19 ’80s Movies So Iconic, Your Life Isn’t Complete Until You Watch Them

The ’80s were a very special period. The decade was filled with neon colors and had an energetic flow of pop culture. The movies released in the ’80s are so good and entertaining, you never get tired of them. Here are 19 iconic ’80s movies you just have to see.

Back to the Future (1985)

Back To The Future (1985) Universal Studios
Photo Credit: Universal Studios.

Back to the Future is the perfect mix of science fiction and fun. It’s filled with a lot of relatable moments and quotable lines. It’s the highest-grossing film of 1985 and has since become a big part of pop culture.

The Shining (1980)

The Shining Warner Bros
Photo Credit: Warner Bros.

Jack Torrance is a crazed writer who spends a weekend at the Overlook Hotel with his wife and psychic son. The atmosphere of dread and terrible anticipation that Kubrick creates is like none other in that it stays with you after you’re done. And there’s also Jack’s iconic “Here’s Johnny!” line.

Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

Photo Credit: Lucasfilm.

The Empire Strikes Back has been referred to as the greatest film in the “Star Wars” saga. The third-act revelation with Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader had a major influence on pop culture and has been parodied countless times in the media. The film’s CGI and visual effects still hold up today.

Coming to America (1986)

Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures.

This movie is guaranteed to have you laughing till your ribs hurt. It’s about an African prince who visits New York City to find the love of his life. It’s a story about love and following your dreams and one of the first Hollywood movies to feature a positive depiction of Africa.

The Breakfast Club (1983)

Photo Credit: Universal Pictures.

This movie has nothing to do with food. It’s a coming-of-age movie that follows five completely different students who spend a Saturday together in detention and find out they have more in common than they realize. The classic song “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” perfectly encapsulates the mood of the film.

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

Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures.

Raiders of the Lost Ark is an exciting adventure film that takes you on a wild ride. The film is packed with action sequences that are sure to give you an adrenaline rush. It was such a big hit with fans and went ahead to win four Oscars.

The Goonies (1985)

The Goonies – Singing Or Not_ Warner Bros
Photo Credit: Warner Bros.

A group of misfits goes on an adventure to find a legendary pirate’s lost treasure. It’s an exciting movie full of action, suspense, and humor. The movie has a lot of iconic moments, from the booby traps down to the final showdown. It’s a fun movie that makes you feel like a kid again.

The Karate Kid (1984)

Karate Kid Columbia Pictures
Photo Credit: Columbia Pictures.

Here, an awkward, bullied teenager gains the confidence to stand up for himself through karate. Solely responsible for the ’80s karate fever, it’s an inspiring and heartwarming film that resonated with viewers. Seeing Daniel land the legendary ”crane kick” was so cool and satisfying. It’s something everyone needs to see.

Scarface (1983)

Photo Credit: Universal Pictures.

Al Pacino’s performance as Tony Montana is one of the best I’ve ever seen. Truly one of the best gangster films I’ve come across. Every single aspect of the film was incredible. The portrayals of violence and corruption are so realistic. An unforgettable movie that etches itself in your mind.

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

Photo Credit: Amblin Entertainment.

E.T. is one of the most beloved films in cinema. It’s the ultimate tale of friendship between a 10-year-old boy and an alien trying to get home. It’s a heartwarming tale that’s guaranteed to make you cry. Can anyone really say they had a memorable childhood if they didn’t watch E.T.?

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)

Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures.

Ferris Bueller skips class for a day and goes on a fun adventure with his friends. The film captures the feeling of being young and free. It’s genuinely funny and has one of my favorite quotes—”Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

Ghostbusters (1984)

The Ghostbusters - Columbia Pictures
Photo Credit: Columbia Pictures.

Who you gonna call? Ghostbusters! This supernatural comedy follows a group of parapsychologists that saves New York from a ghost invasion. The whole plot is so weird and silly with the gatekeeper and the giant Marshmallow Man, but just works. I particularly love the mix of slapstick humor and the icky ghosts.

Predator (1987)

Predator 20th Century Studios
Photo Credit: 20th Century Studios.

This action-packed film has been described as a mash-up of Rambo and Aliens. The legendary Schwarzenegger gives an incredible performance backed by excellent visuals and sound. The gory horror and intriguing sci-fi elements make it all so exhilarating. Having the creature camouflaged until the very end made it even more scary.

Die Hard (1988)

Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox.

What makes Die Hard so good is the amazing dynamic between John McClane and Hans Gruber. Their back and forth is very funny, and has been referenced numerous times in the media. The action sequences are so good, it’s considered one of the greatest action films of all time.

The Terminator (1984)

Photo Credit: Orion Pictures.

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s performance as the relentless and unstoppable killing machine is probably the most memorable in film. He has just 17 lines in the film and was able to leave such a big impact on viewers. The visual effects also contribute to making the film equally appealing and terrifying.

The Princess Bride (1987)

The Princess Bride_ Swordfight Between Inigo And Wesley Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Photo Credit: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

The movie combines different genres, hereby including a little something for everyone. It appeals to all ages and includes funny and memorable characters. It satirizes the traditional fairy tale tropes while still respecting it. It’s another infinitely quotable film that you can’t get tired of.

Dirty Dancing (1987)

Photo Credit: Lions Gate Home Ent.

It was the most popular dance movie of the decade. The amazing soundtrack, captivating dance sequences, and undeniable chemistry between the leads just capture the spirit of the ’80s. The iconic “lift scene” has been recreated countless times by fans and has since become a part of pop culture.

Blade Runner (1982)

Photo Credit: Warner Bros.

This movie is a noir detective story that delves into the true nature of humanity. Its stunning visuals, amazing set designs, and haunting musical score make it feel so unique and immerse you into the dystopian world. The ending is sure to have you debating Deckard’s true nature.

Say Anything (1989)

Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox.

Say Anything gives us a close and realistic look at what young love is, making it easy for the audience to connect with it. It’s what inspired a number of heartbroken youths to hold up a boombox playing Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes” while standing outside a girl’s window.

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Photo Credit: Miramax Films.

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Avengers_ Endgame
Photo Credit: Marvel Studios.

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American Psycho (2000) - Lionsgate Films
Photo Credit: Lionsgate Films.

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Interstellar - Paramount Pictures
Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures.

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T-1000
Photo Credit: StudioCanal.

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