The 10 Best 80s Movies to Watch Right Now

The best movies of the decade including comedies, sci-fi, and adventure

The eighties were a wild decade full of time travelers, ghosts, snakes, and frozen concentrated orange juice futures. These 10 films represent a wide range of genres and characters.

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Because We Should Always Listen to the Scientists: Aliens (1986)

On Set of the Movie Aliens

Sygma / Getty Images

IMDb Rating: 8.3

Genre:  Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi 

Starring: Sigourney Weaver, Michael Biehn, Carrie Henn

Director: James Cameron

Motion Picture Rating: R

Running Time: 2 hours, 17 minutes

Officer Ripley somehow gets convinced to go back to space after surviving a relentless alien attack, and once again, her warnings are unheeded until it's nearly too late. Nevertheless, she persists.

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Best Paternity Reveal—Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (Episode V) (1980)

Master Yoda.
serts / Getty Images

IMDb Rating: 8.7

Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy

Starring: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher 

Director: Irvin Kershner

Motion Picture Rating: PG

Running Time: 2 hours, 4 minutes

This second Star Wars movie (in order of release) features Lando Calrissian, Han Solo in carbonite, and Yoda's wise teachings. (Do. Or do not. There is no try.) No wonder it's the most popular film in the franchise.

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Worst Movie for Ophidiophobia Sufferers: Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

Harrison Ford on the set of "Raiders of the Lost Ark"

Sunset Boulevard / Corbis / Getty Images

IMDb Rating: 8.4

Genre: Action, Adventure

Starring: Harrison Ford, Karen Allen, Paul Freeman

Director: Steven Spielberg

Motion Picture Rating: PG

Running Time: 1 hour, 55 minutes

Why'd it have to be snakes? Searching for the titular artifact before the Nazis can get their hands on it, archaeologist Indiana Jones finds himself surrounded by those slithering creatures. And that's only the start of it. 

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Epic Entrepreneurs: Ghostbusters (1984)

Rick Moranis And Sigourney Weaver In 'Ghostbusters'
Archive Photos / Getty Images

IMDb Rating: 7.8

Genre: Action, Comedy, Fantasy

Starring: Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Sigourney Weaver

Director: Ivan Reitman

Motion Picture Rating: PG

Running Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes

Featuring outrageous New York real estate and a terrifying marshmallow man, Ghostbusters is iconic, spawning sequels, remakes, and an animated series. Who ya gonna call?

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Best Early Eighties Fashion: Flashdance (1983)

Scene from Flashdance

IMDb Rating: 6.2

Genre: Drama, Music, Romance

Starring: Jennifer Beals, Michael Nouri, Lilia Skala

Director: Adrian Lyne

Motion Picture Rating: R

Running Time: 1 hour, 35 minutes

Based in Pittsburgh, Flashdance features a steel mill worker, an aspiring ballerina, and a cabaret performer—who are all the same person. The movie won an Academy Award for best song (Flashdance... What a Feeling) and has some fantastic dancing scenes.

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A Crash Course in Commodities Trading: Trading Places (1983)

Trading Places
Archive Photos / Getty Images

IMDb Rating: 7.5

Genre: Comedy

Starring: Eddie Murphy, Dan Aykroyd, Ralph Bellamy

Director: John Landis

Motion Picture Rating: R

Running Time: 1 hour, 56 minutes

The Duke brothers, who own a commodities brokerage firm, conduct a nature vs. nurture experiment with two men, one born wealthy and one not. Eventually, those two men uncover an insider trading plot and plan revenge.

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Best Fast Food Knock-Off: Coming to America (1988)

"Coming to America" starring Eddie Murphy


IMDb Rating: 7.0

Genre: Comedy, Romance

Starring: Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall, James Earl Jones

Director: John Landis

Motion Picture Rating: 16+

Running Time: 1 hour, 56 minutes

A crown prince (Eddie Murphy) arrives in Queens and takes a job at MacDowell's fast-food joint (not to be confused with that other restaurant). He's looking for love while trying to hide his wealth. The movie even features a cameo of the Duke brothers from Trading Places.

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Artificial Intelligence Gone Rogue: TRON (1982)

"TRON" 30th Anniversary Party And Screening

Albert L. Ortega / WireImage / Getty

IMDb Rating: 6.8

Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

Starring: Jeff Bridges, Bruce Boxleitner, David Warner 

Director: Steven Lisberger

Motion Picture Rating: PG

Running Time: 1 hour, 36 minutes

A software engineer is digitized and downloaded to a mainframe and must fight a powerful and evil AI. This movie has a very eighties feel of what the future looks like, though much of it is still relevant concerning artificial intelligence and users' rights.

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Double-Crossing Diamond Thieves: A Fish Called Wanda (1988)

Wanda Cast
MGM Studios / Getty Images

IMDb Rating: 7.5

Genre: Comedy, Crime

Starring: John Cleese, Jamie Lee Curtis, Kevin Kline

Director: Charles Crichton, John Cleese (uncredited)

Motion Picture Rating: R

Running Time: 1 hour, 48 minutes

After a successful heist, a group of thieves fights over their haul of diamonds. Things quickly go south as everything that can go wrong does go wrong. You'll never look at a steamroller the same way.

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A Brooklyn Time Capsule: Do the Right Thing (1989)

Scene from Do the Right Thing by Spike Lee

Getty Imges

IMDb Rating: 8.0

Genre: Comedy, Drama

Starring: Danny Aiello, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee

Director: Spike Lee

Motion Picture Rating: R

Running Time: 2 hours

This movie, which takes place over one hot summer day, follows Mookie, a pizza delivery guy, played by Spike Lee, as he makes the rounds around Bed-Stuy Brooklyn. It's a snapshot in time, highlighting racial and neighborly tensions.

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