Top 10 Best 80s Movie Music Videos

When I fly, I hum "Danger Zone." When I break up drug rings, I do the "Neutron Dance". When I practice weird science I sing "Weird Science." And when I team up with a quartet of turtles who have been mutated into teenage ninjas, I do the "Ninja Rap." Go, ninja, go, indeed. I discovered a love for movies and the then newly launched MTV as a I grew up in suburban New Jersey. While my love for one of those things would remain strong today, the other?... Not so much.

But I think back to those salad days of the 80s when movies coexisted so beautifully with the evolving art of the music videos and wonder exactly where things went astray. Nary an action movie could exist in the mid-80s without its own rock-inspired "theme" that got a big-budget tie-in music video and airplay on Top 20 radio. These music videos were deemed so important they almost become off-shoots of the movie with similar storylines and celebrity cameos. Now, can you imagine a BATMAN BEGINS music video with Christian Bale shakin' his groove thing?

While the "movie music video" may be a thing of the past, through the wonder of the internet, I invite you to take a walk with me down memory lane to revisit some of the best (perhaps the top...ten?) of the 1980s. Taking this very seriously, perhaps a bit too much so, I researched the MTV archives to find some of the best the 80s had to offer and graded each on a scale that offered points for the following criteria:

1) Celebrity Cameo Factor - As mentioned above, the celebrity cameo is the most crucial part. Any video can claim to be from a movie and merely rely on editing in some clips from the film, but it takes the commitment of the actor(s) to participate that can really push an otherwise mediocre video into truly memorable status.

2) Cheese Factor - We're not talking the Oscars here people - these are 80s music videos. And what is the one defining factor of an 80s music video? Pure Wisconsin cheese. The cheesier the better.

3) Listening Factor - While sometimes bad music videos are fun to laugh at (um, you're reading this article, aren't you?), bad songs are just BAD. Points awarded for a song that is actually easy on the ears.

4) Availability Online - Since this is an online article, I want nothing but the best for you, the reader. This means being able to present all the videos in this article for you to watch as you read about them. If they're online, they gets points; if not, nyet.

Think you got the drift? Then let's get ramblin' ramblers.

1. Billy Ocean, 'When The Going Gets Tough' - JEWEL OF THE NILE

It starts off slow. Clip from the film... Billy Ocean with his sport jacket sleeves rolled up... But then WHAM. It hits you. To say more would ruin it. It's ranked #1 on this list, which should tell you that you need to watch this clip. NOW. You'll never look at Michael Douglas the same. In conclusion, Billy Ocean gets the top prize but really we're all winners here. Some honorary mentions must go to "Iko, Iko" from RAIN MAN and "Big Trouble in Little China" sang by John Carpenter himself.

2. Dan Aykroyd and Tom Hanks, 'City of Crime' - DRAGNET

The only rap song to nab a spot on our countdown (sadly "Ninja Rap" was released in 1991) wasn't by anyone you'll see alongside Run DMC or Public Enemy in the Hip-Hop Hall of Fame, but they've got a few other awards, namely six Oscar nominations and two wins between them. Tom Hanks and Dan Aykroyd not only appear in this video, they rap throughout it. If I didn't see it, I'd scarcely believe it were true. It only loses points for its listenability, which, all due respect to Hanks and Aykroyd, isn't very high.

3. El Debarge, 'Who's Johnny' - SHORT CIRCUIT

Steve Guttenberg was apparently too cool for school and decided not to show up to the El Debarge video shoot but Ally Sheedy and Johnny Five show up and were nice enough to bring out a cardboard cut-out of The Gutt. The plot is wonderfully indecipherable in the way that only 80s music videos can be with a plot that involves Mr. DeBarge on trial for some unknown crime, an exploding gavel and Groucho Marx glasses. And of course the aforementioned Guttenberg cut-out singing.


Patricia Arquette guests as a Dokken-loving teen, cutting out layouts of the band from Circus Magazine and crafting her own Dokken Digs out of popsicle sticks. That combined with the song, combined with the Freddy Krueger cameo at the end, pretty much solidifies a spot on this list.

5. Cyndi Lauper, 'Goonies 'R' Good Enough' - THE GOONIES

Cyndi Lauper and the Goonies go on a rock adventure that not only includes the child cast but also cameos from Lauper mainstay Captain Lou Albano and Bangle Susanna Hoffs. For me, it's definitely good enough.

6. The Pointer Sisters, 'Neutron Dance' - BEVERLY HILLS COP

"The Neutron Dance" isn't a song that has much to do, on the surface, with BEVERLY HILLS COP but damned if it doesn't go well with the flick. You'll get a lot of clip interspersed in this video but you'll also get Bronson "Balki Bartokomous" Pinchot guesting as a theater usher giving the Sisters a hard time. You got Balki in your video? You get a spot on this list.

7. Peter Cetera, 'The Glory of Love' - THE KARATE KID II

We just heard about the power of love but now it's time to find out a little bit more about its glory. What hurt this video in the rankings was it's relative lack of starpower, but what gave it extra points were Cetera's earnestness while belting out lyrics with Ralph Macchio waxing on and off on a video screen behind him. Cheesy to the max.

8. The Beach Boys, 'Kokomo' - COCKTAIL

With a video on this list from COCKTAIL you'd think the Beach Boys could've swung a cameo from Tom Cruise or at least Elisabeth Shue or Bryan Brown. But oddly enough in "Kokomo" we get John Stamos playing the conga drums, which rates off-the-fucking-charts on the Cheese Factor.

9. Huey Lewis and the News, 'Power of Love' - BACK TO THE FUTURE

Most of this clip is Huey and the News playing their signature BTFF hit in a smoky club but the intro features a nice cameo from Christopher Lloyd, as Doc Brown, rolling up at said club in the DeLorean and making time with some News groupies. Man that keyboard player's gonna be pissed when he finds out Emmett Brown just ran off with his women.

10. Kenny Loggins, 'Danger Zone' - TOP GUN

Kenny Loggins could've had at least three entries on this list (along with "Footloose," and "I'm Alright" and "Nobody's Fool" from CADDYSHACKs 1 and 2) but this wasn't the Top Ten Kenny Loggins music videos so I had to whittle his massive library down. Low on the Celebrity Cameo angle, but the end of the day, how can you pass up a clip featuring Kenny Loggins wearing a pair of BluBlockers? Seriously.

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