With the advent of online shopping (and free shipping!) you might find yourself crossing names off your naughty and nice lists from the comfort of your own home. Even Black Friday sales can be done online now! There is just something missing from the at-home experience, and if you find yourself scrambling to find last-minute gifts this week, these classic movie mall scenes are the perfect inspiration to get you shopping IRL.
The mall is still America’s prime setting for consumerism, as proven with these seven classic films embracing the beauty of Valley girls hanging at the galleria to the pink-hued shopping uniforms of The Plastics. Where else can you grab coffee, food court pizza, and gifts for everyone on your list? It’s like the mall knows what we need in life.
Revisit these mall movie classics and get excited to get out!
The Valley is a magical bubble of Southern California that is basically its own planet. Home to the Sherman Oaks Galleria, the Ventura Blvd. mega mall was the real-life shooting location for multiple movies on this list, including the 1983 flick Valley Girl. The teen romantic comedy has it all: a love triangle, prom, mall time with girlfriends, an early punk Nicolas Cage, and one of the best ’80s soundtracks of all time!
Unforgettable Scene: The punk rock party crashing of prom shows that bold moves really win hearts!
Set in the posh neighborhood of Beverly Hills, CA, Clueless is arguably the most iconic teen girl movie of the ’90s. Even though the main character, Cher, embarks unknowingly on an adventure of self-discovery, much of the film actually takes place at the mall. Though she often hits the racks with friends, Cher also learns that a little lone retail therapy can end in major life epiphanies.
Unforgettable scene: Who can forget Tai’s brush of death at the mall?!
Sure, times were fast at Ridgemont High, but that was only to rush from the desk to the mall in this film time capsule of nostalgia. There was never a dull moment in this setting of work, play, and romance! In the life lessons of Fast Times from the cool guy, Mike Damone, “Act like wherever you are, that’s the place to be.” Obviously, the place to be was the mall!
Unforgettable scene: Throughout the film, we are rooting for Brian “Rat” Ratner to get the girl. When he finally kisses Stacy over the counter and they are both in their work uniforms, it is total satisfaction!
Transfer student Cady Heron is transported from the jungles of Africa to the jungles of girl world. Naturally, there is a hefty dose of caffeine-fueled shopping involved. While trying to blend in with The Plastics, Cady follows the clique to an after-school outing. Of course, they are all wearing pink because it’s Wednesday.
Unforgettable scene: Cady’s first impression of the mall is animals going wild, and let’s be honest, it can be accurate during holiday sales!
Before the vamp-slaying Sarah Michelle Gellar came into our home TV sets and our hearts, the original (theatrical) Buffy Summers was Kristy Swanson. Enjoying a normal balance of cheerleading and shopping like any average teenage girl, all she wanted to do was “graduate from high school, go to Europe, marry Christian Slater, and die.” Sometimes being the “Chosen One” can totally blow.
Unforgettable scene: Battling vamps in a prom dress AND a leather jacket? This girl knows how to SLAY.
With a title like Mallrats, you couldn’t expect us to leave this gem out. Set almost entirely in a shopping center (even the game show scene!), this romantic comedy from Kevin Smith features an amazingly refreshing twist of two GUY best friends, Brodie and T.S., who are dumped on the same day. They immediately head to the mall to drown their sorrows.
Unforgettable Scene: Stan Lee is not only the king of comics but he is the king of cameos as well! In Mallrats, he appears as the wise voice of reason, giving Brodie the sage advice about “the one that got away.”
Okay, okay, so this scene TECHNICALLY takes place outside of a mall. The Twin Pines JCPenney parking lot is where the infamous Doc Brown and Marty McFly team up, taking the time-traveling DeLorean to the past and back to the future! Mcfly must play matchmaker to his future parents in the ’50s in order to get back to the ’80s because, obviously, the shopping malls were way better!
Unforgettable scene: No matter how many times we watch, when Marty anxiously breaks the time barrier, we cheer!