Retro Rewind: 14 Best Campy Movies From the 80s and 90s

You can't beat a campy movie for a little lighthearted fun. The 1980s and 1990s delivered some of the best of these easy-going films. Someone on a popular online forum asked for favorite “campy fun” sci-fi and fantasy movies from the 80s and 90s. Here are the top 14 responses.

1 – The Beastmaster (1982)

the beastmaster
Image Credit: MGM/UA Entertainment Co.

Some film fans raved about The Beastmaster, with one noting, “One of my favorite sword and sorcery movies!” Another added, “I've probably watched it dozens of times. It was campy fun! Marc Singer was big back in the early to mid 80s, I loved him in that.”

2 – Starship Troopers (1997)

starship troopers
Image Credit: TriStar Pictures.

One film buff said “Starship Troopers, thank me later.” Another noted how the movie is “a strange combination of high craft and production value with campy acting and satire.” A third called it “fun and lighthearted,” with another dubbing it “campy ridiculousness.”

3 – Big Trouble in Little China (1986)

Big Trouble in Little China 20th Century
Image Credit: 20th Century Fox.

When a truck driver named Jack Burton helps his friend rescue his fiancée from a mysterious gang in Chinatown, he finds himself embroiled in a mystical battle between ancient Chinese sorcery and modern-day villainy.

4 – Ladyhawke (1985)

Image Credit: 20th Century Fox.

In medieval Europe, a cursed knight and a lady transformed into a hawk by day team up with a thief. Together, they must overthrow an evil bishop and break the curse that has kept them apart.

5 – Labyrinth (1986)

Image Credit: Columbia Tri-Star.

When a young girl named Sarah wishes for her baby brother to be taken away by the Goblin King, she must navigate a fantastical labyrinth to rescue him and confront the king in his castle at the center of the maze.

6 – Total Recall (1990)

Total Recall Arnold Schwarzenegger, Michael Ironside, Rachel Ticotin
Image Credit: Tri-Star Pictures.

In the future, a construction worker named Quaid goes on a virtual vacation to Mars, but he begins questioning his identity when the trip goes wrong. He must uncover a vast conspiracy threatening his life and the planet's fate.

7 – 12 Monkeys (1995)

Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

In a dystopian future, a prisoner is sent back in time to gather information about a virus that wiped out most of humanity. However, he soon discovers that the past is not what it seems and must race against time to prevent the outbreak before it's too late.

8 – The Matrix (1999)

The Matrix Keanu Reeves Laurence Fishburne Carrie-Anne Moss
Image Credit: Warner Bros.

A computer programmer named Neo discovers that the world as he knows it is a simulation created by machines to keep humans in line, and he must join a rebellion to free humanity and take down the Matrix.

9 – RoboCop (1987)

Image Credit: Sony Pictures.

After a gang of criminals brutally murders a police officer, he is resurrected as a cyborg with superhuman strength and programmed to clean up the streets of crime-ridden Detroit.

10 – Terminator (1984)

The Terminator Arnold Schwarzenegger
Image Credit: Orion Pictures.

In a post-apocalyptic future, a cyborg assassin is sent back in time to kill Sarah Connor, the mother of the future resistance leader, but a soldier from the same future is also sent back to protect her and stop the Terminator at all costs.

11 – Excalibur (1981)

Excalibur Orion Pictures
Image Credit: Orion Pictures.

This epic retelling of the legend of King Arthur follows his rise to power and his quest for the Holy Grail, as well as the betrayal and downfall of his trusted friend and advisor, Lancelot.

12 – Legend (1985)

Image Credit: Universal Studios.

In a magical forest filled with unicorns and other mystical creatures, a young woman named Lily must team up with a mischievous fairy and a heroic young man to stop an evil lord and his minions from plunging the world into eternal darkness.

13 – The Fifth Element (1997)

The Fifth Element Bruce Willis Milla Jovovich Gary Oldman
Image Credit: Sony Pictures Entertainment.

In a future world threatened by an ancient evil force, a taxi driver named Korben Dallas becomes embroiled in a quest to save humanity when a mysterious woman named Leeloo falls into his cab and turns out to be the key to defeating the ultimate evil.

14 – Back to the Future (1985)

Back to the Future
Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

In Back to the Future,  a high school student named Marty McFly is accidentally sent back in time to the 1950s. He must ensure that his teenage parents meet and fall in love so that he can be born and find a way back to the present.

Source: Reddit.

Jaimee Marshall is a writer who hails from the suburbs of Philadelphia but has spent the past few years living abroad in Australia. She considers herself a bit of a movie buff with a knack for horror and clever sci-fi flicks. When she isn't watching or writing about movies, she's probably either posting political memes, cooking vegan food, or being active. She covers entertainment news, and reviews films and television for Wealth of Geeks. You can also catch her deep dives on sociopolitical issues at Evie Magazine, Katie Couric Media, and Her Campus or watch her appearance on Popcorned Planet, where she discusses heated issues like due process in our current social climate.