Purpose?-?The purpose of this paper is to review an explanation for the causes of the stock market crash in 1987, update the empirical support for that argument, and compare to recent market developments. Design/methodology/approach?-?While the market crash on October 19, 1987 was the largest one-day S&P 500 drop in percentage terms in history (20.47 percent) there was also a large market drop (10.12 percent) in the three trading days before the 1987 crash. Previous research has shown show that the three-day decline was the largest in more than 40 years, large enough that the drop was news itself (the October 16, 1987 drop immediately before the crash was also an extremely large one-day decline). The theoretical model of Jacklin et al. show how a surprise significant drop in the market could have provided information to the market that could directly lead to an immediate crash. Findings?-?The paper follows the stock market for 20 years after 1987, and finds the magnitude of the market decline immediately preceding October 19, 1987 was still a significant outlier?-?only one three-day period in the 20 years after 1987 had as large a market decline. The paper documents the large market movements and volatility in the period beginning in fall 2008 and suggests that this “crash” is different than what occurred in 1987. Research limitations/implications?-?This paper's main limitations lie in the implications drawn about the causes of the 2008 crash. Practical implications?-?This paper provides evidence on the causes of the 1987 crash and implications for the 2008 decline. The 1987 crash was due in part to characteristics news but also to the market and trading strategy, the 2008 “crash” is more likely a response to fundamental economic news. Originality/value?-?This paper uses empirical evidence since 1987 to look back on the causes of the 1987 crash.