The ‘80s were great, in general, and in terms of music, fashion and cinema. In fact, some of the greatest movies that are still spoken about today came out in the ‘80s (think "Scarface" and "The Breakfast Club"). Some were really fresh; some were not. But regardless, it was a good decade for horror films, comedies, romance and action films.
Many sequels followed from originals that aired in the ‘80s. All in all, it was a great time for movies (and the actors who gained international star status thanks to their roles). Additionally, high-concept films were introduced during this era, with producer Don Simpson being credited with the creation of the high-concept picture. Basically, these were films with cinematic plots that could be easily summarized and therefore became easily marketable to the masses. Hollywood blockbusters were the most popular film format during this time.
Now, we did our research and looked at all sorts of movies that came out in the ‘80s. From the ones that performed really well and had international recognition, to the ones that, well, maybe should have never been released (not trying to be harsh over here!). Do you think you can correctly fill in the blanks of these ‘80s movie titles without a problem? Take this quiz and test your knowledge to find out!
"St. Elmo’s Fire" was a 1985 comedy drama about Georgetown graduates struggling with adulthood. It was directed by Joel Schumacher, had a runtime of 110 minutes and estimated box office budget of $10 million.
"Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure" is an action and adventure comedy from 1989 featuring two teenage boys who are about to prepare the ultimate historical presentation after traveling back in time. The movie was directed by Stephen Herek and starred Alex Winter, Keanu Reeves, George Carlin and Rod Loomis.
"Valley Girl" is a romantic comedy from 1983 starring Nicholas Cage, Deborah Foreman and Michelle Meyrink, among others. The plot, closely based on "Romeo and Juliet," is about a valley girl who falls for a punk from the city despite being from two very different worlds.
"Baby Boom" is a 1987 romantic comedy about a yuppie who gets custody of a young baby after a family member dies. Starring Diane Keaton, the film transitioned into a TV show a year later and was soon nominated for two Golden Globe Awards.
"Return to Oz" is a 1985 fantasy film and a follow-up to the original "Wizard of Oz." The film was directed by Walter Murch and starred Fairuza Balk, Nicol Williamson and Stewart Larange, among others. This time, Dorothy returns to Oz to find out the land has been overthrown by a villain, prompting her to restore the peace with the help of a couple of new friends.
"Short Circuit" is a 1986 comic science fiction film directed by John Badham and starring Ally Sheedy, Steve Guttenberg, Fisher Stevens and Austin Pendleton. “Johnny 5,” a robot, escapes from the NOVA research facility and ends up in Oregon. After being struck by lightning, he learns how to interact with humans with the help of an animal caregiver.
"Steel Magnolias" is a 1989 comedy-drama film starring Sally Field, Dolly Parton, Shirley MacLaine, and Daryl Hannah, among a series of American favorite stars. The story is based on the real-life experiences of Robert Harling, who lost his sister in 1985 due to complications from Type 1 diabetes.
In "Coming to America," Eddie Murphy, who plays the role of a wealthy African prince, gets fed up with his pampered lifestyle. His realization of wanting to do more with his life happens after his parents present him with an arranged bride-to-be on his 21st birthday. This prompts him to pack his bags and leave for the Big Apple to find an independent woman who wants to be with him for who he is and not what he has.
"Revenge of the Nerds" is a comedy directed by Jeff Kanew that aired in theaters in 1984. The 90-minute film is about a college fraternity made up of the school’s most socially awkward individuals who, after repeatedly being humiliated by the football players, decide to take matters into their own hands.
"The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai" is a sci-fi parody directed by W.D. Ritcher and starring Peter Weller, John Lithgow, Ellen Barkin and Jeff Goldblum. The group must stop evil alien invaders from the eighth dimension, known as the Red Lectroids from Planet 10, and save the world before it’s too late.
"Beverly Hills Cop" is a 1984 action comedy directed by Martin Brest and starring Eddie Murphy. The first film of this series was what opened the doors of international stardom for Eddie Murphy, winning him a People’s Choice Award and a nomination for a Golden Globe and an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.
Directed by Joel Schumacher, "The Lost Boys" is a 1987 horror-comedy about two brothers who move to a town only to discover that they’re surrounded by vampires. The film was followed by two direct-to-video sequels and became a huge franchise with the same title.
"Mystery Train" is a 1989 comedy crime-drama directed by Jim Jarmusch and starring Masatoshi Nagase and Youki Kudoh, among others. The setting takes place in a low-rent Memphis motel dedicated to Elvis Presley, where three overlapping, yet very different, stories take place in one evening among foreign tourists, criminals and the spirit of Elvis himself.
"Near Dark" is a 1987 film directed by Kathryn Bigelow and starring Adrian Pasdar, Jenny Wright Lance Henriksen and Bill Paxton. The film is about a group of vampires traveling across the West looking for human blood and later finding and kidnapping a farm boy.
"The Return of the Living Dead" is a 1985 film directed and written by Dan O’Bannon. The 90-minute movie is about a military chemical that spills into the ground of a cemetery, bringing the bodies back to life - this time, with an appetite for human brains.
"The Little Mermaid" is a 1989 film that ushered in a new golden era for Disney animation with fun, charming sea characters. Written by John Musker and Ron Clements, the film featured Ariel, the daughter of King Triton, who travels beyond her world to the surface and falls in love with a prince.
"My Life As a Dog" is a 1987 film directed by Lasse Hallstrom that runs 105 minutes long. The film is about a young man, who despite living with his dying mother and mean older brother, survives life’s bumps by comparing himself to those who are in worse situations, including that of the Russian space dog, Laika.
"Drugstore Cowboy" is a 1989 film in which Matt Dillon plays the leader of a group of druggies who go around the country robbing pharmacies. Things take a turn when one of the young addicts dies, prompting Matt Dillon to change his life for the better.
"Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom" played in theaters in 1984, running 118 minutes long. In this film, Indy is tasked with not only finding a gem but also saving several kidnapped boys on behalf of a remote East Indian village and bringing them back home to safety.
"Lost in America" is a 1985 film about two dissatisfied yuppies who leave their suburban lives to discover America on their own. The comedy goes from what the two individuals think is a great idea to a nightmare of enlarged confusion about their lives.
"Goodbye, Children" (originally titled in French as "Au revoir les enfants"), is a 1987 film written by Louis Malle and running 104 minutes long. It’s about a young Catholic boarding-school student who witnesses the courage of his teachers during the Nazi occupation of France as they confront the anti-Semitic policies of the Germans.
"My Left Foot" is a 1989 film directed by Jim Sheridan and running 103 minutes long. The film is based in the true story of Christy Brown, a boy who was paralyzed from birth and whose mother taught him how to write using his left foot, the only part of his body that wasn’t afflicted by his cerebral palsy.
"To Live and Die in L.A." is a 1985 film directed by William Friedkin and based on a book by U.S. Secret Service agent Gerald Petievich. The Secret Service official is obsessed with getting a sleek counterfeiter who has managed to escape from the police for years.
"Pretty in Pink" is a 1986 romantic comedy about a girl who is stuck between deciding whether to date her childhood sweetheart or going for the rich playboy. Directed by Howard Deutch, the film features a girl who works at a record store and is a misfit in her preppy high school but rises above them all when confronted with the tough decision of choosing between two guys.
"Blue Velvet" is a 1986 drama film that begins with the discovery of a severed ear. The film, directed and written by David Lynch, stars Kyle MacLachlan, Dennis Hopper, Isabella Rossellini and Laura Dern, among others, and runs 121 minutes long.
"Escape From New York" is a 1981 post-apocalyptic film about how the president's plane, Air Force One, is hijacked and crashes into Manhattan, which has been converted into a maximum security prison, and the president needs to be saved. And who best for the job than a convicted bank robber? The ex-soldier and federal prisoner is given only 24 hours to rescue the president and get him out safely.
"The Killer" is a 1989 action crime-drama written and directed by John Woo and starring one of his favorite actors, Chow Yun-Fat. After accidentally shooting and damaging a singer's eye, he accepts one last assignment, hoping to earn enough money to restore her vision.
"Broadcast News" is a 1987 film about two rival and ambitious reporters and a female producer. One reporter is incredibly smart, one is incredibly appealing, and the producer, Jane Craig, works well with them but struggles with the frustration of an empty personal life. Let the sparks fly!
"Lethal Weapon 2" was released in 1989, once again starring Mel Gibson and Danny Glover. This time around, the two LAPD officers take on a gang of South African drug dealers who use diplomatic immunity to participate in criminal activities.
In “After Hours,” a word processor has a rough night and decides to visit a girl he randomly met one evening at a coffee shop. The comedy crime-drama was directed by Martin Scorsese and stars Griffin Dunne, Rosanna Arquette and Verna Bloom in the 96-minutes film.
“Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior” is a 1981 film proving that not all sequels are bad. In this movie, Mel Gibson is tasked with helping a small gasoline-rich community escape from a horde of marauders, a journey that helps him rediscover his humanity while helping the settlers.
A 1983 film, “Trading Places” is about an investor and a shifty, street-smart con artist who reverse their roles as part of a bet made by two millionaires. The film stars Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy.
“Full Metal Jack” is a 1987 film about a U.S. Marine who observes the effects the Vietnam War has on his fellow recruits as a result of the brutal training and the bloody street fighting. The action and adventure drama was directed by Stanley Kubrick and is 116 minutes long.
“This Is Spinal Tap” is a 1984 film directed by Rob Reiner that runs 83 minutes long. The music-comedy focuses on the return of a fictional British band, Spinal Tap, and the filmmaker charged with writing about their experience.
“A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors” is a 1987 film directed by Chuck Russell. The third installment in the “Nightmare on Elm Street” franchise, the plot is about a psychiatrist helping teens battle Freddy, the killer who invades their dreams.