Last Updated on November 23, 2021
The 80s rocked. Some of the best music, festivals and movies happened during this time. If you want to relive the exciting old days, you can dive into our master list of the top entertaining movies from the 80s. You can look forward to sci-fi, action, romance and more.
1. Rain Man (1988)
Charlie Babbit needs money and when he learns that the majority of his father’s estate went to a mysterious brother he never knew he had, Charles hatches a plan. His brother, Raymond, is autistic and lives at a special home and to get the inheritance, Charles takes custody of his brother.
During a road trip, Charles discovers that Raymond is a gambling savant and he starts hitting the casinos. But as he grows fonder of Raymond, Charles realizes that family is more important than quick riches.
2. Batman (1989)
Batman fans will enjoy the background mythos being explained in this earlier chapter of the Batman series. Bruce Wayne has just decided to adopt his secret persona to protect Gotham City, still haunted by his parents’ murder years ago.
3. Aliens (1986)
Ellen Ripley is rescued and resuscitated after sleeping for 57 years inside an escape shuttle. Nobody believes her story about the deadly extraterrestrials that had killed her crew and forced Ripley to destroy her ship – but one detail catches the attention of her employers at the Weyland-Yutani Corporation. Their colony has gone silent on the exomoon LV-426, the location where Ripley claims alien eggs are onboard an abandoned ship.
Ripley joins a team of Marines sent to investigate. They find the colony destroyed by the same aliens that slaughtered Ripley’s crew. The battle to survive pits her against the ferocious predators and her employers, who want the eggs for biological warfare.
4. The Shining (1980)
By the time Jack Torrance takes a job as a winter caretaker of the rural Overlook Hotel, his wife and son are already on edge. Jack has a history of drunken violence and a staff member tells the boy, Danny, about the previous caretaker who murdered his family and tells the boy not to enter a certain mysterious room.
Their worst fears pale in comparison to the terror that unfolds as the hotel seems to influence Jack back into his past alcoholic violence but this time, he is hell bent on murdering both Danny and his mother.
5. Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989)
In 2688, the human race has finally achieved a utopian society. Civilization is based on the philosophy and music of the Two Great Ones. But a small change in the past threatens this wonderful time and one of the citizens, Rufus, goes back in time to make sure that the Two Great Ones, Bill and Ted, stay on track with their music.
Ted’s father wants to send him to a military school but that will alter the future and wipe out the utopian world. Using the time machine Rufus came in, Ted and Bill kidnap several historical figures to pass a history test and stay at their old school to save the future.
6. The Lost Boys (1987)
Michael and Sam Emerson move with their mother to go live with their grandfather in a small town called Santa Carla in California. They soon notice that the town has a lot of missing person flyers. Michael becomes distracted by the urge to join a local biker gang in order to get closer to Star, one of their beautiful girls.
But the brothers soon realize that the gang are vampires preying on Santa Carla’s inhabitants. Worse, they have infected Michael, prompting them to join forces with local vampire hunters to cure Michael and stage a final showdown with the bikers.
7. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
Indiana Jones is an adventurous archaeologist, so when intelligence agents recruit him to find the legendary Ark of the Covenant, he readily agrees. But there is a problem – a team of vicious and dedicated Nazis also wants the Ark.
Fearing that the Ark would give the Germans ultimate power, Jones joins forces with old acquaintances but he also has to overcome treacherous friends, tough clues and a worthy enemy before he can succeed.
8. The Terminator (1984)
A cyborg assassin called a Terminator arrives from 2029 to the year 1984. Landing in Los Angeles, he systematically begins to slaughter all women named Sarah Conner. But his last target is rescued just in time by a man called Kyle Reese.
The latter explains to Sarah that he is also from the future, sent back by her unborn son to protect her against the Terminator. As they fight to survive, Sarah learns the truth about the self-aware Skynet system that is trying to wipe out humanity and that her son, if she survives, will save them all.
9. Die Hard (1988)
When Detective John McClane arrives at his wife’s work for a Christmas party, he goes into the restroom to freshen up. But while he’s in the bathroom, armed men take everyone else hostage.
Hans Gruber is the mastermind behind a perfect plan to steal $640 million in untraceable bearer bonds kept in the office vault. But what he didn’t count on was McClane running loose inside the building. As the two men square off in a battle of wits and violence, McClane has to overcome Gruber’s men and trigger-happy FBI agents to rescue his wife.
10. The Karate Kid (1984)
Daniel LaRusso ticks off the wrong crowd when he hoses his bully, Johnny Lawrence, with water. Johnny and his friends, who study karate at the local Cobra Kai dojo, brutally beat Daniel.
When his building’s handyman, Mr Miyagi learns about the incident, he trains Daniel to face his tormentors in the All-Valley Karate Championships.
11. Ghostbusters (1984)
Columbia University professors Peter Venkman, Ray Stantz, and Egon Spengler are fired from their jobs after they claim to have encountered a ghost at the New York Public Library.
Fascinated by their sighting, they start their own ghost-hunting business complete with mysterious guns that can capture paranormal creatures. At first, the “Ghostbusters” are treated as a joke but when the city is suddenly overrun by demonic beings the team become the last barrier between a city’s survival and the apocalypse.
12. Coming to America (1988)
Akeem Joffer is the pampered crown prince of the wealthy African nation of Zamunda. He’s already tired of his cushy lifestyle but after his parents attempt to arrange a marriage for him, Akeem has had enough and moves to New York City.
He pretends to be a poor foreign student and while working at a fast-food restaurant, he falls in love with Lisa. But his attempts to win her heart are complicated by his luxury-loving aide and the arrival of his royal parents.
13. Poltergeist (1982)
The Freeling family lives a seemingly normal life until their house turns on them. Frightening paranormal events put everyone on edge but when their youngest daughter disappears and her voice can be heard coming from the TV, Steven and Diane call in the experts.
As the horror grows and Diane risks her life to retrieve their child, Steven learns that their home has a terrible secret.
14. Top Gun (1986)
Pete “Maverick” Mitchell is a superb fighter jet pilot stationed aboard the USS Enterprise. But he has a reputation for reckless flying and abandoning teamwork in the air to hunt the enemy alone. These flaws earn him both distrust and admiration when he attends TOPGUN, the Naval Fighter Weapons School at Naval Air Station Miramar.
When a fatal exercise at the school claims a close friend, Maverick has to regain his confidence to give his strongest TOPGUN rival life-saving backup during a real combat situation.
15. Blade Runner (1982)
Rick Deckard is an ex-cop with a special skill – he can effectively track down and kill bioengineered humans known as replicants. While in Los Angeles, he is tasked with eliminating four replicants but since they are so human-like, he is shown a way to test them. During the test, he meets Rachael, a woman who, to her own horror, thinks she’s a human but fails the requirements and learns that she is a replicant.
Deckard is thrown into the fight of his life when none of the four targets intend on going quietly. With Rachel’s love, he also learns that they are more human than he had ever realized.
16. E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
When ten-year-old Elliott Taylor tells his family that he spotted an alien in a cornfield, nobody believes him. He lures the creature into his home with candy where Elliott shares his otherworldly secret with his two siblings.
The alien calls itself E.T. and tells the children about his home and that he wants to contact his own kind. But their efforts to help E.T. are complicated by his unusual habits, declining health and the government agents who are coldly determined to find and keep E.T. for themselves.
17. Beetlejuice (1988)
On their way home, Barbara and Adam Maitland drive into a river and perish. They only realize this unfortunate fact when they arrive back at the house, notice they no longer have reflections and a mysterious book, the Handbook for the Recently Deceased, appears.
When new owners move in, the Maitlands use the handbook to enter a waiting room for the dead to seek advice from a councillor. The latter’s advice is to frighten the living away and not to use Betelgeuse, a freelance ghost who scares people. But when all their efforts fail, the Maitlands turn to Betelgeuse – with terrifying consequences.
18. Dirty Dancing (1987)
This story follows the romance of Frances “Baby” Houseman, a doctor’s daughter, and Johnny Castle, a dance instructor. Baby’s family vacations at Kellerman’s, the resort where Johnny works. When she learns that his dance partner, Penny, needs an abortion but also cannot miss an important competition, Baby offers to stand in for her.
The couple falls in love as they dance together but when Baby’s father treats a very ill Penny after the abortion was botched, he wrongfully believes Johnny got her pregnant and tries to break up his daughter’s relationship.
19. Beverly Hills Cop (1984)
Axel Foley cannot help himself. As a detective with the Detroit Police Department, he gets the chance to do unauthorized stings and when one such event goes awry, Foley gets close to being fired. He knows he has to behave but after a friend is killed in Foley’s apartment, he goes deeply undercover without permission to find the killers.
Foley uncovers more than he has bargained for and ultimately has to join forces with the detectives who are officially on the case. The result is an action-packed quest for revenge and justice.
20. Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988)
In 1947, a community of cartoons or “toons” live in Toontown, Los Angeles, and work alongside real human actors in the movie industry. One of the toon stars is Roger Rabbit. His boss is worried about his blue mood and hires a human detective, Eddie Valient, to look into Roger’s private life.
But when a murder happens and all the clues point to the bunny, Eddie and Roger reluctantly team up to expose the mastermind criminal who framed Roger and also to stop his terrible plans for Toontown.
21. Back to the Future (1985)
In 1985, Marty McFly is a teenager who is afraid that he might turn out like his parents who are respectively meek and depressed. Perchance he meets Emmett “Doc” Brown in a parking lot who reveals that his car can travel through time. Marty accidentally goes back to 1955, the year his parents first met.
His presence in the past threatens to interfere with his parents’ courtship and Marty realizes that he runs the risk of never being born. While trying to find a way back to 1985, Marty hatches a plan to get his mom and dad to fall in love.
22. When Harry Met Sally (1989)
Graduates Harry Burns and Sally Albright meet in 1977 when they share a drive to New York City to start their respective careers. They discover that they have very different ideas about relationships and upon arrival, they separate on unfriendly terms.
Over the next 12 years, they keep running into each other, facing the same emotional obstacles and relationships with other people. But every time they meet, their attraction grows stronger.
23. Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
In this chapter of the Star Wars saga, three years have gone by since Luke destroyed the Death Star. Seeking revenge, Darth Vader launches an attack on the Rebel Alliance’s home base. Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia and Han Solo are forced to flee and Luke becomes separated from his friends.
Almost dying, Luke is rescued by Obi-Wan who directs him to the Jedi Master Yoda as a student. Luke begins his schooling as a Jedi but abandons his training to rescue Leia and Han once he learns that Darth Vader has captured them.
24. The Breakfast Club (1985)
On a Saturday morning, five students arrive at their high school for an all-day detention. They could not be more different from each other and include a popular girl, an introverted outcast, a top student, a jock, and a troublemaker rebel.
As they spend hours together, under the abusive supervision of a teacher, they learn that they all share bad parents and very similar painful challenges in life.
25. Do the Right Thing (1989)
Mookie lives in Bedford–Stuyvesant and delivers orders for the local pizzeria. His boss is Sal, an Italian-American, whose eldest son is exceptionally racist and hates Mookie. This does not help the racial tensions brewing around the shops, especially between the local African-American community and the shop owners who are Italian and Korean.
But one day, things boil over when Mookie’s friends demand that Sal add African-American heroes to his shop’s hall of fame, sparking a confrontation that turns deadly.