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Essential Seven Best 80’s Movie Musical Montages

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My recollection of one of the best  “musical montages” as a film technique started with the original Rocky film. Sure other films have used this technique, but what montage is more remembered than the Rocky training montage ending with him running up the Philadelphia Museum of Art stairs. That is an example of it done well.

A horrible trend began with filmmakers in the 80’s began to incorporate this technique constantly. The basic premise was to quickly show the character’s success as he prepares to achieve his goal. It would cost too much money and waste valuable time for a writer to work out plot points, and foreshadow how the character grows to adapt to this problem. Instead, take 3 minutes of video with a kick-ass song, and you got essentially a cheap way to advance a film’s story.

Here is MillionairePlayboy’s Essential Seven Best 80’s Movie Musical Montage:

7) Teen Wolf

Situation:
Scott Howard wants to be himself, and not the wolf. At the basketball final championship, the Beavers, have no hope of winning the game without Scott “wolfing out.” He convinces the skeptical team that they can win the game on his own without the Wolf.

Solution:
When Mick calls Chubby “fat boy”, Chubby gains his confidence and makes the free throw shot beginning the musical montage with the song “Win in the End.”

Result:
You can’t have a song called Win in the End, without the team winning the championship.

6) Rocky IV

Situation:
In Rocky IV, Silvester Stallone included two musical montages into the film. The first occurs after Adrian tells Rocky that he can’t win against the Russian Ivan Drago. The lack of faith his wife provides him along with the death of Apollo Creed puts Rocky into a deep depression.

The second montage is the typical Rocky training montage. This one takes place in Russia. He is unhappy without Adrian by his side. Adrian has a change of heart and flies to Russia, realizing that Rocky would not win without her support.

Solution:
The first montage uses the song “No Easy Way Out” by Robert Tepper set against Rocky Driving around remembering events from the previous films (Rocky’s History).

Now with Adrian by his side, we get the “traditional” training montage as he prepares using simple training techniques contrasted against the advanced techniques that Drago receives. Set against the song “Hearts on Fire” by John Cafferty.

Result:
The first montage ends with Rocky making the decision that he needs to fight Ivan Drago with or without the support of his wife. The second shows Rocky’s progress of training that allowes him to beat the Russian Drago, and ultimately bring about peace relations between the two super powers.

5) Footloose

Situation:
Ren and his classmates need to convince the Reverend Shaw Moore to allow them to have a senior prom with music and dancing. Only problem is that Williard doesn’t know how to dance.

Solution:
Ren and Williard spend their every waking moment learning to keep time and frolic in fields with the song “Let’s Hear it For the Boy”

Result:
After their “Brokeback Mountain” musical montage, Williard is ready to tear it up at prom.

4) Revenge of the Nerds


(no illegal YouTube clip available, so enjoy this other great music moment!)

Situation:
The nerds need to find a new home after the Alpha Beta’s took over the freshman dorms. Since no fraternity would accept them they decide to start their own. Lewis and the gang buy a house that needs some work before they can move in.

Solution:
Show the nerds cleaning and fixing up the house with the song One Foot in Front of the Other.

Result:
The Tri-Lams do a great job at fixing up the house, only to have the Alpha Betas’ destroy it.

3) Ghostbusters

Situation:
The Ghostbusters just completed their first job removing slimer from the hotel. To get to the main storyline, we need to move forward in time where the Ghostbusters are the talk of the town.

Solution:
First, have Ray Parker Jr. write a song called “Ghostbusters.” Next, edit footage of the Ghostbusters busting ghosts spliced with news coverage of their success. Finally, the Ghostbusters success begins to concern Egon. The daily PKE sample tells him that something big is about to happen.

Result:
The Ghostbusters begin the final story arc and prepare for the battle with Gozer.

2) The Breakfast Club

Situation:
During a miserable Saturday morning detention five different clique teenagers have a deep discussion admitting to each other than they all have family problems. Brian is pressured by his parents to be the perfect academic the same way Andrew resents his father for pushing him to succeed in sports. Claire is put between her parents that use her to get back at each other. John is a victim of child abuse by his father. Allison had nothing better to do so just showed up.

Solution:
After the big cry fest, Brian puts on the song “We Are Not Alone” by Karla DeVito. The music gets the entire group to dance around the library.

Result:
The groups attitudes and perspectives changed, and they are more open-minded. They decide to write Mr. Vernon what they have learned:

Brian Johnson: Dear Mr. Vernon, we accept the fact that we had to sacrifice a whole Saturday in detention for whatever it was we did wrong, but we think you’re crazy to make us write an essay telling you who we think we are. You see us as you want to see us… In the simplest terms and the most convenient definitions. But what we found out is that each one of us is a brain…Brian Johnson
…and an athlete…Andy Clark
…and a basket case…Allison Reynolds
…a princess…Claire Standish
…and a criminal…John Bender

Does that answer your question?… Sincerely yours, the Breakfast Club.

1) The Karate Kid

Situation:
After an entire film focusing on Daniel training to fight in karate tournament, the director needed to get to the final fight with Johnny.

Solution:
Crank a catch song called “Your the Best Around” by Joe Esposito with the lyrics:

“Try to be best, ‘Cause you’re only a man, and a man’s gotta learn to take it. Try to believe
though the going gets rough, that you gotta hang tough to make it”

Next, include footage of Daniel fighting various members of the Cobra Kai. Throw in a few other competitors to make it seem legit along with a fat Cobra Kai.

Result:
Besides Daniel winning the All Valley Karate Tournament, we get the best of the 80’s musical montages.


The Essential Seven is a weekly list of seven items that we at MillionairePlayboy.com believe needs to be identified. Want our opinion on a topic for a future list? Email Lando Da Pimp. Don’t agree with our list? Then leave a comment. We will promise not to laugh at your dumb opinion! 😉


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