12 Classic Movie Posters To Remind You That 1980's Science Fiction Was Awesome
The late 1930's to mid 1940's are considered the golden age of print science fiction, while many consider the 1950's to be the golden age of science fiction movies. But as someone who grew up in the 1980's I would like to take a moment to argue that this brilliantly bizarre decade deserves some recognition for its many, many sci-fi movies. Sure, the 50's had flying saucers, blobs and and the original body snatchers, but the 1980's is when filmmakers really started embracing the weird side of sci-fi. Below are just a few of the movies that made this decade so damned great for sci-fi fans. (Please note, this is not meant to be a comprehensive list)
1. Brazil (1985)
Terry Gilliam's retro-futurist vision remains one of the classic pieces of work in this genre. Blending concepts from the likes of Orwell and Kubrick, Gilliam created a movie that is both hilarious and haunting at the same time.
2. They Live (1988)
John Carpenter's underappreciated riff on 1950's alien invasion movies is a classic tale of paranoia that still has something to say in modern day society. A film that blends some pretty tidy visual effects with a great script, They Live is also home to one of the greatest one-liners in movie history, delivered expertly by World Wrestling star Roddy Piper.
"I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass.....and I'm all out of bubblegum."
3. The Last Starfighter (1984)
The Last Starfighter is a movie that encapsulates so many of the things that were good about the 1980's. It unashamedly looked to take advantage of the Lucas and Spielberg creations of previous years and arguably succeeded by playing out a story in which a trailer park kid, addicted to arcade games, finds himself enrolled in an alien defence force on the other side of the galaxy. If that's not an 80's script, I don't know what is.
4. Back to the Future (1985)
Robert Zemeckis's time travelling caper is arguably the definitive 1980's movie. Everything from the costumes to the carefree plot just scream 80's. Skateboards, those classic Nike sneakers and that soundtrack...this isn't just one of the best sci-fi movies of the 80's, it's one of the best sci-fi movies ever.
5. Tron (1982)
It would be wrong to talk about 80's sci-fi without mentioning Tron. What it lacks in story telling ability, it more than makes up in sheer visual pleasure. Watching this movie as a kid felt revolutionary.
6. Blade Runner (1982)
Was this one of the transcendent science fiction movies of its time? Yes. Do we want Ridley Scott to take a stab at a sequel? Heck no, we can watch this over and over again.
7. E.T (1982)
When E.T came out, it was one of the most complete science fiction movies in years. Watching it back today it still delivers on so many levels. It's heartfelt, tense, funny and visually stunning. Many have tried to replicate this success (Mac and Me, we're looking at your), but none have succeeded.
8. Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
Hands down the greatest Star Wars movie ever made. The opening sequences on the ice planet, Hoth, are unrivalled in their ability to generate excitement. We really don't need to say any more.
9. Spaceballs (1988)
Sure, it's not critically acclaimed, but for Star Wars fans the jokes in Spaceballs remain some of the most on-point observations about that beloved saga. Plus, you know, it had 80's comedy royalty in John Candy and Rick Moranis. What more could you want?!
10. Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure (1989)
It's almost impossible to find someone who doesn't look back on this movie with fondness. This movie didn't patronize its teen audience with moral messages, it was just pure unabashed time-travelling fun and its legacy is still felt today with legions of kids at heart crying out for another movie.
11. Altered States (1980)
This film isn't for everyone, but gosh, if you're into cerebral, borderline hallucinogenic film, Altered States is more than likely to be on your greatest hits list. Do not watch this in a time of mental frailty.
12. Flight of the Navigator (1986)
We spoke earlier of film's looking to capitalize on the E.T buzz, well, Flight of the Navigator was one of the few to succeed in doing so. It captured the imaginations of kids everywhere and reminded adults just how great it is being young.