The 25 Best Movies From The ‘80s Every Person Needs to See

1. The Breakfast Club (1985)

IMDb rating: 7.9
Rotten Tomatoes: 89%

Five high school students from different walks of life are sentenced to a Saturday detention under the supervision of a ruthless principal. The film gives each of the characters a chance to tell their respective stories, forever changing the dynamics of how they view each other. The film features Judd Nelson, Molly Ringwald, Ally Sheedy, Anthony Michael Hall, and Emilio Estevez.

Image Source: Entertainment Weekly

2. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)

IMDb rating: 7.8
Rotten Tomatoes: 81%

If anyone knows how to get away with cutting class, it’s Ferris Bueller. Intending to have one last hurrah before graduation, Ferris calls on his best friend to skip school, borrow a Ferrari, and have an epic journey on the streets of Chicago. This film features a young Mathew Broderick as the main character, and villain, Jeffery Jones.

3. The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

IMDb rating: 8.8
Rotten Tomatoes: 94%

One of the most talked about films of the decade, The Empire Strikes Back is a crown jewel of the 80s. George Lucas casts Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker, Harrison Ford as Han Solo, Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia, and Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca. Watch this exciting film to relive Luke’s epic duel with Darth Vader.

4. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

IMDb rating: 7.9
Rotten Tomatoes: 98%

A friendly alien becomes stranded on Earth and is discovered by a young boy named Elliot (Henry Thomas). Elliot decides that he is going to hide E.T. in the household with the help of his sister, Gertie (Drew Barrymore). However, things turn upside down when E.T. becomes sick, which results in government intervention and a dire situation for both Elliot and E.T.

5. Ghostbusters (1984)

IMDb rating: 7.8
Rotten Tomatoes: 97%

After a team of renowned scientists (Harold Ramis, Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray) lose their highly touted positions at a university in New York City, they turn to an alternate career path. They use their scientific expertise to wage a battle against the supernatural as ghostbusters. However, they soon discover a gateway to another dimension that puts New York City in harm’s way. They must now save the city from complete destruction.

6. Back to the Future (1985)

IMDb rating: 8.5
Rotten Tomatoes: 96%

One of the great science-fiction classics, Back to the Future follows a small-town California teen, Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox), who time travels back to the ‘50s at the hands of his wild scientist friend, Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd). Marty must then make sure that his parents fall in love or he will cease to exist, while also attempting to save the life of Doc Brown in his own time.

7. The Goonies (1985)

IMDb rating: 7.8
Rotten Tomatoes: 70%

An instant cult classic that has transcended time, The Goonies is equally popular across all generations. The movie is about two brothers who realize they might lose their house and will stop at nothing to keep it. After locating a treasure map, the two brothers call on their friends to join them on an unforgettable journey.

8. Blade Runner (1982)

IMDb rating: 8.2
Rotten Tomatoes: 100%

One of the notable science fiction fantasies of the decade, Blade Runner is set in the futuristic year of 2019. Los Angeles has become a dark and gloomy city rotten to its core. Harrison Ford stars as Deckard, who is forced to return to his old job as a “Blade Runner” to eliminate four escaped replicants. The story takes a dramatic twist when he falls in love with one.

9. Sixteen Candles (1984)

IMDb rating: 7.2
Rotten Tomatoes: 86%

One of the most beloved and relatable movies from the decade, Sixteen Candles follows a young girl facing adolescent angst with her upcoming 16th birthday. Struggle ensues when Samantha (Molly Ringwald) pines after older senior crush, Jake, worrying her virgin status will pose a threat to their potential relationship.

10. Stand by Me (1986)

IMDb rating: 8.1
Rotten Tomatoes: 91%

An American coming-of-age drama, Stand By Me follows four boys as they search for a dead body near their rural homes in Oregon. Their adventure along train tracks becomes a defining moment in all of their young lives as they learn about themselves and each other. The film is full of classic moments all young boys eventually face, and has all that watch reminiscing about their youth.

11. Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982)

IMDb rating: 7.2
Rotten Tomatoes: 78%

Sex, drugs and rock and roll is the only thing on the minds of a group of teenagers at a Southern California high school. Fast Times at Ridgemont High follows Stacy Hamilton (Jennifer Jason Leigh) as she gets caught in a love triangle with a nice guy named Mark, and her good friend Mike. Sean Penn stars as one of the most remembered surf bums of all-time in Jeff Spicoli.

12. The Terminator (1984)

IMDb rating: 8.0
Rotten Tomatoes: 100%

A science-fiction action film, The Terminator follows a disguised cyborg assassin as he travels from 2029 to 1984 to kill a person of interest. One of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s most remembered roles and what launched him to stardom, this film has some of the best special effects of the decade. Watch this film for Arnold’s classic one-liners alone and you will not be disappointed.

13. Top Gun (1986)

IMDb rating: 6.9
Rotten Tomatoes: 55%

Simply put, if you have not seen Top Gun, you need to stop everything you are doing and go watch it. One of Tom Cruise’s most lovable roles, he plays the hotshot fighter pilot named Maverick. His attitude puts him at odds with the other pilots, especially Iceman (Val Kilmer). They battle it out in a demanding flight school while also competing for the attention of their beautiful flight instructor, Charlotte Blackwood (Kelly McGillis).

14. Dirty Dancing (1987)

IMDb rating: 6.9
Rotten Tomatoes: 71%

Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey star as Baby and Johnny in this American classic. Baby, who is looking to enjoy one of her last summers as a teenager, gets caught up at a resort with her parents in the Catskills. Looking for some sort of fun, she stumbles into the employee’s only nightclub where Johnny steals the show with his dancing. The movie comes down to an epic dance routine with Baby and Johnny.

15. Caddyshack 1980

IMDb rating: 7.4
Rotten Tomatoes: 75%

One of the most remembered golf movies of all time, Caddyshack is a must watch. Follow Danny Noonan (Michael O’Keefe) as he works as a caddy at the highly touted Bushwood Country Club to raise money for his college education. The movie is filled with raunchy jokes and classic one-liners.

16. A Christmas Story (1983)

IMDb rating: 8.1
Rotten Tomatoes: 88%

One of the most beloved holiday movies of all-time, A Christmas Story follows the adolescent adventures of Ralphie Parker as he navigates the holiday season in a working class home. The movie is remembered most for Ralphie’s ultimate Christmas gift, the Red Ryder air rifle. Watch the film and go on a whirlwind of adventure as Ralphie struggles to make it to Christmas day with his hopes intact.

17. The Karate Kid (1984)

IMDb rating: 7.2
Rotten Tomatoes: 90%

Daniel (Ralph Macchio) moves to Southern California with his mother where he quickly finds himself the target of a group of bullies who study karate at the Cobra Kai dojo. In order to face these bullies, Daniel seeks out help from his neighbor, Mr. Miyagi (Noriyuki Morita), who happens to be a martial arts master. Recently remade in 2010, this film follows Daniel’s struggle toward redemption, capped off by an iconic karate tournament against his enemies.

18. Scarface (1983)

IMDb rating: 8.3
Rotten Tomatoes: 82%

After getting a green card in exchange for assassinating a Cuban government official, Tony Montana (Al Pacino) starts to dominate the drug trade in Miami. Murdering anyone who steps in his way, witness Tony Montana’s ascension to drug lord, all while he spits classic one-liners like “say hello to my little friend.”

19. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

IMDb rating: 8.5
Rotten Tomatoes: 94%

Dr. Indiana Jones is hired by the U.S. government to find the Ark of the Covenant, which is believed to still hold the sought after Ten Commandments. Conflict ensues when agents of Hitler and the Nazi party are also after the ark. Watch Indiana Jones travel from Nepal to Cairo as he nearly escapes a plethora of different but deadly situations.

20. Die Hard (1988)

IMDb rating: 8.2
Rotten Tomatoes: 92%

Bruce Willis kicks off his acting career with this action-packed thriller. Playing a New York City policeman, John McClane (Bruce Willis) visits his estranged wife and their two daughters on Christmas Eve in Los Angeles, but the party comes to an abrupt halt when a group of terrorists take over the building and hold everyone hostage. Leave it to McClane to save the day.

21. Beetlejuice (1988)

IMDb rating: 7.5
Rotten Tomatoes: 81%

A quirky science fiction fantasy, Beetlejuice is a must watch movie. Follow Barbara (Geena Davis) and Adam Maitland (Alec Baldwin) who die in a car accident and now find themselves stuck haunting their country residence. When unbearable residents move into the home, they make it their duty to try and scare them away.

22. The Princess Bride (1987)

IMDb rating: 8.1
Rotten Tomatoes: 97%

Based on the William Golden novel with the same name, The Princess Bride is a fantasy film of the late 80s following a fairy tale adventure about a beautiful young woman and her true love. Westley, played by Cary Elwes, must rescue Princess Buttercup (Robin Wright) from captivity. Battling the evils of the mythical kingdom of Florin, you’ll be rooting for Westley through all of the hilarity that ensues.

23. Raging Bull (1980)

IMDb rating: 8.3
Rotten Tomatoes: 97%

One of the best boxing movies of all-time, this film follows Jake LaMotta (Robert De Niro) as he fights his way to the top of the middleweight boxing division. However, LaMotta meets his kryptonite when he falls in love with a young girl from the Bronx, as his inability to express his feelings leads to his own downfall.

24. Pretty in Pink (1986)

IMDb rating: 6.8
Rotten Tomatoes: 80%

Molly Ringwald comes back onto the scene as Andie, an outcast at her Chicago based high school. She hangs out with a quirky group of friends at a local record store, but when she is asked out by one of the rich and popular kids at school, she quickly realizes that hanging out with kids from different social classes is not easy.

25. Beverly Hills Cop (1984)

IMDb rating: 7.3
Rotten Tomatoes: 83%

Eddie Murphy stars as a cop named Axel in this unforgettable thriller. After a friend of Axel’s was murdered while visiting Detroit, he makes it his mission to track down the killer. With incriminating evidence leading Axel to Beverly Hills, California, this drama filled with hilarious twists and turns is a must-see.