Total Nerd The Best '80s Sci-Fi Movies  

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10.2k votes 827 voters 24.9k views 78 items

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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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

2
249 74
Back to the Future is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best '80s Sci-Fi Movies
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

3
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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, ...more

4
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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

5
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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

6
200 62
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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 ...more

7
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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

8
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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 ...more

9
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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

10
148 59
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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.

11
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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 ...more

12
155 54
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Alex Van Halen, Peter Weller, Leeza Gibbons Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial Sergeant Warren Reed is a fictional character from the film series RoboCop, RoboCop 2, RoboCop 3.

13
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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

14
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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 ...more

15
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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. ...more

16
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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 ...more

17
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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 ...more

18
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nick-slade added 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 ...more

19
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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. ...more

20
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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 ...more

21
115 47
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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 ...more

22
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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 ...more

23
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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

24
119 53
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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 ...more

25
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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 ...more

26
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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 ...more

27
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Geena Davis, Jeff Goldblum, David Cronenberg Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial The 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, ...more

28
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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 ...more

29
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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 ...more

30
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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 ...more

31
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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 ...more

32
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trollwokout added Sean Connery, John Cleese, Ian Holm Time Bandits is a 1981 British fantasy film co-written, produced, and directed by Terry Gilliam, and starring Sean Connery, John Cleese, Shelley Duvall, Ralph Richardson, Katherine Helmond, Ian ...more

33
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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 ...more

34
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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 ...more

35
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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, ...more

36
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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 ...more

37
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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 ...more

38
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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 ...more

39
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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 ...more

40
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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 ...more

41
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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 ...more

42
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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 ...more

43
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Robert De Niro, Bob Hoskins, Ian Holm Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial Brazil 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 ...more

44
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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 ...more

45
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Muttley Dastardly added 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 ...more

46
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Muttley Dastardly added 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 ...more

47
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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, ...more

48
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trollwokout added Billy Zane, Dee Wallace, M. Emmet Walsh Critters is a 1986 cult comedy horror science fiction film starring Dee Wallace-Stone, M. Emmet Walsh, Billy Green Bush and Scott Grimes. It was the directorial debut of Stephen Herek who ...more

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trollwokout added Erika Eleniak, Shawnee Smith, Julie McCullough The Blob is a 1988 monster horror film written by Chuck Russell and Frank Darabont, and directed by Russell. It stars Kevin Dillon, Shawnee Smith, Donovan Leitch, Jeffrey DeMunn, Candy Clark and ...more

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trollwokout added Geoffrey Lewis, Mary Woronov, Catherine Mary Stewart Night of the Comet is a 1984 disaster-comedy film written and directed by Thom Eberhardt and starring Catherine Mary Stewart, Robert Beltran, and Kelli Maroney. The film was voted number 10 in ...more