These days TV and movies are absolutely overflowing with world-saving teenage heroes. Even if you discount all the characters based on comic books you still have a nearly endless number of young adult dystopias that are rescued from perpetual slavery by Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games or Tris Prior from the Insurgent series. And don’t forget your Maze Runners and your 5th Wave alien invasions while you’re at it.
If it seems like the teenager saving the world is a relatively recent cinematic invention, it has actually been going on for decades. Even back in the heyday of the cheesy movie, the 1980’s, there were plenty of young people called upon to do the impossible, and they always succeeded, of course. While the threats were all different, they were all very real, so here are five of the greatest '80s teenagers who ever saved the world.
5. The Monster Squad
While the events of 1987’s The Monster Squad are confined to a single town, it’s clear that if the kids had not succeeded, Dracula, the Mummy, Wolfman (and his nards), and the others would have run rampant all over the world. If the amulet that makes up the film’s central MacGuffin had been destroyed, the forces of evil would have taken control. Lucky for us, we had a team of goofball teenagers who watched too many horror movies available to back us up. We know they're not all teenagers, but some of them were. The rest were just along for the ride.
4. The Frog Brothers - Lost Boys
By far the coolest guys on the list, Edgar and Alan Frog are the only people in the city of Santa Carla who recognize that their town is home to a vampire lair. And they take it upon themselves to educate new kid, Sam, about the ways of the blood suckers. Once again, while the scale of The Lost Boys is small, it’s only because these teens were able to stop the vampire nest before it grew too large and consumed the entire world. And they kill vampires with hi-fi sets. That is all there is to say.
3. Wolverines - Red Dawn
It’s World War III and the Soviet Union is invading Colorado...because that’s a thing that happens in the movies. If you’re a high school student, what do you do? Well, if you’re one of the Wolverines from Red Dawn, you perform guerilla raids on Russian outposts using equipment you liberated from a sporting goods store and your wits. While the movie never states that the tide of World War III was turned in America’s favor thanks to the heroic sacrifice of a random assortment of high school kids, it’s totally implied.
2. David Lightman - Wargames
You don’t actually have to fight evil with weapons in order to save the world. If you’re in one of the few movies from the 1980’s where being a nerd wasn’t a punchline (it happened a couple times, we swear) then you can save the world with your brain. That’s what David Lightman does when he successfully prevents Global Thermonuclear War from taking place and destroying the entire planet. Of course, his mad computer hacking skills are the reason that nuclear war almost happened to begin with, but that just shows how good he is.
1. Alex Rogan - The Last Starfighter
Alex Rogan doesn’t just save the world, he saves the entire galaxy. When you live in a trailer park and only have one video game to play you’re pretty much guaranteed you’re going to become an expert. Thanks to his mad video game skills, Alex is recruited by the Star League to defend the frontier against Xur and the Ko-dan Armada. Still, Rogan and his alien co-pilot successfully destroy the entire armada by themselves. He saved multiple planets, an incalculable number of lives, and also Robert Preston, which should be worthy of the top of this list by itself.
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