Retrocon 2024

10 of the Best Movies from the 80's

The 1980s saw several films that won Oscars and have become classics. Whether these films were great because of their well-made storyline or whether they were just good old popcorn flicks, going to the movie theater was a great experience.

This list compiles some of the best films from the 1980s that are still relevant to date and include such classics as Back to the Future (1985), Ghostbusters (1984), Star Wars: Return of the Jedi (1983) and many more. Add your favorites in the comments to continue the list.

Back to the Future (1985)

When released in 1985, this science-fiction comedy film was an instant hit. It was directed by Robert Zemeckis and written by Zemeckis and Bob Gale.

This sci-fi adventure starts with Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox), a 17-year-old high school student, meeting his friend, Dr. Emmett Brown (Christopher Lloyd), who has just invented time travel in a modified DeLorean car. When an experiment goes wrong, Marty finds himself travelling back 30 years to 1955. He meets his parents as a teenager and accidentally causes his mother (Lea Thompson) to fall in love with him instead of his father (Crispin Glover). Now Marty must try to fix what went wrong and get back to the future before it's too late.

The Color of Money (1986)

The film was released in 1986 and was directed by Martin Scorsese. The movie won the best actor and director in the Academy awards. The story follows an old player named "Fast Eddie" Felson (Paul Newman), who has been away from the pool for several years.

He's come back to play again at a casino like a $1 deposit casino New Zealand. This is after losing his own money playing poker and getting robbed by some card sharks. He becomes a mentor to Vincent Lauria (Tom Cruise), who he sees as having a lot of potential. He, however, needs guidance from someone like him with experience , so he doesn't make mistakes like Eddie did when he was younger.

Star Wars: Return of the Jedi (1983)

In this final chapter of the original Star Wars trilogy, Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher), Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams), Chewbacca, and C-3PO must rescue Han Solo (Harrison Ford) from the clutches of Jabba the Hutt. The plot also involves Luke's final confrontation with the evil Darth Vader, who he learns is his father, in a plot twist for the ages.

The Terminator (1984)

The Terminator about a cyborg sent from 2029 to 1984 to assassinate Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton), whose son will eventually lead a human resistance against the Machines that govern Earth in the future. The cyborg is played by Arnold Schwarzenegger, famous for his role as Conan, who needs to get some clothes because he was naked when he arrived in 1984! However, Sarah Connor is protected by Kyle Reese (Michael Biehn), and they start running together while chased by the Terminator.

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

E.T. is a science fiction film that was co-produced and directed by Steven Spielberg and written by Melissa Mathison with special effects by Carlo Rambaldi. It stars Henry Thomas, Peter Coyote, Dee Wallace, and Pat Welsh. It’s about Elliott, a lonesome boy who becomes friends with a celestial, called E.T. who is helpless on Earth. Elliot together with his siblings tries to assist E.T to get back home while trying to keep it a secret from their mother and the government.

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)

A young adventurer named Indiana Jones is on a quest to find a lost temple in India with his sidekick Short Round. They encounter many obstacles along their journey, such as evil spirits, dangerous animals, and treacherous people who want nothing more than to stop him from finding this mystical place. But nothing will deter Indy from getting what he wants!

Steven Spielberg directed the film and starred Harrison Ford and Kate Capshaw as Willie Scott. This sequel received positive reviews from critics at the time for its action sequences, but was criticized for being too violent for children due to its graphic content.

Ghostbusters (1984)

Ghostbusters is a 1984 film about three eccentric parapsychologists who start a ghost-catching business in New York City.

A classic movie of the 80s, this supernatural comedy stars Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, and Harold Ramis as a team of eccentric parapsychologists who start up a ghost-catching business in New York City. They face stiff competition from the city's other, more established ghost removal service, run by the sleazy Dr. Peter Venkman (Bill Murray). When their research assistant gets kidnapped by an evil spook, the boys set out to save him and prove that they are real Ghostbusters. This film spawned two sequels and a hit theme song.

Die Hard (1988)

Die Hard revolves around action hero and NYPD Detective John McClane (Bruce Willis) visiting his estranged wife in Los Angeles for Christmas. McClane flies into town and immediately gets thrown into a hostage situation at the Nakatomi Plaza, where terrorists have taken over and are demanding $640 million in bonds as ransom. Of course, McClane thwarts the bad guys and wins the day, but not before shooting up a whole office building and taking out a dozen henchmen. It's all in a day's work for John McClane.

Aliens (1986)

The second installment in the Alien movie series follows Lt. Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) as she travels with a Colonial Marine unit to an abandoned colony on planet LV-426. She wishes to find answers regarding her past encounter with the deadly aliens that killed her crew. She finds a nest full of eggs, soon to hatch into a new generation of vicious creatures than the last.

Commando (1985)

Commando is an action film starring Arnold Schwarzenegger as John Matrix. John is a retired special operations soldier forced back into action after mercenaries capture his daughter. It was directed by Mark Lester and written by Sheldon Lettich. It was released in the United States on August 21, 1985.

In the film, Matrix's ex-wife has been killed, and his daughter kidnapped by mercenaries led by Bennett (Grant). Matrix is then hired by the head of a private security firm to rescue his daughter. The film also stars Rae Dawn Chong, Alyssa Milano, and Bill Duke.


If you grew up in the '80s, you have fond memories of watching these films. If you were born later and didn't know what these films are about, this list might inspire your inner child to search for them. No matter your age, there's nothing like a good movie whether it is 40 years old or brand new.

Photos courtesy Depositphotos

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