10 Classic Films From The '80s That Will Never Get Old

10 Classic Films From The '80s That Will Never Get Old
Image credit: Legion-Media, HandMade Films

Netflix's Stranger Things proved that you can never have too much '80s nostalgia.

Manhunter (1986)

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Remember Manhunter? Does it ring any bells? If not, that's probably because it's been overshadowed by the acclaim of its successor, The Silence of the Lambs. The film, released in 1986, is actually the first cinematic introduction to the notorious character, Hannibal Lecter.

It centers around Will Graham, a retired FBI profiler who is pulled back into service to catch a serial killer known as "The Tooth Fairy". Now, it's no Silence of the Lambs, but that's not to say it doesn't have its own merits. It's a visually captivating thriller, a deep dive into the psyche of its characters, and a display of some early stylizations that director Michael Mann would later perfect.

The Long Good Friday (1980)

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If you're not a British film buff, there's a chance you've overlooked The Long Good Friday. Not because it's not worth your time but more likely because it hasn't got the widespread recognition it deserves. Released in 1980, this crime thriller is a deep exploration of the London underworld through the eyes of Harold Shand, a gangster with grand ambitions. As the plot unravels, his empire starts to crumble due to a series of bomb attacks that occur on Good Friday.

The film intricately weaves themes of power, betrayal, and the socio-political transformation of London during the late '70s. This might not be a Guy Ritchie movie, but The Long Good Friday definitely set the tone for many British gangster films that followed.

Near Dark (1987)

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Let's travel back to 1987, a year filled with many blockbuster releases. Among them, a vampire flick called Near Dark. No, it wasn't another Lost Boys; it's less famous but no less interesting. This cult classic, directed by Kathryn Bigelow, put a unique spin on the vampire genre by mixing it with elements of a Western thriller. The plot centers on a young cowboy who, after a romantic encounter with a beautiful drifter, becomes a reluctant member of her nomadic vampire family.

Withnail and I (1987)

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Ever heard of Withnail and I? It might not be a household name but it's a cult classic among cinephiles. This British black comedy, released in 1987, is the embodiment of the phrase "life imitating art". It details the misadventures of two unemployed actors living in London during the swinging '60s.

As the pair embark on a trip to a countryside cottage owned by an eccentric uncle, their journey is filled with booze, misfortunes, and hilarity. While it may not have received the limelight on release, it has since gained a dedicated following, and rightfully so: Richard E. Grant delivered a performance nothing short of brilliant.

Local Hero (1983)

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Released in 1983, this Scottish comedy-drama has a charm that's unique, yet it seems to have been buried under the weight of other 80s behemoths. The plot centers around Mac, a Houston oil company executive who's sent to a remote coastal village in Scotland to buy the town and its surrounding property for a new refinery.

Over time, Mac grows fond of the quaint town and its quirky inhabitants, which complicates his mission. It may not have been a blockbuster, but it offers a wonderful blend of humor and sentimentality, with a dash of certain wholesome magic.

The Quiet Earth (1985)

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Ever come across The Quiet Earth? Most likely not. It's a film from New Zealand that didn't create much of a buzz in the international market, but it sure did leave an impact on those who saw it. The story is about a man named Zac, a scientist, who wakes up one day to find himself apparently the last person on Earth, after an experiment he was involved in goes wrong.

Now, this isn't your typical end-of-the-world kind of story, you know, where the hero has to save the planet from some apocalypse. It's a psychological drama that delves into loneliness and despair, as Zac roams the deserted world, slowly losing his sanity, until he discovers two other survivors, a woman and a man, which introduces tension and a strange love triangle.

Housekeeping (1987)

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If you were around in the late 80s, there's a chance you may have missed Housekeeping. The movie didn't get much attention back then, overshadowed by the more commercially successful films of its time. It's a story about two sisters, Ruth and Lucille, who are left by their mother in their aunt's care in a small Idaho town. The film does a spectacular job at accentuating the eccentricity of their aunt Sylvie, a drifter with a unique perspective on life.

You see, it's not a flashy film with big action sequences or laugh-out-loud moments. It's about growing up, about dealing with loss, about family ties and how the behavior of a family member can impact your life – a story that hits a bit too close to home for some of us.

The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1988)

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It's an adaptation of Milan Kundera's novel, which is set in Prague during the 1968 Soviet invasion. The film revolves around a love triangle involving a carefree doctor, his wife, and his mistress. But it's not just a love story; it's also about personal freedom, political upheaval, and the weight of choice.

The doctor, Tomas, finds himself torn between his love for his wife, Tereza, and his desire for his mistress, Sabina. As their lives are disrupted by the political turmoil around them, they each must face their own internal struggles and the impact of their choices.

Altered States (1980)

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The plot centers around a scientist, Edward Jessup, who's been conducting experiments with sensory deprivation tanks and powerful hallucinogens to explore altered states of consciousness. But things take a strange turn when Jessup starts experiencing physical changes during his experiments, eventually regressing into a primitive form of human. It's not a conventional sci-fi thriller, but more a study of the human mind and its capacity to transcend reality.

My Bodyguard (1980)

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My Bodyguard, do you remember that one? Released in 1980, it might not be the first film that comes to mind when you think of the 80s, but it's one that touches the heart. It tells the story of Clifford, a new kid at a Chicago high school, who's being bullied.

In order to combat his situation, he befriends a loner named Linderman, who's rumored to have a violent past and hires him as his bodyguard. The movie isn't just about school bullying or friendship; it's also about facing your fears, about misunderstood individuals, about unlikely alliances, and about personal growth.