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30 Most Iconic Movie Stars of the 1980s

Molly Ringwald

This teen queen ruled the 80s. Her roles in The Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink, and Sixteen Candles turned Ringwald into the quintessential 80s icon.

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Tom Cruise

Tom might still be wildly successful, but he rose to fame in the 80s. With titles like Risky Business and Top Gun under his belt, he became a heartthrob and an icon.

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Sylvester Stallone

Who didn’t want to be Sylvester Stallone in the 1980s? With roles like Rocky and Rambo he was everyone’s hero.

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Brooke Shields

Brooke Shields wasn’t just a successful model—in the 80s she also starred in Endless Love and The Blue Lagoon.

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Harrison Ford

To this day Harrison Ford is movie legend, and the 80s were his best years. With Star Wars V and VI, and the Indiana Jones franchise, he was launched into infamy.

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Michael J. Fox

The Back to the Future franchise sealed Michael J. Fox’s future for the remainder of his career. Everyone loved Marty McFly in the 80s.

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Arnold Schwarzenegger

Commando. Conan. The Terminator. Pair those killer titles with a mind-blowing, muscled body and you have a recipe for instant 80s stardom.

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Eddie Murphy

This beloved funny man was all the rage in the 80s. From his start on SNL to his successful movies and directorial works, Eddie Murphy was one of the many kings of the 80s.

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Michael Douglas

With a just a "meager" nine movies in the 80s, Michael Douglas wowed viewers. He had roles in Romancing the Stone, Fatal Attraction, and Wall Street.

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Dustin Hoffman

His role in Kramer vs. Kramer set Hoffman up for success in the 80s. The decade saw him in roles in Rain Man, Death of a Salesman, and Tootsie.

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Tom Hanks

Tom Hanks was solidified as a superstar with his roles in Dragnet, Splash, and Bachelor Party

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Robert Redford

Redford was well into his career in the 80s, which why he’s on this list. His distinguished role in Out of Africa and fun depiction in Legal Eagles showed off his diverse talents. 

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Emilio Estevez

Emilio was seen as an edgy dreamboat after his performances in St. Elmo’s Fire and The Breakfast Club

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Sigourney Weaver

10 movies in the 1980s proved that Weaver was a force to reckoned with. Her roles in Ghostbusters and Aliens became cultural classics.

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John Cusack

Cusack was an almost-instant heartthrob after his roles in Sixteen Candles and Say Anything. To this day women still dream of a man showing up with a boombox at their windows.

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James Spader

Spader first hit the scene in Endless Love alongside Brooke Shields. He further became a household name in Pretty in Pink, Less Than Zero, and Wall Street.

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Bill Murray

Bill Murray is easily one of the funniest actors of our age. He proved this early on with Caddyshack, Ghostbusters, and Stripes.

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Demi Moore

Demi got her acting start in such movies as St. Elmo’s Fire and About Last Night. It’s no wonder she became every teenage boy’s dream.

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Bruce Willis

Bruce was already successful before Die Hard, but with that franchise he became an international badass.

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Glenn Close

Glenn Close wins the 80s for the 13 different movies she starred in. Fatal Attraction and The Natural are movie classics, and we have her to thank for them. 

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Nick Nolte

In the 80s, Nolte starred in Under Fire, Down and Out in Beverly Hills, Extreme Prejudice, and New York Stories, among others. He was also well-known for his modeling work.

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Anthony Michael Hall

Hall had quite the resume in the 80s. He appeared in National Lampoon’s Vacation, The Breakfast Club, and Weird Science.

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Judd Nelson

To this day our hearts have a soft spot for Judd Nelson, the bad boy from The Breakfast Club. He also wowed us in Moonlighting and St. Elmo’s Fire.

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Michelle Pfeiffer

This beauty wowed everyone with her performances in Dangerous Liaisons, Scarface, and The Witches of Eastwick.

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Rob Lowe

With a Golden Globe by 1983, Rob Lowe was firmly established as an superstar of the 80s. 

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Matt Dillon

Matt Dillon was a very busy actor in the early 80s. He became everyone’s favorite bad boy.

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Kevin Costner

Who didn’t love (and continues to love) Kevin Costner? With movies like Field of Dreams, The Untouchables, and No Way Out, he worked his way into our collective hearts. 

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Richard Gere

Even before Pretty Woman, Richard Gere was a ruling member of the movie scene. American Gigolo set him off on a good start for the 80s.

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Meryl Streep

Meryl Streep is still the queen of Hollywood, but in the 80s she truly began to rule. Her roles in Sophie’s Choice and Out of Africa still move audiences today.

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Kevin Bacon

Bacon became a household name with his starring role in Footloose. Really, who’s surprised? It was an instant classic.

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