When people talk about '80s movies, oftentimes it can be seen as a negative connotation. But with the synthesizer soundtracks, cheesy lines and over the top hair and make-up… it is honestly warranted.
But, there are '80s movies that define the decade and show that it was actually quite a fruitful time for film. Many have in fact gone down in history as some of the best movies of all time, regardless of their era.
We present 21 '80s movies that have over time come to -- in our minds -- define the decade. After witnessing our list of the best of '80s movies, don’t be surprised if you’re moved to watch Beetlejuice online and check back in with many other classics from the era of Ronald Reagan and the birth of MTV.
Click through and enjoy our 21 '80s movies that defined a decade.
Besides making Tom Cruise a huge star, Top Gun seriously personified the decade of the '80s. Between its larger than life scale and its soundtrack that was all the rage on Top 40 radio, Top Gun was tops in many people's minds when it comes to '80s films.
When The Breakfast Club recently celebrated 30 years since that day of detention, the world celebrated. It has some of the movies' most memorable quotes from some of its most memorable characters. And... it transcended the teen movie genre to become a classic.
Try not thinking about that keyboard heavy theme song when remembering Beverly Hills Cop. It screams "80s!" And its version of LA impeccably captures that decade's landscape of Hollywood and Beverly Hills.
Few movies have successfully combined comedy and sci-fi/supernatural as well as Ghostbusters did. That could be why all this interest in a third Ghostbusters film just won't go away. Who you gonna call?
Can you imagine the film world without Indiana Jones? Hardly, and that is thanks to the outstanding introduction of the character by Harrison Ford and the filmmaking team of George Lucas and Steven Spielberg in this '80s classic.
Return of the Jedi was an event. People stood in line for hours to check out the final chapter of George Lucas' Star Wars saga. To this date, it is heralded as one of movie fans' most favorite sci-fi films.
What's not to love about E.T.? The film was a sensation when it arrived in the early '80s and did the rarest thing: It stayed in cinemas all summer long. To this day, it is one of Steven Spielberg's most beloved films.
Scarface also defined the '80s, but in a different way. In the headlines, Cubans were coming to America on makeshift boats in search of the American dream. Al Pacino and director Brian De Palma captured that and did so much more than introduce us to Tony's "little friend."
Back to the Future took one of that decade's most popular TV actors in Michael J. Fox and gave him a "vehicle" to become a huge movie star. The fact that the film was insanely good and became an instant classic didn't hurt its decade-defining place!
James Cameron scores his second decade-defining film on this list. Aliens took what Ridley Scott started with Alien and used the latest technology to give us a sci-fi action hit that redefined the genre.
Flashdance is important for many reasons that take it out of just being an '80s movie. It spawned many fashion statements of the era (the cut sweatshirt off the shoulder) and became one of the first films to use the soundtrack as a means of selling its movie on MTV through chart-topping hits.
Fast Times, as it is called, not only put Cameron Crowe on the map, but it gave us a cast of characters in a teen comedy/drama that refused to bend to stereotype. And in the process, it became one of the most beloved teen films of all time.
Purple Rain is simply a masterpiece. Sure, it features '80s songs, but it doesn't feel like your typical '80s musical movie. And that story about the life of Prince before he became Prince... just powerful. It had us all chanting, "Let's go crazy!"