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The Top 25 Must-See Quintessential '80s Movies  

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List Rules Vote up the '80s movies that define the genre and should be required viewing for beginners in an Intro to 1980s Films Class.

The '80s made for some great movies and - if you missed the decade - you may not realize all the great films released those years. Here, you'll find all the essential '80s movies. Given this list is comprised of films from a particular decade, there won't be a focus on genre, but there might be more than a few teen, adventure, Sci-Fi, or romantic comedies on this list. These are '80s movies for beginners - a glimpse into the must-see films that defined the decade. 

Unfortunately, '80s movies can have a reputation for being melodramatic and loaded with unnecessary - and corny - special effects, but not every movie of this time period followed this formula. Remember - this was the decade of John Cusack, Matthew Broderick, and some classic films including Back to the Future and The Empire Strikes Back! If you are sitting there thinking you could do without this decade in film, you need to rethink your position. Consider this an intro to '80s movies for all of you out there doubting the cinematic prowess of the decade. Remember, '80s movies constitute some of the most popular and famous films of the past 50 years! This was the decade where Indiana Jones first donned his famous fedora and Elliot had to say goodbye to E.T. 

There were thousands of movies released between 1980 and 1989 (many of which are rightly forgotten), making it something of a challenge to assemble a list of 25 must-see films from the decade. Many arguments will likely ensue, so vote your favorites up below to decide on the most essential films the '80s had to offer. 

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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 the past in a time-traveling DeLorean invented by his close friend, the maverick scientist Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd). ...more on Wikipedia

Actors: Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson, Crispin Glover, Billy Zane, + more

Released: 1985

Directed by: Robert Zemeckis

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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 three eccentric parapsychologists in New York City who start a ghost-catching business. Sigourney Weaver and Rick Moranis co-star as a client and her neighbor. The Ghostbusters business booms after initial skepticism, eventually requiring a fourth Ghostbuster, played by Ernie Hudson; but, when an uptown high-rise apartment building becomes the focal point of spirit activity linked to the ancient god Gozer, it threatens to overwhelm the team and the entire world. Originally intended by Aykroyd as a ...more on Wikipedia

Actors: Bill Murray, Sigourney Weaver, Dan Aykroyd, Bill Walton, Ron Jeremy, + more

Released: 1984

Directed by: Ivan Reitman

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Beetlejuice is a 1988 American fantasy-comedy-horror film directed by Tim Burton. The spirits of a deceased couple (Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis) are harassed by an unbearable family that has moved into their home, and hire a malicious spirit (Michael Keaton) to drive them out. ...more on Wikipedia

Actors: Alec Baldwin, Winona Ryder, Geena Davis, Michael Keaton, Jeffrey Jones, + more

Released: 1988

Directed by: Tim Burton

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Gremlins is a 1984 American horror comedy film directed by Joe Dante, released by Warner Bros. The film is about a young man who receives a strange creature called a mogwai as a pet, which then spawns other creatures who transform into small, destructive, evil monsters. This story was continued with a sequel, Gremlins 2: The New Batch, released in 1990. Unlike the lighter sequel, the original Gremlins opts for more black comedy, which is balanced against a Christmas-time setting. Both films were the center of large merchandising campaigns. Steven Spielberg was the film's executive producer and the screenplay was written by Chris Columbus. The film stars Zach Galligan and Phoebe Cates, with ...more on Wikipedia

Actors: Steven Spielberg, Corey Feldman, Phoebe Cates, Howie Mandel, Frank Welker, + more

Released: 1984

Directed by: Joe Dante

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