Top 20 Bollywood Movies of 80s

Top 20 Bollywood Movies of 1980s (1980 to 1989):
Samita Patil was still alive, Dilip Kumar still in action, the Big B showed no signs of grey hair, Naseeruddin Shah was in his prime, Pran was still the bad guy to beat… got the idea, right?

Choosing top 20 movies from 80s is almost an impossible task. Should you go with the mega hits from mega stars like Amitabh Bachchan and Dilip Kumar, or should you go with the artistic movies supported by Naseeruddin Shah, Samita Patil, Shabana Azmi? The list below is not perfect by any means, but a good mix of the both styles. Depending on your tastes, likes and dislikes, the choice may vary, but here are the top 20 movies from 80s, arranged in a chronological order, by the year of movie-release date:

1. Aakrosh (1980): This is an acclaimed art film. The star power comes from all around brilliant acting of Naseeruddin Shah, Samita Patil, Om Puri and Amrish Puri. The movie is a satire on the corruption in the Indian judicial system, and power abuse of the rich against the poor.

2. Qurbani (1980): A very entertaining family movie, also known for an ensemble of super-stars, excellent music and many ever-green songs. The film stars Feroz Khan, Vinod Khanna, Zeenat Aman, Amjad Khan, Shakti Kapoor, Aruna Irani, Amrish Puri and Kader Khan. Enough said.

3. Sparsh (1980): Not a movie for uplifting atmosphere, but if you are looking for a flick with realistic acting, this is the one for you. It stars Naseeruddin Shah and Shabana Azmi playing the characters of a blind principal and a teacher in a School of the Blind.

4. Kranti (1981): “Bolo Kranti, Kab Aayegi Krant?” This movie about India’s freedom fight is among the most popular films of the 80s. Produced and directed by Manoj Kumar, it stars Manoj Kumar along with a mega cast of Dilip Kumar, Shashi Kapoor, Hema Malini, Shatrughan Sinha, Parveen Babi, Sarika, Prem Chopra, Madan Puri and Paintlal.

5. Lawaaris (1981): This is a super-hit movie of the 80s – a story of an orphan in search for his parents – with twists and turns. The film stars Amitabh Bachchan, Amjad Khan, Zeenat Aman and Raakhee Gulzar.

6. Chakra (1981): This is very complicated movie with storyline revolving around the life in the slums, taking on lovers for money and testing the human willpower to survive in the real world. The film stars Smita Patil, Naseeruddin Shah and Kulbhushan Kharbanda.

7. Jaane Bhi Do Yaroon(1982): The flick is a satire on the widespread corruption in all walks of Indian life – politics, bureaucracy, news media and business alike. The superb acting comes from Naseeruddin Shah and Om Puri; rest of the cast includes Ravi Baswani, Pankaj Kapur and Bhakti Barve.

8. Nikaah (1982): B.R Chopra exposes the Sharia laws of divorce and its misuse among the Indian Muslim society. The film stars Raj Babbar, Deepak Parashar and Salma Agha.

9. Bazaar (1982): This film highlights the tragedy and exploitation of young girls being sold by needy parents to affluent Indians in the Gulf. The movie delivers some of the best acting from a hand-picked cast of Naseeruddin Shah, Farooq Shaikh, Smita Patil and Supriya Pathak.

10. Shakti (1982): An entertaining family movie with quality acting, great storyline depicting complex family relations and responsibilities. Directed by Ramesh Sippy, the flick stars Dilip Kumar, Amitabh Bachchan, Raakhee, Smita Patil and Amrish Puri.

11. Ardh Satya (1983): Om Puri delivers one of the best performances of his life in this acclaimed cop-drama. It is a story of a policeman struggling with the evils around him and with his own weaknesses. The film also stars Amrish Puri, Smita Patil and Naseeruddin Shah

12. Sharaabi (1984): Amitabh Bachchan displays his acting skills of an alcoholic and a spoilt brat, but with a good heart. The melodious songs and dance numbers are unforgettable. The other stars include Jaya Prada, Pran, Om Prakash, Bharat Bhushan and Ranjeet.

13. Ram Teri Ganga Maili (1985): Produced and directed by Raj Kapoor, the movie stars Mandakini and Rajiv Kapoor – Raj Kapoor’s youngest son. Great music and fluid storyline carries this mega-hit movie. It was Raj Kapoor’s last film.

14. Mirch Masala (1985): Superb acting and brilliant cinematography separate this movie from rest of the pack. A very artistic film. Naseeruddin Shah, Smita Patil, Om Puri, Deepti Naval and Mohan Gokhale lead the cast.

15. Nagina(1986): One of the best dance choreographed film of that era. The soulful music is exceptional, not to forget the dance scenes. Sridevi, Rishi Kapoor, Amrish Puri and Jagdeep play the lead.

16. Mr. India (1987): This is a light and fun family flick. Anil Kapoor and Sridevi made a memorable onscreen match-up. The pet phrase of “Mogambo Kush Huya” was heard among the Indian communities all around the world.

17. Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak (1988): Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak’s music, romantic storyline, and young actors deliver much needed refreshing looks in the 80s. This is one the most popular flicks of its time starring Amir Khan and Juhi Chawla – the pair went on to deliver many more memorable movies after this.

18. Salaam Bombay! (1988): This is one of the critically acclaimed films from Mira Nair. The story revolves around the day-to-day life of children living on the streets of Mumbai. A touching display of human dreams lost in the world of drug-pushers, pimps and prostitutes.

19. Tezaab (1988): This blockbuster movie became famous for its music. This was the breakthrough movie for Madhuri Dixit. Anil Kapoor and Anupam Kher are the other main stars.

20. Maine Pyar Kiya (1989): One of the super-hits of 80s, the movie was a breakthrough for Salmaan khan. It has some of the most memorable songs of late 80s. Salmaan Khan, Bhagyashree, Laxmikant Berde and Alok Nath are the main actors.

Honorable mentions: Disco Dancer, Ek Ruka Hua Faisla, Hero, Satte Pe Satta, Shehanshah.. are some other memorable films from the era.

What did I miss? Mogambo Kush Huya? Feel free to share your picks by commenting below.

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28 Replies to “Top 20 Bollywood Movies of 80s”

  1. All the movies you have chosen (based on the ones that I have seen) are quality movies in my opinion. Because I think all of them gained positive attention of the public. Number 3 is among many of those that I have not seen. I disliked the movie in number 7 .. and numbers 9, 5,8 12, 15, 16, 17 and 20 were watchable movies for me 🙂

    Althout I like some more than the others and I like to watch AB movie always 🙂

  2. Thanks.
    I arranged the movies by the year of release, so some of the best one may not show up at the top if they were release in late 80s
    However, it seems like you are way too picky for the movies if you think ‘maine Pyar Kiya’ and QSQT were just watchable…:)
    Thanks for sharing.

  3. Yeah.. QSQT and MPK were good movie for that time I think.. but sometimes I feel the the emotion of love has been overdone in these movies. I you ask e to make a choice, I will prefer QSQT over MPK… because I think QSQT was more realistic and the end makes one cry…

  4. Why would you prefer something that makes you cry?
    Just joking. 🙂
    I like those movies more for their music and some acting….and some storyline…
    I know what you mean by overly display of love. Same is true for Bollywood fight scenes or chase scenes…they go forever…not realistic…

  5. Thats an interesting question, why would one prefer something that makes one cry ?? My mom says she had this Question in Her MA Paper ! 🙂

  6. Shahenshah and Tridev!!! Awesome movies with awesome music and great performanes from the lead actors!!!

  7. How is it possible to think about the eighties without remembering even a single movie of the biggest star of that decade — MITHUN. From Disco Dancer to Pyaar Jhukta Nahi. The legend changed the concept of dancing in Hindi cinema. What a miss from this list ! No eighties list is ever complete without a single film of the legend. Semi-Hits, Hits, Super-Hits, Blockbusters — he delivered them all.

  8. JAANE BHI DO YAARON is so far one of the best satire in the history of Bollywood, i feel pity on the person who does not like that movie… u better watch cheap B grade movies for entertainment.

  9. Very Good collection for those who wants to watch the golden -age hindi films.80’s has appreciation for both masala movies and Art films..
    I think few films were missed in the list.
    Namak halal, Disco Dancer, Coolie,Shehensha, Tridev,Dance Daance ,Shaan,Karz,Zamaane Ko Dikhana Hai,Ek Duje Ke Liye,Angoor,Hero,Saheb,betaab,tarzan,Jannbaaz..etc

  10. what about Tridev ?? awesome music ..!!
    it also taught how an action film can be much more entertaining..

  11. Good list, but few outstanding movies are criminally missing :

    1. Satte Pe Satta, If you ask me, this super duper entertaining movie aged most well among all movies you have listed above and surely deserved its place in top slot.

    2. Shaan the most stylized and entertaining james bond look alike movie of 80’s.

  12. hi guys, i am looking for a movie that i watched it while i was a kid…i dont remmeber what was about or what is the name of it….all i remember is that a house was burning than the kids put his injured father on a wheel and push themselves out of the house…in an other part , the father was singing while skating….
    i wish someone can help me find the name of this movie…
    thank u all

  13. indian movies now aday:s has lost it qualities due to adopting westen life and their culture, instead of indian culture.

  14. there are certain less popular art movies worth watching such as Ek Ruka Hua Faisla, Paar & Genesis. other family movies such as Bawarchi, Golmaal, Chupkay Chupkay, Chashm Ae Buddoor & Khatta Meetha are fantastic too. there are many others too but these are the ones that i liked the most.

  15. I do agree that the era actually belonged to Naseeruddin Shah. But the you actually missed out on a start who was a key competitor to the one and only superstar of the era Amitabh Bachchan and that was “Jeetendra”. I know folks would not agree that not a single movie of his could be termed as a great movie , however if we are analyse most of the 80’s releases I would add below a few and rather remove some from the above

    1. Meri Awaaz Suno- critically acclaimed action movie with Jeetendra in dual role
    2. Disco Dancer- A new super-star dancer in the making ” our own Mithunda, a super hit movie with an
    acceptable story line and had the first super-star Rajesh Khanna also.

    3. New Delhi- Again not in terms of collections, but was a remake of the Mamooty starrer with Jeetendra in the lead was a great and a rare movie
    4. Shahenshah – cannot be missed out at any cost. Dominated the come back of Amitabh Bachchan
    5. Hero – the Subhash Ghai movie was a great experience

    I would rather remove Nikaah, Sharaabi and Kranti, from the above list as these were not so refreshing and had hardly anything to offer to the audience.

  16. How wld u miss out “HUKUMAT” one of the biggest hits of the 80s decade wch started the hit franchise of Dharmendra and Anil Sharma.. Also I would recommend films like Chandni, Ram-Lakhan(Brilliant Entertainer), Ghazab, Watan Ke Rakhwale(Power-Packed Performance by Mithunda and Dharmendra), Mard, Coolie, Betaab, etc..Dis were ETERNAL entertainers @ its best and wit all due respect 2d art films and actors of dat era, AMITABH, DHARMENDRA, JEETENDRA, MITHUN, SUNNY and ANIL KAPOOR ruled d roost…Also it was criminal 2 leave out Karma!!

  17. Also anoda fantastic movie missing from the list is the evergreen “GHULAMI” where one of India’s greatest and Special Directors announced his arrival on the scene, JP.DUTTA wit dharmendra delivering one of his finest performnces till date…”Yateem” is also a Must watch solely becos of its uniqueness.

  18. the list is not complete if ”PYAR JHUKTA NAHI” isn’t in ur list because 80’s is incomplete without king of 80’s , our mithu miya…mithunda and why r u forgetting agneepath.


  19. My Friend and brother. Please send me link to films to connect to 80 s bollywood movies collection. Good movies. i will give my number by own self. want to see all movies again all .. great

  20. Good List.

    But you have missed some good films, which i would like to be included:-

    Karz (1980) – starring Rishi kapoor, Tina Munim
    Yeh Waada Raha (1982) – Starring Rishi Kapoor, Poonam Dhillon, Tina Munim, Rakhee
    Souten (1983) – starring Rajesh Khanna, Tina Munim, Padmini Kolhapore, Prem Chopra
    Saagar (1986) – Starring Rishi kapoor, Kamal Hasaan, Dimple Kapadia
    Ilzaam (1986) – starring Govinda, Neelam, Raj Kiran, Prem Chopra, Shatrughan Sinha
    Khudgarz (1987) – starring Shatrughan Sinha, Jeetendra, Govinda
    Chandni (1989) – starring Sridevi, Rishi Kapoor, Vinod Khanna
    Swarg (1990) – starring Govinda, Rajesh Khanna, Paresh Rawal, Juhi Chawla

  21. The eighties are unimiginable without the legend Mithunda !! During the decade, Mithunda was much ahead of Amitabh Bachchan, Dharmendra, Jeetendra, Anil Kappor, Jackie, Sanjay etc…his films must be included in the list !!! It was his era !!

  22. Kumar gurav starrer love story is also cult classic movie.and also all time blockbuster at box office of 1981,according to the imbd love story is also listed in top 25 romantic😍film of indian cineama.

  23. It seems you kind of dislike Rejesh Khanna. How can you mis:
    – Soutan
    – Agar Tum Na Hotey
    – Avtaar
    – Amrit
    – Hum Dono (best comdey of 80’s)
    – Aakhir Kiyun
    And special mentions for two unusual roles played by Rejesh Khanna
    – Red Rose (1980)
    – Dhanwan (1981)

  24. The Sunjay Datt Starrer ‘Naam(1986)’ is missing. Nagina, sharabi etc stand nowhere near this movie. seems admin has watched only these 20 movies from eighties and made the list.

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