Best Movie Genres 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 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?

1
4,053 1,781
Back to the Future is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Movies of the 1980s, Ranked
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, ...more

2
3,203 1,692
Indiana Jones and the Raiders ... is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Movies of the 1980s, Ranked
Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark 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

3
3,485 1,532
Star Wars Episode V: The Empir... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Movies of the 1980s, Ranked
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 ...more

4
3,024 1,543
Ghostbusters is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Movies of the 1980s, Ranked
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 ...more

5
2,668 1,990
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Movies of the 1980s, Ranked
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 ...more

6
2,657 1,409
The Terminator is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Movies of the 1980s, Ranked
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, ...more

7
2,549 1,347
Die Hard is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Movies of the 1980s, Ranked
Die Hard 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

8
2,751 1,312
Return of the Jedi is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Movies of the 1980s, Ranked
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 ...more

9
2,098 1,709
The Shining is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Movies of the 1980s, Ranked
The Shining 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

10
2,037 935
Indiana Jones and the Last Cru... is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Movies of the 1980s, Ranked
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade 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

11
2,951 918
Ferris Bueller's Day Off is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Movies of the 1980s, Ranked
Ferris Bueller's Day Off 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

12
3,212 834
The Breakfast Club is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Movies of the 1980s, Ranked
The Breakfast Club 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

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13
2,166 1,418
Indiana Jones and the Temple o... is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Movies of the 1980s, Ranked
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom Harrison Ford, Steven Spielberg, Dan Aykroyd Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is a 1984 American adventure film directed by Steven Spielberg. It is the second installment in the Indiana Jones franchise and a prequel to the 1981 film ...more

14
2,050 1,039
Gremlins is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Movies of the 1980s, Ranked
Gremlins Steven Spielberg, Corey Feldman, Phoebe Cates Gremlins is a 1984 American horror comedy film directed by Joe Dante, released by Warner Bros. The film is about a young man who receives a strange creature called a mogwai as a pet, which then ...more

15
2,180 917
Beetlejuice is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Movies of the 1980s, Ranked
Beetlejuice Alec Baldwin, Winona Ryder, Geena Davis Beetlejuice is a 1988 American comedy fantasy film directed by Tim Burton, produced by The Geffen Film Company and distributed by Warner Bros. The plot revolves around a recently deceased young ...more

16
1,579 1,100
Rain Man is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Movies of the 1980s, Ranked
Rain Man 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

17
2,269 782
The Princess Bride is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Movies of the 1980s, Ranked
The Princess Bride 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

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18
1,749 1,029
Full Metal Jacket is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Movies of the 1980s, Ranked
Full Metal Jacket Stanley Kubrick, Vincent D'Onofrio, R. Lee Ermey Full Metal Jacket is a 1987 war film directed and produced by Stanley Kubrick. The screenplay by Kubrick, Michael Herr, and Gustav Hasford was based on Hasford's novel The Short-Timers. The film ...more

19
1,853 850
Lethal Weapon is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Movies of the 1980s, Ranked
Lethal Weapon Mel Gibson, Gary Busey, Danny Glover Lethal Weapon is a 1987 American buddy cop action film directed by Richard Donner, starring Mel Gibson and Danny Glover as a mismatched pair of L.A.P.D. detectives and stars Mitchell Ryan and ...more

20
1,534 1,101
Dead Poets Society is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Movies of the 1980s, Ranked
Dead Poets Society Robin Williams, Ethan Hawke, Lara Flynn Boyle Dead Poets Society is a 1989 American drama film written by Tom Schulman, directed by Peter Weir and starring Robin Williams. Set at the conservative and aristocratic Welton Academy in the ...more

21
2,310 658
Stand by Me is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Movies of the 1980s, Ranked
Stand by Me Kiefer Sutherland, Corey Feldman, John Cusack Stand by Me is a 1986 American coming of age comedy-drama adventure film directed by Rob Reiner and starring Wil Wheaton, River Phoenix, Corey Feldman and Jerry O'Connell. Based on the novella ...more

22
2,093 847
Back to the Future Part II is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Movies of the 1980s, Ranked
Back to the Future Part II 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

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23
2,713 683
The Goonies is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Movies of the 1980s, Ranked
The Goonies 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

24
2,530 859
Big is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Movies of the 1980s, Ranked
Big 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
2,212 595
The Karate Kid is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Movies of the 1980s, Ranked
The Karate Kid 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

26
1,617 755
Aliens is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest Movies of the 1980s, Ranked
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 ...more

27
1,651 768
Batman is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest Movies of the 1980s, Ranked
Batman Jack Nicholson, Kim Basinger, Michael Keaton Batman is a 1989 American superhero film directed by Tim Burton and produced by Jon Peters, based on the DC Comics character of the same name. It is the first installment of Warner Bros.' ...more

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28
1,412 767
Airplane! is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest Movies of the 1980s, Ranked
Airplane! 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

29
1,418 1,007
Platoon is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest Movies of the 1980s, Ranked
Platoon Johnny Depp, Charlie Sheen, Willem Dafoe Platoon is a 1986 American war film written and directed by Oliver Stone and starring Tom Berenger, Willem Dafoe and Charlie Sheen. It is the first film of a trilogy of Vietnam War films by ...more

30
1,873 548
National Lampoon's Christmas V... is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest Movies of the 1980s, Ranked
National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation 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

31
1,604 575
Beverly Hills Cop is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest Movies of the 1980s, Ranked
Beverly Hills Cop 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

32
1,293 801
Scarface is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest Movies of the 1980s, Ranked
Scarface Michelle Pfeiffer, Al Pacino, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio Scarface is a 1983 American crime drama film directed by Brian De Palma and written by Oliver Stone. A remake of the 1932 film of the same name, Scarface tells the story of Cuban refugee Tony ...more

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33
1,103 812
The Untouchables is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest Movies of the 1980s, Ranked
The Untouchables Robert De Niro, Sean Connery, Kevin Costner The Untouchables is a 1987 American crime drama film directed by Brian De Palma and written by David Mamet. Based on the book The Untouchables, the film stars Kevin Costner as government agent ...more

34
1,466 555
Vacation is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest Movies of the 1980s, Ranked
Vacation Chevy Chase, Christie Brinkley, John Candy National Lampoon's Vacation, sometimes referred to as Vacation, is a 1983 Technicolor comedy film directed by Harold Ramis and starring Chevy Chase, Beverly D'Angelo, Randy Quaid, Dana Barron, ...more

35
1,209 704
Poltergeist is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest Movies of the 1980s, Ranked
Poltergeist Craig T. Nelson, JoBeth Williams, Heather O'Rourke Poltergeist is a 1982 American supernatural thriller film, directed by Tobe Hooper and co-written and produced by Steven Spielberg. It is the first and most successful entry in the Poltergeist ...more

36
1,294 758
Crocodile Dundee is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest Movies of the 1980s, Ranked
Crocodile Dundee Paul Hogan, Linda Kozlowski, Reginald VelJohnson Crocodile Dundee is a 1986 Australian comedy film set in the Australian Outback and in New York City. It stars Paul Hogan as the weathered Mick Dundee. Hogan's future wife Linda Kozlowski ...more

37
1,851 611
Top Gun is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest Movies of the 1980s, Ranked
Top Gun Tom Cruise, Meg Ryan, Val Kilmer Top Gun is a 1986 American action drama film directed by Tony Scott, and produced by Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer, in association with Paramount Pictures. The screenplay was written by Jim ...more

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38
1,449 713
Who Framed Roger Rabbit is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest Movies of the 1980s, Ranked
Who Framed Roger Rabbit Kathleen Turner, Christopher Lloyd, Bob Hoskins Who Framed Roger Rabbit is a 1988 American live-action/animated fantasy-comedy film directed by Robert Zemeckis. The screenplay by Jeffrey Price and Peter S. Seaman is based on Gary K. Wolf's ...more

39
1,708 653
Dirty Dancing is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest Movies of the 1980s, Ranked
Dirty Dancing Patrick Swayze, Jennifer Grey, Jerry Orbach Dirty Dancing is a 1987 American romantic drama film. Written by Eleanor Bergstein and directed by Emile Ardolino, the film stars Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey in the lead roles, as well as ...more

40
1,329 657
Police Academy is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest Movies of the 1980s, Ranked
Police Academy Kim Cattrall, Steve Guttenberg, Bubba Smith Police Academy is a 1984 comedy film directed by Hugh Wilson, and starring Steve Guttenberg, Kim Cattrall, and G.W. Bailey. It grossed approximately $146 million worldwide and spawned six more ...more

41
1,205 641
Trading Places is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest Movies of the 1980s, Ranked
Trading Places Eddie Murphy, Jamie Lee Curtis, Dan Aykroyd Trading Places is a 1983 American comedy film directed by John Landis, starring Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy. It tells the story of an upper-class commodities broker and a homeless street ...more

42
1,385 748
The NeverEnding Story is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest Movies of the 1980s, Ranked
The NeverEnding Story Gerald McRaney, Limahl, Moses Gunn The NeverEnding Story is a 1984 West German epic fantasy film based on the novel of the same name by Michael Ende, about a boy who reads a magical library book that tells a story of a young ...more

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43
1,256 664
Good Morning, Vietnam is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest Movies of the 1980s, Ranked
Good Morning, Vietnam Robin Williams, Forest Whitaker, J. T. Walsh Good Morning, Vietnam is a 1987 American war-comedy film written by Mitch Markowitz and directed by Barry Levinson. Set in Saigon in 1965, during the Vietnam War, the film stars Robin Williams ...more

44
1,360 574
A Christmas Story is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest Movies of the 1980s, Ranked
A Christmas Story Darren McGavin, Melinda Dillon, Zack Ward A Christmas Story is a 1983 American Christmas comedy film based on the short stories and semi-fictional anecdotes of author and raconteur Jean Shepherd, based on his book In God We Trust: All ...more

45
1,401 637
Coming to America is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest Movies of the 1980s, Ranked
Coming to America Eddie Murphy, Samuel L. Jackson, James Earl Jones Coming to America is a 1988 American comedy film directed by John Landis, and based on a story originally created by Eddie Murphy, who also starred in the lead role. The film also co-stars ...more

46
1,366 708
The Little Mermaid is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest Movies of the 1980s, Ranked
The Little Mermaid Jodi Benson, Christopher Daniel Barnes, Pat Carroll The Little Mermaid is a 1989 American animated musical fantasy film produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation and released by Walt Disney Pictures. Based on the Danish fairy tale by Hans ...more

47
1,287 650
Spaceballs is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest Movies of the 1980s, Ranked
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, ...more

48
1,112 711
Lethal Weapon 2 is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest Movies of the 1980s, Ranked
Lethal Weapon 2 Mel Gibson, Joe Pesci, Danny Glover Lethal Weapon 2 is a 1989 American buddy cop action film directed by Richard Donner, and starring Mel Gibson, Danny Glover, Joe Pesci, Patsy Kensit, Derrick O'Connor and Joss Ackland. It is a ...more

49
1,147 486
Caddyshack is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest Movies of the 1980s, Ranked
Caddyshack Bill Murray, Chevy Chase, Rodney Dangerfield Caddyshack is a 1980 American sports comedy film directed by Harold Ramis and written by Brian Doyle-Murray, Ramis and Douglas Kenney. It stars Michael O'Keefe, Chevy Chase, Rodney Dangerfield, ...more

50
987 565
Field of Dreams is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest Movies of the 1980s, Ranked
Field of Dreams Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Kevin Costner Field of Dreams is a 1989 American fantasy-drama film directed by Phil Alden Robinson, who also wrote the screenplay, adapting W. P. Kinsella's novel Shoeless Joe. It stars Kevin Costner, Amy ...more