If Fashion Week taught us anything, it’s that the ’80s are back, baby! Big blazers, puffy jackets, crazy colors, and big hair — the decade that moved fast and loose is coming back for another go.
Why not get in the spirit with some classics (and maybe some A+ not-so-classics)? They are totally bitchin’, and all available on streaming, which is def an upgrade from the movie-viewing technology they were using back in the eight-zeros. Start channeling the energy, clothing, and language found in these flicks cause they ’80s are back in a big way. Sure, the time wasn’t exactly breaking boundaries when it came to gender and race politics, so still stay woke when time traveling with these ’80s movies. If nothing else, suspend your disbelief for 90 minutes to two hours.
16. Back to the Future – HBO Go
If you haven’t seen this true classic, drop everything and watch it right now. If you’ve already seen it, drop everything and watch it again right now. Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) befriends nutty inventor Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd), a man who used a DeLorean to create a time machine. Trying to escape Lebanese terrorists (long story), Marty ends up going to 1955, the year his parents met. Marty casually ruins the time-space continuum and has to ensure his parents meet and fall in love, so he can still exist when he goes ~back to the future~! Nothing gets better than this movie with its memorable quotes (“You are my density”), fifties fun, and Marty’s super-fly orange vest that you could totally be stylin’ in today.
15. Dead Poets Society – Netflix
If you liked Donna Tartt’s “The Secret History” with its boarding school intrigue, then you might like this Robin Williams classic about a life-changing English teacher in a boy’s boarding school. There is, like in Back to the Future, 1950s teenage fun and rebellion. The ’80s are cool now, but the fifties seemed to be cool then. (Then again, look at Riverdale — the 50’s aesthetic never really went out of style). Carpe diem, baby!
14. Heathers – Netflix
If you love the teen genre and dark comedy, then you’ll love this flick. The Heathers (Kim Walker, Shannen Doherty and Lisanne Falk) rule the school with malice and condescension. Yet, they allow Veronica (Winona Ryder) to join their clique, which she halfheartedly goes along with. That is, until she meets the mysterious new kid, J.D. (Christian Slater). If it sounds like a normal teen movie, it is. Until there’s a big twist and it turns into a crazy, satirical, oh-so ‘80s romp.
13. Turner and Hooch – Netflix
A young, young Tom Hanks plays a persnickety detective, Turner, who gets paired up with a slobbery dog, Hooch in their crime-solving adventures. It’s your classic buddy-cop movie, but this time one of the partners as just a pup! Along the way, we get fun detective storylines and heartwarming moments that prove that even the most fussy people can learn to chillax. Ah, the magic of dogs.
12. Mr. Mom – Amazon Prime
In what seemed feminist at the time but surely wouldn’t fly now, Michael Keaton plays an engineer whose wife (Teri Garr) gets a great new job – so she goes to work and he stays home to take care of the kids i.e. “Mr. Mom.” Uh oh, everyone knows Dads aren’t good at housework! (That’s sarcasm.) Regardless, this is a fun and iconic ’80s movie at which you can laugh at how far we have (hopefully) come.
11. The Karate Kid – Hulu & Amazon Prime
Wax on, wax off. You have most definitely heard this phrase, but you might not have known it came from this 1984 film that’s kind of like the teen/karate version of Rocky. A young Ralph Macchio takes lessons from karate master (Pat Morita) to beat bullies — especially the meanest one of all, played by William Zabka. If you’re a fan of How I Met Your Mother, you’ll know these guys, as they make many, many cameos.
10. Dirty Rotten Scoundrels – Hulu
Steve Martin and Michael Caine play con men — one seedy, one the epitome of class — who compete to see who can get $50k with their trickery first from of an unsuspecting Janet (Glenne Headly). Steve Martin is always a comedy icon, but he was truly the KING of comedy in the ’80s. There’s no way you can do a movie marathon from this decade without one of his flicks on it.
9. The Money Pit – Netflix
Another young Tom Hanks, yay! He plays a young man who decides with his girlfriend (Shelley Long, from Cheers fame) to reconstruct their dream house. However, as anyone who’s ever embarked on a renovation project (or even those who love a good HGTV reality show) knows, it’s anything but simple. Problem after problem plague this young couple. Since it’s not happening to you, it’s hilarious!
8. Pee Wee’s Big Adventure – Netflix
Pee Wee Herman (Paul Reubens) goes across the country to rescue his precious bicycle, coming across a plethora of… let’s call them ~characters~… along the way. MARGE! Who can forget Marge?! If you don’t know what that means, watch it.
7. Lethal Weapon – Netflix
We’ve got another buddy cop movie making a list. Damn, these were pop-ular back in the day. The premise is typical: two polar opposite cops are teamed up to defeat the bad guy. But the movie definitely gives its own spin on the genre. See Mel Gibson and Danny Glover at their best in this c-l-a-s-s-i-c. It’s now a TV series, BTW. Also, can you imagine two actors more different than Mel frickin’ Gibson and Danny Glover?
6. Who Framed Roger Rabbit? – Hulu
In a world in which cartoons and live-action coexist (can you imagine?!), an animated movie star is framed for murder of his co-star. Now he must hire a prejudiced (against cartoons) detective to help him gain his freedom. Of course the biggest legend from this flick is most definitely Jessica Rabbit. Walt Disney Pictures bought the story rights in ’81, but it wasn’t for seven years before it made its theatrical release. Luckily, it quickly became a box office success. Guess the wait was worth it!
5. On Golden Pond – Netflix
This one was a big Oscar hitter in 1981, so why not give it a watch? Henry Fonda and Katherine Hepburn both won the Academy Award for their performances in this film about a retired and professor and his wife who try to go on a simple vacation — only to find trouble along the way. Fun fact: On Golden Pond was initially a play and Jane Fonda bought the rights to it so that her dad could play the lead role!
4. Adventures in Babysitting – Netflix
It ain’t easy being a babysitter, especially when you’re Chris Parker (Elisabeth Shue). All she wants to do is make a few bucks, but things quickly go awry when she’s stranded in the big city. There was a 2016 Disney Channel Original Movie remake starring Sabrina Carpenter. Maybe watch the two back-to-back and compare?
3. Roxanne – Hulu
Steve Martin plays a modern-day (as of the 80s) Cyrano de Bergerac, a long-nosed man who helps a friend by writing love notes for a woman. Of course, he ends up falling for the lady himself. Come on, you had to have seen that one coming! It’s based on a play, and remember what we said about Steve Martin and the ’80s?
2. Earth Girls are Easy – Hulu
Aliens Jim Carrey, Damon Wayans and Jeff Goldblum crash into Earth (actually, not just Earth: the San Fernando Valley). Manicurist Geena Davis teaches them how to be “successful” humans. Nothing can go wrong, right? Most of us probably don’t even classify as successful humans in the first place, so trying to teach another species to be more like us is bound to go wrong. The movie-musical was released in 1988 and Britney Spears and Iggy Azalea’s more recent “Pretty Girls” music video was inspired by it.
1. Ghostbusters – Netflix
What kind of ’80s movies list would this be without probably the most iconic franchise of the decade: Ghostbusters? Even just saying the name injects that theme song right into your head. Join the classic fun with these four goofballs as they band together to defeat the paranormal. The first came out in 1984, followed by the sequel in ’89. Then it wasn’t until the 21st century when we got the third all-female installment. It was a lot different than the Bill Murray version, but who can complain about Kristen Wiig, Leslie Jones and Melissa McCarthy?