The 80s have been trending lately and the craze has permeated multiple industries thus far. That’s why it’s unsurprising that a lot of people want to reminisce and relive the era’s highlights. How can they do that? By watching movies, of course! If that’s what you’re here for, we have you covered. Here are the top 45 best 80s movies on Netflix you can watch to satisfy your nostalgia.
Why Should You Watch 80s Movies?
Modern technology has afforded us a lot of luxuries in the 21st century. However, it’s no secret that we’ve become a bit too reliant on fancy tech to do the heavy lifting. That’s especially true in the movie industry where films have great CGI but bland – or outright bad – storytelling.
If you dial the clock back, you can find plenty of better films from the 80s that, despite the lower-end FX, feel superior to many modern movies. This is exactly the reason why we recommend watching movies from the 80s on Netflix. There’s just something about the classics and their stories that hit the spot better than your average 21st-century blockbuster.
In addition, if you’re just a big movie buff, then watching the classics is a must. You can’t call yourself a real movie fan without seeing them because they were foundational to modern cinema. Moreover, you’re simply missing out if you don’t at least check out the biggest films that defined the decade.
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45 Best 80s Movies on Netflix
What 80s movies are on Netflix and which ones should you watch? Here’s our list of the best 80s films you certainly shouldn’t miss. Keep in mind that this list segregates movies by genre and lists them in alphabetical order.
Comedy 80s Movies on Netflix
Searching for good 80s movies on Netflix? Let’s start the list with a classic comedy named Beetlejuice. In this film, you follow the story of recently deceased spirits as they find themselves stuck in the Neitherworld. It’s unknown territory as it’s not exactly the world of the living nor is it the afterlife. Instead, it’s more of a limbo phase where the spirits need to try to improve their station. However, the way forward is a little creepy and involves working with mysterious creatures.
What happens when a 12-year-old boy’s wish to become “big” comes true? The movie Big might be able to answer that. As the premise implies, tons of things can go wrong when an adult walks around with a 12-year-old’s mentality. It turns out that being big doesn’t solve your problems – you just have to deal with them like an adult. If you like comedies, then Big is one of the best Netflix movies from the 80s you can watch.
3. Do the Right Thing
Racial conflicts and movies surrounding them have been around for a while. One of which is Do The Right Thing, one of the 80s movies on Netflix that have become a classic. In the film, you watch two feuding factions have at it: the African-Americans and the Italian-Americans. What will happen when each side raises tensions through various provocations? A pretty entertaining movie for folks who love comedies.
4. Eddy Murphy: Raw
There are tons of entertaining movies on Netflix you can watch during your day off. However, if you’re in the mood for a classic comedy, then you shouldn’t miss Eddy Murphy: Raw. It’s packed with his best stand-up content that no Eddy Murphy fan should miss. Just make sure you’re prepared to gasp for air while watching this one.
5. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is one of the best 80s movies on Netflix for fans of comedy. It follows Ferris Bueller, a demotivated kid who one day skips class by faking an illness. The only problem is his high school vice president is on to him and quickly investigates. What ensues is a bunch of shenanigans that come from the chase as Ferris attempts to evade the VP.
6. The Golden Child
One great old movie you should certainly check out is The Golden Child. It follows a private investigator who’s on a mysterious case. He follows and attempts to save a young man who might hold the key to uncovering the truth. However, things go south as the investigator begins to hallucinate and questions his mind.
There are tons of 80s movies on Netflix about high school life, and Heathers is one of them. The story follows Veronica Sawyer, a girl with a dark side struggling to socially combat the popular kids in school. Just when things seem bad, they get worse when a new kid comes along and a love triangle ensues.
8. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
Don’t you just love planning for the holidays to give your family the time of their lives? Not Clark Griswold, the protagonist of one of the best 80s movies on Netflix, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. The story is about our lead, Clark, who just seems to stress himself out while planning for his family’s Christmas. If that wasn’t enough, things get even worse as his cousin Eddie and extended relatives suddenly turn up.
9. She’s Gotta Have It
One of the best ’80s movies on Netflix is none other than She’s Gotta Have It. It follows Nola Darling and her antics as she flirts with three men at once without landing on one. Things seem great at first, but they start to go wrong when all three men suddenly meet.
Family-Friendly 80s Movies on Netflix
1. Honey, I Shrunk the Kids
One of the best family-friendly films from the 80s we recommend is Honey, I Shrunk the Kids. As the title implies, an inventor’s experiment one day goes wrong as he accidentally shrinks his children. It turns out the household is nothing but dangerous for kids – at least when you’re small and ant-sized.
2. Little Monsters
Remember when you were a kid and were always afraid there were monsters under your bed? Well, it turns out that they’re real. At least they are in Little Monsters, one of the best old movies on Netflix. It follows a young lad named Brian whose new gaming device magically summons the in-game monsters he plays with.
Getting your kids to eat their vegetables isn’t easy for any parent. That’s why Popeye is such a great movie to watch for families – bonus points for being entertaining. It follows the story of Popeye and his adventures defending, well, a giant can of spinach. He fights for it and ensures its safety from Bluto, the thief out to get the precious vegetable. What follows are shenanigans that are more entertaining than you’d think in one of the best 80s movies on Netflix.
Drama/Romance 80s Movies on Netflix
1. The Blue Lagoon
One of the most well-loved 80s movies on Netflix is none other than Blue Lagoon. It follows the tale of Emmeline and Richard, two kids who are shipwrecked on an unknown island. As you might expect, they go through puberty and fall in love in this classic coming-of-age tale. It’s certainly one of the best 80s movies on Netflix to watch especially if you’re in the mood for romance.
2. The Breakfast Club
The Breakfast Club is one of the most classic 80s movies on Netflix – and it’s not a classic for nothing. It showcases the story of five unlikely friends who somehow meet through detention one Saturday. What follows is a bond that’s surprising as they uncover connections between each other that they never would have expected. Sure, this movie isn’t action-packed nor does it follow a grand epic narrative. Nonetheless, if you’re up for watching a good drama, then it’s certainly a must-watch.
3. Dirty Dancing
One of the best 80s movies on Netflix is Dirty Dancing. It follows Frances “Baby” Houseman, a 17-year-old woman who’s vacationing with her family at a resort in Catskills. Things seem to flow normally as they do in life. That is until she falls head-over-heels for Johnny Castle, the hotel’s dance teacher. What follows is a lot of romance – and a lot of dancing – in one of the best classics in film.
4. Fast Times at Ridgemont High
There are tons of 80s movies on Netflix about high schoolers and coming-of-age. However, some of them just aren’t as relatable as Fast Times At Ridgemont High. It’s about a girl who seems to just be trying to navigate life and deciding which college to go to. Unfortunately, the problems of a teenager seem never-ending as she struggles with her social status and accidental pregnancy. It’s also problematic that she has a difficult father to deal with.
One of the best old classic movies that any movie (and music) lover should watch is certainly Footloose. It features the struggles of a teenage boy whose family suddenly moves to a small town with strict rules. Both rock music and dancing are strictly prohibited – and both are loved by the main protagonist. Thus, he takes it upon himself to try to lift the ban and bring back his friends’ love for dancing.
6. Hard Lessons
Another one of the greatest 80s movies on Netflix is about a high school principal starring Denzel Washington. His role in this biographical film is simply about one thing: turning a troubled high school into a success. However, it’s not as easy as it looks with troublemaking kids and difficult circumstances blocking the path.
7. La Bamba
Some of the best 80s movies on Netflix revolve around the lives of real people. La Bamba is one example, and it tells the story of Ritchie Valens, one of the first Latino rock stars. It showcases his story ,starting with his first guitar and ending in his untimely death at the age of 18. We certainly recommend it for fans of rock n’ roll or those who simply want to watch a good film.
8. Mystic Pizza
Lots of 80s movies on Netflix tell stories about ordinary people – and Mystic Pizza is no different. However, despite its seemingly ordinary premise, it has a lot to offer drama fans and those looking for classics. It features the story of three adolescent girls who work at a pizza place in Mystic, Connecticut. Each one has a unique story in this one-of-a-kind romantic comedy.
9. The Natural
If you like sports dramas, we highly recommend The Natural, one of the most well-made 80s movies on Netflix. It follows the life and career of Roy Hobbs, one of the rising stars of baseball in the major leagues. That is until his career one day comes to a halt when a woman suddenly injures him. As a result, he’s no longer able to play and struggles to get by until he gets another shot. We certainly recommend checking it out, especially if you like a good story.
10. Purple Rain
Tons of popular bands and musical groups have come and gone throughout the history of music. However, not all of them stay strong – or end well, for that matter. Purple Rain, one of the best 80s movies on Netflix, illustrates that well.
The story is about The Revolution, a fictional band that has become popular and was recently offered a record deal. However, The Kid, the band’s lead vocal, seems to be a little too egotistical leading to lots of drama. As a result, the band eventually breaks up in this classic tale from the 80s.
11. Quiet Victory: The Charlie Wedemeyer Story
The life of a football player seems nothing but glorious and smooth on the outside. However, that isn’t the case for Charlie Wedemeyer, a high school player who struggles with Lou Gehrig’s Disease (ALS). Throughout the story, he constantly fights against its crippling effects and somehow manages to gain victories. That includes managing to play at the Rose Bowl in a historic game in front of 75,000. The movie is one beautiful journey – and it’s certainly one of the 80s movies on Netflix.
12. Raging Bull
Another one of the greatest 80s movies on Netflix is Raging Bull. It features the tale of a mentally unsteady boxer and his life and career. As its premise implies, however, the journey isn’t smooth as his jealousy and violence can get the best of him. Both his private life and career suffer for it, too, and it’s not always that pretty.
13. Rain Man
Rain Man is one of the nicest 80s movies on Netflix if you want to watch a classic drama. It follows the tale of Charlie Babbitt, a collectibles dealer whose rich father one day dies. All that’s left is to collect the inheritance for Charlie. However, things don’t go as expected when he learns that most of the fortune will go to his long-lost brother. Thus, Charlie hatches a plan to obtain the inheritance after he learns of his brother Raymond’s autism and savant syndrome.
14. Risky Business
What happens when a rich kid hires a prostitute after his parents go on vacation for a few days? He gets robbed, of course! Well, at least that’s how it goes in Risky Business – one of the most entertaining 80s movies on Netflix. It’s a classic that’s full of comedy, romance, and tons of shenanigans you’ll never find anywhere else.
15. Stand By Me
Stephen King has a knack for creating stories about friendships between kids who have deep traumas and dark pasts. That was how it is for It and his older film, Stand By Me. The story revolves around four young kids who are on the search for the corpse of another child. However, it’s about more than just that as the story dives into each protagonist’s past – and it’s pretty heavy. Nonetheless, you should certainly check it out as it’s one of the best 80s movies on Netflix.
16. St. Elmo’s Fire
The 80s seem to love relatable stories about life and adulthood, and St. Elmo’s Fire is the epitome of that. It follows a group of young college graduates who are grappling with adulthood. Of course, each character has their struggles – some of them pretty devastating, including fights against cancer, suicide, and more. It’s certainly one of the best 80s movies on Netflix if you’re up for a good coming-of-age film.
17. A Stoning in Fulham County
Seeking justice for murder can sometimes be difficult – especially when the victim’s parents refuse to hold the murderer accountable. At least, that’s what happens in A Stoning in Fulham County, one of the most riveting 80s movies on Netflix. It follows the story of an Amish baby’s murder after a few adolescents throw stones at the family. Now, it’s up to the prosecutor to hold those kids accountable and bring them to justice.
Tootsie is one of those classic 80s movies on Netflix that comedy fans just shouldn’t ignore. It follows the life of Michael Dorsey, a struggling actor with no job. Fortunately, he finds hope after dressing up as a woman and getting a role in a soap opera. However, the only problem is his character is becoming exceedingly popular. How can he reveal his secret and face the world? That’s what Tootsie is all about.
19. Zoot Suit
Race-based conflict is nothing new in North America, and the Zoot Suit Riots are just one example of that. The movie, directed by Luiz Valdez, portrays it magnificently and even showcases the events leading up to it. If you’re curious about the false accusations against Mexican-Americans and the riots that followed, it’s certainly a must-watch.
Action 80s Movies on Netflix
1. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade is one of those classic movies nobody questions. It’s fun, exciting, and is sure to entertain you during a boring weekend. The film follows Indiana Jones as he struggles to find his missing father, the archeologist Dr. Henry Jones Sr. Indiana’s only lead is that he was searching for the Holy Grail. If you love a good adventure, then it’s certainly one of the best 80s movies on Netflix you should watch.
2. Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark
If you’re looking for the best movies on Netflix, then Raiders of the Lost Ark might qualify as one. It follows Indiana Jones and his discovery of a golden relic. However, this attracts unwanted attention, and he embarks on another journey while learning about his past along the way.
3. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
Of course, our recommendations would be incomplete if we didn’t list down Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom. It’s one of the best 80s movies on Netflix, after all – and it’s for a good reason. The film follows Indiana Jones yet again, this time with fellow adventurer Short Round. They’ve suddenly found themselves in India, as the Maharajah’s guests, after a previous encounter with a nightclub vocalist.
4. Midnight Run
Another one of the greatest 80s movies on Netflix is none other than Midnight Run. The story follows Jack, a bounty hunter hired to bring an accountant to Eddie Moscone, a bond dealer. Of course, the mission seemed simple at first, and Jack surmises it won’t take long. However, the situation is more complex than it is on the surface, as the accountant is also wanted for embezzlement.
5. The Naked Gun
What happens when an incompetent cop tries to capture an incapable criminal? One of the best comedy-action 80s movies on Netflix, of course! Don’t get us wrong, the movie still establishes real stakes and consequences if Debrin doesn’t capture the criminal. Nonetheless, it’s still certainly enjoyable and just a good bit of entertainment.
6. Red Dawn
One of the best 80s movies on Netflix is undoubtedly Red Dawn. It follows the capture of a bunch of teenage American rebels near the end of World War III. However, just as things seemed bleak, the Green Berets arrive to free them and help them defend their home.
Science Fiction 80s Movies on Netflix
1. Back to the Future
There are tons of good 80s movies on Netflix that are sure to provide entertainment. However, none can compare to the brilliance of Back to the Future. The story showcases Marty McFly’s life when he accidentally travels to the past via the DeLorean. What follows is a bunch of life-altering events that change the future as he makes his way back home.
2. Blade Runner
Another one of the greatest 80s movies on Netflix is Blade Runner. It features Rick Deckard, a former officer who’s on the hunt for a bunch of replicants – artificial humans – who’ve recently run away. What follows is a lot of sci-fi, tons of action, and great special effects for their time.
3. E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial
What were the top 5 movies in the 80s? If you were to ask anyone, E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial would certainly be on the list. It follows Elliott, a boy who uncovers and bonds with an alien who’s stuck on earth.
Crime 80s Movies on Netflix
1. Once Upon a Time in America
Gangster and crime-based 80s movies on Netflix don’t get any better than Once Upon a Time in America. It follows two friends who create a gang and deal with the darkness of New York’s world of crime.
2. Police Academy
Becoming a police officer is hard, especially when you have a criminal record. Nonetheless, that doesn’t stop Carey Mahoney and his friends from teaming up and learning the ropes to become NYPD officers.
Horror/Thriller 80s Movies on Netflix
1. Child’s Play
One of the best scary 80s movies on Netflix is certainly Child’s Play. It centers around a seemingly normal doll – except it’s possessed by an evil serial killer.
2. The Evil Dead
One might think The Evil Dead is about zombies at first glance. However, while that’s close, it’s actually about flesh-possessing demons. While these demons aren’t normally around, a group of unsuspecting people accidentally unleash them.
3. Strange Voices
Strange Voices is another one of the best horror 80s movies on Netflix. However, instead of supernatural occurrences, the strange voices Nicole begins to hear come from a different source. That is her emerging schizophrenia.
How to Find 80s Movies on Netflix
Unfortunately, there isn’t any Netflix 80s movie code you can type into the search bar to find a comprehensive list. As a result, you’ll need to look for each movie by name if you want to watch the classics.
Alternatively, you can also filter your search by the “Classics” category if you want a larger library to choose from. However, the movies there could also belong to the 90s, 2000s, or even 2010s depending on the film. Nonetheless, it’s a convenient way to search for 80s movies on Netflix if you’re willing to put in the time.
Should You Binge on the Best 80s Movies on Netflix?
There are tons of classic 80s movies on Netflix, and if you have the time, we highly recommend them. Sure, they may not feel anything like modern high-budget films from the MCU or Star Wars franchises. Nonetheless, the 80s and even 90s movies on Netflix have a certain charm that modern movies just can’t replicate.