The Best 80s Movies To Watch On Date Night

The Best 80s Movies To Watch On Date Night
Best Movies for date night from the 1980s

The 1980s delivered some of the most iconic and memorable date-night movies of all time. From romantic comedies to fantasy adventures, the decade was full of films with heart, humour, and chemistry that still delight audiences today. Here's a look at some of the best 80s movies to cosy up with that special someone.

Stand By Me

Director: Rob Reiner

Cast: Wil Wheaton, River Phoenix, Corey Feldman, and Jerry O’Connell

This coming-of-age drama chronicles a group of friends on an adventure to find a missing teenager’s body. Along their journey and beyond, it's a look at the magic of childhood friendships and the bittersweet process of growing up.

  • A nostalgic look at the togetherness of best friends
  • A mix of humour and heavy emotional moments
  • fantastic young cast with lots of charisma


Director: Michael Lehmann

Cast: Winona Ryder, Christian Slater, and Shannen Doherty

A deliciously dark satire of high school popularity features Winona Ryder with a young, edgy charisma as the outsider who gets seduced by the school’s resident bad boy.

  • Subversive, pitch-black humour
  • Chemistry between Ryder and Slater
  • Skewers 1980s high school movie tropes
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9 1/2 Weeks

Director: Adrian Lyne

Cast: Mickey Rourke, Kim Basinger

This erotic drama explores an intense, brief affair between two relative strangers. Rourke and Basinger have electric chemistry during the film’s iconic love scenes, but there’s an engrossing story as well about attraction, trust, and losing oneself in another person.

  • Iconic sensual love scenes
  • Compelling psychological intimacy
  • Simmers with erotic tension

Lucas (Editors Pick)

Director: David Seltzer

Cast: Corey Haim, Kerri Green, Charlie Sheen

Corey Haim is effortlessly charming as the titular, intellectually gifted but awkward 14-year-old who has a crush on an older girl. It captures those heart-fluttering, stomach-churning feelings of early crushes in hilarious and sweet ways.

  • There is great chemistry between Haim and his love interest
  • Funny, insightful coming-of-age story
  • Appealing performances, especially from Haim

Sixteen Candles

Director: John Hughes

Cast: Molly Ringwald, Michael Schoeffling, and Anthony Michael Hall

Molly Ringwald shines as a teenage girl whose family forgets her 16th birthday while also harbouring a crush on her popular senior classmate. This John Hughes gem speaks to anyone who survived the emotional gauntlet of adolescence.

  • Iconic teen movie with a fantastic cast
  • Ringwald at her most charming
  • Full of heart and humour
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Valley Girl

Director: Martha Coolidge

Cast: Nicolas Cage, Deborah Foreman, Elizabeth Daily

A delightful musical romantic comedy with a culture clash storyline featuring Nicolas Cage as an edgy Hollywood punk who falls for a popular Valley Girl, played with bubbly charm by Deborah Foreman. Their chemistry sparks the screen.

  • Charming 80s update of Romeo & Juliet
  • Catchy musical numbers
  • The breakout role for Cage

When Harry Met Sally

Director: Rob Reiner

Cast: Meg Ryan, Billy Crystal

This is the romantic comedy that sets the bar. Ryan and Crystal are magic together as two friends wondering if men and women can truly just be friends or if sex will always get in between that. Their chemistry leaps off the screen.

  • Fantastic chemistry between the leads
  • Iconic deli scene still referenced today
  • Insightfully & humorously explores relationships

Say Anything...

Director: Cameron Crowe

Cast: John Cusack, Ione Skye

In his breakout role, Cusack stars as lovable underachiever Lloyd Dobler pursuing the class valedictorian with persistence and boombox serenades. Your heart will swoon and ache along with their ups and downs.

  • Cusack's most iconic role
  • The boombox serenade scene is legendary
  • Funny, insightful, moving teen romance

The Princess Bride

Director: Rob Reiner

Cast: Cary Elwes, Robin Wright, Mandy Patinkin, Andre the Giant

A fantasy adventure an old man shares with his sick grandson that has also delighted millions of viewers. Filled with romance, swordplay, giants, revenge, miracles? What more could anyone ask for? Unforgettable characters, quips and the most romantic fight scene imaginable between Westley and Princess Buttercup.

  • Quotable dialogue & characters
  • Mix of fantasy, action, comedy & fairy tale romance appeals to all
  • Enchanting chemistry between Elwes & Wright
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Sixteen Candles

Director: John Hughes
Cast: Molly Ringwald, Michael Schoeffling

Sixteen Candles

Ringwald shines as Sam, a teen girl who wakes up on her 16th birthday to realize her family has forgotten the occasion. At school, she's also nursing a painful crush on popular senior Jake Ryan while also catching the eye of geeky freshman Ted. This 80s gem truly gets all the awkward wonder of teenage crushes and coming-of-age moments.

  • Funny, insightful coming-of-age comedy
  • Fantastic cast with great chemistry
  • Wonderful exploration of teen crushes

Dirty Dancing

Director: Emile Ardolino

Cast: Jennifer Grey, Patrick Swayze

Jennifer Grey plays Baby, a wholesome teen who encounters dance instructor/eye candy Johnny at a 1960s Catskills resort in this musical gem. Their dancing partnership allows Baby to break out of her shell and discover herself beyond her strict upbringing. Their legendary chemistry made audiences wish for a summer romance like this.

  • Sizzling chemistry between Grey & Swayze
  • Iconic dance sequences
  • Great 60s summer camp setting
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Mystic Pizza

Director: Donald Petrie
Cast: Annabeth Gish, Julia Roberts, Lili Taylor

This coming-of-age story follows 3 teens working a summer job together at the titular pizza place in Mystic, Connecticut as they each navigate various romantic entanglements. It’s also the breakout role for megastar Julia Roberts as the spirited Jojo. The three leads have fantastic chemistry as friends.

  • Breakout role for Julia Roberts
  • Relatable & charming coming-of-age story
  • Strong female friendships

Broadcast News

Director: James L. Brooks
Cast: Holly Hunter, William Hurt, Albert Brooks

James L. Brooks' witty adult romantic comedy set in the fast-paced world of a network newsroom explores a thought-provoking love triangle between an ambitious producer (Hunter), shallow anchorman (Hurt) and brainy reporter (Brooks). Fantastic performances and a clever script that combined humour and substance.

  • Witty, intelligent script
  • Powerhouse cast firing on all cylinders
  • Looks at attraction vs compatibility

Pretty In Pink

Director: John Hughes

Cast: Molly Ringwald, Andrew McCarthy, Jon Cryer

Ringwald shines again as a poor girl in love with a preppy rich boy she thinks could never fall for a girl like her. Full of insights into class barriers, identity, and the magic of embracing your truth. Also has that swoon-worthy ending dance scene fans still love.

  • Fantastic chemistry between Ringwald & McCarthy
  • Captures teen embarrassment & insecurity
  • Empowering message to be yourself

Coming To America

Director: John Landis

Cast: Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall

Eddie Murphy is at his comedic peak starring alongside Arsenio Hall as African royalty and his aide who travel to New York in search of Murphy’s queen. Extremely rewatchable with fantastic comedy set pieces. Great date option for laughs and inspiration to follow your dreams.

  • Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall's comedic magic
  • Very rewatchable with iconic scenes
  • Uplifting story of believing in yourself


Director: Norman Jewison

Cast: Cher, Nicolas Cage, Olympia Dukakis

Cher delivers an Oscar-winning turn in this Italian-American romantic comedy playing a widowed Brooklyn bookkeeper who falls for her fiancé’s hotheaded younger brother (Cage.) Great chemistry between Cher and Cage and also charming humor from Olympia Dukakis as Cher's mother.

  • Career-high comedic performance from Cher
  • Sparks between Cher and Cage
  • Charming and funny

Bull Durham

Director: Ron Shelton

Cast: Kevin Costner, Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins

This sexy and very funny film set around a minor league baseball team explores the unexpected romance between baseball groupie Annie Savoy (Sarandon) and rookie player Crash Davis (Costner) as well as between Annie and young pitcher Nuke LaLoosh (Robbins). Fantastic chemistry between the leads during the humorous love triangle.

  • Hilarious sports comedy
  • Steamy chemistry between the stars
  • Very quotable screenplay


Director: Ron Howard

Cast: Tom Hanks, Daryl Hannah, John Candy

A magical twist on finding “the one” as Allen Bauer (Hanks) encounters and falls for Madison (Hannah), the mysterious blonde who saved him from drowning as a boy who turns out to be a mermaid. Full of humour and an enchanting modern fairy tale mood.

  • Whimsical adult fairy tale
  • Breakout role for Hanks
  • Undeniable charm and feel-good moments


Director: Fred Schepisi

Cast: Steve Martin, Daryl Hannah, Rick Rossovich

A delightful modern reimagining of Cyrano de Bergerac with Steve Martin in top comedic form as a fire chief with a heart of gold but a huge nose who helps a hunky firefighter (Rossovich) try to win over an astronomy graduate (Hannah) new to their town. Martin shines with wit and surprising heartfelt moments.

  • Charming comedic update of a classic
  • Martin delivers fantastic lead performance
  • Clever, funny and moving

Working Girl

Director: Mike Nichols

Cast: Melanie Griffith, Harrison Ford, Sigourney Weaver, Joan Cusack

Melanie Griffith delivers a breakout performance as Tess, a spunky, ambitious Staten Island secretary who takes over her boss’ office while she’s laid up with a leg injury and uses big mergers as a way to achieve her dreams. An irresistible underdog who finds herself in a promising romance with investment broker Jack Trainer (Ford).

  • Inspiring story of going for your ambitions
  • Griffith's breakthrough role
  • Satisfying Cinderella story with substance

Crocodile Dundee

Director: Peter Faiman
Cast: Paul Hogan, Linda Kozlowski

Hogan shines as Mick Dundee, the rugged titular Aussie crocodile hunter finds his way in the Big Apple after rescuing and falling for journalist Sue Charlton (Kozlowski.) Fish out of water hilarity ensues along with cracking chemistry between the leads. Great for audiences who want humour, a satisfying central romance and a fish-out-of-water bonding experience.

  • Fish out of water escapist fun
  • Undeniable chemistry between Hogan & Kozlowski
  • Very rewatchable


Director: Michael Gottlieb

Cast: Andrew McCarthy, Kim Cattrall


In one of the most fantastical date night meet-cutes ever, a young artist (McCarthy) conjures up a gorgeous mannequin (Cattrall) who awakes only when they’re alone. She inspires him both personally and professionally on his rise from department store worker to successful visual merchandiser. Audiences found Cattrall and McCarthy’s pairing charming.

  • High-concept romantic fantasy
  • Underdog Creative following his dream story
  • McCarthy at his most charming


Director: Sydney Pollack
Cast: Dustin Hoffman, Jessica Lange, Teri Garr, Bill Murray

When struggling actor Michael Dorsey (Hoffman) can’t get hired, he takes extreme measures pretending to be actress Dorothy Michaels to land a soap opera gig and soon becomes a star while also falling for a castmate (Lange). Laugh-out-loud comedy with Hoffman doing fantastic physical comedy in drag while also offering a thought-provoking exploration of gender roles and identity.

  • Hilarious central comedic performance from Hoffman
  • Also brings insight into sexism in entertainment
  • Great chemistry between Hoffman and Lange

The Purple Rose of Cairo

Director & Writer: Woody Allen
Cast: Mia Farrow, Jeff Daniels

One of Woody Allen’s most imaginative comedies explores the magic of cinema. Mia Farrow shines as a lonely Depression-era woman who finds solace in movies, especially one dashing archaeologist/adventurer character who steps off the screen for her when she needs him most. A great pick for film buffs along with anyone who needs some escapist magic.

  • Charming, fantastical premise
  • Wonderful lead performance by Farrow
  • A love letter to Hollywood’s Golden Age

Hannah And Her Sisters

Director & Writer: Woody Allen

Cast: Mia Farrow, Dianne Wiest, Michael Caine, Barbara Hershey

Woody Allen earned Oscars for his original screenplay and direction in this dramedy about three sisters dealing with relationship issues. Farrow shines as Hannah, the nurturing sibling who links the cast while also searching for career fulfilment. Witty, insightful, sometimes sombre and very New York exploration of family ties, romance and self-actualization.

  • Insightful dramedy about family
  • Fantastic performances from the cast
  • Signature Woody Allen NY wit

Some Kind Of Wonderful

Director: Howard Deutch

Cast: Eric Stoltz, Lea Thompson, Mary Stuart Masterson

From the creative team behind Pretty In Pink, this film upends conventions having guys as the romantic lead and his platonic best friend realize she’s in love with him just as he’s trying to win over one of the school’s popular girls. Appealing cast, a fantastic 80s soundtrack and a story still ripe with insights on social barriers and identity.

  • Thoughtful teen drama
  • Great chemistry amongst the young cast
  • Killer 80s soundtrack


Director: Mel Damski
Cast: Kelly Preston, Doug McKeon

Kelly Preston in Mischief

Set in 1950s Ohio, this charming coming-of-age story centres on introverted Eugene finding many firsts after meeting a new girl in town Marilyn including romance, drinking and finding more self-confidence beyond being the teacher’s pet. Nostalgic setting with appealing leads and a killer soundtrack. McKeon & Preston prove engaging leads.

  • Nostalgic, romantic setting
  • Engaging chemistry between the leads
  • Poignant coming-of-age story

Whether it was light-hearted romantic comedies, nostalgic coming-of-age stories, or thought-provoking adult dramas, the 80s served up date night gems good for first dates or 50th anniversary nights. The key ingredients were stories with heart, great chemistry between charismatic leads and insights about relationships that still speak to audiences today.