Reviving the Retro! Top Movies of the 80s to Watch Now

May 31, 2024
7 min read
By George Djaniants
Film Criticism
Reviving the Retro Top Movies of the 80s to Watch Now

With nostalgia being a major draw for audiences today, there's been a marked resurgence in the popularity of 80s movies. The timeless appeal of these flicks about the 80s lies not just in their creative storytelling and iconic characters, but also in the enduring influence they exert on current cinema. This roller coaster trip down memory lane revisits enduring stars of yesteryear and our favorite cinematic gems, rekindling fond memories and the unabated love for 80s cinema.

The Persistent Influence of 80s Cinema

80s cinema strengthens its influence on today's films through the persistence of its themes and genres. Assessments show recurrent elements of 80s movies ingeniously integrated into contemporary narratives, revealing a thinkable past that continues to shape our present storytelling. The lasting stardom of 80s actors also testifies to the decade's cinematic staying power. These figures, continuously revered in modern pop culture, embody the enduring impact and relevance of their originating era, thereby continually reminding us of the indomitable spirit of 80s cinema.

"Back to the Future" — A Timeless Classic

Delve into the timeless classic "Back to the Future," an iconic 80's film, loved for its unique fusion of science fiction and adventure, courtesy of its remarkable time-travel narrative. The film is filled with unforgettable characters and scenes, including the iconic DeLorean and the loveable protagonist, Marty McFly. Not merely nostalgia, "Back to the Future" has proven to be influential, serving as a cornerstone for similar cinematic pieces that have come in its wake, establishing its relevance and permanence in pop culture.

"Blade Runner": A Dark, Futuristic Tale

"Blade Runner" presents a narrative as complex as it is gripping, guiding viewers through an unconventional, dystopian future. This exploration of a so-called post-apocalyptic world addresses some of the most pressing questions concerning artificial intelligence and its implications. Set against a bleak landscape, the film pushes boundaries, offering nuanced perspectives on topics such as sentience, identity, and morality, thereby establishing its iconic status within 80s cinema.

"Indiana Jones": A Journey to Adventure

Indiana Jones, the swashbuckling archaeologist, captured imaginations and brought a fresh edge to the adventure genre. His thrilling escapades created a lasting ripple in cinematic history. Not only did these films introduce a vibrant character, they also influenced adventure movies that followed by combining elements of humor, action, and a sense of epic exploration.

"The Empire Strikes Back": Keeping Star Wars Alive

the empire strikes back keeping star wars alive

"The Empire Strikes Back," as a sequel, significantly contributed to the persisting allure of Star Wars, confirming its enduring legacy. Its appeal is multifaceted: from wonderful storytelling, the thrilling plot marked with enticing action sequences, to unforgettable character development. Moreover, it solidified Star Wars' indelible mark in the cinematic universe, influencing a diverse range of films and pop culture elements that followed. Consequently, it proves that sequels, when done correctly, can be opportunity windows for enhancing an already mesmerizing narrative, making it unforgettable.

"The Breakfast Club": Revolutionizing the Teen Genre

"The Breakfast Club" marked a significant shift in how teenagers were depicted in film. Breaking away from traditional stereotypes, it showcased an array of teen personalities, revealing their unique issues and struggles. This radical portrayal gave a voice to a generation and catalyzed changes in the genre. The innovative narrative and profound character development of the film continue to resonate with audiences, underscoring the enduring impact of this 80s classic.

"Die Hard": The Emergence of Action Movies

The gritty, fast-paced world of "Die Hard" had a monumental impact on the evolution of the action movie genre. The resilient character of John McClane, evocatively portrayed by Bruce Willis, introduced a relatable hero, challenging and redefining the archetypes of the era. This transformation essentially restructured the action film landscape, setting the stage for action heroes we see in today's cinema.

"Rain Man": A Gem in Drama Films

"Rain Man" offers a deeply poignant narrative that has left a lasting imprint in the realm of drama films. Its remarkable storytelling is amplified by unforgettable performances from the film's actors. The emotionally charged plot and the extraordinary exhibitions of acting prowess have made this film not just a gem, but almost a cornerstone in the movie industry. This film's cultural and critical significance truly elevates it to something more than ordinary, making it a must-watch for avid cinema fans.

"Ghostbusters": Fusing Comedy and Science Fiction

"Ghostbusters" ingeniously blends comedy and science fiction in a pop-culture cocktail that still resonates today. Its innovative genre-blending brought laughter and eerie intrigue to movie screens, paving the way for future hybrid movie styles. This unique pairing of laughs and thrills played heavily in the movie's mass appeal. Hence, "Ghostbusters" stands as a critical milestone in the evolution and adaptation of genre cinema, effectively enhancing the enjoyable and entertaining qualities of both comedic and sciencethriller movies.

"E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial": Inspiring Imagination

et the extra terrestrial inspiring imagination

"E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial" managed to give wings to the imaginations of both kids and adults alike when it was first released. The sci-fi movie's unique story centered around a friendly extraterrestrial left us bewitched, embedding itself into our cinematic consciousness. Whether it was the distinct appearance of E.T. himself or the captivating bicycle flying scene, the power of this visual narrative is embedded deeply into our collective nostalgia, inspiring generations to dream and believe in the magic of film.

"The Little Mermaid": Disney's Regain in Popularity

"The Little Mermaid" marked a pivotal moment in Disney's history, leading to a perceptible surge in the company's popularity. This enchanting underwater fairy tale drew audiences with its heartwarming characters and memorable, sing-along tunes. It resurrected the immersive world Disney was known for, helping to place it back in a favorable light among viewers and solidify its place in the annals of cinematic history. This resurgence of Disney encapsulates the enduring appeal of the animations of the '80s.

"Ferris Bueller's Day Off": Defining The Teen Rebellion

"Ferris Bueller's Day Off" championed the spirit of teenage rebellion in the 80s; its compelling depiction of teen resistance to authority resonated with a nationwide audience. The movie's engaging narrative and memorable characters, especially the charismatic Ferris Bueller, struck a chord with viewers, effectively bringing the diverse nuances of adolescent defiance to the cinema scene. The movie's influence remains palpable even today, as later films continue to draw inspiration from its iconic representation of youth rebellion.

"Predator": When Horror Meets Science Fiction

"Predator" brilliantly melded the realms of horror and science fiction, producing a uniquely thrilling experience. The film, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, became a defining example of how these two genres could not only coexist but also enhance each other. Its chilling storyline, combined with a suspenseful extraterrestrial element, resulted in an unforgettable cinematic adventure that reshaped genre expectations. By deftly blending shocking scares with captivating sci-fi lore, "Predator" remains a must-see for fans of either genre and for those seeking heart-pound thrillers.

"Scarface": The Epitome of Crime Drama

"Scarface" undeniably left an indelible mark on crime drama. Its depiction of Tony Montana's ruthless ascent in the Miami drug trade revolutionized the portrayal of crime figures in cinema. Al Pacino's memorable performance further enhanced the film's strong influence, expressing a vivid exploration of unchecked ambition and moral decay. "Scarface" continues to inspire contemporary crime dramas, solidifying its status as a key reference point in cinema.

"The Shining": A Masterpiece of Psychological Horror

"The Shining" is revered as an unparalleled example of psychological horror cinema. Its masterful blend of suspense, supernatural elements, and breathtaking performances set an enduring standard for the genre. This movie engaged audiences with its complex exploration of isolation and psychosis, augmenting the terror through distinctive visual storytelling and chilling sound design. Beyond its initial release, the film has maintained a strong cultural influence, continuing to captivate and inspire filmmakers and horror enthusiasts alike with its haunting narrative and iconic imagery.

"The Terminator": Science Fiction at Its Peak

the terminator science fiction at its peak

Emerging in an exciting era for the genre, "The Terminator" heralded a new dawn for science fiction movies. Its innovative approach, captivating narrative, and jaw-dropping special effects swiftly elevated it to cult status. Notable characters and unforgettable lines etched into the minds of viewers transform the sophisticated tech-based thriller into a timeless watch even for the modern audience. Today, its influence can be traced in numerous successors, proving the dynamic endurance of this unique 80s masterpiece.

"Top Gun": Inspiring Military Aviation Movies

"Top Gun" carved a niche for military aviation films, setting the expectation for future contenders. From the thrill of aerial combat sequences, to the unvarnished portrayal of military life, "Top Gun" ignited a spark in viewers. It laid the foundation for films like "Iron Eagle" and "Black Hawk Down." Engaging characters and gripping plots fostered a cultural curiosity about military aviation, evidenced by a boom in flight school applications post-release. "Top Gun" truly redefined the genre, propelling military aviation cinema into the mainstream.

"Beverly Hills Cop": The Rise of Comedy Action

"Beverly Hills Cop" stands as a cornerstone in the rise of the comedy-action genre, cleverly fusing humor and high-octane thrills that set a new trend in filmmaking. Hollywood's blend of light-hearted banter juxtaposed with thrilling car chases and intense plotlines reinvented the cinematic landscape in the 80s. This shift not only entertained audiences but also secured the broad appeal and longevity of such films, confirming "Beverly Hills Cop" as a blueprint for comedy-action successes.

"Platoon": Reflecting on the Vietnam War

The film "Platoon" serves as a stark reflection on the Vietnam War, powerfully evoking the atrocities and realities of the battlefield. Its storyline is hard-hitting, fraught with war's traumatizing encounters, and offering an authentic depiction of the political and social ramifications of the conflict. As one of the definitive war narratives of the 80s, "Platoon" dares to expose the brutalities of the Vietnam War, making it a pivotal watch for understanding this historical period.

Summary: The Impact of 80s Movies Today

The resurgence of 80s cinema speaks volumes about their timeless appeal and enduring impact on modern movies. From genre-defining classics like "Back to the Future" and "Die-Hard" to attention-grabbing narratives like "Blade Runner" and "The Breakfast Club", 80s movies continue to leverage their influential legacy for current films. Furthermore, numerous stars from this era remain celebrated figures today. Thus, these remarkable movies, with their iconic characters and memorable themes, have left an indelible mark on the cinematic landscape.

Published on May 31, 2024 by George Djaniants

George Djaniants

CEO & Co-Founder