The 15 Best 80’s Movies

by Cameron Tejeda | staff writer

The 1980’s were a great time for movies – they were iconic, and somewhat cheesy, masterpieces. Whether you’re looking for action, comedy, or horror, the 80’s won’t let you down. This list is in no particular order; it’s just a breakdown of some of the best movies from the decade.

The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

It’s Star Wars, need I say more? The Empire Strikes Back, the second movie in the trilogy, improved on the original. It’s such a great adventure movie. You see different planets, creatures, and the plot just keeps moving. Iconic characters like Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker, and Han Solo are back, and Yoda is introduced for the first time. This movie is darker than the first, and has one of the best twists in movie history.

The Shining (1980)      

A film originally adapted from a Stephen King novel, director Stanley Kubrick creates a thrilling horror film. The Shining is about a family who is hired to move into a hotel during the winter and look after it. The father, played by Jack Nicholson, starts to unravel, and things go downhill from there. The wife and child are then trapped in the hotel with the father, and this creates a lot of great suspense. The Shining is definitely a horror movie to check out.

Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

Harrison Ford plays the iconic Indiana Jones, and right from the opening scene you know you’re in for an adventure. The movie is about Jones competing against Nazis in order to find the Ark of the Covenant. Along the way we get some amazing action sequences to keep the plot moving. Indiana Jones is a protagonist that you can buy into, and Steven Spielberg is truly at his best; having made one of the most legendary adventure movies ever.

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

Screen Shot 2016-05-11 at 9.02.46 AMEssentially, a young boy finds a small alien, and the two forge a beautiful friendship. E.T. is a great family movie for everyone to enjoy. Steven Spielberg definitely creates a masterpiece with this one as he throws in laughs and emotional moments along the way. The movie actually makes you care about the weird-looking alien puppet. Eventually the government intervenes, and it all leads up to a fantastic ending.

Scarface (1983)     

Al Pacino plays Tony Montana, a drug lord who works his way to the top. Along the way we get a vigorous film with some amazing sequences. Al Pacino and Michelle Pfeiffer are the standout cast members, and the plot of the movie is very interesting. The finale of the film is absolutely exhilarating, and why not throw in the line, “Say hello to my little friend!”

Ghostbusters (1984)

Four guys team up to form a business about catching ghosts. How could you not like this movie? Ghostbusters has a great cast including Bill Murray and Sigourney Weaver. The plot keeps the movie rolling and makes for some great laughs. The chemistry between all the actors on the team was phenomenal and really made the movie what it was. On their journey they run into some awesome ghosts including a floating green blob called Slimer, and a giant Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.

The Terminator (1984)  

Arnold Schwarzenegger plays a cyborg sent back in time to assassinate Sarah Connor, who is played by Linda Hamilton. Yeah, it’s awesome. JaScreen Shot 2016-05-11 at 9.05.49 AMmes Cameron’s breakout movie is phenomenal, and it is crazy the things he is able to do with the small budget he had available at that time. Schwarzenegger is great at being the menacing villain, and Michael Biehn as Kyle Reese, a human sent back to protect Connor, is also fantastic. The intriguing plot combined with the spectacular action makes this a great sci-fi classic.

A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

Freddy Krueger terrorizes kids in their dreams when they fall asleep. If they die in the dream, they die in real life. Just imagine that. One of the best horror movie plots ever. Wes Craven directs, while Robert Englund acts as the child murderer. Krueger is really creepy looking too; he’s got burns, wears claws, and a nasty old Christmas sweater. With a scary plot and a terrifying villain, A Nightmare on Elm Street is a must-watch horror flick.

The Breakfast Club (1985)

Five high school students spend a Saturday together in detention; complete with all the different stereotypes. The brain, the princess, the jock, the outcast, and the rebel. The combination of all these different characters creates such a funny movie with a cast that has great chemistry. The movie breaks down the high school stereotypes, and shows that these kids can really be friends. The Breakfast Club is just a fun comedy to sit back and watch.

Back to the Future (1985)Screen Shot 2016-05-11 at 9.10.39 AM

This movie truly has it all: comedy, drama, action, sci-fi, and romance. Because of this, everyone can love it. Michael J. Fox plays Marty McFly who travels back in time thanks to scientist Doc Brown, and messes with things a little. One thing leads to another, and he has to get his parents to fall in love with each other again. The result is a funny movie that includes great action and some tense moments. Also, who can forget the DeLorean time machine.

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)

This movie is all about a senior in high school named Ferris Bueller, played by Matthew Broderick, who definitely knows how to cheat the school system. He successfully manages to skip class one day (bringing his total to nine school absences) and brings his friends along for the crazy ride. Meanwhile his principal tries to track him down, and it all makes for one hilarious movie. Ferris knows how to get out of bad situations, and I can really get behind his character. It’s a fun movie that shows the extraordinary adventure through the eyes of three high school teens.

Aliens (1986)   

Director James Cameron delivers a sequel that makes the original Alien (1979) proud. Sigourney Weaver as Ellen Ripley is back to team up with Marines, including Michael Biehn as Cpl. Dwayne Hicks, to fight the Xenomorph aliens. This movie is action packed with amazing carnage. The Marines go to a distant planet to check on the colony of people who lived there, only to be greeted by acid-spitting monsters. Ellen Ripley accompanies the Marines since she had experience with the same kind of monster in the previous film, and she once again is the main star in the film. To top it all off, she has a showdown with a queen alien in the end.  

Predator (1987)Screen Shot 2016-05-11 at 9.04.54 AM

A group of soldiers led by Dutch, played by Arnold Schwarzenegger, go into the jungle and get ambushed by an alien known as a Predator. Schwarzenegger is one of the best action stars ever, and he teams up with director John McTiernan to make one of the best action movies of all time. Jesse Ventura and Carl Weathers are two of the guys that fight along Arnold, and you truly get the sense that this team can do anything. That is until they run into the Predator of course, who lurks in the jungle and is very menacing. Because of this, the movie creates suspense. In the end, we get to see Arnold Schwarzenegger take on the Predator. Why wouldn’t you watch it?  

RoboCop (1987)  

Alex Murphy, a Detroit police officer, is brutally disfigured, and becomes a prototype for a corrupt company. He gets a suit of armour and becomes RoboCop. I know, it’s so cheesy, but so good. The action is bloody and raw, and Peter Weller is great as the hero. RoboCop is certainly the movie to watch if you want a cheesy, action-packed time.

Die Hard (1988)

Fantastic action director John McTiernan brings us Die Hard. Bruce Willis stars as John McClane, a New York cop trapped in a building with terrorists. McClane is one of the best action heroes, and Willis plays him perfectly. Alan Rickman plays Hans Gruber, the leader of the terrorists, and he is also great as the villain. Almost the entire movie takes place in this building, so you get the sense that John McClane is the hostages’ only hope. You won’t be disappointed with the action in this movie.

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