The 80s have made a big comeback. We can't seem to get enough of that decade- from music and fashion to overall aesthetics.
Known as the decade of greed and excess, the 80s gave birth to the modern Hollywood blockbuster format and 'high concept' films. The decade gave us Scarface, Empire of the Sun, Raging Bull, Blade Runner, Indiana Jones, Terminator, Gremlins, Ghost Busters, E.T., and countless other films now considered as classics.
With its successful series Stranger Things, Netflix has arguably led the charge for a full-blown 80s revival, but it has consistently been showing iconic movies from that period for quite some time.
Here's your chance to catch some of the network's finest and most recent additions from that decade. Without further ado, here's a list of the 10 best 80s movies on Netflix!
She’s Gotta Have It (1986)
This is director Spike Lee’s brilliant black-and-white debut film about a black woman and her three lovers as she asserts her sexual identity while living in a slut-shaming patriarchal society. The movie was extremely controversial at the time and featured graphic scenes of sexual assault. It was such a landmark film that Netflix decided to re-adapt the movie into a series in 2017 that lasted two seasons.
When Harry Met Sally (1989)
A timeless story about how sex could potentially ruin a good friendship. They start out as acquaintances- Harry is dating Sally’s best friend, and a drive to Chicago after college graduation confirms that deep down, they truly despise each other and hope never to cross paths again. The universe, however, has other plans, and the two reconnect despite the odds and develop a deep friendship. The movie is considered a rom-com classic and is directed by Rob Reiner (Stand by Me, A Few Good Men, This is Spinal Tap).
Music icon David Bowie stars as Goblin King Jareth, the main antagonist of this genre-busting masterpiece by Jim Henson.
Sixteen-year-old Sarah Williams (Jennifer Connelly) is frustrated at constantly watching over his baby brother and carelessly wishes him to be taken away by goblins. Her wish becomes a reality when a pack of goblins led by the goblin king snatches her brother and is offered the fulfillment of all her dreams in exchange. She regrets wishing him away and must now embark on a quest to reach the center of an enormous maze in thirteen hours.
Although the film received mixed reviews and was a disappointment at the box office at the time, the movie has been critically re-evaluated and is now considered a classic and Jim Henson’s finest moment.
Steel Magnolias (1989)
The film that helped launch Julia Roberts’ career, it also stars Daryl Hannah as Anelle Dupuy, a newcomer in a small Louisiana town where she is befriended and welcomed by a group of ordinary women whose bond is made stronger by sharing their grief, trials, heartaches, and unforeseen tragedies.
The film also stars Shirley McLaine, Sally Field, Olympia Dukakis, and Dolly Parton.
Police Academy (1984)
A shortage of police officers enables a group of incompetent misfits to enter the police academy. Get ready for some good old-fashioned slapstick humor care of Steve Guttenberg, G.W. Bailey, Bubba Smith, George R. Robertson, Michael Winslow, and Kim Cattrall.
Hard Lessons: The George McKenna Story (1986)
The George McKenna Story paved the way for what has become a clichéd and much-parodied Hollywood subgenre- the helping out problem students in troubled neighborhoods by well-meaning teachers kind of drama. The film is based on a true story and stars Denzel Washington as George McKenna and is a classic example of the kind of self-righteous acting niche the actor managed to carve for himself in the early days of his career.
Road House (1989)
Patrick Swayze and his classic mullet haircut stars as a bouncer in a dirty bar in this close-look study of toxic masculinity and unfettered violence. The handsome young Swayze is joined by the equally gorgeous Kelly Lynch, Julie Michaels, and Sam Elliott.
The Color Purple (1985)
Steven Spielberg is responsible for many iconic films in the 80s, but The Color Purple is unique in receiving 11 Academy Award nominations without a single win. The film received mixed reviews and was criticized for being overproduced, among other things. Nevertheless, most agree that it was a good film, grossing 142 million USD at the box office.
Risky Business (1983)
If you take a look at the recent list of Hollywood’s highest-paid actors, you will find that majority of them made their breakthrough films in the 80s. Tom Cruise is one such actor, and Risky Business is the film that helped bring him to the moviegoing public’s attention. Fresh from finishing the shooting of the Francis Ford Copolla coming-of-age drama film The Outsiders, the then 21-year-old actor followed up with another coming-of-age film, this time a teen comedy.
While a movie about a teenager partying while his parents are away is far from groundbreaking, Tom Cruise manages to make the character memorable, and the music helps make the movie fun to watch.
National Lampoon's Vacation (1983)
John Hughes is an iconic screenplay writer and is responsible for some of the most memorable coming-of-age and comedy flicks of the 80s, such as Pretty in Pink, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, and The Breakfast Club. For National Lampoon’s Vacation, he is joined by another great director/writer Harold Ramis (Stripes, Ghostbusters, Back to School). Together with the actor Chevy Chase, the trio arguably created Chase’s most-recognizable film character, Clark Griswold.
Make sure to watch this quintessential road trip comedy film on Netflix before it’s gone- it is the blueprint movie of all the road trip comedies that would come decades later.
Quiet Victory (1988)
A real-life story about a high school teacher and a football coach who is diagnosed with a serious illness but refuses to throw the towel. The film stars Pam Dawber, Michael Nouri, Bess Mayer, and Peter Berg.
We hope you enjoyed the list as much as we did, and don't forget to catch them all only on Netflix!