This is not a definitive list. It’s just one ’80s fan’s opinion. I’m probably biased on all of these, but this was fun to write and I’m curious about everyone else’s opinions!
Here are my top five ’80s movie soundtracks (plus some honorable mentions):
This movie would get on the list simply for the inclusion of “Don’t You Forget About Me” by Simple Minds. Luckily, there is other good music on the soundtrack — but let’s face it. That’s the one that everyone thinks about when they think about The Breakfast Club.
“We Are Not Alone” by Karla DeVito is a lot of fun, as is “Fire in the Twilight” by Wang Chung.
A lot of the other music is instrumental, but it’s so ’80s that it’s definitely worth a listen.
But again, let’s be honest… the soundtrack wouldn’t be complete without this song:
4. The Big Chill
God there are some classics on this one. In particular, the use of “I Heard It Through The Grapevine” in the opening credit sequence is literally one of my favorite film openings of all time. For the curious:
Sadly, the Rolling Stones song is not on the actual soundtrack — but it does play in the movie and I think that counts.
Also, this movie is baller and writing this made me want to watch it again. Highly recommended if you haven’t seen it. I mean, Jeff Goldblum.
The Top Gun soundtrack is phenomenal and just so incredibly ’80s. Where The Big Chill incorporated a lot of music from the ’60s and ’70s, the Top Gun soundtrack just puts you in a complete ’80s mindset.
I actually own this soundtrack on CD. Judge not.
Highlights include “Danger Zone” by Kenny Loggins, “Take My Breath Away” by Berlin, “Mighty Wings” by Cheap Trick (this one is in the credits but it’s still a great song), and “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling” by the Righteous Brothers. That last one isn’t an ’80s song but the scene it’s used in is priceless:
I’m not actually a huge Dirty Dancing fan. I think that makes me a terrible person, but I can’t help it. I’ve tried watching that damn movie a few times and I just don’t think it’s good.
However, I’m in love with the soundtrack.
Between “(I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life,” “Hungry Eyes,” and Patrick Swayze singing on “She’s Like The Wind,” this is one of the best soundtracks of the ’80s — in my humblest of opinions.
Seriously, how good is “She’s Like The Wind?” I didn’t even know that was Patrick Swayze singing the first few times I heard the song.
Nobody puts Baby in a corner.
God, how awesome is the Footloose soundtrack? And why does Kenny Loggins pop up on so many soundtracks? There are more questions in this life than answers.
Literally every song on this album is good — the “Footloose” theme, “Holding Out For A Hero” by Bonnie Tyler, “Almost Paradise” by Mike Reno and Ann Wilson of Heart, and “Let’s Hear It For The Boy” by Deniece Williams.
I might be a little biased on this one since my high school did Footloose the year I was in drama. I wasn’t in it, but I heard them rehearsing constantly and the music just kind of got kind of stuck in my heart.
This is such a fun movie and a great soundtrack. I could listen to this with no shame every day.
Have some ’80s teen angst, Kevin Bacon style:
Pretty in Pink —
One of the “hipper” soundtracks, this includes tracks from The Smiths, Suzanne Vega, The Psychedelic Furs, and Echo & the Bunnymen. Also, “If You Leave” by Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark is one of the best ’80s songs ever.
Fast Times at Ridgemont High —
This movie is how I first discovered the song “Somebody’s Baby” by Jackson Browne. It includes songs from amazing female singers like Donna Summer and Stevie Nicks. It also features two members of the Eagles doing solo tracks — one by Don Henley and one by Joe Walsh.