Top 10 Unforgettable Movie Couples of the 1980s

Script written by Spencer Sher These 80s movies couples stood the test of time as some of the most romantic couples of the decade. In this countdown we’ve included couples like Zack & Paula from An Officer and a Gentleman, Princess Leia & Han Solo from Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, Lloyd Dobler & Diane Court from Say Anything, Ren & Ariel from Footloose, Samantha Baker & Jake Ryan from Sixteen Candles and more!
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Top 10 Unforgettable 1980s Movie Couples


If you’re a hopeless romantic, then this list is for you! Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Unforgettable 1980s Movie Couples.

For this list, we will be looking exclusively at live-action film couples. So animated film couples, such as Ariel and Prince Eric, need not apply.


#10: Zack & Paula
“An Officer and a Gentleman” (1982)

Zack Mayo is an aspiring Navy pilot. After being accepted to the Aviation Officer Candidate School, he soon realizes that achieving his dream is going to be a lot harder than he ever imagined. Thankfully, he has Paula to help him during times of stress and adversity. While the film delves into some pretty dark themes, the love that emerges between the two characters provides moments of respite for viewers. Ultimately, it is the performances by Richard Gere and Debra Winger that carry the story, lifting this movie up on our list where it belongs.


#9: Princess Leia & Han Solo
“Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back” (1980)

While “Star Wars” might not be your typical love story, it’s hard to deny the chemistry between these two characters. As the film begins, audiences quickly learn that Han and Leia have begun a relationship… and it isn’t going very well. He’s a scruffy-looking nerf herder and she’s trying to protect the galaxy from a hostile takeover… you know, your average couple. But when you break it down, this might be one of the truest incarnations of what a couple is really like. They might bicker constantly, but they’d do anything for each other at the end of the day. As Leia watches Han get frozen in carbonite, we dare you not to cry.


#8: Lloyd Dobler & Diane Court
“Say Anything…” (1989)

While attending their high school graduation, kickboxing enthusiast Lloyd falls head over heels for the school’s valedictorian, Diane. While the two characters couldn’t be more different, they immediately recognize that there’s a serious connection between them. Good film couples will usually encounter some form of adversity that will test the bounds of their relationship, and that’s exactly what happens with Lloyd and Diane. Ultimately, the two teen lovers overcome the odds stacked against them and prove that just because some people disapprove of your love it doesn’t mean you should let them win.


#7: Ren & Ariel
“Footloose” (1984)

While the plot of this film might seem a little far fetched nowadays—with the story revolving around a young man who inspires the youth of a small town to rebel after it bans dancing and rock music—the connection between the two lead characters still holds up. Ren is a fish out of water that rebels against the authority of the small town, while Ariel is the daughter of the town’s pastor, the man behind the unconventional dancing ban. The two quickly realize they have feelings for one another and refuse to let anyone stand in the way of their relationship. Nothing says love like sticking together through thick and thin, and that’s exactly what these two teens do!


#6: Samantha Baker & Jake Ryan
“Sixteen Candles” (1984)

When it comes to ‘80s rom-coms about teens falling in love, look no further than the master himself, John Hughes. In his first take on the genre, the director introduced the world to one of the best teen couples of all time. The relationship that develops between Sam and Jake is filled with just the right amount of angst, longing, and awkwardness to remind audiences that these are just a couple of teenagers trying to figure out what it means to be in love. It’s clear Hughes was only heating up, as he would soon produces another iconic couple in Bender and Claire in 1985’s “The Breakfast Club.”


#5: Buttercup & Westley
“The Princess Bride” (1987)

Following the epic romance of Buttercup and her farm boy Westley, this film traverses the fictional country of Florin. As Westley battles using his wits and strength in an attempt to reclaim his love from the clutches of an evil prince, he encounters an array of interesting individuals all with their own tales of love and loss. This movie couple checks off a number of important categories when it comes to being unforgettable. Passion? Check! Perseverance in the face of evil? Check! The ability to make it through a Fire Swamp in one piece? Check! Adversity only makes their love grow, and if that isn’t the sign of a solid movie couple then we don’t know what is.


#4: Andie & Blane
“Pretty in Pink” (1986)

John Hughes does it again! In this well-known ‘80s flick, working-class Andie falls for dreamy rich boy Blane. While the two characters hail from different sides of the tracks, their infatuation with one another is obvious from the get-go. As the social structures of their high-school attempt to keep them apart, the two characters learn to stand up for what they believe in. The film captures the feeling of young love and all of the ups and downs that are attached to it. Set to the tune of an awesome soundtrack, this film is an honest look at a young couple trying their hardest to make it work.


#3: Johnny Castle & Frances “Baby” Houseman
“Dirty Dancing” (1987)

While spending the summer at the lavish Kellerman resort, Frances “Baby” Houseman becomes enamored with bad-boy dance instructor Johnny Castle. Forbidden love is the theme of this classic rom-com, as Baby hails from a well-to-do family and Johnny is the preverbal rebel-without-a-cause. A number of steamy dance routines are likely to make even the most reserved filmgoer start to sweat. The chemistry between these two lovers burst off the screen and into the hearts and minds of viewers everywhere. What gal in the ‘80s didn’t want to take a vacation to the Catskill Mountains to find their hunky dance instructor?


#2: Loretta Castorini & Ronny Cammareri
“Moonstruck” (1987)

Loretta, an Italian-American woman working as an accountant in Brooklyn is all set to marry her boyfriend, Johnny. Until she unexpectedly falls in love with his brother Ronny, a baker with an enthusiasm for the opera, that is. While this particular film couple is definitely one of the more eccentric to make the list, their love is undeniable. Standout performances by Cher and Nicolas Cage carry the film, as both actors impressively inhabit the roles of star-crossed lovers. Who could forget the passion in their eyes during that first lovemaking session? The moral of this rom-com is you never know when love will jump up and slap you in the face.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:

Indiana Jones & Marion Ravenwood
“Raiders of the Lost Ark” (1981)

Maverick & Charlie
“Top Gun” (1986)


Jack Colton & Joan Wilder
“Romancing the Stone” (1984)

#1: Harry Burns & Sally Albright
“When Harry Met Sally…” (1989)

It’s hard to picture an ‘80s film couple without these two characters jumping to mind. The seminal picture that closed out the decade with a bang, “When Harry Met Sally…” is the story of, you guessed it, when Harry met Sally. The two characters weave in and out of each other’s lives over the years, stopping here and there to discuss their current physical, emotional, and sexual states. Ultimately, desire wins out and the two end up happily married. A constantly sophisticated repartee makes their relationship one for the ages, as both characters flirtatiously exchange barbs over the course of the film. Unsurprisingly, the film came in at #25 on AFI’s 100 Years… 100 Passions.

Do you agree with our list? What 80s film couple is your favorite? For more entertaining Top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to MsMojo.
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