10 Greatest Sci-Fi Films Of The 1980s

arnold schwarzenegger terminator gun jacket
Posted on: October 21st, 2012

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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…


terminator and e.t.


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)


blade runner harrison ford


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-james woods david cronenberg


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 arnold schwarzeneggar fight


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.


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Author Info

Susie McBeth is a features writer at Bad Haven. She is a comic book reading, anime loving, Batman obsessed, writer, blogger, musician, artist, cosplayer, occasional supervillain and all round very nerdy girl. Susie is also the founder and Editor-In-Chief of nerd site Nerd Like You. She also writes for the Huffington Post, Bit Rebels and is the author of the acclaimed blog A Twin Adventureas well as the geektastic Deviant Geek Girl tumblr blog.

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  • Dalinkwent

    I thought I was the only one that who doesn’t like Blade Runner. Decent movie, but I don’t understand the insane praise it gets.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jrandallcoath James Crockett Mulder Randall-

    No Wrath of Khan?

    • susiemcbeth

      Wrath of Khan is awesome…but again just to many to fit on the list (I’m starting to think I should have done a top 20). I think it would def feature in my top 5 Star Trek films though :) Thanks lots for commenting

    • http://www.facebook.com/Fix06 Mark McCann

      Wrath Of Khan makes me cry like a innocent young girl when Spock dies. It and The Undiscovered Country are my favorite Trek Movies. The Space battle with Zulu’s last minute save in the latter literally makes me sick with joy!

  • susiemcbeth

    I know…but it didn’t …nearly though!

  • A Parasitic Cyst

    Yes mate! Aliens blatantly should have been on the list! It is awesome!
    “I like to keep this handy… For close encounters!”
    As for the rest of the list, the only one I personally wouldn’t have chosen to go on there was E.T as I find it boring. But that’s me.

    • susiemcbeth

      If I had done a top 11 Aliens would have def been in there. It was tough though as Cameron was totally on his game in the 80′s and I didn’t really want to leave it out but I had to leave out something :) Thanks for commenting

    • A Parasitic Cyst

      You forgot to put a cool Aliens quote in that last comment. Like “They’re coming outta the walls! They’re coming outta the goddamn walls!” :-)

    • susiemcbeth

      haha I personally love: “We’re all in strung out shape, but stay frosty, and alert. We can’t afford to let one of those bastards in here”
      feels like a morning after a big night with the postman incessantly knocking at the door…

  • Dan Murray

    Good list but I really think Aliens should have made the top 10. Game over man, game over!