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5 Best 80's Movies

Updated on July 1, 2011

Top 80's Movies

The 80's were a strange time. The craze and mayham that were the 60s and 70s was coming to slow close, on the horizon the impatient coming of the 90's. The 80s was a time of holding on to those past thrills - if only for one more moment - before it all ended and real life returned.

Where were these moments found?

In movies. Movies are the keeper of history - more glorified of course - but none the less there. The best movies are telling of the times, perhaps even a little foreshadowing of what to come. The best 80s movies all had that: a little bit of insight into the world around them.

Whether its the best 80s horror or the best 80s comedy all great 80s movies shared that common trait. It allows us, when we look back and watch 80s movies, what we were doing right, what we valued the most, and what we should of done differently.


Top 5 80's Movies:


The actors of the Breakfast Club in 2005 being recognized with the Silver Bucked of Excellence award for the movie.
The actors of the Breakfast Club in 2005 being recognized with the Silver Bucked of Excellence award for the movie. | Source

The Breakfast Club (1985)

The classic high-school movie; the ultimate insight into the realm of teenage life; a heartwarming and insightful story into growing up, and what it means to be young. The Breakfast Club was many things including being one of the best 80's movies, and probably the best movie about high school ever created.

What makes it so good?

The story is simple in nature: it follows 5 students who have to go to detention on a weekend morning. They are all different from each other - the rebel, the princess, the nerd, the athlete and the loner - and this what makes this movie so profoundly good. The five of them, despite their irrational differences, get to know each other, come together, even bond. It's very capticating and moving to watch the five of them come together - and it makes us reflect.

This is one of the best 80's films because it allows us to look back on our childhood and remember how different we thought we all were and how, in reality, we were really that much more the same.


The famous DeLorean.
The famous DeLorean. | Source

Back to the Future (1985)

Won one Oscar for best effects and was nominated for 3 more including best sound, best music and best writing. Back to the Future just may be one of the most defining, a certainly one of the best, 80's movies. It was a cultural phenomena at the time and now, decades later, is still revered and loved by countless. I'm sure there is still at least one person per year who asks for a DeLorean time machine for Christmas.

The story follows Marty McFly and normal teenager who is accidentally set back in time in a DeLorean time machine into the year 1955. The classic story ensues - McFly has to make sure his parents meet and fall in love without messing up anything else.

The special effects and time travel idea at the time were genre defining; the movie, just to put thing is perspective, has grossed almost 200 million dollars all time. How's that for a best 80's movie?


Tom Cruise, second from the left, around the time he made the movie Top Gun.
Tom Cruise, second from the left, around the time he made the movie Top Gun. | Source

Top Gun (1986)

The story from Top Gun be overused and very cliche; the character Tom Cruise plays, named Maverick, may be a bit stereotypical - but that's what makes Top Gun so great. It takes the standard story and makes it much more affecting and endearing. It's one of the most self-aware 80's movies and this makes it one of the best 80's films.

You probably already know the story, even if you don't know it. It follows Maverick (Tom Cruise) who just lost his best friend while flying; he blames himself and thinks he can never fly again. He then meets an older female instructor...and I think you know the rest.

Top Gun, by not trying to be anything more than it is, is one of the great 80's movies.


Poltergeist is one of the best 80s horror movies.
Poltergeist is one of the best 80s horror movies. | Source

Poltergeist (1982)

Whenever you get directer Steven Spielberg making a movie on the genre he loves the most, you're almost guaranteed a great movie. And that's what happened with Poltergeist, a classic ghost story. Spielberg, teamed up with Tobe Hooper. created one of the best 80's films using state of the art special effects, as well many new and innovative camera techniques of the time, to create a ghost story that had both humor and terror.

The story follows the Freeling family who live in a fictional California town called Cuesta Verde. They begin to experience weird occurrences such as the furniture moving, forks bending, lights turning on and off. They later find out a group of ghosts called poltergeists have moved in; at first they seem friendly, but quickly turn evil.

From quick summary of the story you can see how this top 80's film conveys both humor and terror. Steven Spielberg creates the story in a way so that it flows almost perfectly and is very believable.


Bill Murray, the star of Caddyshack, seems to always be having fun on a golf course.
Bill Murray, the star of Caddyshack, seems to always be having fun on a golf course. | Source

Caddyshack (1980)

What do you get when you have Bill Murray being the goofiest and the most outrageous he can be? You get a very, very funny movie. Caddyshack is by far one of the best 80's comedies and, for many, is one of the best 80s movies of all time.

The story is simple. It follows the poor staff members at an exclusive golf club; or, specifically, it follows the poor caddies who have to caddy for rich golf players. You wouldn't believe the amount of comical things that can go on in a two hour movie but Caddyshack has plenty. They even have a devilish gopher.

Caddyshack may not be insightful and defining as the above four movies but that doesn't make anything less. It's still hilarious even now and is, and always will be, one of the great 80's films.


More Great 80's Movies

Some honorable mentions:

  • Fatal Attraction
  • Ferris Bueller's Day Off
  • Ghostbusters
  • Driving Miss Daisy
  • Rain Man
  • Ordinary People
  • The Terminator
  • The Empire Strikes Back
  • E.T


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    • trusouldj profile image

      LaZeric Freeman 

      4 years ago from Hammond

      Splendid topic.

    • profile image


      6 years ago from Missouri

      Fun list!


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