140 Essential ’80s Movies

#35
#35
Adjusted Score: 88.888%
Critics Consensus: Too over the top for its own good, but ultimately rescued by the cast's charm, director John Landis' grace, and several soul-stirring musical numbers.
Synopsis: Expanding on their Saturday Night Live characters, John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd star as Jake and Elwood Blues, two white... [More]
Directed By: John Landis

#34
#34
Adjusted Score: 100.141%
Critics Consensus: Smartly directed, brilliantly acted, and packed with endlessly quotable moments, This Is Spinal Tap is an all-time comedy classic.
Synopsis: A spoof about a filmmaker making a documentary about a once-famous, now almost forgotten British heavy metal band returning to... [More]
Directed By: Rob Reiner

#33

Amadeus (1984)
93%

#33
Adjusted Score: 101.07%
Critics Consensus: A lavish, entertaining, powerful film about the life and influence, both positive and negative, of one of Western culture's great artists.
Synopsis: For this film adaptation of Peter Shaffer's Broadway hit, director Milos Forman returned to the city of Prague that he'd... [More]
Directed By: Milos Forman

#32

RoboCop (1987)
89%

#32
Adjusted Score: 94.257%
Critics Consensus: While over-the-top and gory, Robocop is also a surprisingly smart sci-fi flick that uses ultraviolence to disguise its satire of American culture.
Synopsis: In near-future Detroit, a murdered police officer is resurrected as an experimental crime-fighting cyborg named Robocop. Tormented by memories of... [More]
Directed By: Paul Verhoeven

#31
#31
Adjusted Score: 97.913%
Critics Consensus: Wes Craven's intelligent premise, combined with the horrifying visual appearance of Freddy Krueger, still causes nightmares to this day.
Synopsis: A group of teenagers are terrorized by "Freddy Krueger", an evil being from another world who gets to his victims... [More]
Directed By: Wes Craven

#30

Risky Business (1983)
94%

#30
Adjusted Score: 98.062%
Critics Consensus: Featuring one of Tom Cruise's best early performances, Risky Business is a sharp, funny examination of teen angst that doesn't stop short of exploring dark themes.
Synopsis: Risky Business is the film in which 19-year-old Tom Cruise dances around his living room in his underwear. He does... [More]
Directed By: Paul Brickman

#29
#29
Adjusted Score: 94.012%
Critics Consensus: Both warmly nostalgic and darkly humorous, A Christmas Story deserves its status as a holiday perennial.
Synopsis: In the 1940's, in the town of Hammond, 9-year-old Ralphie wants one thing for Christmas -- an official Red Ryder... [More]
Directed By: Bob Clark

#28

Heathers (1988)
93%

#28
Adjusted Score: 97.015%
Critics Consensus: Dark, cynical, and subversive, Heathers gently applies a chainsaw to the conventions of the high school movie -- changing the game for teen comedies to follow.
Synopsis: A deliciously nasty black comedy, Heathers is set at a cliquish high school in Ohio. The most exclusive of those... [More]
Directed By: Michael Lehmann

#27
#27
Adjusted Score: 86.088%
Critics Consensus: Matthew Broderick charms in Ferris Bueller's Day Off, a light and irrepressibly fun movie about being young and having fun.
Synopsis: Teenaged Ferris Bueller (Matthew Broderick) is a legend in his own time thanks to his uncanny skill at cutting classes... [More]
Directed By: John Hughes

#26
#26
Adjusted Score: 93.672%
Critics Consensus: The Breakfast Club is a warm, insightful, and very funny look into the inner lives of teenagers.
Synopsis: John Hughes wrote and directed this quintessential 1980s high school drama featuring the hottest young stars of the decade. Trapped... [More]
Directed By: John Hughes

#25

Akira (1988)
90%

#25
Adjusted Score: 93.299%
Critics Consensus: Akira is strikingly bloody and violent, but its phenomenal animation and sheer kinetic energy helped set the standard for modern anime.
Synopsis: One of the best-known examples of contemporary Japanese animation, this cyberpunk adventure takes place in the post-apocalyptic city of Neo-Tokyo.... [More]
Directed By: Katsuhiro Ôtomo

#24
#24
Adjusted Score: 82.779%
Critics Consensus: A magical journey about the power of a young boy's imagination to save a dying fantasy land, The NeverEnding Story remains a much-loved kids adventure.
Synopsis: Wolfgang Petersen adapted Michael Ende's children's story for this charming fantasy film that spawned several sequels. Bastian (Barret Oliver) is... [More]
Directed By: Wolfgang Petersen

#23
#23
Adjusted Score: 99.496%
Critics Consensus: Jonathan Demme's Stop Making Sense captures the energetic, unpredictable live act of peak Talking Heads with color and visual wit.
Synopsis: Stop Making Sense was the first feature-length documentary effort of filmmaker Jonathan Demme. The director's subject is The Talking Heads,... [More]
Directed By: Jonathan Demme

#22
Adjusted Score: 97.294%
Critics Consensus: Thanks to the impeccable chemistry between Steve Martin and John Candy, as well as a deft mix of humor and heart, Planes, Trains and Automobiles is a hilarious, heartfelt holiday classic.
Synopsis: Were it not for its profanity-laden opening scenes, John Hughes' Planes, Trains and Automobiles might have been suitable family entertainment:... [More]
Directed By: John Hughes

#21

The Goonies (1985)
71%

#21
Adjusted Score: 74.321%
Critics Consensus: An energetic, sometimes noisy mix of Speilbergian sentiment and funhouse tricks that will appeal to kids and nostalgic adults alike.
Synopsis: Leonard Maltin wasn't alone when he noticed similarities between Goonies and the 1934 Our Gang comedy Mama's Little Pirate. Adapted... [More]
Directed By: Richard Donner

#20

Say Anything... (1989)
98%

#20
Adjusted Score: 101.081%
Critics Consensus: One of the definitive Generation X movies, Say Anything is equally funny and heartfelt -- and it established John Cusack as an icon for left-of-center types everywhere.
Synopsis: A high-school valedictorian begins dating an irresponsible army brat, much to the dismay of her father. After breaking off the... [More]
Directed By: Cameron Crowe

#19

Stand by Me (1986)
91%

#19
Adjusted Score: 95.998%
Critics Consensus: Stand By Me is a wise, nostalgic movie with a weird streak that captures both Stephen King's voice and the trials of growing up.
Synopsis: Based on the Stephen King short story The Body, Rob Reiner's easygoing nostalgia piece is set in Castle Rock, OR,... [More]
Directed By: Rob Reiner

#18

Predator (1987)
81%

#18
Adjusted Score: 84.524%
Critics Consensus: Predator: Part sci-fi, part horror, part action -- all muscle.
Synopsis: Dutch (Arnold Schwarzenegger) has a code of honor which he will not violate, even when his life depends on it.... [More]
Directed By: John McTiernan

#17

Airplane! (1980)
97%

#17
Adjusted Score: 102.745%
Critics Consensus: Though unabashedly juvenile and silly, Airplane! is nevertheless an uproarious spoof comedy full of quotable lines and slapstick gags that endure to this day.
Synopsis: This spoof of the Airport series of disaster movies relies on ridiculous sight gags, groan-inducing dialogue, and deadpan acting --... [More]

#16
#16
Adjusted Score: 101.68%
Critics Consensus: Evil Dead 2's increased special effects and slapstick-gore makes it as good -- if not better -- than the original.
Synopsis: This sequel is better, funnier, scarier and superior to the first indie gore-fest. Never before has there been such an... [More]
Directed By: Sam Raimi

#15

Raising Arizona (1987)
91%

#15
Adjusted Score: 95.198%
Critics Consensus: A terrifically original, eccentric screwball comedy, Raising Arizona may not be the Coens' most disciplined movie, but it's one of their most purely entertaining.
Synopsis: Combining influences from Tex Avery cartoons to Sam Raimi horror movies to 1940s B-movies, Joel Coen and Ethan Coen followed... [More]
Directed By: Joel Coen

#14

Blade Runner (1982)
90%

#14
Adjusted Score: 101.536%
Critics Consensus: Misunderstood when it first hit theaters, the influence of Ridley Scott's mysterious, neo-noir Blade Runner has deepened with time. A visually remarkable, achingly human sci-fi masterpiece.
Synopsis: A blend of science fiction and noir detective fiction, Blade Runner (1982) was a box office and critical bust upon... [More]
Directed By: Ridley Scott

#13

The Terminator (1984)
100%

#13
Adjusted Score: 104.858%
Critics Consensus: With its impressive action sequences, taut economic direction, and relentlessly fast pace, it's clear why The Terminator continues to be an influence on sci-fi and action flicks.
Synopsis: A Cyborg has been sent from the future on a deadly mission, it has been programmed to kill a young... [More]
Directed By: James Cameron

#12

Die Hard (1988)
93%

#12
Adjusted Score: 98.806%
Critics Consensus: Its many imitators (and sequels) have never come close to matching the taut thrills of the definitive holiday action classic.
Synopsis: It's Christmas time in L.A., and there's an employee party in progress on the 30th floor of the Nakatomi Corporation... [More]
Directed By: John McTiernan

#11

The Thing (1982)
84%

#11
Adjusted Score: 89.868%
Critics Consensus: Grimmer and more terrifying than the 1950s take, John Carpenter's The Thing is a tense sci-fi thriller rife with compelling tension and some remarkable make-up effects.
Synopsis: John Carpenter's The Thing is both a remake of Howard Hawks' 1951 film of the same name and a re-adaptation... [More]
Directed By: John Carpenter

#10
#10
Adjusted Score: 103.123%
Critics Consensus: A delightfully postmodern fairy tale, The Princess Bride is a deft, intelligent mix of swashbuckling, romance, and comedy that takes an age-old damsel-in-distress story and makes it fresh.
Synopsis: Robin Wright and Cary Elwes star in this fairytale adventure about a beautiful princess and the gallant hero who rescues... [More]
Directed By: Rob Reiner

#9
#9
Adjusted Score: 99.527%
Critics Consensus: Smart, vibrant, and urgent without being didactic, Do the Right Thing is one of Spike Lee's most fully realized efforts -- and one of the most important films of the 1980s.
Synopsis: This powerful visual feast combines humor and drama with memorable characters while tracing the course of a single day on... [More]
Directed By: Spike Lee

#8
#8
Adjusted Score: 101.133%
Critics Consensus: Featuring bravura set pieces, sly humor, and white-knuckle action, Raiders of the Lost Ark is one of the most consummately entertaining adventure pictures of all time.
Synopsis: Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) is no ordinary archeologist. When we first see him, he is somewhere in the Peruvian jungle... [More]
Directed By: Steven Spielberg

#7

Raging Bull (1980)
94%

#7
Adjusted Score: 100.387%
Critics Consensus: Arguably Martin Scorsese's and Robert De Niro's finest film, Raging Bull is often painful to watch, but it's a searing, powerful work about an unsympathetic hero.
Synopsis: The story of Jake LaMotta, a former middleweight boxing champion, whose reputation for tenacity and success in the ring was... [More]
Directed By: Martin Scorsese

#6

The Shining (1980)
85%

#6
Adjusted Score: 93.742%
Critics Consensus: Though it deviates from Stephen King's novel, Stanley Kubrick's The Shining is a chilling, often baroque journey into madness -- exemplified by an unforgettable turn from Jack Nicholson.
Synopsis: "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy" -- or, rather, a homicidal boy in Stanley Kubrick's eerie... [More]
Directed By: Stanley Kubrick

#5

Sixteen Candles (1984)
85%

#5
Adjusted Score: 87.779%
Critics Consensus: Significantly more mature than the teen raunch comedies that defined the era, Sixteen Candles is shot with compassion and clear respect for its characters and their hang-ups.
Synopsis: On the eve of her sister's wedding, suburban teenager Samantha (Molly Ringwald) suffers silently as her family forgets her birthday.... [More]
Directed By: John Hughes

#4
Adjusted Score: 103.92%
Critics Consensus: Dark, sinister, but ultimately even more involving than A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back defies viewer expectations and takes the series to heightened emotional levels.
Synopsis: The second entry in George Lucas' Star Wars trilogy finds Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), the green-as-grass hero from the first... [More]
Directed By: Irvin Kershner

#3
Adjusted Score: 102.803%
Critics Consensus: An infectiously fun blend of special effects and comedy, with Bill Murray's hilarious deadpan performance leading a cast of great comic turns.
Synopsis: Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis and Ernie Hudson star as a quartet of Manhattan-based "paranormal investigators". When their government... [More]
Directed By: Ivan Reitman

#2
Adjusted Score: 111.062%
Critics Consensus: Playing as both an exciting sci-fi adventure and a remarkable portrait of childhood, Steven Spielberg's touching tale of a homesick alien remains a piece of movie magic for young and old.
Synopsis: Both a classic movie for kids and a remarkable portrait of childhood, E.T. is a sci-fi adventure that captures that... [More]
Directed By: Steven Spielberg

#1
#1
Adjusted Score: 102.022%
Critics Consensus: Inventive, funny, and breathlessly constructed, Back to the Future is a rousing time-travel adventure with an unforgettable spirit.
Synopsis: Contemporary high schooler Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) doesn't have the most pleasant of lives. Browbeaten by his principal at... [More]
Directed By: Robert Zemeckis

Pages: Prev 1 2 3 4

Tag Cloud

disaster Teen rotten movies we love Action binge GLAAD American Society of Cinematographers war Rocketman E3 psychological thriller zero dark thirty Comic Book Superheroes USA Network Awards Premiere Dates PBS Women's History Month Spike DC Universe Walt Disney Pictures biography Holidays Disney streaming service President Pride Month universal monsters El Rey Travel Channel Paramount Network Amazon Studios TV Land screen actors guild Tomatazos CNN APB 45 mutant Disney+ Disney Plus History WarnerMedia supernatural robots period drama cooking IFC CBS All Access Avengers Toys cartoon Lionsgate Amazon cinemax 24 frames Pop Red Carpet Shudder toy story Ellie Kemper Endgame romance Mudbound game show Christmas Freeform TLC facebook TCA 2017 versus Adult Swim FX on Hulu halloween sequel Infographic Arrowverse Lifetime Martial Arts Paramount cancelled TV shows Fox News vampires Sneak Peek Crackle MCU MSNBC Classic Film Trophy Talk Captain marvel Horror Crunchyroll spy thriller spider-man technology comic Tumblr Pet Sematary Marvel breaking bad Podcast teaser psycho 2015 Tarantino blockbuster renewed TV shows quibi Photos Election crime cancelled CMT singing competition boxoffice Animation DirecTV Baby Yoda TIFF slashers Heroines spain christmas movies police drama Nat Geo Showtime Mary Poppins Returns award winner Disney Channel Vudu casting crossover Disney Plus GIFs TCM Lifetime Christmas movies series Year in Review Writers Guild of America Star Wars LGBT Fall TV video New York Comic Con Comedy witnail A&E DGA Funimation stand-up comedy Turner Britbox SundanceTV discovery crime thriller First Look Interview Schedule Nickelodeon The Arrangement ITV Chilling Adventures of Sabrina thriller Acorn TV Polls and Games jamie lee curtis Thanksgiving space dceu Nominations Cannes Ghostbusters Disney YouTube Red FX Marvel Studios See It Skip It The Purge Extras Rocky FOX finale ghosts BBC MTV composers zombie Pixar movies Sundance Now Best and Worst IFC Films Film Rom-Com anthology social media Marathons Fantasy ABC Family Syfy green book game of thrones aliens HBO Kids & Family mockumentary crime drama YA Valentine's Day south america VH1 spinoff Cosplay directors TCA Winter 2020 Opinion OneApp Biopics foreign Ovation Song of Ice and Fire X-Men Video Games Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Creative Arts Emmys 2017 VICE CBS Starz unscripted Mindy Kaling Rock Winter TV Sundance TV Columbia Pictures free movies First Reviews reviews E! Reality Competition Film Festival USA comiccon cats true crime screenings SXSW Chernobyl spanish language Drama medical drama ESPN ABC science fiction serial killer Comedy Central Hulu cults FXX BBC America Winners A24 HBO Max zombies cars indie Warner Bros. Amazon Prime Video scary movies Emmys TV renewals book Countdown romantic comedy Peacock RT21 political drama Apple TV+ Star Trek 2016 Dark Horse Comics joker animated doctor who Quiz Superheroe Pop TV natural history Cartoon Network TBS independent Lucasfilm documentary blaxploitation travel 2018 National Geographic The Walking Dead YouTube Family franchise dc revenge reboot dramedy Musical Logo politics Brie Larson docudrama Elton John Watching Series Hallmark Christmas movies Spring TV movie Oscars diversity Super Bowl NBC Pirates GoT The Witch theme song hispanic cops sitcom Hallmark Mary poppins 71st Emmy Awards Trailer Sony Pictures kids Academy Awards Calendar streaming richard e. Grant AMC Netflix Christmas movies canceled TV shows Awards Tour latino historical drama LGBTQ DC streaming service dragons hist Sci-Fi tv talk sports 21st Century Fox anime Set visit Apple Spectrum Originals Marvel Television 2020 2019 WGN Comics on TV Country sag awards OWN talk show Food Network SDCC Trivia Universal Emmy Nominations based on movie Mystery Holiday adventure name the review Black Mirror transformers Discovery Channel Character Guide Bravo NYCC TNT Tubi TCA what to watch canceled BET PaleyFest Black History Month Turner Classic Movies harry potter ratings Reality miniseries Esquire children's TV Grammys TruTV YouTube Premium Netflix golden globes television CW Seed Box Office Mary Tyler Moore festivals The CW DC Comics dogs Masterpiece 20th Century Fox batman justice league Music comics Television Academy strong female leads Western Amazon Prime nature cancelled TV series werewolf TV Stephen King 007 elevated horror Binge Guide Shondaland Musicals Apple TV Plus Summer Sundance Epix San Diego Comic-Con Certified Fresh Anna Paquin adaptation cancelled television RT History