Top Movies from the ’80s

Here are the top five movies from the decade marking 1980

1980 – 1981- “Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back”

Action, Adventure, Fantasy 

On May 21, 1980, “Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back” was released as the middle installment of the original Star Wars trilogy. The story follows as the Galactic Empire (a fictional autocracy ruled by emperor Sheev Palpatine) and Darth Vader attempt to pursue Luke Skywalker and the Rebel Alliance. Skywalker and the Rebel Alliance resist the totalitarian government to restore a republican government. This film received acknowledgment for its accomplishments in sound and revolutionary advancements in special effects for a major motion picture.


1982 – 1983- “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” 

Family, Science Fiction 

On June 11, 1982, “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” was released in the United States. It received international recognition as the fourth-highest grossing film of all time in Canada and the U.S. The story follows a stranded alien who is discovered and befriended by a young boy named Elliott. This film successfully places a science fiction adventure convincingly in a domestic setting with 80s decor.


1984 – 1985- “Gremlins”

Comedy, Fantasy, Horror

On August 30, 1985, “Gremlins” was released in the United States to a horrified audience. Gremlins are fantastical creatures that cause malfunctions in machinery. The story follows as a gadget salesman purchases a ‘Mogwai’ as a special Christmas gift at a store in Chinatown. This infuriates an entire gang of Gremlins, who plan to tear up the town on Christmas Eve. This film further inspired parodies such as “Ghoulies and Critters”, and paving the way for “Toy Story”, “Pokemon,” “The Minions” and more.


1986 – 1987- “Dirty Dancing”

Drama, Music, Romance 

On August 21, 1987, “Dirty Dancing” was released as a drama and romance. The story follows  Baby, the main female protagonist, who runs away from the Peace Corps and reluctantly spends her summer with her parents at a sleepy resort. She meets the resort’s dance instructor and falls in love. This film received an Oscar award for its featured song called “I’ve Had The Time of My Life”, which appropriately follows the plot.


1988 – 1989- “My Neighbor Totoro”

Animation, Family, Fantasy 

On July 16, 1988, “My Neighbor Totoro” was released in Japan. Directed by Hayao Miyazaki, this story follows as a schoolgirl named Satsuke and her sister befriend a massive cuddly creature known as Totoro at an old country house. This film received praise for its dreamy backdrops and childhood nostalgia as it captures moments of innocence as fleeting as summer days spent running barefoot through the grass.