The 50s and 60s era in Bollywood built the Hindi film industry and the 70s era took it to another level.
However, the 80s era helped the Hindi film industry explore different themes and genres. Until the 70s, Bollywood relied on formula films with similar stories and plots.
That changed completely in the 80s as filmmakers began experimenting with crime thrillers, suspense genres, and different shades of romance, and explored foreign locations as well as realistic stories to offer more vibrancy to Indian cinema.
If you really want to cherish Indian cinema, then you mustn’t miss the best Bollywood of 80s era as it is considered as one of the most magnificent era in Hindi film history.
Best Bollywood Movies of 80s (1980-89)
Here’s the list of best Bollywood films of 80s era that you must watch once in life to enjoy Indian cinema fully.
Karz is one of the legendary thriller films in India directed by Subhash Ghai, the showman himself. The film tells the story of a reincarnation in which Ravi Verma, a rich man from Coonoor is killed by his wife Kamini for money.
However, the fate plays its role and Ravi Verma is back reincarnated into a new life as Monty, a famous singer. The rest of the story is how Monty remembers his past life avenges his own death as well as the atrocities laid on his mother and sister from the previous life. The film stars Rishi Kapoor in the lead role as Monty, whereas Raj Kiran plays Ravi Verma.
The Burning Train (1980)
The Burning Train is one of its kind disaster movie ever produced in India. The film is directed by Ravi Chopra and features an ensemble cast of Dharmendra, Jeetendra, Vinod Khanna, Hema Malini, Parveen Babi, Simi Garewal, Neetu Singh, Vinod Mehra, and Danny Denzongpa.
The story of the film revolves around a train named Super Express that catches fire during its inaugural journey from New Delhi to Mumbai.
Shaan is another multi-starrer film of the 80s featuring an ensemble cast of Amitabh Bachchan, Shashi Kapoor, Rakhi, Shatrughan Sinha, Parveen Babi, Sunil Dutt, Bindya Goswami, and Kulbhushan Kharbanda.
The film is a revenge story of two brothers who are on a mission to avenge their brother’s murder by Shakaal, the main antagonist of the film.
Umrao Jaan (1981)
Umrao Jaan is 1981 Bollywood classic film adapted from 1905 Urdu novel Umrao Jaan Ada. Directed by Muzaffar Ali, the film is said to be one of the best performances by a Bollywood actress and the best film starring Rekha.
Rekha plays the titular role in the film, whereas Naseeruddin Shah, Farooq Shaikh, Raj Babbar, Dina Pathak and others play important roles in the film. The film tells the story of a Lucknow-based courtesan and her life’s journey.
Ek Duje Ke Liye (1981)
Ek Duje Ke Liye is an epic romance tale featuring a South Indian and a North Indian couple. Directed by K. Balachander, the film is a romantic tragedy as it concludes with a very sad ending.
The film stars Kamal Haasan and Rati Agnihotri in the lead roles. The film was a blockbuster at the box office and certainly had a deep impact on the real life love birds of that era.
Satte pe Satta (1982)
Satte Pe Satta is a tale of seven brothers led by the eldest brother Ravi, played by Amitabh Bachchan. Directed by Raj N. Sippy.
The film is a pure action comedy displaying amazing chemistry among the seven brothers and their occasional mishaps. The film also stars Hema Malini as the female lead, whereas Amjad Khan plays the lead antagonist.
Also Read: Bollywood Movies about Brothers
Prem Rog (1982)
Prem Rog is a social romantic drama directed by Raj Kapoor. The film tries to draw the attention of the audience towards the atrocities and injustice towards widows in India during that era.
The film stars Rishi Kapoor and Padmini Kolhapure in the lead roles. The film tells the story of a young man who falls in love with a widow from a high-status family.
Angoor is an interesting story of two pairs of identical twins and the comedy of errors that follow as neither of them is aware that they have a twin brother nor their friends or family.
The film is directed by Gulzar and features Sanjeev Kumar and Deven Verma in the lead roles as the two pairs of identical twins.
Disco Dancer (1982)
Disco Dancer is a 1982 musical drama starring Mithun Chakraborty in the lead role turning him into an overnight star.
The film is directed by Babbar Subhash and tells the rags-to-riches story of a street performer. The film is widely famous for its music composed by and songs voiced by Bappi Lahiri.
Also Read: Bollywood Movies about Dance and Music
Ardh Satya (1983)
Ardh Satya is a political drama film directed by Govind Nihalani.
The film tells the story of an honest police officer played by Om Puri, whose morals, ethics and passion for serving the people are questioned, challenged, and ruined at times by the corrupt bureaucrats and political goons and how he falls into the pit of the same muddle that he was trying to clear. Besides Om Puri, the film also stars Smita Patil, Sadashiv Amrapurkar, Naseeruddin Shah, and Amrish Puri in important roles.
Coolie is a 1983 action comedy that almost took away the life of our beloved Sheheshah of Indian cinema. Directed by Manmohan Desai and written by the veteran comedian Kader Khan, the film tells the story of a Coolie named Iqbal portrayed by Amitabh Bachchan.
Besides Amitabh Bachchan, the film also stars Rishi Kapoor, Waheeda Rehman, Suresh Oberoi, Kader Khan, Rati Agnihotri, and Puneet Issar.
The 1983 film Masoom features the directorial debut of Shekhar Kapur. Masoom is a film adaptation of 1980 novel titled Man, Woman, and Child written by Erich Segal. The film tells the story of a happy family and how their lives change when a young boy is brought into the house.
Naseeruddin Shah and Shabana Azmi play the lead characters in the film, whereas Jugal Hansraj, Urmila Matondkar, and Aradhana play the roles of their children.
Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro (1983)
Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro is a Political satirical comedy film featuring an ensemble cast of Naseeruddin Shah, Om Puri, Satish Shah, Pankaj Kapur, Satish Kaushik, Neena Gupta, Ravi Baswani, and Bhakti Bhave.
The film is a brilliant satire on the corruption prevailing in the Indian politics, news media, and construction business.
Saaransh is a Bollywood emotional drama film featuring the debut of Anupam Kher who plays an elderly father at a very young age.
Directed by Mahesh Bhatt, the film is about a Marathi couple living in Mumbai, who are coping with the sudden loss of their only son. Anupam Kher eventually won the Filmfare Award for Best Actor in a Leading role for his performance in the film.
Saagar is a 1985 Hindi Love Triangle Bollywood Film directed by Ramesh Sippy. Touted as the comeback film for Dimple Kapadia, Saagar was one of the exceptional films of the 80s. Featuring Kamal Haasan and Rishi Kapoor in the lead characters wooing the same girl played by Kapadia, the film depicts a love triangle.
It is one of the rare performances in Bollywood film industry by Kamal Haasan where his performance was nominated for both Best Lead Actor as well as Best Supporting Actor. He eventually won his first and only Filmfare Best Actor award in Hindi film industry.
Meri Jung (1985)
Meri Jung is a crime thriller film directed by Subhash Ghai. Meri Jung was a breakthrough film for Anil Kapoor that turned him to a mature actor and earned him a superstar status in Bollywood.
The film also features Amrish Puri as criminal lawyer G.D. Thakral which is considered as one of his many brilliant villainous characters.
Also Read: Movies on Lawyers and Courtroom Drama
Chameli Ki Shaadi (1986)
Chameli Ki Shaadi is a light comedy film starring Anil Kapoor and Amrita Singh in the lead roles. Although an average grosser at Box Office, the film gained cult status over the years. The film tells the story of aspiring wrestler Charandas who falls in love with Chameli.
However, due to caste differences, both their families oppose their union. The rest of the story is how they get married facing so many hurdles and obstacles set by their families.
Mr. India (1987)
Another Shekhar Kapur directed film; Mr. India was first of its kind sci-fi film in Bollywood cinema. The film tells the story of an orphan young man named Arun, who takes in other orphan children and looks after them like an elder brother despite his own financial troubles.
One day, he comes across a gadget that could make a man invisible once activated. From thereon, Arun takes up the identity of Mr. India and helps people in need. However, the bad guys are after the gadget as well. Whether Arun continues his mission of helping people in his new avatar or the bad guys get their hands on the gadget forms the rest of the story.
Mirch Masala (1987)
Directed by Ketan Mehta, Mirch Masala is a 1987 social drama film starring Naseeruddin Shah and Smita Patil. The film is set in the colonial India of the 1940s and tells the story of a young woman Sonbai, played by Smita Patil, who takes a stand against the tyrant subedar, played by Naseeruddin Shah.
The film also stars Om Puri, Suresh Oberoi, Deepti Naval, Dina Pathak, Paresh Rawal, Benjamin Gilani and Mohan Gokhale.
Pushpak or Pushpaka Vimana is a 1987 Indian silent, black comedy film starring Kamal Haasan in the lead role, who has delivered one of his best performances in this film. Written and directed by Singeetam Srinivas Rao, Pushpaka Vimana is considered as the first full-length silent film. T
he film tells the story of a young unemployed man, who stumbles upon a millionaire drunk and his fortunes change completely. The film is full of comedy and humour, making it a must watch for everyone.
Qayamat se Qayamat Tak (1988)
Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak is the Indian version of Shakespeare’s famous Romeo and Juliet play starring Aamir Khan and Juhi Chawla in the lead roles.
Directed by Mansoor Khan, the film turned Aamir and Juhi into superstars overnight owing to its huge box office success. The film is also responsible to start the trend of young love stories and brought back the romance trend in Bollywood.
Salaam Bombay (1988)
India’s second film to be nominated at the Academy Awards in the Foreign Language film category, Salaam Bombay is directed by Mira Nair. The film is about a young boy who comes to Mumbai to make 500 rupees so he can return to his home.
However, it turns out to be a difficult task and he gets tangled into a life from which he can’t get out easily. Whether he earns 500 rupees and returns to his home or not what forms the rest of the film.
Dayavan is a Hindi remake of the 1987 Tamil blockbuster film Nayagan starring Kamal Haasan. Vinod Khanna replaces Kamal Haasan in the Hindi version and Feroz Khan plays a supporting character in the film.
Directed by Feroz Khan, the film also stars Madhuri Dixit, Aditya Pancholi, Amrish Puri, Amala, Aanjjan Srivastav, Tinu Anand, and Alok Nath in important roles.
Maine Pyar Kiya (1989)
Maine Pyar Kiya is a musical romantic film produced under Rajshri banner and directed by Sooraj R. Barjatya in his directorial debut.
The film stars Salman Khan and Bhagyashree in the lead roles and revolves around a love story between a rich boy and a poor girl. The film launched Salman Khan’s career and he became the lucky mascot and favourite star under Rajshri banner.
Sridevi plays the titular character that becomes the love interest of the two male leads in the film. Whether she chooses Rohit, played by Rishi Kapoor, or Lalit, played by Vinod Khanna is what forms the crux of the film.
The 1989 crime drama film Parinda tries to draw our attention to the real life of Indian underworld gangsters and the general lifestyle of the residents in Mumbai city.
Directed by Vidhu Vinod Chopra; the film stars Anil Kapoor, Jackie Shroff, Madhuri Dixit, Nana Patekar, and Anupam Kher in pivotal roles. The film became the turning point in Hindi cinema and encouraged filmmakers to make realistic films and explore the real Indian lifestyle.
These are the Best Bollywood Movies of 80s, if you think we missed some movies then you can mention them in the comment section or you can create your own favorite Bollywood movies list of 1980s in the comments.