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!) —Alex Vo
Adjusted Score: 45788%
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.
A group of recent college graduates embark on a series of misadventures in the real world. There's Kirby (Emilio Estevez),... [More]
Adjusted Score: 41639%
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.
Alex Owens (Jennifer Beals) is a beautiful young woman who works a day job in a steel mill and dances... [More]
Adjusted Score: 32025%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Russell Walker (Blair Underwood) has started a new hip-hop and rap label called Krush Groove, which features a stellar list... [More]
Adjusted Score: 56653%
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.
Moving in from Chicago, newcomer Ren McCormack (Kevin Bacon) is in shock when he discovers the small Midwestern town he... [More]
Adjusted Score: 62135%
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.
Teen misfits Gary (Anthony Michael Hall) and Wyatt (Ilan Mitchell-Smith) design their ideal woman on a computer, and a freak... [More]
Adjusted Score: 61046%
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.
Dorothy discovers she is back in the land of Oz, and finds the yellow brick road is now a pile... [More]
Adjusted Score: 64348%
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.
After a lightning bolt gives it human emotions and intelligence, a military robot escapes and finds refuge at the home... [More]
Adjusted Score: 69175%
Critics Consensus: There are pacing problems, but Ladyhawke has an undeniable romantic sweep that's stronger than most fantasy epics of its ilk.
Upon breaking out of a dungeon, youthful thief Phillipe Gaston (Matthew Broderick) befriends Capt. Navarre (Rutger Hauer), a man with... [More]
Adjusted Score: 71935%
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.
Crystal Lake's history of murder doesn't deter counselors from setting up a summer camp in the woodsy area. Superstitious locals... [More]
Adjusted Score: 69711%
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.
M'Lynn (Sally Field) is the mother of bride-to-be Shelby Eatenton (Julia Roberts), and as friend Truvy Jones (Dolly Parton) fixes... [More]
Adjusted Score: 77640%
Critics Consensus: Eddie Murphy was in full control at this point, starkly evident in Coming to America's John Landis' coasting direction.
Prince Akeem (Eddie Murphy) is the prince of a wealthy African country and wants for nothing, except a wife who... [More]
Adjusted Score: 74348%
Critics Consensus: People hate Highlander because it's cheesy, bombastic, and absurd. And people love it for the same reasons.
When the mystical Russell Nash (Christopher Lambert) kills a man in a sword fight in a New York City parking... [More]
Adjusted Score: 72172%
Critics Consensus: A silly and ribald superhero spoof, Toxic Avenger uninhibited humor hits more than it misses.
A 98-pound nerd (Mark Torgl) from New Jersey lands in a vat of toxic waste and becomes a benevolent monster... [More]
Adjusted Score: 76894%
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.
A victim of his own anger, the Kid (Prince) is a Minneapolis musician on the rise with his band, the... [More]
Adjusted Score: 70546%
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.
Littlefoot (Gabriel Damon), a young plant-eating dinosaur, is orphaned after his mother (Helen Shaver) perishes while protecting him from a... [More]
Adjusted Score: 60929%
Critics Consensus: There's fine spoofery and amusing characters in Spaceballs, though it's a far cry from Mel Brooks' peak era.
In a distant galaxy, planet Spaceball has depleted its air supply, leaving its citizens reliant on a product called "Perri-Air."... [More]
Adjusted Score: 74240%
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.
Geeky college students Gilbert (Anthony Edwards) and Lewis (Robert Carradine) are evicted from their dormitory when the Alpha Betas --... [More]
Adjusted Score: 57942%
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.
Enter the world of "Willow." Journey to the far corners of your imagination, to a land of myth and magic,... [More]
Adjusted Score: 63976%
Critics Consensus: A surprisingly dark, emotional, and almost excessively cynical experience for Transformers fans.
Ultra Magnus and the Transformers fight planet Unicron and the Decepticons in 2005.... [More]
Adjusted Score: 69550%
Critics Consensus: Sci-fi parodies like these usually struggle to work, but Buckaroo Banzai succeeds through total devotion to its own lunacy.
Buckaroo Banzai is caught with his trusted allies, the Hong Kong Cavaliers, in a battle to the death between evil... [More]
Adjusted Score: 64811%
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.
The Top Gun Naval Fighter Weapons School is where the best of the best train to refine their elite flying... [More]
Adjusted Score: 79726%
Critics Consensus: It follows college tropes, but Real Genius has an optimistic streak that puts you on Val Kilmer's side all the way.
When science whiz Mitch Taylor (Gabe Jarret) arrives at Pacific Tech as a freshman, he's paired up with genius senior... [More]
Adjusted Score: 79287%
Critics Consensus: Like its winsome characters, Dirty Dancing uses impressive choreography and the power of song to surmount a series of formidable obstacles.
Baby (Jennifer Grey) is one listless summer away from the Peace Corps. Hoping to enjoy her youth while it lasts,... [More]
Adjusted Score: 84208%
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.
After finally achieving the high score on Starfighter, his favorite arcade game, everyday teenager Alex Rogan (Lance Guest) meets the... [More]
Adjusted Score: 79719%
Critics Consensus: Mystic Pizza is like its namesake food: it's cheesy, topped with romance, and rises to the occasion.
"Mystic Pizza" charts the lives and loves of three unforgettable waitresses in a little town called Mystic. For sexy Daisy... [More]
Adjusted Score: 62371%
Critics Consensus: UHF is bizarre, freewheeling, and spotty, though its anarchic spirit cannot be denied.
After losing yet another job, George (Weird Al Yankovic) wonders if there is any career that can handle his outrageous... [More]
Adjusted Score: 78767%
Critics Consensus: Better Off Dead is an anarchic mix of black humor and surreal comedy, anchored by John Cusack's winsome, charming performance.
Lane Meyer (John Cusack) is a teen with a peculiar family and a bizarre fixation with his girlfriend, Beth (Amanda... [More]
Adjusted Score: 74720%
Critics Consensus: Sweet and spry, Adventures in Babysitting gets by on its amiable tone.
When plans with her boyfriend fall through, high school senior Chris Parker (Elisabeth Shue) ends up babysitting the Anderson kids,... [More]
Adjusted Score: 78164%
Critics Consensus: Though unabashedly crude and juvenile, Caddyshack nevertheless scores with its classic slapstick, unforgettable characters, and endlessly quotable dialogue.
Danny Noonan (Michael O'Keefe), a teen down on his luck, works as a caddy at the snob-infested Bushwood Country Club... [More]
Adjusted Score: 70825%
Critics Consensus: Baby Boom struggles to impart its feminist ideals, but Diane Keaton's winsome leading work helps keep things breezily entertaining.
J.C. Wiatt (Diane Keaton) is a New York City businesswoman who is married to her job and has a relationship... [More]
Adjusted Score: 86876%
Critics Consensus: Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter are just charming, goofy, and silly enough to make this fluffy time-travel Adventure work.
Bill (Alex Winter) and Ted (Keanu Reeves) are high school buddies starting a band. However, they are about to fail... [More]
Adjusted Score: 83105%
Critics Consensus: Sleepaway Camp is a standard teen slasher elevated by occasional moments of John Waters-esque weirdness and a twisted ending.
Bunks and the showers are a mad stabber's beat at a summer camp strictly for teens.... [More]
Adjusted Score: 71744%
Critics Consensus: Scanners is a dark sci-fi story with special effects that'll make your head explode.
Scanners are men and women born with incredible telepathic and telekinetic powers. There are many who exercise the benefits of... [More]
Adjusted Score: 86565%
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.
Lovely teen Julie Richman (Deborah Foreman) is steeped in the excessive, pink-clad culture of the San Fernando Valley, complete with... [More]
Adjusted Score: 89866%
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.
After building an empire with bootleg alcohol, legendary crime boss Al Capone (Robert De Niro) rules Chicago with an iron... [More]
Adjusted Score: 86405%
Critics Consensus: Desperately Seeking Susan works with its fairy tale depiction of New York and the fun, frothy chemistry generated by its two leads.
New Jersey housewife Roberta Glass (Rosanna Arquette) spices up her boring life by reading personal ads, especially a series of... [More]
Adjusted Score: 80081%
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.
When talented computer engineer Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges) finds out that Ed Dillinger (David Warner), an executive at his company,... [More]
Adjusted Score: 83952%
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.
An epic tale spanning forty years in the life of Celie (Whoopi Goldberg), an African-American woman living in the South... [More]
Adjusted Score: 91446%
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.
After Barbara (Geena Davis) and Adam Maitland (Alec Baldwin) die in a car accident, they find themselves stuck haunting their... [More]
Adjusted Score: 87380%
Critics Consensus: The buddy cop movie continues its evolution unabated with this Eddie Murphy vehicle that's fast, furious, and funny.
After his childhood buddy is murdered while visiting Detroit, rebellious cop Axel Foley (Eddie Murphy) follows the leads to Beverly... [More]
Adjusted Score: 84077%
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.
Teenage brothers Michael (Jason Patric) and Sam (Corey Haim) move with their mother (Dianne Wiest) to a small town in... [More]
Adjusted Score: 57289%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Adjusted Score: 84503%
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.
On the Wall Street of the 1980s, Bud Fox (Charlie Sheen) is a stockbroker full of ambition, doing whatever he... [More]
Adjusted Score: 86734%
Critics Consensus: A buoyant corporate Cinderella story, Working Girl has the right cast, right story, and right director to make it all come together.
Savvy New York City receptionist Tess McGill (Melanie Griffith) gives her conniving boss, Katharine Parker (Sigourney Weaver), an excellent business... [More]
Adjusted Score: 86547%
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.
This 1978 Disney adventure tells the story of 12-year-old David (Joey Cramer) who lives with his family in Fort Lauderdale,... [More]
Adjusted Score: 91421%
Critics Consensus: A raucous military comedy that features Bill Murray and his merry cohorts approaching the peak of their talents.
Hard-luck cabbie John Winger (Bill Murray) -- directionless after being fired from his job and dumped by his girlfriend --... [More]
Adjusted Score: 91711%
Critics Consensus: Mystery Train meanders by design, but it never goes off the rails, retaining its deadpan cool throughout.
A seedy hotel in Memphis, Tennessee, provides the backdrop for three separate tales, featuring everything from a kitsch-obsessed Japanese couple... [More]
Adjusted Score: 79836%
Critics Consensus: While it's arguably more interesting on a visual level, Labyrinth provides further proof of director Jim Henson's boundless imagination.
Teenage Sarah (Jennifer Connelly) journeys through a maze to recover her baby brother (Toby Froud) from a goblin king (David... [More]
Adjusted Score: 89495%
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.
A new English teacher, John Keating (Robin Williams), is introduced to an all-boys preparatory school that is known for its... [More]
Adjusted Score: 69833%
Critics Consensus: The ultimate '80s Schwarzenegger movie, replete with a threadbare plot, outsized action, and endless one-liners.
Retired Special Forces soldier John Matrix (Arnold Schwarzenegger) lives with daughter Jenny (Alyssa Milano) in isolation, but his privacy is... [More]
Adjusted Score: 93701%
Critics Consensus: Field of Dreams is sentimental, but in the best way; it's a mix of fairy tale, baseball, and family togetherness.
When Iowa farmer Ray (Kevin Costner) hears a mysterious voice one night in his cornfield saying "If you build it,... [More]
Adjusted Score: 90841%
Critics Consensus: The Naked Gun is loaded chock full of gags that are goofy, unapologetically crass, and ultimately hilarious.
Frank Drebin (Leslie Nielsen), a rather clueless police detective, tries to foil a plot to turn innocent people into assassins... [More]
Adjusted Score: 92653%
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.
Daniel (Ralph Macchio) moves to Southern California with his mother, Lucille (Randee Heller), but quickly finds himself the target of... [More]
Adjusted Score: 93539%
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.
Widow Aurora Greenway (Shirley MacLaine) and her daughter, Emma (Debra Winger), have a strong bond, but Emma marries teacher Flap... [More]
Adjusted Score: 89867%
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.
Cowboy Caleb Colton (Adrian Pasdar) meets gorgeous Mae (Jenny Wright) at a bar, and the two have an immediate attraction.... [More]
Adjusted Score: 96029%
Critics Consensus: Tootsie doesn't squander its high-concept comedy premise with fine dialogue and sympathetic treatment of the characters.
New York actor Michael Dorsey (Dustin Hoffman) is a talented perfectionist who is so hard on himself and others that... [More]
Adjusted Score: 94895%
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.
When foreman Frank (James Karen) shows new employee Freddy (Thom Mathews) a secret military experiment in a supply warehouse, the... [More]
Adjusted Score: 98145%
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.
In 1977, college graduates Harry Burns (Billy Crystal) and Sally Albright (Meg Ryan) share a contentious car ride from Chicago... [More]
Adjusted Score: 95820%
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.
Young history buff Kevin (Craig Warnock) can scarcely believe it when six dwarfs emerge from his closet one night. Former... [More]
Adjusted Score: 96065%
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.
Meek flower shop assistant Seymour (Rick Moranis) pines for co-worker Audrey (Ellen Greene). During a total eclipse, he discovers an... [More]
Adjusted Score: 97732%
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.
In Disney's beguiling animated romp, rebellious 16-year-old mermaid Ariel (Jodi Benson) is fascinated with life on land. On one of... [More]
Adjusted Score: 102622%
Critics Consensus: A coming-of-age story with uncommon depth and sensitivity, My Life as a Dog is sweet, sincere, and utterly charming.
A boy (Anton Glanzelius), obsessed with comparing himself with those less fortunate, experiences a different life at the home of... [More]
Adjusted Score: 98408%
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.
High school student David Lightman (Matthew Broderick) unwittingly hacks into a military supercomputer while searching for new video games. After... [More]
Adjusted Score: 86988%
Critics Consensus: An atypically dark Disney adventure, Dragonslayer puts a realistic spin -- and some impressive special effects -- on a familiar tale.
A terrible dragon is terrorizing the medieval land of Urland in the 6th century. Representatives from the kingdom seek the... [More]
Adjusted Score: 98762%
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.
No sooner does Italian-American widow Loretta (Cher) accept a marriage proposal from her doltish boyfriend, Johnny (Danny Aiello), than she... [More]
Adjusted Score: 99090%
Critics Consensus: Drugstore Cowboy takes us into a violent, transient world with cool, contemplative style.
Bob Hughes (Matt Dillon) is the leader of a "family" of drug addicts consisting of his wife, Dianne (Kelly Lynch),... [More]
Adjusted Score: 101849%
Critics Consensus: Smartly written, smoothly directed, and solidly cast, A Fish Called Wanda offers a classic example of a brainy comedy with widespread appeal.
British gangster George Thomason (Tom Georgeson) and his hapless aide, Ken Pile (Michael Palin), draft a pair of arrogant Americans,... [More]
Adjusted Score: 103254%
Critics Consensus: Taut, breathtakingly thrilling, and devastatingly intelligent, Das Boot is one of the greatest war films ever made.
A German submarine patrols the Atlantic Ocean during World War II, manned by a crew that must contend with tense... [More]
Adjusted Score: 98483%
Critics Consensus: A quiet yet deeply moving kind of Western, Paris, Texas captures a place and people like never before (or after).
A disheveled man who wanders out of the desert, Travis Henderson (Harry Dean Stanton) seems to have no idea who... [More]
Adjusted Score: 90270%
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.
The second of the Lucas/Spielberg Indiana Jones epics is set a year or so before the events in Raiders of... [More]
Adjusted Score: 99703%
Critics Consensus: Perfectly mixing humor and horror, the only thing more effective than Re-Animator's gory scares are its dry, deadpan jokes.
A medical student (Jeffrey Combs) brings his headless professor back from the dead with a special serum.... [More]
Adjusted Score: 96522%
Critics Consensus: Smart, tender, and funny in equal measure, Hannah and Her Sisters is one of Woody Allen's finest films.
Three successive family Thanksgiving dinners mark time for Hannah (Mia Farrow), her younger sisters Lee (Barbara Hershey) and Holly (Dianne... [More]
Adjusted Score: 105057%
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.
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]
Adjusted Score: 98152%
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.
After being snubbed at his advertising job, Los Angeles yuppie David Howard (Albert Brooks) convinces his wife, Linda (Julie Hagerty),... [More]
Adjusted Score: 99881%
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.
In 1943, Julien (Gaspard Manesse) is a student at a French boarding school. When three new students arrive, including Jean... [More]
Adjusted Score: 101639%
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.
No one expects much from Christy Brown (Daniel Day-Lewis), a boy with cerebral palsy born into a working-class Irish family.... [More]
Adjusted Score: 104684%
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.
At the age of seventy, after years of consolidating his empire, the Great Lord Hidetora Ichimonji (Tatsuya Nakadai) decides to... [More]
Adjusted Score: 92408%
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.
When his longtime partner on the force is killed, reckless U.S. Secret Service agent Richard Chance (William L. Petersen) vows... [More]
Adjusted Score: 100066%
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.
Shyster lawyer Ned Racine (William Hurt) begins a passionate affair with Matty Walker (Kathleen Turner), wife of a wealthy Florida... [More]
Adjusted Score: 80408%
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.
Andie (Molly Ringwald) is an outcast at her Chicago high school, hanging out either with her older boss (Annie Potts),... [More]
Adjusted Score: 103498%
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.
College student Jeffrey Beaumont (Kyle MacLachlan) returns home after his father has a stroke. When he discovers a severed ear... [More]
Adjusted Score: 83797%
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.
Stacy Hamilton (Jennifer Jason Leigh) is a pretty, but inexperienced, teen interested in dating. Given advice by her uninhibited friend,... [More]
Adjusted Score: 94760%
Critics Consensus: Featuring an atmospherically grimy futuristic metropolis, Escape from New York is a strange, entertaining jumble of thrilling action and oddball weirdness.
In 1997, a major war between the United States and the Soviet Union is concluding, and the entire island of... [More]
Adjusted Score: 98433%
Critics Consensus: The Killer is another hard-boiled action flick from John Woo featuring eye-popping balletic violence and philosophical underpinnings.
Mob assassin Jeffrey (Chow Yun-Fat) is no ordinary hired gun; the best in his business, he views his chosen profession... [More]
Adjusted Score: 102377%
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.
After being fired from his job, Los Angeles slacker and punk rocker Otto (Emilio Estevez) lands a gig working for... [More]
Adjusted Score: 102874%
Critics Consensus: Blockbuster dramatist James L. Brooks delivers with Broadcast News, fully entertaining with deft, deep characterization.
Intelligent satire of American television news. A highly strung news producer finds herself strangely attracted to a vapid anchorman even... [More]
Adjusted Score: 92352%
Critics Consensus: A politically subversive blend of horror and sci fi, They Live is an underrated genre film from John Carpenter.
Nada (Roddy Piper), a wanderer without meaning in his life, discovers a pair of sunglasses capable of showing the world... [More]
Adjusted Score: 96010%
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.
Following their breakout success in England, flagship punk rock band the Sex Pistols venture out on their first U.S. tour.... [More]
Adjusted Score: 84769%
Critics Consensus: The most successful installment in a phenomenally successful series, Lethal Weapon helped redefine action movies for the 1980s and 1990s.
Following the death of his wife, Los Angeles police detective Martin Riggs (Mel Gibson) becomes reckless and suicidal. When he... [More]
Adjusted Score: 95650%
Critics Consensus: Smartly filmed, tightly scripted, and -- most importantly -- consistently frightening, Poltergeist is a modern horror classic.
Strange and creepy happenings beset an average California family, the Freelings -- Steve (Craig T. Nelson), Diane (JoBeth Williams), teenaged... [More]
Adjusted Score: 80552%
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.
Kurt Russell plays hard-boiled truck driver Jack Burton, who gets caught in a bizarre conflict within, and underneath, San Francisco's... [More]
Adjusted Score: 86858%
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.
After getting a green card in exchange for assassinating a Cuban government official, Tony Montana (Al Pacino) stakes a claim... [More]
Adjusted Score: 97021%
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.
An art collector appeals to Jones to embark on a search for the Holy Grail. He learns that another archaeologist... [More]
Adjusted Score: 97942%
Critics Consensus: My Neighbor Totoro is a heartwarming, sentimental masterpiece that captures the simple grace of childhood.
This acclaimed animated tale by director Hayao Miyazaki follows schoolgirl Satsuke and her younger sister, Mei, as they settle into... [More]
Adjusted Score: 102453%
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.
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]
Adjusted Score: 94917%
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.
In a Manhattan cafe, word processor Paul Hackett (Griffin Dunne) meets and talks literature with Marcy (Rosanna Arquette). Later that... [More]
Adjusted Score: 98251%
Critics Consensus: The Road Warrior is everything a bigger-budgeted Mad Max sequel with should be: bigger, faster, louder, but definitely not dumber.
After avenging the death of his wife and young son at the hands of a vicious gang leader, Max (Mel... [More]
Adjusted Score: 102075%
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.
Chris Taylor (Charlie Sheen) leaves his university studies to enlist in combat duty in Vietnam in 1967. Once he's on... [More]
Adjusted Score: 98866%
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.
Accompanied by their children (Dana Barron, Anthony Michael Hall), Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) and his wife, Ellen (Beverly D'Angelo), are... [More]
Adjusted Score: 92985%
Critics Consensus: Featuring deft interplay between Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd, Trading Places is an immensely appealing social satire.
Upper-crust executive Louis Winthorpe III (Dan Aykroyd) and down-and-out hustler Billy Ray Valentine (Eddie Murphy) are the subjects of a... [More]
Adjusted Score: 98021%
Critics Consensus: Intense, tightly constructed, and darkly comic at times, Stanley Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket may not boast the most original of themes, but it is exceedingly effective at communicating them.
Stanley Kubrick's take on the Vietnam War follows smart-aleck Private Davis (Matthew Modine), quickly christened "Joker" by his foul-mouthed drill... [More]
Adjusted Score: 93846%
Critics Consensus: Though failing to reach the cinematic heights of its predecessors, Return of the Jedi remains an entertaining sci-fi adventure and a fitting end to the classic trilogy.
Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) battles horrible Jabba the Hut and cruel Darth Vader to save his comrades in the Rebel... [More]
Adjusted Score: 103532%
Critics Consensus: An achingly sad anti-war film, Grave of the Fireflies is one of Studio Ghibli's most profoundly beautiful, haunting works.
A teenager (J. Robert Spencer) is charged with the care of his younger sister (Rhoda Chrosite) after an Allied firebombing... [More]
Adjusted Score: 93169%
Critics Consensus: Whether you choose to see it as a statement on consumer culture or simply a special effects-heavy popcorn flick, Gremlins is a minor classic.
A gadget salesman is looking for a special gift for his son and finds one at a store in Chinatown.... [More]
Adjusted Score: 81570%
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.
After his release from prison, Jake (John Belushi) reunites with his brother, Elwood (Dan Aykroyd) -- collectively known as the... [More]
Adjusted Score: 101928%
Critics Consensus: Smartly directed, brilliantly acted, and packed with endlessly quotable moments, This Is Spinal Tap is an all-time comedy classic.
"This Is Spinal Tap" shines a light on the self-contained universe of a metal band struggling to get back on... [More]
Adjusted Score: 103827%
Critics Consensus: Amadeus' liberties with history may rankle some, but the creative marriage of Miloš Forman and Peter Shaffer yields a divinely diabolical myth of genius and mediocrity, buoyed by inspired casting and Mozart's rapturous music.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Tom Hulce) is a remarkably talented young Viennese composer who unwittingly finds a fierce rival in the... [More]
Adjusted Score: 99705%
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.
In a violent, near-apocalyptic Detroit, evil corporation Omni Consumer Products wins a contract from the city government to privatize the... [More]
Adjusted Score: 100101%
Critics Consensus: Wes Craven's intelligent premise, combined with the horrifying visual appearance of Freddy Krueger, still causes nightmares to this day.
In Wes Craven's classic slasher film, several Midwestern teenagers fall prey to Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund), a disfigured midnight mangler... [More]
Adjusted Score: 96754%
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.
Ecstatic when his parents leave on vacation for a few days, high school senior Joel Goodsen (Tom Cruise) cuts loose... [More]
Adjusted Score: 95019%
Critics Consensus: Both warmly nostalgic and darkly humorous, A Christmas Story deserves its status as a holiday perennial.
Based on the humorous writings of author Jean Shepherd, this beloved holiday movie follows the wintry exploits of youngster Ralphie... [More]
Adjusted Score: 97980%
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.
Veronica (Winona Ryder) is part of the most popular clique at her high school, but she disapproves of the other... [More]
Adjusted Score: 89925%
Critics Consensus: Matthew Broderick charms in Ferris Bueller's Day Off, a light and irrepressibly fun movie about being young and having fun.
Ferris Bueller (Matthew Broderick) has an uncanny skill at cutting classes and getting away with it. Intending to make one... [More]
Adjusted Score: 94844%
Critics Consensus: The Breakfast Club is a warm, insightful, and very funny look into the inner lives of teenagers.
Five high school students from different walks of life endure a Saturday detention under a power-hungry principal (Paul Gleason). The... [More]
Adjusted Score: 95439%
Critics Consensus: Akira is strikingly bloody and violent, but its phenomenal animation and sheer kinetic energy helped set the standard for modern anime.
In 1988 the Japanese government drops an atomic bomb on Tokyo after ESP experiments on children go awry. In 2019,... [More]
Adjusted Score: 86757%
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.
On his way to school, Bastian (Barret Oliver) ducks into a bookstore to avoid bullies. Sneaking away with a book... [More]
Adjusted Score: 105928%
Critics Consensus: Jonathan Demme's Stop Making Sense captures the energetic, unpredictable live act of peak Talking Heads with color and visual wit.
Director Jonathan Demme captures the frantic energy and artsy groove of Talking Heads in this concert movie shot at the... [More]
Adjusted Score: 97922%
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.
Easily excitable Neal Page (Steve Martin) is somewhat of a control freak. Trying to get home to Chicago to spend... [More]
Adjusted Score: 82811%
Critics Consensus: The Goonies is an energetic, sometimes noisy mix of Spielbergian sentiment and funhouse tricks that will appeal to kids and nostalgic adults alike.
When two brothers find out they might lose their house they are desperate to find a way to keep their... [More]
Adjusted Score: 102052%
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.
In a charming, critically acclaimed tale of first love, Lloyd (John Cusack), an eternal optimist, seeks to capture the heart... [More]
Adjusted Score: 97980%
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.
After learning that a stranger has been accidentally killed near their rural homes, four Oregon boys decide to go see... [More]
Adjusted Score: 85294%
Critics Consensus: Predator: Part sci-fi, part horror, part action -- all muscle.
Dutch (Arnold Schwarzenegger), a soldier of fortune, is hired by the U.S. government to secretly rescue a group of politicians... [More]
Adjusted Score: 104221%
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.
This spoof comedy takes shots at the slew of disaster movies that were released in the 70s. When the passengers... [More]
Adjusted Score: 95705%
Critics Consensus: Less a continuation than an outright reimagining, Sam Raimi transforms his horror tale into a comedy of terrors -- and arguably even improves on the original formula.
The second of three films in the Evil Dead series is part horror, part comedy, with Ash Williams (Bruce Campbell)... [More]
Adjusted Score: 95608%
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.
An ex-con and an ex-cop meet, marry and long for a child of their own. When it is discovered that... [More]
Adjusted Score: 101786%
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.
Deckard (Harrison Ford) is forced by the police Boss (M. Emmet Walsh) to continue his old job as Replicant Hunter.... [More]
Adjusted Score: 106032%
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.
Disguised as a human, a cyborg assassin known as a Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger) travels from 2029 to 1984 to kill... [More]
Adjusted Score: 101762%
Critics Consensus: Its many imitators (and sequels) have never come close to matching the taut thrills of the definitive holiday action classic.
New York City policeman John McClane (Bruce Willis) is visiting his estranged wife (Bonnie Bedelia) on Christmas Eve. He joins... [More]
Adjusted Score: 93556%
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.
In remote Antarctica, a group of American research scientists are disturbed at their base camp by a helicopter shooting at... [More]
Adjusted Score: 105706%
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.
A fairy tale adventure about a beautiful young woman and her one true love. He must find her after a... [More]
Adjusted Score: 102134%
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.
Salvatore "Sal" Fragione (Danny Aiello) is the Italian owner of a pizzeria in Brooklyn. A neighborhood local, Buggin' Out (Giancarlo... [More]
Adjusted Score: 108275%
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.
Dr. Indiana Jones, a renowned archeologist and expert in the occult, is hired by the U.S. Government to find the... [More]
Adjusted Score: 108503%
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.
The story of a middleweight boxer as he rises through ranks to earn his first shot at the middleweight crown.... [More]
Adjusted Score: 94345%
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.
Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) becomes winter caretaker at the isolated Overlook Hotel in Colorado, hoping to cure his writer's block.... [More]
Adjusted Score: 84446%
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.
With the occasion all but overshadowed by her sister's upcoming wedding, angst-ridden Samantha (Molly Ringwald) faces her 16th birthday with... [More]
Adjusted Score: 107036%
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.
The adventure continues in this "Star Wars" sequel. Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), Han Solo (Harrison Ford), Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher)... [More]
Adjusted Score: 102070%
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.
After the members of a team of scientists (Harold Ramis, Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray) lose their cushy positions at a... [More]
Adjusted Score: 114492%
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.
After a gentle alien becomes stranded on Earth, the being is discovered and befriended by a young boy named Elliott... [More]
Adjusted Score: 103704%
Critics Consensus: Inventive, funny, and breathlessly constructed, Back to the Future is a rousing time-travel adventure with an unforgettable spirit.
In this 1980s sci-fi classic, small-town California teen Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) is thrown back into the '50s when... [More]