The 1980s will forever go down as one of the most significant decades in terms of contributions to pop culture. With timeless classics like Back to the Future, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, and The Breakfast Club, and landmark sci-fi and great horror movies like The Terminator, Aliens, and Friday the 13th, the list of Best ‘80s movies is one that is rich and bursting at the seams with memorable characters, quotable one-liners, and all those iconic songs that are as popular in 2023 as they were in the summer of 1985.
If you have been wanting to take a trip down memory lane and revisit the best movies the decade had to offer, look no further as we have put together a comprehensive list of nearly 60 of the best ‘80s movies and where you can find them streaming, through digital rentals, and old-fashioned physical media. There’s a lot of ground to cover in not much time, so let’s get started…
The Big Chill (1983)
Brought together by the sudden passing of a long-lost friend, a once tight-knit group reconnects over the course of a long weekend where they examine their college experience and what’s come after, as well as the unhealed wounds of their 20s. Lawrence Kasdan’s The Big Chill features remarkable performances by Glenn Close, William Hurt, Tom Berenger, Kevin Kline, and more.
Major League (1989)
After discovering that their team’s new owner is planning on tanking to relocate to sunny Florida, the ragtag group of misfits that make up the Cleveland Indians take matters into their own hands and attempt to pull off the impossible. One of the best baseball movies of all time, Major League hits the triple crown of a sports flick: comedy, drama, and all kinds of web gems.
Clue follows six random guests, who seem to have nothing in common with one another, as they are summoned to a mansion for dinner, only to discover they are in the middle of a murder mystery where no one can be trusted, not even the staff.
Honey, I Shrunk The Kids (1989)
The hilarious Rick Moranis movie, Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, shows what happens when a group of adolescents are at the wrong place at the wrong time and are turned to a fraction of their normal size. In a race against time (and all sorts of creatures), the Szalinski and Thompson children attempt to get back to normal while their parents try to figure out what happened.
Field Of Dreams (1989)
Ray Kinsella’s (Kevin Costner) life is forever changed after hearing a mysterious voice whisper “If you build it, he will come” while out in his cornfield in Field of Dreams. What follows is one man’s journey to “ease the pain” of his hero, an odyssey that concludes with one of the most emotional scenes in any sports movie.
Raising Arizona (1987)
The Coen Brothers’ 1987 crime comedy, Raising Arizona, follows Herbert “Hi” McDunnough (Nicolas Cage) and Edwina “Ed” McDunnough (Holly Hunter) as they go to great lengths to have a child, even if that means stealing a quintuplet from a wealthy family.
9 to 5 (1980)
Colin Higgins 1980 workplace satirical comedy 9 to 5 follows three fed-up secretaries, played by Dolly Parton, Jane Fonda, and Lily Tomlin, who decide to get even with their tyrannical and sexist boss.
A Christmas Story (1983)
Bob Clark’s 1983 holiday classic, A Christmas Story, follows a young boy named Ralphie (Peter Billingsley) as he tries to convince everyone from his parents to his teacher and even Santa Claus himself to bring him a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas.
Adventures In Babysitting (1987)
After being stood up by her boyfriend, high school senior Chris Parker (Elisabeth Shue) decides to spend the night watching a group of young siblings. What at first seems like a quiet night and easy money quickly turns into anything but in Adventures in Babysitting.
The 1980 disaster film spoof, Airplane!, answers the question: what happens when a man who’s afraid to fly is the only one who can prevent a jumbo-jet from crashing?
Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) is back with a vengeance in James Cameron’s 1986 sci-fi action flick, Aliens, and she isn’t stopping until the final Xenomorph is launched into outer space.
Back To The Future (1985)
When Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) steps into a DeLorean time machine and is transported back to 1955, he must avoid high school bullies and a younger version of his own mom if he wants to get Back to the Future.
Tim Burton’s dark and moody 1989 unconventional superhero film, Batman, sees the Caped Crusader (Michael Keaton) cross paths with his archenemies The Joker (Jack Nicholson), who is hellbent on bringing chaos, destruction, and death to Gotham City.
When the efforts by a ghostly couple (Geena Davis and Alec Baldwin) to scare away the new owners of their country home are fruitless, they turn to a spirit by the name of Beetlejuice (Michael Keaton) to gain back control.
Beverly Hills Cop (1984)
Martin Brest’s 1984 buddy action comedy Beverly Hills Cop introduces the world to Axel Foley (Eddie Murphy), a wise-cracking and rebellious Detroit police officer who has come to Los Angeles to track down those responsible for his best friend’s murder.
When 12-year-old Josh Baskin (David Moscow) wishes he was a little bigger, he gets his wish and then more when he wakes up to find he has been transformed into a full-grown adult (Tom Hanks). Penny Marshall’s timeless comedy sees Baskin navigate 1980s New York City, but as a child trapped in a man’s body and various situations.
Bill And Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989)
Strange things are afoot at the Circle K in Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure when two dopey high schoolers (played by Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves) are given access to a time-traveling phone-booth to pass their history exam and keep their band together.
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Blade Runner (1982)
Ridley Scott’s 1982 noir sci-fi thriller Blade Runner follows replicant hunter Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) as he tracks down four escaped criminals who have returned to earth from an off-world colony. What starts off as a simple game of cat and mouse slowly turns into something much more complex.
Blue Velvet (1986)
David Lynch’s 1986 surrealist crime drama Blue Velvet centers on college student Jeffrey Beaumont (Kyle MacLachlan) as he becomes involved with the dark and twisted world of his town’s criminal underbelly led by the psychotic Frank Booth (Dennis Hopper).
The Blues Brothers (1980)
John Landis’ 1980 musical comedy The Blues Brothers follows the titular characters (played by Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi) as they attempt to get their old band back together to help save the orphanage in which they were raised.
Broadcast News (1987)
James L. Brooks’ romantic comedy, Broadcast News, plants the audience in the middle of a love triangle involving a talented news producer (Holly Hunter), her best friend (Albert Brooks), and a handsome yet under-qualified anchorman (William Hurt) all while they try to present the news day in and day out.
Set at the Bushwood Country Club, which is infested with rodents and yuppies alike, Harold Ramis’ 1980 sports comedy Caddyshack follows caddies (led by Michael O’Keefe), grounds crew (led by Bill Murray), and all other sorts of characters who spend a summer at the prestigious club.
Coming To America (1988)
John Landis’ 1988 comedy, Coming to America, follows Prince Akeem Joffer (Eddie Murphy) as he travels to Queens to find a wife to bring back to the African nation of Zamunda.
Dead Poets Society (1989)
Set in a prestigious college prep academy, the 1989 drama Dead Poets Society follows newly arrived English teacher John Keating (Robin Williams) as he spends a semester opening the eyes and changing the lives of his students, for better or for worse.
Die Hard (1988)
NYPD officer John McClane (Bruce Willis) finds himself in the right place at the right time in Die Hard when his wife’s holiday Christmas party is overtaken by a group of international terrorists who holds them hostage in hopes of securing unfathomable wealth.
Dirty Dancing (1987)
Frances “Baby” Houseman (Jennifer Grey) goes to spend a summer in the Catskills with her family in Dirty Dancing. Thinking she’ll spend the summer bored out of her mind, Baby quickly finds herself learning what it means to dance, love, and stand up for herself thanks to her dance instructor-turned-lover Johnny Castle (Patrick Swayze).
Do The Right Thing (1989)
What initially starts out as a disagreement over which actors should or shouldn’t be included on the wall of a Brooklyn pizzeria quickly escalates into a full-blown riot in Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing.
E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
Steven Spielberg’s 1982 sci-fi adventure E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial follows a young boy (Henry Thomas) as he forms an unbreakable bond with a gentle alien who is trapped on Earth and just wants to go home.
Escape From New York (1981)
John Carpenter’s 1981 dystopian thriller Escape From New York sees Snake Plissken (Kurt Russell) attempt to save the U.S. President from a group of fanatical criminals who run the streets of Manhattan which has been turned into a prison colony.
Fast Times At Ridgemont High (1982)
Amy Heckerling’s 1982 raunchy teen comedy Fast Times at Ridgemont High follows the various cliques that call the titular home and how they navigate life, love, and algebra.
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)
John Hughes’ Ferris Bueller’s Day Off follows the charismatic titular high school senior (Matthew Broderick) as he convinces his girlfriend and best friend to skip class and have an epic adventure in Chicago.
When Ren McCormack (Kevin Bacon), a dance-obsessed high schooler, moves to a small town that has banned all forms of music and dancing, he does what any teenager would do in his position: rebels with loads and loads of dancing in Footloose.