140 Favorite ’80s Movies

Welcome to our big list of everyone’s Favorite 1980s movies, showcasing 140 of the decade’s best and most iconic movies. That’s right, we recommend some Rotten additions for your ’80s movie playlists, because this is one decade only fully experienced with the good, the bad, and the feathered neon.

Any ’80s movie with a Tomatometer was considered for our Favorites guide, and after including the truly timeless material (Raiders of the Lost Ark, Raging Bull), we focused on works that represented the cinematic trends and social themes of the era. Some of those include the fantasy epic (NeverEnding Story, Princess Bride), teen movies (Breakfast Club, Weird Science), the new corporate overlord (Wall Street, Trading Places), women making strides in the workplace (Baby Boom, Working Girl), and rising hip-hop culture (Krush Groove, Do the Right Thing).

Fire up the flux capicator and cue the workout montage because it’s time for Rotten Tomatoes’ 140 Essential ’80s Movies! (And if you’re hankering for more nostalgia, check out our Favorites list of ’70s movies, ’90s Movies, and 2000s movies!)


140 Favorite ’80s Movies
140-41 | 40-1
#140

St. Elmo's Fire (1985)
42%

#140
Adjusted Score: 45090%
Critics Consensus: St. Elmo's Fire is almost peak Brat Pack: it's got the cast, the fashion, and the music, but the characters are too frequently unlikable.
Synopsis: A group of recent college graduates embark on a series of misadventures in the real world. There's Kirby (Emilio Estevez),... [More]
Directed By: Joel Schumacher

#139

Flashdance (1983)
35%

#139
Adjusted Score: 38797%
Critics Consensus: All style and very little substance, Flashdance boasts eye-catching dance sequences -- and benefits from an appealing performance from Jennifer Beals -- but its narrative is flat-footed.
Synopsis: Alex Owens (Jennifer Beals) is a beautiful young woman who works a day job in a steel mill and dances... [More]
Directed By: Adrian Lyne

#138

Krush Groove (1985)
43%

#138
Adjusted Score: 12341%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Russell Walker (Blair Underwood) has started a new hip-hop and rap label called Krush Groove, which features a stellar list... [More]
Directed By: Michael Schultz

#137

Footloose (1984)
52%

#137
Adjusted Score: 54793%
Critics Consensus: There's not much dancing, but what's there is great. The rest of the time, Footloose is a nice hunk of trashy teenage cheese.
Synopsis: Moving in from Chicago, newcomer Ren McCormack (Kevin Bacon) is in shock when he discovers the small Midwestern town he... [More]
Directed By: Herbert Ross

#136

Weird Science (1985)
57%

#136
Adjusted Score: 59181%
Critics Consensus: Hardly in the same league as John Hughes' other teen movies, the resolutely goofy Weird Science nonetheless gets some laughs via its ridiculous premise and enjoyable performances.
Synopsis: Teen misfits Gary (Anthony Michael Hall) and Wyatt (Ilan Mitchell-Smith) design their ideal woman on a computer, and a freak... [More]
Directed By: John Hughes

#135

Return to Oz (1985)
54%

#135
Adjusted Score: 56185%
Critics Consensus: Return to Oz taps into the darker side of L. Frank Baum's book series with an intermittently dazzling adventure that never quite recaptures the magic of its classic predecessor.
Synopsis: Dorothy discovers she is back in the land of Oz, and finds the yellow brick road is now a pile... [More]
Directed By: Walter Murch

#134

Short Circuit (1986)
61%

#134
Adjusted Score: 63139%
Critics Consensus: Amiable and good-natured but also shallow and predictable, Short Circuit is hardly as deep or emotionally resonant as E.T. -- though Johnny Five makes for a charming robot protagonist.
Synopsis: After a lightning bolt gives it human emotions and intelligence, a military robot escapes and finds refuge at the home... [More]
Directed By: John Badham

#133

Ladyhawke (1985)
68%

#133
Adjusted Score: 69272%
Critics Consensus: There's pacing problems, but Ladyhawke has an undeniable romantic sweep that's stronger than most fantasy epics of its ilk.
Synopsis: Upon breaking out of a dungeon, youthful thief Phillipe Gaston (Matthew Broderick) befriends Capt. Navarre (Rutger Hauer), a man with... [More]
Directed By: Richard Donner

#132

Friday the 13th (1980)
63%

#132
Adjusted Score: 66522%
Critics Consensus: Rather quaint by today's standards, Friday the 13th still has its share of bloody surprises and a '70s-holdover aesthetic to slightly compel.
Synopsis: Crystal Lake's history of murder doesn't deter counselors from setting up a summer camp in the woodsy area. Superstitious locals... [More]
Directed By: Sean S. Cunningham

#131

Steel Magnolias (1989)
68%

#131
Adjusted Score: 69176%
Critics Consensus: Steel Magnolias has jokes and characters to spare, which makes it more dangerous (and effective) when it goes for the full melodrama by the end.
Synopsis: M'Lynn (Sally Field) is the mother of bride-to-be Shelby Eatenton (Julia Roberts), and as friend Truvy Jones (Dolly Parton) fixes... [More]
Directed By: Herbert Ross

#130
#130
Adjusted Score: 75441%
Critics Consensus: Eddie Murphy was in full control at this point, starkly evident in Coming to America's John Landis' coasting direction.
Synopsis: Prince Akeem (Eddie Murphy) is the prince of a wealthy African country and wants for nothing, except a wife who... [More]
Directed By: John Landis

#129

Highlander (1986)
70%

#129
Adjusted Score: 73022%
Critics Consensus: People hate Highlander because it's cheesy, bombastic, and absurd. And people love it for the same reasons.
Synopsis: When the mystical Russell Nash (Christopher Lambert) kills a man in a sword fight in a New York City parking... [More]
Directed By: Russell Mulcahy

#128
#128
Adjusted Score: 70818%
Critics Consensus: A silly and ribald superhero spoof, Toxic Avenger uninhibited humor hits more than it misses.
Synopsis: A 98-pound nerd (Mark Torgl) from New Jersey lands in a vat of toxic waste and becomes a benevolent monster... [More]
Directed By: Michael Herz, Samuel Weil

#127

Purple Rain (1984)
70%

#127
Adjusted Score: 72827%
Critics Consensus: Purple Rain makes for undeniably uneven cinema, but it's held together by its star's singular charisma -- not to mention a slew of classic songs.
Synopsis: A victim of his own anger, the Kid (Prince) is a Minneapolis musician on the rise with his band, the... [More]
Directed By: Albert Magnoli

#126
#126
Adjusted Score: 70666%
Critics Consensus: Beautifully animated and genuinely endearing, The Land Before Time is sure to please dino-obsessed tykes, even if it's a little too cutesy for older viewers.
Synopsis: Littlefoot (Gabriel Damon), a young plant-eating dinosaur, is orphaned after his mother (Helen Shaver) perishes while protecting him from a... [More]
Directed By: Don Bluth

#125

Spaceballs (1987)
56%

#125
Adjusted Score: 57985%
Critics Consensus: There's fine spoofery and amusing characters in Spaceballs, though it's a far cry from Mel Brooks' peak era.
Synopsis: In a distant galaxy, planet Spaceball has depleted its air supply, leaving its citizens reliant on a product called "Perri-Air."... [More]
Directed By: Mel Brooks

#124
#124
Adjusted Score: 72534%
Critics Consensus: Undeniably lowbrow but surprisingly sly, Revenge of the Nerds has enough big laughs to qualify as a minor classic in the slobs-vs.-snobs subgenre.
Synopsis: Geeky college students Gilbert (Anthony Edwards) and Lewis (Robert Carradine) are evicted from their dormitory when the Alpha Betas --... [More]
Directed By: Jeff Kanew

#123

Willow (1988)
52%

#123
Adjusted Score: 54680%
Critics Consensus: State-of-the-art special effects and an appealing performance from Warwick Davis can't quite save Willow from its slow pace and generic story.
Synopsis: Enter the world of "Willow." Journey to the far corners of your imagination, to a land of myth and magic,... [More]
Directed By: Ron Howard

#122
#122
Adjusted Score: 62826%
Critics Consensus: A surprisingly dark, emotional, and almost excessively cynical experience for Transformers fans.
Synopsis: Ultra Magnus and the Transformers fight planet Unicron and the Decepticons in 2005.... [More]
Directed By: Nelson Shin

#121
Adjusted Score: 68620%
Critics Consensus: Sci-fi parodies like these usually struggle to work, but Buckaroo Banzai succeeds through total devotion to its own lunacy.
Synopsis: Buckaroo Banzai is caught with his trusted allies, the Hong Kong Cavaliers, in a battle to the death between evil... [More]
Directed By: W.D. Richter

#120

Top Gun (1986)
58%

#120
Adjusted Score: 65044%
Critics Consensus: Though it features some of the most memorable and electrifying aereial footage shot with an expert eye for action, Top Gun offers too little for non-adolescent viewers to chew on when its characters aren't in the air.
Synopsis: The Top Gun Naval Fighter Weapons School is where the best of the best train to refine their elite flying... [More]
Directed By: Tony Scott

#119

Real Genius (1985)
75%

#119
Adjusted Score: 76911%
Critics Consensus: It follows college tropes, but Real Genius has an optimistic streak that puts you on Val Kilmer's side all the way.
Synopsis: When science whiz Mitch Taylor (Gabe Jarret) arrives at Pacific Tech as a freshman, he's paired up with genius senior... [More]
Directed By: Martha Coolidge

#118

Dirty Dancing (1987)
69%

#118
Adjusted Score: 74390%
Critics Consensus: Like its winsome characters, Dirty Dancing uses impressive choreography and the power of song to surmount a series of formidable obstacles.
Synopsis: Baby (Jennifer Grey) is one listless summer away from the Peace Corps. Hoping to enjoy her youth while it lasts,... [More]
Directed By: Emile Ardolino

#117
#117
Adjusted Score: 77865%
Critics Consensus: While The Last Starfighter is clearly derivative of other sci-fi franchises, its boundary-pushing visual effects and lovably plucky tone make for an appealing adventure.
Synopsis: After finally achieving the high score on Starfighter, his favorite arcade game, everyday teenager Alex Rogan (Lance Guest) meets the... [More]
Directed By: Nick Castle

#116

Mystic Pizza (1988)
77%

#116
Adjusted Score: 77098%
Critics Consensus: Mystic Pizza is like its namesake food: it's cheesy, topped with romance, and rises to the occasion.
Synopsis: "Mystic Pizza" charts the lives and loves of three unforgettable waitresses in a little town called Mystic. For sexy Daisy... [More]
Directed By: Donald Petrie

#115

UHF (1989)
61%

#115
Adjusted Score: 61148%
Critics Consensus: UHF is bizarre, freewheeling, and spotty, though its anarchic spirit cannot be denied.
Synopsis: After losing yet another job, George (Weird Al Yankovic) wonders if there is any career that can handle his outrageous... [More]
Directed By: Jay Levey

#114

Better Off Dead (1985)
77%

#114
Adjusted Score: 76028%
Critics Consensus: Better Off Dead is an anarchic mix of black humor and surreal comedy, anchored by John Cusack's winsome, charming performance.
Synopsis: Lane Meyer (John Cusack) is a teen with a peculiar family and a bizarre fixation with his girlfriend, Beth (Amanda... [More]
Directed By: Savage Steve Holland

#113
#113
Adjusted Score: 69798%
Critics Consensus: Sweet and spry, Adventures in Babysitting gets by on its amiable tone.
Synopsis: When plans with her boyfriend fall through, high school senior Chris Parker (Elisabeth Shue) ends up babysitting the Anderson kids,... [More]
Directed By: Chris Columbus

#112

Caddyshack (1980)
73%

#112
Adjusted Score: 76820%
Critics Consensus: Though unabashedly crude and juvenile, Caddyshack nevertheless scores with its classic slapstick, unforgettable characters, and endlessly quotable dialogue.
Synopsis: Danny Noonan (Michael O'Keefe), a teen down on his luck, works as a caddy at the snob-infested Bushwood Country Club... [More]
Directed By: Harold Ramis

#111

Baby Boom (1987)
70%

#111
Adjusted Score: 72077%
Critics Consensus: Baby Boom struggles to impart its feminist ideals, but Diane Keaton's winsome leading work helps keep things breezily entertaining.
Synopsis: J.C. Wiatt (Diane Keaton) is a New York City businesswoman who is married to her job and has a relationship... [More]
Directed By: Charles Shyer

#110
Adjusted Score: 85040%
Critics Consensus: Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter are just charming, goofy, and silly enough to make this fluffy time-travel Adventure work.
Synopsis: Bill (Alex Winter) and Ted (Keanu Reeves) are high school buddies starting a band. However, they are about to fail... [More]
Directed By: Stephen Herek

#109

Sleepaway Camp (1983)
79%

#109
Adjusted Score: 80398%
Critics Consensus: Sleepaway Camp is a standard teen slasher elevated by occasional moments of John Waters-esque weirdness and a twisted ending.
Synopsis: Bunks and the showers are a mad stabber's beat at a summer camp strictly for teens.... [More]
Directed By: Robert Hiltzik

#108

Scanners (1981)
68%

#108
Adjusted Score: 69644%
Critics Consensus: Scanners is a dark sci-fi story with special effects that'll make your head explode.
Synopsis: Scanners are men and women born with incredible telepathic and telekinetic powers. There are many who exercise the benefits of... [More]
Directed By: David Cronenberg

#107

Valley Girl (1983)
83%

#107
Adjusted Score: 83898%
Critics Consensus: With engaging performances from its two leads, Valley Girl is a goofy yet amiable film that both subverts and celebrates the cheerful superficiality of teen comedies.
Synopsis: Lovely teen Julie Richman (Deborah Foreman) is steeped in the excessive, pink-clad culture of the San Fernando Valley, complete with... [More]
Directed By: Martha Coolidge

#106

The Untouchables (1987)
82%

#106
Adjusted Score: 86288%
Critics Consensus: Slick on the surface but loaded with artful touches, Brian DePalma's classical gangster thriller is a sharp look at period Chicago crime, featuring excellent performances from a top-notch cast.
Synopsis: After building an empire with bootleg alcohol, legendary crime boss Al Capone (Robert De Niro) rules Chicago with an iron... [More]
Directed By: Brian De Palma

#105
#105
Adjusted Score: 83327%
Critics Consensus: Desperately Seeking Susan works with its fairy tale depiction of New York and the fun, frothy chemistry generated by its two leads.
Synopsis: New Jersey housewife Roberta Glass (Rosanna Arquette) spices up her boring life by reading personal ads, especially a series of... [More]
Directed By: Susan Seidelman

#104

Tron (1982)
71%

#104
Adjusted Score: 76264%
Critics Consensus: Though perhaps not as strong dramatically as it is technologically, TRON is an original and visually stunning piece of science fiction that represents a landmark work in the history of computer animation.
Synopsis: When talented computer engineer Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges) finds out that Ed Dillinger (David Warner), an executive at his company,... [More]
Directed By: Steven Lisberger

#103

The Color Purple (1985)
81%

#103
Adjusted Score: 81817%
Critics Consensus: It might have been better served by a filmmaker with a deeper connection to the source material, but The Color Purple remains a worthy, well-acted adaptation of Alice Walker's classic novel.
Synopsis: An epic tale spanning forty years in the life of Celie (Whoopi Goldberg), an African-American woman living in the South... [More]
Directed By: Steven Spielberg

#102

Beetlejuice (1988)
85%

#102
Adjusted Score: 89003%
Critics Consensus: Brilliantly bizarre and overflowing with ideas, Beetlejuice offers some of Michael Keaton's most deliciously manic work - and creepy, funny fun for the whole family.
Synopsis: After Barbara (Geena Davis) and Adam Maitland (Alec Baldwin) die in a car accident, they find themselves stuck haunting their... [More]
Directed By: Tim Burton

#101
#101
Adjusted Score: 86655%
Critics Consensus: The buddy cop movie continues its evolution unabated with this Eddie Murphy vehicle that's fast, furious, and funny.
Synopsis: After his childhood buddy is murdered while visiting Detroit, rebellious cop Axel Foley (Eddie Murphy) follows the leads to Beverly... [More]
Directed By: Martin Brest

#100

The Lost Boys (1987)
75%

#100
Adjusted Score: 80111%
Critics Consensus: Flawed but eminently watchable, Joel Schumacher's teen vampire thriller blends horror, humor, and plenty of visual style with standout performances from a cast full of young 1980s stars.
Synopsis: Teenage brothers Michael (Jason Patric) and Sam (Corey Haim) move with their mother (Dianne Wiest) to a small town in... [More]
Directed By: Joel Schumacher

#99
#99
Adjusted Score: 49764%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: ... [More]
Starring: Eddie Murphy
Directed By: Bruce Gowers

#98

Wall Street (1987)
79%

#98
Adjusted Score: 81962%
Critics Consensus: With Wall Street, Oliver Stone delivers a blunt but effective -- and thoroughly well-acted -- jeremiad against its era's veneration of greed as a means to its own end.
Synopsis: On the Wall Street of the 1980s, Bud Fox (Charlie Sheen) is a stockbroker full of ambition, doing whatever he... [More]
Directed By: Oliver Stone

#97

Working Girl (1988)
84%

#97
Adjusted Score: 86632%
Critics Consensus: A buoyant corporate Cinderella story, Working Girl has the right cast, right story, and right director to make it all come together.
Synopsis: Savvy New York City receptionist Tess McGill (Melanie Griffith) gives her conniving boss, Katharine Parker (Sigourney Weaver), an excellent business... [More]
Directed By: Mike Nichols

#96
#96
Adjusted Score: 85370%
Critics Consensus: Bolstered by impressive special effects and a charming performance from its young star, Flight of the Navigator holds up as a solidly entertaining bit of family-friendly sci-fi.
Synopsis: This 1978 Disney adventure tells the story of 12-year-old David (Joey Cramer) who lives with his family in Fort Lauderdale,... [More]
Directed By: Randal Kleiser

#95

Stripes (1981)
88%

#95
Adjusted Score: 89735%
Critics Consensus: A raucous military comedy that features Bill Murray and his merry cohorts approaching the peak of their talents.
Synopsis: Hard-luck cabbie John Winger (Bill Murray) -- directionless after being fired from his job and dumped by his girlfriend --... [More]
Directed By: Ivan Reitman

#94

Mystery Train (1989)
89%

#94
Adjusted Score: 90265%
Critics Consensus: Mystery Train meanders by design, but it never goes off the rails, retaining its deadpan cool throughout.
Synopsis: A seedy hotel in Memphis, Tennessee, provides the backdrop for three separate tales, featuring everything from a kitsch-obsessed Japanese couple... [More]
Directed By: Jim Jarmusch

#93

Labyrinth (1986)
75%

#93
Adjusted Score: 78544%
Critics Consensus: While it's arguably more interesting on a visual level, Labyrinth provides further proof of director Jim Henson's boundless imagination.
Synopsis: Teenage Sarah (Jennifer Connelly) journeys through a maze to recover her baby brother (Toby Froud) from a goblin king (David... [More]
Directed By: Jim Henson

#92
#92
Adjusted Score: 85692%
Critics Consensus: Affecting performances from the young cast and a genuinely inspirational turn from Robin Williams grant Peter Weir's prep school drama top honors.
Synopsis: A new English teacher, John Keating (Robin Williams), is introduced to an all-boys preparatory school that is known for its... [More]
Directed By: Peter Weir

#91

Commando (1985)
69%

#91
Adjusted Score: 70181%
Critics Consensus: The ultimate '80s Schwarzenegger movie, replete with a threadbare plot, outsized action, and endless one-liners.
Synopsis: Retired Special Forces soldier John Matrix (Arnold Schwarzenegger) lives with daughter Jenny (Alyssa Milano) in isolation, but his privacy is... [More]
Directed By: Mark L. Lester

#90

Field of Dreams (1989)
88%

#90
Adjusted Score: 92067%
Critics Consensus: Field of Dreams is sentimental, but in the best way; it's a mix of fairy tale, baseball, and family togetherness.
Synopsis: When Iowa farmer Ray (Kevin Costner) hears a mysterious voice one night in his cornfield saying "If you build it,... [More]
Directed By: Phil Alden Robinson

#89

The Naked Gun (1988)
86%

#89
Adjusted Score: 88607%
Critics Consensus: The Naked Gun is loaded chock full of gags that are goofy, unapologetically crass, and ultimately hilarious.
Synopsis: Frank Drebin (Leslie Nielsen), a rather clueless police detective, tries to foil a plot to turn innocent people into assassins... [More]
Directed By: David Zucker

#88

The Karate Kid (1984)
89%

#88
Adjusted Score: 90793%
Critics Consensus: Utterly predictable and wholly of its time, but warm, sincere, and difficult to resist, due in large part to Pat Morita and Ralph Macchio's relaxed chemistry.
Synopsis: Daniel (Ralph Macchio) moves to Southern California with his mother, Lucille (Randee Heller), but quickly finds himself the target of... [More]
Directed By: John G. Avildsen

#87
#87
Adjusted Score: 82496%
Critics Consensus: A classic tearjerker, Terms of Endearment isn't shy about reaching for the heartstrings -- but is so well-acted and smartly scripted that it's almost impossible to resist.
Synopsis: Widow Aurora Greenway (Shirley MacLaine) and her daughter, Emma (Debra Winger), have a strong bond, but Emma marries teacher Flap... [More]
Directed By: James L. Brooks

#86

Near Dark (1987)
82%

#86
Adjusted Score: 86390%
Critics Consensus: Near Dark is at once a creepy vampire film, a thrilling western, and a poignant family tale, with humor and scares in abundance.
Synopsis: Cowboy Caleb Colton (Adrian Pasdar) meets gorgeous Mae (Jenny Wright) at a bar, and the two have an immediate attraction.... [More]
Directed By: Kathryn Bigelow

#85

Tootsie (1982)
90%

#85
Adjusted Score: 93840%
Critics Consensus: Tootsie doesn't squander its high-concept comedy premise with fine dialogue and sympathetic treatment of the characters.
Synopsis: New York actor Michael Dorsey (Dustin Hoffman) is a talented perfectionist who is so hard on himself and others that... [More]
Directed By: Sydney Pollack

#84
Adjusted Score: 94181%
Critics Consensus: A punk take on the zombie genre, The Return of the Living Dead injects a healthy dose of '80s silliness to the flesh-consuming.
Synopsis: When foreman Frank (James Karen) shows new employee Freddy (Thom Mathews) a secret military experiment in a supply warehouse, the... [More]
Directed By: Dan O'Bannon

#83
#83
Adjusted Score: 96099%
Critics Consensus: Rob Reiner's touching, funny film set a new standard for romantic comedies, and he was ably abetted by the sharp interplay between Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan.
Synopsis: In 1977, college graduates Harry Burns (Billy Crystal) and Sally Albright (Meg Ryan) share a contentious car ride from Chicago... [More]
Directed By: Rob Reiner

#82

Time Bandits (1981)
90%

#82
Adjusted Score: 92464%
Critics Consensus: Time Bandits is a remarkable time-travel fantasy from Terry Gilliam, who utilizes fantastic set design and homemade special effects to create a vivid, original universe.
Synopsis: Young history buff Kevin (Craig Warnock) can scarcely believe it when six dwarfs emerge from his closet one night. Former... [More]
Directed By: Terry Gilliam

#81
#81
Adjusted Score: 94544%
Critics Consensus: Remixing Roger Corman's B-movie by way of the Off-Broadway musical, Little Shop of Horrors offers camp, horror and catchy tunes in equal measure -- plus some inspired cameos by the likes of Steve Martin and Bill Murray.
Synopsis: Meek flower shop assistant Seymour (Rick Moranis) pines for co-worker Audrey (Ellen Greene). During a total eclipse, he discovers an... [More]
Directed By: Frank Oz

#80
#80
Adjusted Score: 97624%
Critics Consensus: The Little Mermaid ushered in a new golden era for Disney animation with warm and charming hand-drawn characters and catchy musical sequences.
Synopsis: In Disney's beguiling animated romp, rebellious 16-year-old mermaid Ariel (Jodi Benson) is fascinated with life on land. On one of... [More]
Directed By: Ron Clements, John Musker

#79

My Life as a Dog (1985)
100%

#79
Adjusted Score: 102012%
Critics Consensus: A coming-of-age story with uncommon depth and sensitivity, My Life as a Dog is sweet, sincere, and utterly charming.
Synopsis: A boy (Anton Glanzelius), obsessed with comparing himself with those less fortunate, experiences a different life at the home of... [More]
Directed By: Lasse Hallström

#78

WarGames (1983)
93%

#78
Adjusted Score: 96397%
Critics Consensus: Part delightfully tense techno-thriller, part refreshingly unpatronizing teen drama, WarGames is one of the more inventive -- and genuinely suspenseful -- Cold War movies of the 1980s.
Synopsis: High school student David Lightman (Matthew Broderick) unwittingly hacks into a military supercomputer while searching for new video games. After... [More]
Directed By: John Badham

#77

Dragonslayer (1981)
82%

#77
Adjusted Score: 84097%
Critics Consensus: An atypically dark Disney adventure, Dragonslayer puts a realistic spin -- and some impressive special effects -- on a familiar tale.
Synopsis: A terrible dragon is terrorizing the medieval land of Urland in the 6th century. Representatives from the kingdom seek the... [More]
Directed By: Matthew Robbins

#76

Moonstruck (1987)
93%

#76
Adjusted Score: 97114%
Critics Consensus: Led by energetic performances from Nicolas Cage and Cher, Moonstruck is an exuberantly funny tribute to love and one of the decade's most appealing comedies.
Synopsis: No sooner does Italian-American widow Loretta (Cher) accept a marriage proposal from her doltish boyfriend, Johnny (Danny Aiello), than she... [More]
Directed By: Norman Jewison

#75

Drugstore Cowboy (1989)
100%

#75
Adjusted Score: 101613%
Critics Consensus: Drugstore Cowboy takes us into a violent, transient world with cool, contemplative style.
Synopsis: Bob Hughes (Matt Dillon) is the leader of a "family" of drug addicts consisting of his wife, Dianne (Kelly Lynch),... [More]
Directed By: Gus Van Sant

#74
#74
Adjusted Score: 99487%
Critics Consensus: Smartly written, smoothly directed, and solidly cast, A Fish Called Wanda offers a classic example of a brainy comedy with widespread appeal.
Synopsis: British gangster George Thomason (Tom Georgeson) and his hapless aide, Ken Pile (Michael Palin), draft a pair of arrogant Americans,... [More]

#73

The Boat (1981)
98%

#73
Adjusted Score: 102010%
Critics Consensus: Taut, breathtakingly thrilling, and devastatingly intelligent, Das Boot is one of the greatest war films ever made.
Synopsis: A German submarine patrols the Atlantic Ocean during World War II, manned by a crew that must contend with tense... [More]
Directed By: Wolfgang Petersen

#72

Paris, Texas (1984)
94%

#72
Adjusted Score: 96224%
Critics Consensus: A quiet yet deeply moving kind of Western, Paris, Texas captures a place and people like never before (or after).
Synopsis: A disheveled man who wanders out of the desert, Travis Henderson (Harry Dean Stanton) seems to have no idea who... [More]
Directed By: Wim Wenders

#71
Adjusted Score: 88948%
Critics Consensus: It may be too "dark" for some, but Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom remains an ingenious adventure spectacle that showcases one of Hollywood's finest filmmaking teams in vintage form.
Synopsis: The second of the Lucas/Spielberg Indiana Jones epics is set a year or so before the events in Raiders of... [More]
Directed By: Steven Spielberg

#70

Re-Animator (1985)
94%

#70
Adjusted Score: 97635%
Critics Consensus: Perfectly mixing humor and horror, the only thing more effective than Re-Animator's gory scares are its dry, deadpan jokes.
Synopsis: A medical student (Jeffrey Combs) brings his headless professor back from the dead with a special serum.... [More]
Directed By: Stuart Gordon

#69
#69
Adjusted Score: 96088%
Critics Consensus: Smart, tender, and funny in equal measure, Hannah and Her Sisters is one of Woody Allen's finest films.
Synopsis: Three successive family Thanksgiving dinners mark time for Hannah (Mia Farrow), her younger sisters Lee (Barbara Hershey) and Holly (Dianne... [More]
Directed By: Woody Allen

#68

Big (1988)
97%

#68
Adjusted Score: 102213%
Critics Consensus: Refreshingly sweet and undeniably funny, Big is a showcase for Tom Hanks, who dives into his role and infuses it with charm and surprising poignancy.
Synopsis: After a wish turns 12-year-old Josh Baskin (David Moscow) into a 30-year-old man (Tom Hanks), he heads to New York... [More]
Directed By: Penny Marshall

#67

Lost in America (1985)
95%

#67
Adjusted Score: 94791%
Critics Consensus: A satire of the American fantasy of leaving it all behind, Lost in America features some of Albert Brooks' best, most consistent writing and cultural jabs.
Synopsis: After being snubbed at his advertising job, Los Angeles yuppie David Howard (Albert Brooks) convinces his wife, Linda (Julie Hagerty),... [More]
Directed By: Albert Brooks

#66
#66
Adjusted Score: 99100%
Critics Consensus: Louis Malle's autobiographical tale of a childhood spent in a WWII boarding school is a beautifully realized portrait of friendship and youth.
Synopsis: In 1943, Julien (Gaspard Manesse) is a student at a French boarding school. When three new students arrive, including Jean... [More]
Directed By: Louis Malle

#65

My Left Foot (1989)
98%

#65
Adjusted Score: 99919%
Critics Consensus: No doubt most will come to My Left Foot for Daniel Day-Lewis' performance, but the movie's refusal to go downbeat will keep it in viewer minds afterwards.
Synopsis: No one expects much from Christy Brown (Daniel Day-Lewis), a boy with cerebral palsy born into a working-class Irish family.... [More]
Directed By: Jim Sheridan

#64

Ran (1985)
96%

#64
Adjusted Score: 102088%
Critics Consensus: Akira Kurosawa's sprawling, epic take on King Lear should be required viewing for fans of westerns, war movies, or period films in general.
Synopsis: At the age of seventy, after years of consolidating his empire, the Great Lord Hidetora Ichimonji (Tatsuya Nakadai) decides to... [More]
Directed By: Akira Kurosawa

#63
#63
Adjusted Score: 88362%
Critics Consensus: With coke fiends, car chases, and Wang Chung galore, To Live and Die in L.A. is perhaps the ultimate '80s action/thriller.
Synopsis: When his longtime partner on the force is killed, reckless U.S. Secret Service agent Richard Chance (William L. Petersen) vows... [More]
Directed By: William Friedkin

#62

Body Heat (1981)
98%

#62
Adjusted Score: 100099%
Critics Consensus: Made from classic noir ingredients and flavored with a heaping helping of steamy modern spice, Body Heat more than lives up to its evocative title.
Synopsis: Shyster lawyer Ned Racine (William Hurt) begins a passionate affair with Matty Walker (Kathleen Turner), wife of a wealthy Florida... [More]
Directed By: Lawrence Kasdan

#61

Pretty in Pink (1986)
73%

#61
Adjusted Score: 78088%
Critics Consensus: Molly Ringwald gives an outstanding performance in this sweet, intelligent teen comedy that takes an ancient premise and injects it with insight and wit.
Synopsis: Andie (Molly Ringwald) is an outcast at her Chicago high school, hanging out either with her older boss (Annie Potts),... [More]
Directed By: Howard Deutch

#60

Blue Velvet (1986)
95%

#60
Adjusted Score: 102697%
Critics Consensus: If audiences walk away from this subversive, surreal shocker not fully understanding the story, they might also walk away with a deeper perception of the potential of film storytelling.
Synopsis: College student Jeffrey Beaumont (Kyle MacLachlan) returns home after his father has a stroke. When he discovers a severed ear... [More]
Directed By: David Lynch

#59
Adjusted Score: 82220%
Critics Consensus: While Fast Times at Ridgemont High features Sean Penn's legendary performance, the film endures because it accurately captured the small details of school, work, and teenage life.
Synopsis: Stacy Hamilton (Jennifer Jason Leigh) is a pretty, but inexperienced, teen interested in dating. Given advice by her uninhibited friend,... [More]
Directed By: Amy Heckerling

#58
#58
Adjusted Score: 90195%
Critics Consensus: Featuring an atmospherically grimy futuristic metropolis, Escape from New York is a strange, entertaining jumble of thrilling action and oddball weirdness.
Synopsis: In 1997, a major war between the United States and the Soviet Union is concluding, and the entire island of... [More]
Directed By: John Carpenter

#57

The Killer (1989)
98%

#57
Adjusted Score: 99831%
Critics Consensus: The Killer is another hard-boiled action flick from John Woo featuring eye-popping balletic violence and philosophical underpinnings.
Synopsis: Mob assassin Jeffrey (Chow Yun-Fat) is no ordinary hired gun; the best in his business, he views his chosen profession... [More]
Directed By: John Woo

#56

Repo Man (1984)
98%

#56
Adjusted Score: 100051%
Critics Consensus: Repo Man is many things: an alien-invasion film, a punk-rock musical, a send-up of consumerism. One thing it isn't is boring.
Synopsis: After being fired from his job, Los Angeles slacker and punk rocker Otto (Emilio Estevez) lands a gig working for... [More]
Directed By: Alex Cox

#55

Broadcast News (1987)
98%

#55
Adjusted Score: 101784%
Critics Consensus: Blockbuster dramatist James L. Brooks delivers with Broadcast News, fully entertaining with deft, deep characterization.
Synopsis: Intelligent satire of American television news. A highly strung news producer finds herself strangely attracted to a vapid anchorman even... [More]
Directed By: James L. Brooks

#54

They Live (1988)
85%

#54
Adjusted Score: 88253%
Critics Consensus: A politically subversive blend of horror and sci fi, They Live is an underrated genre film from John Carpenter.
Synopsis: Nada (Roddy Piper), a wanderer without meaning in his life, discovers a pair of sunglasses capable of showing the world... [More]
Directed By: John Carpenter

#53

Sid & Nancy (1986)
88%

#53
Adjusted Score: 94501%
Critics Consensus: Visceral, energetic, and often very sad, Sid and Nancy is also a surprisingly touching love story, and Gary Oldman is outstanding as the late punk rock icon Sid Vicious.
Synopsis: Following their breakout success in England, flagship punk rock band the Sex Pistols venture out on their first U.S. tour.... [More]
Directed By: Alex Cox

#52

Lethal Weapon (1987)
80%

#52
Adjusted Score: 83885%
Critics Consensus: The most successful installment in a phenomenally successful series, Lethal Weapon helped redefine action movies for the 1980s and 1990s.
Synopsis: Following the death of his wife, Los Angeles police detective Martin Riggs (Mel Gibson) becomes reckless and suicidal. When he... [More]
Directed By: Richard Donner

#51

Poltergeist (1982)
87%

#51
Adjusted Score: 91359%
Critics Consensus: Smartly filmed, tightly scripted, and -- most importantly -- consistently frightening, Poltergeist is a modern horror classic.
Synopsis: Strange and creepy happenings beset an average California family, the Freelings -- Steve (Craig T. Nelson), Diane (JoBeth Williams), teenaged... [More]
Directed By: Tobe Hooper

#50
Adjusted Score: 79849%
Critics Consensus: Brimming with energy and packed with humor, Big Trouble in Little China distills kung fu B-movies as affectionately as it subverts them.
Synopsis: Kurt Russell plays hard-boiled truck driver Jack Burton, who gets caught in a bizarre conflict within, and underneath, San Francisco's... [More]
Directed By: John Carpenter

#49

Scarface (1983)
81%

#49
Adjusted Score: 86895%
Critics Consensus: Director Brian De Palma and star Al Pacino take it to the limit in this stylized, ultra-violent and eminently quotable gangster epic that walks a thin white line between moral drama and celebratory excess.
Synopsis: After getting a green card in exchange for assassinating a Cuban government official, Tony Montana (Al Pacino) stakes a claim... [More]
Directed By: Brian De Palma

#48
Adjusted Score: 94092%
Critics Consensus: Lighter and more comedic than its predecessor, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade returns the series to the brisk serial adventure of Raiders, while adding a dynamite double act between Harrison Ford and Sean Connery.
Synopsis: An art collector appeals to Jones to embark on a search for the Holy Grail. He learns that another archaeologist... [More]
Directed By: Steven Spielberg

#47
#47
Adjusted Score: 95688%
Critics Consensus: My Neighbor Totoro is a heartwarming, sentimental masterpiece that captures the simple grace of childhood.
Synopsis: This acclaimed animated tale by director Hayao Miyazaki follows schoolgirl Satsuke and her younger sister, Mei, as they settle into... [More]
Directed By: Hayao Miyazaki

#46
#46
Adjusted Score: 101811%
Critics Consensus: Who Framed Roger Rabbit is an innovative and entertaining film that features a groundbreaking mix of live action and animation, with a touching and original story to boot.
Synopsis: Down-on-his-luck private eye Eddie Valiant (Bob Hoskins) gets hired by cartoon producer R.K. Maroon (Alan Tilvern) to investigate an adultery... [More]
Directed By: Robert Zemeckis

#45

After Hours (1985)
91%

#45
Adjusted Score: 95182%
Critics Consensus: Bursting with frantic energy and tinged with black humor, After Hours is a masterful -- and often overlooked -- detour in Martin Scorsese's filmography.
Synopsis: In a Manhattan cafe, word processor Paul Hackett (Griffin Dunne) meets and talks literature with Marcy (Rosanna Arquette). Later that... [More]
Directed By: Martin Scorsese

#44

Mad Max 2 (1981)
94%

#44
Adjusted Score: 97646%
Critics Consensus: The Road Warrior is everything a bigger-budgeted Mad Max sequel with should be: bigger, faster, louder, but definitely not dumber.
Synopsis: After avenging the death of his wife and young son at the hands of a vicious gang leader, Max (Mel... [More]
Directed By: George Miller

#43

Platoon (1986)
87%

#43
Adjusted Score: 93610%
Critics Consensus: Informed by director Oliver Stone's personal experiences in Vietnam, Platoon forgoes easy sermonizing in favor of a harrowing, ground-level view of war, bolstered by no-holds-barred performances from Charlie Sheen and Willem Dafoe.
Synopsis: Chris Taylor (Charlie Sheen) leaves his university studies to enlist in combat duty in Vietnam in 1967. Once he's on... [More]
Directed By: Oliver Stone

#42
Adjusted Score: 96497%
Critics Consensus: Blessed by a brilliantly befuddled star turn from Chevy Chase, National Lampoon's Vacation is one of the more consistent -- and thoroughly quotable -- screwball comedies of the 1980s.
Synopsis: Accompanied by their children (Dana Barron, Anthony Michael Hall), Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) and his wife, Ellen (Beverly D'Angelo), are... [More]
Directed By: Harold Ramis

#41

Trading Places (1983)
88%

#41
Adjusted Score: 89013%
Critics Consensus: Featuring deft interplay between Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd, Trading Places is an immensely appealing social satire.
Synopsis: Upper-crust executive Louis Winthorpe III (Dan Aykroyd) and down-and-out hustler Billy Ray Valentine (Eddie Murphy) are the subjects of a... [More]
Directed By: John Landis

140 Favorite ’80s Movies
140-41 | 40-1

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