The 80s was a decade when movies and music collided, creating some of the most memorable film soundtracks of all time. Iconic films like The Breakfast Club, Footloose, and Top Gun, just to name a few, were just as renowned for their soundtracks as their stories.
Here, we’ve compiled a list of the top 10 iconic movie soundtracks of the 80s that will take you on a nostalgic journey through the decade that brought us big hair, neon colors, and classic music.
1. Footloose (1984)
Who doesn’t remember Kevin Bacon’s dance moves as he fought against a town ban on dancing? The Footloose soundtrack was packed with hits like “Let’s Hear It for the Boy,” “Holding Out for a Hero,” and, of course, the title track “Footloose” by Kenny Loggins. This album sold over 9 million copies and was one of the most successful soundtracks of all time.
2. Purple Rain (1984)
Prince’s semi-autobiographical musical drama Purple Rain earned him an Academy Award for Best Original Song Score. The album includes some of Prince’s biggest hits such as “When Doves Cry,” “Let’s Go Crazy,” and the title track “Purple Rain.” It spent 24 weeks at the top of the Billboard 200 chart and is one of the best-selling soundtracks of all time.
3. Top Gun (1986)
The Top Gun soundtrack cemented Tom Cruise’s status as a Hollywood icon. The album included mega-hits like Berlin’s “Take My Breath Away” and Kenny Loggin’s “Danger Zone.” This 80s classic soundtrack went on to sell over 9 million copies worldwide.
4. The Breakfast Club (1985)
The Brat Pack movie, The Breakfast Club, was defined by its fantastic soundtrack. With classic tracks like “Don’t You Forget About Me” by Simple Minds, “We Are Not Alone” by Karla DeVito, and “If You Were Here” by Thompson Twins, it perfectly captured the vibe of the 80s life for high schoolers.
5. Dirty Dancing (1987)
The Dirty Dancing soundtrack was a cultural phenomenon that brought back the classic sounds of the 60s. The iconic hits, such as “She’s Like the Wind,” performed by Patrick Swayze, and “Time of My Life,” performed by Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes, are still popular today and keep the spirit of Dirty Dancing alive.
6. Flashdance (1983)
Flashdance was a massive hit with its depiction of a welder who dreams of becoming a professional dancer. The soundtrack captured the essence of the 80s, and the album reached the number one spot on the Billboard 200. With tracks like “Maniac” by Michael Sembello and the title track “Flashdance… What a Feeling” by Irene Cara, the album is still popular among the fans of the era.
7. Beverly Hills Cop (1984)
Beverly Hills Cop soundtrack is a timeless classic. It brought us the iconic instrumental themes of Axel F, and “The Heat Is On” by Glenn Frye. The album became one of the best-selling movie soundtracks ever, selling over 20 million copies worldwide.
8. Ghostbusters (1984)
The Ghostbusters soundtrack featured the chart-topping theme song by Ray Parker Jr., as well as a mix of pop and rock hits like “Cleanin’ Up the Town” and “Saving the Day.” The soundtrack blended humor and action with smooth efficiency, and the theme song still gives us that 80s nostalgia.
9. Stand By Me (1986)
The movie Stand By Me was set in the 50s, but it’s memorable soundtrack reminds us of the 80s. With the title track “Stand by Me” by Ben E. King and classic tracks like “Yakety Yak” by The Coasters, the album will always have a special place in the hearts of all those who were fortunate enough to be young in the 80s.
10. Back to the Future (1985)
The Back to the Future soundtrack is full of upbeat tunes with a mix of classic rock, doo-wop, and pop. The soundtrack included hits like “The Power of Love,” by Huey Lewis and The News, “Johnny B. Goode” by Marty McFly, and “Earth Angel” by The Penguins. The music will always make us remember the ’80s blockbuster sci-fi comedy.
The 80s was a period full of great movie soundtracks that still resonate and inspire us today. From pop to rock, soul to dance, the soundtracks discussed above have something for everyone. They took us to a magical place and time that we will never forget.
Do yourself a favor, put on one of these albums, and take a nostalgic trip through the fantastic ’80s era!