Top 10 Memorable Movie Characters of the 1980s

Script written by Sean Harris Put down that Rubik's Cube and quit teasing your hair - take ten minutes to remember these guys instead! Join as we count down our picks for the Top 10 Memorable Movie Characters of the 1980s! For this list, we've looked at films and film characters from the 1980s, ranking the most memorable regardless of the genre in which they appear. Special thanks to our user mac121mr0 for submitting this idea on our Interactive Suggestion Tool at WatchMojo.comsuggest

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Top 10 Memorable Movie Characters of the 1980s

Put down that Rubik’s Cube and quit teasing your hair - take ten minutes to remember these guys instead! Welcome to, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 memorable movie characters of the1980s!

For this list, we’ve looked at films and film characters from the 1980s, rankingthe most memorable regardless of the genre in which they appear. Only one character is allowed from any certain movie, however! This is part of a series of videos exploring memorable movie characters throughout the decades.

#10: Axel Foley
“Beverly Hills Cop” (1984)

Eddie Murphy emerged as one of the world’s leading actors in the early ‘80s, but he’ll forever be remembered for this one role in particular! As Axel Foley,the eponymous ‘Beverly Hills Cop’ has the unorthodox street smartness of a Detroit-based detective, but heads for the West Coast of America instead! Thegun-toting, trash-talking chaos that ensues proved popular enough to fuel a further two sequels, while talks for a fourth film have been on-going since themid-’90s!

#9: John Rambo
“First Blood” (1982)

If there is a cinematic archetype for the ‘misunderstood war veteran’, then John Rambo is that archetype! A one-time elite soldier in Vietnam and a receiver ofthe Medal of Honor, Sylvester Stallone’s iconic character is a force very much to be reckoned with! However, having been tortured in the Far East, and having received a less-than-friendly reception since his return to the U.S., Rambo is always one wrong move away from one helluva rampage! Kills just don’t come this quickly for anybody else!

#8: Jack Torrance
“The Shining” (1980)

An influential actor throughout the ‘80s, we might’ve included Jack Nicholson’s work later in the decade as Batman villain, the Joker, but we’ve instead gone for this psychologically nightmarish portrayal of a family man gone very, very bad! Jack Torrance is a writer looking for some winter solitude to get on with his work, something that he hopes a period at the out-of-season Overlook Hotel can provide... However, the longer he, his wife and son stay atthe hotel, the more terrifying the experience becomes! Especially for his wife and son!

#7: Freddy Krueger
“A Nightmare on Elm Street” (1984)

If entry number eight wasn’t already keeping you awake at night, then entry number seven definitely will! We’re all a little afraid of things that go ‘bump’ inthe night, but Freddy Krueger takes it to a whole new level! He ‘slashes’, ‘stabs’ and ‘torturously murders’ through most nights! And some days (!)... Depending upon when you fall asleep! A seemingly inescapable villain, he attacks his victims when they are most vulnerable... From fedora hat to grisly glove choice, Freddy is frankly terrifying!

#6: John McClane
“Die Hard” (1988)

From the horror villain to the action hero, and to probably one of the most badass good guys ever captured on film! John McClane is the vigilante cop atthe heart of the “Die Hard” film series, debuting with delightful destruction in thelate ‘80s! As almost equally awesome ‘80s character Hans Gruber sets about taking an LA tower block by siege, Bruce Willis’ McClane proves a problem thatthe German terrorist did not see coming! A glorious combination of killing and catchphrases, how could McClane not make today’s countdown?!

#5: LT Pete ‘Maverick’ Mitchell
“Top Gun” (1986)

Tom Cruise’s fighter pilot character Pete Mitchell more than earns his ‘Maverick’ alias in our next movie, as he proves that rules are there to be broken, and that breaking them is brilliant! A gifted flyer with no family to speakof, Maverick lives and works with very little fear! He isn’t entirely emotionless though, and that’s what makes him ultimately likeable, and definitelymemorable! ‘Top Gun’s’ top student, he passes into our top five with flying colors!

#4: Tony Montana
“Scarface” (1983)

One of the most iconic movie characters of all time, Tony Montana is theAmerican Dream gone more than slightly askew! A Cuban immigrant initially refused a Green Card in the U.S., Montana makes his way in the country via alternative, outwardly criminal methods! There are many steps to take betweenthe ranks of small-time drug dealer and omniscient crime lord, but Montana navigates his way to notoriety in style! He’s suited, he’s booted, and we’re stillsaying ‘hello to his little friend’, all these years on!

#3: Dr. Emmett ‘Doc’ Brown
“Back to the Future” (1985)

Marty McFly might’ve made it onto today’s countdown himself, were it not for Michael J. Fox’s even more memorable mentor, ‘Doc’ Brown! Played by Christopher Lloyd, everything about this guy is impossible to forget! Theinventor of the ‘flux capacitor’ and the designer of a DeLorean-based time machine, we first meet the maddest of mad scientists in a shopping mall parking lot... From that point forward (or perhaps backward!) he takes us all over time and space! And scores a bronze medal for his troubles!

#2: E.T.
“E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” (1982)

The sci-fi theme continues as we soar into second spot, as this oddly proportioned alien had the whole world laughing, crying and ‘calling home’ all atthe same time! Steven Spielberg’s “E.T.” captured even the hardest of hearts, as the movie paired the lost and confused extra-terrestrial with an equally lonely ten-year-old boy, bringing the very best out in both of them! As far as ‘otherworldly beings’ go, there are none more famous or more loved, and there are few who brightened our place up quite as effectively as E.T.!

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.
- Ash Williams
“The Evil Dead” (1981)
- Ferris Bueller
“Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” (1986)
- Claire Standish
“The Breakfast Club” (1985)
- Dr. Peter Venkman
“Ghostbusters” (1984)
- Snake Plissken
“Escape From New York” (1981)
- Michael J. ‘Crocodile’ Dundee
“Crocodile Dundee” (1986)

#1: Indiana Jones
“Raiders of the Lost Ark” (1981)

Just beating E.T. to top spot, another Steven Spielbergian stalwart, thearchaeologist-turned-action-adventurer that is, Indiana Jones! Played by Harrison Ford, Indy is one of the most instantly recognisable characters in cinematic history... Who else can pair a bullwhip with a leather jacket, and still come up cool?! Who else can teach college students one day, and go fight Nazis the next?! Jones is one part scholar, one part superhero, one part everyday guy in the street... It’s a killer, WatchMojo countdown winner of a combination!

Do you agree with our list? Which ‘80s character do you remember most of all? For more action-packed top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to

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