80s The Best '80s Thriller Movies  

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

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The 1980s gave us some of the greatest suspense films of all time. Packed with nonstop action, deception, and intrigue, the best ‘80s thriller movies will have you on the edge of your seat, gripping your bag of popcorn, and waiting to see what’s going to explode next.


This list of the top ‘80s thriller movies features many classic pictures. The mobster movie classic
Scarface, for example, makes the list due to its tightly coiled plot and suspenseful mood. Written by Oliver Stone, directed by Brian de Palma, and starring Al Pacino, Scarface initially received mixed reviews, but has since gone on to achieve a high level of prestige. We can’t talk about ‘80s thrillers without mentioning Die Hard. With Bruce Willis facing off against a megalomaniacal terrorist played by Severus Snape himself, Alan Rickman, the first film in the Die Hard franchise does not disappoint. Packed with quotable lines, an intense stand-off, and plenty of fireworks, this film is the quintessential ‘80s action thriller.


Here, you’ll also find everyone’s favorite Caped Crusader.
Batman, starring Michael Keaton in the titular role, pits the Dark Knight against Jack Nicholson’s The Joker. The film went on to influence the superhero genre immensely, setting the stage for numerous sequels, spinoffs, and an animated series. What do you think are the greatest ‘80s thriller movies? Vote up your favorites, and be sure to let us know what you think in the comment section. 
list ordered by

1
115 37
Die Hard is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best '80s Thriller Movies
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

2
71 26
First Blood is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best '80s Thriller Movies
Sylvester Stallone, Brian Dennehy, David Caruso Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial First Blood is a 1982 American psychological thriller and action film directed by Ted Kotcheff, co-written by and starring Sylvester Stallone as John Rambo, a troubled and misunderstood veteran. ...more

3
87 38
Scarface is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best '80s Thriller Movies
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

4
85 37
Batman is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best '80s Thriller Movies
Jack Nicholson, Kim Basinger, Michael Keaton Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial 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

5
69 26
Escape from New York is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best '80s Thriller Movies
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

6
60 21
Blade Runner is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best '80s Thriller Movies
stubb added 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

7
58 22
The Road Warrior is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best '80s Thriller Movies
The Road Warrior is a 2013 short biographical drama sports film directed by Brian Mitchell.

8
59 24
Witness is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best '80s Thriller Movies
Harrison Ford, Viggo Mortensen, Danny Glover Witness is a 1985 American thriller film directed by Peter Weir and starring Harrison Ford and Kelly McGillis. The screenplay by William Kelley, Pamela Wallace, and Earl W. Wallace focuses on a ...more

9
61 28
The Untouchables is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best '80s Thriller Movies
Robert De Niro, Sean Connery, Kevin Costner The Untouchables is a 1987 American 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 Eliot ...more

10
51 25
The Running Man is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best '80s Thriller Movies
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

11
59 32
RoboCop is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best '80s Thriller Movies
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.

12
48 27
Fright Night is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best '80s Thriller Movies
Christopher Lee, Roddy McDowall, Chris Sarandon Fright Night is a 1985 American horror comedy film written and directed by Tom Holland and produced by Herb Jaffe. It stars William Ragsdale, Chris Sarandon, Roddy McDowall and Amanda Bearse. ...more

13
47 27
WarGames is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best '80s Thriller Movies
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

14
42 24
Mississippi Burning is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best '80s Thriller Movies
Willem Dafoe, Gene Hackman, Frances McDormand Mississippi Burning is a 1988 American thriller film directed by Alan Parker and written by Chris Gerolmo. It was loosely based on the FBI investigation into the incidents involving of three ...more

15
43 25
The Abyss is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best '80s Thriller Movies
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

16
46 28
48 Hrs. is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best '80s Thriller Movies
Eddie Murphy, Nick Nolte, Annette O'Toole Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial 48 Hrs. is a 1982 American action comedy film directed by Walter Hill, starring Nick Nolte and Eddie Murphy as a cop and convict, respectively, who team up to catch a cop-killer. The title ...more

17
51 33
Friday the 13th is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best '80s Thriller Movies
Kevin Bacon, Tom Savini, Betsy Palmer Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial Friday the 13th is a 1980 American slasher film directed by Sean S. Cunningham and written by Victor Miller. The film concerns a group of teenagers who are taken out one by one while attempting ...more

18
43 28
The Dead Zone is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best '80s Thriller Movies
Christopher Walken, Martin Sheen, Tom Skerritt This film is a 1983 American horror thriller film directed by David Cronenberg. The screenplay by Jeffrey Boam was based on the 1979 novel of the same name by Stephen King. The film stars ...more

19
41 28
The Hitcher is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best '80s Thriller Movies
Jennifer Jason Leigh, Rutger Hauer, C. Thomas Howell The Hitcher is a 1986 action horror film directed by Robert Harmon and written by Eric Red. The film stars Rutger Hauer, C. Thomas Howell, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Jeffrey DeMunn.

20
42 29
Christine is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best '80s Thriller Movies
Kelly Preston, Alexandra Paul, John Madden Christine is a 1983 American horror thriller film directed by John Carpenter and starring Keith Gordon, John Stockwell, Alexandra Paul and Harry Dean Stanton. It was written by Bill Phillips and ...more

21
41 29
Red Dawn is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best '80s Thriller Movies
Charlie Sheen, Patrick Swayze, Lea Thompson Red Dawn is a 1984 American film directed by John Milius and co-written by Milius and Kevin Reynolds. It stars Patrick Swayze, C. Thomas Howell, Lea Thompson, Charlie Sheen, and Jennifer Grey. ...more

22
17 7
The Accused is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best '80s Thriller Movies
Andrea Louise added Jodie Foster, Kelly McGillis, Garry Chalk The Accused is a 1988 American drama film starring Kelly McGillis and Jodie Foster, directed by Jonathan Kaplan and written by Tom Topor. Loosely based on the real-life event with Cheryl Araujo ...more

23
30 26
Manhunter is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best '80s Thriller Movies
Brian Cox, Garcelle Beauvais, Joan Allen Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial Manhunter is a 1986 American thriller film based on Thomas Harris' novel Red Dragon. Written and directed by Michael Mann, it stars William Petersen as Will Graham and features Brian Cox as ...more

24
32 29
Creepshow is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best '80s Thriller Movies
Stephen King, Ed Harris, Ted Danson Creepshow is a 1982 horror anthology film with elements of black comedy directed by George A. Romero and written by Stephen King. The film's ensemble cast included Hal Holbrook, Adrienne ...more

25
33 31
Body Heat is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best '80s Thriller Movies
Mickey Rourke, Kathleen Turner, William Hurt Body Heat is a 1981 American neo-noir thriller film written and directed by Lawrence Kasdan. It stars William Hurt, Kathleen Turner and Richard Crenna, and features Ted Danson, J.A. Preston, and ...more