Loosen your hair and grab your Walkman as we run through the best sci-fi movies of the 80s.
The 80s are famous for so many things – the release of the first Macintosh computer, the rise of hip-hop and punk rock, voluminous hair and bold and bright fashion choices, but most of all, we take a look to movies.
There’s no doubt that the 1980s were a standout decade for the science fiction film genre, with the emergence of so many iconic titles. From alien relations to galaxies at war, the ’80s were full of movie moments that transformed the movies that followed.
Of course, with a plethora of fantastic movies on offer from this decade, it’s hard to narrow down a top ten. But, after going through all the perms and shoulder pads, we’ve done the hard work for you and put together this list of the best ’80s sci-fi movies for you to peruse and enjoy. As often, the worlds imagined in the 80s often take place in years already passed, which makes their observation even more fascinating. We are still waiting for the promised hoverboards,
The sci-fi genre doesn’t start or end with the ’80s, and while a few of those ’80s hits made it to our best sci-fi movies list, there’s a lot more to it. discover you might want to discover. Or, if you’re interested in more intergalactic adventures, check out our best space movies and best space horror movie lists.
- Release date: July 9, 1982
- To throw: Jeff Bridges, Bruce Boxleitner, David Warner
First, in 1982, Disney released Tron, a movie about a computer programmer named Flynn (Jeff Bridges), who is transported to a virtual world and battles malware in order to escape and return home. A groundbreaking concept for a sci-fi film of its time and one that has continually been praised for its use of CGI to bring “the grid” to life. This is virtual reality as it was imagined in the 80s and there is something incredibly nostalgic about seeing the world through this lens.
Tron is a cult movie in the sci-fi genre and it earned a spot on our list of the best sci-fi movies of the 80s for the leaps it took in the sci-fi world. Plus, these lightweight bikes were radiant.
9. Flash Gordon
- Release date: December 5, 1980
- To throw: Sam J. Jones, Melody Anderson, Max von Sydow
Flash Gordon, the comic book superhero with luxurious blond hair, was born in 1980 when director Mike Hodges brought him to the big screen. Flash, a soccer star, is tasked with traveling to the planet Mongo to battle Ming the Merciless and save Earth.
A quirky and fun tale that sees Max von Sydow as its shining star playing Emperor Ming himself. Max’s acting prowess for the character turns this crazy intergalactic adventure into a fun movie for sci-fi movie fans. It wasn’t exactly popular when it was released, but Flash Gordon is now a sci-fi cult classic, praised for its entertainment value, iconic scenes and let’s not forget Queen’s epic soundtrack. . Flash, Ah-ah!
- Release date: July 17, 1987
- To throw: Peter Weller, Nancy Allen, Dan O’Herlihy
Dead or alive, you come with me! Legendary director Paul Verhoeven introduced us to RoboCop, the crime-fighting, ass-kicking cyborg of the Detroit Police Department. While on the job, police officer Alex Murphy (Peter Weller) is murdered by a criminal gang. He is then brought back to life by mega corp Omni Consumer Products as RoboCop – part man, part robot, all cop. What better origin story for revenge than a cop turned superhuman with a thirst for righting wrongs?
Starting in 1987, RoboCop ushered in spin-offs, sequels, and a dodgy reboot years later, but nothing can beat the original. RoboCop is packed with violence, action, and surprising emotional depth as it satirizes and warns us of the dangers of the unchecked power of corporate greed.
- Release date: June 12, 1987
- To throw: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Carl Weathers, Kevin Peter Hall
Here’s another movie from 1987, but this time it’s the start of one of sci-fi’s most iconic horror franchises – Predator. Led by Arnold Schwarzenegger amid his sci-fi movie dominance, he takes on the role of Major “Dutch” Schaefer. Dutch is joined by elite paramilitary mercenaries on a mission to rescue political hostages in the Guatemalan rainforest.
It’s no simple task on its own, but one that becomes even more difficult when the team comes face-to-face (or face-to-face with terrifying alien mandibles) with an out-of-this-world hunter Predator (Kevin Peter Hall). tracking them down and brutally killing them. Big muscles, big monsters, and even bigger scares make for a great sci-fi movie.
6. Blade runner
- Release date: June 25, 1982
- To throw: Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young
In 1982, director Ridley Scott imagined the city of Los Angeles in 2019 as a dystopian landscape riddled with futuristic technologies impacting society in detrimental ways. We’re not there yet, but it’s safe to say we’re on the right track.
Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) is an ex-cop who came out of retirement as a special agent with a mission to eliminate violent replicants found illegally on Earth. It’s a slow burner that leads viewers down a rabbit hole questioning what it means to be human, all against the neon backdrop of the dystopian future.
Blade Runner is an absolute masterpiece of the sci-fi genre and is a perfect marriage of the neo-noir and cyberpunk movements in cinema. It’s also one of the best sci-fi movies based on books, a retelling of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick.
5. The Thing
- Release date: June 25, 1982
- To throw: Kurt Russell, Wilford Brimley, Keith David
Next, a film that puts the realism of special and practical effects above the use of CGI. Known to this day for its ability to instill fear in sci-fi fans around the world, The Thing uses trickery and cinematic prosthetics to create a film filled with iconic horror moments.
The premise? A research team in Antarctica is thrown into turmoil when an alien life form takes over their research base. What’s even scarier is that he has the ability to assimilate and imitate those around him, so no one knows who to trust. This spectacular film has found its way into the hearts of sci-fi fans with its unique storyline, realistic effects and, of course, Kurt Russell’s amazing beard.
- Release date: July 18, 1986
- To throw: Sigourney Weaver, Michael Biehn, Carrie Henn
Aliens are the biggest, baddest and wiggest compared to 1979’s Alien. Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) returns after years of cryogenic sleep to find that xenomorphs are still a huge problem and threaten the existence of aliens. a human colony.
Combining Sigourney’s Oscar-nominated performance with a gripping final showdown against the alien queen, Aliens has its signature sci-fi moments that transformed this franchise and sparked four more films after it. If you’re looking to look through the franchise, or maybe you’re already a fan, we’ve rounded up the Alien movies, ranked from worst to best for your viewing pleasure.
3. The Terminator
- Release date: October 26, 1984
- To throw: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Michael Biehn
Bringing together the directing talents of James Cameron, the flexing muscles of Arnold Schwarzenegger and the acting talents of Linda Hamilton, this is The Terminator. The Terminator spawned a franchise spanning six movies, some of which you might want to skip, but luckily we have a guide to The Terminator movies, ranked from worst to best.
James Cameron directed the first two films in the franchise and brought the character to life as Arnie’s relentless killing machine hunts down Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) whose unwitting unborn son will shape the future of the humanity. Arguably Terminator 2: Judgment Day is a sequel worthy of a prized spot on our list, but it came out in 1991, and instead we’re praising The Terminator for being the movie that started it all.
2. Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back
- Release date: May 21, 1980
- To throw: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher
Could we make a list and not include Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back, considered by many to be one of the best Star Wars films? No, we couldn’t. Filled with sci-fi action and some of cinema’s most iconic historical moments, The Empire Strikes Back is a dazzling example of the sci-fi film genre.
From Han and Leia’s first kiss, to Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader’s incredible duel, to the star Wars movie moment “I am your father”. The Empire Strikes Back is a complete cinematic piece with an amalgamation of big action scenes and fully formed narration.
- Release date: June 11, 1982
- To throw: Henry Thomas, Drew Barrymore, Peter Coyote
And finally, at the top of our list of the best sci-fi movies of the 80s comes ET the Extra Terrestrial. When director Steven Spielberg released this sci-fi film, everyone was in awe of the story of a troubled child and the relationship he forms with a friendly alien.
ET explores themes of friendship, childhood and growing up in a world where you can often feel misunderstood and which still resonates with viewers today despite its 1982 timestamp. does something new in the sci-fi movie genre by bringing an emotional connection between the human and the alien that shows that connections aren’t always linear.