From leg warmers to crimped hair, there were a lot of things about the ‘80s that I could do without. Of course, there were plenty of things that made the ‘80s one of the greatest decades ever. Case in point: ‘80s flicks are totally rad.
These days, we don’t have to wait for what feels like a thousand years for a movie to come out on VHS. There are no tapes to rewind before returning them to Blockbuster.
Instead, we can find plenty of the best ‘80s movies on Netflix.
So if you’re, like, looking for something to stream tonight, check out this list of the best ‘80s movies on Netflix right now.
You can’t dive into ‘80s movies on Netflix without watching 1986’s Labyrinth. Featuring the late David Bowie as the Goblin King, this one’s a blast from the magical mind of Jim Henson.
Jennifer Conolly plays Sarah, who embarks on an epic quest to save her baby brother from a fantasy world filled with goblins and other creatures. There’s music, Henson’s puppet creatures, and David Bowie’s stellar hair. Nothing is as it seems here!
When Brian (played by Fred Savage) confronts his fears and gets to know the monster under his bed, he winds up with some hilariously weird new friends. It feels very ‘80s for sure, thanks to Talking Heads on the soundtrack and that classic whimsicality found in fantasy films from the same time.
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
John Hughes made a lot of quintessential coming-of-age teen comedies, but Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is at the head of the class. It was even selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress for being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”
On the surface, it’s a movie about Ferris Bueller faking sick to skip school and run around Chicago with his girlfriend and best friend. As they take a joy ride in a Ferrari, the principal is determined to catch Bueller skipping. But the movie expertly touches on plenty of deeper themes, like issues with failure and living in the moment.
“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
Before Julia Roberts was a Pretty Woman, she starred in 1988’s Mystic Pizza. The coming-of-age film focuses on the complicated love lives of three Portuguese-American teen girls working as waitresses at — you guessed it — Mystic Pizza. Don’t let the simple premise fool you, though. It’s heartfelt, genuine, and moving.
Once Upon a Time in America
The final movie directed by Italian filmmaker Sergio Leone before his death, 1984’s Once Upon a Time in America is often cited as one of the greatest gangster films of all time.
It follows two close friends, played by Robert De Niro and James Woods, as they form their own gang and navigate the dark world of New York crime. The film explores relationships, betrayal, loss, and greed through the rise of mobsters in America.
The Golden Child
If you can read the title of this movie without singing, “I want the knife,” it’s time for you to finally watch The Golden Child. Sure, it seems silly — it’s about a social worker trying to fulfill his newfound destiny as the “Chosen One” as he rescues the magical Golden Child — but it’s a classic ‘80s Eddie Murphy flick that will make you laugh.
Do the Right Thing
1989’s Do the Right Thing is a comedy-drama from Spike Lee that explores the tension between African-American residents of a Brooklyn neighborhood and the Italian-American owners of a local pizzeria.
It’s definitely worth the watch. The film stars Spike Lee, Danny Aiello, Giancarlo Esposito, and many other familiar faces. It’s also the feature film debut of Rosie Perez and Martin Lawrence. The film received numerous awards and nominations. It was also later selected for preservation in the National Film Registry for being “culturally, historically, and aesthetically significant.”
This 1988 drama won plenty of accolades, and it was a box office success. Tom Cruise plays a selfish workaholic who learns his estranged father has died. When he finds out his autistic brother with savant syndrome, played by Dustin Hoffman, has inherited their father’s fortune, he attempts to gain custody of his brother to get control of the money. The cross-country road trip ends up changing both brothers’ lives, though.
Androids, known as “replicants,” were once developed to aid society, but the superhuman replicants then staged a mutiny on a space colony. The synthetic humans are now illegal on Earth. Now, some of the replicants have stolen a ship and returned to Earth, prompting blade runner Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) to come out of retirement and hunt the rogue androids in a dystopian L.A.
Blade Runner is a masterpiece of science fiction, so get ready for plenty of action and dazzling effects that are a feast for the eyes. On Netflix, you’ll find Blade Runner: The Final Cut, a restored version of Ridley Scott’s film that features never-before-seen footage.