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The Best Sci-Fi Movies of the 1980s  

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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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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

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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

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#180 of 336 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime #18 of 575 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Rankedlisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

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Back to the Future is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Sci-Fi Movies of the 1980s
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

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#1 of 336 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetimefeaturing 51 Surprising Facts You Didn't Know About Back to the Futurelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

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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. Schwarzenegger plays the Terminator, a ...more

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#15 of 336 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime #4 of 575 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Rankedfeaturing 56 Things You Didn't Know About the Terminator Movies

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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

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#97 of 258 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #140 of 336 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetimefeaturing Every Warning Sci-Fi Writer Philip K. Dick Gave Us About Technology That Is Coming True

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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

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#20 of 336 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime #6 of 575 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked #20 of 155 The Best Science Fiction Action Movies

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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

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#116 of 258 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #84 of 575 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked #33 of 155 The Best Science Fiction Action Movies

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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

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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

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#6 of 630 The Greatest Guilty Pleasure Movies #2 of 336 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetimefeaturing Behind The Scenes Secrets From 'Ghostbusters' Most People Have Never Heard

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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

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#13 of 336 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetimefeaturing The Dark Story Behind The Cancelled Sequel To E.T. The Extra-Terrestriallisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

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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.

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#173 of 336 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime #79 of 575 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked #52 of 155 The Best Science Fiction Action Movies

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Alex Van Halen, Peter Weller, Leeza Gibbons
Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial RoboCop is a 1987 American cyberpunk action film directed by Paul Verhoeven and written by Edward Neumeier and Michael Miner. Set in a crime-ridden Detroit, Michigan, in the near future, RoboCop ...more

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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 distopian United States ...more

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#86 of 575 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked #40 of 155 The Best Science Fiction Action Movies #25 of 86 The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies

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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

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#69 of 575 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked #60 of 155 The Best Science Fiction Action Movies #37 of 86 The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies

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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

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#16 of 575 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked #139 of 997 The All-Time Greatest Comedy Filmsfeaturing When ‘Back To The Future II’ Recreated Crispin Glover’s Face, He Took The Studio To Court

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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

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#144 of 575 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked #256 of 460 The Most Quotable Movies of All Timefeaturing More Than An '80s B-Movie, 'They Live' Is A Surprisingly Savvy Prediction Of Modern Life

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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

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#202 of 336 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime #134 of 575 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Rankedlisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

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Matthew Broderick, William H. Macy, Ally Sheedy
WarGames is a 1983 American 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 ...more

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#76 of 575 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked #112 of 155 The Best Science Fiction Action Movieslisted on The Very Best Movies About Hackers

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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

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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

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#327 of 630 The Greatest Guilty Pleasure Movies #192 of 336 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime #53 of 155 The Best Science Fiction Action Movies

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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

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#44 of 155 The Best Science Fiction Action Movies #31 of 86 The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies #24 of 52 The Best Movies Based on Stephen King Books

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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

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#15 of 630 The Greatest Guilty Pleasure Movies #44 of 336 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetimefeaturing Feel The Schwartz With The Funniest 'Spaceballs' Quotes

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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

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#33 of 630 The Greatest Guilty Pleasure Movies #97 of 336 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetimelisted on The Very Best Movies About Hackers

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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

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#17 of 630 The Greatest Guilty Pleasure Movies #59 of 575 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked #132 of 997 The All-Time Greatest Comedy Films

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The Fly is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Sci-Fi Movies of the 1980s
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

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#136 of 575 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked #12 of 135 The Scariest Animal Movies Ever Madelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever