Our Top 20 Favorite 80′s Movies


If for some unknown reason I was forced to forever only watch films from one decade in cinema history, my decision would be easy— the 80′s.

Don’t agree? Let’s see if this list of my pick of the 20 greatest movies made in the 80′s can change your mind.

(This list is in no particular order.)


  1. Gremlins

First up is Gremlins. Released in 1984, Gremlins was the film that introduced the world to 3 very important rules, and of course the lovable Mogwai named Gizmo. Also, who could forget the moment with the Gremlins singing along to Snow White in the theater? If you can’t take a look at the clip below!

Recently LeakyNews reported on rumors of a possible reboot for the series but hopefully the original will stand the test of time.

  • QED42

    The 1980s was certainly blessed with some great films and the summer of 1982 in particular is often lauded as on the best in terms of the number of quality releases the likes of which we haven’t really seen since although 2015 is shaping up to be pretty crowded. You picked out a lot of my favourite 80s films line Empire, Indiana Jones, Wrath of Khan (which I would go as far as to say is the definitive Trek film) and Back to the Future but your list is slanted a little towards films for younger viewers.

    Here’s another 20 that I would suggest are worth considering as well.

    Once Upon a Time in America (1984) – Sergio Leone is my favourite director of all time and this is his amazing meditation on guilt, greed and friendship in the gangster world. It was slaughtered by the studio initially but the 4 hour cut is so good.

    Batman (1989) – There were superhero films but for the year 2000 and Tim Burton’s take has some great art design but doesn’t necessarily hold up in comparison to the Nolan adaptations.

    The Killer (1989) – If you need an introduction to John Woo and Hong Kong cinema this is a great place to start.

    Blue Velvet (1986) – Considered to be one of David Lynch’s best films and certainly not the usual fare.

    Do the Right Thing (1989) – This is a great film from Spike Lee on race relations in the US.

    Wall Street (1987) – Really captures the 1980s culture of greed and capitalism.

    Ran (1985) – Kurosawa does a King Lear inspired tale set in feudal Japan. Has at least one amazing battle sequence.

    Tron (1982) – The first real use of CGI and it inspired John Lasseter to get involved with computer animation, which turned our pretty well for us.

    Akira (1988) – Mind blowing anime that is completely different to anything you will see Hollywood putting out at the time.

    Platoon (1986) – Charlie Sheen back when he was actually an actor in one of the definitive Vietnam films and iconic use of Barber’s Adagio for Strings.

    Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982) – A great snap shot of high school life in the 80s that is still relevant today. Oddly for a great 80s high school film John Hughes didn’t make it.

    The Shining (1980) – It’s Stanley Kubrick, Jack Nicholson and Stephen King all in one easily digestible 144 minute sized piece of goodness, what’s not to like here?

    First Blood (1982) – Before Stallone turned the franchise into a load of jingoistic chest thumping there was a pretty gripping action film and a quintessential entry into the “coming home” genre.

    The Thing (1982) – Another product of 1982, a classic monster film from John Carpenter.

    Gandhi (1982) – It’s a bit Oscar bait but Richard Attenborough’s 3 hour epic biopic is well worth a watch.

    The Verdict (1982) – Paul Newman as a has been lawyer in a great little court room drama.

    Full Metal Jacket (1987) – I hesitate to put yet another Vietnam film in but has some amazing lines. You might also think that you would have to go to Asia to film a Vietnam war film but if you are Stanley Kubrick you can pull it off in London’s dock lands.

    Top Gun (1986) – It may be a classic case of 80s jingoism but it perfectly captures that late Cold War zeitgeist and does it pretty entertainingly even if obviously cheese and simplistically.

    Empire of the Sun (1987) – It’s Spielberg, a script by Tom Stoppard and a really young Christian Bale in a great coming of age story set in Japan during WW2

    Brazil (1985) – Terry Gilliam made this great, bizarre satire dystopian satire that is hilarious and dark in equal measure. Michael Palin is great in it as well.

    There are tons of others that could have been included as well like Naked Gun, A Fish Called Wanda, Born on the 4th of July, Dead Poet’s Society, Raging Bull, The Colour of Money, Field of Dreams, A Room with a View, The Last Temptation of Christ, Fitzcarraldo, Day of the Dead, Dune, Pale Rider, Gallipoli, The Mad Max sequels, Casualties of War, The King of Comedy and The Last Emperor to name a few!

    So yeah, the 80s, plenty of stuff worth watching.