historical movies The Best Period Movies Set in the '80s  

Ranker Film
5.7k votes 652 voters 29.8k views 30 items

List Rules Only films released in other decades, but set in the 1980s. No movies released between 1980 and January 1, 1990.

Oh, man. The 1980s was quite a decade! Sure, '80s movies are awesome but this list goes deeper. Ranked here are the best movies about the '80s. Films from many decades have been set in the 80s, because who can resist a great eighties story? As long as a film was primarily set in that great, iconic decade of the 1980s, and was truly awesome, it belongs on this list. What are the all time best movies set in the '80s? Hollywood has some great options for '80s lovers and they're all ranked here, with trailers.

Madonna and Michael Jackson reigned supreme in the '80s music world, and the Brat Pack hit the film scene in the 80s. John Hughes made plenty of movies set in the '80s, but many great films about the 80s were released in the 1990s and 2000s as well. The unique culture and setting of the eighties, makes for a great movie backdrop, and some of the best stories told on film are tales of the 1980s.

The movies featured on this list include the likes of Scarface, No Country for Old Men, Let the Right One In, 200 Cigarettes, The Pursuit of Happyness, and Wonderland. What do you think are the best films about the 80s? Upvote them below, or, if they aren't already listed, feel free to add them for an even more comprehensive list that 80s lovers everywhere can enjoy.

Just remember, this isn't a list of the best 80s movies, these films all must be about and set sometime during the 1980s.

list ordered by

1
244 97
Ranker Video
The Wedding Singer 1998 The Wedding Singer is a 1998 romantic comedy film written by Tim Herlihy and directed by Frank Coraci. It stars Adam Sandler as a wedding singer in the 1980s and Drew Barrymore as a waitress ...more

2
62 33
The Wolf of Wall Street is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Period Movies Set in the '80s
Tom Islava added The Wolf of Wall Street 2013 The Wolf of Wall Street is a 2013 American biographical black comedy film directed by Martin Scorsese. The screenplay by Terence Winter is adapted from the eponymous memoir by Jordan Belfort and ...more

3
104 75
American Psycho is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Period Movies Set in the '80s
carlybobarly added American Psycho 2000 American Psycho is a 2000 American psychological thriller comedy film co-written and directed by Mary Harron, based on Bret Easton Ellis's 1991 novel of the same name. It stars Christian Bale, ...more

4
131 105
Ranker Video
Fargo 1996 Fargo is a 1996 American neo-noir dark comedy crime film written, produced, edited, and directed by Joel and Ethan Coen. It stars Frances McDormand as a pregnant Minnesota police chief who ...more

5
114 97
Ranker Video
No Country for Old Men 2007 No Country for Old Men is a 2007 American neo-western neo-noir thriller film directed by Joel and Ethan Coen, based on the novel by Cormac McCarthy. Violence and mayhem ensue after a hunter ...more

6
107 93
Ranker Video
The Hunt for Red October 1990 The Hunt for Red October is a 1990 American action thriller film based on Tom Clancy's novel of the same name. It was directed by John McTiernan and stars Sean Connery as Captain Marko Ramius ...more

7
114 103
Ranker Video
Hot Tub Time Machine 2010 Hot Tub Time Machine is a 2010 American science fiction adventure comedy film directed by Steve Pink. It stars John Cusack, Rob Corddry, Craig Robinson, Clark Duke, Crispin Glover, Lizzy Caplan, ...more

8
84 71
Boogie Nights is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Period Movies Set in the '80s
carlybobarly added Boogie Nights 1997 Boogie Nights is a 1997 American drama film written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson. It is set in Los Angeles' San Fernando Valley and focuses on a young nightclub dishwasher, Eddie Adams, ...more

9
104 98
Ranker Video
Donnie Darko 2001 Donnie Darko is a 2001 American supernatural drama film written and directed by Richard Kelly and starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Drew Barrymore, Patrick Swayze, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Noah Wyle, Jena ...more

10
90 96
Ranker Video
The Pursuit of Happyness 2006 The Pursuit of Happyness is a 2006 American biographical drama film based on Chris Gardner's nearly one-year struggle with homelessness. Directed by Gabriele Muccino, the film features Will ...more

11
17 6
Ranker Video
AntoneSage added Romy and Michele's High School Reunion 1997 Romy and Michele's High School Reunion is a 1997 comedy film starring Lisa Kudrow, Mira Sorvino, Janeane Garofalo, Camryn Manheim, and Alan Cumming directed by David Mirkin. The plot revolves ...more

12
81 87
Ranker Video
Dallas Buyers Club 2013 Dallas Buyers Club is a 2013 American biographical drama film, co-written by Craig Borten and Melisa Wallack, directed by Jean-Marc Vallée. Ron Woodroof was an AIDS patient diagnosed in ...more

Celebrities With Heterochromia Iridis

13
16 7
Ranker Video
AntoneSage added 13 Going on 30 2004 13 Going on 30 is a 2004 American romantic comedy fantasy film written by Josh Goldsmith and Cathy Yuspa, and directed by Gary Winick. Starring Jennifer Garner, Mark Ruffalo, Judy Greer, Andy ...more

14
36 51
Ranker Video
LanaYoshii added American Hustle 2013 American Hustle is a 2013 American crime comedy-drama film directed by David O. Russell. It was written by Eric Warren Singer and Russell, inspired by the FBI ABSCAM operation of the late 1970s ...more

15
49 72
Ranker Video
carlybobarly added Take Me Home Tonight 2011 Take Me Home Tonight is a 2011 American retro comedy film directed by Michael Dowse and starring an ensemble cast including Topher Grace and Anna Faris. The screenplay was written by Jackie and ...more

16
67 101
Ranker Video
Adventureland 2009 Adventureland is a 2009 American comedy-drama film written and directed by Greg Mottola, starring Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart and co-starring Ryan Reynolds, Bill Hader, Martin Starr, and ...more

17
9 14
Ranker Video
Mauricio Mizumoto added Drive 2011 Drive is a 2011 American neo noir arthouse action directed by Nicolas Winding Refn, starring Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Bryan Cranston, Oscar Isaac and Albert Brooks. It is adapted from the ...more

The Best Iraq Movies Ever Made

18
58 94
Ranker Video
Wet Hot American Summer 2001 Wet Hot American Summer is a 2001 satirical comedy film directed by David Wain from a screenplay written by David Wain and Michael Showalter, starring Janeane Garofalo, David Hyde Pierce, ...more

19
2 6
Ranker Video
Aralia Racemosa added Safe 1995 Safe is a 1995 British/American drama film written and directed by Todd Haynes, and produced by Christine Vachon. It was voted the best film of the 1990s in the 1999 Village Voice Film Poll.

20
39 91
Ranker Video
Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire 2009 Precious is a 2009 American drama film, directed and co-produced by Lee Daniels. Precious is an adaptation by Geoffrey S. Fletcher of the 1996 novel Push by Sapphire. The film stars Gabourey ...more

21
31 91
Ranker Video
Let the Right One In 2008 Let the Right One In is a 2008 film directed by Tomas Alfredson.

22
31 94
Ranker Video
200 Cigarettes 1999 200 Cigarettes is a 1999 American ensemble comedy film directed by Risa Bramon Garcia, and written by Shana Larsen. The film is a mosaic following multiple characters in New York City on New ...more

23
29 90
Ranker Video
This Is England 2006 This Is England is a 2006 British drama film written and directed by Shane Meadows. The story centres on young skinheads in England in 1983. The film illustrates how their subculture, which has ...more

24
29 93
Ranker Video
Let Me In 2010 Let Me In is a 2010 romantic horror film written and directed by Matt Reeves and starring Kodi Smit-McPhee and Chloë Grace Moretz. It is a remake of the 2008 Swedish film Let the Right One ...more

25
27 89
Ranker Video
Wonderland 2003 Wonderland is a 2003 American crime drama film co-written and directed by James Cox, and based on the real-life Wonderland Murders that occurred in 1981. The film stars Val Kilmer, Kate ...more

26
22 95
Ranker Video
The Lives of Others 2006 The Lives of Others is a 2006 German drama film, marking the feature film debut of filmmaker Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, about the monitoring of East Berlin by agents of the Stasi, the ...more

27
12 69
Ranker Video
carlybobarly added The Normal Heart 2014 The Normal Heart is a 2014 American drama film directed by Ryan Murphy, based on the 1985 play by Larry Kramer. A gay activist (Mark Ruffalo) attempts to raise H.I.V. and A.I.D.S. awareness ...more

28
9 65
Ranker Video
carlybobarly added The House of Yes 1997 The House of Yes is a 1997 American film starring Parker Posey, Josh Hamilton, Geneviève Bujold, Freddie Prinze, Jr. and Tori Spelling. The movie is based on the play of the same name, ...more

29
12 87
Ranker Video
Submarine 2010 Submarine is a 2010 coming-of-age comedy-drama film adapted from the 2008 novel of the same name by Joe Dunthorne. The film was written and directed by Richard Ayoade, and starred Craig Roberts, ...more

30
11 93
Ranker Video
The Squid and the Whale 2005 The Squid and the Whale is a 2005 American arthouse comedy-drama film written and directed by Noah Baumbach and produced by Wes Anderson. It tells the semi-autobiographical story of two boys in ...more