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Best Movies of the 1980s: Top 30 & Top 100 Films of the Greedy Eighties

Best movies of the 1980s

Welcome to the Cinema of the 1980s

The 1980s may be a thing of the past, but thanks to an enthralling, good old invention called Film, it will never be really gone.

Whenever you feel like traveling back in time to relive the glamours of the decade, all you have to do, is watching one (or more) of its movies.

But which ones should you watch?
Well, if that’s the very question lurking in your mind right now, then you came to the right place. We’re just about to present 30 of the greatest cinematic gems of the 1980s.

However, if you’re not a first-timer, then there’s a fair chance you already saw most movies of this Top 30 List, and you may want to dive a little bit deeper. No worries!

In that case, you should go and check out the Top 100 List at the end of this article.

If this is your first ride on the time-travelling FrameTrek Wagon, here’s what this is all about:

We choose a topic, in this case: “Best Movies of the 1980s”, and we set sail for a journey, where the bricks of the trek are made of movie frames, and each stop represents a magnificent achievement in Film.

The Best Movies of the 1980s is an episode of FrameTrek’s Best Movies of All Time. A mega-journey dedicated to identify the greatest films of each decade, chronologically. It starts with the Silent Era and goes all the way to our ever moving present.


So what was Cinema like in the 1980s?

The 1980s was a glorious decade for Hollywood, an Industrial Revolution for Pop Culture, a pioneering decade for music and fashion, and it brought a great socioeconomic change due to the advancements made in technology.

The cinema of the 1980s was an era of incredible classic movies that shaped the generation of that time, and inspired subsequent generations in multiple ways.

It brought us the rise of teenage coming-of-age films and perfected the concept of a blockbuster, delivering hit after hit, commercially and critically.

The film industry cemented certain characters, stories and stars in pop-culture forever. A number of excellent movies were made, including some that achieved greatness by reinventing old genres and tropes.

The 1980s saw an increased amount of nudity in film and the growing emphasis on film franchises, especially in the science fiction, horror and action genres.

Film budgets skyrocketed due to special effects, and the studios were concentrating on blockbuster movies that were easily marketable and understandable.

This resulted in studio-driven pictures, designed and packaged for mass audience appeal. They covered many genres, with hybrids crossing between multiple genres.

The 1980s is also the decade that brought movies into our homes. With the introduction and increasing popularity of video rentals, movies managed to grow beyond cinema and television.

For the first time ever, people had the opportunity to watch their favorite movies at their own leisure. This made the concepts of a “Friday night rental” or a “re-watchable movie” just as important to the film industry as a “box office smash”.

The 1980s also marks the launch of some the most iconic movie franchises of all time:

So yeah, there is plenty to talk about, when it comes to the Cinema of the 1980s, but this article concentrates on its Top 30 and Top 100 Films, so let’s cut to the chase, shall we?

After all, a cinematic era is as good as its greatest achievements. Thus, the finest way to explore a decade in film history, is through watching its finest films as a marathon.

Ready? Buckle up then, and let the best movies of the 1980s carry you to the Cinematic era they came from!

See FrameTrek's definition of 'Best' and the story behind this List (click to expand) ↴

How to define ‘Best’?

That’s a pretty good question, since ‘Best’ is relative. A movie can be considered being among the best for multiple reasons, such as: Critical Acclaim, Audience Feedback, Box Office Performance, Awards and Nominations, Iconic Status, Popularity, Watchability, and even Personal Preference, or for being part of a famous list such as the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die or Roger Ebert’s The Great Movies list – or because that particular movie defined its era.

So how did we pick the Top 30 and Top 100 movies of the 1980s

Well, it wasn’t simple, and it wasn’t easy! While composing the Best Films of the 1980s list, we tried to consider all of the factors mentioned in the ‘How to define Best’ paragraph, and then some.

We believe that the movies that made the cut should not compete with one another any further, so we will just present them in the order they were released in.

We picked 10 movies from each year of the 1980s, thus created a Top 100 List, which can be found at the end of this article. We also highlighted three movies from each year of the decade, so there’s a Top 30 List too. Let’s start with that!



Presenting the Top 30 Films of the 1980s

Chronologically
– 3 movies from each year –


Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

Star Wars The Empire Strikes Back 1980, Harrison Ford, Top 1980s movies
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Epic space opera film starring Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher.

Story: After the Rebels are brutally overpowered by the Empire on the ice planet Hoth, Luke Skywalker begins Jedi training with Yoda, while his friends are pursued by Darth Vader and a bounty hunter named Boba Fett all over the galaxy. (IMDB)

Dark, sinister, but ultimately even more involving than A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back defies viewer expectations and takes the series to heightened emotional levels.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics Consensus

Why is Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back among the best movies of the 1980s?
✓ Included among the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die.
✓ Winner of 1 Oscars, and a Special Achievement Award for visual effects.
✓ Widely regarded as one of the greatest films of all time.
✓ Selected for preservation in the United States’ National Film Registry by the Library of Congress for being “culturally, historically, and aesthetically significant”.


The Shining (1980)

The Shining 1980, Jack Nicholson, Best 1980s Films
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Psychological horror film starring Jack Nicholson.

Story: A family heads to an isolated hotel for the winter where a sinister presence influences the father into violence, while his psychic son sees horrific forebodings from both past and future. (IMDB)

Though it deviates from Stephen King’s novel, Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining is a chilling, often baroque journey into madness – exemplified by an unforgettable turn from Jack Nicholson

Rotten Tomatoes Critics Consensus

Why is The Shining among the best movies of the 1980s?
✓ Included among the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die and Roger Ebert’s Great Movies list.
✓ Selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.
✓ Widely regarded as one of the greatest and most influential of all horror films, and has become a staple of pop culture.


Raging Bull (1980)

Raging Bull 1980, Robert De Niro, Famous 1980s movies
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Biographical sports drama film directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Robert De Niro.

Story: The life of boxer Jake LaMotta, whose violence and temper that led him to the top in the ring destroyed his life outside of it. (IMDB)

Arguably Martin Scorsese’s and Robert De Niro’s finest film, Raging Bull is often painful to watch, but it’s a searing, powerful work about an unsympathetic hero.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics Consensus

Why is Raging Bull among the best movies of the 1980s?
✓ Included among the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die and Roger Ebert’s Great Movies list.
✓ Winner of 2 Oscars, and nominee for another 6, including the ‘Best Picture of the Year’ Academy Award.
✓ The American Film Institute ranked this as the #4 Greatest Movie of All Time, and #1 on their list of the ten greatest films in the genre “Sports”.


Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981)

Mad Max 2 The Road Warrior 1981, Mel Gibson, Top 1980s films
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Australian post-apocalyptic action film directed by George Miller and starring Mel Gibson.

Story: In the post-apocalyptic Australian wasteland, a cynical drifter agrees to help a small, gasoline rich community escape a horde of bandits. (IMDB)

Why is Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior among the best movies of the 1980s?
✓ Voted the 93rd greatest film of all time by Entertainment Weekly.
✓ It was a box office success, winning the Best International Film from six nominations at the Saturn Award ceremony.
✓ It became a cult film, with fan clubs and “road warrior”-themed activities continuing into the 21st century.
✓ Widely considered to be one of the greatest action movies ever made, as well as one of the greatest sequels ever made.


Das Boot (1981)

Das Boot 1981, Best 1980s movies
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West German war film written and directed by Wolfgang Petersen.

Story: The claustrophobic world of a WWII German U-boat; boredom, filth and sheer terror. (IMDB)

Taut, breathtakingly thrilling, and devastatingly intelligent, Das Boot is one of the greatest war films ever made.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics Consensus

Why is Das Boot among the best movies of the 1980s?
✓ Included among the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die.
✓ The film was ranked #25 in Empire magazine’s “The 100 Best Films Of World Cinema” in 2010.
✓ It was a commercial and critical success and it was nominated for six Academy Awards.



The Evil Dead (1981)

The Evil Dead 1981, Sam Raimi, Great 1980s movies
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Supernatural slasher film written and directed by Sam Raimi and starring Bruce Campbell.

Story: Five friends travel to a cabin in the woods, where they unknowingly release flesh-possessing demons. (IMDB)

This classic low budget horror film combines just the right amount of gore and black humor, giving The Evil Dead an equal amount of thrills and laughs.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics Consensus

Why is The Evil Dead among the best movies of the 1980s?
✓ Included among the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die.
✓ Over the decades, this movie developed a reputation as one of the most significant cult films, cited among the greatest horror films of all time and one of the most successful independent films.
✓ One of the most popular movies of the 1980s, and a timeless horror classic.


Blade Runner (1982)

Blade Runner 1982, Harrison Ford, Top 1980s movies
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Science fiction action film directed by Ridley Scott and starring Harrison Ford.

Story: A blade runner must pursue and terminate four replicants who stole a ship in space, and have returned to Earth to find their creator. (IMDB)

Misunderstood when it first hit theaters, the influence of Ridley Scott’s mysterious, neo-noir Blade Runner has deepened with time. A visually remarkable, achingly human sci-fi masterpiece.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics Consensus

Why is Blade Runner among the best movies of the 1980s?
✓ Included among the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die, and it has influenced many science fiction films.
✓ Ranked #9 in Entertainment Weekly’s “Top 50 Cult Films of All-Time”.
✓ Wired magazine and Empire magazine voted it the best science fiction movie of all time.


E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial 1982, Steven Spielberg, Best 1980s films
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Science fiction family film directed by Steven Spielberg.

Story: A troubled child summons the courage to help a friendly alien escape Earth and return to his home world. (IMDB)

Playing as both an exciting sci-fi adventure and a remarkable portrait of childhood, Steven Spielberg’s touching tale of a homesick alien remains a piece of movie magic for young and old.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics Consensus

Why is E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial among the best movies of the 1980s?
✓ Included among the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die and Roger Ebert’s Great Movies list.
✓ The #1 highest grossing movie of the 1980s.
✓ This film is ranked as #6 on AFI’s 100 Years…100 Cheers, #3 on their Top 10 science fiction films, #24 on their list of the Greatest Movie of All Time.
✓ Considered to be one of the finest movies of its generation.


The Thing (1982)

The Thing 1982, Famous 1980s movies
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Science fiction horror film directed by John Carpenter and starring Kurt Russel.

Story: A research team in Antarctica is hunted by a shape-shifting alien that assumes the appearance of its victims. (IMDB)

Why is The Thing among the best movies of the 1980s?
✓ Included among the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die.
✓ Entertainment Weekly ranked this as the 12th scariest movie of all time.
✓ Regarded as one of the best and most influential science fiction or horror films ever made, and has gained a cult following.


Scarface (1983)

Scarface 1983, Al Pacino, Top 1980s films
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Crime drama film directed by Brian De Palma and starring Al Pacino.

Story: In 1980 Miami, a determined Cuban immigrant takes over a drug cartel and succumbs to greed. (IMDB)

Director Brian De Palma and star Al Pacino take it to the limit in this stylized, ultra-violent and eminently quotable gangster epic that walks a thin white line between moral drama and celebratory excess.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics Consensus

Why is Scarface among the best movies of the 1980s?
✓ Included among the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die and Roger Ebert’s Great Movies list.
✓ Ranked #10 on the American Film Institute’s list of the 10 greatest films in the genre “Gangster”.
✓ Ranked #8 in Entertainment Weekly’s “Top 50 Cult Films of All-Time”.



Trading Places (1983)

Trading Places 1983, Eddie Murphy, Best 1980s movies
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Comedy film starring Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd.

Story: A snobbish investor and a wily street con artist find their positions reversed as part of a bet by two callous millionaires. (IMDB)

Featuring deft interplay between Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd, Trading Places is an immensely appealing social satire.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics Consensus

Why is Trading Places among the best movies of the 1980s?
✓ Premiere voted this movie as one of “The 50 Greatest Comedies Of All Time”.
✓ Received several award nominations in 1984 including an Academy Award, two Golden Globes, and three BAFTA awards.


A Christmas Story (1983)

A Christmas Story 1983, Great 1980s movies
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Christmas comedy film directed by Bob Clark.

Story: In the 1940s, a young boy named Ralphie attempts to convince his parents, his teacher and Santa that a Red Ryder BB gun really is the perfect Christmas gift. (IMDB)

Both warmly nostalgic and darkly humorous, A Christmas Story deserves its status as a holiday perennial.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics Consensus

Why is A Christmas Story among the best movies of the 1980s?
✓ Included among the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die and Roger Ebert’s Great Movies list.
✓ Often ranked as one of the best Christmas films.
✓ Selected for preservation in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress for being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.


The Terminator (1984)

The Terminator 1984, Arnold Schwarzenegger, James Cameron, Top 1980s movies
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Science fiction action film directed by James Cameron and starring Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Story: In 1984, a human soldier is tasked to stop an indestructible cyborg killing machine, both sent from 2029, from executing a young woman, whose unborn son is the key to humanity’s future salvation. (IMDB)

With its impressive action sequences, taut economic direction, and relentlessly fast pace, it’s clear why The Terminator continues to be an influence on sci-fi and action flicks.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics Consensus

Why is The Terminator among the best movies of the 1980s?
✓ Included among the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die.
✓ Selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the National Film Registry as “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.
✓ Total Film called it the 72nd-best film ever made, ranked 42nd on AFI’s 100 Years… 100 Thrills, and Empire magazine selected it as one of The 500 Greatest Movies of All Time.


Amadeus (1984)

 Amadeus 1984, Best 1980s films
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American period biographical drama film.

Story: The life, success and troubles of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, as told by Antonio Salieri, the contemporaneous composer who was insanely jealous of Mozart’s talent and claimed to have murdered him. (IMDB)

A lavish, entertaining, powerful film about the life and influence, both positive and negative, of one of Western culture’s great artists.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics Consensus

Why is Amadeus among the best movies of the 1980s?
✓ Included among the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die and Roger Ebert’s Great Movies list.
✓ Nominated for 53 awards and received 40, including eight Oscars (as well as the Academy Award for Best Picture), four BAFTA Awards, four Golden Globe Awards, and a Directors Guild of America award.
✓ The American Film Institute ranked it 53rd on its 100 Years… 100 Movies list.


Ghostbusters (1984)

Ghostbusters 1984, Bill Murray, Famous 1980s movies
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Supernatural comedy film starring Bill Murray, Rick Moranis and Sigourney Weaver.

Story: Three former parapsychology professors set up shop as a unique ghost removal service. (IMDB)

An infectiously fun blend of special effects and comedy, with Bill Murray’s hilarious deadpan performance leading a cast of great comic turns.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics Consensus

Why is Ghostbusters among the best movies of the 1980s?
✓ Included among the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die.
✓ Upon its release, it became a cultural phenomenon, and one of the highest grossing movies of the 1980s.
✓ Voted number 28 in channel 4’s (UK) “Greatest Family Films”.
✓ The Library of Congress selected it for preservation in the National Film Registry, finding it “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.



Back to the Future (1985)

Back to the Future 1985, Top 1980s films
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Science fiction adventure film directed by Robert Zemeckis and starring Michael J. Fox.

Story: Marty McFly, a 17-year-old high school student, is accidentally sent thirty years into the past in a time-traveling DeLorean invented by his close friend, the eccentric scientist Doc Brown. (IMDB)

Inventive, funny, and breathlessly constructed, Back to the Future is a rousing time-travel adventure with an unforgettable spirit.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics Consensus

Why is Back to the Future among the best movies of the 1980s?
✓ Included among the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die.
✓ One of the highest grossing movies of the 1980s.
✓ Ranked #10 on the American Film Institute’s list of the ten greatest films in the genre “Sci-Fi”.
✓ It won the Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation, the Saturn Award for Best Science Fiction Film, and the Academy Award for Best Sound Effects Editing. It also received three Academy Award nominations, five BAFTA nominations, and four Golden Globe nominations, including Best Motion Picture.


The Breakfast Club (1985)

The Breakfast Club 1985, Best 1980s movies
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Teen comedy-drama film written, produced, and directed by John Hughes.

Story: Five high school students meet in Saturday detention and discover how they have a lot more in common than they thought. (IMDB)

The Breakfast Club is a warm, insightful, and very funny look into the inner lives of teenagers.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics Consensus

Why is The Breakfast Club among the best movies of the 1980s?
✓ Included among the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die.
✓ Ranked at #1 for Entertaiment Weekly’s 50 Best High School Movies.
✓ Selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.


The Goonies (1985)

The Goonies 1985, Great 1980s movies
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Adventure comedy film co-produced and directed by Richard Donner.

Story: A group of young misfits called The Goonies discover an ancient map and set out on an adventure to find a legendary pirate’s long-lost treasure. (IMDB)

An energetic, sometimes noisy mix of Speilbergian sentiment and funhouse tricks that will appeal to kids and nostalgic adults alike.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics Consensus

Why is The Goonies among the best movies of the 1980s?
✓ It became a cult film, and it was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.
✓ One of the highest grossing and most popular movies of the 1980s, and a timeless classic.


Aliens (1986)

Aliens 1986, James Cameron, Top 1980s movies
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Science fiction action film written and directed by James Cameron, starring Sigourney Weaver.

Story: Ellen Ripley is rescued by a deep salvage team after being in hypersleep for 57 years. The moon that the Nostromo visited has been colonized, but contact is lost. This time, colonial marines have impressive firepower, but will that be enough? (IMDB)

Why is Aliens among the best movies of the 1980s?
✓ Included among the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die.
✓ Winner of 2 Oscars, and nominee for another 5.
✓ Voted the 42nd Greatest Film of all time by Entertainment Weekly.


Platoon (1986)

Platoon 1986, Charlie Sheen and Willem Dafoe, Best 1980s films
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Drama war film directed by Oliver Stone, starring Charlie Sheen and Willem Dafoe.

Story: A young soldier in Vietnam faces a moral crisis when confronted with the horrors of war and the duality of man. (IMDB)

Informed by director Oliver Stone’s personal experiences in Vietnam, Platoon forgoes easy sermonizing in favor of a harrowing, ground-level view of war, bolstered by no-holds-barred performances from Charlie Sheen and Willem Dafoe.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics Consensus

Why is Platoon among the best movies of the 1980s?
✓ Included among the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die.
✓ Winner of 4 Oscars, including the “Best Picture of the Year” Academy Award, and nominee for another 4.
✓ In 2007, the American Film Institute ranked this as the #86 Greatest Movie of All Time.



Stand by Me (1986)

Stand by Me 1986, Famous 1980s movies
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American coming-of-age film directed by Rob Reiner.

Story: After the death of one of his friends, a writer recounts a boyhood journey with his friends to find the body of a missing boy. (IMDB)

Stand By Me is a wise, nostalgic movie with a weird streak that captures both Stephen King’s voice and the trials of growing up.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics Consensus

Why is Stand by Me among the best movies of the 1980s?
✓ Included among the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die.
✓ The film received the Jackie Coogan Award for Outstanding Contribution to Youth Through Motion Picture.
✓ One of the most popular movies of the 1980s, a box office success, and a timeless classic.


Predator (1987)

Predator 1987, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Top 1980s films
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Science fiction action horror film starring Arnold Schwarzenegger

Stroy: A team of commandos on a mission in a Central American jungle find themselves hunted by an extraterrestrial warrior. (IMDB)

Why is Predator among the best movies of the 1980s?
✓ Entertainment Weekly named it the 22nd greatest action movie of all time.
✓ Empire magazine ranked it 366th on their list of “The 500 Greatest Movies of All Time”.
✓ It initially met with mixed-to-negative reviews, but has since been reappraised as a classic of the action genre.


Lethal Weapon (1987)

Lethal Weapon 1987, Mel Gibson, Best 1980s movies
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Buddy cop action comedy film starring Mel Gibson and Danny Glover.

Story: Two newly paired cops who are complete opposites must put aside their differences in order to catch a gang of drug smugglers. (IMDB)

The most successful installment in a phenomenally successful series, Lethal Weapon helped redefine action movies for the 1980s and 1990s.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics Consensus

Why is Lethal Weapon among the best movies of the 1980s?
✓ Widely considered to be one of the best buddy cop films of all time, influencing numerous future “buddy cop” movies.
✓ One of the most popular movies of the 1980s, and a timeless classic.


RoboCop (1987)

RoboCop 1987, Great 1980s movies
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Science fiction action film directed by Paul Verhoeven.

Story: In a dystopic and crime-ridden Detroit, a terminally wounded cop returns to the force as a powerful cyborg haunted by submerged memories. (IMDB)

While over-the-top and gory, Robocop is also a surprisingly smart sci-fi flick that uses ultraviolence to disguise its satire of American culture.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics Consensus

Why is RoboCop among the best movies of the 1980s?
✓ Included among the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die.
✓ Honors for the film include five Saturn Awards, two BAFTA Award nominations and the Academy Award for Best Sound Effects Editing, along with nominations for Best Film Editing and Best Sound.
✓ One of the most popular movies of the 1980s, and a timeless classic.


Die Hard (1988)

Die Hard 1988, Bruce Willis, Top 1980s movies
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Action thriller film starring Bruce Willis.

Story: An NYPD officer tries to save his wife and several others taken hostage by German terrorists during a Christmas party at the Nakatomi Plaza in Los Angeles. (IMDB)

Why is Die Hard among the best movies of the 1980s?
✓ Included among the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die.
✓ Widely regarded as one of the best action and Christmas-themed films ever made.
✓ Ranks No. 20 on Empire’s 2017 list of the 100 greatest movies of all time.



Rain Man (1988)

 Rain Man 1988, Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise, Best 1980s films
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Road comedy-drama film directed by Barry Levinson, starring Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise.

Story: Selfish yuppie Charlie Babbitt’s father left a fortune to his savant brother Raymond and a pittance to Charlie; they travel cross-country. (IMDB)

This road-trip movie about an autistic savant and his callow brother is far from seamless, but Barry Levinson’s direction is impressive, and strong performances from Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman add to its appeal.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics Consensus

Why is Rain Man among the best movies of the 1980s?
✓ Included among the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die.
✓ One of the highest grossing movies of the 1980s.
✓ Winner of 4 Oscars, including the “Best Picture of the Year” Academy Award, and nominee for another 5.


Beetlejuice (1988)

Beetlejuice 1988, Michael Keaton, Top 1980s films
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Comedy horror-fantasy film directed by Tim Burton and
starring Michael Keaton.

Story: The spirits of a deceased couple are harassed by an unbearable family that has moved into their home, and hire a malicious spirit to drive them out. (IMDB)

Brilliantly bizarre and overflowing with ideas, Beetlejuice offers some of Michael Keaton’s most deliciously manic work – and creepy, funny fun for the whole family.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics Consensus

Why is Beetlejuice among the best movies of the 1980s?
✓ It won the Academy Award for Best Makeup and three Saturn Awards, and it was nominated for the Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation.
✓ #88 in the American Film Institute’s list of Best Comedies.
✓ One of the most popular movies of the 1980s, and a timeless fantasy-comedy-horror classic.


Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade 1989, Steven Spielberg, Harrison Ford and Sean Connery, Best 1980s movies
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Action adventure film directed by Steven Spielberg, starring Harrison Ford and Sean Connery.

Story: In 1938, after his father Professor Henry Jones, Sr. goes missing while pursuing the Holy Grail, Professor Henry “Indiana” Jones, Jr. finds himself up against Adolf Hitler’s Nazis again to stop them from obtaining its powers. (IMDB)

Lighter and more comedic than its predecessor, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade returns the series to the brisk serial adventure of Raiders, while adding a dynamite double act between Harrison Ford and Sean Connery.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics Consensus

Why is Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade among the best movies of the 1980s?
✓ One of the highest grossing movies of the 1980s and a timeless adventure classic.
✓ Winner of 1 Oscars, and nominee for another 2.
✓ The film won the 1990 Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation, and was nominated for Best Motion Picture Drama at the Young Artist Awards.


Batman (1989)

Batman 1989, Tim Burton, Michael Keaton and Jack Nicholson, Famous 1980s movies
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Superhero film directed by Tim Burton, starring Michael Keaton and Jack Nicholson.

Story: The Dark Knight of Gotham City begins his war on crime with his first major enemy being Jack Napier, a criminal who becomes the clownishly homicidal Joker. (IMDB)

An eerie, haunting spectacle, Batman succeeds as dark entertainment, even if Jack Nicholson’s Joker too often overshadows the title character.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics Consensus

Why is Batman among the best movies of the 1980s?
✓ Included among the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die.
✓ One of the highest grossing movies of the 1980s, actually it was the fifth-highest-grossing film in history at the time of its release.
✓ The film received several Saturn Award nominations and a Golden Globe nomination, and won an Academy Award.


The Little Mermaid (1989)

The Little Mermaid 1989, Great 1980s movies
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Animated musical romantic fantasy film produced by Disney.

Story: A mermaid princess makes a Faustian bargain in an attempt to become human and win a prince’s love. (IMDB)

The Little Mermaid ushered in a new golden era for Disney animation with warm and charming hand-drawn characters and catchy musical sequences.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics Consensus

Why is The Little Mermaid among the best movies of the 1980s?
✓ The film won two Academy Awards for Best Original Score as well as Best Song, and also won two Golden Globes.
✓ One of the most popular and highest grossing films of the 1980s, and an all-time Disney classic.



…end of the reel…

So there you have it: The 30 Greatest Movies of the 1980s

If you want to take a look at the ‘Top 30 Best Movies of the 1980s’ list without all that info between the titles, here’s a quick recap:

Top 30 Movies of the 1980s
Three films from each year, chronologically
- 1980 -
Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back 1980
Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back
*Part of the Collection: Star Wars Cinematic Universe
The Shining 1980
The Shining
*Part of the Collection: The Shining Duology
Raging Bull 1980
Raging Bull
- 1981 -
Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior 1981
Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior
*Part of the Collection: Mel Gibson’s Mad Max Trilogy
Das Boot 1981
Das Boot
The Evil Dead 1981
The Evil Dead
*Part of the Collection: Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead Trilogy
- 1982 -
Blade Runner 1982
Blade Runner
*Part of the Collection: Blade Runner Duology
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial 1982
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
The Thing 1982
The Thing
- 1983 -
Scarface 1983
Scarface
Trading Places 1983
Trading Places
A Christmas Story 1983
A Christmas Story
- 1984 -
The Terminator 1984
The Terminator
*Part of the Collection: The Terminator Franchise
Amadeus 1984
Amadeus
Ghostbusters 1984
Ghostbusters
*Part of the Collection: Ghostbusters Trilogy
- 1985 -
Back to the Future 1985
Back to the Future
*Part of the Collection: Back to the Future Trilogy
The Breakfast Club 1985
The Breakfast Club
The Goonies 1985
The Goonies
- 1986 -
Aliens 1986
Aliens
*Part of the Collection: Aliens and Predators Cinematic Universe
Platoon 1986
Platoon
Stand by Me 1986
Stand by Me
- 1987 -
Predator 1987
Predator
*Part of the Collection: Aliens and Predators Cinematic Universe
Lethal Weapon 1987
Lethal Weapon
*Part of the Collection: The Original Lethal Weapon Quadrology
RoboCop 1987
RoboCop
*Part of the Collection: The Original Robocop Trilogy
- 1988 -
Die Hard 1988
Die Hard
*Part of the Collection: Bruce Willis’s Die Hard Franchise
Rain Man 1988
Rain Man
Beetlejuice 1988
Beetlejuice
- 1989 -
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade 1989
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
*Part of the Collection: Indiana Jones Quadrology
Batman 1989
Batman
*Part of the Collection: Tim Burton’s and Joel Schumacher’s Batman Quadrology
The Little Mermaid 1989
The Little Mermaid
*Part of the Collection: Disney’s Classic Little Mermaid Trilogy
*Click any Title for more Info and for Streaming / Disc Buying options.

Wait, there’s more!

If you’re a hardcore fan of the 1980s Cinema, and you already saw most of the movies in the Top 30 List above, than here’s the extended version for you:

TOP 100 FILMS OF THE 1980s
Click to reveal the List

The 100 Greatest Movies of the 1980s
Ten films from each year, chronologically
- 1980 -
Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back 1980
Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back
*Part of the Collection: Star Wars Cinematic Universe
The Shining 1980
The Shining
*Part of the Collection: The Shining Duology
Raging Bull 1980
Raging Bull
The Elephant Man 1980
The Elephant Man
Airplane! 1980
Airplane!
*Part of the Collection: Airplane Duology
The Blues Brothers 1980
The Blues Brothers
*Part of the Collection: John Landis’s Blues Brothers Duology
Friday the 13th 1980
Friday the 13th
*Part of the Collection: Freddy and Jason Cinematic Universe
Caddyshack 1980
Caddyshack
Superman II 1980
Superman II
*Part of the Collection: Christopher Reeve’s Superman Quadrology
The Fog 1980
The Fog
- 1981 -
Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior 1981
Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior
*Part of the Collection: Mel Gibson’s Mad Max Trilogy
Das Boot 1981
Das Boot
The Evil Dead 1981
The Evil Dead
*Part of the Collection: Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead Trilogy
Raiders of the Lost Ark 1981
Raiders of the Lost Ark
*Part of the Collection: Indiana Jones Quadrology
Escape from New York 1981
Escape from New York
*Part of the Collection: Kurt Russel’s Escape Duology
For Your Eyes Only 1981
For Your Eyes Only
*Part of the Collection: Roger Moore’s James Bond Franchise
An American Werewolf in London 1981
An American Werewolf in London
*Part of the Collection: American Werewolf Duology
The Fox and the Hound 1981
The Fox and the Hound
*Part of the Collection: The Fox and the Hound Duology
Time Bandits 1981
Time Bandits
Excalibur 1981
Excalibur
- 1982 -
Blade Runner 1982
Blade Runner
*Part of the Collection: Blade Runner Duology
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial 1982
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
The Thing 1982
The Thing
Gandhi 1982
Gandhi
First Blood 1982
First Blood
*Part of the Collection: Sylvester Stallone’s Rambo Franchise
Rocky III 1982
Rocky III
*Part of the Collection: Rocky and Creed Franchise
Poltergeist 1982
Poltergeist
*Part of the Collection: Original Poltergeist Trilogy
Conan the Barbarian 1982
Conan the Barbarian
*Part of the Collection: Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Conan Duology
TRON 1982
TRON
*Part of the Collection: Tron Duology
Star Trek II - The Wrath of Khan 1982
Star Trek II - The Wrath of Khan
*Part of the Collection: Star Trek Franchise
- 1983 -
Scarface 1983
Scarface
Trading Places 1983
Trading Places
A Christmas Story 1983
A Christmas Story
Star Wars: Return of the Jedi 1983
Star Wars: Return of the Jedi
*Part of the Collection: Star Wars Cinematic Universe
National Lampoon's Vacation 1983
National Lampoon's Vacation
*Part of the Collection: Vacation Franchise
Octopussy 1983
Octopussy
*Part of the Collection: Roger Moore’s James Bond Franchise
WarGames 1983
WarGames
Videodrome 1983
Videodrome
Risky Business 1983
Risky Business
The Outsiders 1983
The Outsiders
- 1984 -
The Terminator 1984
The Terminator
*Part of the Collection: The Terminator Franchise
Amadeus 1984
Amadeus
Ghostbusters 1984
Ghostbusters
*Part of the Collection: Ghostbusters Trilogy
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom 1984
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
*Part of the Collection: Indiana Jones Quadrology
Once Upon a Time in America 1984
Once Upon a Time in America
A Nightmare on Elm Street 1984
A Nightmare on Elm Street
*Part of the Collection: Freddy and Jason Cinematic Universe
Gremlins 1984
Gremlins
*Part of the Collection: Gremlins Duology
The Karate Kid 1984
The Karate Kid
*Part of the Collection: The Karate Kid Quadrology
Beverly Hills Cop 1984
Beverly Hills Cop
*Part of the Collection: Eddie Murphy’s Beverly Hills Cop Trilogy
The NeverEnding Story 1984
The NeverEnding Story
*Part of the Collection: The Original NeverEnding Story Trilogy
- 1985 -
Back to the Future 1985
Back to the Future
*Part of the Collection: Back to the Future Trilogy
The Breakfast Club 1985
The Breakfast Club
The Goonies 1985
The Goonies
Brazil 1985
Brazil
Rocky IV 1985
Rocky IV
*Part of the Collection: Rocky and Creed Franchise
Rambo: First Blood Part II 1985
Rambo: First Blood Part II
*Part of the Collection: Sylvester Stallone’s Rambo Franchise
Commando 1985
Commando
Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome 1985
Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome
*Part of the Collection: Mel Gibson’s Mad Max Trilogy
Ran 1985
Ran
Witness 1985
Witness
- 1986 -
Aliens 1986
Aliens
*Part of the Collection: Aliens and Predators Cinematic Universe
Platoon 1986
Platoon
Stand by Me 1986
Stand by Me
Ferris Bueller's Day Off 1986
Ferris Bueller's Day Off
Top Gun 1986
Top Gun
Blue Velvet 1986
Blue Velvet
The Fly 1986
The Fly
*Part of the Collection: The Fly [Remake #1] Duology
Labyrinth 1986
Labyrinth
Big Trouble in Little China 1986
Big Trouble in Little China
Highlander 1986
Highlander
*Part of the Collection: The Original Highlander Franchise
- 1987 -
Predator 1987
Predator
*Part of the Collection: Aliens and Predators Cinematic Universe
Lethal Weapon 1987
Lethal Weapon
*Part of the Collection: The Original Lethal Weapon Quadrology
RoboCop 1987
RoboCop
*Part of the Collection: The Original Robocop Trilogy
Full Metal Jacket 1987
Full Metal Jacket
The Princess Bride 1987
The Princess Bride
The Untouchables 1987
The Untouchables
Dirty Dancing 1987
Dirty Dancing
*Part of the Collection: Dirty Dancing Duology
Spaceballs 1987
Spaceballs
Evil Dead II 1987
Evil Dead II
*Part of the Collection: Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead Trilogy
Wall Street 1987
Wall Street
*Part of the Collection: Oliver Stone’s Wall Street Duology
- 1988 -
Die Hard 1988
Die Hard
*Part of the Collection: Bruce Willis’s Die Hard Franchise
Rain Man 1988
Rain Man
Beetlejuice 1988
Beetlejuice
My Neighbor Totoro 1988
My Neighbour Totoro
Cinema Paradiso 1988
Cinema Paradiso
Big 1988
Big
Who Framed Roger Rabbit 1988
Who Framed Roger Rabbit
Coming to America 1988
Coming to America
The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! 1988
The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!
*Part of the Collection: Leslie Nielsen’s Naked Gun Trilogy
A Fish Called Wanda 1988
A Fish Called Wanda
- 1989 -
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade 1989
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
*Part of the Collection: Indiana Jones Quadrology
Batman 1989
Batman
*Part of the Collection: Tim Burton’s and Joel Schumacher’s Batman Quadrology
The Little Mermaid 1989
The Little Mermaid
*Part of the Collection: Disney’s Classic Little Mermaid Trilogy
Back to the Future Part II 1989
Back to the Future Part II
*Part of the Collection: Back to the Future Trilogy
Dead Poets Society 1989
Dead Poets Society
When Harry Met Sally... 1989
When Harry Met Sally...
Ghostbusters II 1989
Ghostbusters II
*Part of the Collection: Ghostbusters Trilogy
The Abyss 1989
The Abyss
Lethal Weapon 2 1989
Lethal Weapon 2
*Part of the Collection: The Original Lethal Weapon Quadrology
National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation 1989
National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation
*Part of the Collection: Vacation Franchise
*Click any Title for more Info and for Streaming / Disc Buying options.

Is there a movie on the list you’d replace with another one? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!


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