Movies & TV Shows

The 10 Most Popular Movies Of The 1980s, According To Letterboxd

The recent release of Confess, Fletch, a surprising sequel to the ’80s classic, has people thinking about that decade. It is one of the most iconic eras in the history of cinema considering it produced blockbuster sci-fi flicks, legendary animated films, chilling horror tales, and even teen movies that have withstood the test of time.


The users at Letterboxd certainly love the ’80s and seeing which films are the decade’s most popular there makes for an interesting list. They aren’t all Oscar winners or even the most profitable movies, instead combining memorable pictures with international classics and so much more.

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10/10 The Thing (1982)

Stream On Peacock

It should come as no surprise that The Thing ranks among the most popular films from the ’80s on Letterboxd. These users are people who love an iconic bit of cinema and this John Carpenter classic has remained almost untouchable even decades later.

The plot centers on a group of researchers in Antarctica who encounter an unknown life form that can imitate other organisms. With a perfect blend of terrifying scenes and tense buildup, The Thing has seen 38% of its reviews on Letterboxd reach five stars. It has over 19,000 fans on the site.

9/10 Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)

Stream On Netflix & Paramount+

One name that is synonymous with ’80s cinema is John Hughes. The legendary writer and director is behind some of the most memorable movies of the decade and is behind two of the most popular among the users on Letterboxd.

First up is Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, which follows the adventures of the titular character as he and his friends skip school and have a wild day. Hughes’s fantastic script is filled with witty dialogue that makes this incredibly rewatchable, which is likely why it has so many fans.

8/10 Return Of The Jedi (1983)

Stream On Disney+

If you look at the ’70s, ’80s, ’00s, and ’10s, there’s no doubt that at least one film from the Star Wars franchise will be one of the most popular. Return of the Jedi was as hyped as it got during the era as this was the culmination of the trilogy that redefined Hollywood in a lot of ways.

Not only did this end the Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader arc in a satisfying way but it also included the official romantic pairing of Han Solo and Princess Leia. Throw in the great action sequences and it’s no wonder that this is a beloved film in a major franchise.

7/10 My Neighbor Totoro (1988)

Stream On HBO Max

While a lot of people might come up with Pixar, Disney, or DreamWorks when they think about animated movies, the work of Studio Ghibli belongs right near the top of that conversation. For decades they have put out some great films, with many being written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki.

It’s difficult to pick out his best film but many will point to My Neighbor Totoro as the pinnacle. The heartwarming story follows two sisters who befriend spirits in the forest while their mother is hospitalized. There’s timeless animation and beautiful storytelling that makes it all work.

6/10 The Breakfast Club (1985)

Stream On Peacock

Once again, the writing style of John Hughes makes its mark. Although he has a plethora of great films to choose from, The Breakfast Club stands as the most iconic of them all as it has been referenced and parodied in dozens of places over the years.

The film puts a group of teens from different cliques throughout their school together for one day of detention where they form unlikely bonds. It’s hard to find a more legendary teen flick in history as everything from the emotional scenes to the soundtrack has become pop culture staples.

5/10 Blade Runner (1982)

Rent On Apple TV

At the time of its release, Blade Runner wasn’t quite the hit the studio was hoping for given that it had a cool sci-fi concept and was led by Harrison Ford. Despite the box office struggles, the film became a cult classic and went on to spawn a well-received 2017 sequel.

The praise for the sequel might’ve caused many to go back and check out the original if they missed it, likely bumping it up in terms of popularity on Letterboxd. The Ridley Scott film has more than 24,000 fans on the website.

4/10 Dead Poets Society (1989)

Rent On Vudu

It’s always welcome to see a great comedic actor show off their dramatic chops. That was the case with Jim Carrey in The Truman Show or Awkwafina’s Golden Globe winning turn in The Farwell. Robin Williams pulled it off in Dead Poets Society.

Set in 1959 at an elite boarding school, the movie tells the tale of an English teacher who uses poetry to inspire and connect with his students. Dead Poets Society won the BAFTA for Best Film and racked up several Academy Award nominations, cementing its place in history.

3/10 The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

Stream On Disney+

Although it is only the second film ever released in the Star Wars franchise, The Empire Strikes Back remains the best, at least according to most rankings. It makes sense that it is the most popular of them all on Letterboxd outside of the original.

The Empire Strikes Back took what worked in the first film and expanded on it. The action sequences were bigger, the lore was built out more, and iconic characters like Lando and Yoda were introduced, all adding up to something truly special.

2/10 Back To The Future (1985)

Rent On Apple TV

Speaking of movies that had a major impact on all of society when it was released, there’s Back to the Future. Time travel stories are the norm in sci-fi today but back in 1985, seeing something like this was breathtaking.

Marty McFly and Doc Brown are one of cinema’s greatest duos and it’s their chemistry that helps make Back to the Future something that fans constantly go back to. The movie is comfort food for millions around the world.

1/10 The Shining (1980)

Stream On HBO Max

While The Breakfast Club and Star Wars are pop culture staples in their genre, The Shining does that for horror. There’s a reason this has been brought up almost everywhere and was a key part of Ready Player One.

The haunting tale of a hotel owner who is driven mad by the supernatural events around him makes for one of the most harrowing film experiences ever. Although it might not be something people want to watch over and over, those who have seen it appreciate it as a classic.

NEXT: The 10 Most Popular Disney+ Originals, According To Letterboxd

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