The 80s was a decade that saw the birth of franchises that have lasted well into the 21st century, the emergence of new film genres, and the use of revolutionary special effects. But what movies actually made such an impact that they are still remembered today?
Let’s take a quick drive-through of this beloved decade's 10 most iconic movies.
The Ten Most Iconic Movies of the 1980s
1. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
Steven Spielberg's heartwarming tale of an unexpected friendship between a boy and an alien captivated audiences and introduced us to a new kind of family film. Its cultural impact is undeniable, with the iconic bike-flying-against-the-moon image ingrained in our collective consciousness.
2. Back to the Future
This science fiction adventure comedy has everything - a high schooler, a quirky scientist, time travel, and a DeLorean. It sparked our imaginations and made us contemplate the beauty, and the paradox, of time travel. It also brought actor Michael J. Fox to fame and spawned just as popular sequels.
3. The Breakfast Club
This coming-of-age drama offered a fresh and profound perspective on teen stereotypes, bringing us five characters, each representing a different high school cliché. It redefined the teen movie genre and continues to resonate with generations of viewers. The film launched the careers of some of Hollywood's biggest names, such as Molly Ringwald and Emilio Estevez.
4. Die Hard
Bruce Willis's portrayal of New York cop John McClane set a new standard for action movie heroes. This gripping thriller gave birth to one of cinema's most enduring franchises and cemented Willis's star status. But the question remains: Is Die Hard a Christmas movie?
5. Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
This sequel to Star Wars took the franchise to new heights with its darker tone and unexpected plot twists. The film's impact extends beyond the Star Wars fandom, contributing significantly to pop culture.
With its catchy theme song, lovable characters, and a mix of comedy and supernatural elements, Ghostbusters became an instant classic and spawned a media franchise that includes sequels, animated series, and video games.
7. Indiana Jones
Raiders of the Lost Ark: The adventurous archaeologist Indiana Jones, brought to life by Harrison Ford, captured our imaginations and took us on thrilling journeys in search of ancient artifacts. The movie is still beloved today, and its success created one of the most successful film franchises in history.
8. The Shining
Stanley Kubrick's adaptation of Stephen King's novel gave us an unforgettable psychological horror film. It's rich in symbolism, and its eerie atmosphere continues to influence horror filmmakers to this day.
9. Ferris Bueller's Day Off
This lighthearted comedy about a high schooler playing hooky captured the spirit of youth and rebellion. Its breaking-the-fourth-wall style inspired many future filmmakers. The unforgettable acting from Matthew Broderick and the rest of the cast makes it endlessly rewatchable.
10. Top Gun
Rounding out our list of top ten movies of the 1980s is what many consider to be the quintessential action movie of the decade.
Tom Cruise stars as a hotshot fighter pilot determined to prove himself in one of the world's most dangerous professions. The film's iconic soundtrack and thrilling aerial sequences have made it an enduring classic.
Bonus! 11. The Princess Bride
The cult classic comedy/romance, starring the late Robin Wright Penn, is a beloved favorite for many fans of the 80s.
The story follows a young woman's journey to rescue her true love from an evil prince and features memorable performances by Billy Crystal and Mandy Patinkin. Its absurd humor has inspired countless films since its release in 1987.
What Movies Changed Your Life?
These films not only defined the 1980s but have left an indelible mark on global cinema. Their influence can still be seen in today's films, and they continue to entertain new generations of viewers.
Now, it's your turn. What's your favorite iconic 1980s movie? How do you think it shaped culture and media? Join the discussion below – and let us know which classic films still stay with you all these years later. What moves did we miss? What would you add? Let us know!