The Top 10 Geek Movies from the 80s

We're still getting ready for Ready Player One! Daryl and Jay share their Top 10 Geek Movies from the 1980s. And, on the blog (below), check out what Ashley has to say about her own Top 10 Geeks Movies from the 1980s! Who do you agree with?

Also, if you want to hear Jay and Daryl give their WORST geek movies from the 1980s, check out our Patreon content here:


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ASHLEY'S TOP 10 Geek Movies from the 1980s:

It’s amazing how many iconic geek movies, moments, and characters come from the 1980s — Indiana Jones, Back to the Future, Ghostbusters, and too many more to name. As we eagerly wait for Steven Spielberg’s “Ready Player One” — which will undoubtedly include plenty of 1980s pop culture references and maybe even create some iconic pop culture moments of its own — the Story Geeks list their favorite ’80s flicks. Here are my top 10!

10 - Back to the Future (1985)

In “Back to the Future,” everybody’s *other* favorite time-traveling Doctor, Emmett “Doc” Brown, and sidekick Marty McFly have to fix the past to save their future — and, just like any time you mess with the time stream, things don’t go smoothly. Although the sequel, “Back to the Future Part II” (1989) feels the slightest bit dated now, the first “Back to the Future” is still a fun adventure, and the famous DeLorean is one of my favorite time machines in pop culture (after the TARDIS, of course!).

9 - Ghostbusters (1984)

“If there’s something strange in your neighborhood, who you gonna call?” Why, the Ghostbusters, of course! This classic sci-fi comedy is one of my favorites, even if some of the special effects haven’t aged flawlessly. With a great cast and a creative premise (a supernatural “pest” control business!), the film is just as entertaining 30+ years later.

8 - National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)

I have to watch “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” every holiday season, and I think it’s even funnier than the original “National Lampoon’s Vacation” (1983), about a family road trip gone horribly wrong. It’s always entertaining to watch Clark Griswold’s inevitably ill-fated attempts to plan the perfect family Christmas, whether it’s searching for a (ridiculously giant) Christmas tree, putting way too many lights on the house, or surviving an onslaught of wacky relatives. However, the Griswold family learns that even if Christmas is a disaster, they still have each other — and that’s what matters most.

7 - Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)

I noticed that there is quite a bit of overlap between this list and my list of favorite Steven Spielberg films that I did for the Story Geeks last week. ;) Spielberg did a lot of great work in the 1980s, and some of his most iconic characters come from this era. Indiana Jones arguably IS Spielberg’s most iconic character, and though the first film (which shows up later on this list) is my favorite Indy film, “The Last Crusade” is almost as good.

6 - E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

“E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” is a simple story — just a curious little alien who’s trying to find his way home — but perhaps that’s what makes it so timeless and magical. It’s one of the movies that best captures Steven Spielberg’s trademark sense of wonder, and that scene of the bicycle flying across the moon is one of cinema’s best moments.

5 - The Princess Bride (1987)

“The Princess Bride” may not have been a record-breaking blockbuster when it was first released, but you wouldn’t guess that now based on its treasured place in pop culture. This cult classic is endlessly quotable, with such gems as “Hello! My name is Inigo Montoya! You killed my father! Prepare to die!” and “Inconceivable!” It’s the perfect movie to watch with friends — who have, preferably, also seen it a bazillion times, so you can all join in and shout out the best lines along with the characters.

4 - Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982)

I’ve always had a special place in my heart for the crew of Star Trek’s Original Series, and “The Wrath of Khan” presents them at their finest. The film reflects on themes like legacy and past demons returning to haunt you — both metaphorically and literally, as warlord Khan returns to seek revenge against Kirk and his crew. And though we know from later films that Spock doesn’t stay dead for long, his sacrifice for Kirk and the rest of the Enterprise crew remains a touching moment in the franchise. My other favorite Original Series Trek film is “Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home” (1986); it didn’t *quite* make this top 10 list, but it’s a fun (and funny) film, letting the crew show off their more comedic side.

3 - Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

Is there a more perfect action/adventure film than “Raiders of the Lost Ark”? Director Steven Spielberg introduces us to daring archaeologist/professor Indiana Jones, who helps protect the Ark of the Covenant from Nazis plotting to exploit its power. With plenty of action, stunts, and a dash of the supernatural, “Raiders of the Lost Ark” is a fun classic that remains one of Spielberg’s best.

2 - Star Wars: Return of the Jedi (1983)

“Return of the Jedi” has actually moved up my list of favorite Star Wars films over the years. Overall, it doesn’t pack *quite* the same narrative punch as a certain other Star Wars film that shows up later in this list. ;) Yet “Return of the Jedi” has one of the most powerful endings of any movie I’ve ever seen. Luke Skywalker rejects the dark side and ends up redeeming Darth Vader, a man everyone else in the galaxy assumed was beyond redemption. It’s a poignant way to close out the original Star Wars trilogy.

1 - Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

“The Empire Strikes Back” isn’t just my favorite Star Wars film, it’s my favorite film of all time. It’s hard to narrow down the reasons I love this film to just a few sentences, because there are too many wonderful things in this movie. The iconic characters. The music from John Williams. The lightsaber fights. The shocking twist about Darth Vader’s identity. “A New Hope” is a lot of fun, but “The Empire Strikes Back” is even richer, deeper, and darker. To me, it’s the pinnacle of the Star Wars franchise and captures everything that has made this series such a beloved part of pop culture for so many years.