A look back at the totally awesome releases of the holiday season, 25 years later

By Melissa Locker
Updated December 26, 2013 10:25 AM
Credit: Everett

A quick glance at the films released in 1988 is a lesson in cinematic history.

The year saw comedy classics like Beetlejuice, Scrooged, The Naked Gun, Coming to America, Big and Big Top Pee-wee along with canon-making movies like Giuseppe Tornatore’s heartbreaking ode to film Cinema Paradiso, Hayao Miyazaki’s animated My Neighbor Totoro, Pedro Almodévar’s Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown and, of course, Die Hard.

While 1988 was a banner year for movies, one two-week span in particular was perhaps deserving of the title The Best Movie Release Run Ever. That time frame? Christmas 1988.

Among the titles to hit the silver screen 25 years ago is Beaches, a film about friendship, life and love as seen through the eyes of two friends played by Bette Midler and Barbara Hershey. If the tragic story isn’t enough to get you bawling your eyes out, grab a tissue and just wait for Midler ‘s rendition of “Wind Beneath My Wings”:

The drama was instantly dubbed one of the top tearjerkers of all time, a title it has held on to despite 25 years of competition.

Here are some of the other movies released around Christmas 1988:

Rain Man

When Charlie Babbitt (Tom Cruise) goes to his estranged father’s funeral, he discovers that he has a grown brother, Raymond (Dustin Hoffman). Charlie kidnaps his autistic savant sibling and they head out on a road trip finding love, family and redemption.

Dangerous Liaisons

Featuring knockout performances by Glenn Close, John Malkovich and Michelle Pfeiffer, the cinematic version of the 18th-century French novel Les Liaisons Dangereuses was period drama at its finest. The film, which also featured relatively unknown actors Keanu Reeves and Uma Thurman, was nominated for seven Oscars.

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels

This film pairs Michael Caine and Steve Martin as con men competing to swindle an American heiress out of $50,000, which probably sounded like a lot more money in 1988. The now-classic comedy is packed with laughs from one-liners, physical comedy and a serious twist.

Working Girl

Mike Nichols’s Wall Street comedy pits Staten Island secretary Tess (Melanie Griffith) against her shrewish boss (Sigourney Weaver) in the bedroom and the boardroom. The film now functions as a time capsule of ’80s hair and fashion. Working Girl won the Golden Globe for Best Picture – Comedy and was nominated for six Oscars.

I’m Gonna Git You Sucka

Keenan Ivory Wayans wrote, directed and starred in this parody of blaxploitation films. The movie follows Wayans’s character, Jack Spade, as he tries to avenge his brother Junebug’s death from an OG – “over golding,” or overdosing on gold chains. Jack sets out to eliminate the gold chain trade from the streets of his neighborhood and take down “Mr. Big.”

The Accidental Tourist

The film adaptation of Anne Tyler’s critically acclaimed novel of the same name, starred William Hurt, Kathleen Turner and Geena Davis. Davis won an Academy Award for her portrayal of Muriel Pritchett, a dog-trainer with a sickly son who slowly wins the heart of William Hurt’s character, Macon Leary, a grieving travel guide writer still reeling from the death of his son, disintegration of his marriage and injuries from a fall.

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