How Well Do You Remember These Major Moments from the '80s?


By: Heather Cahill

6 Min Quiz

Image: Jeff Quitney

About This Quiz

The '80s were a decade of hope, fear, and liberation.

The biggest moments of the decade came from many areas. There were ups and downs in pop culture, politics, the economy and even in your own backyard. There were firsts and lasts that changed history forever. Which moment comes to mind for you when you think of the '80s?

Do you remember the television stations that changed the way that we consumed media? How about the celebrations that the world watched from the comfort of their own homes? What about the deaths of important figures in society that impacted people all over the world? There were good times and hard times that will never be forgotten.

Can you name the toys that were sought after by parents everywhere? What about the first American woman in space? Maybe you can name the company that revolutionized the cellphone industry with the first mobile phone? The decade was filled with innovation, especially in the area of technology.

Without the events of the '80s, the world could be drastically different than we know it today. If you had no trouble with these questions, then this quiz will be easy for you. So, if you're a true '80s expert, take a shot at this quiz to see how well you remember the decade!

Which legendary artist was murdered in 1980?

John Lennon was murdered in 1980. He was shot in the back and had died by the time the paramedics reached the hospital.


The creation of what channel allowed for news all day long?

CNN allowed for news to be accessible all day long. The channel specialized in airing news 24/7 so that viewers would never miss the latest stories and updates.


What song was recorded to help the victims of the famine in Africa in 1985?

'We Are the World' was the song that was recorded to help the victims of the famine in Africa. Lionel Richie and Michael Jackson co-wrote the song.


What crashed in 1987?

The stock market crashed in 1987. The day it crashed is referred to as Black Monday. It was feared that the economy would suffer but it surprisingly managed to stay afloat.


What football team won three Super Bowls in the '80s?

The San Francisco 49ers won three Super Bowls in the '80s. The team has won the Super Bowl a total of five times. They won twice against Cincinnati.


What was discovered in 1985?

The remains of the Titanic were discovered in 1985. The wreck was discovered near Newfoundland and had been preserved underwater for years.


What passed by the Earth in 1986?

Halley's Comet passed by the Earth in 1986. The comet only passes by the Earth every 75 years and will make its return in 2061.


Where were the Summer Olympics in 1980?

The Summer Olympics were held in Moscow, Russia, in 1980. The games were controversial because the Soviet Union had recently invaded Afghanistan.


What portable gaming system was released in 1989?

Gameboy was released by Nintendo in 1989. The system paved the way for a new way of gaming on the go that continues today.


Who was almost assassinated in 1981?

Former President Ronald Reagan was almost assassinated in 1981. He was shot, but he recovered.


In 1983, who was the first American woman in space?

Sally Ride was the first American woman in space. She had joined NASA only about five years prior to her journey into space.


The photograph called 'The Afghan Girl' appeared in what magazine in 1985?

'The Afghan Girl' appeared in National Geographic in 1985. The photograph became one of the most famous photographs in the world.


Which two countries signed a trade agreement in 1987?

The United States and Canada signed a trade agreement in 1987. The agreement allowed the two countries to work together in providing goods.


Which volcano erupted in 1980?

Mount St. Helens erupted in 1980, killing more than 50 people. The volcano is located in Washington state.


Who did the United States Olympic hockey team defeat in 1980?

The United States Olympic hockey team defeated the Soviet Union in 1980. It was a big moment throughout the world because the Soviet Union's team were the champions of the ice at the time.


Which space shuttle exploded in 1986?

The space shuttle Challenger exploded shortly after take-off in 1986, killing all the astronauts on board, including teacher and first civilian in space, Christa McAuliffe.


What toy gained extreme popularity in the '80s?

The Rubik's Cube really picked up popularity in the '80s. The puzzle is still around today, but it isn't as popular as it was then.


What happened to a baby in 1987 that received national news coverage?

In 1987, a baby named Jessica McClure fell into a well. The rescue was televised and Baby Jessica was saved. There have been movies based on her story.


What office supply was first sold in 1980?

Post-It Notes were first sold in 1980. Since their introduction, Post-It Notes have been used for more than just writing notes. They've also been used for art and have even made their way into the digital world.


What musical hit Broadway in the '80s?

'The Phantom of the Opera' made its Broadway debut in the '80s. The musical was a hit and has kept its momentum throughout the years.


In 1981, she was the first female judge on the Supreme Court.

Sandra Day O'Connor was the first female judge in the Supreme Court. She was appointed in 1981 and kept her role until 25 years later in 2006.


Which company released the first personal computer in 1981?

IBM released the first personal computer in 1981. The computer was extremely basic and it came with a high price tag. It revolutionized the technology industry and paved the way for the computers we use today.


What television show that is still popular today debuted in 1989?

'The Simpsons debuted in 1989. At this point, the show was part of a segment of another television show called "The Tracy Ullman Show." These were one-minute shorts until "The Simpsons" became its own cartoon show.


In 1983, this company released the first mobile phone.

In 1983, Motorola released the first mobile phone. It was nothing like what we have today. It was very heavy and not as portable as you would hope for it to be.


Which famous couple was married in 1981?

Prince Charles and Princess Diana were married in the '80s. The two were married for 15 years until their divorce. Princess Diana was killed in a car crash one year later.


The last episode of which television show became the most watched in history?

The last episode of M*A*S*H was the most-watched episode of any television show in history. It held this record until 2010 when the Super Bowl broke its record.


What music channel first aired in 1981?

MTV first aired in 1981. The first music video that the channel ever aired was 'Video Killed the Radio Star.'


Whats doll gained extreme popularity in the '80s?

Cabbage Patch Kids gained extreme popularity in the '80s. The dolls were originally called, 'The Little People.' The toys became a huge craze in the '80s and there was a high demand for them.


Which statue had its 100 year anniversary in the '80s?

The Statue of Liberty celebrated its 100 year anniversary in the '80s. The statue was a gift to the United States from France in 1886.


What popular movie was released in 1982?

'E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial' was released in 1982. It was an overnight success that was directed by Steven Spielberg. The movie became a top grossing film in the United States.


Which celebrity's television show first aired in 1986?

"The Oprah Winfrey Show" first aired in 1986. The show aired up until 2011, and was the most popular daytime television show in the United States.


What song did Michael Jackson release in 1982?

Michael Jackson released 'Thriller' in 1982. The song became an instant hit and one for which he is well-remembered. The video for the song was also an instant favorite.


What was removed in Europe in 1989?

The Berlin Wall came down in 1989. The removal of the wall was an important moment because it marked the end of communism in Germany.


Which famous actor released a workout video in 1982?

Jane Fonda started releasing workout videos in 1982 and continued to release them throughout the decade.


What program that we still use today was released in 1983?

Microsoft Word was released in 1983, although it had a different name. The program was released for many different platform that were available at the time, and in the years after the original release.


Explore More Quizzes

About HowStuffWorks Play

How much do you know about dinosaurs? What is an octane rating? And how do you use a proper noun? Lucky for you, HowStuffWorks Play is here to help. Our award-winning website offers reliable, easy-to-understand explanations about how the world works. From fun quizzes that bring joy to your day, to compelling photography and fascinating lists, HowStuffWorks Play offers something for everyone. Sometimes we explain how stuff works, other times, we ask you, but we’re always exploring in the name of fun! Because learning is fun, so stick with us!