The Best 80s Movies To Watch On Netflix Right Now

by · Reading Time: 6 minutes
Published on EST

The ’80s is regarded as a fantastic decade in many ways from the TV shows, cartoons, cars, games, toys, music and culture that still evoke waves of nostalgia decades later.

One area that captures the decade perfectly is in film.

Featured Videos - Article Continues Below...

Hollywood was on a role and with it came new franchises and cult classics that are well worth watching again today. Some are still relevant in many ways and others capture and distill the attitudes, fashions and vibe of this nostalgic decade.

The question remains, what are the best 80’s movies to watch on Netflix right now?

With over 70 movies from the ’80s on Netflix here’s our pick of the ones to watch right now.

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)

Teen and High School movies were huge in the ’80s with classics like The Breakfast Club, Weird Science and Teen Wolf being just a couple of classic examples, however, one movie that took the genre to new heights is director John Hughes’ Ferris Beuller’s Day Off which stars Matthew Broderick as the

Matthew Broderick stars as Ferris Bueller.

Ferris decides to take a much deserved day off school where he convinces his best friend Cameron to ‘borrow’ his fathers prized Ferrari 250 GT California, rescue his girlfriend from school disguised as her father and head to Chicago for a day out to end all days out all the while being one step ahead of his jealous older sister (brilliantly portrayed by Jennifer Grey) who knows he’s faking being ill and his principle who wants to catch him out.

If you’re looking for something that is cool and funny with a cracking soundtrack that would have been all over MTV back in the day then this is the movie for you and ask yourself the question could you do all the things Ferris does in one day?

Red Dawn (1984)

The 60’s had The Ratpack with crooners like Sammy Davis Junior and Frank Sinatra and the ’80s had the Bratpack which included a large number of young adult and teenage movie stars, many of whom star in this classic 1984 Cold War gone hot movie.

The Gung Ho teen war movie is set-in small-town Colorado set to the background of increasing tensions between NATO and The Warsaw Pact.

Everyone is happily living their lives and going to school when all of a sudden World War 3 breaks out with Soviet and Cuban Paratroopers descending from the skies and with that invade the sleepy town and place its inhabitants under occupation.

During the chaos of the invasion, a group of high school kids including the sons of the police chief and town mayor escapes to the mountains and hideout.

After witnessing the brutality of the occupation, the kids embark on a guerrilla war against the invaders and quickly become known as The Wolverines which is named after the high school football team many were in before the outbreak of war

What unfolds in Red Dawn is an interesting ‘What If’ scenario that proved to be hugely popular back in 1984 when it first came out and helped propel the movie careers of many celebs including Patrick Swayze, C. Thomas Howell, Charlie Sheen, Lea Thomson, and Jennifer Grey.

The Naked Gun (1988)

If you’re looking for some tongue in cheek slapstick humor during these testing times, then you can’t go wrong with the slapstick parody of Cop shows that is The Naked Gun.

Based upon The Police Squad series of the ’70s that also starred Leslie Neilson as Lieutenant Frank Drebin, a police detective who has to stop the assassination of Queen Elizabeth The Second from a brainwashed baseball player.

What unfolds are constant gags and calamities that will have you laughing out loud throughout although you’ll need to keep up to see them all.

Perfect if you liked movies such as Airplane or Hot Shots and other spoof and parody movies in general.

Police Academy (1984)

The 80’s spawned a few franchises and one of the most beloved is Police Academy.

Steve Guttenberg is Mahoney, a car park attendant who gets his revenge on a rude customer and ends up with one strike too many with the police and ends up at, you guessed it, Police Academy.

What unfolds is a classic comedy movie that has a plucky bunch of misfits and underdogs make it through to become police officers with serious laughs throughout and a mixed bunch of characters that went on to star in seven movies overall.

The good thing is once you’ve watched the first Police Academy you can then binge the rest of them as they are all on Netflix but you better be quick as they will be leaving at the end of March.

Blade Runner The Final Cut (1982)

The ’80s saw a huge change in special effects both practical and computer-generated and one genre that really took advantage of this was Sci-Fi and one movie that blew everyone way was Ridley Scott’s take on Philip K. Dicks short story ‘Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?’

Blade Runner stars Harrison Ford as Decker, a Bladerunner which is a cross between a private detective and a mercenary who is tasked with ‘retiring’ human looking Replicants.

Replicants are banned on Earth as they are dangerous and none more than a group Nexus 6 military androids lead by the late Rutger Hauer who comes to earth to seek an extension of their short lives by their creator.

What unfolds is a masterpiece of cinema where the dark, industrial city of L.A. is just as much a focus of wonder and awe as the hard science fiction noir-esque story that merges together to show a future that is both bleak and beautiful in equal measure.

Raiders of The Lost Ark (1981)

Hot on the heels of his standout role as Han Solo in Star Wars, Harrison Ford takes on another iconic role which he made his own as the adventuring archeologist Indiana Jones.

This casting combined with the talents of Steven Spielberg and George Lucas gave the world the 1930’s set adventure movie franchise that is beloved by everyone.

Raider of The Lost Ark is the first of three 80’s Indiana Jones movies and is a rip-roaring ride of fun, excitement and at the end some genuinely scary moments as Dr. Jones thwarts the evil Nazi’s attempts to locate and use the biblical Ark of The Covenant to aid them in world domination.

Now, once you’ve watched the first movie you can move on to the equally brilliant Temple of Doom from 1985 and The Last Crusade which also stars Sean Connery as Indiana’s father.

This trilogy of movies has it all.

Fun, excitement, exotic locations and a fast-paced and exhilarating story throughout so if you are on lockdown and need an escape from it all then sit back, grab some popcorn or whatever you can and enjoy the ride.

Need more? You can find a full list of movies on Netflix from the 1980s right here.

Author What's on Netflix avatar

Article by

Ian is a contributor to What's on Netflix and is also the Editor-in-Chief of Ian provides What's on Netflix with 80's, 90's and 00's movie and series overviews and coverage.