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10 best soundtracks from ’80s movies

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The ’80s had some great blockbuster movies that are sure to appeal to even the most rushed movie critics. However, the music of the 80s was even more impressive than the movies of the decade, as the decade saw the rise of many music stars who are still in favor today in the 21st century.

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With a bevy of outstanding musicians, the decade of excess has spawned a bevy of hits that directors would cry out for in their films. The mixture of the fantastic sounds of the 80s mixed with the great stories of 80s cinema has made an impressive decade of movie soundtracks.


ten Risky business

Split image showing Joel and Lana and the Risky Business soundtrack

Using a mix of original songs from synth group Tangerine Dream with popular songs, Risky business is known for its important soundtrack. Tangerine Dream’s contribution to the soundtrack adds a distinct ’80s feel to the film, but not in obnoxious or cheesy ways.

Plus, the scene where Tom Cruise slides across the floor, dancing while Bob Seger’s “Old Time Rock and Roll” plays is an iconic scene that even people who have never seen the movie recognize.

9 Flash Gordon

Split image showing Flash Gordon and Princess Aura and the movie soundtrack

With a soundtrack courtesy of the memorable rock band Queen, Flash GordonThe soundtrack is a culmination of ’80s exuberance. The band behind such high octane hits as “We Will Rock You” and “We Are the Champions” was a perfect choice for make the soundtrack of this space hero.

According to Ultimate classic rock, the arena rock mastodons raffle was an opportunity to make the soundtrack for the film as well as its soundtrack. Queen guitarist Brian May felt that film scores were dominated by orchestral pieces. Having the chance to make a rock score for a film, the band accepted the challenge wholeheartedly.

8 Xanadu

Split image showing LKira glowing in purple light and the Xanadu soundtrack

Xanadu was completely trashed when it was released in 1980, with some reviews even referring to the Olivia Newton-John film as the “worst film ever made”. Aside from these harsh reviews, one aspect of the film that has received many praise was the film’s fantastic soundtrack, performed by Newton-John and Electric Light Orchestra.

The film’s music is both ethereal and synthetic, perfect for the film’s plot that revolves around a Greek goddess entangled in the ice rinks of Venice Beach.

7 Batman (1989)

Split image showing Batman and the soundtrack cover of the 1989 film

The extremely talented, multi-instrumentalist Prince was the genius behind so many hit songs. Prince lent his talents to the years 1989 Batman with Michael Keaton and Jack Nicholson. This soundtrack album was certified double platinum, a testament to the popularity of this soundtrack upon its release.

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Prince’s songs fit perfectly into the comic book atmosphere of the film. How could we forget the scene where Jack Nicholson’s Joker dances on a giant tank with Prince exploding in the background?

6 Labyrinth

Split image showing Jareth holding an orb and the Labyrinth soundtrack cover

With a prominent man like David Bowie, it’s no surprise that the Labyrinth the soundtrack is absolutely stellar. From catchy tunes like “Magic Dance” to the more melancholy “As the World Falls Down”, Bowie covers all of his bases to deliver an unforgettable film soundtrack.

The puppet-heavy movie has many other positive attributes, from acting and costumes to sets. Still, the best part of the movie for many remains its stellar soundtrack.

5 Top Gun

Split image showing Maverick and Charlie and the Top Gun soundtrack cover

With a soundtrack featuring some of the 80’s hottest musical artists, Top GunThe heavyweight-packed soundtrack of is a classic. Using the talents of Otis Redding, Berlin, Miami Sound Machine, Loverboy, Jerry Lee Lewis, Europe and Kenny Loggins among other notable names, Top Gun used music in an exceptional way to achieve the desired emotional response from the scenes.

When “Highway to the Danger Zone” plays, the scene leads the viewer to excitement and energy. Whereas, when “Take My Breath Away” plays, the moment is read as sensual and vulnerable.

4 Dirty dance

Split image showing Johnny and Baby kissing and the cover of the Dirty Dancing soundtrack

So much success came from the soundtrack of the 1987 film, Dirty dance, some of which include “Hungry Eyes” and “Time of My Life”. Another notable success of the film’s soundtrack is sung and written by one of the film’s stars, Patrick Swayze.

Swayze’s “She’s Like The Wind” peaked at number 3 on the 1988 Billboard Hot 100, which is no small feat. And with the iconic dance scene at the end of Dirty dance, imagine how different this moment would be without the accompanying game “Time of My Life”.

3 Lightning dance

Split image showing Alex and the Flashdance soundtrack cover

Affectionately remembered for its intense dance scenes, Flash dance ‘The famous dance sequences draw on the meaningful tunes of the film’s soundtrack. The fast paced “Maniac” complements the constant acrobatic movements of the dance scene, and the uplifting “What a Feeling” lends a triumphant feeling to the audition scene where the lead character Alex gives everything to the prestigious dance committee.

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Meanwhile, the music in the strip club-type scenes is sultry, suited to the setting in which she is performing. Another sign of the iconic nature of the soundtrack was the fact that the aforementioned Irene Cara song “What a Feeling” reached illustrious spot as number one on the 1983 Billboard Hot 100 chart.

2 Pretty in pink

Split image showing Andie smiling and the Pretty in Pink soundtrack cover

John Hughes was renowned for his exemplary soundtracks which seemed to live up to what teens of the decade were listening to. Hugues Pretty in pink was a prime example of this ability.

The soundtrack featured new wave-centric hits ranging from bands like OMD, New Order, and INXS, and, in fact, Pretty in pink The title actually comes from the song of the same name by The Psychadelic Furs. Plus, the ending scene is firmly embedded in the viewer’s mind as “If You Leave” plays while the main character kisses his love.

1 Purple rain

Split image showing Prince in a bicycle and the cover of the Purple Rain soundtrack

There really is no problem when Prince is the head of the soundtrack. The film Purple rainThe soundtrack spawned hits like “When Doves Cry”, “Let’s Go Crazy” and of course “Purple Rain”.

Often regarded as one of the best soundtracks of the ’80s, Purple rainThe soundtrack received numerous accolades upon its release and continues to garner praise today. Prince won a Grammy Award for this soundtrack album while also comparing himself to music star Jimi Hendrix. The song from the movie “Purple Rain” even won the Oscar for Best Original Song.

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