The 65 best movies of the 80s
A popular ranking for the golden age of cinema with memorable scripts and original stories
Fluzo capacitors, starfighters, galaxy wars, stories of replicants, aliens, adventurous archaeologists, bratty monsters, aliens, robocops... during the 80s, a multitude of wonderful movies emerged that have marked a whole generation of children who are now adults and remember with great affection those stories full of creativity and adventures.
I have assembled a ranking of the best movies of the 80s, ordered from lowest to highest score, according to an average score obtained from the databases of imdb and rotten tomatoes. This list may be a bit influenced by the sci-fi genre and I've probably forgotten some important movies (hopefully not many!), but I hope you like them ;-)
When a plague of strange and gruesome murders keeps London in suspense, young Sherlock Holmes and his new friend Watson find themselves drawn almost unwittingly into a dark mystery. Something is afoot! And the budding detective finds himself poised to solve the most surprising case of his extraordinary career.
64. Explorers / Explorers (1985)
In their makeshift laboratory, some boys use an unexpected discovery and their ingenuity to build their own spaceship and launch themselves on a fantastic interplanetary journey.
63. Flight of the Navigator (1986)
In 1978, one night, little David, a 12-year-old boy playing near his house looking for his brother Jeff, is knocked unconscious. Eight years, or barely a moment later, David awakens, returns home and realizes that his family has moved away and that he has been reported missing...or dead. Later, David begins to be pursued by NASA, which claims he has been abducted.
62. Tron (1982)
A hacker is split into molecules and transported into the bowels of a computer where an evil program controls behaviors at will.
Alex is a teenager who escapes his monotonous routine by playing a video game called Starfighter. His skill and tenacity attract a friendly Centauri alien, who turns out to be an alien. Alex gets a jolt and is transported to a faraway place in the galaxy, where he will discover that his favorite game is a reality. Now he will have to prove if he is as good as he seems...
60. Willow (1988)
Medieval tale with witches, dwarves and magical powers. In the dungeons of the castle of the evil sorceress Queen Bavmorda, a prisoner gives birth to a baby girl who, according to an ancient prophecy, will put an end to the sorceress's reign. The midwife saves the child from Bavmorda's wrath but is forced to throw her cradle into the river when she is overtaken by her prey dogs. The current causes her to reach a village of dwarves where she is adopted by the brave Willow.
Harrison Ford plays an inventor fed up with the consumerism that modern society has become. Disgusted, the man decides to move away from civilization with his family and embark on a new life in the middle of the jungle.
58. Conan the Barbarian / Conan the Barbarian (1982)
A boy living in a barbarian village, records in his memory the faces of the warriors who have exterminated his family, handing him over to slave traders. Years later, the young boy has become a strong and brave warrior...
57. Innerspace / The Prodigious Chip (1987)
Temperamental pilot Tuck Pendelton (Dennis Quaid) volunteers for an experiment that involves miniaturizing him inside a capsule that is to be inserted into a rabbit. But some criminals try to appropriate the invention, and Pendelton ends up by chance inside a hypochondriac human being named Jack Putter (Martin Short). From there, the two are forced to work together to get Tuck out of Jack's body.
56. The Lost Boys (1987)
Sam and his older brother Michael are typical young Americans with normal interests. But after their parents' divorce, and as soon as they settle in the quiet town of Santa Carla, a small California town where there are rumors about vampires, things mysteriously begin to change. Michael's personality is transformed. And his mother would not like to see what he is becoming.
55. Labyrinth (1986)
Sarah must go through a labyrinth to rescue her little brother, who has been kidnapped by goblins and is in the hands of the powerful King Jareth. Sarah discovers, almost immediately, that she has arrived at a place where things are not always what they seem. Directed by the creator of the Muppets. The screenwriter is Terry Jones, George Lucas is the executive producer and Frank Oz is the animator.
54. Back to the Future Part II (1989)
Although Marty McFly still lacks time to assimilate the fact that he is living in the perfect family thanks to his previous time travel, he has no room to breathe when his friend Doc shows up unexpectedly with the time machine (much more modernized) and urges him and his girlfriend to accompany him to travel to the future to solve a problem with the law that one of his future children will have. In the tremendous futuristic maelstrom, with all that it entails, of the Hill Valley of 2015, the presence of such time travelers will cause a greater effect than what they were going to fix. A sports almanac and the possession of the secret of the existence of the time machine by the always villainous Biff Bannett will be the ingredients that will conjugate a cause-effect in the past, in the present and in the future itself, which will make Marty and Doc will have to use their best to put an end to the catastrophe to which destiny leads them.
53. The Goonies (1985)
Mikey is a thirteen-year-old boy who, along with his older brother and his friends, who call themselves "The Goonies," decides to go upstairs to play in the attic of their house, where their father keeps antiques. There they find the map of a lost treasure dating back to the time of the pirates... It's a nice adventure movie for teenagers, with a story by Steven Spielberg and a script by Chris Columbus.
52. Comming to America (1989)
It is the twenty-first birthday of Prince Akeem of the African kingdom of Zamunda, and he must marry a woman he has never seen before, as his father did before him. But as he does not agree to be imposed on the woman with whom he has to spend the rest of his life, Akeem decides to travel to New York, where nobody knows him, so he can look for a beautiful and intelligent girl who loves him for his personality and not for his wealth. So, he settles in New York with a friend and, despite having an immense fortune, decides to live very modestly.
51. Karate Kid (1984)
Daniel Larusso arrives in Los Angeles from the East Coast of the United States and is faced with the difficult task of making new friends. However, he becomes the target of attacks by the Cobras, a hostile group of karate students, when he begins dating Ali, the former girlfriend of the group's ringleader. Daniel enlists the help of Miyagi, a martial arts master, to teach him karate. Under Miyagi's tutelage, Daniel develops not only his physical skills but also the self-confidence he needs to overcome all obstacles.
50. Gremlins (1984)
Rand (Hoyt Axton) is a traveling salesman who one day gives his young son Billy (Zach Galligan) a small being named Mogwai, a tender and strange creature. The innocent gift, however, will be the origin of a whole wave of hooliganism and barbarism in a small town in the United States. It all starts when the 3 basic rules that must always be followed to keep the mogwai: do not feed it after midnight, do not get it wet and avoid sunlight, are broken one after the other.
49. Romancing the stone (1984)
A romance writer, Joan Wilder, must travel to Colombia with a mysterious package to get her sister released from drug traffickers who have kidnapped her. When she arrives in the South American country, someone is about to murder her, and she is saved by Jack Colton, an adventurer who is too much like the hero protagonist of her novels.
48. Name der Rose, Der / The Name of the Rose (1986)
14th century. It all begins one fine late November morning in the year of our Lord 1327 when Friar William of Baskerville (Sean Connery), a Franciscan monk and former inquisitor, and his inseparable disciple the novice Adso de Melk (Christian Slater), who narrates the story, go to a Benedictine abbey located in the north of the Italian peninsula to try to shed light on the death of the young miniaturist Adelmo da Otranto. During their stay at the abbey, more monks mysteriously disappear and are soon found dead. Slowly, and thanks to the information provided by some of the monks, Guillermo begins to clarify the facts. The motive for the crimes seems to be some ancient treatises on the lawfulness of laughter found in the library of the complex, which is said to be the largest in the Christian world. Who is the murderer? What did his victims do to be killed? No one knows...
47. Batman (1989)
Blockbuster film based on the comic book hero. The dark and dangerous city of Gotham is only protected by its corrupt police force. Despite the efforts of District Attorney Harvey Dent and Police Commissioner Jim Gordon, the city is becoming increasingly unsafe... until the rise of the Lord of the Night, Batman. Reputable journalist Vicky Vale will try to uncover the secret behind the Man-Bat's cape.
Hidden in the attic of his school, Bastian devours during school hours an enigmatic book, "The Neverending Story", which recounts the gradual destruction of the Kingdom of Fantasia. A kind of mysterious "Nothing" destroys the whole country and all the creatures that inhabit it. As he reads on, Bastian realizes that the salvation of Fantasia depends on him. On whether he manages to get inside the book...
45. Beetle Juice (1988)
A ghostly married couple (Geena Davis and Alec Baldwin) enlists the services of Bitelchus (Michael Keaton), a specialist in scaring mortals, to scare the new owners away from their former home.
44. Beverly Hills Cop (1984)
Axel Foley is an impetuous and intelligent Detroit detective who follows the trail of the murderer of a friend of his to the most elegant neighborhoods of Beverly Hills. But before Axel achieves his goal, he becomes embroiled in an international network of drug smugglers and traffickers.
43. Poltergeist (1982)
A middle-class American family moves to live in a new house in a seemingly idyllic neighborhood, but inside the house, strange things begin to happen, paranormal phenomena for which there is no possible explanation...
42. Empire of the Sun (1987)
James Graham is an upper-class British boy whose privileged life comes to an end with the arrival of the Japanese army in Shanghai in December 1941. Separated from his parents, he is confined to the Soo Chow concentration camp near a Chinese military airport. Amid the sadness and malnutrition that reigns there, Jim will learn to mature until he sees life in a completely different way.
41. WarGames (1983)
David is a young man knowledgeable in all things computer: he bypasses the most advanced security systems, gets the most sophisticated secret codes and understands computer science as a game. But the game gets complicated when he unwittingly connects his personal computer to that of the American Department of Defense, in charge of the nuclear defense system, triggering a dangerous situation of uncontrollable proportions. Helped by his girlfriend and a computer "genius", he will have to fight against time and prevent the greatest world conflict of all time: World War III.
40. The Abyss (1989)
The civilian crew of an oil facility is hired by the U.S. Navy to conduct a rescue operation for a nuclear submarine trapped at the bottom of the sea, under mysterious circumstances, at the edge of an abyssal rift several miles deep.
39. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)
Year 1935. Shanghai. The intrepid archaeologist Indiana Jones, after getting into trouble in a nightclub, manages to escape, along with a beautiful singer, in the company of his young companion, an oriental boy with whom he is always arguing. After a bumpy flight, the three of them end up in India, where they try to help the inhabitants of a small village whose children have been kidnapped.
38. Star Wars VI - Return of the Jedi (1983)
Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia must travel to Tatooine to free Han Solo. To do so, they must infiltrate the dangerous lair of Jabba the Hutt, the most feared gangster in the galaxy. Once assembled, the team recruits tribes of Ewoks to fight the Imperial forces in the forests of the moon of Endor. Meanwhile, the Emperor and Darth Vader conspire to turn Luke to the dark side, but the young Skywalker, meanwhile, is determined to rekindle the spirit of the Jedi in his father. The galactic civil war culminates in a showdown between the unified rebel forces and a second Death Star, undefended and incomplete, in a battle that will decide the fate of the galaxy.
37. Lethal Weapon (1987)
Martin Riggs is a Los Angeles cop with suicidal tendencies. Roger Murtaugh is a mature, responsible cop, a family man, who has been assigned alongside Riggs. Together they will try to dismantle a drug smuggling operation while, despite their different characters, they will become good friends.
36. Tootsie (1982)
Michael Dorsey is a New York actor who has yet to gain recognition with a good role. Moreover, in certain artistic circles, he drags a reputation of a "difficult" personality. As his bad streak does not end, one day he makes an important decision: to impersonate a woman and try to find an opportunity. He gets a role, but his new identity will bring more than a few complications in his daily life.
35. Dead Poets Society (1989)
A group of students at a strict private school will discover poetry, the meaning of "Carpe Diem"-seize the moment and the importance of pursuing dreams thanks to an eccentric teacher with unconventional methods who awakens their minds.
34. Akira (1988)
Year 2019. Neo-Tokyo, a city built on the former Japanese capital destroyed after World War III. Japan is a country on the brink of collapse facing continuous political crises. Secretly, a team of scientists has reactivated by order of the army an experiment to find subjects who can control the ultimate weapon: a force called "absolute energy". But the inhabitants of Neo-Tokyo have other things to worry about. One of them is Kaneda, a young gang leader of a biker gang. During a fight, his best friend, Tetsuo, suffers a strange accident and ends up in a military facility. There, scientists discover that he is the possessor of absolute energy. But Tetsuo will not resign himself to becoming a guinea pig... and very soon he will become the greatest threat the world has ever known.
33. The thing (1982)
At an experimental station in Antarctica, a team of researchers discovers a strange entity from space that has been buried in the snow for more than 100,000 years. When the creature thaws out, chaos and terror... It causes chaos and terror as it molts into one of the researchers.
32. RoboCop (1987)
In the not-too-distant future, Alex J. Murphy, a Detroit police officer, is killed in the line of duty. To curb crime in the city, the authorities approve the creation of a lethal machine, half robot, half man, which they call Robocop. For its manufacture, they use Murphy's body. The experiment seems to be a success, but the cop's memory is not quite destroyed and he initiates a cruel revenge on the guys who killed him.
31. Ghost Busters (1984)
Drs. Venkman, Stantz and Spengler, are three doctors of parapsychology who become unemployed after being excluded from a university research grant. They then decide to form the company "The Ghostbusters", dedicated to clearing New York of ectoplasms. The sudden increase of spectral apparitions in the Big Apple will be the harbinger of the arrival of a dangerous and powerful demon.
30. The Breakfast Club (1985)
Five students of different education, backgrounds and tastes are punished to spend a Saturday at the high school where they study. Soon disagreements between them appear, especially when the principal who watches over them is absent from the classroom... A cult teen comedy of the eighties.
29. Ferris Bueller's day off (1986)
A 17-year-old boy decides to take an early vacation while his parents are away. He prepares a day that is entirely dedicated to doing everything he normally can't do. For this, he will, of course, count on the company of his best friend and his girlfriend.
28. Scarface (1983)
A cold and bloodthirsty Cuban émigré, Tony Montana, arrives from Cuba to settle in Miami, where he sets out to make a name for himself in Florida's organized crime. Along with his friend, Manny Rivera, he embarks on a dazzling criminal career to rise to the top of a drug trafficking organization.
27. Rain Man (1988)
Charlie Babbitt (Tom Cruise), a selfish young man hoping to inherit a fortune from his late father, learns that the beneficiary will be his unknown brother Raymond (Dustin Hoffman), an autistic man with a special ability for certain subjects related to memory and numbers. At first, puzzled by his behaviors, Charlie will learn to know his brother during a trip together across the United States.
26. Gandhi (1982)
Narrates the life of Mahatma Gandhi, from his beginnings as a lawyer in South Africa to becoming the famous leader in India. After championing the rights of citizens of non-European origin in South Africa, he decides that Hindus have become second-class citizens in their own land and succeeds in making the Hindu people revolt from the rule of the British Empire through the doctrine of non-violence.
25. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
A small visitor from another planet stays on Earth when his ship leaves forgetting about him. He is afraid. He is all alone. He is 3,000,000 light years away from home. Here he will make friends with a boy, who hides and protects him in his home. Together they will try to find a way for the little alien to return to his planet... before the scientists and the police on Earth find him.
24. Mad Max 2 (1981)
In the aftermath of the nuclear holocaust, gasoline has become a scarce and highly sought-after commodity. Mad Max, a lone hero, begins an all-out fight to help a colony of survivors constantly under attack by a group of violent warriors trying to snatch a tank of gasoline. Max decides to help the tank's defenders by using a huge truck as a trap. The band of warriors chases the truck, thinking it is carrying thousands of liters of gasoline.
23. Stand by Me (1986)
In a small Oregon town, four young friends leave town and set out on an adventure in search of a missing boy. Playing hero, sentimental Gordie, rugged Chris, flamboyant Teddy, and fearful Vern make their way through a hostile environment where they must fend for themselves...
22. Airplane! (1980)
Trans American Flight 209 departs Los Angeles for Chicago. Among the passengers are several curious characters. Among them, is a former fighter pilot who, in mid-flight, will be forced to take command of the commercial airliner after the pilots are indisposed by a bad meal.
21. Paris, Texas (1984)
On the Mexican border, a man begins an exhaustive search for his wife and son.
20. Platoon (1986)
A young American soldier is sent to the Vietnam-Cambodia border to join a platoon stationed there. Soon after arriving, he discovers the cruelty of this war, not only because of the harsh confrontations with the enemy but also because of the relationships between his comrades.
19. Nuovo cinema Paradiso (1988)
In front of the demolition of an old cinema, a mature and famous filmmaker recalls his childhood and the moments he spent there in the company of the endearing manager of the place. Developed with agile rhythm, masterfully interpreted and set by an unforgettable soundtrack, the film moves without remedy and reaches its climax in a superb ending that is a tribute to the history of cinema and an appointment with our most sincere tears.
18. The Shining (1980)
Jack Torrance moves with his wife and son to the impressive Overlook Hotel in Colorado to maintain it during the winter season, when it is closed and snowbound. His idea is to write his novel while taking care of the facilities during those long and lonely winter months, but since his arrival at the hotel, Jack begins to suffer from disturbing personality disorders, at the same time that various paranormal phenomena begin to happen in the place.
17. Blade Runner (1982)
In the early 21st century, the powerful Tyrell Corporation developed a new type of robot called Nexus, a being virtually identical to man and known as a Replicant. Nexus-6 Replicants were superior in strength and agility, and at least equal in intelligence, to the genetic engineers who created them. In outer space, Replicants were used as slave laborers in the risky exploration and colonization of other planets. After the bloody rebellion of a Nexus-6 combat team on a sidereal colony, the Replicants have declared outlaws on Earth under penalty of death. Brigades of special police, under the name of Blade Runner Units, were ordered to shoot to kill at the sight of any invading Replicator. This was not called an execution, it was called a retreat.
16. Brazil (1985)
In a strange and depressing futuristic universe where machines reign, a fly falls into a computer and changes the last name of guerrilla Harry Tuttle (Robert de Niro) to that of quiet family man Harry Buttle, who is arrested by the state's complex repressive apparatus and dies at its hands. Quiet bureaucrat Sam Lowry (Jonathan Pryce) is tasked with returning a stub to the victim's family, but in doing so he meets Jill Layton (Kim Greist), the woman of his dreams, and, while pursuing her, meets, befriends and becomes Harry Tuttle's accomplice.
15. Die Hard (1988)
High above the city of Los Angeles, an armed terrorist group has taken over a building taking a group of people hostage. Only one man, cop John McClane (Bruce Willis), has managed to escape the terrorist harassment. He is alone, but he will maintain a fierce and exhausting fight against the kidnappers. He's the only hope for the hostages...
14. Full Metal Jacket (1987)
A group of recruits prepares at Parish Island, a U.S. Navy training center. There is Sergeant Hartmann, tough and relentless, whose sole mission in life is to harden the body and soul of the rookies so that they can defend themselves against the enemy. But not all young men put up with his methods equally...
13. The Terminator (1984)
Los Angeles, year 2029. The future is dominated by machines. The rebels waging war against them are led by John Connor, a man born in the 1980s. So the machines decide to send an exterminator robot -Terminator- back in time to our days, with the only mission to eliminate Sarah Connor, John's mother, and prevent her birth.
12. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)
In this third installment of the famous saga of the intrepid archaeologist Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford), the father of the protagonist, the archaeologist Henry Jones (Sean Connery), is kidnapped while searching for the Holy Grail. Indi will have to go to rescue him and, incidentally, try to get hold of the precious relic, also coveted by the Nazis.
11. Back to the Future I (1985)
Marty McFly is a teenage friend of Doc, a scientist whom everyone but him takes for a crackpot. When Doc creates a time travel machine in the form of a sports car, Marty accidentally travels back to the year 1955. There he meets his parents when they were young, but prevents their first meeting. From then on, and with time against him, McFly must get them to fall in love so that they marry and he does not cease to exist.
10. The elephant man (1980)
Drama about a man who, due to an illness, suffers terrible physical malformations that prevent him from integrating into society.
9. Amadeus (1984)
Antonio Salieri is the most outstanding musician at the court of Emperor Joseph II of Austria. Completely devoted to music, he promises God humility and chastity if, in return, he maintains his exceptional musical gifts. For some time he believes that his vow has been heard, but the arrival at the court of a young man named Wolfang Amadeus Mozart relegates him to the background. Irritated by the loss of prominence, he will do everything possible to ruin the career of the young musician. Meanwhile, Mozart surprises everyone with his exceptional musical gifts and his whimsical eccentricities.
8. The Grave of the Fireflies (1988)
Young Seita and his little sister Setsuko are the children of a Japanese naval officer. During World War II, they both live with their mother, but one day, during a bombing raid, they are delayed and fail to reach the bunker where she is waiting for them. After the bombing, the two brothers search for their mother, and Seita finds her badly wounded in the school that has been converted into an emergency hospital. Soon after the mother dies and, after a brief stay at their aunt's house, the two will wander homeless and aimless, in a time when food and help are scarce.
7. Ran (1985)
In feudal Japan, and after many years of war, the king decides to divide his land among his three sons.
6. Das Boot / The Submarine (1981)
A World War II German submarine is the setting in which a group of young soldiers, willing to defend their homeland, will have to undergo a harsh coexistence after discovering that they have been sent on a probably suicidal mission.
5. Aliens (1986)
On its way back to Earth, the cargo ship Nostromo interrupts its journey and wakes up its 7 crew members. The central computer, MOTHER, has detected a mysterious transmission, from an unknown life form, coming from a nearby planet. Forced to investigate the source of the communication, the ship heads for the strange planet...
4. Star Wars V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
After a surprise attack by Imperial troops on the camouflaged bases of the Rebel Alliance, Luke Skywalker, accompanied by R2D2, sets off for the planet Dagobah in search of Yoda, the last Jedi Master, to teach him the secrets of the Force. Meanwhile, Han Solo, Princess Leia, Chewbacca, and C3PO evade the Imperial forces and seek refuge from the former owner of the Millennium Falcon, Lando Calrissian, in the mining town of Bespin, where a trap set by Darth Vader is prepared for them.
3. Raging Bull (1980)
Jake la Motta is a young boxer who trains hard, helped by his brother and manager Joey, to become the number one middleweight. But his psychological and sexual complexes lead him to manifest his aggressiveness both inside and outside the ring. Amid this inner storm is his brother, who has become a victim of Jake's unhealthy paranoia and jealousy. Soon he manages to see his long-awaited dream come true, but triumph and success turn his life into a nightmare. On the one hand, his marriage is getting worse and worse because of his nights out with other women; on the other hand, the mafia pressures him to rig fights.
2. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
Year 1936. Indiana Jones is a university professor of archaeology, who likes to go on adventures in search of valuable historical relics. After returning from an unsuccessful mission in South America, the American government will entrust him with a new task; the search for the Ark of the Covenant, the place where it is believed that the Hebrews deposited the commandments that God had given to Moses, and whose legend attributes an invincible power to whoever possesses it. For this reason, the Nazis are also after it.
Ten medium-length films were made for television between director Krzysztof Kieslowski and screenwriter Krzysztof Piesiewicz, generically called "Decalogue", and each inspired by one of the Ten Commandments.
And left out of the ranking are these other films that we were also excited to mention...
BMX Bandits (1983)
Three young men have bikes as a hobby. One day, after an accident, their bikes are destroyed. To get the money they think of clamming and finding a package that will bring them trouble...
The money pit (1986)
Anna is a young and attractive violinist who, with her boyfriend Walter, lives temporarily in the apartment of her ex-husband, a famous orchestra conductor. Suddenly, he shows up at the house and the couple has to look for another residence. Walter turns to his friend Jack, a real estate agent, who provides him with a real "bargain" on the outskirts of the city.
Alex Owens is a young orphan girl who dreams of becoming a dancer. To make a living she works in a factory by day as a welder and at night in a nightclub dancing. A blockbuster film from the 80s with a popular soundtrack.
My Friend Mac (1988)
An alien escapes from a NASA lab and befriends a paralyzed boy. The boy hides the alien so he won't be found by the American space agency and locked up again.