Follow TV Tropes


Quotes / The '80s

Go To

    open/close all folders 

    Comic Books 

"You've stranded us in the 1980s! Haven't you ever read a history book? This is the worst decade of the millennium!"
Mrs Yorkes, Runaways

    Film — Live-action 

Lou: It's the fucking 80's guys. Let's do what we want to do. Free Love!
Jacob: That was the sixties, dipshit.
Adam: We had, like, Reagan and AIDS. Get the fuck outta here, ok?

Doc: Then tell me, Future Boy, who's President of the United States in 1985?
Marty: (confidently) Ronald Reagan.
Doc: Ronald Reagan?! The actor?! Then who's Vice-President, Jerry Lewis?!


    Live-action TV 

"Hair. Shoulderpads. Nukes. It’s the eighties. EVERYTHING'S bigger!"

"(singing to the cheezy synth music playing in the background) It's the Eight-ies! Do a lot of coke and vote for Ronald Reagan!"

"Get back to the decade where everyone was rich, and there was no problem too big to ignore!"

"Was there ever a more garish decade than the eighties? Neon clothing, big hair, spandex, blazers with shoulder pads for men? A jacket that anyone could buy for 25 bucks called 'Members Only.' The eighties were so ugly, even beautiful people looked ridiculous! Everybody looked awful! Look at ME in the 1980s! Honestly, I tried to find a good picture from then. It doesn’t exist!"


"Push it to the limit
Walk along the razor's edge
But don't look down just keep your head
Or you'll be finished
Open up the limit
Past the point of no return
You've reached the top but still you gotta learn
How to keep it"
"Push It To The Limit" aka the most 80's song ever

"It was acceptable in the 80s
It was acceptable at the time"
Calvin Harris, "Acceptable in the 80s"

"Oh, there's a lot of opportunities
If you know when to take them, you know?
There's a lot of opportunities
If there aren't, you can make them
Make or break them
I've got the brains, you've got the looks
Let's make lots of money"
Pet Shop Boys, "Opportunities (Let's Make Lots of Money)"

"The times they are a-telling,
And the changing isn't free
You've read it in the tea leaves
And the tracks are on TV
Beware the savage jaw
Of 1984"
David Bowie, "1984"

"Springsteen, Madonna,
Way before Nirvana there was
U2, and Blondie, and music still on MTV
Her two kids in high school, they tell her that she's uncool
'Cause she's still preoccupied
With 1985"
SR-71, "1985" note 

"It was nineteen eighty-somethin'
In the world that I grew up in
Skating rinks and black Trans-Ams
Big hair and parachute pants
Lookin' back now I can see me
Oh man, did I look cheesy
But I wouldn't trade those days for nothin'
It was nineteen eighty-somethin'"
Mark Willis, "Nineteen-Something"

"The eighties almost killed me
Let's not recall them quite so fondly"
The Hold Steady, "Positive Jam"

"We were the girls of the 50's
Stoned rock and rollers in the 60's
And more than our names got changed
As the seventies slipped on by
Now we're 80's ladies
There ain't been much these ladies ain't tried"
K.T. Oslin, "80's Ladies"


El: I love Sil's guards, by the way. Why the fuck are there two black men in bondage suits wandering silently through this entire story? Why did that happen?
Jack: It's just the sort of thing that seemed natural in the 80s, I think.
El: The best joke that Tat Wood has in all of About Time is his review of Vengeance on Varos, when he says if you want to imagine the 80s, imagine a world where this can be followed by Jim'll Fix It.

    Video Games 

"Oh, you fucking square. It's only a bit of snow. It's nineteen-eighty-fucking-four, dahling. EVERYONE'S doing cocaine."

    Web Original 

"Back in the mid 80s, Clairol knew that what the people really wanted was to look like gold sneezed in their hair or like Robin Leach wet farted on their head. (Yes, Robin Leach farts up flecks of copper. He is that opulent.) So they created a styling mousse and gel that contained “tiny reflective color crystals.” “Tiny reflective color crystals” was fancy 80s marketing talk for “chemical particles that may seep through your skull and cause cancer”"
Michael K., "And a “touch” of glamour in the 80s was equal to about 500,000 gallons of glamour today, because glamour was 100 proof back then"

"Everyone walked out of Road House into the sunlight feeling stunned, stupid, a little gay for Patrick Swayze, and wondering idly why they ever thought Duran Duran was a good band. In one day, the 80s were over. Women's hairdos started to make sense once again. Spandex was abolished. The New Kids and Wham! were purged from our cultural memory."

"I like to imagine that as soon as the clock struck midnight on Sept. 30, 1982, Bowie washed the lipstick from his face, took off his dress to reveal a perfectly ironed suit and tie underneath, and said, 'Gentlemen, let's business.'"

"Biff! Pow! Comics aren’t just for kids! They’re not even comics anymore, they’re Graphic Novels so put it in the suck it bucket, Adam West!"

"'Ambition is not a dirty word' — the 80s in a nutshell. Mind you 'All we want is a deal' from strikers to the management is another familiar trope of the decade. 'Would you like a Prawn Cocktail?' from a Dalek pretty much completes the eighties love-in."
Joe Ford on Big Finish Doctor Who, We Are the Daleks

"Lytton is also strongly in keeping with the ethos of the 1980s... the theme of amoral, selfish, profit-driven individuals exemplified by such 1980s classics as American Psycho, Wall Street and Working Girl. Even if the character is, in fact, a Dalek duplicate, the metaphor still reads, as Lytton's betrayal can therefore be seen as a stab in the back from a corporate insider. Lytton is thus very much a character for his time."
Alan Stevens, "An Analysis of "Resurrection of the Daleks"

"For every person who sings the praises of The Next Generation for picking up the long-abandoned Trek baton and running like crazy with it, there'll be another scoffing at the pure '80s wackiness that placed a therapist on the bridge next to the captain, and had an adolescent boy piloting the ship."

"It was, in many respects, the last gasp of the idealism of the Kennedy era, with Kennedy’s Camelot extrapolated into the distant future. Kennedy’s 'New Frontier' became Roddenberry’s 'Final Frontier.'

The last of that enthusiasm slipped away while the show was off the air, caught up in scandals like Watergate — creating a fear and darkness at the heart of American culture. In fact, the final big screen adventure featuring the cast of the original
Star Trek featured the crew thwarting a conspiracy by high-ranking officials (and some foreign agents) to assassinate the President."

"These are the legacies of the 1980s. An economic ideology that fostered profits above all else created a world in which power justifies its own use and the maxim that history is written by the victors becomes a moral principle instead of a cynical observation."
Dr. El Sandifer, "Mary Whitehouse"

"The hunt for money extends in this era; instead of looking for gold or for oil under the surface they have to find the people with the money to spend and convince them to part with it."
M. Dawson, "The Political Position of Glengarry Glen Ross"


    Web Video 

"A man could die from so much eighties!"
Bennett The Sage

Neo: You know what decade you're in, with a nice sax solo at the start.
V1: I have "Jax sex music" right here, written down.

"We have a deep sense of shame in our culture now. In a world where privacy is less and less tangible, we've become too ashamed of our own personalities to share too much of them, afraid we'll be made fun of or guilted in some way. The 80s never had that problem, and I believe that's why people cling to it as the last bastion of great entertainment even if they're too young to remember most of the decade. It was a time when movies like The Running Man or Commando could exist without having to break the fourth wall or make a pointed statement about action movie tropes in order to get away with their own bullshit."

    Western Animation 

Zapp Brannigan: Kif, set course for the nearest XM repair facility. Meanwhile, we shall sing top hits from the Eighties.
Kif: Which Eighties, sir?
Brannigan: For me, there are only one Eighties. (sings "Hungry Like The Wolf" while Kif groans).
Futurama, "Into the Wild Green Yonder"

"It was a back in a disgusting period known as the early 80s. It was a time when women would stand topless, high on coke, on the edge of hotel balconies while the curtains were billowing around them... I think there was actually more wind then."
Lois Griffin, Family Guy, "And I'm Joyce Kinney"

    Real Life 

"The '80s were about acquiring — acquiring wealth, power, prestige."
— Political strategist Lee Atwater

"There are times, however, and this is one of them, when even being right feels wrong. What do you say, for instance, about a generation that has been taught that rain is poison and sex is death? If making love might be fatal and if a cool spring breeze on any summer afternoon can turn a crystal blue lake into a puddle of black poison right in front of your eyes, there is not much left except TV and relentless masturbation."
Hunter S. Thompson, Generation of Swine: Tales of Shame and Degradation in the '80's

"The only joy about that is that I was on the inside looking out and the rest of you had to put up with it. It was the Eighties, glam rock."
Colin Baker on his Doctor Who costume

"Bell broke at the apex of misplaced surf-dude culture, where everything that mattered was righteously rad to the max, bro; kickin' gnarly and hang-willy on the rip-chill, my main man! Intentionally 'loud' clothing was the height of young fashion, all garish shorts and neon splatters that marked the entire world as a beach, before Gen X grunge slouched in with its monochrome take on the same oversized outfits, in a handover of the decade spent waddling lost inside mountains of cloth."
Stuart Millard on Saved by the Bell, So Excited, So Scared

"Dallas hit a chord back in the late Seventies and Eighties because it was the age of greed: here you have this unapologetic character who is mean and nasty and ruthless and does it all with an evil grin. I think people related to JR back then because we all have someone we know exactly like him. Everyone in the world knows a J.R."
Larry Hagman


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: