Best Movie Musicals of the 1980s


The 1980s saw the release of some of the most iconic films in the collective cultural lexicon, such as The breakfast club, Ferris Bueller’s day off, and many others. These movies are great pieces of pop culture in their own right and have been spoofed, replicated, and even remade many times over. The 80s also produced many musicals, or musicals if you will, because not all of them are exactly “musicals” in the sense that people speak in song.

Not only do these movies have great 80s soundtracks, they also have great original music made specifically for the movies. These films defined an entire era of music and musical films, and also stood the test of time in pop culture history. They’re not only a big part of media history, they also happen to be great movies in their own right. Everything on this list is perfect for your next watch or rewatch, so get ready to sing and dance.


5 lightning dance

lightning dance is consistently mentioned as one of the most iconic films of the 1980s. But why? Is it great music? The amazing dance? Or the 80s nostalgia the movie seems to have? It’s each of those things and more. lightning dance is a perfect 80s musical because it covers all the bases and tells a great story at the end of the day. The film is made for an audience that loves dance and an audience that doesn’t, an audience that loves romantic stories and an audience that doesn’t; just about anyone can enjoy this feel-good movie.


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On some level and to some degree it’s telling a typical love story, but lightning dance is more about class struggle and the inner workings of a dancer’s life and how dance affects every part of their being. lightning dance is much more than just an 80s dance movie, because here dance is transformed into liberation. So if you haven’t seen lightning dance in a while, or have never seen him, maybe give him a watch on your next movie night.

4 Little Shop of Horrors

Little Shop of Horrors is the only “classic” musical on this list; many may not consider little horror shop a classic (it’s a horror musical), but it’s a very well-known production that has been covered many times, in which the characters sing their feelings and the dialogue turns into song. the original Little Shop of Horrors the film was released in 1960 and is certainly dated but delightful; however, the 1986 remake takes the story to a whole new level.

The Little Shop of Horrors remake brought a whole new generation of audiences to the story in a way that appealed to fans of other 80s musicals. It was done in a modern and unique way for new viewers, with a comedy update, a bit more darkness and some cool horror footage. Little Shop of Horrors was so successful with this particular film, that it breathed new life into the stage production (which is still being performed today) and possibly created the space for a remake starring Chris Evans which was presented before the pandemic. Who knows what the next story might be, but fans can only hope to see Chris Evans as a dentist! and maybe a few more celebrity cameos.

3 Notoriety

Do you remember their name? If you haven’t watched Notoriety the movie, maybe you watched Notoriety the show, or maybe even the stage adaptation of the movie. In other words, Notoriety transcended all boundaries and fully reached the point of infamy, for how not to remember their name?


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The film showed a whole new side to high school arts that many New Yorkers had heard of. Most people thought art schools were easy because students could just focus on their art and not on their grades. Not only is it quite the opposite, but Notoriety showed the public that these schools were much more ruthless than anyone could have expected. Notoriety laid the foundation for many 80s musicals and also showed audiences the inner workings of art schools, giving people a newfound respect for the ambitions and aspirations of young people.

2 dirty dance

dirty dance has already achieved classic status, and no one can argue with that. The film was released in 1987 and has established itself as a massive piece of pop culture ever since, having been spoofed, adapted, and referenced in many other forms of media since its release. The iconic lift from the film’s final dance scene has been replicated by many regular dancers and duos of people, some with great success, and some less so. However, the film has stood the test of time no matter how many people fail the elevator. In fact, a sequel is in the works with Jennifer Gray reprising her role as “Baby.” Fans can only hope the sequel honors the premiere in the best possible way. So let’s cross our fingers that we don’t spoil the sequel’s iconic elevator, because it would be a shock if they didn’t include it.

Now who doesn’t Free from all ties? Released in 1984, the film became an instant hit among moviegoers at the time. However, Free from all ties has also stood the test of time and also remained a classic movie and a classic musical. To be honest, it has everything you could want in a movie: popular music, original songs, great acting, dancing and romance.

There is nothing that Free from all ties is missing; in fact, the film itself is an interesting statement of intent for ’80s musicals, after a solid decade without many massively successful musicals. Free from all ties basically said, “No you won’t ban dancing, we can still make great musicals that people want to see”, and as such remained so popular that it even spawned a remake in 2011, although the original is the must-watch. So sit back, relax, maybe relive some of your youth and get Free from all ties.


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