I had all kinds of difficulty whittling this list down to 10. The 1980’s was a seriously prolific time for sci-fi movies especially ones directed by James Cameron or ones starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. The 1970’s saw a lot of space related sci-fi such as the likes of The Andromeda Strain, Star Wars and Alien (you can see my top 10 Sci-Fi films of the 1970’s list here) and, whilst the 80’s doesn’t completely shy away from that, it does take more of an exploratory angle into other realms of sci-fi such as time travel, robotics, the supernatural and reanimation. The 80’s also saw the sci-fi genre couple up with comedy a bit more. It was a decade of crazy cyborgs from the future out to kill off the human race, fun, frolics, ghosts and the odd alien popping up either to make friends or kill, kill, kill! So life as usual then…
I have picked the below films because I love them all and I have no doubt missed off a ton of great ones. The thing is, 10 is not enough when the subject matter is so vast and so great. Now, as I feel a little bad about missing off a few awesome gems I thought I would give them an honorary mention. So in order of year, here are some awesome films that didn’t quite make my cut:
- Tron (1982)
- Weird Science (1985)
- Aliens (1986)
- The Running Man (1987)
- The Abyss (1989)
- Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989)
Some of you may get to the bottom of my list and wonder where Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner is (I am guessing this as it is on just about every 80’s sci-fi list out there). Blade Runner did not make my cut in any way and I realise that I am one of a very small amount of people in the world that just can’t stand the film. Whilst I think the aesthetic design is good (if a little obvious), I dislike the character of Harrison Ford’s Rick Deckard and just about every other character (I felt like one of the androids when watching it as I felt absolutely no empathy for any of them). I also detest the hashed together story so very loosely based on Philip K Dick’s Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep. This is probably because I am a massive Philip K Dick fan and I love the book (though if you want to read something by Dick, read The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch or Ubik as they are both fantastic). So, feeling the way I do towards Blade Runner, I couldn’t in good conscience include it in my list.
Below is my top 10 Sci-Fi films of the 1980’s along with their trailers for added crunch. Did your favourite make my list? Do you entirely disagree with me on the subject of Blade Runner and think it is an awesome movie? If so tell me why in the comments section. I am always open to new views…
10. Videodrome (1983)
Videodrome is about the CEO of a small TV station who comes across a broadcast featuring violence and torture. A conspiracy of deception and mind-control unfolds as he uncovers the broadcast’s source and in a series of increasingly nutty and hyper-violent organic hallucinations loses touch with reality. It is David Cronenberg doing body horror at its best. It is thought provoking, creepy, uncomfortable and hard to look away from.
9. Robocop (1987)
A graphically violent tale about a cop who is brutally killed and is then revived/saved by being rebuilt as a super tough cyborg made to protect the people. The action in this film is non-stop and pretty amazing which in itself is enough reason to give it a watch. That aside though, it is quite a moving tale about a man who is trying to recover his lost humanity and protect what he holds dear.
8. Predator (1987)
Predator is one of those cat and mouse type films with a twist. The twist being that it is genuinely terrifying. Plus you got to love Arnie as an alien hunter.