How Many of These '80s Drama Movies Can You Name?


By: Robin Tyler

7 Min Quiz

Image: IndieProd Company Productions

About This Quiz

We all love movies, don't we?

No matter what the decade, Hollywood has the ability to turn out classic movies time and time again. And speaking of decades, the 1980s certainly had some of the greatest movies ever produced, across the full spectrum of genres. 

But it was in the drama genre that Hollywood truly outdid itself in the 1980s. Time and time again, it produced movies that not only made us sit on the edge of our seats but also reach for our box of tissues! 

Think of "My Left Foot," an acting tour de force from Daniel Day-Lewis, along with a brilliant story. What about "Sophie's Choice"? Another incredible movie backup with stellar acting from Meryl Streep. Or "Taps" from 1981, another incredible drama that kept us enthralled.

And there are so many more Hollywood drama's that 40 years on, we still remember and talk about.

So that's why you are here. We want you to see how much you remember about 40 Hollywood dramas from the 1980s. Can you identify them from just an image? 

Don't worry if you aren't sure. Our clues will put you on the right track!

So what are you waiting for? Lights! Camera! Action!

In 1987, audiences 'had the time of their lives' watching Patrick Swayze flaunt his raunchy moves. In what movie did he star?

Audiences certainly 'had the time of their lives' when "Dirty Dancing" was released in 1987. With Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey in the lead roles in this movie of forbidden love and dancing, lots of raunchy dancing was an instant hit! The soundtrack was great, too!


This movie introduced Morgan Freeman to the world in a big way! Can you name it?

A beautiful story of the relationship between an older lady and her chauffeur, "Driving Miss Daisy" was directed by Bruce Beresford and released in 1989. It starred Morgan Freeman and Jessica Tandy in the lead roles and went on to win four Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Actress.


Can you identify the teen drama from this image?

Kevin Bacon dancing. Lots of Kevin Bacon dancing. Throw in some teenage rebellion, a fire and brimstone preacher (who hates dancing and rock music) and you have one of the favorite teen dramas of the 1980s. "Footloose" stars a dancing Kevin Bacon, John Lithgow, and Lori Singer. It also had an incredible soundtrack.


The film depicted here included characters named Maverick, Ice Man and Goose. Any ideas as to what it is?

'I feel the need, the need for speed!' Yes, "Top Gun" was an instant classic when released in 1986. A story about pilots from the elite Top Gun school of the U.S. Navy, it features dogfights, real fights and, of course, a love affair! Audiences love it all!


Name this classic John Hughes teen flick, please.

Who doesn't remember "The Breakfast Club"? It's probably John Hughes' best teen flick of the 1980s. The stellar cast included '80s teen princess Molly Ringwald, Emilio Estevez and Judd Nelson.


The sad tale of conservationist Dian Fossey is told in this movie. Any ideas as to what it is called?

"Gorillas in the Mist" tells the real-life story of Dian Fossey, an American primatologist who studied the mountain gorillas of Africa, Rwanda in particular. Fossey was brutally murdered in 1985, many believe as a result of her conservation efforts and anti-poaching stance. Sigourney Weaver played the role of Fossey in the movie which was nominated for ​five Academy Awards.


Tell us the name of this movie starring Richard Gere.

Women all over the world swooned at the sight of Richard Gere in a U.S. Navy uniform at the release of "An Officer and A Gentleman" in 1982. The movie also starred Debra Winger and Louis Gossert Jr.


This movie was certainly risque in 1980. It starred Brooke Shields. Are you able to tell us what it is?

Fairly risky for 1982, "The Blue Lagoon" tells the story of two teenagers who are stranded on a deserted island. Based on a novel by Henry De Vere Stacpoole, "The Blue Lagoon" was directed by Randal Kleiser and features Brooke Shields.


This movie was much talked about upon its release in 1986 and showed as much bare skin as the '80s would allow! Name it, please!

"9½ Weeks" was based on a book by Elizabeth McNeill and starred Mickey Rourke and Kim Basinger. Rourke was ordered to lose 30 pounds before filming to make sure he looked in tip-top conditions.


Do you know the name of this movie which helped introduce Tom Cruise to the world?

1983's "Risky Business" starred Tom Cruise and Rebecca de Mornay in the lead roles. Interestingly, the sunglasses worn by Cruise in the movie saw a 2000 percent spike in sales after its release. Just shows you what a bit of product placement can do, right?


This was one scary movie but one in which Sigourney Weaver comes through in the end. Can you remember what it was called?

In space, no one can hear you scream. In the cinema, however, they certainly could! A sequel to "Alien" from the 1970s, "Aliens" saw Sigourney Weaver reprise her role as Ripley. And again, she kicked Alien butt!


A movie that taught us to 'wax on' and 'wax off,' can you name this classic from 1986?

What a brilliant bit of fun 1984's "The Karate Kid" is. Pat Morita is a delight as Mr. Miyagi and his training of Ralph Macchio's Daniel is legendary.


Identify this movie which tells the story of boxer Jake LaMotta.

Directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Robert De Niro, "Raging Bull" tells the story of boxer Jake LaMotta, both inside and outside the ring. "Raging Bull" won two Oscars, including Best Actor for De Niro.


This image shows a movie from 1985, starring Harrison Ford. What is it?

A winner of two Oscars, 1985's "Witness" stars Harrison Ford, Kelly McGillis and a young Lukas Haas. It centers on a young Amish boy (Haas), the witness to a murder and Ford's police character who has to protect him until the trial.


'Do you want to play a game?' this movie asked. Identify it, please.

With the Cold War still in full swing, 1983's "WarGames" struck a chord with many. In it, David (Matthew Broderick) thinks he is playing a computer game when actually, he could be starting World War III. "WarGames" also starred Ally Sheedy and was directed by John Badham.


Name the mid-1980s' hockey movie depicted here.

As part of the Brat Pack, Rob Lowe's star was shining brightly in the mid 1980s. In 1986, he starred in "Youngblood," a hockey movie directed by Peter Markle. It also starred Patrick Swayze and Cynthia Gibb.


What critically acclaimed 1980s' movie told the life story of Mozart?

Starring F. Murray Abraham, Tom Hulce and Elizabeth Berridge, "Amadeus" tells the story of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart through the eyes of Antonio Salieri, a composer so jealous of him that he claimed to have murdered him. It won eight Oscars,​ including Best Picture, Best Actor and Best Director.


With Al Pacino at his finest, can you name this movie?

Directed by Brian de Palma, written by Oliver Stone and with Al Pacino in the lead role, "Scarface" is 1983's tour de force! At the time, the 203 'F' words in the movie were the most for any film.


Name this Oscar-winning film from 1981, please.

The true story of Harold Abrahams and Eric Liddell, two British athletics, one a Jew and the other a Christian, and their preparation for the 1924 Olympics and the Games themselves. "Chariots of Fire" won four Oscars, including Best Picture.


Jack Nicholson gave an incredible performance in the movie depicted here. What was it called?

Based on a Stephen King novel of the same name, "The Shining" was directed by Stanley Kubrick and stars Jack Nicholson and Shelley Duval. It tells the story of man driven mad by an evil spirit while with his family in an isolated hotel during winter.


Tom Cruise like you had never seen him before, but do you know which 1989 movie he is acting in here?

Tom Cruise portrays Vietnam veteran Ron Kovic who returns to the United States from his tour of duty paralyzed. Kovic turns into an anti-war protester after he believes his country abandoned him. "Born on the Fourth of July" was written and directed by Oliver Stone.


Identify this movie, set in the American Civil War.

"Glory"tells the story an all-black volunteer unit fighting for the Union during the American Civil War. It stars Denzel Washington and Matthew Broderick. Washington won an Oscar for his portrayal of Private Trip.


What movie is this? It was released in 1983.

"The Right Stuff" tells the story of the astronauts chosen for the Mercury space program. It stars Sam Shepard and Ed Harris amongst others and was directed by Philip Kaufmann.


Admit it, you needed a tissue or two at the end of this 1989 classic starring Robin Williams.

A true '80's classic, "Dead Poets Society" sees Robin Williams play the role of John Keating, an English teacher who inspires his students to 'seize the day.' Sadly, tragedy brings everything crashing down. This movie was nominated for four Oscars, winning one.


A look at the life of rock 'n roll star Jerry Lee Lewis, which movie is shown in this image?

Starring Dennis Quaid and Winona Ryder, "Great Balls of Fire" tells of the rise and fall of rock 'n roll star Jerry Lee Lewis.


A stellar cast, including Charlie Sheen, star in this Vietnam war drama. Tell us which of these below it is, please.

Directed by Oliver Stone, 1987's "Platoon" has a stellar cast, including Charlie Sheen, Tom Berenger and Willem Dafoe. It tells of the horrors of the Vietnam War.


One of the most endearing movies, it had young and old alike looking at the stars. What movie is it?

Directed by Steven Spielberg, "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial" was released in 1982 and became an instant classic. And rightly so! A cute alien, a friendship made in the stars and attempts to keep E.T. from authorities kept audiences enthralled.


Can you name this movie which charts the rise and untimely death of singer Richie Valens?

Richie Valens was an up and coming rock 'n roll star when he died in a plane crash that also killed Buddy Holly and the Big Boppa. Valens was only 17 years old. "La Bamba" tells his story with Lou Diamond Phillips in the lead role.


The amazing story of a teacher who refused to give up on his students, can you name this movie, please?

1988's "Stand and Deliver" tells the story of Jaime Escalante, a math teacher who refuses to give up on his students, despite the troubles they go through. He teaches them math in an unconventional way, preparing them for an exam no one expects them to overcome.


The first movie featuring Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones, this was an instant classic. Name it, please.

Released in 1980, "Raiders of the Lost Ark" had everything... a swashbuckling storyline, a brilliant lead character, action galore and plenty of humor! Directed by Steven Spielberg, it led to two further movies in the 1980s, "The Temple of Doom" and "The Last Crusade."


The kind of movie you watch with someone else in the room and from behind a blanket! What was it called?

Did you know that Steven Spielberg was one of the screenplay writers on "Poltergeist"? This horror film from 1982, directed by Tobe Hooper and starring JoBeth Williams, had audiences jumping in the aisles.


Paul Newman reprises his role from "The Hustler," this time with Tom Cruise along for the ride. What movie was it?

In "The Color of Money," Fast Eddie Felson (Newman) takes on a new protege (Cruise) to teach the tricks of pool hustling. Paul Newman won an Oscar for his portrayal of Fast Eddie.


The '80s drama shown in this image is _______.

Directed by David Lynch, "Blue Velvet," released in 1986, features Isabella Rossellini, Kyle MacLachlan and Dennis Hopper. Lynch was nominated for an Oscar but didn't win.


A young Tom Cruise stars in this 1983 drama. What was it called?

Another '80s movie, another with a Tom Cruise appearance. "All The Right Moves" was one of the actor's earliest movies and sees Cruise as a small town high school football player. It also stars Lea Thompson and Craig T. Nelson.


The second in a trilogy of action dramas from the 1980s, can you identify this movie?

After the success of "Raiders of the Lost Ark," "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom" followed in 1984. Harrison Ford was back in the role of Indy with Steven Spielberg behind the camera. In true fashion, the movie is a delightful action drama filled with dry humor, tons of action and more. A worthy follow-up​ indeed.


Dancing, lots of dancing in this movie, most of it by John Travolta. Do you know what it is called?

A follow-up from "Saturday Night Fever," "Staying Alive" sees John Travolta back in the role of Tony Manero. Tony is now trying to make it big... on the biggest stage in New York, Broadway. Interestingly, Sylvester Stallone is credited as a writer for the movie.


Set in Africa, can you name this epic romantic drama from 1985?

Sydney Pollack's "Out of Africa" was one of the massive films of the decade. It starred Meryl Streep and Robert Redford, eventually winning seven Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director.


Name the 1980s drama depicted here, please.

Another great Oliver Stone film, "Wall Street" follows a young stockbroker determined to make it to the top... fast. It stars Charlie Sheen and Michael Douglas who took the Oscar home for Best Actor for his performance.


This movie features Patrick Swayze as a bad ass bouncer. What is it?

By 1989, Patrick Swayze was a household name, thanks to "Dirty Dancing." In "Roadhouse," he plays a bouncer fighting for the locals in a corrupt town. "Road House" also stars Kelly Lynch and Sam Elliot.


Tom Cruise appears in this 1988 movie directed by Roger Donaldson. Can you name it?

Another Tom Cruise movie from the 1980s! In this one he is a bartender who takes a job in Jamaica and falls in love. Standard stuff, really...


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