20 Most Awesome Movie Songs From the '80s (PHOTOS)

Kimberly Goad | Jan 17, 2016 Movies

Teen romances, star-making action flicks, and Brat Pack dramas -- whether they were big hits or big duds, '80s movies had some, like, rad songs.  

Here are the 20 best movie theme songs from the decade that gave us big hair, leg warmers, and Tom Cruise.  

Image via 20th Century Fox


  • “Eye Of The Tiger” (Rocky III)


    Image via Amazon.com

    With its instantly recognizable, driving guitar riff, Rocky III theme song “Eye of the Tiger,” by rock band Survivor, was the number two song of 1982 and became a fist-pumping classic.

  • “Call Me” (American Gigolo)


    Stevie Nicks was first to be approached to write a song for the sexy Richard Gere film American Gigolo, but her contract with Fleetwood Mac prevented her from doing it. Instead, Blondie did the honors with “Call Me," and Debbie Harry's sultry voice and danceable beat made it a hitl.  

  • “Fame” (Fame)


    This is one we still love to belt out in front of the mirror, hairbrush in hand, whenever we need to get pumped. Sung by Irene Cara, "Fame" won both the Oscar and Golden Globe awards for Best Original Song in 1980. The dual honor helps ensure that the tune, will -- wait for it -- live forever.

  • “The Power Of Love” (Back To The Future)


    Huey Lewis & The News had arguably their biggest hit ever with "The Power of Love." It was the perfect upbeat song for one of the most fun movies ever.

    More from The Stir: 19 Best Songs From '90s Movies We Loved (PHOTOS)

  • “Take My Breat Away” (Top Gun)


    "Danger Zone" may have been the song that became a big recruiting tool for the Navy after being used in the mega-hit Top Gun, but every chick who saw the movie loves the ridiculously romantic "Take My Breath Away." After all, when all is said and done, the action flick was really a big, fat love story.

  • "Kiss" (Under The Cherry Moon)


    Priince's film Under the Cherry Moon may have been a dud, but the song "Kiss"? Pure, funky pop bliss.

  • "Don't You (Forget About Me)" (The Breakfast Club)


    The New Wave group Simple Minds didn't want to be part of the Breakfast Club's classic high school drama's soundtrack, but relented, contributing a song that became a senior class song staple.

  • “Cat People (Putting Out Fire)" Cat People


    David Bowie's brooding vocals are perfectly creepy in the off-kilter theme song of an erotic horror flick, 1982's Cat People.

  • “Axel F” (Beverly Hills Cop)


    There are probably a total of two people who recognize the title to this song, but just about everyone knows the melody. This synthesizer classic, off the Eddie Murphy mega-hit Beverly Hills Cop,  is synonymous with the '80s. 

  • “Against All Odds (Take A Look At Me Now)” (Against All Odds)


    When Phil Collins was asked to contribute a song for the film, the singer adapted an unused demo from the recording sessions for his first solo album, about the end of his first marriage. He ended up winning a Grammy for the tune, and we got one of the most heart-rending ballads ever composed. It never gets old.

  • “Crazy For You” (Vision Quest)


    Back in 1985 before Madonna was fully Madonna, she recorded this megahit for an otherwise forgettable film starring Matthew Modine and Linda Fiorentino. Bubblegum pop love at its finest.

  • "(I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life" (Dirty Dancing)


    The biggest single off a wildly successful soundtrack, "(I've Had) The Time Of My Life" is one of several—including “Hungry Eyes” and “She’s the Like the Wind"—unforgettable tracks from the '80s coming-of-age movie. It still makes us want to be Johnny's Baby.  

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  • "Flashdance... What A Feeling" (Flashdance)


    This infectious, hugely influential song captured the joyful essence of the movie, which centered around a steel factory worker who dreamed of becoming a dancer, and never gave up. 

  • "If You Leave" (Pretty in Pink)


    A lovely little love story, Pretty in Pink needed a song that captured its hormones-and-angst core, and it got one in "If You Leave," thanks to New Wave emo gods OMD -- whose full name was fittingly Orchestral Maneouvers in the Dark. 

  • "St Elmo’s Fire (Man In Motion)" (St Elmo’s Fire)


    David Foster wrote the original version of this song for a Canadian athlete who was paralyzed from the waist down after a car crash. When it was adapted as the theme song of the 1985 Brat Pack flick, the lyrics were reworked to include the movie title. Whatever the back story, the result was the same: A life-affirming banger.

  • “Fight The Power” (Do The Right Thing)


    For his film about a brutally hot and violent day in Brooklyn, director Spike Lee wanted the theme song "to be defiant. I wanted it to be angry, I wanted it to be very rhythmic.” That’s what he got from Public Enemy, who sang, “You got to fight the powers that be.”

    More from The Stir: Brilliant '80s trends Worth Reviving -- Or Are They? 

  • "For Your Eyes Only" (For Your Eyes Only)


    For a series whose main character goes through women like they're going out of style, the James Bond film "For Your Eyes Only" used a breathy, romantic ballad as its theme song. Sheena Easton shone.

  • "Footloose" (Footloose)


    The title track from the movie about a teenager who moves to a small town where dancing is illegal is a barn-burner that would make even the Duggars get up and dance.

  • “When Doves Cry” (Purple Rain)


    In the semi-autobiographical movie Purple Rain, the song expresses Prince’s fear of becoming like his parents. When doves cry -- that's his musical refuge.

  • "In Your Eyes" (Say Anything...)


    Image via Amazon

    Peter Gabriel is a great songwriter but we're betting even he never expected to make a song that teens everywhere sighed over. But so it was with "In Your Eyes." When loveable, idealistic loser Lloyd Dabler raises his boombox over his head and serenades the girl he's trying to woo, the song's romantic legacy was born.    

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