The 1980s were a truly magical time for movies. From huge blockbusters to wild comedies and future cult classics, it was a decade packed with wonderful films. Thanks to various streaming services, you can enjoy a lot of them, with Netflix being a prime spot. While the streamer can shift about new releases, the month of August has a few good additions to the roster, so here are some of the best 1980s movies to binge off Netflix and remember a great past time.
9 ’80s films to enjoy on Netflix
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
New on Netflix is John Hughes’ now-classic comedy with Matthew Broderick in arguably his greatest role as the title teenager. Ferris prepares for the perfect day off from school, talking to the camera as he lays out his unique viewpoint of life. With a great supporting cast of Alan Ruck, Mia Sara, Jeffrey Jones, and Jennifer Grey, it’s a love letter to Chicago showing all the top places. There are also some standout moments, like Ferris singing in a parade and a top-notch soundtrack for a film that remains a standout of the decade.
The Breakfast Club
No teen movie of the 1980s was more influential than John Hughes’ masterpiece. The story is classic as five students (Judd Nelson, Molly Ringwald, Anthony Michael Hall, Emilio Estevez, and Ally Sheedy) spend a Saturday in detention. Over the course of the day, the athlete, the brain, the bully, the princess, and the loner break through the social barriers around them, realizing their true common likes and fears and dancing to a great soundtrack. There’s also Paul Gleason as the principal, who’s got more heart than he shows. If any film remains timeless in the high school experience, it’s this.
If you need an emotional weeper, this is the film for you. The cast is stunning with Oscar winners Sally Field, Shirley McClaine, and Olympia Dukakis, country icon Dolly Parton and, in her breakout role, Julia Roberts. Throw in Daryl Hannah, and you’ve got a fantastic bevy of ladies who balance their lives in a Southern town, the ups, downs, joys, and heartbreaks. The film can make you laugh out loud one minute, then sob the next as the bond of the ladies still retains its magic all these decades later.
Rocky III & IV
Sylvester Stallone’s famous boxer took a bold new direction in these hits. In Rocky III, Rocky is on top of the world as a boxing champion, but the success weakens him as a fighter. That costs him as he’s brutally beaten down by challenger Clubber Lang (Mr. T). Enter Rocky’s old foe Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers), who helps Rocky regain “the eye of the tiger” for a grand rematch.
Rocky IV has Apollo killed in a fight against brutal Russian boxer Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren). Rocky thus trains to face Ivan himself in a movie marked by a wild training montage and a wicked fight that makes Rocky an international hero. Put both together, and it’s Sly at his best, showing the greatest challenges for his boxing champ.
The Karate Kid Trilogy
Netflix scored a surprise smash with Cobra Kai, so it makes sense to see where the story began. The original Karate Kid remains a great ride as Alex Russo (Ralph Macchio) is trained by Mr. Miyagi (Pat Morita) to defend himself against bullies. That sets up the famous All-Valley Championship of Alex vs Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka).
The second film sends Alex and Miyagi to Japan, where Miyagi faces an old enemy while Daniel makes a new one. The third film has Alex tempted by a ruthless new dojo trainer. As all three films are referenced and play a big part in the current show, it’s no wonder fans need a rewatch.
The late Patrick Swayze had many notable roles, but somehow, this 1989 cult hit is one of his most famous. As drifter John Dalton, Swayze shows off nicely from wild bar bawls to training shirtless and clashing with a local crime boss. The fight scenes are terrific, and a good supporting turn from Sam Elliot as Swayze’s friend. It can be goofy at times, but it still works for a top action flick with some fun appeal and Swayze making it all work.
Coming to America
One of Edie Murphy’s biggest hits, he plays the prince of an African nation who doesn’t like being forced into marriage. So he and his buddy (Arsenio Hall) head to America, where Murphy poses as a simple fast food worker to meet a woman who loves him for himself, not his title. The culture clash comedy is fun, as Murphy dons several different roles, and Jonathan Landis’ direction makes it work. It still holds together, showing Murphy at his comedic best and a hilarious take on a princely experience.
Conan The Barbarian
In the role that made him an international star, Arnold Schwarzenegger brings the famous barbarian to life. Arnie is perfect in the part, Conan speaking with his sword more than words, but that speaks volumes as he slices guys apart. James Earl Jones is a fantastic enemy as Thulsa Doom, with some fun twists and turns. Seeing Arnie in his prime cutting guys down makes this a sword and sorcery classic.
Which of these movies have you checked out on Netflix?