Everyone’s got a favourite film from the ‘80s. The era’s cinema quite often reflected the bombast, neon and decadence of the decade, with some of the most legendary comedy, action and even superhero films heralding from it. Here’s our pick of the best ‘80s movies you can currently stream on all the major UK streaming services.
Back to the Future | 1985 (Netflix)
One of the most legendary films to come from the ‘80s and one that people are still talking about today, Back to the Future is a classic in every sense of the word. If you somehow haven’t seen it by now, Back to the Future follows stereotypical American teen Marty McFly as he follows his eccentric scientist friend Dr. Emmett Brown to the past via a time machine, and must get, you guessed it - back to the future.
Back to the Future is a brilliant mix of comedy and thrills, with a great performance from Christopher Lloyd. Strap on your stonewash jeans and don’t look at your mother that way while you stream it on Netflix.
Ferris Bueller's Day Off | 1986 (Netflix)
Another ‘80s teen comedy classic, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off stars Matthew Broderick as wise-cracking teen Ferris, who decides one day to skip school and enjoy life with his girlfriend Sloane and his cowardly best friend Cameron.
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off broke new ground with its 4th wall breaking and made a new star in Matthew Broderick, who went on to star in classics like Godzilla and Inspector Gadget. If you’re a fan of comedies like the National Lampoon films and Planes, Trains and Automobiles, this one is a treat.
Blue Velvet | 1986 (Netflix)
David Lynch’s creepy and trippy neo-noir Blue Velvet thrust the experimental director into the mainstream, earning him his second Academy Award nomination for Best Director. The film stars Lynch staples Kyle MacLachlan and Laura Dern but is perhaps best known for Dennis Hopper’s chilling performance as the oxygen-huffing Frank.
Blue Velvet is a good starting film for those looking to get into Lynch, as it straddles the line between weird and intriguing mystery without getting too experimental and Lynchian.
Batman | 1989 (NOW TV)
If you’re getting a bit sick of superhero films, why not watch one of the best? Tim Burton’s dark 1989 take on the Caped Crusader still holds up as an interesting adaptation as well as a great film in its own right.
The film made Hollywood and everyone else realise that superhero films could be big business and it’s fair to say that without Batman, we wouldn’t be seeing Avengers taking in billions at the box office. Check it out on NOW TV to see Jack Nicholson's terrifying performance as the Joker.
Bloodsport | 1988 (NOW TV)
It wouldn’t be ‘80s action cinema without good old JCVD. Bloodsport is where Belgian martial arts star made one of his film debuts, and it acts as a good roundup of his entire career - wooden acting mixed with genuinely good stunts and choreography.
Whilst actors like Schwarzenegger and Stallone defined the era in terms of action, Bloodsport will please any fan of the genre with its B-movie charm, gripping fight scenes and a unique setting. Just don’t try and replicate the splits at home.
The Breakfast Club | 1985 (Netflix)
The Breakfast Club is one of the most iconic films to come from the ‘80s and it’s available to stream on Netflix right now. This story of a group of students who meet during detention and bond despite coming from different cliques is one of John Hughes finest out of his acclaimed pantheon of ‘80s classics.
Road House | 1989 (NOW TV)
For more cult ‘80s action, Road House is something that needs to be on your watchlist. Patrick Swayze stars as a bouncer who takes a job cleaning up a dodgy bar and eventually sparks a war between the bar and the local corrupt businessmen.
Road House is a film that was overlooked when it was released but has found an audience recently thanks mainly to how ridiculous it is. The film screams the ‘80s, with its neon signs, mullets and roundhouse kicks in tight stonewash jeans. It also happens to be a genuinely good actioner. Watch now on NOW TV.
Once Upon a Time in America | 1984 (Amazon Prime)
If you’ve got just under 4 hours to spare, Sergio Leone’s epic underworld film Once Upon A Time In America is an ideal way to spend them. The film portrays 50 years of organised crime history and stars Robert De Niro and James Woods as two partners who become rivals, causing death and misery.
If you’re a fan of lengthy crime films like The Godfather and Goodfellas, Once Upon a Time in America is well worth setting time aside to watch. The drama unfolds slowly by modern standards but ends up creating a gangster fable in the style of a spaghetti western. Watch now on Amazon Prime.
Brazil | 1985 (Amazon Prime)
Terry Gilliam’s mad cult classic is one of the most interesting and unique films of the era, blending Gilliam’s crazy directing style with the sci-fi trappings of 1984. The film follows Sam Lowry, a man who works a menial office job who dreams of a woman then sets off on a quest to find her - all while trying to avoid the totalitarian government.
Brazil is a brilliant satire of bureaucracy that is beautifully shot and executed. Strap yourself in for weirdness and enjoy one of the seminal ‘80s movies.
Planes, Trains and Automobiles | 1987 (NOW TV)
The third John Hughes film to appear on this list, Planes, Trains and Automobiles is arguably his funniest. Starring Steve Martin and John Candy, Planes, Trains and Automobiles is a hilarious comedy about 2 guys trying to get home for Thanksgiving, one friendly if dim, the other constantly aggravated.
Planes, Trains and Automobiles blends one of the best comedic directors ever with 2 of the biggest stars in comedy at the time to create a timeless classic. Watch at Christmas for that extra fuzzy feeling.