How Well Do You Know '80s Pop Culture?


By: John Miller

6 Min Quiz

Image: Universal Pictures

About This Quiz

At the beginning of the 1980s, America was still very much hung over from the weirdness of the ’60s and ‘70s. But by the middle of the ‘80s, this decade was defining itself in new (and sometimes obnoxious) ways. Clothes clashed, hair climbed to previously unscaled heights, and synthesizers of all kinds warped pop music in strange and fascinating ways. Do you think you can be a Master of the Universe in this '80s pop culture quiz?

From Transformers to Rainbow Brite, the ‘80s were a fun time to be a kid. Toy stores were overflowing with fantastically popular items, everything from G.I. Joe to Cabbage Patch Kids dolls, some of which inspired violent frenzy in parents panicking to spoil their already spoiled offspring. What do you recall about the most popular kids’ trends of this decade?

After the glam rock and disco of the ‘70s, music veered sharply toward pure pop in the ‘80s. The Bangles, the Go-Gos, Madonna, and a whole lot of other big bands got their start during this decade. But it wasn’t all superficial fluff or hair band rock. A few Earth-shattering artists saw their careers skyrocket in the '80s. Can you name them?

Forget the politics of the Cold War and the fall of the Berlin Wall. What we really want to know is — who did the Super Bowl Shuffle? And which teams dominated the decade, from the NFL to the NBA and Major League Baseball?

Dig out your weirdest neon-colored clothes and dive into this ‘80s quiz now! We’ll see if you’re cut out for “Risky Business” or if you’ll have to “phone home” for help!

Which smash-hit TV show of the ‘80s starred a character named "Hawkeye"?

They made you laugh, they made you cry - the doctors and nurses of the 4077th in "M*A*S*H." were led by the hijinks of Hawkeye Pierce (Alan Alda). It’s still one of the most popular shows in TV history.


Which 1985 blockbuster movie was all about a time machine built into a car?

In ‘85, Michael J. Fox jumped into his heavily-modified DeLorean DMC-12 and blasted through time in "Back to the Future," jumpstarting one of the ‘80s most popular movie series.


"Norm" was a character in which major TV hit?

Because "sometimes you wanna go where everybody knows your name." In the sitcom "Cheers," every time Norm walked into the famous Boston watering hole, other barflies shouted "Norm!"


What renowned Sony product became famous in the ‘80s?

The Walkman cassette player changed the sound of portable music. No longer were you stuck listening to AM/FM radio ... you could take your music collection anywhere.


In the ‘80s, actress Betty White was a star of which show?

Betty White was Rose Nylund, the innocent retiree with a penchant for odd (and hilarious) stories in "The Golden Girls." The show ran from ‘85 to ‘92.


Complete this public service announcement: "This is your ___ on drugs."

The anti-drug movement was spurred by the Reagan Administration in the ‘80s. One commercial showed an egg frying in a skillet with the words, "this is your brain on drugs."


In 1980, which baseball team won the World Series for the first time?

In 1980, it had been three decades since the Phillies even won a pennant. But they went all the way that year, winning their first-ever pro baseball title.


What type of bracelets were crazy popular with kids in the ‘80s?

Slap bracelets were (and are) flexible, colorful bracelets that you can "slap" across your wrist in order to secure them. In the ‘80s, some kids had piles of these things in their bedrooms.


In 1984, Harold Ramis, Dan Aykroyd and Bill Murray teamed up to fight _____ in one of best movies of the decade.

Harold Ramis, Dan Aykroyd and Bill Murray are the stars of "Ghostbusters." Three geeky guys get slimed over and over again to the tune of one of the best movie theme songs ever.


What was special about a toy named "Teddy Ruxpin"?

Teddy Ruxpin was a (sort of) robotic teddy bear with a built-in cassette deck. Plop in a book tape and he’d read along as you completed a favorite tale ... if you weren’t running away screaming from his creepy eyes.


Bo and Luke Duke were the stars of which ‘80s hit TV show?

They were just good old boys, never meain’ no harm — Luke and Bo Duke from "The Dukes of Hazzard." And they should have been locked up more than once simply for extreme reckless driving charges.


Who directed a 1985 movie called "The Breakfast Club"?

With ‘85’s "The Breakfast Club," director John Hughes began honing his slightly offbeat style that came to define so many of his movies ... and it demostrated how his collaborations with actress Molly Ringwald would pay huge dividends.


Which album did Michael Jackson release in 1982?

In 1982, Jackson unveiled his sixth studio album, and "Thriller" turned out to be a record for the ages. It made Michael into a Pope-level icon and became the best-selling album in world history.


Joe Montana was the star QB of which great NFL team in the ‘80s?

Montana was "Joe Cool," the unflappable QB for the 49ers in the ‘80s. He won four Super Bowls, and in three of those games he was named MVP.


What was special about a 1988 movie called "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?"

“Who Framed Roger Rabbit" was groundbreaking in that it was the first film to blend live-action with animation in a way that really suspended disbelief. It starred Bob Hoskins as a man investigating a seedy scandal.


From 1985 to 1989, what was the most popular TV show in America?

In the ‘80s, the Huxtable family from "The Cosby Show" captured America’s hearts. And of course, the incredible Cosby legacy is all but ruined by the star’s recently-revealed criminal acts.


_____ Shortcake was a popular children’s doll in the ‘80s.

With her red hair and freckles (and beaming personality), Strawberry Shortcake was a popular franchise of the ‘80s. Her bonnet was covered with her namesake berries.


Who was NBA Rookie of the Year in 1980?

In 1980, the very unathletic-looking Larry Bird, of the Celtics, won the Rookie of the Year award. It marked the beginning of a Hall of Fame career, one that found him a constant rival in Magic Johnson, who was also a rookie that year.


Which news TV show was exceedingly popular in the ‘80s?

In the ‘80s, "60 Minutes" and its investigative reporting were popular. In 1982, it was actually the most-watched show of the entire year.


Who was one of the stars of a funny show called "Three’s Company"?

John Ritter played the part of Jack Tripper, a guy who lives with two single women in "Three’s Company." The show had audiences slapping their legs for eight seasons.


Which food product was all the rage, starting in 1986?

In 1986, Cool Ranch Doritos changed all of your beliefs about what a tortilla chip could be. Kids — and adults — scarfed these things as fast as they could get their ranch-powdered fingers on them.


Who authored the book that was turned into a hit movie called "The Shining"?

In 1980, Stephen King’s psychotic book, "The Shining," was turned into a movie of the same name, starring crazy-eyed Jack Nicholson in the lead role. "Redrum," indeed.


Which band scored a major hit with a song called "Sweet Child o’ Mine"?

Guns N’ Roses had just one number one hit during their legendary career, and it happened in 1988 with "Sweet Child o’ Mine." It is one of the decade’s most famous songs.


In 1984, which pitcher debuted for the New York Mets?

In ‘84, Dwight Gooden was just 19 years old when he took the mound for the Mets. He was astonishingly good, a once-in-a-generation talent, but drug abuse took a toll on his career.


Who stars as a cyborg assassin in "The Terminator"?

Before he was a politician, he was a cyborg assassin who traveled through time. He’s Arnold Schwarzenegger, the star of 1984’s "The Terminator," one of the decade’s best sci-fi/action films.


Which artist released a 1989 album called "Like a Prayer"?

In 1989, Madonna’s "Like a Prayer" captured the hearts of both fans and critics, and the song of the same name became the singer’s seventh number-one hit.


In 1984, which player was the third overall pick of the NBA draft?

In ‘84, the Chicago Bulls wisely chose Michael Jordan with the third overall pick of the NBA draft. Jordan won six titles in Chicago and was named MVP of all six of those Finals series.


My Little ______ was a popular toy line introduced in 1982.

In 1982, Hasbro unleashed the My Little Pony line of toys upon an unsuspecting world — girls everywhere grabbed the little ponies at toy stores. These days, reclusive middle-age men obsessively collect the little equine dolls.


”Be kind, rewind" refers to which aspect of ‘80s culture?

In the ‘80s, video rental stores were booming (BlockBuster, anyone?) and "Be kind, rewind" was a key phrase, reminding customers to rewind their tapes before returning them. Because if you didn't, an employee making $4.25 per hour had to.


Which Midwestern team won Super Bowl XX?

The ‘85 Bears went 15-1 and featured the likes of Jim McMahon and Walter Payton. In Super Bowl XX, they smashed the Patriots and staked their claim to "best team ever."


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