Total Nerd The Best '80s Sci-Fi Movies  

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List Rules Vote up your favorite science fiction films that were released in the 1980s

This 1980s sci-fi movies list includes some of the most beloved science fiction movies of all time, such as The Empire Strikes Back, Aliens, and E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial.  '80s sci-fi movies include obvious genre classics, as well as many films mixing science fiction and comedy to spectacular effect. So what do you think are the greatest 1980s sci-fi movies? Make sure to vote up your favorites and vote down your least favorites in the list below. 

It may be challenging for some to pick the best '80s sci-fi movies because they'll have to choose between the likes of Blade Runner, The Terminator, and Back to the Future. That said, for all of those Star Wars fans out there, this list of 1980s sci-fi movies will finally settle the score once and for all about which is the better movie: The Empire Strikes Back or Return of the Jedi. One has gravitas, but the other has Ewoks. 

Another interesting challenge in picking the best 1980s science fiction movies is having to figure out which of these hilarious sci-fi comedies is better: Innerspace, Back to the Future, Ghostbusters, Spaceballs, Short Circuit, or Weird Science. All of these '80s science fiction films took clever sci-fi premises and added a comedic spin, which turned into box office gold. 

So hop into your DeLorean, strap on your proton pack, hunt down some replicants, and have fun voting for the top 80s science fiction films! Feel free to add any 1980s sci-fi films we may have missed.
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Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill The Empire Strikes Back is a 1980 American epic space opera film directed by Irvin Kershner. Leigh Brackett and Lawrence Kasdan wrote the screenplay, with George Lucas writing the film's story and serving as executive producer. The second ...more

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The Terminator Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bill Paxton, Linda Hamilton The Terminator is a 1984 American science fiction/horror action film directed by James Cameron, written by Cameron and the film's producer Gale Anne Hurd, and starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Michael Biehn, and Linda Hamilton. It was filmed in ...more

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Return of the Jedi Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill Return of the Jedi is a 1983 American epic space opera film directed by Richard Marquand. The screenplay by Lawrence Kasdan and George Lucas was from a story by Lucas, who was also the executive producer. It was the third film released in the ...more

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Blade Runner Harrison Ford, Daryl Hannah, Sean Young Blade Runner is a 1982 American neo-noir dystopian science fiction film directed by Ridley Scott and starring Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young, and Edward James Olmos. The screenplay, written by Hampton Fancher and David Peoples, is a ...more

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Aliens Sigourney Weaver, Bill Paxton, Michael Biehn Aliens is a 1986 American science-fiction action horror film written and directed by James Cameron, produced by his then-wife Gale Anne Hurd, and starring Sigourney Weaver, Carrie Henn, Michael Biehn, Paul Reiser, Lance Henriksen, William Hope, ...more

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Back to the Future Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson Back to the Future is a 1985 American comic science fiction film. It was directed by Robert Zemeckis, written by Zemeckis and Bob Gale, produced by Steven Spielberg, and stars Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson, Crispin Glover and ...more

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Ghostbusters Bill Murray, Sigourney Weaver, Dan Aykroyd Ghostbusters is a 1984 American sci-fi-fantasy comedy film, directed and produced by Ivan Reitman and written by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis. The film stars Bill Murray, Aykroyd, and Ramis as three eccentric parapsychologists in New York City ...more

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Predator Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jesse Ventura, Carl Weathers Predator is a 1987 American science fiction action film directed by John McTiernan and was distributed by 20th Century Fox. It stars Arnold Schwarzenegger, Carl Weathers, Elpidia Carrillo, Bill Duke, Jesse Ventura and Kevin Peter Hall. The ...more

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E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial Drew Barrymore, Erika Eleniak, Debra Winger E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial is a 1982 American science fiction-family film co-produced and directed by Steven Spielberg and written by Melissa Mathison, featuring special effects by Carlo Rambaldi and Dennis Muren, and starring Henry Thomas, Dee ...more

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Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan Kirstie Alley, William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan is a 1982 sci-fi film written by Jack B. Sowards and Nicholas Meyer adn directed by Nicholas Meyer.

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The Thing Kurt Russell, Keith David, John Carpenter The Thing is a 1982 American science fiction horror film directed by John Carpenter, written by Bill Lancaster, and starring Kurt Russell. The film's title refers to its primary antagonist: a parasitic extraterrestrial lifeform that assimilates ...more

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RoboCop Alex Van Halen, Peter Weller, Leeza Gibbons Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free TrialSergeant Warren Reed is a fictional character from the film series RoboCop, RoboCop 2, RoboCop 3.

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Escape from New York Jamie Lee Curtis, Kurt Russell, Ernest Borgnine Escape from New York is a 1981 American science fiction action film co-written, co-scored, and directed by John Carpenter. The film is set in a then near-future 1997 in a crime-ridden United States that has converted Manhattan Island in New ...more

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Spaceballs Joan Rivers, John Hurt, Mel Brooks Spaceballs is a 1987 American parody film co-written and directed by Mel Brooks and starring Brooks, Bill Pullman, John Candy and Rick Moranis. It also features Daphne Zuniga, Dick Van Patten, and the voice of Joan Rivers. It was released by ...more

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The Last Starfighter Wil Wheaton, Robert Preston, Catherine Mary Stewart The Last Starfighter is a 1984 American space opera film directed by Nick Castle. The film tells the story of Alex Rogan, an average teenage boy recruited by an alien defense force to fight in an interstellar war. It also featured Robert ...more

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Tron Jeff Bridges, David Warner, Michael Dudikoff Tron is a 1982 American science fiction film written and directed by Steven Lisberger, based on a story by Lisberger and Bonnie MacBird, and produced by Walt Disney Productions. The film stars Jeff Bridges as a computer programmer who is ...more

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Mad Max 2 Mel Gibson, Bruce Spence, Vernon Wells Mad Max 2 is a 1981 Australian post-apocalyptic action film directed by George Miller. The film is the second installment in the Mad Max film series, with Mel Gibson starring as Max Rockatansky. The film's tale of a community of settlers moved ...more

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Back to the Future Part II Clint Eastwood, Michael J. Fox, Elisabeth Shue Back to the Future Part II is a 1989 American comic science fiction film and the second installment of the Back to the Future trilogy. It was directed by Robert Zemeckis, who directed all three films, scripted by Bob Gale, and stars Michael J. ...more

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Weird Science Robert Downey Jr., Kelly LeBrock, Bill Paxton Weird Science is a 1985 American teen sci-fi comedy film written and directed by John Hughes and starring Anthony Michael Hall, Ilan Mitchell-Smith, and Kelly LeBrock. The film's producer, Joel Silver, acquired film rights to the pre-Comics ...more

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They Live Roddy Piper, Keith David, Tommy Morrison They Live is a 1988 American science fiction film written and directed by John Carpenter. The film stars Roddy Piper, Keith David, and Meg Foster. It follows a nameless drifter referred to as "Nada", who discovers the ruling class are ...more

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The Abyss Ed Harris, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Chris Elliott The Abyss is a 1989 American science fiction-adventure film written and directed by James Cameron, starring Ed Harris, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, and Michael Biehn. When an American submarine sinks in the Caribbean, the US search and recovery ...more

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Dune Sting, Patrick Stewart, Alicia Witt Dune is a 1984 American science fiction film written and directed by David Lynch, based on the 1965 Frank Herbert novel of the same name. The film stars Kyle MacLachlan as Paul Atreides and includes an ensemble of well-known American and ...more

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WarGames Matthew Broderick, William H. Macy, Ally Sheedy WarGames is a 1983 American Cold War science-fiction film written by Lawrence Lasker and Walter F. Parkes and directed by John Badham. The film stars Matthew Broderick, Dabney Coleman, John Wood, and Ally Sheedy. The film follows David ...more

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Flight of the Navigator Sarah Jessica Parker, Paul Reubens, Veronica Cartwright Flight of the Navigator is a 1986 comic science fiction film directed by Randal Kleiser and written by Mark H. Baker and Michael Burton, about David Freeman, a 12-year-old boy who is abducted by an alien spaceship and finds himself caught in a ...more

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nick-slade added Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure Keanu Reeves, George Carlin, Jane Wiedlin Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure is a 1989 American science fiction comedy buddy film and the first film in the Bill & Ted franchise in which two slackers travel through time to assemble a menagerie of historical figures for their high ...more

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Short Circuit Steve Guttenberg, Ally Sheedy, Austin Pendleton Short Circuit is a 1986 American comic science fiction film directed by John Badham, and written by S. S. Wilson and Brent Maddock. The film's plot centers upon an experimental military robot which is struck by lightning and gains a more ...more

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Star Trek III: The Search for Spock William Shatner, Christopher Lloyd, Leonard Nimoy Star Trek III: The Search for Spock is a 1984 American science fiction film released by Paramount Pictures. The film is the third feature film of the Star Trek science fiction franchise and is the center of a three-film story arc that begins ...more

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The Running Man Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jim Brown, Jesse Ventura The Running Man is a 1987 American science fiction action film loosely based on the 1982 novel The Running Man, written by Stephen King and published under the pseudonym Richard Bachman. Directed by Paul Michael Glaser, the film stars Arnold ...more

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Enemy Mine Dennis Quaid, Louis Gossett, Jr. Enemy Mine is a 1985 science fiction drama film directed by Wolfgang Petersen based on the story of the same name by Barry B. Longyear. It starred Dennis Quaid and Louis Gossett, Jr. as a human and alien soldier, respectively, who become ...more

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Superman II Gene Hackman, Christopher Reeve, Terence Stamp Superman II is a 1980 British-American superhero film directed by Richard Lester. It is a sequel to the 1978 film Superman and stars Gene Hackman, Christopher Reeve, Terence Stamp, Ned Beatty, Sarah Douglas, Margot Kidder, and Jack O'Halloran. ...more

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Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, George Takei Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home is a 1986 American science fiction film released by Paramount Pictures. It is the fourth feature film based on Star Trek, and is a sequel to Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. It completes the story arc begun in ...more

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Akira Takeshi Kusao, Mami Koyama, Tesshō Genda Akira is a 1988 Japanese animated cyberpunk action film directed by Katsuhiro Otomo, written by Otomo and Izo Hashimoto, and featuring the voices of Mitsuo Iwata, Nozomu Sasaki, Mami Koyama, and Taro Ishida. The screenplay is based on Otomo's ...more

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The Fly Geena Davis, Jeff Goldblum, David Cronenberg Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free TrialThe Fly is a 1986 American science fiction horror film directed and co-written by David Cronenberg. Produced by Brooksfilms and distributed by 20th Century Fox, the film stars Jeff Goldblum, Geena Davis and John Getz. It is based loosely on ...more

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The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension Jamie Lee Curtis, Christopher Lloyd, Jeff Goldblum The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension!, often shortened to Buckaroo Banzai, is a 1984 American science fiction film. It was directed and produced by W. D. Richter, and concerns the efforts of the multi-talented Dr. Buckaroo ...more

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Cocoon Steve Guttenberg, Clint Howard, Brian Dennehy Cocoon is a 1985 science fiction film directed by Ron Howard about a group of elderly people rejuvenated by aliens. The movie stars Don Ameche, Wilford Brimley, Hume Cronyn, Brian Dennehy, Jack Gilford, Steve Guttenberg, Maureen Stapleton, ...more

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Starman Jeff Bridges, John Carpenter, Karen Allen Starman is a 1984 American romantic science fiction film, directed by John Carpenter, that tells the story of an alien who has come to Earth in response to the invitation found on the gold phonograph record installed on the Voyager 2 space ...more

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Ghostbusters II Bill Murray, Sigourney Weaver, Dan Aykroyd Ghostbusters II is a 1989 American science fiction fantasy comedy film produced and directed by Ivan Reitman. It is the sequel to the 1984 film Ghostbusters and follows the further adventures of the four parapsychologists and their organization ...more

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Scanners Michael Ironside, Patrick McGoohan, Jennifer O'Neill Scanners is a 1981 Canadian science-fiction horror film written and directed by David Cronenberg and starring Jennifer O'Neill, Steven Lack, Michael Ironside, and Patrick McGoohan. In the film, "scanners" are people with unusual ...more

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Muttley Dastardly added Outland Sean Connery, Peter Boyle, John Ratzenberger Outland is a 1981 British science fiction thriller film written and directed by Peter Hyams. The film stars Sean Connery, Peter Boyle, and Frances Sternhagen. Set on Jupiter's moon Io, it has been described as a space Western, and bears ...more

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Innerspace Meg Ryan, Dennis Quaid, Martin Short Innerspace is a 1987 science fiction comedy film directed by Joe Dante and produced by Michael Finnell. Steven Spielberg served as executive producer. The film was inspired by the 1966 science fiction film Fantastic Voyage. It stars Dennis ...more

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Flash Gordon Timothy Dalton, Max von Sydow, Ornella Muti Flash Gordon is a 1980 British science fiction action film, based on the comic strip of the same name created by Alex Raymond. The film was directed by Mike Hodges, and produced by Dino De Laurentiis. It stars Sam J. Jones, Melody Anderson, ...more

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Muttley Dastardly added Dreamscape Dennis Quaid, Christopher Plummer, Max von Sydow Dreamscape is a 1984 science fiction horror film directed by Joseph Ruben and written by David Loughery, with Chuck Russell and Ruben co-writing.

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Brazil Robert De Niro, Bob Hoskins, Ian Holm Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free TrialBrazil is a 1985 British film directed by Terry Gilliam and written by Gilliam, Charles McKeown, and Tom Stoppard. British National Cinema by Sarah Street describes the film as a "fantasy/satire on bureaucratic society" while John ...more

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Repo Man Jimmy Buffett, Emilio Estevez, Harry Dean Stanton Repo Man is a 1984 American science fiction crime comedy film directed by Alex Cox. It was produced by Jonathan Wacks and Peter McCarthy, with executive producer Michael Nesmith, and stars Harry Dean Stanton and Emilio Estevez. Repo Man ...more

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Alien Nation James Caan, Terence Stamp, Mandy Patinkin Alien Nation is a 1988 American science fiction action film directed by Graham Baker. The ensemble cast features James Caan, Mandy Patinkin and Terence Stamp. The film depicts the assimilation of the Newcomers, an alien race settling in Los ...more

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Muttley Dastardly added The Philadelphia Experiment Nancy Allen, Stephen Tobolowsky, Michael Paré The Philadelphia Experiment is a 1984 science fiction film. It is directed by Stewart Raffill and stars Michael Paré, Bobby Di Cicco, and Nancy Allen and based on the urban legend of the Philadelphia Experiment. The movie is set in 1943 ...more

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Explorers Ethan Hawke, River Phoenix, James Cromwell Explorers is a 1985 family-oriented science-fiction fantasy film written by Eric Luke and directed by Joe Dante. The film stars Ethan Hawke and River Phoenix as teenage schoolboys who build a spacecraft to explore outer space. The special ...more

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Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome Tina Turner, Mel Gibson, Rebekah Elmaloglou Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, also known as Mad Max 3: Beyond Thunderdome or simply Mad Max 3, is a 1985 Australian post-apocalyptic action adventure film co-directed by George Miller and George Ogilvie, written by Miller and Terry Hayes and ...more

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Muttley Dastardly added The Final Countdown Kirk Douglas, Martin Sheen, Katharine Ross The Final Countdown is a 1980 alternate history science fiction film about a modern aircraft carrier that travels through time to a day before the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor. Produced by Peter Vincent Douglas and directed by Don Taylor, the ...more

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The Return of Godzilla is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best '80s Sci-Fi Movies
nick-slade added The Return of Godzilla Raymond Burr, Taketoshi Naitô, Eitarô Ozawa The Return of Godzilla, released in Japan as Godzilla, is a Japanese science fiction kaiju film produced by Toho. Directed by Koji Hashimoto, with special effects by Teruyoshi Nakano, the film starred Ken Tanaka, Yasuko Sawaguchi, and Yosuke ...more