The Best 80s Movies: A Decade of Cinematic Excellence

by Tara Price

25th December, 2023

The Best 80s Movies: A Decade of Cinematic Excellence

The 1980s were a golden era for cinema, producing some of the most iconic and beloved movies of all time. From heartwarming romances to action-packed adventures, the decade had something for everyone. In this article, we will take a journey back in time to explore the best 80s movies that continue to captivate audiences today.

The Rise of Genres

The 80s witnessed the rise of various genres, each leaving a lasting impact on the film industry. Science fiction and horror reached new heights, captivating audiences with their imaginative storytelling and groundbreaking special effects. Meanwhile, action movies took audiences on thrilling rides filled with adrenaline-pumping stunts.

Science Fiction: Pushing Boundaries

Science fiction movies of the 80s pushed the boundaries of imagination and technology. Films like Blade Runner (1982) and The Terminator (1984) transported viewers to dystopian futures, exploring themes of artificial intelligence, humanity, and the consequences of technological advancements.

These movies set the standard for the genre and still resonate with audiences today.

Horror: Unleashing Nightmares

The 80s gave birth to some of the most iconic horror movies in history.

Frightening audiences with terrifying creatures and spine-chilling suspense, films like A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) and The Shining (1980) left a lasting impact on the genre.

The Lost Boys, a standout film of 1987, featured a dynamic cast including Jason Patric, Corey Haim, and Kiefer Sutherland, blending horror, comedy, and teen drama in a unique vampire narrative.

Set in the vibrant 80s era, it showcased a stylish and rebellious vampire gang, leaving a lasting impact on the genre. This cult classic, with its iconic soundtrack and innovative approach, significantly influenced future vampire portrayals in popular media.

These movies became cult classics and continue to scare audiences to this day.

Action: Thrills and Excitement

Action movies of the 80s were filled with high-octane thrills and larger-than-life heroes.

From the swashbuckling adventures of Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) to the explosive escapades of Die Hard (1988), these films delivered heart-pounding excitement and unforgettable moments.

They set the benchmark for action movies to come and continue to inspire filmmakers today.

The Stars of the Decade

The 80s saw the rise of several talented actors who became synonymous with the decade. These stars brought charisma, charm, and skill to their roles, captivating audiences with their performances.

Tom Hanks: The Versatile Everyman

Tom Hanks emerged as one of the most versatile actors of the 80s, showcasing his comedic talents in films like Big (1988) and his dramatic skills in movies like Splash (1984).

Hanks’ relatable everyman persona endeared him to audiences, setting the stage for his illustrious career.

Eddie Murphy: Comedy King

Eddie Murphy dominated the 80s with his comedic genius, delivering memorable performances in films like Beverly Hills Cop (1984) and Coming to America (1988).

Murphy’s infectious energy and sharp wit made him a fan favourite, propelling him to superstardom.

Sigourney Weaver: The Ultimate Action Heroine

Sigourney Weaver broke barriers in the 80s with her iconic role as Ellen Ripley in the Alien franchise. Her portrayal of a resilient and fearless heroine shattered gender stereotypes and paved the way for future female action stars.

The Underrated Gems

While some movies achieved instant fame and critical acclaim, there were others that flew under the radar but have since gained a dedicated following. These hidden gems offer unique perspectives and showcase the diverse storytelling of the decade.

Gregory’s Girl (1980): A Charming Scottish Rom-Com

Gregory’s Girl tells the story of a lovestruck teenager named Gregory who falls for a girl who joins his school’s soccer team. This charming Scottish rom-com explores the ups and downs of young love with wit and heart, offering a refreshing take on the genre.

Near Dark (1987): A Gritty Vampire Western

Near Dark combines elements of the Western and horror genres to create a unique and gritty vampire tale. Directed by Kathryn Bigelow, the film follows a young man who becomes entangled with a group of nomadic vampires. “Near Dark” showcases Bigelow’s talent for blending genres and offers a fresh take on the vampire mythos.

Matewan (1987): A Powerful Labour Movement Drama

Matewan is a powerful drama that delves into the struggles of coal miners during a labour dispute in 1920 West Virginia. Directed by John Sayles, the film explores themes of class, race, and the fight for workers’ rights. “Matewan” is a hidden gem that sheds light on an important chapter in American history.

The Timeless Classics

Certain movies from the 80s have stood the test of time and continue to captivate audiences of all ages. These timeless classics have become cultural touchstones and are beloved by generations.

Back to the Future (1985): A Time-Travel Adventure

Back to the Future takes audiences on an exhilarating time-travel adventure with the charismatic Marty McFly. Directed by Robert Zemeckis, the film seamlessly blends comedy, romance, and sci-fi elements to create an unforgettable cinematic experience. “Back to the Future” remains a beloved classic that continues to inspire and entertain.

The Princess Bride (1987): A Fairy Tale Adventure

The Princess Bride is a whimsical fairy tale adventure that has captured the hearts of audiences for decades. With its memorable characters, quotable dialogue, and timeless romance, the film has become a beloved favorite. “The Princess Bride” is a true testament to the power of storytelling and the enduring magic of cinema.

E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982): A Heartwarming Tale

E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial tells the heartwarming story of a young boy who befriends an alien stranded on Earth. Directed by Steven Spielberg, the film explores themes of friendship, family, and the power of imagination. “E.T.” became an instant classic, touching the hearts of audiences around the world.


The 80s were a decade of cinematic excellence, producing a plethora of unforgettable movies that continue to captivate audiences today. Whether it’s the groundbreaking science fiction of “Blade Runner,” the heart-pounding action of “Die Hard,” or the timeless charm of “The Princess Bride,” the best 80s movies have left an indelible mark on the film industry. These films represent the creativity, talent, and innovation of the era, and their enduring popularity is a testament to their timeless appeal. So grab some popcorn, dim the lights, and embark on a journey back in time to experience the magic of the best 80s movies once again.

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