Entertainment The Best Period Movies Set in the '80s  

Ranker Film
6.7k votes 883 voters 45.5k views 33 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
305 119
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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
108 51
The Wolf of Wall Street is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Period Movies Set in the '80s
Tom Islava added 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
134 94
American Psycho is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Period Movies Set in the '80s
carlybobarly added 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
160 119
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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
142 111
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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. Mayhem ensue after a hunter (Josh Brolin) ...more
6
49 21
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AntoneSage added 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
7
40 15
Call Me by Your Name is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Period Movies Set in the '80s
greys007fan added 2017
Call Me by Your Name is a 2017 romantic coming-of-age drama film directed by Luca Guadagnino. Based on the novel by Andre Aciman, the film chronicles the romantic relationship between a ...more
8
107 84
Boogie Nights is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Period Movies Set in the '80s
carlybobarly added 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
125 103
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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
10
143 123
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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
11
130 111
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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
12
39 20
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AntoneSage added 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
13
106 106
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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
14
78 80
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carlybobarly added 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
15
89 99
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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
16
96 108
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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
21 19
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Mauricio Mizumoto added 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
18
78 98
Wet Hot American Summer is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Period Movies Set in the '80s
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
48 58
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LanaYoshii added 2013
American Hustle is a 2013 American 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 and ...more
20
7 4
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2018
Mandy is a 2018 American action horror film directed by Panos Cosmatos. When a vile band of ravaging cultists and supernatural creatures desecrate his idyllic home with vicious fury, Red ...more
21
3 6
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2018
Billionaire Boys Club is a 2018 American biographical drama film directed by James Cox. Led by their fellow preppie friend Joe Hunt (Ansel Elgort), a group of wealthy boys in 1980s Los Angeles ...more
22
41 100
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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
23
38 96
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2008
Let the Right One In is a 2008 Swedish romantic horror film directed by Tomas Alfredson. A 12-year-old boy (Kåre Hedebrant) develops a friendship with a vampire child (Lina Leandersson) in ...more
24
35 96
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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
25
37 101
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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