25 Iconic 1980s Movies That Are Still Awesome


The 1980s was an era when big hair, neon colors, and synthesizer beats ruled the world, and it gave birth to some of the most unforgettable movies in cinematic history. Here are 25 Iconic 1980s movies you will definitely want to revisit.

iconic 1980s movies

The 1980s was an era when big hair, neon colors, and synthesizer beats ruled the world, and it gave birth to some of the most iconic and unforgettable movies in cinematic history.

This list includes the films that defined a generation, influenced pop culture, and continue to capture our hearts decades later.

If you grew up in the 80s, these movies are most definitely a blast from the past and they are still totally awesome today!

Its time to share these treasures with the new generations. Make it a movie night, lets go back to the 80s!

Here are the 25 Iconic 1980s movies you will definitely want to revisit!

Read to end for some BONUS 80s movies that are streaming for FREE.

iconic 1980s movies checklist

Who is this list of 1980s movies for?

  • Parents looking for a nostalgic movie selection for movie night
  • Kids sleepover party with friends
  • Those who grew up in the 80s and want to revisit these gems from their childhood

What information is provided about each 1980s movie in this selection?

  • The movie title and release year of the movie
  • The YouTube Trailer
  • Director
  • A list of actors in the movie
  • Genre
  • The MPAA rating
  • Link to the movie in IMDb – For movie reviews, where to stream, ratings, trailers and lots more.
  • A movie summary

Rewind to the ’80s: Must See Films from the Decade

1. Goonies (1985)

  • Director: Richard Donner
  • Cast: Sean Astin, Josh Brolin, Jeff Cohen
  • Genre: Adventure, Comedy, Family
  • Rating: PG
  • IMDb

This gem is the ultimate ’80s adventure! A group of misfit kids are on a quest for treasure, dodging booby traps and facing off against a criminal family. It’s a blend of friendship, mystery, and wild escapades that screams nostalgia. The Goonies epitomizes the adventurous spirit of the ’80s youth!

2. Gremlins (1984)

  • Director: Joe Dante
  • Cast: Zach Galligan, Phoebe Cates, Hoyt Axton
  • Genre: Comedy, Fantasy, Horror
  • Rating: PG
  • IMDb

Gizmo may be cute, but these mischievous critters are trouble with a capital “G”! This movie takes the idea of a cute pet and turns it upside down in the most ’80s way imaginable. It’s a riot of chaos and laughs, teaching us all a lesson about responsible pet ownership, especially when it comes to furry creatures with a penchant for after dark snacking!

3. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

  • Director: Steven Spielberg
  • Cast: Henry Thomas, Drew Barrymore, Peter Coyote
  • Genre: Family, Sci-Fi
  • Rating: PG
  • IMDb

Who could forget the lovable alien buddy E.T. and his heartwarming friendship with Elliott? This film is an ’80s masterpiece, capturing the essence of wonder and adventure. From the iconic bike ride across the moonlit sky to the touching bond between a boy and his extraterrestrial pal, it’s a timeless classic that defined the decade’s family friendly cinema.

4. The Beastmaster (1982)

  • Director: Don Coscarelli
  • Cast: Marc Singer, Tanya Roberts, Rip Torn
  • Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy
  • Rating: PG
  • IMDb

This one’s a fantasy epic that’s dripping with ’80s flair! Think heroic warriors, mystical powers, and a hero who can communicate with animals. It’s a wild ride through a fantastical world that embodies the era’s love for adventurous storytelling and unforgettable, larger than life characters.

5. Flash Gordon (1980)

  • Director: Mike Hodges
  • Cast: Sam J. Jones, Melody Anderson, Max von Sydow
  • Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
  • Rating: PG
  • IMDb

Buckle up for a cosmic journey with Flash! This movie embodies the fun, campy side of ’80s sci-fi. It’s got vibrant visuals, over the top action, and that unforgettable soundtrack by Queen that cranks the excitement to eleven. It’s like a colorful comic book sprung to life!

6. Clash of the Titans (1981)

  • Director: Desmond Davis
  • Cast: Laurence Olivier, Harry Hamlin, Claire Bloom
  • Genre: Adventure, Family, Fantasy
  • Rating: PG
  • IMDb

Get ready for mythological mayhem in this epic 80s film! It’s a grand adventure steeped in Greek mythology, complete with gods, monsters, and a hero’s quest. The stop motion effects were cutting edge back then, making this a visual treat for ’80s audiences.

7. Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

  • Director: Steven Spielberg
  • Cast: Harrison Ford, Karen Allen, Paul Freeman
  • Genre: Action, Adventure
  • Rating: PG
  • IMDb

Cue the iconic theme music! Indiana Jones swings onto the scene with whip cracking action, ancient artifacts, and a whole lot of adventure. This movie oozes ’80s charm with Harrison Ford’s suave portrayal of the fedora wearing, treasure hunting archaeologist. It’s the epitome of thrilling, globetrotting escapades!

8. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)

  • Director: Steven Spielberg
  • Cast: Harrison Ford, Kate Capshaw, Jonathan Ke Quan
  • Genre: Action, Adventure
  • Rating: PG
  • IMDb

Indiana Jones is back, and this time he’s taking us to India where he stumbles upon a remote village in desperate need of help. The villagers’ sacred Sankara Stones have been stolen, and it’s up to Indy to retrieve them. This adventure takes a dark twist as they uncover a sinister cult practicing human sacrifice in the Temple of Doom. It’s got cult rituals, daring escapes, and that trademark Indy wit that makes it a classic.

9. Girls Just Wanna Have Fun (1985)

  • Director: Alan Metter
  • Cast: Sarah Jessica Parker, Helen Hunt, Shannen Doherty
  • Genre: Comedy, Music, Romance
  • Rating: PG
  • IMDb
  • Streaming FREE on Tubi

Time to dance like nobody’s watching! This one’s a blast from the ’80s past, filled with teenage dreams, dance offs, and a whole lot of fun. It’s a lighthearted romp celebrating friendship, freedom, and the power of chasing your dreams, all set against a backdrop of rad ’80s tunes and fashion.

10. Breakfast Club (1985)

  • Director: John Hughes
  • Cast: Emilio Estevez, Judd Nelson, Molly Ringwald
  • Genre: Comedy, Drama
  • Rating: R
  • IMDb

A movie that defined a generation! This film brings together a diverse group of high school stereotypes and delves deep into their lives during detention. It’s a poignant portrayal of teenage angst, rebellion, and the search for identity, capturing the essence of ’80s youth culture and its challenges.

11. Better Off Dead (1985)

  • Director: Savage Steve Holland
  • Cast: John Cusack, David Ogden Stiers, Kim Darby
  • Genre: Comedy, Romance
  • Rating: PG
  • IMDb

This one’s a quirky gem! A high schooler is navigating life’s absurdities after a breakup, and its a hilarious, offbeat ride. It’s a quirky mix of humor and heart, capturing the awkwardness and angst of teenage life in the ’80s. I mean, who can forget… “I want my two dollars!”?

12. Back to School (1986)

  • Director: Alan Metter
  • Cast: Rodney Dangerfield, Sally Kellerman, Burt Young
  • Genre: Comedy, Romance, Sport
  • Rating: PG-13
  • IMDb

Rodney Dangerfield heads back to college in this riotous comedy! It’s a laugh riot packed with humor, shenanigans, and a healthy dose of ’80s vibes. The message? It’s never too late to hit the books and have the time of your life!

13. Back to the Future (1985)

  • Director: Robert Zemeckis
  • Cast: Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson
  • Genre: Adventure, Comedy, Sci-Fi
  • Rating: PG
  • IMDb

Strap yourself in for a time traveling adventure with Marty McFly and Doc Brown! This movie is the epitome of ’80s sci-fi fun, blending adventure, comedy, and a seriously cool DeLorean. It’s a classic that stands the test of time, pun intended!

14. Ghostbusters (1984)

  • Director: Ivan Reitman
  • Cast: Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Sigourney Weaver
  • Genre: Action, Comedy, Fantasy
  • Rating: PG
  • IMDb

Who you gonna call? Ghostbusters! This supernatural comedy is a pop culture phenomenon. From iconic quotes to memorable specter battling scenes, it’s a mix of laughs, slime, and paranormal shenanigans that captured the ’80s imagination.

15. The Dark Crystal (1982)

  • Director: Jim Henson, Frank Oz
  • Cast: Jim Henson, Kathryn Mullen, Frank Oz
  • Genre: Adventure, Family, Fantasy
  • Rating: PG
  • IMDb

Enter the mystical world of puppetry and fantasy in this Jim Henson masterpiece! This film takes audiences on an enchanting journey filled with otherworldly creatures, quests, and dark magic. It’s a testament to the creativity and artistry of ’80s filmmaking.

16. The Karate Kid (1984)

  • Director: John G. Avildsen
  • Cast: Ralph Macchio, Pat Morita, Elisabeth Shue
  • Genre: Action, Drama, Family
  • Rating: PG
  • IMDb

Wax on, wax off! This coming of age story is all about martial arts, mentorship, and finding inner strength. It’s a classic underdog tale with a kick! Daniel and Mr. Miyagi’s bond has become the stuff of ’80s legend.

17. Dirty Dancing (1987)

  • Director: Emile Ardolino
  • Cast: Patrick Swayze, Jennifer Grey, Jerry Orbach
  • Genre: Drama, Music, Romance
  • Rating: PG-13
  • IMDb

Get ready to cut loose with Baby and Johnny! This movie’s got romance, dancing, and that unforgettable lift. It’s a swoon worthy tale set to an ’80s soundtrack that still makes hearts race.

18. Stand By Me (1986)

  • Director: Rob Reiner
  • Cast: Wil Wheaton, River Phoenix, Corey Feldman
  • Genre: Adventure, Drama
  • Rating: R
  • IMDb

This one’s a heartfelt journey of friendship and self discovery. It’s a nostalgic trip into the world of childhood adventures, complete with a coming of age tale that tugs at your heartstrings. It’s a timeless exploration of the innocence and complexities of growing up in the ’80s.

19. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)

  • Director: John Hughes
  • Cast: Matthew Broderick, Alan Ruck, Mia Sara
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Rating: PG-13
  • IMDb

Bueller? Bueller? Say hello to the ultimate day off! Ferris’ antics, paired with Cameron and Sloane, make for a day of wild escapades and hilarious hijinks. It’s a rebellious, feel good film that captures the spirit of teenage freedom and fun.

20. Weird Science (1985)

  • Director: John Hughes
  • Cast: Anthony Michael Hall, Ilan Mitchell-Smith, Kelly LeBrock
  • Genre: Comedy, Romance, Sci-Fi
  • Rating: PG-13
  • IMDb

What do you get when two teens create a perfect woman on a computer? Total ’80s madness! It’s a zany, sci-fi comedy with a quirky premise and a ton of ’80s charm. From magical bras to wild parties, it’s a trip down a hilariously weird memory lane.

21. Pretty in Pink (1986)

  • Director: Howard Deutch
  • Cast: Molly Ringwald, Jon Cryer, Andrew McCarthy
  • Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance
  • Rating: PG-13
  • IMDb

Get ready for a romantic rollercoaster through high school! This film captures the essence of ’80s teen romance, complete with love triangles, prom drama, and, of course, killer fashion. It’s a tale of love and social barriers that hits all the right notes.

22. Teen Wolf (1985)

  • Director: Rod Daniel
  • Cast: Michael J. Fox, James Hampton, Susan Ursitti
  • Genre: Comedy, Fantasy, Romance
  • Rating: PG
  • IMDb

Howl along with this supernatural ’80s gem! Michael J. Fox takes on the role of a high schooler with a hairy secret, he’s a werewolf! It’s a howlingly fun mix of werewolf antics, high school woes, and ’80s charm.

23. Flashdance (1983)

  • Director: Adrian Lyne
  • Cast: Jennifer Beals, Michael Nouri, Lilia Skala
  • Genre: Drama, Music, Romance
  • Rating: R
  • IMDb

Dance your heart out with this iconic ’80s film! It’s all about dreams, determination, and the power of dance. With unforgettable moves and an electrifying soundtrack, it’s a film that defined the era’s passion for dance and ambition.

24. Heathers (1988)

  • Director: Michael Lehmann
  • Cast: Winona Ryder, Christian Slater, Shannen Doherty
  • Genre: Comedy, Crime, Drama
  • Rating: R
  • IMDb
  • Streaming FREE on Tubi

This one’s a dark, twisted comedy that’s a total ’80s cult classic! It takes the high school drama to a whole new level, mixing in black comedy and a sharp critique of the social scene. It’s a bit edgy, a bit rebellious, and definitely stands out in the ’80s movie landscape.

25. The Outsiders (1983)

  • Director: Francis Ford Coppola
  • Cast: C. Thomas Howell, Matt Dillon, Ralph Macchio, Rob Lowe, Tom Cruise, Patrick Swayze, Emilio Estevez
  • Genre: Drama
  • Rating: PG-13
  • IMDb

Step into the 1960’s world of greasers and socs in this gripping adaptation! Based on the novel by S.E. Hinton, this film dives into the lives of rival teenage gangs and their struggles. It’s a tale of friendship, loyalty, and the harsh realities of adolescence in the ’60s.

BONUS 1980s Movies Streaming FREE on Tubi

Harry and the Hendersons
Short Circuit
Short Circuit 2
High School U.S.A.
Valley Girl

It’s clear that the 1980s gifted us with so many films that resonate even in the 21st century.

The 1980s were more than just a decade, they were a cultural phenomenon. They reflected the societal changes, aspirations, and dreams of a world in flux.

So, whether you’re an ’80s kid reminiscing about your favorite childhood films or a curious movie buff looking to explore the cinematic gems of the past, these movie recommendations are a great place to start.

We hope you are ready to share these 80s gems with your family!

Free Movie Checklist

Click on the button below to get your FREE “Iconic 1980s Movies” checklist that you can print or check off directly on your device!

So, what are your thoughts on the movies included in this list? What additional movies would you have included? What movies would you have left off?

We encourage all comments and discussion!

Everyone is welcome!





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