As a wise doc once mused, “Roads? Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.”
Journey back to the decade of shoulder pads, spandex, and supply-side economics with Netflix’s collection of classic movies from the 1980s. The streaming service has timeless movie franchises like Indiana Jones, Back to the Future, and some of James Bond — as well as tons of standalone film favorites worth revisiting time and again, like She’s Gotta Have It, E.T., and Child’s Play.
To get you started, we’ve combed through the streaming service’s catalogue and found our favorite retro film gems worth a rewatch in 2020. You’re welcome and don’t forget to be kind and rewind!
So press play on the best ’80s movies on Netflix:
8. Child’s Play (1988)
He’s your friend ’til the end! In Tom Holland’s (no, not that one) 1988 horror film classic, killer doll Chucky (voiced by Brad Dourif) attacks six-year-old Andy (Alex Vincent), his mother Karen (Catherine Hicks), and a gaggle of other unlucky victims in a play date straight from hell. The first installment in an iconic franchise, this campy thrill-ride is equal parts giggles and nightmare fuel.
For more Chucky, check out Cult of Chucky — a surprisingly effective sequel made by Don Mancini in 2017 that’s also streaming now. For more ’80s Netflix horror, consider The Evil Dead saga and Killer Klowns from Outer Space.
How to watch: Child’s Play is now streaming on Netflix.
7. The Money Pit (1986)
If misery loves company, The Money Pit is the best house guest 2020 could hope for. Tom Hanks and Shelley Long star as newlyweds who get in over their heads with a home improvement project that’s as chaotically entertaining as it is truly awful to witness. This film isn’t the best work Hanks or Long did in the ’80s, but it’s a movie worth revisiting every now and again. Fair warning, though, if you’re struggling with your own DIY projects, this will not inspire you.
How to watch: The Money Pit is now streaming on Netflix.
6. Airplane! (1980)
There are two kinds of people in this world: those who appreciate the comedy work of the late, great Leslie Nielsen and those forever doomed to wait in the darkness, never fully appreciating what it means to be “interested in a night cap.” Enjoy Nielsen’s deadpan stylings with the always classic movie Airplane!, the surprise 1980 success that gave Nielsen a chance to become a comedy icon. Then, cue up Naked Gun for good measure. Shirley, you’ll have time for both.
How to watch: Airplane! is now streaming on Netflix.
5. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
It’s the Steven Spielberg classic film that inspired generations of fans to imitate a shriveled-up alien lookin’ for a ride. Join Elliot (Henry Thomas) and E.T. in this classic sci-fi movie romp that captures everything that makes an ’80s childhood feel magical — y’know, keeping secrets from your parents, biking all over town, hiding an intergalactic visitor from the government, that kinda stuff!
How to watch: E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial is now streaming on Netflix.
4. She’s Gotta Have It (1986)
If you haven’t rewatched She’s Gotta Have It in a while, make the time ASAP. Widely regarded as one of the most influential indie films ever made, Spike Lee’s feature-length film debut stars Tracy Camilla Jones as Nola Darling, a free-spirited New Yorker who values autonomy above all else. Check out the original movie, then cue up the Netflix series based on it. They’re both so, so good.
How to watch: She’s Gotta Have It is now streaming on Netflix.
3. Tootsie (1982)
Dustin Hoffman delivers one of the best performances of his career in director Syndey Pollack’s Tootsie. A compassionate and hysterical look at gender norms in the 1980s, this romantic comedy delivers charming lead performances from Hoffman and co-star Jessica Lange as fellow actors on a daytime soap opera. Plus, Bill Murray has this bit part that’s easily one of the funniest film roles ever written. “I think we’re getting into a weird area here.”
How to watch: Tootsie is now streaming on Netflix.
2. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
Bask in the glow of Indiana Jones’ film debut in Raiders of the Lost Ark. Netflix has the entire Harrison Ford-starring series — Raiders of the Lost Ark, Temple of Doom, Last Crusade, and Kingdom of the Crystal Skull — available for any snake-fearing, boulder-escaping archaeologist to marathon at a moment’s notice. In others words: “Duh-duh-da-daaaahhh-duh-duh-duuuuuuh-duh-duh-duh-dahhhhh-duh-duh-duh-dih-duh…“
How to watch: Raiders of the Lost Ark is now streaming on Netflix.
1. Back to the Future (1985)
There’s never a bad time to rewatch Back to the Future. Doc (Christopher Lloyd) and Marty (Michael J. Fox) travel from 1985 to 1955 in the DeLorean’s maiden voyage, one of the greatest sci-fi movies ever written. Join them for that outing, then strap in for Back to the Future II and III. Trust us, despite spanning centuries, this franchise is still as ’80s as ’80s gets. It’s exactly the film you’re looking for. when you want the warm blanket of nostalgia to wrap around you.
How to watch: Back to the Future is now streaming on Netflix.
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