Can you Name These '80s Movies From a One-Sentence Description?


By: J. Reinoehl

7 Min Quiz

About This Quiz

Are you a fan of '80s movies? Take this quiz to test your knowledge.

Although some critics of '80s movies might accuse them of being more than a bit formulaic, we think they were fun and engaging. After all, isn't that the point?

'80s movies included such gems as "Ferris Bueller's Day Off," "Sixteen Candles," "Pretty in Pink The Breakfast Club," and "Fast Times at Ridgemont High." 

In fact, so many of these movies starred the same actors and actresses that the group was known as the Brat Pack (a play on the original Rat Pack of the 1960s which was comprised of Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Peter Lawford, and Joey Bishop, who also appeared in movies and on stage together in many productions of the era). 

These movies starred such notable names as Sarah Jessica Parker, Demi Moore, Patrick Swayze, Sean Penn, Molly Ringwald, Ally Sheedy, Anthony Michael Hall, and Nicholas Cage.

But the '80s had its serious side, too. Movies like "Top Gun," "The Terminator," "Blade Runner," "Stand By Me," "The Shining," "Dirty Dancing," and "Poltergeist" were also '80s blockbusters. So, whether you were into the serious side or the fun side of eighties movies, this quiz is for you.

Get started to find out how many you remember.

New kid in town learns martial arts and life lessons from an honored war vet and uses his knowledge to defeat bullies in a tournament.

Producers were worried that Pat Morita would not be taken seriously as Mr. Miyagi because he had previously established himself in comedic roles. This is one of the reasons they billed him as "Noriyuki "Pat" Morita. He was also in "Happy Days" (as Mitsumo "Arnold" Takahashi) and "Sanford and Son (as Ah Chew/ Colonel Hiakowa).


Coming of age story about four boys who go on a trek to find a missing body.

The towns of Brownsville, Franklin, Cottage Groove, Veneta, and Eugene in Oregon were used for most of the shooting. They filmed the train scene in California, and when the boys didn't look scared enough - take after take - director Rob Reiner yelled at them and threatened their lives, which scared them enough to get a good shot.


A witty, Army DJ finds love in Saigon and unknowingly befriends the enemy.

Adrian Cronauer, on whom the movie "Good Morning, Vietnam" was based, said if he had done half the things Robin Williams' character had done, he would have been court-martialed and still be doing time in Leavenworth. However, he was pleased with the movie because it was one of the few that did not portray Vietnam veterans as psychotic rapists.


An ex-con and his brother go on a mission from God to reunite their old band and save an orphanage.

Although Aykroyd wrote the screenplay for "The Blues Brothers," Belushi earned twice as much, $500,000. The car chase took extra planning because large numbers of police officers had to close sections of the city down to film them.


An archeology teacher goes on an adventure to save a religious relic from falling into Nazi hands.

A big Alaskan Malamute that belonged to George Lucas inspired the name "Indiana." The same dog also inspired the character of Chewbacca from Star Wars.


A child's wish to grow-up is granted and he ends up vice-president of a toy company, but soon longs to return to childhood.

Tom Hanks and Robert Loggia practiced for months to get the large piano scene down. The producers had professional dancers on standby, which offended Loggia. Hanks and Loggia did fine, and the extras weren't used.


A frustrated writer goes crazy in a secluded hotel and tries to kill his family.

Stephen King did not like that Jack Nicholson was cast as Jack Torrance. Since Nicholson had recently finished "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," King felt audiences believed him to be crazy from the beginning, instead of seeing him descend into madness.


A man hears voices and plows under his corn to build a baseball diamond.

"Field of Dreams" was filmed on an Iowa farm . Its owners maintained the field and a gift shop after the movie's release. It sold in 2011, after being listed at $5.4 million.


Princess saves Prince from drowning and gives her voice to a witch in order to spend more time with him.

"The Little Mermaid" revitalized Disney Studios. Prior to its release, Disney was focusing on live action films and box office duds like "The Black Cauldron." "The Little Mermaid" was the first feature to use Pixar's computer animation and brought in almost ten times what the "Black Cauldron" had in box office earnings.


A dead couple hires "bio-exorcist" to remove the living from their home.

Michael Keaton and Geena Davis immediately wanted to sign on the movie, but Burton had a more difficult time casting Lydia Deetz (Wynona Ryder's character). Although Beetlejuice is the title character, he only appears for 17 ½ minutes of the 92-minute runtime.


Ex-police officer is recommissioned to hunt down cyborg "replicants" but falls in love with one during the process, and is saved by another.

"Blade Runner" was loosely based on the book, "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" by Philip K Dick. The author initially hated the script, but after revisions, he was happy with the results and felt the novel and screenplay reinforced one another.


Old folks swim in the pool next door and find the fountain of youth and aliens.

Robert Zemeckis spent one year working on "Cocoon," while simultaneously doing "Romancing the Stone." After two flops, "Used Cars" and "I Wanna Hold Your Hand," the studio took one look at "Romancing the Stone" and fired Zemeckis from" Cocoon," afraid he had become box office poison. However, "Romancing the Stone" ended up doing just as well as "Cocoon" at the box office, and on a smaller budget.


A four-man diamond heist in which everyone betrays everyone and in the end, a lawyer escapes with the woman and loot.

"A Fish Called Wanda" was a British film. Many reviewers pointed out that, although people were not brutally murdered and car crashes were not used for humor, people in America would most be upset about three Yorkie dogs dying.


A tale of two British, Olympic runners, one Jewish and one Christian.

They based "Chariots of Fire" on the 1924 Olympics and the gold medals won by Eric Liddell and Harold Abrahams. It caught a unique glimpse of history when the sport of running took a professional turn. Abrahams' coach (Sam Mussabini) was perhaps not the best man to hire. He believed smoking increased lung capacity and used cocaine and strychnine lozenges to help runners ward off fatigue.


Two nerdy boys use a computer to create the dream girl, and she helps them loosen up and get dates.

The Apple Lisa, named after Steve Job's daughter and for whom the movie "Lisa" was named, was one of the first computers to use a point-and-click interface instead of line commands. Its price tag when it was released was $9,995.


Little girl targeted by dead spirits is taken through a portal to their dimension and her mother must follow to get her back.

At first, the MPAA gave Poltergeist an R rating. Stephen Speilberg, however, lobbied for a PG rating since he did not want to be associated with R movies, and the PG-13 rating had not yet been developed.


Perseus has many adventures in his effort to solve a riddle and save Andromeda from the Kraken.

The opening of "Clash of the Titans" was done at Cornwell, England. They had to wait several weeks until the weather was stormy so they could have a rough sea in the background.


An unorthodox teacher encourages students to seize the day and stand on their desks, with mixed results.

Many of the lines Keating says were based on Shulman's Acting-Directing teacher at Montgomery Bell Academy, Harold Clurman. However, the actions, such as the iconic standing on the desk, can be attributed to his English teacher, Samuel Pickering, who felt making his class entertaining would make his students enjoy reading and writing.


Man and woman leave college together out of convenience and try to avoid becoming friends, but in the end, they get married.

The "how we met" interludes were based on real love stories captured by Reiner during interviews with elderly couples. Actors were used to re-tell their stories for the interludes.


A doctor learns of a burial ground which brings the dead back to life.

Stephen King always felt that Pet Sematary was one of his scariest works, not only because it confronts a lot of taboos, but also because it was close to home. King lived in Maine—the film's setting; King's family cat died on a nearby road and was buried in a similar "pet sematary," and a vehicle almost hit King's son on the same road.


A young stockbroker is willing to give insider information to hook a big client but draws the line at destroying his father's company.

"Wall Street" was released two months after a real stock market crash, the Black Monday of October 19, 1987. Many accused Oliver Stone of knowing the crisis would come, but he said he would have made a lot of money if he actually had seen it coming.


Teams race across America trying to outwit cops and each other while an environmentalist attempts to stop them.

Cannonball Run was based on an actual series of races called the Cannonball Baker Sea-to-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Dash and the adventures Brock Yates, a founder of the race, had while running it. Although race contestants were required to pay their own tickets, the legal ramifications and increased traffic led Yates to cancel it in 1979.


Three women make their fantasies come true when they kidnap their boss and tie him to his bed.

Jane Fonda originally wanted "9 to 5" to be a drama, but she felt it was becoming too preachy.


One friend reflects on memories as she drives to meet the other, who is dying of a heart condition and wants her to raise her daughter.

In 2017, Lifetime remade "Beaches" with Idina Menzel and Nia Long. Although the storyline was the same, it was updated from the 1988 version to reflect modern culture.


The story of several teens and their journey at a special performing arts high school.

The New York City High School for the Performing Arts (Fiorello LaGuardia High), where Fame was set, is a real school. Irene Cara, who sang the theme for the movie, also played the role of Coco Hernandez in the film.


Inventor loses kids in the back yard.

Disney was concerned that a known horror director, Stuart Gordon, could make a family-friendly film. After convincing them that Anty would not be scary and that he would not kill off the kids, Gordon had to leave because he got sick. Joe Johnston replaced him.


Loser joins the Army with his friend, graduates from basic, and takes a top secret vehicle on a joyride before saving the platoon.

Because the Defense Department liked the film script, they were allowed to shoot in Fort Knox, and real troops played the parts of some of the extras. Army recruitment increased by about 10% after the film was released.


Based on a true story, it tells about the life of Pu Yi and covers the political period that begins with the Chinese Empire and ends in 1967.

The production crew of "The Last Emperor" received permission from the Chinese government to shoot on location—even in the Forbidden City. They loosely based Pu Yi's life on his memoir, with many romantic scenes thrown in to spice things up and some of the more nasty aspects removed.


Italian-American restaurant owner argues with employee's friend about his Wall of Fame, and it escalates into a riot that destroys his business.

Spike Lee based "Do The Right Thing" on an incident in Queens, New York, where three youths, trying to find help for a broken down car, stumbled across members of an Italian gang before entering a pizzeria. When they came out, 12 youths had assembled and proceeded to beat them, forcing one into traffic where he was struck by a car and died. In real life, the owners of the pizzeria were not involved in the incident.


Pilot infiltrates Russia and steals top secret plane.

Clint Eastwood was fired from his contract at Universal Studios in 1959 because his Adam's apple stuck out too far. At the same time, they fired Burt Reynolds because he "couldn't act." Reynold's reportedly told Eastwood, "You know, you are really screwed because I can learn how to act. You can't get rid of that Adam's apple."


German war correspondent experiences firsthand the ups and downs of submarine life.

Das Boot was originally filmed in German. Since all the actors could also speak English, they dubbed their own lines for the U. K. and U. S. A. distribution.


A man whose family was killed by an evil hypnotist goes on a quest to infiltrate the hypnotist's cult and kill him with his father's sword, while saving a princess in the process.

The film was supposed to be shot in Yugoslavia, but due to political tension, it was moved to Spain. The three main actors had to train for five months for their roles.


A new teacher at a school for the hearing impaired tries to get a deaf janitor to talk, sparking romance with ups and downs.

Marlee Matlin won an Oscar and a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Leading Role for her work on "Children of a Lesser God." The film was nominated for four more Oscars and two more Golden Globes.


A computer programmer is digitized, entering a mainframe to seek evidence that proves the current CEO stole his programs.

Originally inspired by Pong, the computer animation created quite a stir as traditional animators felt it was "cheating." It was only after several studios declined to make a fully animated cartoon version that Lisberger pitched a live-action/animation combo to Disney and snagged their interest.


It was based on the true story of a female whistleblower at a nuclear fuel rod production site, who died in a car wreck.

The movie painted a convincing picture that Silkwood was murdered by Kerr-McGee over a cover-up. The company admittedly had 574 radiation exposures in just five years and was an awful place to work, closing one year after Silkwood's death. However, is was determined that Silkwood fell asleep at the wheel after consuming too many sleeping pills.


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