Entertainment

The Greatest Movies of the 1980s, Ranked  

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List Rules Movies must have been released during the 1980s

Ranker Video Best 80s Movies

Since it was one of the greatest decades for film, here's a list of the best movies of the 80s. These are the most popular films of the 1980's. While the 1980's is largely known for Matthew Broderick, John Cusack, and the musical montage, it is also the decade that brought us The Empire Strikes Back and all three of the good Indiana Jones films. The movies on this list were each a top ten grossing film in the year they were released. If you're looking to find out what the 1980's were all about, then watching a classic movie on this list would be a great place to start! Vote on the best 80s movies and share your super 80s knowledge with the world!

What are the best movies of the 1980s? This list will give you that answer if you ever had any doubt what the best 1980s films are.

See Also: What are the most awesome and best 90s movies?

list ordered by
1
Back to the Future is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Movies of the 1980s, Ranked
Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson
Back to the Future is a 1985 American science fiction film directed by Robert Zemeckis. Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox), a 17-year-old high school student, is accidentally sent thirty years into ...more
2
Star Wars Episode V: The Empir... is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Movies of the 1980s, Ranked
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 ...more
3
Indiana Jones and the Raiders ... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Movies of the 1980s, Ranked
Harrison Ford, Alfred Molina, Karen Allen
Raiders of the Lost Ark is a 1981 American adventure film directed by Steven Spielberg. The screenplay by Lawrence Kasdan was from a story by George Lucas and Philip Kaufman. It was produced by ...more
4
Ghostbusters is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Movies of the 1980s, Ranked
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 ...more
5
The Terminator is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Movies of the 1980s, Ranked
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. Schwarzenegger plays the Terminator, a ...more
6
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Movies of the 1980s, Ranked
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 ...more
7
Star Wars: Episode VI –Return ... is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Movies of the 1980s, Ranked
Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill
Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi is a 1983 American epic space opera film directed by Richard Marquand, and the third and final film in the original Star Wars trilogy. After a daring ...more
8
Die Hard is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Movies of the 1980s, Ranked
Bruce Willis, Alan Rickman, Bonnie Bedelia
Die Hard is a 1988 American action film directed by John McTiernan and written by Steven E. de Souza and Jeb Stuart. It is based on the 1979 novel Nothing Lasts Forever, by Roderick Thorp. Die ...more
9
The Breakfast Club is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Movies of the 1980s, Ranked
Judd Nelson, Molly Ringwald, Anthony Michael Hall
The Breakfast Club is a 1985 American coming-of-age comedy-drama film written, produced, and directed by John Hughes and starring Emilio Estevez, Paul Gleason, Anthony Michael Hall, John ...more
10
Ferris Bueller's Day Off is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Movies of the 1980s, Ranked
Charlie Sheen, Matthew Broderick, Jeffrey Jones
Ferris Bueller's Day Off is a 1986 American comedy film written, produced and directed by John Hughes. The film follows high school senior Ferris Bueller, who skips school and spends the day in ...more
11
Indiana Jones and the Last Cru... is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Movies of the 1980s, Ranked
Harrison Ford, Sean Connery, River Phoenix
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade is a 1989 American adventure film directed by Steven Spielberg, from a story co-written by executive producer George Lucas. It is the third installment in the ...more
12
The Princess Bride is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Movies of the 1980s, Ranked
Billy Crystal, Robin Wright, André the Giant
The Princess Bride is a 1987 American romantic comedy fantasy adventure film directed and co-produced by Rob Reiner. It was adapted by William Goldman from his 1973 novel of the same name. The ...more
13
The Shining is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Movies of the 1980s, Ranked
Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Scatman Crothers
The Shining is a 1980 British-American psychological horror film produced and directed by Stanley Kubrick, co-written with novelist Diane Johnson, and starring Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, ...more
14
The Karate Kid is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Movies of the 1980s, Ranked
Elisabeth Shue, Ralph Macchio, Pat Morita
The Karate Kid is a 1984 American martial arts romantic drama film directed by John G. Avildsen and written by Robert Mark Kamen, starring Ralph Macchio, who was 22 years old during principal ...more
15
Beetlejuice is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Movies of the 1980s, Ranked
Alec Baldwin, Winona Ryder, Geena Davis
Beetlejuice is a 1988 American fantasy-comedy-horror film directed by Tim Burton. The spirits of a deceased couple (Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis) are harassed by an unbearable family that has ...more
16
Back to the Future Part II is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Movies of the 1980s, Ranked
Michael J. Fox, Elisabeth Shue, Christopher Lloyd
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 ...more
17
Batman is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Movies of the 1980s, Ranked
Jack Nicholson, Kim Basinger, Michael Keaton
Batman is a 1989 American superhero film directed by Tim Burton, based on the DC Comics character. The Dark Knight of Gotham City (Michael Keaton) begins his war on crime with his first major ...more
18
Indiana Jones and the Temple o... is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Movies of the 1980s, Ranked
Harrison Ford, Steven Spielberg, Dan Aykroyd
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is a 1984 American adventure film directed by Steven Spielberg, and the second installment in the Indiana Jones franchise and a prequel to the 1981 film ...more
19
Beverly Hills Cop is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Movies of the 1980s, Ranked
Eddie Murphy, Damon Wayans, Paul Reiser
Beverly Hills Cop is a 1984 American action comedy film directed by Martin Brest and starring Eddie Murphy as Axel Foley, a street-smart Detroit cop who heads to Beverly Hills, California to ...more
20
The Goonies is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Movies of the 1980s, Ranked
Corey Feldman, Josh Brolin, Sean Astin
The Goonies is a 1985 American adventure comedy film directed by Richard Donner. The screenplay was written by Chris Columbus from a story by executive producer Steven Spielberg. The film's ...more
21
National Lampoon's Christmas V... is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Movies of the 1980s, Ranked
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Chevy Chase, Juliette Lewis
National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation is a 1989 Christmas comedy film directed by Jeremiah S. Chechik. It is the third installment in National Lampoon's Vacation film series, and was written by ...more
22
Rain Man is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Movies of the 1980s, Ranked
Tom Cruise, Dustin Hoffman, Valeria Golino
Rain Man is a 1988 American drama film directed by Barry Levinson and written by Barry Morrow and Ronald Bass. It tells the story of an abrasive and selfish yuppie, Charlie Babbitt, who ...more
23
Aliens is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Movies of the 1980s, Ranked
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 ...more
24
Big is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Movies of the 1980s, Ranked
Tom Hanks, Jon Lovitz, Elizabeth Perkins
Big is a 1988 American fantasy comedy film directed by Penny Marshall, and stars Tom Hanks as Josh Baskin, a young boy who makes a wish "to be big" and is then aged to adulthood ...more
25
Airplane! is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Movies of the 1980s, Ranked
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Leslie Nielsen, Ethel Merman
Airplane! is a 1980 American satirical disaster comedy film directed and written by David Zucker, Jim Abrahams, and Jerry Zucker and released by Paramount Pictures. It stars Robert Hays and ...more