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15 Best '80s Movies On Hulu

There's just something about '80s movies that makes them special. An era defined by recklessness, cockiness, and sheen, it's when some of the most important filmmakers of the 20th century came into their own or turned out some of their best work. It's also the time that spawned numerous, major A-list actors, many of whom are still sitting on top of the Hollywood hill.

Until the '80s, a film fan's options were fairly limited — if a movie looked interesting, they'd better have seen it in the theater, or they'd miss it forever, hoping it would run as a "movie of the week" on a broadcast network years later. Of course, these days, streaming services like Hulu offer all kinds of entertainment — including vintage '80s films — for not much money and for a few clicks. Here are the best '80s movies currently available on Hulu.

Updated on January 5, 2022: Hulu regularly adds and drops movies to its catalog, so we'll keep this list updated to reflect those changes. Be sure to check back each month for the most radical and excellent '80s films on Hulu.

All the Right Moves

"All the Right Moves" captures the feeling of early 1980s America at a crossroads moment. It's set in a Pennsylvania steel mining town that's fallen into steep decline, like so many other similar communities at the time. And that's the backdrop and motivation for Stefan, a local varsity football star on track to get a scholarship that will get him out of his hometown and save his future. But the world of high-stakes, high-level, high school football can be a tenuous situation, and his willfulness gets the best of Stefan (Tom Cruise, in one of his first big roles) when a fight with his demanding coach loses him his spot on the team and potentially his chance to play college ball.

  • Starring: Tom Cruise, Craig T. Nelson, Lea Thompson
  • Director: Michael Chapman
  • Year: 1983
  • Runtime: 91 minutes
  • Rating: R
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 61%


Horror master Stephen King enjoyed an artistic and commercial peak in the 1980s, with one gory, unsettling, and horrifying work after another. "Cujo" is one of the most disturbing films of this era, centering around a sweet and lovable family dog who is transformed into a demonic beast by a rabid bat's bite. Cujo violently tears his way through a tiny Maine town, setting his sights on the newly-arrived Trenton family. Eventually, he traps them in a car that grows more and more overheated in the midday sun. A kill-or-be-killed scenario unfolds, with unforgettably brutal consequences.

  • Starring: Dee Wallace, Danny Pintauro, Daniel Hugh-Kelly
  • Director: Lewis Teague
  • Year: 1983
  • Runtime: 91 minutes
  • Rating: R
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 62%

Friday the 13th

It's the film that began a nearly endless and often-imitated franchise of formulaic slasher movies, but "Friday the 13th" bears little resemblance to the horror entries it inspired. For example, Jason Voorhees, the machete-wielding undead monster in a hockey goalie mask, isn't the villain in the first "Friday the 13th." Plus, the film is the original source of a number of horror movie tropes. For example, it takes place at a remote summer camp in the woods that locals say is haunted because of all the deaths that occur there, but the teenage counselors, hormonally driven to get into each other's bunks, don't much care for all that nonsense. But then they start getting brutally and graphically murdered by an unstoppable killing force, one driven by a deep-seated sense of vengeance.

  • Starring: Kevin Bacon, Adrienne King, Betsy Palmer
  • Director: Sean S. Cunningham
  • Year: 1980
  • Runtime: 95 minutes
  • Rating: R
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 63%


Few writers depict matters of the heart as well as Nora Ephron. While she penned happy, quirky stories about romance and love taking root — "When Harry Met Sally..." and "Sleepless in Seattle," for example — she also crafted the heartbreaking divorce novel "Heartburn." Ephron adapted this book into the film of the same name, which stars Meryl Streep as food writer Rachel and Jack Nicholson as political columnist Mark. Rachel, an unabashed romantic, falls quickly for the charming and powerful writer. Sadly, he turns out to be a self-absorbed playboy who cares little about the devastation he wreaks on Rachel's heart. Rachel must find a way to soldier on — but can she bear living without the love she's built her life around?

Jagged Edge

Harkening back to classic film noir, a new genre called the "erotic thriller" emerged from Hollywood in the 1980s. These films combined twist-filled, high-stakes mysteries involving wealthy people, secret murderers, and artful — if not explicit — scenes of an adult nature featuring individuals who should be involved with one another getting extremely personal. 

Released in 1985, "Jagged Edge" bears some similarities to more famous erotic thrillers like "Body Heat" or "Basic Instinct," but it features a big courtroom drama element. California socialite Paige Forrester is stabbed to death in her beach house, and her husband, rich publisher Jack Forrester, is arrested for the crime. So, he hires high-powered defense attorney Teddy Barnes to prove his supposed innocence, in spite of (or because of) their powerful attraction to one another, which will only complicate things as the shocking and sordid details of the case unfold.

  • Starring: Glenn Close, Jeff Bridges, Peter Coyote
  • Director: Richard Marquand
  • Year: 1985
  • Runtime: 108 minutes
  • Rating: R
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 81%

The King of Comedy

Martin Scorsese's impeccably made films often deal with humanity's dark side. In "The King of Comedy," he uncovers the twisted motivations that lurk beneath the smiling, laughing faces of would-be funny people. Robert De Niro is masterfully off-putting as Rupert Pupkin, a middle-aged failure of a man who hosts a pretend talk show in his basement each night. He finally meets his hero and inspiration, late-night king Jerry Langford (played by actual funnyman Jerry Lewis), but the encounter leaves him embarrassed and underwhelmed. Thus, Rupert stalks and kidnaps the comic, using a potentially star-making appearance on Langford's show as a condition of his safe release.

An Officer and a Gentleman

"An Officer and a Gentleman" was a smash hit, distinguished by a star-studded cast giving career-best performances. Zack Mayo, a cocky new Navy recruit, butts heads with his tougher-than-tough supervisor, Sgt. Foley. Luckily, Mayo finds solace and understanding with Paula, a factory worker who lives in the town near the naval base. A coming-of-age story of unique power and eloquence, "An Officer and a Gentleman" features one of the most memorable movie endings ever, set to the strains of Joe Cocker's "Up Where We Belong."

  • Starring: Richard Gere, Debra Winger, Louis Gossett Jr.
  • Director: Taylor Hackford
  • Year: 1982
  • Runtime: 125 minutes
  • Rating: R
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 78%

Ordinary People

A raw and tragic drama about a family falling apart, "Ordinary People" showcases '70s stars Donald Sutherland and Mary Tyler Moore's staggering range. Wracked with survivor's guilt following his older brother's death in a boating accident, Conrad Jarrett attempts to take his own life. After a long period in a psychiatric facility, he returns home to find his parents are in a bad state too. Conrad attempts to heal and grieve, but it proves tough to connect with his emotionally distant mother or his shattered father. If the Jarretts want to move on, they'll have to engage in painful family discussions and work with a kindly psychiatrist.

  • Starring: Donald Sutherland, Mary Tyler Moore, Judd Hirsch
  • Director: Robert Redford
  • Year: 1980
  • Runtime: 123 minutes
  • Rating: R
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 89%

The Princess Bride

One of the most beloved movies of the 1980s, "The Princess Bride" offers only the "good parts" (as the narrator tells viewers and his sick, bored grandson) of the most epic, jam-packed fairy tale of all time. Set in the far-off lands of Florin and Guilder, this story hinges on the true love between farmhand Westley and fair maiden Buttercup. Unfortunately, Buttercup is kidnapped by a trio of likable bunglers, including the sweet giant Fezzik and the revenge-obsessed swordsman Inigo Montoya. There are also rodents of unusual size, Westley's stint as a pirate (and his brief death), and a nasty royal conspiracy to contend with. Does "The Princess Bride" have something for everyone? As you wish, as Westley would say.

  • Starring: Cary Elwes, Robin Wright, Mandy Patinkin
  • Director: Rob Reiner
  • Year: 1987
  • Runtime: 98 minutes
  • Rating: PG
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 98%

Racing with the Moon

"Racing with the Moon" is a bittersweet period piece about small-town California teenagers preparing to ship off with the Marines to fight in World War II, but this drama also served as a showcase for some of the most promising actors of the '80s generation, namely Sean Penn, Nicolas Cage, and Elizabeth McGovern. 

Best friends Henry (Penn) and Nicky (Cage) are trying to enjoy their final weeks before deployment, and with it comes adulthood. Nash sets his seduction sights on new-in-town Caddie (McGovern), mistakenly believing her to be wealthy because she lives in a fancy manor, only to genuinely fall in love with her anyway. Nicky also learns that his girlfriend is pregnant, and in raising needed funds for that situation, he drags Henry and Caddie into making regretful decisions.

  • Starring: Sean Penn, Elizabeth McGovern, Nicolas Cage
  • Director: Richard Benjamin
  • Year: 1984
  • Runtime: 108 minutes
  • Rating: PG
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 60%

Real Genius

Val Kilmer possesses the good looks and charm of a matinee idol, but in the 1980s, he preferred to play imps, weirdos, and villains. "Real Genius," a classic sci-fi college comedy, encapsulates this era of Kilmer's career. He plays Chris Knight, a rogue genius who doesn't have to try too hard to succeed at prestigious Pacific Tech — not even when he's tasked with looking after freshman prodigy Mitch Taylor. They have fun pulling all kinds of seemingly impossible and hilarious science-based pranks, but things get serious when they realize the government intends to use the laser they're working on as a highly effective weapon.

Sixteen Candles

One of John Hughes' most enduring teen flicks, "Sixteen Candles" stars his frequent collaborator, Molly Ringwald. She plays suburban high schooler Samantha, whose birthday is forgotten by her own family, due to her sister's wedding. Everyone at school lets her down as well, with the exception of geeky Ted. Dreamboat upperclassman Jake Ryan doesn't even seem to know she's alive — or does he? This charming film features laughs, a tender portrayal of adolescence, and one of the most memorable romantic gestures ever put on film.

  • Starring: Molly Ringwald, Anthony Michael Hall, Michael Schoeffling
  • Director: John Hughes
  • Year: 1984
  • Runtime: 90 minutes
  • Rating: PG
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 84%

A Soldier's Story

Based on Charles Fuller's Pulitzer Prize-winning drama "A Soldier's Play," which is in turn adapted from the classic Herman Melville novella "Billy Budd," "A Soldier's Story" is a murder mystery set on a World War II-era army base in the segregated South. After Sgt. Vernon Waters is shot to death outside Fort Neal, Capt. Richard Davenport launches an investigation to determine if the murder was an anti-Black hate crime, or if the officer was killed by one of his own men. What actually happened is by no means simple, with many throught-provoking social issues and personal motivations in play.

Some Kind of Wonderful

John Hughes ruled the '80s with films like "The Breakfast Club" and "Pretty in Pink" — movies made for teens that took their characters and audiences seriously and sensitively while also pointing out and exploring the economic and class divides of the era. "Some Kind of Wonderful" isn't as well known or beloved as most of Hughes' other '80s teen dramedies, but all the elements for greatness and memorability are present. 

Keith is an overly mature, working-class high schooler in love with Amanda, a popular rich kid. He enlists his best friend, a cool drummer named Watts, to win her heart, much to the chagrin of pretty much everyone. And that only gets worse when Watts realizes she has feelings beyond friendship for Keith and when Keith blows his college savings on jewelry for the aloof Amanda.

  • Starring: Eric Stoltz, Mary Stuart Masterson, Lea Thompson
  • Director: Howard Deutsch
  • Year: 1987
  • Runtime: 95 minutes
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 75%

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

With the first "Star Trek" movie brushing off any doubts that a cerebral, initially unpopular, dated-looking sci-fi show could make it as a film franchise a decade after the fact, the big-budget adventures of the U.S.S. Enterprise kicked into hyper-speed with "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan." In this chapter of the ongoing saga, Admiral Kirk and Captain Spock teach future explorers at Starfleet Academy, but they're pressed back into deep-space service after two officers are kidnapped by Khan, a frightening villain and Kirk's oldest nemesis. One member of the old "Star Trek" cast in particular will feel the wrath of Khan.

  • Starring: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, Ricardo Montalban
  • Director: Nicholas Meyer
  • Year: 1982
  • Runtime: 113 minutes
  • Rating: PG
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 88%