Fans of the 1980s? Here are some of the most must-see films of this decade that continues to fascinate and inspire artists. Comedies, romances, dramas, science fiction, fantasy, thrillers and adventures, there is something for everyone! There will surely be your favorite film from this creative and timeless era.
Dramas, comedies, thrillers, science fiction. Impossible to forget certain films, true reflections of their time. Strokes of genius from a combination of talents; screenwriters, directors, actors, musicians, these works are deeply inscribed in the collective memory and constantly ready to leave the memory box, at the slightest refrain heard, at the most subtle image glimpsed.
This decade has made us dream with open eyes, boil our brains, smoke up discernment: from Back to the Future to Tootsie, via Blue Velvet and Paris, Texas. We are indeed going to dive back into old memories and tell you about a time that the under 20s cannot know, the blessed time of cathode ray TVs, VCRs and VHS.
The best 80’s movies
For all that they represent in terms of pop culture and – it must be admitted – cultural imperialism from the Americas, the 1980s will indeed remain cult forever. To be convinced, just take a look at the impressive repertoire of films made between 1980 and 1990.It must be said that in the space of 10 years, during this crazy creative decade, some of the most cult science fiction and adventure films, starting with ET or Indiana Jones, have emerged for the greatest happiness of moviegoers. And as we are crazy about tops of all kinds, we could not not devote one to the films that marked this era.
1. The Boom
At the dawn of the 1980s, Sophie Marceau landed her first film role in The Boom by Claude Pinoteau. She is 13 years old and plays Vic, a somewhat rebellious Parisian teenager, who lives her first love story. A whole generation of young girls will find themselves in her and grow up with her. 3 years later, Sophie Marceau, now known throughout the world, receives the César for best female hope for The Boom 2.
2. The Blues Brothers
“Everybody Needs Somebody to Love …” The Blues Brothers are undoubtedly one of the most cult film duos. Camped by John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd, Jake and Elwood Blues decide to reform their rhythm and blues group in order to save their former Catholic orphanage from destruction. A run in the Chicago of the 80s, punctuated by good and bad encounters – many stars of the song cross their path (Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, James Brown …) – which remains legendary today.
An insane family man chases his wife and son with a chainsaw in a labyrinthine hotel completely deserted. How not to tremble in front of Jack Torrance , camped by a phenomenal Nickolson, and the terrifying appearance of the twins at the end of the hall… A cult film that has traumatized many generations, and us with it.
4. Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
Arguably one of the most successful of the saga, Star Wars Episode V, the second in the original trilogy, follows Princess Leia, Han Solo, Chewbacca and C-3P0 on their way to Bespin, the city of clouds ruled by Lando Calrissian, Han’s former companion.
Three years before Flashdance, Irene Cara had already built a myth, at the helm of the Fame soundtrack, and as an actress in the role of Coco. In an elite New York school, the film follows the journey of eight students, working hard to achieve their dream: glory in the performance of dance and comedy. Who will reach the top after four years of training?
6. Raging Bull
Raging Bull by Martin Scorsese tells the story of middleweight boxing champion Jack La Motta, from his iconic victories against Robinson and Cerdan, to his long phases of self-destruction. With an unforgettable performance by Robert de Niro on the program.
7. American Gigolo
We owe to Giorgio Armani the locker room of Richard Gere playing Julian Kaye in the feature film American Gigolo directed by Paul Schrader, released in 1980. This sulphurous and elegant character who perfectly embodies the Armani man will participate in the influence of the style of the house in the 80s. An initiative on the part of the Italian designer which truly marks the beginning of the collaboration between the world of fashion and the 7th art. This movie is one of the best screen adaptation of all time.
8. Elephant Man
The moving story of an elephant-man, a fairground animal who became a man of the world in London at the end of the 19th century. This fictionalized adaptation of Frederick Treves’ memoir directed by David Lynch has been nominated 8 times for the Oscars.
9. Raiders of the Lost Ark
In 1981, the world fell in love with Indiana Jones ( Harrison Ford ), a charismatic archeology professor in search of lost treasures. The hero’s first adventure takes him to Nepal where he must find his former girlfriend, who holds a medal allowing to locate the Ark of the Covenant containing the Tables of the Law. But the Nazis are also on the spot.
10. ET, the alien
“ET, phone, home”. An unforgettable replica that could sum up the cinema of the 80s to itself. In 1982, Steven Spielbergh presented ET, a nice alien with big eyes who invited himself into the house of Elliot and Gertie ( Drew Barrymore ). A little gem of science fiction, the film rocked a whole generation, who never rode a bicycle without thinking of the little creature with the luminous finger.
11. Santa Claus Is a Stinker
The doubitchous of Sofia, the kloug with chestnuts, the devastated pharmacy, the macabre trip to the Vincennes zoo, the slow in the dark … Each scene of Santa Claus is a stinker is cult. Acid comedy carried by the merry band of the Splendid, after its birth on the boards, the film of Jean-Marie Poiré has lost none of its charm which always acts as much when the Christmas holidays come.
12. Blade Runner
In a distopic universe, Rick Deckard ( Harrison Ford ) is a Blade Runner, in charge of tracking down the replicants declared illegal. But he will gradually fall under the spell of Rachel (Sean Young), a replicant with a fictitious affective memory, assistant and product of Eldon Tyrell.
13. The Thing
“The thing”. It is the terrifying name given to a misshapen monster buried under snow for more than 100,000 years and which seizes the bodies of members of a team of researchers in the heart of Antarctica. A thrilling thriller that joins the many masterpieces of John Carpenter’s filmography.
We no longer present Flashdance, its cult scene from the casting on the soundtrack “What a feeling” interpreted by Irene Cara, which has sold more than 20 million copies, and which could sum up in itself the ardor of the Eighties. To play the heroine of the film, Demi Moore, Jennifer Beals and Leslie Wing, almost unknown at the time, were all three approached. It was ultimately the production team who decided on the finalist after being asked: “Which actress would you like to sleep with the most?” “.
We no longer present Tony Montana, cult character from the universe of Brian de Palma, a little Cuban gangster who emigrated to the United States who became a drug lord in Miami. Al Pacino signs here one of his best roles and will be nominated for the Golden Globes. Badly received when it was released in 1983, this gangster film has since become a classic of the genre.
16. Murderous Summer
A small village in the Midi in the 70s. Isabelle Adjani, crazy hair and assumed sensuality, Alain Souchon, gentle eyes and a packed heart. It’s summer, The murderous Summer by Jean Becker , a scorching film released in 1983 which tells the tragedy of a devastating passion. In the skin of the sulphurous Elle, Isabelle Adjani captivates, disturbs, magnetizes. A large-scale role which earned her a César for best actress.
17. The Outsiders
1966, Tulsa, Oklahoma. Young delinquents from poor neighborhoods, the Greasers, are at war with the sons of the bourgeoisie, the Socs. Ponyboy, the leader of the Greasers one day meets Cherry who tries to prove to him that all Socs are not bad. During a fight, Johnny, Ponyboy’s best friend, kills a Soc, Bob. The two thugs will do everything to escape the police. In this Francis Ford Coppola film, Patrick Swayze is Darrel Curtis, a member of the Greasers. Sexy as a devil in a tight black T-shirt and leather biker jacket – which is reminiscent of his rebellious dancer look in Dirty Dancing – the actor literally bursts the screen in his second film. Charismatic and wild, Patrick Swayze eclipses even Tom Cruise, almost unknown in 1983.
‘Don’t expose it to sunlight, never get it wet and most important of all, never feed it after midnight.’ These are the three commandments that must be observed when adopting an adorable Gremlin. Unfortunately for Billy, one of the Commandments will be broken and trouble is just beginning for the small town of Kingston Falls. Christmas will quickly turn into a real nightmare.
In Beaumont, in a small town in the Midwest, Ren arrives from Chicago and runs into a conservative society that bans dance and rock after an accident with the son of the almighty pastor. A scenario inspired by the town of Elmore City which had banned dance for 90 years. After trying to ignore the community’s sclerosing moral injunctions, Ren and two friends finally go to fight her, trying to prove that dancing doesn’t lead to depravity. Great success in theaters, the soundtrack has sold more than nine million copies in the United States and the film gave rise to a musical of the same name.
While an army of ghosts frightens the whole of New York, three researchers in parapsychology decide to set up their own business: Ghostbusters.
21. Paris Texas
Unforgettable Tess in the ultra-awarded film by Roman Polanski and star of Paris Texas by Wim Wenders, Palme d’Or in 1984, the German actress Nastassja Kinski ignited the cinema of the Eighties, using her devastating charm and her game on flower of skin. Paris Texas won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 1984. Read More
22. Once Upon a Time in America
In New York in 1933, it was the end of prohibition. Max and Noodles are two Jewish mobsters who have bonded with an eternal friendship. They start with some trafficking in the New York ghetto, before going their separate ways when Noodles finds himself in prison. Then they meet.
In 1982, Arnold Schwarzenegger lent his bodybuilder plastic to Terminator, an over-equipped robot with a disturbing human appearance. His mission? Eliminate Sarah Connor in the future before she gives birth to John, a future resistance leader who will cause the loss of her race.
24. Out of Africa
Newly married, Karen ( Meryl Streep ) flies to Africa where, abandoned by her husband, she is passionate about growing coffee trees. However, quickly overtaken by the growing love for her friend Denys ( Robert Redford ), she will try everything to tame her adventurous soul. Sydney Pollack’s masterpiece released in 1986 is one of the most beautiful and tragic love stories brought to the big screen.
25. Back to the Future
Back to the Future is undoubtedly the flagship science fiction film of the 80s. Directed by Robert Zemeckis, the 1985 blockbuster tells the extraordinary story of Marty McFly who finds himself propelled into the past, thanks to a traveling machine in time made by Doctor Emmett Brown, says the Doc, from a DeLorean DMC-12 car. The teenager arrived in 1955 and met his parents who, at that time, were still in high school.
26. Dangerously Yours
There are few Bond girls as elegant as May Day, the hand of the wicked woman Max Zorin, played by Grace Jones in a Kill by John Glen. If Tanya Roberts, the other woman who has Roger Moore’s favors, is all delicacy, with her doe eyes and long pastel-toned dresses, Grace Jones, for her part, is not a fragile young lady. Her wardrobe is a lesson in dressing for a powerful woman: striped blazers, close-fitting bodysuit and a hooded bandage dress. Most of these costumes were designed by Azzedine Alaïa. The figure-hugging clothes with exaggerated silhouettes with their colorful blocks are perfect for a woman who turns out to be in many ways equal to 007 – whether she is beating a man up, or skydiving the Eiffel Tower.
27. Beverly Hills Cop
It’s impossible to talk about pop culture Eighties without mentioning The Beverly Hills Cop, irresistible Axel Foley played by Eddie Murphy. In the first film of the trilogy, the Detroit police lieutenant arrives in Beverly Hills to investigate the death of one of his gangster friends. His investigations allow him to lift the veil on a huge drug trafficking led by a powerful businessman. The hilarious lines of the craziest cop in LA are forever remembered.
28. Breakfast Club
Five high school students who oppose everything get together on a Saturday afternoon. A punishment that will eventually bring them together as the day goes by.
29. Top Gun
This is the film that revealed Tom Cruise. The cult Top Gun, directed by Tony Scott, remains as irresistible as ever, more than 30 years after its release. The story of the mad dog pilot Maverick who perfected his technique at the Top Gun school and who fell in love with his instructor, with the famous hit Take My Breath Away from the group Berlin in the background, rocked a whole generation. While a second part is in preparation, it is Tom Cruise himself who announced it on Instagram, we review with nostalgia the original, which has not aged a bit.
30. The Fly
When a fly sneaks into the molecular teleportation device of a brilliant biologist, inevitably the result does not bode well. Day by day, scientist Seth Brundle (Jeff Goldblum) turns into a monstrous insect.
31. Jean de Florette
In 1986, Claude Berri took over the famous novel by Marcel Pagnol, published in 1963, Jean de Florette. This eponymous film is a real success, revealing the dramatic palette of Daniel Auteuil, who won the César for Best Actor for his portrayal of Ugolin, a calculating carnation cultivator who, out of selfishness and jealousy, indirectly drives the hunchbacked Jean to death ( Gérard Depardieu), with the help of his uncle, le Papet (incredible Yves Montand ).
32. Manon of the Spring
“Manon, I love you with love!” How can we forget the heartbreaking declaration of a Ugolino mad with love (Daniel Auteuil) for the beautiful and young Manon (Emmanuelle Béart), who walks her goats under the blazing sun in a wild scrubland? Manon des Sources by Claude Berri is this sublime adaptation of Pagnol’s novel, a sequel to Jean de Florette, also adapted to the cinema at the beginning of 1986. One of Emmanuelle Béart’s most beautiful roles , both sensual and candid in Manon’s shoes. A masterpiece.
33. 9 1/2 weeks
The striptease inflamed Kim Basinger on You Can Leave Your Hat On by Joe Cocker was enough to make this cult film, although derided by critics on its release. The acid portrait of a couple who seduce each other, tear each other apart, play the dominant-dominated while releasing their fantasies. A passion summed up in 9 1/2 weeks.
34. Dirty Dancing
Dirty Dancing is this cult film by Emile Ardolino, released in 1987, which talks, among other things, about the clash of cultures and the emancipation of Baby (Jennifer Gray), a young girl from a good family who discovers the world of dance, and in particular dirty dancing, a sexual dance that brings sweaty bodies together, and above all lives a passionate love affair with the dance instructor, the sexy devil Johnny. The acme of the film? The final scene where Baby and Johnny dance in front of the hotel assembly to the rhythm of the Oscar-winning soundtrack The Time of My Life, engraved in the memory of a whole generation, and the following ones! Who has never tried to reproduce the mythical final port?
35. Good Morning, Vietnam
Good Morning, Vietnam is one of Robin Williams ‘ first great films, which brought him to the attention of the general public. He plays Adrian Cronauer, an American aviation soldier and presenter who is very successful thanks to his program broadcast on the radio of the American armed forces, in the middle of the Vietnam war. Based in Saigon, the host brings a touch of madness to the airwaves, opening his show with a thunderous Good Morning, Vietnam! but his irreverent words and his caricatures offend his superiors. More impertinent than ever, Adrian will one day cross the red line … Robin Williams’ supercharged performance was awarded the Golden Globe for Best Actor in 1988.
36. The Untouchables
In the 1930s, during Prohibition, Al Capone reigned supreme over New York with his illegal alcohol sales network. But that’s without counting on Agent Eliot Ness who decides to put an end to it. Giorgio Armani notably immersed himself in the world of Prohibition to create costumes for Kevin Costner, Robert De Niro and Sean Connery. Oversized coats, Borsalino hats, fitted suits … A Mafia and retro wardrobe that reproduces with a touch of modernity the Chicago dress code of the 1930s.
37. Full Metal Jacket
How do you make war machines? That’s all about Full Metal Jacket directed by Stanley Kubrick which follows Sergeant Hartman’s unorthodox training methods at a training camp in North Carolina in the late 1960s. The Vietnam War rages on, all means are good to prepare soldiers for combat.
38. Rain Man
Considered one of the first films dealing with autism, Rain Man, directed by Barry Levinson, stars Charlie Babbitt ( Tom Cruise ), a young broke car dealer, who after the death of his ather, discovers that he has an older brother, Raymond (Dustin Hoffman), with autism. A memorable road trip through the United States follows, during which the two brothers will tame. A superb film awarded four Oscars and the Golden Bear for Best Film.
39. The Big Blue
The incredible story of the French freediver Jacques Mayol, camped by Jean-Marc Barr, and his friend Enzo Molinari, played by Jean Reno, who face each other during the No Limit freediving world championship in Taormina in Sicily at the end of the 1980s. Cult film by Luc Besson, Le Grand Bleu was offered above all a legendary soundtrack by Eric Serra, sold over 3 million copies worldwide.
40. Who wants the skin of Roger Rabbit?
In Hollywood in 1947, Eddie Valiant, an alcoholic private detective, who devotes a ferocious hatred to Toons, spies on the actions of Jessica Rabbit, the wife of Roger’s depressed rabbit, whom he suspects of adultery. A Disney cartoon and totally hilarious live action shots.
At just 17 years old, Winona Ryder collaborates for the first time with Tim Burton in Beetlejuice. She plays Lydia Deetz, a tormented and whimsical teenager who is passionate about the macabre and black magic. In the new house where she moves in with her parents, she meets the ghosts of the previous owners, Adam (Alec Baldwin) and Barbara Maitland ( Geena Davis ), who take her under their wings. She also meets the filthy Beetlejuice (Michael Keaton) who imagines a marriage with her in order to be able to return to the world of the living. An entire program.
The Madison The last film of the Divine transvestite directed by his pygmalion, director John Waters, before his tragic death the same year. While Hairspray, a critically acclaimed mainstream comedy, marked a turning point in the sulphurous career of John Waters, accustomed to making underground feature films banned to under 18s, the film nonetheless retains a caustic spirit. delicious, pasticating the Hollywood musical of the 30s.
In Baltimore, in the 60s, a bunch of young people audition for a dance show, inspired by the television series “The Buddy Dean Show”. This is Tracy, a young girl with generous forms who will prove to be the best, to the chagrin of the star of the show. In the role of cracked mother of a family, Divine denounces racial segregation and carries a message of unison. The film’s influence will continue to this day with multiple successful performances on Broadway and around the world, and a remake with John Travolta and Michelle Pfeiffer in 2007.
43. When Harry Met Sally
What if we tell you the most cult simulated orgasm scene in US cinema? When Harry meets Sally, of course! This legendary romantic comedy released in 1989 brings together Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal who play Sally and Harry, who get along like dog and cat in college before ending up in New York five years later. They are engaged, everything is going well in their life. Then meet again 5 years later, single. We know the rest.
44. Sex, Lies and Video
Palme d’Or in 1989, this sensual film by Steven Soderbergh questions desire through the lens of a camera that films the secret fantasies of women, questioned by the helpless hero.
45. Dead Poet Society
John Keating is an original method professor of English literature who teaches in the austere academy of Welton, Vermont. His credo? Develop the personality of his students and give them a taste for freedom. An anti-conformist practice that will push a group of students to revive the circle of missing poets, a group of free spirits, of which John was part in his youth. But in 1959, this kind of revolutionary action went against the rigid rules of American society. For this role of teacher that any student would dream of having, Robin Williams was nominated for the Oscar for Best Actor in 1990.