Nostalgia is a very powerful thing, especially when it comes to the 1980s. In addition to the excess of the greatest decade of all-time, so many amazing and memorable classics came out of the 80s, crossing many genres and creating blockbuster films that would earn more in their opening weeks than previous films. After 1977's Star Wars, the 1980s would be the decade of the final two movies in the Star Wars Trilogy, as well as the decade of Batman, E.T., and Indiana Jones. Not only that, but by the end of the 1980s, it was clear that consumers were watching movies in a different way as well. In 1980, one in 10 American households owned a VCR, while 62 percent of them had at least one by the end of 1988. This is apparent when we look back at the 20 highest-grossing box office movies of the 1980s.


Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (Paramount / 1989 / $474m+ worldwide gross)
Batman (Warner Brothers / 1989 / $411m)
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (Universal Pictures / 1982 / $359m)
Rain Man (MGM / 1988 / $355m)
Back to the Future Part II (Universal Pictures / 1989 / $332m)
Who Framed Roger Rabbit (Buena Vista/Touchstone / 1988 / $330m)
Look Who's Talking (TriStar / 1989 / $297m)
Coming to America (Paramount / 1988 / $289m)
Return of the Jedi (20th Century Fox / 1983 / $253m)
Crocodile Dundee II (Paramount / 1988 / $240m)
Dead Poets Society (Buena Vista/Touchstone / 1989 / $236m)
Beverly Hills Cop (Paramount / 1984 / $235m)
Ghostbusters (Columbia / 1984 / $229m)
Lethal Weapon 2 (Warner Brothers / 1989 / $228m)
Honey, I Shrunk The Kids (Buena Vista/Disney / 1989 / $223m)
Twins (Universal / 1988 / $217m)
Ghostbusters II (Columbia / 1989 / $215m)
Raiders of the Lost Ark (Paramount / 1981 / $212m)
Back to the Future (Universal / 1985 / $211m)
The Empire Strikes Back (20th Century Fox / 1980 / $209m)

Out of the top 20 highest-grossing box office movies of the 1980s, 13 of them were released in 1988 or 1989. Part of this was due to the strategy of production companies staging new releases apart from each other so movie-goers would have limited choices on what to see. Other top-grossing films of the 1980s like Ghostbusters, Beverly Hills Cop, and Back To The Future were solidified by leading stars who had reputations they first established on television. The “Saturday Night Live” group of Bill Murray, Chevy Chase, Dan Aykroyd, Eddie Murphy, Steve Martin, John Belushi, and Robin Williams would be responsible for a good portion of what we consider to be classics today.

In the 1980s, we went to the movies to relax and escape. If you had to make your own Top 10 list from the 1980s, which classics would make your list? Which ones would you leave off?