Top 14 Best 80s Movies on Netflix

80s movies on Netflix

The 1980s: What a time to be alive! – at least from a cinephile’s point of view. Some of the best movies in history came out during this decade, and we are going to talk about those today. We did our best to keep clear of our nostalgia goggles and only talk about those movies that actually deserve to be on this list. Without further ado, here are the best 80s movies on Netflix.

14. Top Gun

Release Date on Netflix: September 2016
Director: Tony Scott
Runtime: 1 hour 50 minutes
IMDb Rating: 6.9
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 55%
MPAA Rating: rated PG in USA & Canada.
Streaming on: Netflix USA, Canada, Bulgaria, Estonia, Indonesia, and Sri Lanka.

Filmed in California and made with an estimated budget of $15,000,000, Top Gun has it all to make it big: action, drama, and romance. Therefore, it’s no wonder the movie made about $176,800,000 over the years.

Top Gun starts with the story of Lieutenant Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, member of the US Aviation, who heroically proves himself from the first minutes of the movie. Thus, he gets to be part of the Top Gun Naval Flying School, which sounds as challenging as you’d expect. But quick enough he becomes aware of other challenges around him, like the attitudes of his colleagues or stories from his father’s past which come back to haunt him.

Starring Tom Cruise, Kelly McGillis, and Tim Robbins, and written by Jack Epps Jr. & Jim Cash, Top Gun manages to portray the pressure and struggles that come with this highly satisfactory and dangerous job. Therefore, it is one of the best 80s movies on Netflix at the moment.

13. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial


Release Date on Netflix: November 2014
Director: Steven Spielberg
Runtime: 1 hour 55 minutes
IMDb Rating: 7.9
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 98%
MPAA Rating: rated PG in the USA & between G and PG in Canada.
Streaming on: Netflix USA, Canada, Brazil, Bulgaria, Finland, Greenland, Greece, Hong Kong, Jamaica, New Zealand, South Africa, Turkey, and the Netherlands.

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial stars Henry Thomas, Drew Barrymore, and Peter Coyote and is one of those inspirational & timeless 80s movies. Therefore, it’s no wonder the movie earned Oscars for best sound, best visual & sound effects, and the movie with the best music. E.T. also conquered the Golden Globes, BAFTA awards, and the Saturn award for the best science fiction film, among others. Therefore, it’s safe to say it’s one of the best 80s movies on Netflix at the moment.

E.T. tells the moving, even tear-jerking story of a friendly and helpless alien that ended up on Earth and the little boy who saw E.T. for what he truly was: a gentle & extremely resourceful creature. The two develop a beautiful friendship during the course of what definitely is the best 80s movie for some, despite E.T. being hunted down by the government.

12. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off


Release Date on Netflix: January 2015
Director: John Hughes
Runtime: 1 hour 43 minutes
IMDb Rating: 7.8
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 81%
MPAA Rating: rated PG-13 in the USA & PG in Canada.
Streaming on: Netflix USA, UK, France, Brazil, New Zealand, Germany, Austria, and the Netherlands

If you need a good pick-me-up movie, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is the way to go. Starring  Matthew Broderick, Alan Ruck, and Mia Sara, the movie focuses on a high school “smartass” that decides he doesn’t want to go to school one day, and nothing can turn him away from this. Thus, he comes up with an ingenious plan which involves his girlfriend Sloan and his friend Cameron.

But the school principal Ed Rooney has had enough of Ferris and his friends and will do anything to make a responsible adult out of him, or at least a young man who regularly attends school. Although it only got the 12th place in our best 80s movies on Netflix list, this movie is a must-see for any high schooler & ex-high-schooler out there.

11. The Princess Bride


Release Date on Netflix: July 2016
Director: Rob Reiner
Runtime: 1 hour 38 minutes
IMDb Rating: 8.1
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 97%
MPAA Rating: rated PG in the USA & between G and PG in Canada
Streaming on: Netflix USA, Canada, Brazil, Australia, New Zealand, France, Germany, Argentina, Austria, and Venezuela

Although The Princess Bride did not make the cut into our top 10, it’s one of our favorite 80s movies on Netflix. The beginning of the movie introduces us to a bedridden boy who listens to his grandfather read from a book that’s much older than him, passed down from generation to generation. The story is none other than that of the princess bride, Buttercup, who is forced to marry Prince Humperdink.

But Wesley, a helper at the farm, will not back down until Buttercup is safe and happy – and it just happens that she also has an attachment towards him.

10. Stand by Me

Release Date on Netflix: November 2014
Director: Rob Reiner
Runtime: 1 hour 28 minutes
IMDb Rating: 8.1
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 91%
MPAA Rating: Rated G & PG throughout Canada and R in the USA.
Streaming on: Netflix Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Bangladesh, Botswana, Cambodia, Denmark, Egypt, Ethiopia, Germany, Greenland, Hong-Kong, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, Jordan, Morocco, Nepal, Norway, Phillippines, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, Vietnam.

Directed by Rob Rainer and adapted from a short Stephen King novella, the mere plot of Stand by Me pretty much guaranteed that anyone who starred in it would further their Hollywood career. Will Wheaton, Corey Feldman, River Phoenix, Kiefer Sutherland, and Jerry O’Connell all starred in this amazing coming-of-age story which takes place in Castle Rock in the summer of ’59.

Stand by Me tells the story of four boys traveling through the woods in order to find the body of a local boy that had been missing for a few days. During their journey, they discover more than they could think about friendship, themselves, and about standing up for what is right. Even though it’s in the last place, it’s still one of the best 80s movies on Netflix because it depicts childhood in such a unique, honest, and refreshing manner.

9. The Thing

Release Date on Netflix: November 1st, 2014
Director: Matthijs van Heijningen Jr.
Runtime: 1 hour 49 minutes
IMDb Rating: 8.2
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 81%
MPAA Rating: Rated R in the USA and MA15+ in Canada.
Streaming on: Netflix Argentina, Aruba, Bahamas, Bolivia, Brazil, Cayman islands, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Venezuela.

Starring Kurt Russel, Wilford Brimley, and Keith David, The Thing is a 1982 horror masterpiece directed by the legendary John Carpenter. It is widely considered one of the best horror, suspense, mystery, and sci-fi movies ever created. Despite it having gone through a remake in 2011, everybody is still talking about the classic and it’s one of the best Netflix 80s movies out there.

The movie is set in the early winter of 1982, at a United States research station in Antarctica. The crew receives a mysterious radio message from a nearby Norwegian base and decides to investigate. Nevertheless, upon arrival, they notice that the whole crew is either dead or missing. Most of the movie’s suspense comes from the dead body they take back to their research station out of sheer curiosity. They soon realize they have made a terrible mistake: the body is that of an alien being which is able to take the shape of any creature it infects.

A true legend of horror and one of the best 80s movies currently on Netflix, this flick is a must-see for any cinephile.

8. Die Hard

Release Date on Netflix: November 2015
Director: John McTiernan
Runtime: 2 hours 11 minutes
IMDb Rating: 8.2
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 92%
MPAA Rating: Rated R in the USA and 13+ in Canada
Streaming on: Netflix UK & Ireland. 

Not only one of the best 80s movies on Netflix, but one of the best Christmas movies of all time, Die Hard is considered the perfect movie by many. With its very relatable performances, exquisite pacing, great dialogue, and myriads of quotable lines, Die Hard stars Bruce Willis and Alan Rickman in two of the most critically acclaimed roles of their career.

Introducing NYPD officer John McClane (Bruce Willis) to the silver screen, most of the action on Die Hard takes place during Christmas in Nakatomi Plaza. After a group of bank robbers takes over the building where his wife’s holiday party is being held, John has to take them out one by one in order to save the hostages. Alan Rickman’s Hans Gruber also provides a brilliant antithesis to Willis’ McClane, as the two square off in a test of wits and stubbornness.

This movie is a must-see for a multitude of reasons, but what stands out is Bruce Willis’ honest performance. The way these 2 characters interact and grow builds up expectations for a glorious finale which does not disappoint.

7. Scarface

Release Date on Netflix: October 2016
Director: Brian De Palma
Runtime: 2 hours 50 minutes
IMDb Rating: 8.3
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 82%
MPAA Rating: Originally rated X in the USA, currently rated R; originally rated 18+ in Canada, currently rated R.
Streaming on: Netflix USA, Canada, France, Austria, Germany, Brazil, Australia, & New Zealand.

This classic ’80s crime drama was directed by Brian De Palma and stars Al Pacino, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Steven Bauer. It is one of the most iconic drug cartel movies of all time, as Pacino brings a stellar and often misquoted performance to the big screen.

Scarface tells the story of the immortal Tony Montana, a very determined Cuban immigrant who takes over a drug cartel after leaving Cuba, exploring the overarching themes of greed, ambition, and wanton violence. Few movies have managed to capture the cruel & luxurious nature of cartel life as compellingly and tragically as De Palma’s movie.

Of course, Al Pacino also deserves credit since few, if any actors could have portrayed such a convincing and disturbing performance. The Oliver Stone screenplay might also have had something to do with why this flick is considered one of the best 80s films on Netflix.

6. Raging Bull

Release Date on Netflix: January 2015
Director: Martin Scorsese
Runtime: 2 hours 9 minutes
IMDb Rating: 8.2
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 82%
MPAA Rating: Rated PA and R in Canada & R in the USA.
Streaming on: Netflix Brazil, France. 

Directed by Martin Scorsese, and starring Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, and Cathy Moriarty, Raging Bull is one of the movies which got De Niro the levels of fame he has today. It is also what established him as a method actor, as De Niro had to bulk up and gain a lot of weight in order to play an older version of his character.

Following the tale of boxer Jake LaMotta, Raging Bull is not just one of the best 1980 movies on Netflix, but also one of the best biographical sports dramas of all time. As the self-destructive, violent pugilist journeyed through life, his temper cost him even more than the fame and glory it helped him gain. If you’re looking for an intense movie with hot-blooded characters and heartfelt dialogue, this is the one for you.

Although often compared to “Rocky”, the only thing these movies have in common is boxing. Raging Bull will surprise you with its depth, raw realism, and ageless character.

5. Full Metal Jacket

Release Date on Netflix: October 2014
Director: Stanley Kubrick
Runtime: 1 hour 56 minutes
IMDb Rating: 8.3
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 95%
MPAA Rating: Rated R in the USA & between 13+ and 18A in Canada.
Streaming on: Netflix USA, France, Germany, Austria, Norway, Finland, Denmark, and Sweden. 

Widely considered one of the (but not THE) best Stanley Kubrick movies of all time, Full Metal Jacket is definitely worthy of this 80s movies on Netflix list. Starring Matthew Modine, Adam Baldwin, Vincent D’Onofrio, and many other great actors, this movie is one of the best war dramas of all time.

This movie is divided into two parts and has two different storylines. The first one focuses on the recruits commanded by boot camp Gunnery Sergeant Hartman, while the second one focuses on one of those recruits covering the war as a correspondent. The movie portrays the way war dehumanizes soldiers in a shocking, yet effective way, following them along their boot camp training and all throughout the battles & the streetfighting.

4. The Shining

Release Date on Netflix: February 2015
Director: Stanley Kubrick
Runtime: 2 hours 26 minutes
IMDb Rating: 8.4
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 87%
MPAA Rating: rated R in USA and Canada.
Streaming on: Netflix Canada, Finland, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Austria, and the Netherlands. 

Yet another one of Stanley Kubrick’s masterpieces, The Shining stars Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, and Danny Lloyd and is inspired by Steven King’s novel with the same name.

In this movie adaptation, Kubrick brings us the story of Jack Torrance, a family man who takes his wife and son to an isolated hotel for the winter. But he quickly succumbs to the spirits haunting the establishment while Wendy, his wife, has to do whatever she can to keep herself and her son alive. What we really loved about this movie was t

The Shining is, without a shadow of a doubt, one of the best 80s movies on Netflix. A true cinematographic work of art like most of Kubrick’s projects, The Shining was a critical success. Steven King and many of his constant readers, however, were famously displeased with how the movie turned out. Nonetheless, it made the 4th spot in our list of movies from the 80s and would be higher on a horror movie list.

3. Back to the Future

Release Date on Netflix: February 2015
Director: Robert Zemeckis
Runtime: 1 hour 56 minutes
IMDb Rating: 8.5
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 96%
MPAA Rating: rated PG in the USA and g / PG in Canada.
Streaming on: Netflix USA, France, Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, and Brazil. 

This list about the best 80s movies on Netflix would have been incomplete without this time-traveling classic. Back to the Future stars Michael J. Fox, Cristopher Lloyd, and Lea Thompson and was directed and written by Robert Zemeckis. With one Oscar, eighteen wins, and twenty-six nominations, this movie started what would become one of the greatest trilogies of all time.

Seventeen-year-old Marty McFly is sent thirty years into the past by the time-traveling DeLorean devised by his scientist best friend, Doc Brown. But soon after he arrives in the past, his mom accidentally develops a crush on him. Therefore, Marty has to make sure that his parents fall in love & are on the right track to conceiving him and his brothers, while also finding a way to go back to his own timeline.

2. Raiders of the Lost Ark

Director: Steven Spielberg
Runtime: 1 hour 55 minutes
IMDb Rating: 8.5
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 94%
MPAA Rating: rated PG in USA, G/ PG / 13+ in Canada
Update: At the moment, this movie is no longer available for streaming on Netflix. We will update this page as soon as its Netflix availability changes. 

Starring Harrison Ford, Karen Allen, and Paul Freeman, Raiders of the Lost Ark doesn’t need an introduction. Directed by Steven Spielberg and written by George Lucas, Philip Kaufman, and Lawrence Kasdan, this is Indiana Jones’ first adventure ever. It would eventually lead to not only one of the best 80s movies on Netflix, but one of the best franchises of all time, despite one particularly low point.

The movie takes place in the year 1936. Archaeology professor Indiana Jones embarks on an epic journey to find the Ark of the Covenant, an ancient artifact said to hold the key to human existence. He must do so while venturing to places such as Egypt and Nepal, all while trying to find the Ark before the Nazis.

1. Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back

Director: Irvin Kershner
Runtime: 2 hours 4 minutes
IMDb Rating: 8.8
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 94%
MPAA Rating: rated PG in Canada & the USA.
Update: At the moment, this movie is no longer available for streaming on Netflix. We will update this page as soon as its Netflix availability changes. 

Yet another title in need of no introduction, Star Wars Episode V was written by George Lucas, Leigh Brackett, and Lawrence Kasdan. Starring Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, and many other unforgettable names, The Empire Strikes Back is definitely the best movie to come out of the eighties. Considered to be the best Star Wars movie, it paved the way for a whole cinematic and commercial franchise, including a prequel trilogy, a sequel trilogy, spin-offs, and Star Wars merchandise. This makes it the number one entry on this list of the best 80s movies on Netflix.

Taking place after the events of A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back has Luke training in the ways of the Jedi with master Yoda, while the rest of our heroes are forced to flee across the galaxy from the forces of the evil Darth Vader. Leading to a reveal unlike any seen before this point, and to a line as iconic as it is misquoted, this film was the official sequel which led to the Star Wars franchise as it is today.

Definitely a time period worthy of nostalgia goggles, the ‘80s also had their ups and downs. When it comes to cinematography, however, this decade has given us some of the best and most iconic films of all time. We hope that you agree with our list of the best 80s movies on Netflix. If you don’t, please leave a comment telling us what you think we got wrong. Until next time, be mindful of how and what you binge watch!

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