But, luckily, there are some things about the 80s that are worth remembering: the wonderful classic movies the decade gave us. Are you ready to take a stroll down memory lane? We hope you are because this list is filled with iconic 80s movies we haven’t been able to let go of.
1987's "Dirty Dancing" was a romantic dance-drama, that gave us everything we craved from a rom-com at the time. One example is in the film's climax. "Time of My Life" blasts in the speakers and Jennifer Grey soars up into the arms of Patrick Swayze.
It was a moment that had us all shed a few tears and it has been recreated countless times. If, for some reason, you still haven't watched this lovely film, what are you waiting for?
When Harry Met Sally
Harry and Sally are two friends grappling with the ultimate question: can men and women ever simply be platonic pals? The 1989 rom-com was written by Nora Ephron. It featured Meg Ryan as Sally and Billy Crystal as Harry.
The classic film originated some concepts we talk about to this day, like "high-maintenance." We're sure you've watched this 80s treasure, but if for some reason you haven't what are you waiting for?
Before she became the darling of Hollywood and an A-lister that could get any role she wanted, Julia Roberts portrayed Daisy Araújo in “Mystic Pizza.” This 80s romantic comedy-drama was also Matt Damon's film debut.
Following the story of two very different sisters who work at a pizza place in a small town, it quickly turned into a cultural sensation. There is nothing more quintessentially American than a movie about small-town girls dreaming about the big city.
Some of you may only be familiar with the 2016 version of "Ghostbusters," but older folks know that the original 1984 movie was a pure joy to watch. It was a big hit when it came out as it was appealing to both older and younger audiences.
Starring Sigourney Weaver, Bill Murray, and Dan Aykroyd, the film tells how a group of professors turned ghost removers, and while this might sound a little bit eerie, it is hilarious!
Over the Top
The forever tough guy Sylvester Stallone plays a trucker and pro arm wrestler who needs to get to Las Vegas in order to compete in the world arm wrestling tournament. His estranged son and dying mother get thrown into the mix and things get a little more complicated.
The film results in a great father-and-son road trip, with plenty of muscle flexing of course. This movie will surely touch every father and son who choose to watch it together.
The Evil Dead
"The Evil Dead" is a creepy cult classic that began as a short film back in 1981. The movie made nearly $30 million in the box office — quite a feat for a movie that was made in the early ’80s! The king of horror himself, Stephen King, absolutely loved the movie.
The film, which was both written and directed by Sam Raimi, was shot mainly using a cabin deep in the woods in Tennessee. It’s been followed up with a few sequels and spinoffs, along with the television series "Ash vs. The Evil Dead."
“The Goonies,” is a classic piece of 80s adventure fun. Based on a tale written by no other than Steven Spielberg, it follows the kids who live in a neighborhood called "Goon Docks." The kids find an ancient treasure map and adventure ensues.
It hit theatres in 1985 and raked in $124 million worldwide. The United States National Film Registry even picked it for preservation explaining the picture is culturally significant.
As soon as you see the title "Blade Runner" you can already hear the eerie sci-fi sounds of Vangelis and the imposing ziggurat within which Ridley Scott’s film takes place. A fan favorite, the cult film stars the gorgeous Harrison Ford with Sean Young as his love interest.
This 1982 movie was way ahead of its time, and to this day, it is the type of sci-fi movie that will make you think about the relationship between humans and technology.
There have been countless adaptations of Charles Dickens' famous book, "A Christmas Carol". And Richard Donner's 1987 film, "Scrooged", is undoubtedly one of the best. In this 80's holiday classic, Bill Murray plays a greedy, arrogant, and very successful TV executive that has gradually pushed everybody in his life away.
The movie gets increasingly funny as Murray is visited by a series of Christmas spirits that force him to take a look at his selfish lifestyle. Not to mention Carol Kane's hilarious performance as the Ghost of Christmas Present.
Planes, Trains & Automobiles
You can't get much better than Steve Martin and John Candy in "Planes, Trains & Automobiles." The comedy features the two legends who are forced to become travel companions as they head home for the holidays.
The John Hughs film takes these comedy greats together on a long, awkward, and hilarious road trip movie experience. It is a total delight and simply a must-see.
When a snowy mountain is pillaged over a land ownership battle during the early Gold Rush, all notions of money and land play into the grand struggle for power in America.
This Clint Eastwood blockbuster, while special in its own right, somewhat resembles "The Unforgiven" and could even be considered as a trial run.
The 1984 drama "Paris, Texas" follows Travis Henderson as a drifter who, after having been claimed as missing for four years, wanders out of the desert and back into society.
The amnesic nomad rents a car to find his family and reconnects with the man he was and who he's become. Not a light movie, but a solid road trip film about self-discovery nonetheless, and one of the most underrated classics of its time.
Directed by Martin Brest and starring Robert De Niro, this film had everything it could have asked for in order to become a classic. "Midnight Run" was indeed a success, both critically and commercially.
Watching Robert De Niro in this filthy comedy is fantastic. Playing the bounty hunter Jack Walsh who is seeking to track down a slippery accountant, De Niro gets himself into quite the road trip. Of course, the FBI, the mob, and a few other bounty hunters get caught up in the mix, making the movie even more entertaining.
1980's Raging Bull has a young Robert De Niro as a boxer rising up through the ranks. Of course, he also falls in love along the way. Unfortunately, he has some issues expressing his feelings properly which sends him into a downward spiral that inevitably sabotages his life.
Director Martin Scorcese won a Golden Globe for his work on the movie, which also won two Academy Awards, including the one for Best Picture in 1981. If that doesn't scream early 80s classic to you, we don't know what will.
1986's Hoosiers is a story about personal experiences and the game of basketball. Intense layers of scenes woven from moments that happened on and off the basketball court made this film different.
The film begins at a small Indiana High School, in a period where a group of raggedy basketball players attempts to beat their competitors. By using their grit, heart, determination, and resiliency, the group is able to compete in the 1954 Indiana State Championship.
National Lampoon's Vacation
This comedy classic by the legendary late Harold Ramis stars Chevy Chase in one of his most iconic roles as Clark W. Griswold. Chase plays the ambitious father whose holiday plans just do not pan out.
You can bet your bottom dollar it's filled with road trip adventures, which is something all viewers like to get lost in. The 1982 film was also a major hit, which resulted in four hilarious sequels.
"Caddyshack" is still regarded by many great film critics as one of the best and most entertaining golf movies of all time. It was a hit, mainly because of Rodney Dangerfield and Bill Murray's exceptional performance.
The story begins in the confines of an upscale country club, and it has the audience laughing non-stop from the very first scene. Despite Murray's rather short exposure on the camera, his performance doesn’t disappoint. Indeed, a classic movie that deserves to be in the 80s films' hall of fame.
A Christmas Story
"A Christmas Story" is a beautiful, heartwarming film based on radio personality Jean Shepherd's stories about growing up in Indiana. Directed by Bob Clark, this 1983 movie became a Christmas staple in every household.
The sentimental, yet darkly comedic plot, makes us viewers feel nostalgic about our own childhood, as we follow the lead character, Ralphie, who is obsessed with getting a Red Ryder air rifle for Christmas. This classic is a perfect mix of childhood nostalgia, family love, and delightful comedy.
Friday the 13th
The original "Friday the 13th" is definitely a classic horror movie and arguably one of the best slasher films ever made. This picture hit nearly $60 million at the box office and turned into an extremely successful franchise.
The movie was written and directed by Victor Miller and was his highest-grossing movie of all time. Have we already mentioned the 80s were a prime time for cult classics?
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
A cute little kid befriends an alien who gets stuck on Earth and then has to help him get back to his home planet. It’s the perfect recipe for a sweet, touching family film about the beauty of friendship.
When rewatching today, it tends to get a little too campy, but it still holds a special place in our hearts. Especially E.T's freedom ride which has captured the hearts of viewers since the film's release in 1982, and was given nods to in media ever since.
1988’s Christmas thriller, Die Hard, has captivated fans for years as the story of John McClane saving his wife and a hotel full of guests has demonstrated some of Bruce Willis’ best movie qualities.
Not only did this film lead to a string of sequels, but the first installment brought home over $140 million worldwide. Not too shabby!
One Magic Christmas
Most people might not remember this 1985 Disney film, but "One Magic Christmas" not only has the stellar appearances of Mary Steenburgen and Harry Dean Stanton, it is also the quintessential Christmas film. Despite it having a less than successful run at the box office, it still made its way into the hearts' of viewers, becoming a holiday favorite.
The legendary Harry Dean Stanton plays Gideon, an angel that watches over a working-class family and its hard-working matriarch, who struggles with some difficult issues as she realizes what Christmas is really all about. "One Magic Christmas" is the perfect mix between the harshness of real-life and the nostalgic sentimentality of the holidays; and a great family flick in general.
Pee-wee's Big Adventure
One of the most beloved comedies to come out of the 80s, "Pee-wee's Big Adventure" loosely satirizes "Bicycle Thieves," the Vittorio De Sica classic. Paul Reuben's zany antics as Pee-wee Herman are priceless. He takes on a big adventure as he tries to track down his stolen bicycle.
We follow Pee-wee to the mysterious "basement of Alamo" which of course we find out later does not exist. The legendary motion picture is a must for true 80s lovers.
The Cannonball Run
In Jackie Chan's first American movie, we witness The Cannonball Run, a super illegal wild race that takes place across several states. The 1981 film is a typical Hal Needham production which means a lot of action and a lot of fast cars!
Enjoy speeding Ferraris Dodge and Lamborghinis, you name it, the film's got it. If you are into classic 80s cars, you'll love this one!
The Breakfast Club
Even with all of the other 80s classics mentioned on this list, it doesn't get more iconic than "The Breakfast Club." Molly Ringwald, Emilio Estevez, and Anthony Michael Hall who starred in the movie got the nickname the ‘80s Brat Pack.
In "The Breakfast Club" a group of high school kids from different social cliques are forced to come together in detention and see eye-to-eye with one another. They learn that they aren't as different as they thought, which makes for a heartwarming watch, even decades later.
"The Terminator" has to be one of the most successful movies ever. Director James Cameron scripted Austrian bodybuilder and Conan the Barbarian actor Arnold Schwarzenegger as the Terminator. Today, four decades later, “I’ll be back” is still in the vernacular.
It made a vigorous $78.4M in ticket sales, and the movie terminated the competition, as well as our ability to enjoy any other action flicks.
The Color Purple
Like many of the decade's most beloved films, this coming-of-age period drama was directed by no other than Steven Spielberg. "The Color Purple" is based on a 1982 novel, and it stars actors Whoopi Goldberg, Oprah Winfrey, and Danny Glover.
Fun fact: back then, Oprah wasn't the legendary name she is now. She was actually terrified of being fired from the movie. She felt like she didn't know what she was doing, and another movie had recently had a high-profile firing. She made it through, but that was just the start for her.
The Natural spearheaded what seemed to be a long wave of movies that centered around baseball. The sports film genre frequented the silver screen between the 1980s and 1990s. The protagonist, Roy Hobbs, is portrayed by the legendary Robert Redford. He plays a baseball prodigy who becomes incredibly successful. But what seems to turn into a perfect life is only a charade.
Hobbs experiences a series of events that many would deem unfortunate. The events in his life appear to grow worse as his baseball career takes off. If you’re ever in the mood for a great baseball classic, "The Natural" should be on the top of your list.
Stranger Than Paradise
Jim Jarmusch's second feature film follows Willie and his buddy Eddie as they head out on a road trip all the way to Cleveland, Ohio. There they intend to visit Eva, Willie's cousin from Hungary.
This 1984 film made its mark as a modern indie classic and was especially lauded for its unusually long takes and DIY simplistic style.
Watch Tom Cruise play the sleazeball Charlie Babbitt alongside his neurodivergent brother Raymond (Dustin Hoffman.) The two go on a cross-country road trip in the hope of cashing in on the fortune of their father.
Of course, ultimately, what happens is a beautiful journey of self-discovery. No wonder this film won an Oscar. If you haven't seen this film, shame on you.
The Karate Kid
Everyone knows "The Karate Kid" as a feel-good film that gave birth to many well-loved characters, especially Mr. Miyagi. He provided valuable life lessons through the discipline of karate to the main protagonist, Daniel LaRusso. The relationship between the two is one of the most beautiful and magnetic features of the movie.
In the film, LaRusso fights off his demons while simultaneously battling with the evil Cobra Kai Dojo. It was a movie for all ages and continues to be an excellent choice for a classic movie night.
Star Wars: Episode V- The Empire Strikes Back
This addition to the famed movie franchise was big back when it was released and it is still cherished to this day. The original cast teamed up with George Lucas to create another mega-hit that grossed nearly $223 million after its 1981 re-release.
Critics were just as thrilled with the film as audiences, with one actually using the word “thrilling” to describe his experience in theaters.
Star Wars - Return of the Jedi
This "Star Wars" film is not the only one of its kind on our list. The space opera is the third chapter in the original Star Wars trilogy. It stars Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and Harrison Ford.
A major part of the fun of watching this 1983 film is pausing scenes to see how its visual and special effects have held up over the years. You may be surprised to discover that they've held up pretty well.
Bull Durham's story revolves around the well-known storyline of pupil versus teacher. In this case, both are equally strong. Crash David, as portrayed by Kevin Costner, is an ex-minor league athlete that fights with the immature and brash hot-shot, Ebby LaLoosh, played by Tim Robbins.
Ron Shelton wrote the film, and he effectively captures a small town's minor league baseball scene. He also did a fantastic job of creating outlandish character developments and quirky language, topped by an unbeatable performance by Susan Sarandon. What more can audiences ask for? Maybe an encore.
The Blues Brothers
Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi star in this cult classic as two brothers on a mission from God himself. Jake Blues (Belushi) and his brother Elwood (Aykroyd) decide to do some good and raise money for the Catholic home they grew up in.
This mission results in a major road trip all through Illinois in an effort to get the band back in action. There's no way you can resist these SNL legends in this classic from our favorite decade.
Once Upon a Time in America
This epic crime drama is based on a novel by Harry Grey. It stars Robert De Niro and James Woods and tells the tale of two best friends and Jewish gangsters living in New York City. The film was directed by Italian filmmaker Sergio Leone, and it would be his last before he passed away five years later.
When Once Upon a Time in America premiered at the Cannes Film Festival, it received a standing ovation that lasted for around fifteen minutes. Unfortunately, it flopped at the box office, but in hindsight, we all know it's an exceptional American classic.
A Nightmare on Elm Street
Wes Craven’s "A Nightmare on Elm Street" is arguably one of the best horror movies ever made. It is the ultimate cult classic that launched an incredible franchise — and Johnny Depp’s career. If you haven’t seen the classic and you actually needed another reason, there it is!
The film, which centers around a madman who takes the lives of teenagers in their dreams, grossed over $25 million after its release in 1984. The movie forever solidified Wes Craven’s place in the horror hall of fame as one of the greatest (and most twisted) minds of all time.
National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation
Considering this movie was released in 1989, you would think that maybe the cheesy comedy wouldn't be as hilarious today as it was back then. You'd be wrong. We honestly think that no Christmas is complete without the hilarious mishaps of the Griswold family, which somehow always manage to get themselves in the most cringe-worthy situations.
With a cast like Chevy Chase, Beverly D'Angelo, Juliette Lewis, and Johnny Galecki, you and your family will be laughing for hours. Whether it's back in the '80s or in the present day, dealing with awkward family situations never gets old - especially during the holidays.
Look back into the cinematic world of the 1980s and we land on one of the most popular sci-fi thrillers of all time: Aliens. This 1986 film starring Sigourney Weaver is still referenced as one of the best of its kind.
The film, directed by James Cameron, won two Academy Awards in 1987; Best Visual Effects and Best Sound Editing. And, it gave us one of the creepiest scenes in film history – you know the one. If you don't, watch the film and get back to us.
Turner & Hooch
This film is an absolute classic that should stir up that feeling of childhood nostalgia. If you’re after a feel-good 80s film, you really can’t go wrong with Tom Hanks and a big adorable dog starring together as police officer pals.
Be warned though: this 1989 feel-good film does come at the cost of a few tears, but honestly we think it's worth it.
The Road Warrior
Released in theaters as "The Road Warrior" in 1981, it follows up on the original 1979 Mad Max story inhabiting a post-apocalyptic desert landscape where everything is scarce, especially the fuel that powers each machine across the vehicle-heavy wasteland.
Mad Max, played by Mel Gibson, is stranded in a wilderness of dust and dirt and lives as a nomad having lost his wife and child. Cruising in his modified Ford Falcon, a ruthless-looking black V-8, road battles are a common theme, and Max faces villain Wez (Vernon Wells) in one of the epic road battles. It’s one of the most classic action-adventure sci-fi films ever made.
Field of Dreams
Field of Dreams is a gripping film filled with magical realism and beautiful childlike wonderment. It features the particular magic that comes with watching or participating in a game. Kevin Costner, an actor who has starred in a plethora of baseball-centric movies, claims his breakthrough came with this one.
Prominent scenes of baseball history frequent the screen, along with an honest showcase of what Middle America was like during those times. What gives the movie that extra spice for the viewers to enjoy, is the drama that comes along with an unenthusiastic son, and a father wanting to show him what passion is all about.
John Landis directs comedy legends Eddie Murphy and Dan Akroyd in this hilarious family comedy. The film follows two unscrupulous millionaire brothers who cook up a scheme for Christmas as part of a bet - to switch the fortunes of a pretentious investor and a clever street artist (Akroyd and Murphy, respectively).
"Trading Places" is filled with sneaky Wall Street conspiracies, all the while bringing traditional holiday values to the screen. This classic 80's comedy reminds us of the importance of love, generosity, and friendship.
"Top Gun" is one of Tom Cruise’s most beloved films! In case you haven’t seen it, it’s about a hotshot pilot (Cruise) who gets sent to a top naval school where his reckless demeanor puts him at odds with the other pilots while he competes for the affection of love interest Charlie.
This classic has neat flying scenes, so if you are a wannabe amateur aviator, you'll find its air sequences enticing. Cruis's movies are no longer as iconic as they used to be, but at least we will always have "Top Gun."
If there's one thing to be said about the movie "TRON," its that it was drastically ahead of its time, the movie's production incorporated state-of-the-art computer graphics to show a hacker in his digitized universe.
This truly innovative film got a remake in recent years, and if that doesn't prove it's a classic, we don't know what will.
My Left Foot
Daniel Day-Lewis played the amazing role of Christy Brown, a man who has been born with a movement disorder and can only control one of his feet (we’ll let you guess which one). The “dramedy,” as it may be called in today’s film lingo, was produced in 1989. Audiences fell in love with the performances, and "My Left Foot" wound up making nearly $15 million in theatres.
The film won several awards, but it also conquered the hearts of the audiences, and that's all that really matters.
Back to the Future
One of the most culturally significant – and best – movies to come out of the decade was "Back to the Future". It's the story of a strange high school student and a crazy scientist who find a way to travel through time. The National Film Registry has called it culturally, historically, and aesthetically significant, and the film has been preserved by the Library of Congress.
More than four decades have passed since we first met Marty and Doc Brown, but that hasn't changed our love and appreciation for them.
Raiders of the Lost Ark
"Raiders of the Lost Ark" is a movie loved for many reasons. For starters, it was one of the films that helped us gain a new appreciation for Harrison Ford. He stars as Indiana Jones, an archaeologist who must find the fabled Ark of the Covenant before the Nazis do.
The film is directed by Steven Spielberg and written by Lawrence Kasdan, and is based on a story written by George Lucas and Howard Kazanjian. It grossed nearly $385 million and it is still loved and adored by many to this day.
Major League was a movie with quite a unique concept. The cast made the colorful story become more than what it is, as they played the roles of minor leaguers, faded athletes, and fraudulent players. These characters are grouped to fulfill the roster needs of the infant Cleveland Indians franchise.
The recently widowed and seemingly unwilling new owner of the team wants to move them to Florida, and for that to happen, she has to make sure that the team will be atrocious in the field. With silly antics, and active practice of voodoo (yes, you read that right), the film delivers comedy at its finest. Lighthearted and funny, a perfect addition to your movie nights!