. Granted, I’ve missed my share of blockbusters as an adult as well, but the reason this list is embarrassing is that I run a geek-children of the 80s-pop culture website and participate on a podcast, all the while harboring this enormous void of necessary knowledge and experience.

Many of these movies are on Fogs’ Movie Reviews’ Movies That Everyone Should See. I consider myself part of ‘everyone’, and I do realize I should see these, but where do I start?

I’m even in a mashup graphic of a movie I’ve never seen

This weekend, I will have a rare block of uninterrupted free time, and I ask you this: which one of these movies should I see first? Of the list below, which is the most egregious transgression against the gods of pop culture that I should rectify immediately?

Keep in mind, I’m not saying all of these are the best movies out there, but as a “child of the 80s/geek” they should all be seen.

Post your response in the comments below or on Facebook or Twitter!

The Top 10 Movies I’ve Never Seen:

  • Scarface
  • The Karate Kid
  • The Godfather
  • Silence of the Lambs
  • Top Gun
  • Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
  • Jaws
  • Reservoir Dogs
  • Stand By Me
  • Robocop

I know, I said it was embarrassing. Let’s not judge, just try to help me at this point. Guide me- hit the comments!

UPDATE: Since publication of this list, I have seen Stand By Me and Karate Kid, and both were fantastic. Each film totally lived up to the decades of praise. Saw Top Gun too. Guess I needed to see it 28 years ago when everyone else did.

  • Corey Chapman (@chapmanrunner)

    Ferris, you idiot.

  • Brian (Cool and Collected)

    wow. Are you sure you’re a child of the 80′s??? ;)
    I took a lot of heat recently for admitting to never having seen an episode of Star Trek, but I think you have me beat. I’d consider myself a fan of every one of those movies you listed, and if I were you, I would definitely run out and watch every single one of them. You might leave Scarface, Reservoir Dogs and Silence of the Lambs until the end–you need to be in the right frame of mind to enjoy those.

    • Howie Decker

      Thanks Brian – getting a lot of similar sentiment regarding Scarface. I’ll keep you posted!

  • Fogs


    Holy crap. We gotta get you up to speed!

    Start with Jaws. No doubt. Unless yo collect blu rays in that case its worth waiting a month or two til it hits. But Yeah, Jaws, then Godfather.

    Then take it from there… :D But that’s a murderer’s row!

    Look at it this way. You have some sure fire awesome flicks coming up.

    • Howie Decker

      Jaws, eh? OK. I’m trusting you here – you are the expert. That is a good point you make, that I can look forward to some good movies. Any thoughts about some of them maybe not holding up over time and being a disappointment like Goonies was? (I just saw that last year – I know, I’m an awful human being)

      • Fogs

        Yeah, Robocop is pretty dated, and I havent gone back to Top Gun in a long time but I suspect its 80s-riffic too.

        The rest are timeless, pretty much. Pacino will never fail to make you laugh in Scarface or chill your soul in the Godfather. Silence of the Lambs is the greatest thriller ever, the Karate Kid is one of the best underdog stories ever, I could go on…

  • SharePointJoe

    How are we friends?

    • Howie Decker

      It really is a mystery.

  • Bryan

    Simply put – it’s so bad, I don’t even know where to tell you start. Of course, you should see them all. Now. Except Scarface. I may be alone in this but I thought it sucked. I watched 20 hours of Game of Thrones in two days to get up (knee surgery helped) so it can be done. Technically, there’s no bad place to start. But I’d say Karate Kid, Top Gun, Ferris, or Stand By Me are good starters.

    • Howie Decker

      It is bad, I’m ashamed. I feel better now that it’s out there though. The first step is acknowledging the problem. Getting a lot of anti-Scarface (or at least compared to the rest of this list) here. Hope the knee is on the mend – maybe I should throw myself off a roof, that would buy me the time to watch all of these. Keep ya posted.

  • Brian Morin

    This could be part of a list of greatest movies of our generation. I think you have to watch them by category. Crime dramas first: Godfather, Scarface, Dogs, then Lambs. Then onto coming of age: Karate Kid, Bueller, then Stand By Me. End with the action of Top Gun, Robocop, and finally Jaws.

    And if you haven’t seen these movies, what else haven’t you seen?

    To be honest though, I’ve only seen Scarface and the Godfather in pieces. It’s even harder with little kids around and a wife who can’t stand movies like that

    I think we all expect reports on your reactions to each movie as you see them.

    • Howie Decker

      I like that idea, grouping them. Same here – I’ve seen bits and pieces of almost all of these movies, just never sat and watched the whole thing

  • brothermidnight

    I would start with Stand by me and end it off with Reservoir Dogs and leave Jaws out of it completely because it gave me nightmares and a fear of water when I was a kid.

    • Howie Decker

      I must admit I am most intrigued and interested in about 3 of these 10, and Stand By Me is one of them. Although so is Jaws.. keep ya posted! Thanks for commenting!

  • Tim (TL)


    HA! Just kidding, of course. What a cool spin to put on this topic!

    • Howie Decker

      Tim – I actually wrote and posted it without even being aware of this week’s League topic, then Brian clued me in and said I should include it. It worked out great! Thanks for commenting!

  • Jeremy Michael Nealy Esq.

    Don’t you dare see Jaws without me. OK. Now, I agree with dude earlier who said you can skip Scarface. One of the more overrated films and the only reason its so popular is that it has cool posters. For you, Howie, if you only had time to watch one of these, the best choice is Stand By Me. It will become a part of who you are.

    • Howie Decker

      Lots of votes for Stand By Me, and lots of people saying not to bother with Scarface. Also lots of people wait to buy Cheez-Its until they are on sale or buy one-get one free. I can respect that strategy, but when the mood strikes for a baked cheese cracker and Better Cheddars are not to be found, I just don’t have the time to wait for a sale.

      • Brian Morin

        I just watched Stand By Me again on TCM. Everytime I watch it I realize how incredible of a movie it is. Gotta pick it up on Blu Ray or DVD.

  • Brian Morin

    Pick one, set a time to watch it and I’ll try to watch it at the same time. If others do too we can live tweet about it.

    • Howie Decker

      Funny you say that Brian, Tank and I are planning a Scarface viewing this weekend, although that was before this list was published. The priorities may have changed at this point, seeing as everyone is putting it at the bottom of the list.

  •!/Count_Marzo Count Marzo

    Wow and I thought I was bad in the movie department… ;-)

    I highly recommend Scarface, Silence of the Lambs, Stand By Me, and Robocop. Those are some of my favorites and like I said…I am NOT a movie person. I’ve never really been much of a movie guy. I guess I prefered half hour, hour episodes rather than sitting through a movie.

    If it makes you feel any better, I’ve never seen any Star Wars movies…

    • Howie Decker

      I gotta admit, I’m most excited to see Stand By Me and Robocop, and I think Jaws. I love that you took some of the heat off me by dropping the Star Wars bombshell. You’re my man Marzo!

  • Michael

    You can let the other go but you must watch Stand By Me. Classic. Watch Silence of the Lambs when you have time to just be pulled into a movie…you wont regret it!!

    • Howie Decker

      I have to say, Stand By Me is getting a lot of support, especially from people who have known me a long time. That might be the clubhouse leader at this point. I know Silence was really well received, and that makes it high on my list as well. Thanks for commenting!

  • MeisterShake

    Jaws, Robocop, Karate Kid. Only then will some forgiveness be earned. Haven’t you still never seen Goonies?

    • Howie Decker

      Got it. Re: Goonies – I was the one who never saw it until last year. Watched it right after I saw Super 8 (too see what all the comparisons were about). I think we talked about it on a pod, but I might be mistaken. I said it just doesn’t hold up to all of the buildup it’s gotten over the years. Tank agrees, if I had seen it when I was supposed to, I’d have probably loved it, but today it’s tough to watch.

  • Suzan Woodruff

    Definitely Silence of the Lambs, and Jaws and Stand by Me :o)

    • Howie Decker

      Those three (along with Karate Kid) seem to be the consensus. I’ve got some viewing to do! (although it will have to be late night, as you know my wife will not be onboard with 2 of those 3 choices :)

  • Corey Pung

    At the risk of sounding unpopular, I’ll point out that while I’ve seen every movie on the list, many of them you can go ahead and skip. Your life will be perfectly fine if you never see Top Gun or Scarface. Odds are, you know the famous scenes from both already (volleyball, “say hello to my little friend” and so on), and most likely would be disappointed if you watched the films themselves. You should probably watch Ferris Bueller and The Karate Kid just because this is an 80s site. Personally, I love The Godfather, but I also like long, bleak Russian novels with a hundred characters, so it’s not for everyone.

    • Howie Decker

      Absoltely true about the scenes from Scarface and Top Gun. I’ve seen bits of every movie on the list (how could you not, by now), but never seen them all the way through. I do want to see Godfather, just afraid it will lose me. Looking forward to seeing Ferris. Thanks for the comment Corey!

  • zedhatch

    No Bladerunner or Alien, how can you call yourself a child of the 80′s, not even Star Trek II!!!

    I have to admit though, I doubt any of those would be on my top ten, Scareface and Godfather-sorry, I just have never liked ganster films, Jaws was good but I have to admit it was ruined by the revelation that Speilberg wanted to show the shark more, in other words what worked with that movie was pure accedent. Builer, Robocop, are two of the most underrated movies ever, but not top ten caliber.

    The rest, all good, just not THAT good. Just me spouting some opinions LOL.

    • Howie Decker

      Zed – you noticed that this is the Top 10 Movies I’ve NEVER Seen, right? Based on that, which one should I see first?

  • Jaina

    No Robocop? Karate Kid? Wax on, wax off?! You’re killing me!

    • Howie Decker

      I know, I know! The time for judging has passed, now I need your help. Where do I start?? I’m assuming your vote would be either Robocop or Karate Kid?

  • More0_0Than

    Wow, hard to believe you somehow missed ALL of these, you could make a strong argument for any one of these films being first off the list, but I’m going to say either the Godfather or Stand By Me, depending on what movie mood you are in. But seriously need to get cracking here Mr. Decker!

    • Howie Decker

      I do have some work ahead of me, the most enjoyable kind though! It seems like Stand By Me is getting a lot of support. I realize that Godfather is one of the best films of all time, but I see myself gravitating toward the shorter, more light-hearted movies on this list first. Thanks for the input!

  • Shawn Robare

    No judgements whatsoever. To keep this positive, all I’ll say is that I kind of wish I was getting a chance to experience these flicks for the first time, and I hope that being inundated with the 20-30 years of pop culture references from all of these flicks doesn’t sour your viewing experience when you catch them…

    • Howie Decker

      There you go! That’s exactly how I planned it, I purposely missed the bus on all of these pop culture icons for ages, just so I could look forward to seeing them 20-30 years after I was supposed to! I like to savor the moment.

  • Classick Material

    Before going off on a “HOW DARE YOU??!!” rant about your selection of films (Don’t you work at a movie theater, or am I confusing Voltron members?), I admit I have my own list of movies I’ve never seen that just about everyone else has. And for some of your films, I may have seen them a lot later in life than normal. But here goes…

    Reactions to Howie’s list:
    Scarface – I can’t be upset about this. It took me until college to see this film, and only then I saw it in a back-to-back marathon with Carlito’s Way on VHS.
    The Karate Kid – Egregious. From Bananarama’s “Cruel Summer” to “Sweep the Leg!” and “Get him a bodybag!”, this is an iconic picture. Even more offensive would be if you admitted to seeing the Jaden Smith remake and not this classic.
    The Godfather – Hadn’t seen this until winter break 2011, when I watched the entire trilogy (yes, including III!) in one weekend on EPIX. Great channel, but I’m not kicking out the extra money for it.
    Silence of the Lambs – Again.. egregious! But I myself only saw this on VHS because my dad has a vast video library and Virginia was boring as hell.
    Top Gun – let’s move on…
    Ferris Bueller’s Day Off – ugh…
    Jaws – eh… I can see that. I actually saw Jaws 2 before watching the original.
    Reservoir Dogs – NEVER SEEN IT!
    Stand By Me – Epic film. But if you’ve seen “Boyz In The Hood”, think the first 20 minutes of that movie extended to two hours and with Wil Wheaton, Corey Feldman and a fat Jerry O’Connell. (RIP River Phoenix).
    Robocop – HOW DARE YOU??? Please don’t tell me you’ve seen 2 and/or 3 and not seen the original. It’s on Netflix, and well worth the viewing.

    Will do a part two of this to list my Unseen Ten.

    • Classick Material

      Classick’s Unseen Ten, counting the first three times:

      Jurassic Park (I-III) – I’ve not seen ANY of these films. Not a one! I pretty much gave up the ghost by the time 3 came out and the hype was all about “Sam Neill’s back!” and I reacted with “Who?” So yeah, I only know Jeff Goldblum as The Fly and the dude who starred in “Independence Day” “Great White Hype” and “Holy Man”. Aside: Jeff Goldblum sure does work well with black people!

      Heathers – Most children of the 80′s claim that this movie was awesome, but I’ve never seen it to tell you it’s not. I guess because of the name I always assumed it was just a chick flick.

      Say Anything – I remember seeing the trailer in a theater and it’s the iconic rom com starring John Cusack (shout-out to Ione Skye) and of course that scene with the boombox hoisted over his head. But alas, I never sat through this one. sad.

      The Princess Bride – Between this and not ever watching Fraggle Rock, I had lost a lot of friends in grade school. I hear the references a lot and have caught glimpses of it on cable, but my knowledge of it is shameful in that I once mistook Mandy Patinkin’s character for Antonio Banderas.

      Flight of the Navigator – again, I was shunned in school for never seeing this 1986 Disney sci fi space adventure. However, between “The Last Starfighter” and “Explorers” I think I had my fill of kids in space living out adventures that we could have only dreamed of having when staring at the night sky. Plus, that title isn’t exactly exciting.

      Reservoir Dogs – I’m with you here. I can say I’ve seen every single Tarantino flick except this one, which is a crying shame. Hell, I even have the DVD in my home, still unwrapped and unwatched! Some day, Decker…

      Love Jones – probably not a big deal here, but over on “Black Twitter” all the sistas gave me a hard time for openly admitting this, some even to the point where they find it hard to believe that I was able to date and marry a black woman and still not seen this picture. Nia Long is definitely worthy of the WPHOF, #appreciation and is as Eclectik would say “a three-tissue treat”, but I just never got into the whole poetry cafe scene. True playas clap, we don’t snap our fingers!

      The Color Purple – I know what you’re thinking… how? Let me explain: when this movie was released in 1985, I was actually excited to see it only because I remember Whoopi Goldberg from her comedy specials on HBO (I was 10, so sneaking a listen to dirty jokes was everything back then). However, when my mom took my brother and I to the local theater, she gave me that bad news that I was not seeing this movie with her and made me sit through “The Care Bears Movie” with my younger brother on some babysitting type ish. Mind you, a 10 year old babysitting an 8 year old by himself in a dark crowded movie theater is not something you’d find in Today’s Parenting magazine, but back then it was common to drop your kid off in the kiddie flick and go catch an R-rated feature running at the same time. Years later, I read the actual book by Alice Walker, which many have told me is “better than the movie” (really? it is? fuck you, literacy! you ruin everything!) but it also depleted any desire to see this movie. To this day, I still wonder why so many of my friends hate Danny Glover, not realizing that they know him as Mister and not as the fun-loving Detective Roger Murtagh that I know from the Lethal Weapon films. Amazing! Oh yeah and Oprah’s “you told Harpo to beat me!” line, which I didn’t connect until years later when people would quote it.

      There you have it. I’m sure there are others, but I doubt anyone would blast me for not ever seeing Police Academy 7…

      • Howie Decker

        Awesome. Like I said, we need to pod about this. “Black Twitter” LMAO. “Today’s Parenting Magazine” HAH!

    • Howie Decker

      Classick – I can’t even begin to respond to how awesome that comment is. Stay tuned, Corey has decided this would be good podcast material – we will pick it back up soon and address your list as well! Thanks for sharing!

  • http://@danuthman Daniel Uthman

    I think Karate Kid is the most “80′s” movie on your list. The California setting kept me watching for Eliott and E.T. to ride by on the BMX.
    Ferris Bueller would be my No. 2, Stand By Me 3rd. Not sure if Robocop is worth the time. If it’s any consolation, I’ve never seen Scarface or Reservoir Dogs, either. Have you seen Close Encounters … ?

    • Howie Decker

      Update: Karate Kid was the second movie from this list that I went out, got, and watched. It was awesome. I was so glad to see it measure up to all of the years of hype. I watched Stand By Me first, and loved that as well. (I had a wife & child-less weekend recently, and used it to catch up on 80s movies).

      I have seen Close Encounters, loved it.

      Stay tuned – on Ep 39 of the podcast we all reveal movies and other things that we “should love” but don’t! It was a lot of fun to record.

      Thanks for commenting, Dan.

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  • Kobie

    I have seen every single one of those movies.

    I have never seen “The Goonies.”

    • Kobie

      Of your list, Howie, I’d say the best ones that are fairly easily digested are Reservoir Dogs, Ferris Bueller and Scarface. The Godfather is a great flick, but it’s long as shit and can kinda drag at times.

      • Kobie

        Plus, in Scarface, you get to see Al Pacino pretend to be Cuban, and who doesn’t want to see that?

        • Howie Decker

          True. I’ve since watched 2 of these – Stand By Me and Karate Kid. Loved them both.

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  • Yelinna

    Except for Robocop, I haven’t seen more than a couple of minutes of these movies. So what’s the problem?

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  • Erik Johnson

    I’ve got a list of my own titles I haven’t seen for a variety of reasons. The only one on this list I haven’t seen is Scarface.

    All I know is “Say hello to my little friend” following by lots of shooting. I know its supposed to be a character piece and ordinarily I’m into that sort of thing, but it just looks too violent for something I would sit down and watch casually just to say “I saw it to catch up with the rest of the world.”

    • HowardTheDeck

      Thanks for the comment, sometimes I feel like I’m the only person in this generation who hasn’t seen it!

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