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5 Film Collection: 80's Comedy [5 Discs] [DVD]

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Overview

Synopsis

Planes, Trains and Automobiles
Were it not for its profanity-laden opening scenes, John Hughes' Planes, Trains and Automobiles might have been suitable family entertainment: certainly it's heaps less violent and mean-spirited than Hughes' Home Alone. En route to Chicago to spend Thanksgiving with his family, easily annoyed businessman Neal Page (Steve Martin) finds his first-class plane ticket has been demoted to coach, and he must share his flight with obnoxious salesman Del Griffith (John Candy). A sudden snowstorm in Chicago forces the plane to land in Wichita. Unable to find a room in any of the four-star hotels, Neal is compelled to accept Del's invitation to share his accommodations in a cheapo-sleazo motel. Driven to distraction by Del's annoying personal habits, the ungrateful Neal lets forth with a stream of verbal abuse. That's when Del delivers the anticipated (but always welcome) "I don't judge, why should you?"-type speech so common to John Hughes flicks. The shamefaced Neal tries to make up to Del, but there's a bumpy time ahead as the mismatched pair make their way back to Chicago, first in a balky train, then by way of a refrigerator truck. We know from the outset that the oil-and-water Neal and Del will be bosom companions by the end of Planes, Trains and Automobiles, but it's still a fun ride. The best bit: a half-asleep Del thinking that he's got his hand tucked between two pillows -- until his bedmate, Neal, bellows "Those aren't pillows!" ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Police Academy
Public safety takes a turn for the worse in this hit comedy, which spawned a long-running franchise. As a crime wave sweeps through a major city, the mayor decides that part of the problem may stem from overly restrictive qualifications for police officers, so she opens the door of the city's Police Academy to anyone who wants to join. Soon, the new class is overrun with misfits and losers, including Carey Mahoney (Steve Guttenberg), who is given the choice of joining the force or going to jail; Karen Thompson (Kim Cattrall), a pretty cadet whom Mahoney has his eye on; Moses Hightower (Bubba Smith), a mountain of a man who likes to tend flowers; and Larvell Jones (Michael Winslow), who has an uncanny ability to imitate the sound of practically anything. Constantly befuddled Commandant Lassard (George Gaynes) and his lackey, Lt. Harris (G.W. Bailey), are none too thrilled with their new charges, but as they try to wash their hands of the cadets, Mahoney and his classmates become all the more determined to make good. The surprising success of Police Academy spawned six sequels and two TV series. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

Ferris Bueller's Day Off
Teenaged Ferris Bueller (Matthew Broderick) is a legend in his own time thanks to his uncanny skill at cutting classes and getting away with it. Intending to make one last grand duck-out before graduation, Ferris calls in sick, "borrows" a Ferrari, and embarks on a one-day bacchanal through the streets of Chicago. Dogging Ferris' trail at every turn is high-school principal Rooney (Jeffrey Jones), determined to catch Bueller in the act of class-cutting. Writer/director John Hughes once again tries to wed satire, slapstick, and social commentary, as Ferris Bueller's Day Off starts like a house afire and goes on to make "serious" points about status-seeking and casual parental cruelties. It brightens up considerably in the last few moments, when Ferris' tattletale sister (Jennifer Grey) decides to align herself with her merry prankster sibling. A huge moneymaker, Ferris Bueller's Day Off eventually spawned a TV sitcom. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

The Naked Gun
We know we're in a 1988 film when we're invited to laugh at O.J. Simpson in an opening slapstick sequence. We can also pinpoint the year of production when hard-nosed cop Frank Drebin (Leslie Nielsen), during a scuffle with the world's leading dictators, wipes the wine-colored birthmark off the head of Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev. Those wacky ZAZ boys -- David Zucker, Jim Abrahams, and Jerry Zucker -- serve up a feature-length spin-off of their cult favorite TV show Police Squad!. Seeking vengeance when his partner (Simpson) is shot full of holes by drug dealers, dead-pan and dead-brained Lt. Frank Drebin searches for the Mister Big behind it all. Drebin suspects above-reproach shipping magnate Vincent Ludwig (Ricardo Montalban), but he can't prove a thing. Bumped from the force by the mayor (Nancy Marchand), Drebin, with the unexpected assistance of Ludwig's ex-girlfriend (Priscilla Presley), manages to nab the bad guy at a baseball game, where Reggie Jackson has been programmed to assassinate Queen Elizabeth. MGM mogul Irving Thalberg once reportedly told the Marx Brothers, "You can't build jokes on top of jokes." The producers of Naked Gun prove otherwise; indeed, one could develop writer's cramp just listing the gags in the film's first 20 minutes. Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad was followed by two lesser but still hilarious sequels, Naked Gun 2 1/2: The Smell of Fear (1991) and Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult (1994). ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Airplane!
This spoof of the Airport series of disaster movies relies on ridiculous sight gags, groan-inducing dialogue, and deadpan acting -- a comedy style that would be imitated for the next 20 years. Airplane! pulls out all the clichés as alcoholic pilot Ted Striker (Robert Hays), who's developed a fear of flying due to wartime trauma, boards a jumbo jet in an attempt to woo back his stewardess girlfriend (Julie Hagerty). Food poisoning decimates the passengers and crew, leaving it up to Striker to land the plane, with the help of a glue-sniffing air traffic controller (Lloyd Bridges) and Striker's vengeful former captain (Robert Stack), who must both talk him down. Along the way, we meet a clutch of stock disaster movie passengers like the guitar-strumming nun, a sick little girl, a frightened old lady, and two African-American travelers whose "jive" has to be subtitled. Leslie Nielsen portrays the plane's doctor, launching a new phase of the actor's career that carried him through the next two decades in several similarly comedic roles. The trio of directors Jim Abrahams, Jerry Zucker, and David Zucker responsible for the film would eventually go on to solo careers, but not before making Top Secret! and Ruthless People. ~ Perry Seibert, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Steve Martin
    Steve Martin - Neal Page
  • John Candy
    John Candy - Del Griffith
  • Laila Robins
    Laila Robins - Susan Page
  • William Windom
    William Windom - Bryant (uncredited)
  • Michael McKean
    Michael McKean - State Trooper
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