Walk of Fame The Greatest Films of the 1980’s Published 4 years ago on Feb 13, 2015 By Carolyn Guerrero The 1980’s were a fantastic time for music, movies, and television. Seriously, all of the most quotable movies came out during the 1980’s – “Here’s Johnny!” , “My name is Inigo Montoya,” and “I’ll be back” are only a few of the most known quotes that came from a few of the movies on this list. It was a seminal time for coming-of-age films, sci-fi, and alien movies. Here are just 35 of the top films of this decade: 1. Airplane! (1980) Airplane! will forever go down as being one of the funniest movies of the decade – and possibly in all of history – and it was also one of the first movies to be released during the decade, as it came out on July 2, 1980. deathandtaxesmag.com In the prior decade, the 1970’s, there were a ton of films that were long, elaborate, and expensive disaster movies. Some were good, but others… not so much. So, the fabulous team of Jerry Zucker, Jim Abrahams, and David Zucker decided it was high time to parody all of those. What they created is shirley one of the greatest comedic films of all time! 2. The Blues Brothers (1980) The Blues Brothers is a film that became an instant cult classic and garnered a whole legion of cosplayers that would be dressing up in the iconic shades and sharp suit – no smiling! ladycutlermelbourneshowboat.rezdy.com The Blues Brothers themselves originated from a Saturday Night Live skit that began with the comedians Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi. The skit was so popular that it led to two different movies: The Blues Brothers in 1980 and Blues Brothers 2000 in 1998. The first, directed by John Landis, starred the original brothers plus other great stars, including John Candy and Carrie Fisher! 3. The Elephant Man (1980) The Elephant Man will forever go down in history as one of the most harrowing and completely depressing movies of all time, but it’s also one of the best pieces of cinema to ever be created and is often considered one of the best films of all time! fanpop.com The movie centers around a Victorian surgeon who is attempting to rescue an incredibly disfigured man who had been barely scraping along as a side-show “freak.” The movie is a historical drama, based off of real-life “elephant man” Joseph Merrick. In the film, Merrick is portrayed by John Hurt and the surgeon is portrayed by Anthony Hopkins. The film won 8 Academy Awards! 4. The Empire Strikes Back (1980) Star Wars: A New Hope was released in 1977 and was a HUGE success, so this time around, it was guaranteed that it’s sequel, The Empire Strikes Back, would be just as good and just as successful. Reddit The first Star Wars film introduced audiences to shiny and sandy new worlds that immediately captivated a whole world. A New Hope was great, but somehow The Empire Strikes Back managed to take everything that we loved about the first movie while adding a new layer of suspense and action. All of the same great characters and all of the same great music, but added in all of the drama! 5. Raging Bull (1980) Raging Bull was one of the best films of the decade, starring one of the biggest stars of the decade, Robert De Niro. With all of the boxing films De Niro made, it’s amazing he didn’t get typecast as a ferocious boxer! Pinterest Raging Bull, directed by Martin Scorsese, is an incredible portrait of a severely troubled boxer, played by the famed De Niro. The film is based off of Jake LaMotta’s memoir, Raging Bull: My Story. The movie is known for being extremely heavy and incredibly violent, but it is also regarded as being one of Scorsese’s best films of all time and was the first film to make it into the National Film Registry! 6. The Shining (1980) “Come play with me…” The Shining is one of the most terrifying films of all time and is also one of the most widely known films of all time! Stanley Kubrick’s visionary portrayal of the haunted hotel will forever go down in film history as one that will give you nightmares. movpins.com The movie is based off of the Stephen King novel of the same name, though the movie deviates quite a bit from the book, especially towards the end. Kubrick directed the movie masterfully – can’t you just picture it now? The creepy twins, the hall of blood, REDRUM, and of course, “Here’s Johnny!” Don’t deny it, Jack Nicholson will forever haunt your dreams. 7. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) If you thought Harrison Ford was done after starring as Han Solo in one of the greatest – if not the greatest – film franchises of all time, you were wrong! pinterest George Lucas had just created Star Wars and decided to gift his newest character idea to his good friend, Steven Spielberg. Lucas created Indiana Jones as an attempt to revive the exciting adventure serials of the 1930’s. Guess what – it worked! The huge $18 million budget was risky, but paid off, as Indiana Jones went on to become an instant classic! But wait, we’re not done with Harrison Ford… 8. Blade Runner (1982) Basically, the 1980’s were a really great time for Harrison Ford. Blade Runner wasn’t an instant hit like all of the rest of the films Ford did during the 1980’s, but it’s following steadily grew and audiences would eventually come to appreciate this Ridley Scott masterpiece. Pinterest Blade Runner, a dark dystopian thriller, is based off of the Philip K. Dick novel, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Nowadays, the Scott film is a cult classic, but there’s no denying that the film is probably the darkest and most daring of the sci-fi genre for this decade. 9. E.T. (1982) The 1980’s were a great, but also confusing, time for the perception of aliens. You had films like Blade Runner and Alien depicting aliens as these completely terrifying entities, but then you have films like E.T. making everyone want to give an alien a hug. collider.com Steven Spielberg made some of the most iconic work of this decade, and E.T. is one of those films that he will always be remembered for. This iconic science fiction adventure film is everything that other alien films of the decade aren’t – it’s heartwarming and will make you cry your eyes out. At the time, it was the highest grossing movie ever! Fun fact: Spielberg almost created a sequel! 10. Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982) At this high school… the only thing to ever get busted are the rules! This hilarious Amy Heckerling and Cameron Crowe comedy was entirely based off of some of Crowe’s undercover findings as to what actually goes on in high schools. indiewire.com The movie is incredibly well observed but also really funny – it’s a great look at the life of teenagers. The movie starred some of what would become the most iconic actors in the decade all in early appearances. Stars like Sean Penn, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Forest Whitaker, and Nicholas Cage were all in this film! 11. The Thing (1982) Add this to the list of terrifying alien horror! The 1982 adaptation of The Thing was an update of the original 1950’s sci-fi horror film, but it somehow just managed to make the whole endeavor even more scary! rogerebert.com This updated film, directed by John Carpenter, originally failed to make the big splash Carpenter was expecting with critics and at the box office. After the cute and cuddliness that was E.T., The Thing came as somewhat of a shock… It took some time, but The Thing eventually came to be recognized as one of the scariest and best sci-fi horror films of the decade. 12. The Outsiders (1983) The Outsiders is known as one of the film that solidified the Brat Pack of the decade, starring some of the most well-known stars of the 1980’s. It’s a beautiful but also tragic coming-of-age drama! Youtube The Outsiders revolves around two rival gangs, the poor greasers and the richer Socs and has all of the drama you could possibly expect to find. The film, directed by Francis Ford Coppola, starred such talent as C. Thomas Howell (who won a Young Artist Award for his work in the film), Rob Lowe, Matt Dillon, Tom Cruise, Emilio Estevez, Ralph Macchio, Patrick Swayze, and Diane Lane! 13. Scarface (1983) “I always tell the truth, even when I lie…” Scarface, directed by Brian De Palma, is absolutely everything you’d want from a stylized gangster epic. It’s iconic! shortlist.com This movie will forever go down in history for several things, one of those being Al Pacino’s memorable performance as the cocaine kingpin Tony Montana who truly didn’t give any… well, y’know. The movie shocked audiences at the time for all of its graphic violence and drug use, and there were even walkouts during the initial screenings! It’s an incredibly powerful film. 14. Star Wars: Return of the Jedi (1983) C’mon, if you’re talking about most successful films of the decade, then you’ve got to include the sequel to the previous Star Wars movie on this list, Star Wars: Return of the Jedi! newsarama.com When Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back left off on a cliffhanger, you know that everyone was just dying to find out what happened next. In Return of the Jedi, everyone eventually got their answer. It had all of your favorite stars: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, and Carrie Fisher, plus you got the return of Jabba the Hutt and Lando Calrisian! 15. Dune (1984) Dune, though not as often remembered as some of the other sci-fi films on this list, was an epic film written and directed by David Lynch and has now acquired quite a cult following! Universal Pictures/theatlantic.com The film was based off of the 1965 Frank Herbert novel, also called Dune. The movie starred Kyle MacLachlan, but also featured many well known American and European actors, including Patrick Stewart and Sting! While initially a box-office flop, the movie has found worldwide success since then! 16. Ghostbusters (1984) There were a lot of new franchises finding their inception during the 1980’s, and Ghostbusters was one of them! This film, directed by Ivan Reitman, somehow managed to charm audiences with the perfect combination of horror and comedy. slashfilm.com This movie is a horror film in it’s own way – some of the paranormal creatures are incredibly terrifying – but it’s also superbly hilarious. Who you gonna call? The film became the most commercially successful comedy of the entire decade! You can thank the theme song for that. 17. Once Upon A Time In America (1984) Sergio Leone was an incredible director and mastermind, and Once Upon a Time in America would mark his first and last partially English film (he was an Italian director). It’s a work of art! theredlist.com The film starred Robert De Niro and was all about the gangster genre, very familiar territory for De Niro. The film covered nearly 50 years of the lives of the gangster’s living in New York’s underworld of crime. When it debuted at the Cannes film festival, the movie was originally 4 hours and 29 minutes long! 18. The Terminator (1984) “I’ll be back…” Sorry, tired of hearing that quote yet? The Terminator is one of the all-time classic films that garnered up a load of excitement and truly launched Arnold Schwarzenegger’s career! theiapolis.com Though audiences had already seen Schwarzenegger in Conan the Barbarian, it was nothing compared to this film! James Cameron made an epic sci-fi film – on a rather small budget – that launched both of these men’s careers. The movie also got the cyborg genre kicked off and led to pretty much the best sequel of all time! 19. Back To The Future (1985) Great Scott! Can’t forget this film, now can we? This 1985 film brought together all of our favorite things about film: comedy, adventure, and some sweet science fiction. Plus, it made 1955 cool again. Youtube This blockbuster, directed by Robert Zemickis, had everything it needed to be successful and that’s why it’s still been around so long! You’ve got the iconic duo: lovable young lead Marty McFly (played by Michael J. Fox) and eccentric mentor Doc Brown (played by Christopher Lloyd). It was the highest grossing film of 1985! 20. The Breakfast Club (1985) One of the best movies of all time, “what we found is that each one of us is a brain, and an athlete, and a basket case, a princess, and a criminal.” The Breakfast Club is THE seminal teen movie of all time! newsweek.com John Hughes might have just created one of the most iconic films of all time in The Breakfast Club. Every teenage stereotype that you can think of was humanized in this film, in the most beautiful of ways. It also forever immortalized “Don’t You Forget About Me.” 21. The Goonies (1985) Goonies never say die! Remember this classic film? It kicked off the careers of some very big stars, including Sean Astin, Josh Brolin, Jeff Cohen, and Corey Feldman! playbuzz.com Directed by Richard Donner, The Goonies is a heartwarming tale about a group of friends who are trying to save their best friend’s home from foreclosure while finding the ancient treasure from an old pirate. It’s a gripping tale and everyone loves it! 22. Aliens (1986) With the success of all of the alien films of the decade, it makes complete sense that James Cameron would also try to imitate Ridley Scott’s success with his very own iteration of the genre. bloody-disgusting.com James Cameron’s alien film was something completely different to anything that had been made until then. It was all heart-thumping suspense and it cemented Sigourney Weaver as the most awesome heroine that ever was. Plus, it led the way to that iconic alien pregnancy scene. 23. Blue Velvet (1986) By the midway point of the 1980’s, David Lynch had already made a huge impression with his previous films Eraserhead, The Elephant Man, and Dune. Blue Velvet, however, was his crowning glory. rogerebert.com Blue Velvet solidified David Lynch as a true visionary director, especially as this film was such an experimental and daring work for the director. The film revealed a suburban America that audiences were not used to seeing up to that point. Safe to say, Blue Velvet was a huge topic of discussion after it premiered! 24. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986) “Life moves pretty fast… If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” Ferris Bueller is a hilarious movie, but it can also get pretty deep at moments! schmoesknow.com It’s another one of your 1980’s high school movies, but it’s also so much more than that. This comedy film subverted the genre of the high school film by having most of the film actually take place outside of a high school. Matthew Broderick played a super lovable title character… Twist and shout! 25. Platoon (1986) Platoon was one of the most harrowing and important films of the decade, and would come to cement director Oliver Stone as one of the most important directors of the decade. alchetron.com Platoon was rightly nominated and won several Academy Awards, including the Oscar for Best Picture and Best Director. The film was loosely based off of Stone’s own experiences during the Vietnam war, and was also loosely based off of John Wayne’s The Green Berets. 26. Stand By Me (1986) Stephen King is mostly known for having some of the scariest books and movies in the world, but this is not one of those terrifying stories! mentalfloss.com Stand By Me was the first Stephen King adaptation that wasn’t strictly a horror film. Instead, the film – directed by Rob Reiner – was a beautiful coming-of-age drama that ended up becoming one of the most defining films of the decade. The story centers around 4 boys trying to solve a mystery and stars early appearances from stars John Cusack, Kiefer Sutherland, and River Pheonix! 27. Top Gun (1986) I took a ride into the danger zone! And we all did during this 1986 classic, Top Gun! The film had everything it needed to be an instant classic. mrporter.com The film is all about a couple of students who are training to become elite fighters for the United States Navy and are all trying to become best in class. One pilot rises up above all of the others – a young pilot portrayed by Tom Cruise! It’s one of the best action flicks! 28. Dirty Dancing (1987) No one puts baby in the corner! Dirty Dancing is another instant classic, like pretty much every other film on this list. This one has a little bit of music in its heart, though! InStyle.com The dance drama was written by Eleanor Bergstein and starred Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey in the iconic roles. Every girl wanted to fall in love with Patrick Swayze after his films in the 1980’s. It was a massive box office hit! 29. Fatal Attraction (1987) Fatal Attraction is one of the scariest films of the decade to be released, even though it didn’t involve any ghosts or monsters or even aliens! tvline.com The psychological thriller, that was the highest grossing film of 1987, tells the story of a married man who spends a weekend with another woman. That woman then develops a terrifying obsession with him. Glenn Close played the role to perfection, and won one of the 6 Academy Awards for the film. 30. Full Metal Jacket (1987) Unlike the other Stanley Kubrick film on this list, this one was a harrowing film about the Vietnam War that showed a very dark side of the drama. unobtainium13.com Unlike the other Vietnam War movie, Platoon, Full Metal Jacket did not glorify any of the soldiers or the action that was taking place in the film. It also made Stanley Kubrick stand out as a director as he transitioned from horror to war without a flaw. 31. The Princess Bride (1987) Everyone knows so much about The Princess Bride, what more is there to possibly to say about the film? It was released in 1987 and our lives have been changed ever since. avclub.com “My name is Inigo Montoya… Prepare to die!” That’s just one of the most beloved quotes of this Rob Reiner film that’s an instant classic and is a lot of people’s favorite movie! Every girl wants a man to say to them, “As you wish.” 32. Spaceballs (1987) Given that two of the Star Wars films were released in this decade, it’s no surprise that a parody would come along to make fun of those films, as great as they are. bloody-disgusting.com The film was directed by the classic comedic director Mel Brooks and starred Mel Brooks as well. The film also starred Rick Moranis as “Lord Dark Helmet” who is trying to basically put a stop to the galaxy! The film was comedic gold and gave us such great characters as “Pizza the Hutt.” 33. Wall Street (1987) Wall Street debuted towards the end of the 1980’s and worked as several things simultaneously: a financial drama, a highly entertaining drama, and a historical bookmark of sorts. agentpalmer.com The film was directed Oliver Stone and can be easily classified as one of the most “80’s” films on this list. It starred Michael Douglas as Gordon Gekko, and he won the Academy Award for Best Actor for this role! 34. Die Hard (1988) Yippie-ki-yay, mother*bleep*! Die Hard might just be the best and most exciting Christmas movie of all time. Don’t you try to argue that it’s not! mentalfloss.com It’s definitely the action movie of the decade and cemented Bruce Willis as the action star of the decade. He fought all of the bad guys and flawlessly provided all of the best one-liners that you could ever ask for. The movie even featured a notorious Russian villain played by Alan Rickman! 35. Do The Right Thing (1989) Do The Right Thing was a controversial take on the racial tensions in Brooklyn that really solidified Spike Lee’s directing career and even won him a nomination for Best Original Screenplay! scene-stealers.com That was just one of the nominations – the others were for Best Writer and Best Actor! At the time, only 3 black writers had been nominated in this category ever, which was a huge deal for Spike Lee! The film was a huge but surprise hit! What’s your favorite movie of the decade? SHARE this article with your friends! Next: Inspiring Events That Changed The History of the United States... Next Page Related Topics:80'sa new hopeairplane!aliensBack to the Futureblade runnerblue velvetdie harddirty dancingdo the right thingdunee.t.fast times at ridgemont highfatal attractionferris bueller’s day offfull metal jacketGhostbustersHarrison FordIndiana Jonesonce upon a time in americaplatoonraging bullraiders of the lost arkreturn of the jedisaturday night livescarfacespaceballsstand by mestar warssteven spielbergthe blues brothersthe breakfast clubthe elephant manthe empire strikes backthe gooniesthe outsidersthe princess bridethe shiningthe terminatorthe thingtop gunwall street Up Next The Most Memorable Shows of the 1960s Don't Miss The Ultimate 20th Century Entertainment Quiz Continue Reading You may like One Iconic Movie Franchise Turned Down ‘Guardians Of The Galaxy’ Star Dave Bautista You Can “Expect Some Slowdown” From Disney’s ‘Star Wars’ Films Check Out Ewan McGregor’s Hysterical Reaction to This “Solo” Cameo Director Opens Up: Here’s What Happened Behind-The-Scenes Of ‘Dirty Dancing’ The Doctor Is In: Matt Smith Joins ‘Star Wars: Episode IX’ Will A Fan-Fueled Petition Remove ‘The Last Jedi’ From Star Wars Canon? 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