Totally Retro: 10 Movies That Perfectly Capture the Look and Feel of the 1980s

The 1980s had a definite vibe that included big hair and bold fashion choices. A movie fan in a popular online forum asked, “What's the best movie set in the 80s that wasn't filmed in the 80s?” People weighed in with their favorites — here are the 10 best movies that perfectly capture the 80s.

1 – Hot Tub Time Machine (2010)

hot tub time machine
Image Credit: MGM Distribution Co.

Time travel to the 80s in a hot tub! The 2010 movie Hot Tub Time Machine, starring John Cusack, Rob Corddry, Craig Robinson, and Clark Duke gets everything about the 80s just right.

One fan noted, “I love Hot Tub Time Machine. More so because I can relate to it quite a bit. My group of buddies would do a yearly ski trip back in the 80s but now we’re all married (mostly), doing our own thing, and aren’t as close as back in the day.”

2 – Adventureland (2009)

Image Credit: Miramax Films.

Adventureland also nails the era. It follows recent college graduate James (Jesse Eisenberg) who works at a local amusement park during the summer of 1987.

One movie lover noted, “I personally think it's one of the best coming-of-age films of the past few years. I love almost everything about it: the late 80s feel, the characters, the dialogue that just seems so natural, an incredible soundtrack, and the chemistry between Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart. The ending just puts a smile on my face every time I watch it.”

3 – It (2017)

Image Credit: Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

It is a story that takes place in the 1980s, based on Stephen King's novel of the same name. It follows a group of outcasted teenagers called The Losers Club. In addition to being regularly harassed by a group of bullies, an evil being terrorizes the teens. It takes the shape of whatever the kids are frightened of, emerging from the sewer to feed on children every 27 years in Derry, Maine.

4 – Joker (2019)

Image Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures.

Set in 1981, Joker provides an origin story to Batman‘s infamous villain, The Joker. It follows Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix), a mentally ill clown by day and an aspiring stand-up comedian by night. He cares for his mother in a crime-ridden and deteriorating Gotham City. The film demonstrates Fleck's descent into madness while giving audiences a taste of understanding why he wants to watch the world burn. 

5 – The Wedding Singer (1998)

Image Credit: New Line Cinema.

The Wedding Singer is the first Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore film in their trilogy of romantic comedies. It tells the story of Robbie Hart (Sandler), a wedding singer who is stood up at the altar. He befriends a waitress who is engaged to a massive jerk. As Robbie helps Julia plan her wedding, they fall in love. The movie has the best music and is a laugh-out-loud eighties vibe all around. 

6 – Everybody Wants Some (2016)

Image Credit: Paramount Pictures.

Everybody Wants Some is an American teen comedy sports flick about college baseball players in 1980s Texas. It follows a first-year college student and his baseball teammates, a wild group of disco-dancing partyers chasing skirts. 

7 – American Psycho (2000)

Image Credit: Universal Studios.

American Psycho is a black comedy horror film based on Bret Easton Ellis' novel of the same name. It follows Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale), an investment banker who leads a double life as a serial killer in New York City. American Psycho is a satirized 1980s story demonstrating white-collar culture and consumerism. The film's supporting roles include Willem Dafoe, Jared Leto, Justin Theroux, and Reese Witherspoon.

8 – Fargo (1996)

Image Credit: Twentieth Century Fox.

Set in 1987, Fargo is a black comedy crime story that follows Marge, a pregnant Minnesota police chief, as she investigates roadside homicides. The homicides occur after a miserable car salesman hires two criminals to kidnap his wife to extort a hefty ransom from her wealthy father. The film stars Frances McDormand, William H. Macy, Steve Buscemi, and Peter Stormare.

9 – Beyond the Black Rainbow (2010)

Image Credit: Chromewood Enterprises Inc.

Set in 1983, Beyond the Black Rainbow is a Canadian sci-fi horror film that tells the story of a woman with ESP. She's heavily sedated and tries to escape from her captivity at Arboria Institute, a secluded commune. 

10 – No Country for Old Men (2007)

Image Credit: Paramount Vantage – Miramax.

No Country for Old Men is an American neo-Western crime thriller film set in the desert landscape of 1980 West Texas. After finding the gruesome aftermath of a drug deal while out hunting, Llewelyn (Josh Brolin) cannot resist taking the cash left behind. However, soon he is hunted by a merciless killer and Sheriff Bell (Tommy Lee Jones). 

Source: Reddit