Entertainment

The Best Space Movies of the 1980s  

Ranker Film
685 votes 149 voters 9k views 26 items

List Rules Vote up your favorite space films that were released in the 1980s.

When it comes to movies set in space, the 80s was the decade of the sequel. As this 80s space movie list demonstrates, sometimes it pays to stick with what works. Four Star Trek sequels, two Star Wars sequels, one Alien sequel and, just for good measure, a sequel to 2001: A Space Odyssey were all successful space movies from the 80's. What a great decade to be alive!
 

But don’t worry if you think the 80's was completely without originality. Among the top 1980s space movies you’ll also find The Last Starfighter, Dune, Flash Gordon, and The Transformers: The Movie—which has spawned a few sequels of its own.
 

So which do you prefer, Star Wars or Star Trek? Vote up your favorite space movies from the 80's, or add any that we might have missed.

list ordered by
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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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#16 of 336 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetimefeaturing Here's Why The Last Jedi And Empire Strikes Back Are Pretty Much The Same Movielisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

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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

3
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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

4
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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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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

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#185 of 575 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked #228 of 291 The Top Tearjerker Movies That Make Men Cry #72 of 193 The Best Alien Movies Ever Made

6
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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

7
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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

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#78 of 575 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked #161 of 439 The Funniest '80s Movies #66 of 155 The Best Science Fiction Action Movies

8
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Ethan Hawke, River Phoenix, James Cromwell
Explorers is a 1985 family-oriented science-fiction fantasy film written by Eric Luke and directed by Joe Dante. The film stars Ethan Hawke and River Phoenix as teenage schoolboys who build a ...more

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#280 of 336 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime #215 of 439 The Funniest '80s Movies #174 of 193 The Best Alien Movies Ever Made

9
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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

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#64 of 630 The Greatest Guilty Pleasure Movies #234 of 336 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime #118 of 575 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked

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Helen Mirren, John Lithgow, Candice Bergen
2010 is a 1984 American science fiction film written and directed by Peter Hyams. It is a sequel to Stanley Kubrick's 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey, and is based on Arthur C. Clarke's novel ...more

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#300 of 336 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime #375 of 575 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked #115 of 155 The Best Science Fiction Action Movies

11
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William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, George Takei
Star Trek V: The Final Frontier is a 1989 American science fiction film released by Paramount Pictures. It is the fifth feature film based on Star Trek, and a sequel to the 1966–1969 Star Trek ...more

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#492 of 575 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked #91 of 155 The Best Science Fiction Action Movies #21 of 217 The Worst Sequels Of All Time

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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

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#121 of 155 The Best Science Fiction Action Movies #36 of 40 The Best '80s Western Movies #25 of 26 TV Shows and Movies with the Best Use of Airlocks

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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

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#341 of 630 The Greatest Guilty Pleasure Movies #247 of 575 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked #72 of 155 The Best Science Fiction Action Movies

14
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Orson Welles, Judd Nelson, Leonard Nimoy
The Transformers: The Movie is a 1986 animated feature film based on the animated TV series by the same name. It was released in North America on August 8, 1986 and in the UK on December 5, ...more

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#197 of 599 The Best Animated Films Ever #266 of 575 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked #25 of 52 Which Nerd Favorite Has The Most Annoying Fans?

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Joaquin Phoenix, Kelly Preston, Lea Thompson
SpaceCamp is a 1986 American space adventure film based on a book by Patrick Bailey and Larry B. Williams and inspired by the U.S. Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama. Directed by Harry Winer from ...more

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#261 of 630 The Greatest Guilty Pleasure Movies #1,326 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #32 of 99 The Greatest Kids Sci-Fi Movies

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Kathy Griffin, George Peppard, Robert Vaughn
Battle Beyond the Stars is an American 1980 science fiction film directed by Jimmy T. Murakami and produced by Roger Corman. The film, intended as a "Magnificent Seven in outer space", ...more

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#139 of 155 The Best Science Fiction Action Movies #377 of 567 The Greatest Sci-Fi Movies of All Time #97 of 186 The Best Sci-Fi Movies of the 1980s

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Zooey Deschanel, Helen Mirren, John Malkovich
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is a 2005 British-American comic science fiction film directed by Garth Jennings, based upon previous works in the media franchise of the same name, created ...more

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#500 of 997 The All-Time Greatest Comedy Films #52 of 52 Which Nerd Favorite Has The Most Annoying Fans? #65 of 193 The Best Alien Movies Ever Made

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Hiromi Tsuru, Takeshi Aono, Hidekatsu Shibata
Arcadia of My Youth is an anime film depicting the origin of Leiji Matsumoto's seminal character Captain Harlock. At one time, it was considered to be the central hub of the so-called Leijiverse ...more
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Molly Ringwald, Harold Ramis, Michael Ironside
Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone is a 1983 pulp, action-adventure, science fiction film. The movie stars Peter Strauss, Molly Ringwald, Ernie Hudson, Andrea Marcovicci, and Michael ...more
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Farrah Fawcett, Kirk Douglas, Harvey Keitel
Saturn 3 is a 1980 British science fiction thriller film produced and directed by Stanley Donen. It stars Farrah Fawcett, Kirk Douglas and Harvey Keitel. The screenplay was written by Martin ...more

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#136 of 155 The Best Science Fiction Action Movies #440 of 567 The Greatest Sci-Fi Movies of All Time #117 of 186 The Best Sci-Fi Movies of the 1980s

21
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Dorothy Stratten, Rhonda Shear, Susan Kiger
Galaxina is a low-budget 1980 American comedy/science fiction film, best remembered for its lead actress, Playboy Playmate of the Year for 1980 Dorothy Stratten, who was murdered shortly after ...more

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#105 of 186 The Best Sci-Fi Movies of the 1980s #71 of 104 The Best Robot & Android Movies #143 of 156 The Best R-Rated Western Movies

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Klaus Kinski, Norbert Weisser, Don Keith Opper
Android is a 1982 science fiction film directed by Aaron Lipstadt and starring Don Keith Opper and Klaus Kinski. The film follows the story of a scientist and his assistant who are working on an ...more
23
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Alain Cuny, Yves Brainville, Sady Rebbot
Les Maîtres du temps is a 1982 Franco-Hungarian animated science fiction feature film directed by René Laloux and designed by Mœbius. It is based on the 1958 science fiction novel ...more
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Michael Jackson, Anjelica Huston, Tony Cox
Captain EO is a 1986 American 3D science fiction film starring Michael Jackson and directed by Francis Coppola that was shown at Disney theme parks from 1986 through 1996. The attraction ...more

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#155 of 168 The Best 3D Films #11 of 26 The Best Black Sci-Fi Moviesfeaturing 'Captain EO' Was A Bizarre Fever Dream With Michael Jackson As The Main Character

25
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Robert Englund, Erin Moran, Sid Haig
Galaxy of Terror is a 1981 science fiction/horror film produced by Roger Corman and directed by Bruce D. Clark. It stars Edward Albert, Erin Moran, Ray Walston and Taaffe O'Connell. Produced by ...more