The decade started by continuing the blockbuster boom of the mid-1970s. The science fiction sequel to 1977’s Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, opened in May 1980 becoming the highest-grossing film of the year.
Historical, romantic, and dramatic films were big box office success: Rain Man (1988), Fatal Attraction (1987), On Golden Pond (1981), Terms of Endearment (1983), The Color Purple (1985) and Out of Africa (1985).
Top comedy films from the 1980s include: Ghostbusters (1984), Tootsie (1982) and Three Men and a Baby (1987) and success of comedy-action films including 48 Hrs. (1982) and the Beverly Hills Cop series (1984–1993). Many Saturday Night Live alum started to make it big in movies during the 1980s.
Very popular were the films of John Hughes such as Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986), Mr. Mom (1983), Sixteen Candles (1984), The Breakfast Club (1985) and Pretty in Pink (1986). A group of young stars who became known as The Brat Pack dominated the youth-oriented films of the decade. Many of them joined the ensemble cast of St. Elmo’s Fire (1985); they included Andrew McCarthy, Rob Lowe, Emilio Estevez, Ally Sheedy, Demi Moore and Judd Nelson. There were others — Molly Ringwald, Matt Dillon, Charlie Sheen, Anthony Michael Hall, Sean Penn and Robert Downey, Jr.
Schwarzenegger starred in The Terminator (1984), Commando (1985) and Predator (1987) and Bruce Willis in Die Hard (1988) were particularly influential on the development of the Action Film genre of the 1980s.
Many movies during the 80s were centered around dancing. 1983’s Flashdance, 1984’s Footloose, and 1987’s Dirty Dancing were all extremely successful as well as their soundtracks.
The decade also saw an increased amount of nudity in film and the increasing emphasis in the American industry on film franchises, especially in the science fiction, horror and action genres. In the US, the PG-13 rating was introduced in 1984 to accommodate films that straddled the line between PG and R, which was mainly due to the controversies surrounding the violent content of the PG films Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and Gremlins (both 1984)
The Eighties was the decade of the sequel, and in some cases the sequel was as good as (or even better than) — and as commercially successful — as the original. Harrison Ford’s Indiana Jones became an American icon in Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984), and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989). Comic Eddie Murphy became a big star of the big screen with Beverly Hills Cop (1984) and Beverly Hills Cop II (1987). Lethal Weapon(1987) and Die Hard (1988) defined the action flick, and both spawned hit sequels. Sylvester Stallone’s Rambo flexed America’s muscles and represented the nation’s renewed patriotic fervor inFirst Blood (1982), Rambo: First Blood, Part II (1985) and Rambo III (1988).
The following are the 10 top-grossing films of the decade:
- E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982), $792.9 million
- Return of the Jedi (1983), $309 million
- The Empire Strikes Back (1980), $290 million
- Batman (1989), $251 million
- Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), $245 million
- Ghostbusters (1984), $238 million
- Beverly Hills Cop (1984), $234 million
- Back to the Future (1985), $210 million
- Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989), $197 million
- Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984), $179 million
Learn more at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1980s_in_film