21 Movies From the 80s That Are Still Worth Watching

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The 80s have recently come back in style. Films and TV shows have romanticized its big hair, vibrant style, and synth-wave music to resounding success. So now is the perfect time to revisit some of these classic films to see what made them so impactful.

From killer robots to glammed-out vampires, the 80s was an eventful period, if nothing else. We have cultivated a list of some of the best productions of the decade. So grab a Coke and settle in. This is going to be rad.

1. The Lost Boys

Photo Credit: Warner Bros.

This horror comedy is pumped full of 80s style. The Lost Boys follows a family who moves to a small California town only to discover that it is overrun with vampires. This film features fantastic glam makeup, giant hair, and a ripped, shirtless saxophone player. What more could you ask for?

Directed by Joel Schumacher, The Lost Boys is one of the most iconic horror films from the 1980s. Outstanding performances by Kiefer Sutherland and Corey Feldman have ensured that the film stands the test of time.

2. Full Metal Jacket

Photo Credit: Warner Bros.

This war epic shows the true horrors of war. Full Metal Jacket follows a group of soldiers during their training and deployment during the Vietnam War. The film highlights the physical and psychological cost of deployment.

Directed by Stanley Kubrick, Full Metal Jacket is applauded for its brutal realism and no-holds-barred approach to filmmaking. The anguish war inflicts on soldiers is just as meaningful of a subject today as it was in the 1980s.

3. The Shining

Photo Credit: Warner Bros.

Speaking of Stanely Kubrick, the famed director is also responsible for this iconic horror classic. The Shining is loosely based on a novel by the incredible Stephen King. The film follows a family who become caretakers of an isolated hotel for the winter.

Unfortunately, the hotel harbors a dark force that threatens to rip the family apart if they don’t escape. The Shining is a classic film that many consider to be one of the greatest ever made. Stephen King may not have been thrilled with Kubrick’s adaptation, but audiences still love this iconic film.

4. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial

Photo Credit: Universal Pictures.

This beloved science fiction flick made Reese’s Pieces a household name. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial is about a young boy who befriends an alien and sets out to return him to his home planet.

Directed by Steven Spielberg, E.T. is fondly remembered for its heartwarming story, impressive effects, and memorable characters. This family-friendly film is just as inspiring now as it was in 1982.

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5. Poltergeist

Photo Credit: MGM.

This horror film highlights the dangers of home ownership. Poltergeist is about a family who purchases a new home only to discover malevolent spirits haunt it. The cause of the haunting relies on an offensive trope, but the film is otherwise fantastic.

Directed by Tobe Hooper, Poltergeist is known for its impressive special effects, gruesome scenes, and some of the most memorable one-liners in film history. Poltergeist stands tall as one of the best haunted house flicks ever made.

6. Scarface

Photo Credit: Universal Pictures.

This film has inspired generations of gangsters. Scarface follows a Cuban immigrant as he rises up through the drug scene in Miami. However, as he reaches higher levels of success, the pressure of his operations starts to boil over.

Directed by Brian De Palma, Scarface features Al Pacino in one of his most memorable roles. This iconic film is loved for its explosive gunfights, disturbing imagery, and insight into the seedy underworld of drug cartels.

7. Die Hard

Photo Credit: Twentieth Century Fox.

This is the ultimate Christmas movie. Die Hard follows a New York City cop who battles a group of terrorists in a Los Angeles skyscraper. How is this a holiday movie? Because their epic battle takes place on Christmas Eve.

Directed by John McTiernan, Die Hard is a fantastic action flick that is still enjoyed today. The movie is remembered for its witty one-liners, incredible action, and brilliant performance by Bruce Willis.

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8. The Thing

Photo Credit: Universal Studios.

This film highlights the importance of being bilingual. The Thing follows a group of Antarctic scientists who a shape-shifting alien besieges. Trust begins to fall apart as the scientists start to become assimilated by the monster.

Directed by John Carpenter, The Thing is a paranoia-filled ride that still frightens audiences today. The film is loved for its fantastic practical effects, bleak tone, and jaw-dropping ending.

9. The Breakfast Club

Photo Credit: Universal Studios.

This may be the best coming-of-age film of all time. The Breakfast Club follows a group of high schoolers who are condemned to detention. But as they spend their Saturday together, the group discovers that they have more in common than they once thought possible.

Directed by John Hughes, The Breakfast Club is one of the decade’s most memorable films. The movie’s heartfelt performances, witty dialogue, and timeless themes have helped it remain relevant and insightful to this day.

10. The Goonies

The Goonies (1985)
Photo Credit: Warner Bros.

This film is one of the best intro horror movies for kids. The Goonies is about a group of kids who go on an adventure seeking hidden treasure after finding a lost pirate map. The kids must work together to get the treasure and save their town.

Directed by Richard Donner, The Goonies is a fantastic fantasy horror movie that people of all ages can enjoy. The film is further elevated by the incredible composer Dave Grusin.

11. A Nightmare on Elm Street

Photo Credit: New Line Cinema.

This 80s slasher spawned a horror icon. A Nightmare on Elm Street is about a child predator who is burned alive by a vengeful mob. However, he returns from the grave to enact vengeance on the town’s children while they sleep.

Directed by Wes Craven, A Nightmare on Elm Street is one of the greatest horror franchises of all time. Fans love the film for its witty one-liners, awesome kill scenes, and terrific performance by Robert Englund.

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12. Back to the Future

Photo Credit: Universal Studios.

This science fiction film made time travel cool. Back to the Future follows Marty McFly as he accidentally travels back in time to 1955. He must find a way to return to the present without changing the past and erasing his existence.

Directed by Robert Zemeckis, Back to the Future changed the science fiction genre forever. The film is still loved for its iconic characters, zany humor, and its unforgettable 80s soundtrack.

13. Beetlejuice

Photo Credit: Warner Bros.

This film features everyone’s favorite poltergeist. Beetlejuice follows a newly deceased couple who hire a bio-exorcist to remove the new owners of their home. But the ghost with the most has his own plans, and things soon descend into madness.

Directed by Tim Burton, Beetlejuice is one of the most memorable horror comedies of all time. The combination of Tim Burton’s neo-gothic style and Michael Keaton’s performance as Beetlejuice makes this film unmissable.

14. Ghostbusters

Ghostbusters (1984)
Photo Credit: Columbia Pictures.

This film made ghost-hunting hilarious. Ghostbusters follows a rag-tag group of scientists who start a side business catching ghosts. They soon have to battle it out with the darkest force known to mankind: bureaucracy.

Directed by Ivan Reitman, Ghostbusters has an all-star 80s cast. These stars include Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Rick Moranis, Sigourney Weaver, Annie Potts, Ernie Hudson, and Harold Ramis. It would be difficult to find a better cast representing the awesomeness of the 80s.

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15. The Terminator

Photo Credit: MGM.

This film just keeps coming back. The Terminator is a science fiction action flick that follows a cyborg assassin sent back in time to kill the yet-to-be-born savior of humanity. The film’s exploration of the dangers of technology remains relevant to this day.

Directed by James Cameron, The Terminator is known for its nonstop action, heavy science fiction tropes, and a breakout performance by Arnold Schwarzenegger. The film has spawned 5 sequels and remains just as popular today as it was forty years ago.

16. Airplane!

Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures.

This film revived slapstick comedy. Airplane! is a satirical comedy that takes shots at the disaster genre that was popular during the 70s. The film follows a group of people who must survive a plane crash following a terrible food poisoning incident.

Directed by Jim Abrahams, Airplane! is an absurdly hilarious film. It uses slapstick, physical comedy, and sight gags to create a one-of-a-kind film. Airplane! is a cherished film that features a fantastic performance by legendary comedian Leslie Nielsen.

17. Labyrinth

Photo Credit: TriStar Pictures.

This film shows the dark side of Jim Henson. Labyrinth follows a teenage girl who must enter a mystical labyrinth to rescue her baby brother from the clutches of the Goblin King. The mythical David Bowie plays this iconic king of darkness.

Labyrinth utilizes Jim Henson’s puppets in a way the world has never seen before. This darker approach left a lasting mark on the world of cinema, which fans still love to this day. Labyrinth is a unique gem from the 80s that has never been replicated.

18. RoboCop

Photo Credit: Twentieth Century Fox.

This science fiction film will freeze you in your tracks. Robocop follows a police officer who is brought back as a cyborg after being killed in action. He must use his newfound powers to fight the seedy underbelly of Detroit.

Directed by Paul Verhoeven, Robocop is a brilliantly bloody action flick that keeps audiences on their toes. It also explores themes of authoritarianism, religion, and what it truly means to be a person.  

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19. Gremlins

Photo Credit: Warner Bros.

Don’t watch this film after midnight. Gremlins is a fantasy horror about a young man who receives a mysterious pet, Mogwai, from his father. After he forgets to follow the rules regarding this creature, new evil variants of Mogwai begin to spawn and take over the town.

Directed by Joe Dante, Gremlins is a family-friendly horror movie that is still enjoyed today. The film blends comedy and terror in an approachable way that appeals to all audiences. The mischievous gremlins remain an instantly recognizable piece of pop culture history.

20. Who Framed Roger Rabbit

Photo Credit: Walt Disney Pictures.

This film is the perfect blend of animation and live-action. Who Framed Roger Rabbit is about a detective trying to solve a murder in a town partially populated by Hollywood cartoons. But Eddie Valiant soon uncovers a conspiracy in the cartoon world that must be stopped.

Directed by Robert Zemeckis, Who Framed Roger Rabbit is a one-of-a-kind comedy that will never be forgotten. The film is applauded for its use of groundbreaking animation, raunchy humor, and a fantastic ensemble cast.

21. Come and See

Photo Credit: Belarusfilm.

This war film highlights the darkest effects of war. Come and See follows a young boy who joins the Soviet resistance during World War II. The film serves as a firsthand account of the horrors young men experienced during this time.

Directed by Elem Klimov, Come and See is a brutal and bleak film that can be hard to stomach. However, its messaging and impact remain just as relevant today as they were in the 1980s. Come and See is a rewarding and heart-wrenching experience for those who can stick through it.

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20 Timeless Black and White Films That We Absolutely Love

Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox.

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20 Timeless Black and White Films That We Absolutely Love

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Home Alone (1990)
Image Credit: 20th Century Fox.

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