80s Action-Adventure Classics You Need to Watch

80s Action-adventure Classics - Star Wars Poster
The 80s, now somehow 40 years behind us, brought not only outstandingly big hair and shoulder pads, but also plenty of big movies that were quite the cinematic gamechangers.
Taking advantage of the hi-tech special effects and with an eagerness to bring vibrancy, joy, and adventure to the silver screen, those 10 years brought with them some of the most beloved characters and franchises to life. With big action-packed storylines matched equally by some exceptional new stars, this was decade that really made cinema what it is today.
To celebrate this historic movie era, here are just a few Action-Adventure classics from the 80s that you should watch.
Empire Strikes Back Poster

Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

The second ever film from the world of Star Wars, it has also claimed the first-place spot as one of the best from it too by fans. Whether you like the franchise or not, this is one you should try watching.

Why not brighten-up your home with the force of our Star Wars Ikon.

Raiders of the Lost Ark Poster

Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

Our first introduction to the whip-wielding archaeologist, Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark (Harrison Ford), this set the mark for many films in the 80s with movie-makers taking inspiration from the balanced combination of action, adventure and comedy.

E.T. The Extraterrestrial Poster

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

This family classic pulled together comedy and a storyline that left, and still leaves, us balling our little hearts out for the friendly little Extra-Terrestrial as he tries to return home. With the story perfectly told by both Henry Thomas and Drew Barrymore (playing Elliot and Gertie Taylor), it's one for everyone. Just remember to keep tissues nearby.

Dune 84 Poster

Dune (1984)

You may know Dune better for its more recent release in 2021, but the first adaptation of the novel by Frank Herbert actually came in 1984 and really celebrated the art of special effects. Directed by David Lynch and featuring music from the likes of Brian Eno and Toto, it's one you really should watch.

Ghostbusters Poster

Ghostbusters (1984)

With an outstanding cast and packed full of puns, some interesting science, and the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, this movie really delivered. Having conquered many ghosts and ghouls, this film is still capturing hearts and inspiring a new generation of Ghostbusters fans, be it in its classic form or modern takes.

Romancing the Stone

Romancing the Stone (1984)

If you're into romcoms that are packed with adventure, Romancing the Stone is just that. Films in this style had a resurgence in the 90s too, with movies such as Undercover Blues and True Lies really fitting into this action-adventure romcom style.

The Terminator

The Terminator (1984)

"I'll be back."
Arguably the movie that launched Arnold Schwarzenegger's career, this film combined a complex time travel storyline with incredibly cool man-looking machines looking to seek a preprogramed revenge. All but one of them, anyway.

If you need to bring T-800 back into your life, the T-800 Cable Guy may be exactly what you need.

Back to the Future

Back to the Future (1985)

 Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) wouldn't hurt a fly, unless it called him a chicken, of course. If you've never watched Back to the Future before, you're seriously missing out on the curious modern outfits, the puns and one of Fox's best roles.

The Goonies Poster

The Goonies (1985)

 We don't know about you, but we have some fantastic memories of sitting around the TV on a Saturday afternoon watching The Goonies. Aside from leaving us wanting to go out on a wild adventure with our friends, it also went a long way to helping us be nicer people, which is pretty awesome.

Aliens Poster

Aliens (1986)

When the Nostromo ship is attacked by aliens, Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) fights to defend it from being entirely taken over. Aliens is punchy and empowering, and it has influenced everything from the depiction of armour in video games, to how characters were torn apart in other horror and actions films.

Predator Poster

Predator (1987)

 You couldn't have a list like this without featuring Arnie at least twice, and here he is again, only this time fighting against something otherworldly. When an elite rescue team enters the rainforest on a mission to save hostages in the area they expected a fight... just not one with an alien who hunts for sport. Action-packed and the film that sparked four sequels, Predator is a firecracker of a film.


What action-adventure classics do you think should be on the list?

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