The Definitive Top 10 Songs from 80’s Movies


With the Oscars coming up this weekend, I’ve been thinking a lot about Best Songs from Motion Pictures, and trying to guess who will take home the award on Sunday night. It also got me thinking about some of the best movie soundtrack songs from the 1980s.

Sure, you could just point to the “Big Chill” soundtrack and say “best songs from 80’s movies, ever!” but that would be a cop out, and it would also be wrong, since most all of the songs on that soundtrack were from the 1960s. Here, for your listening and viewing pleasure, we present you with, the truly definitive list of Top 10 songs from ‘80s movies. Get into the groove, won’t you?

10. “On the Dark Side” from Eddie and the Cruisers

9. “Going Back to Cali” by LL Cool J from Less Than Zero

features blink and you’ll miss it appearances from Rick Rubin, MTV’s Martha Stewart

8. “Who’s Johnny” by El DeBarge from Short Circuit

7. “I Can Dream About You” by Dan Hartman from Streets of Fire

Dan Hartman was a white dude. Did you ever realize that?

6. “Invincible” by Pat Benatar from “The Legend of Billie Jean”

5. “Winner Takes It All” by Sammy Hagar from “Over the Top”

4. “Heartlight” by Neil Diamond from E.T.

3. “When the Going Gets Tough” by Billy Ocean from The Jewel of the Nile

2. “Get Into the Groove” by Madonna from “Desperately Seeking Susan”

Madonna really ruled the 80s soundtracks when you stop and think about it. Desperately Seeking Susan, sure, that’s a given, but she also had songs (hit songs!) on the soundtracks for Vision Quest (“Crazy for You”) and At Close Range (“Live to Tell”).

1. “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now” by Starship from Mannequin


It's all just pops and clicks within the vinyl groove I'm listening to. Music, movies, commercials, action figures, cassette tapes...anything that you left in your parents' attic when you moved. I want to talk about it.
-DJ Darko, Your Pop Culture Mixologist

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13 thoughts on “The Definitive Top 10 Songs from 80’s Movies

  1. Daniel says:

    I’d have to really think about this, but one that instantly comes to mind is Simple Minds, Don’t you forget about me from the Breakfast Club.

  2. The Neil Diamond song is not on the ET soundtrack nor was it ever featured in the film. It was recorded and released AFTER the movie as his personal tribute to the film.

    Dan Hartman also wrote Edgar Winter’s hit “Free Ride.” He passed in 1994.

  3. You could easily replace Heartlight with either “Let’s Go Crazy”, “Purple Rain” or “When Doves Cry” from Purple Rain which would make a lot more sense and be true to the list.

    Also, c’mon “GHOSTBUSTERS” ever heard it?

  4. Mr. Sweet says:

    Off the top of my head….

    Rocky III — “Eye of the Tiger”, Survivor
    Fast Times at Ridgemont High — “Moving In Stereo”, The Cars
    Risky Business — “Old Time Rock ‘n Roll”, Bob Seger
    Back to the Future — “Power of Love”, Huey Lewis & The News
    Beverly Hills Cop — “Neutron Dance”, Pointer Sisters
    Flash Gordon — “Flash’s Theme”, Queen
    Top Gun — “Danger Zone”, Kenny Loggins
    Vision Quest — “Lunatic Fringe”, Red Rider

  5. Sierra says:

    Also off the Vision Quest soundtrack: “Crazy for You”, though I can understand why that would be omitted since there’s already a Madonna song on the list.

  6. Definitive?!?! I hope you’re kidding.

    As William noted, “Heartlight” wasn’t even from the movie.

    Here’s my list>

    1. In Your Eyes
    2. Don’t You (Forget About Me)
    3. Everybody Wants to Rule the World
    4. Eye of the Tiger
    5. Against All Odds
    You can read the rest at the link, but none of my Top 10 even made your list. Fun to debate.

  7. vinvectrex says:

    Loved the list – and love the suggestions from other posters. I’m off to iTunes to supplement my library.

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