Greatest ’80s Theme Songs

Although the 1970’s might be the ultimate decade for film themes (The Godfather, Jaws, Star Wars etc.), the ’80s still served up plenty of fried soundtrack gold.

Rocky IV 1985 rŽal. : Sylvester Stallone Dolph Lundgren Collection Christophel

There was a large variety of themes in this decade, from the orchestral to the synthesiser-driven. Honourable mentions go to The Breakfast Club, Beverly Hills Cop and Back to the Future, but here are the theme songs that are truly inseparable from the movies they’re featured in:

1. Batman (1989)
Christopher Nolan may have given us the definitive set of Batman films with the Dark Knight trilogy, but Danny Elfman’s stirring score has stood the test of time (unlike Jack Nicholson’s performance). You’ll believe a man can dress up as a bat and beat the stuffing out of bad guys.

2. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
Thanks to the musical legend that is John Williams (seriously, how has this guy managed to come up with so many awesome soundtracks?), it’s impossible to listen to this theme without conjuring up images of Indy swinging on vines and running away from giant boulders.

3. Ghostbusters (1984)
The presence of Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd and co. ensured this film would be a fine comedy, but Ray Parker Jr.’s title song is just so effortlessly cool, it elevates the movie to masterpiece status. He ain’t afraid of no ghosts!

4. Chariots of Fire (1981)
The quintessential sporting theme song. It’s been parodied in tons of films since, but Vangelis’ synths fit perfectly with the iconic scene of athletes running along the beach in slow-motion.

5. Rocky III (1982) – Eye of the Tiger
No discussion of the ’80s is complete without a good montage, and what better than the ultimate montage song? The film itself isn’t exactly a masterpiece, but at least Sly Stallone knows good music: he specifically asked Survivor to write a song for the film, and boy did they deliver.


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November 2021
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