1986 Movies

In 1986, cinema gave us a wealth of films. Interested in revisiting them? We present our comprehensive movie database, rich with 1986 films. Explore at your leisure, find your favorites, and enjoy these classics all over again.
Start Streaming

Browse 2,464 titles in our 1986 Movies Database

The Best Movies of 1986

1986 was an exceptional period in the motion picture industry. The era gifted audiences with a wonderful blend of unique creations, from directors who were only honing their artistry further to new talents making their presence felt. As such, let's explore some of the exceptional films of 1986.


Oliver Stone's Platoon, which won the Best Picture Oscar in 1986, provides a gut-wrenching view of the Vietnam War and its brutal impact on the soldiers fighting it. It's an intense portrayal of the atrocities of war, and its emotional weight has made it a classic among anti-war films.

Stand by Me

A poignant narrative about growing up, Stand by Me showcases the bitter-sweet aspects of youth and the stirring power of nostalgia. The plot is straightforward, centering on four friends who set out to locate a deceased individual rumored to be nearby. The depth of the characters and their interactions make this a memorable film.


Building on the success of Ridley Scott's 1979 original, James Cameron's 1986 sequel, Aliens, took a leap from horror to action. The movie delivers an enthralling, non-stop action/sci-fi spectacle that has withstood the passage of time and is widely acknowledged as one of the finest sequels in film history.

Little Shop of Horrors

Little Shop of Horrors is a delightful horror-comedy musical that tells the story of a man who nurtures a plant with a peculiar thirst for human blood. With a unique premise, endearing characters, and memorable cameos, this movie offers an irresistible allure even for those who usually shy away from musicals.

Ferris Bueller's Day Off

This movie is a charming tale of a young man, Ferris Bueller, who feigns illness to skip school and have an adventurous day off. It strikes an engaging balance between comedy and heartfelt moments, particularly with Ferris's friend Cameron. It has managed to maintain its charm over the years, making it a cherished classic.

Castle in the Sky

This underrated gem from acclaimed filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki, Castle in the Sky, takes viewers on a visually stunning journey with a young boy and girl. They are in pursuit of a legendary floating castle, encountering numerous trials along the way. This film is a classic example of Miyazaki's captivating storytelling and remarkable visual prowess.

The Mission

The Mission brings together Robert De Niro and Jeremy Irons in a narrative set in an 18th-century Jesuit mission in the South American wilderness. The movie's exploration of faith and redemption, combined with the soul-stirring score from composer Ennio Morricone, makes it a deeply moving cinematic piece.

Blue Velvet

David Lynch's Blue Velvet is a compelling thriller. The plot involves a young man who stumbles upon a human ear in a field, setting off a chain of events that lead him to the heart of a sinister undercurrent beneath the surface of his otherwise tranquil suburban life. It's a masterclass in suspense and intensity, underscored by an unforgettable performance by Dennis Hopper.

Big Trouble in Little China

Big Trouble in Little China is a delightfully imaginative and fun film from the portfolio of John Carpenter. Featuring the talented Kurt Russell in a unique role, this film is a delightful cocktail of action, fantasy, and comedy. It features a trucker who inadvertently becomes entangled in a supernatural conflict of potentially severe consequences.

The Fly

Directed by the acclaimed horror auteur David Cronenberg, The Fly is an unsettling tale about a scientist whose physical form alters disturbingly following a botched experiment. The film has become an iconic cornerstone of the body horror sub-genre. This movie, with its gripping and immediate sense of dread, has stood the test of time remarkably well.

1986 Movies & Industry Highlights

1986 was a notable year in the film industry, with several memorable films that performed exceedingly well at the box office, influential events that shaped the future of the industry, and tragic losses.

Highest-grossing Films

Several films left a significant mark in 1986, amassing substantial box office returns in North America. Paramount's "Top Gun" led the chart, while "Crocodile Dundee" trailed close behind. Films like "Platoon" and "The Karate Kid Part II" also had a considerable impact, with "Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home" not far behind.

Also, films like "Back to School," "Aliens," "The Golden Child," "Ruthless People," and "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" garnered respectable earnings, adding their unique contributions to the cinematic landscape of the year.

Industry Developments

The film industry witnessed several important occurrences in 1986. One of the most significant was the establishment of Pixar Animation Studios by Edwin Catmull and Alvy Ray Smith. Their innovative work would later revolutionize the animation field.

There were changes in the industry's leadership too. Columbia Pictures saw two changes in its head position. The year started with the resignation of Guy McElwaine, which was later filled by David Puttnam in September.

Personal events were aplenty as well, as notable figures tied the knot. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a well-known actor, married Maria Shriver, a television journalist.

Film Festivals and Releases

A unique film festival started in Finnish Lapland - the Midnight Sun Film Festival, a testament to the universal reach of cinema. Several successful films also marked their release in this year, including "The Great Mouse Detective," which not only received positive reviews but also turned around the financial situation of Disney Studio.

"The Great Mouse Detective" went on to be considered one of the darker classics in the Disney collection, earning a following over time.

Casting News and Television

In the domain of casting, Timothy Dalton was announced as the fourth actor to take on the role of the popular character, James Bond. Television also saw the beginning of a film review program, "Siskel & Ebert," which ran successfully until 2010.

Record-breaking Releases

Steven Spielberg's first animated film, "An American Tail," was released this year, marking a significant milestone in animation. It set a new record for an animated film's opening weekend financial intake.