best movie genres The Greatest Movies of the 1980s, Ranked  

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
323.7k votes 10.8k voters 267.4k views 636 items

List Rules Movies must have been released during the 1980s

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?
list ordered by

1
3,686 1,646
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
2,932 1,596
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
3,191 1,450
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
2,454 1,898
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial is listed (or ranked) 4 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

5
2,787 1,448
Ghostbusters is listed (or ranked) 5 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

6
2,356 1,258
Die Hard is listed (or ranked) 6 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

7
2,450 1,326
The Terminator is listed (or ranked) 7 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

8
2,540 1,216
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
1,953 1,595
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
2,904 763
The Breakfast Club is listed (or ranked) 10 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

11
2,666 858
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
1,851 862
Indiana Jones and the Last Cru... is listed (or ranked) 12 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

14 Famous People Who Have PhDs

13
2,019 1,327
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
1,875 969
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
1,986 852
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
1,459 1,023
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
2,025 725
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

The Best Black Movies of the 1980s

18
1,627 956
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
1,722 795
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
2,103 617
Stand by Me is listed (or ranked) 20 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

21
1,929 775
Back to the Future Part II is listed (or ranked) 21 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

22
1,418 1,016
Dead Poets Society is listed (or ranked) 22 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

The Greatest Directors of the 1980s

23
2,473 630
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
2,372 806
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
2,017 550
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
1,473 697
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
1,532 711
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

The Worst Ways to Break Up with Someone

28
1,298 698
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
1,333 945
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
1,724 493
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
1,500 528
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
1,348 503
Vacation is listed (or ranked) 32 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

A Look Inside Guardians: The Insane Russian Rip-Off Of Avengers

33
1,193 742
Scarface is listed (or ranked) 33 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

34
1,020 751
The Untouchables is listed (or ranked) 34 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

35
1,110 653
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
1,196 693
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
1,234 603
Police Academy is listed (or ranked) 37 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

The 13 Sexiest Psycho Girlfriends in Internet History

38
1,696 564
Top Gun is listed (or ranked) 38 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

39
1,336 652
Who Framed Roger Rabbit is listed (or ranked) 39 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

40
1,566 602
Dirty Dancing is listed (or ranked) 40 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

41
1,158 612
Good Morning, Vietnam is listed (or ranked) 41 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

42
1,284 672
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

The Best Cartoons of All Time

43
1,107 586
Trading Places is listed (or ranked) 43 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

44
1,255 656
The Little Mermaid is listed (or ranked) 44 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

45
1,288 589
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
1,224 527
A Christmas Story is listed (or ranked) 46 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

47
1,183 587
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
1,044 660
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
1,050 443
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
1,047 536
A Nightmare on Elm Street is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest Movies of the 1980s, Ranked
A Nightmare on Elm Street Johnny Depp, Robert Englund, Heather Langenkamp A Nightmare on Elm Street is a 1984 American supernatural slasher horror film written and directed by Wes Craven, and the first film of the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise. The film stars ...more