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In many ways, 80s movies laid the foundations of the modern movie industry as we know it today. Technologies such as CGI and special effects were in their infancy, the blockbuster boom continued to grow, and previous taboos such as nudity and violence became mainstream.
If you’d like to relive a period of time that many consider to be a harbinger of what was to come, check out these awesome movies from the 1980s on Netflix!
1. Scarface [No Longer Available]
Scarface is arguably one of the all-time greatest crime movies. Perhaps surprisingly, it wasn’t a critical success upon release; it received just one Academy Award nomination—for sound editing. But in the following years, the movie’s popularity grew. The story of Cuban gangster Tony Montana is now a cult classic.
2. Full Metal Jacket [Broken Link Removed]
Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket is widely thought to be one of the best Vietnam War movies ever made. And if you like this you should also watch the best World War II movies ever made. It tells the story of Joker and Cowboy, two marine recruits who will soon head to the front lines. Despite the widespread critical praise, the movie received just one Academy Award nomination.
3. Turner and Hooch [No Longer Available]
Turner (a cop) and Hooch (a dog) are an unlikely duo. Turner’s obsessive desire for a neat and tidy home is thwarted when his new companion moves in. However, the cop soon realizes his canine friend’s capacity for crime solving, and the two quickly become an effective team. Tom Hanks plays the lead role.
4. Trading Places [Broken Link Removed]
Offering a modern interpretation of Mark Twain’s The Prince and the Pauper, Trading Places sees Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy unwittingly swap roles as a commodities broker and street hustler respectively. The film amassed two Golden Globes nominations and an Academy Award.
5. The Money Pit [No Longer Available]
1986 comedy The Money Pit stars Tom Hanks and Shelley Long. Steven Spielberg was the co-producer.
Hank and Long play the role of a couple who’ve bought a dilapidated house for $200,000. Theoretically, the property has a value of more than $1 million.
As they try to restore the home to its former glory, things keep going wrong, costing the protagonists an ever-increasing amount of money.
Is there a happy ending? Watch the movie to find out.
6. Heathers [No Longer Available]
Heathers is one of the decade’s best black comedies. The movie is set in an Ohio high school and follows the lives of three girls named Heather.
Despite the initially underwhelming box office sales, Heathers has developed into a cult classic since its release.
A TV adaptation was filmed in 2017. It was scheduled for a US release in mid-2018 but Paramount indefinitely postponed the date in the aftermath of the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting. Despite the domestic issues, Paramount has sold the series to international markets.
7. Hellraiser [No Longer Available]
British horror movie Hellraiser is another film that flew under the radar upon its initial release before developing an iconic status in later years.
The centerpiece of the plot is a puzzle box from Morrocco. Without giving away any spoilers, suffice to say that when someone solves the puzzle, terrible things happen.
The movie spawned an entire franchise. There are now 10 films and multiple novels and comics.
She’s Gotta Have It was Spike Lee’s first feature-length film. Lee himself appears in the movie; he plays the supporting role of Mars Blackmon.
Despite shooting on a budget of just $175,000, She’s Gotta Have It earned $7.1 million in the United States alone.
In late-2017, Netflix released a TV remake of the film. The 10-episode first season was well-received; Netflix has started recording a second season.
9. The Lost Boys [No Longer Available]
The Lost Boys is the second horror movie to make the list. The plot sees two brothers in California fight against a group of young vampires.
The film is often credited for reviving an interest in vampire content among young people, thus paving the way for movies and TV shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Twilight, and What We Do in the Shadows.
The Lost Boys is a great movie to watch on Halloween.
10. Children of the Corn [No Longer Available]
It turns out that they made a lot of great horror flicks in the 198os. The final scary movie on our list—Children of the Corn—is an adaptation of the Stephen King novel of the same name.
The story revolves around a neglected biblical town in Nebraska. After a failed harvest one year, the townspeople turn to prayer. A young child has other ideas and indoctrinates the town’s children into a cult. There are predictably ghastly consequences.
Avid Stephen King fans insist that the movie is nowhere near as engrossing as the book, but it’s still a fun watch.
11. Batteries Not Included [No Longer Available]
Batteries Not Included walks the line between comedy and science fiction. It tells the story of aliens who fight to save an apartment block from demolition. Hume Crony and Jessica Tandy play the two lead roles.
Although it never won widespread acclaim from critics, the movie is now recognized as a staple of 1980s cinema.
12. Little Monsters [No Longer Available]
We end our list with Little Monsters. It is one of the lesser-known movies on our list—the film had a budget of $7 million but earned less than $1 million in the box office. Much of its failure was down to the bankruptcy of Vestron Pictures. As a result, it saw a limited release in just 179 theaters around the US.
The film itself is another black comedy. The plot revolves around Brian, a young boy who discovers a monster living under his bed. The storyline quickly reveals that monsters all around the world are hiding under beds specifically to pull pranks on unsuspecting children.
More Awesome Movies to Watch on Netflix
When you’ve finished this list of movies, make sure you check out our lists of the best sci-fi movies on Netflix, the best scary movies on Netflix, and the best Disney movies on Netflix for even more awesome recommendations.