Retro Romance: Top 10 80s Movies to Melt Your Heart on Valentine’s Day

 Valentine's Day 80s Movie Night by Geejkster

Welcome to Geekster’s Valentine’s Day 80s movie night!

Romantic comedies (rom-coms) are a staple for Hollywood. While they’ve been around since the 30’s they took hold in the 80’s and exploding in the 90’s and beyond.

In the 80’s there were just over 50 rom-coms produced. There were over 90 in the 1990’s and over 170 in the 2000’s!

While I’ve seen a lot of the rom-coms from the 90’s and a few from the 00’s the rom-coms from the 80’s are my favorite.

Not all of the movies on the list are strictly rom-coms, but they are all great movies to watch this Valentine’s Day.

Grab some popcorn, snuggle up on the couch, and enjoy a trip down memory lane with these classics.

10. Mannequin (1987)

February 1987 Mannequin  Valentine's Day

This is one of those movies that is totally 80’s. It’s a somewhat typical romantic comedy that did well at the box office.

The stars are great, Andrew McCarthy and Kim Cattrall play the lead roles. Estel Getty plays the department store owner and James Spader plays the bad guy. (Of course he does) Meshach Taylor steals the show as Hollywood.

This is the second movie Andrew McCarthy and James Spader star in. The first was 1986’s Pretty in Pink. Which could easily be on this list too. But I picked a different John Hughes movie.

Perhaps the biggest hit of the movie is Starship’s song “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now.” It hit the number one spot on the Billboard Hot 100 in April 1987.


9. Moonstruck (1987)

December 1987 Moonstruck

Loretta Castorini (Cher) is a Brooklyn bakery worker who is engaged to be married. When her fiancé goes to Italy to visit his estranged family, Loretta falls in love with his younger brother, Ronny (Nicholas Cage).

It’s a fun Rom-Com with Nic Cage being Nic Cage. And that’s a good thing. Cher plays a 37 year old widow with graying hair. I guess that was old in 1987.

Cher and Cage fall in love and she decides to marry him instead. There’s some side stories with Cher’s parents too.

Cher was nominated and won the Academy Award for Best Actress for this role.

Moonstruck is a charming and heartwarming story about love, family, and finding yourself.


8. Can’t Buy Me Love (1987)

August 1987 Cant Buy Me Love  Valentine's Day

Before Patrick Dempsey was “McDreamy”, he was a dork in high school who couldn’t get a date. Weren’t we all…

Dempsey plays Ronald Miller, a high school loser, never made it with a lady, till the boys told me something I missed, then my next door neighbor with a daughter had a favor. Wait, I’m thinking of something else. But it’s not to far off.

Miller makes a deal with his neighbor Cindy (Amanda Peterson). She ruined her mom’s expensive suede outfit and needs to replace it before her mom finds out. Miller agrees to buy the replacement outift, which is $1,000, money he was saving for a brand new telescope, if Cindy will be his ‘boyfriend’ for a month and teach him how to be cool.

Can’t Buy Me Love is a good teen romantic comedy. It’s no John Hughes movie but it understands teenagers and their plight in high school. It’s a good movie to start off the list and one worth watching this Valentine’s Day.


7. Roxanne

June 1987 Roxanne

Roxanne is a romantic comedy starring Steve Martin and Daryl Hannah. It’s an adaptation of the 1897 play Cyrano de Bergerac. Steve Martin wrote the screenplay.

Martin plays Fire Chief Charlie “C.D.” Bales with a rather large nose. He falls for Roxanne (Hannah) an astronomy PhD candidate who is in town looking for a new comet. Roxanne however is attracted to another firefighter Chris, played by Rick Rossovich (Slider from Top Gun).

Chris is intimidated by women and can’t talk to them. He asks C.D. for help to say the right words. C.D. wins over Roxanne with his words and Chris benefits from it. Soon Roxanne starts to catch on that Chris isn’t the one writing her letters or reciting her poetry.

Roxanne is a funny movie. Martin’s screenplay is smart and whimiscal. The scene where he comes up with twenty insults about his nose is great. Strangely every time I see it though, I think Robin Williams would crush the scene!

If you haven’t seen Roxanne it’s a good romantic comedy worth watching this month.


6. Working Girl (1988)

Working Girl

Tess McGill (Melanie Griffith) is a Staten Island secretary with big dreams of climbing the corporate ladder. When her boss, Katharine Parker (Sigourney Weaver), breaks her leg, Tess impersonate her, infiltrating high-stakes negotiations with a handsome investment broker, Jack Trainer (Harrison Ford).

As Tess navigates the cutthroat world of mergers and acquisitions, her street smarts and business prowess shine. Jack is impressed with her quick wit and insightful ideas, sparking a connection beyond professional interests. However, secrets are never meant to stay hidden and Katharine returns, furious to discover Tess’s charade.

Tess continues to charade of attending high-pressure meetings, social gatherings, and a glamorous business trip. As the truth begins to come to light Tess must decide if she should reveal her true identity and risk losing her business dreams and Jack.

Working Girl is a charming comedy, helped by Melanie Griffith, who shines on screen. Weaver is great as the diabolical boss and Harrison Ford, is, well, Harrison Ford. The real star of this 80s movie is Joan Cusack’s hair!


5. About Last Night (1986)

About Last Night  Valentine's Day

Danny (Rob Lowe) and Bernie (Jim Belushi) are best friends in Chicago navigating their early 20s and the confusing world of relationships. Danny meets Debbie (Demi Moore), a charming yet complicated woman, at a softball game and their one-night stand unexpectedly blossoms into a committed relationship, much to their surprise.

Danny struggles with insecurity, facing temptation from a past lover. While Debbie juggles the commitment with an unresolved affair with her boss. Bernie and Debbie’s best friend Joan (Elizabeth Perkins), offer differing relationships perspectives, Bernie pushing for casual flings and Joan yearning for deeper connections.

Through awkward moments, heated arguments, and heartfelt confessions, Danny and Debbie slowly learn the complexities of love and communication. They experience the exhilaration of newfound love, the frustration of conflicting priorities, and the vulnerability of opening up emotionally.

About Last Night is an excellent movie and doesn’t shy away from portraying the reality of relationships. It was a good movie when I watched it as a teenager. Watching it in my 20’s and beyond makes it a completely different experience. It highlights the struggles of starting (and keeping) a relationship without all the fairy tale tropes.

About Last Night isn’t an obvious Valentine’s Day pick but it’s a beautifully messy love story and one you should watch.


4. Overboard (1987)

December 1987 Overboard  Valentine's Day

This is a great romantic comedy starring two of the best actors from the 80s, Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn. Overboard was directed by Garry Marshall and produced by Roddy McDowall.

Hawn plays a spoiled heiress, Joanna who hires a local carpenter, Dean (Russel) to remodel her closet while her yacht is docked. Joanna refuses to pay for the remodel and throws Dean and his tools into the water.

As the yacht sails away during the night Joanna loses her balance and falls overboard. She is rescued but has amnesia. Dean see’s her story on the news and decides to get his revenge. He goes to the hospital and claims Joanna is his wife.

She moves in with Dean and his four sons and enters a life of much different from her upscale socialite lifestyle. She is now cleaning, cooking and taking care of four crazy boys all day long.

Hawn and Russell have great chemistry in this movie. Maybe it’s because they were a real-life couple when filming the movie. They started dating on Valentine’s Day 1983 and are still together today, 41 years later! How’s that for a love story.


3. Dirty Dancing (1987)

August 1987 Dirty Dancing  Valentine's Day

Starring Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey, Dirty Dancing is set at a 1960s Catskills vacation resort. It’s like summer camp for families. It’s a coming-of-age story for ‘Baby’ Housman (Grey) as she falls in love with the local dance instructor Johnny Castle (Swayze).

The casting is great, despite Grey’s hesitant to work with Swayze again. The two starred in 1984’s Red Dawn and didn’t get along together on set. Their chemistry in Dirty Dancing is captivating, if they were at odds off screen it didn’t affect their performances.

The movie was boosted by a great soundtrack too. Four songs hit the pop charts and three won awards. “She’s Like the Wind” by Patrick Swayze won the BMI Film Award, “Hungry Eyes” and “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” won the ASCAP Film award. “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” also won the Academy Award for Best Original Song.

Watch the movie, then make a Valentine’s Day mixtape with the songs from the soundtrack.


2. Sixteen Candles (1984)

sixteen candles  Valentine's Day

A John Hughes classic!

Samantha Baker (Molly Ringwald), a high school sophomore, wants her sixteenth birthday to be special. What girl doesn’t want a memorable sweet sixteen? Everything seems to be working against her.

Her older sister is getting married the day after her birthday. What? Why would she pick that day? Because of the wedding everyone apperas to have forgotten Sam’s birthday.

Sam has a crush on senior Jake Ryan (Michael Schoeffling) and the dorky freshman Ted (Anthony Michael Hall) has a crush on Sam.

Sam is forced to sleep on the couch so her grandparents can have a bed, she’s humiliated at a school dance and feels invisible and forgotten.

Throughout the trials Sam struggles with self-doubt and the pressure to fit in. Slowly, she realizes that Jake might not be as perfect as she imagined, and Ted’s awkwardness may hide genuine feelings. As the wedding festivities conclude, a surprising twist brings Sam and Jake together.

John Hughes was a master at connecting with the teenage mind and Sixteen Candles is no exception. The movie deals with the complexities of adolescence, showcasing the anxieties and awkwardness of teenage life with Hughes signature humor and heart.

Sixteen Candles is a great movie about teenage love and self discovery and should be on everyone’s Valentine’s Day watch list.


1. Say Anything (1989)

Say Anything Valentine's Day

Lloyd Dobler (John Cusack), a carefree high school graduate with no clear plans for the future, is instantly captivated by Diane Court (Ione Skye), the brilliant and ambitious high school valedictorian.

Lloyd’s genuine charm and unwavering persistence lead Diane to reciprocate his feelings. Their growing romance blossoms during the summer before Diane leaves for a prestigious fellowship in England.

Their path to a relationship is full of obstacles. Not the least of which is Diane’s overprotective father Jim (John Mahoney) . Jim disapproves of Lloyd, questioning his long-term prospects and contrasting him with Diane’s seemingly perfect ex-boyfriend.

While having supper with Diane and Jim, Lloyd fails to impress Diane’s father. However, Lloyd may have one of the best speeches about life after high school…

I don’t want to sell anything, buy anything, or process anything as a career. I don’t want to sell anything bought or processed, or buy anything sold or processed, or process anything sold, bought, or processed, or repair anything sold, bought, or processed. You know, as a career, I don’t want to do that. … I don’t know I can’t figure it all out tonight sir, I’m just gonna hang with your daughter.


He was also ahead of his time saying kickboxing is the future. Maybe in another universe Lloyd is a UFC champ.

Lloyd is determined to win Diane’s heart. With the help of his boombox and a heartfelt serenade, Lloyd proves that love can conquer all.

For the guys… when you saw this movie did you think of trying the boombox technique outside your crushes house?

And for the girls… would it work??? (Asking for a friend)

Say Anything is a timeless coming-of-age story about young love and the uncertainty of life after high school. It’s a fantastic movie resonates today as much as it did in 1989. If you only watch one movie this Valentine’s Day, make it Say Anything.


These are just a few of the great romantic comedies from the 1980s that are perfect for celebrating Valentine’s Day.

Let me know in the comments or on Twitter (@MileHighSamurai) or (@TRNSocial) your favorite 80s rom-com.

❤️Happy Valentine’s Day!❤️

About Pitfall Gary 127 Articles
Just your average Gen X'er. Born in the 70s and raised in the Decade of Decadence! I rode my bike without a helmet and was home when the street lights came on. I love to reminisce about the good ol' days; Movies, TV, music, if it happened in my childhood I'll share it with you.

1 Comment

  1. Say Anything is one of my very favorites! I love Sixteen Candles, but if I were to pick a John Hughes movie for this list I would probably go with Some Kind of Wonderful. Another one of my favorites that would probably qualify for this list would be Just One of the Guys.

Leave a Reply