Can You Pass This Ultimate 80s Quiz?


By: Susan McDonald

6 Min Quiz

Image: YouTube

About This Quiz

We love the '80s! Do you? If you're prepared to take this quiz, this is probably one of your favorite decades. From the music to the movies to the fashion, how much do you know about '80s pop culture?

The 1980s was an iconic time in all avenues. In the music world, the change in the decade brought the departure of disco and reintroduction into the world of Rock & Roll. The young crowd was rockin' out to "Livin' on a Prayer," while hearts were warming to "When Doves Cry." The music lovers were dropping their cassette players for a chance to listen to music on CDs. 

Music wasn't the only '80s game changer. The decade also brought the immersion of classic Hollywood films. Who could forget John Hughes' classics like The Breakfast Club and Pretty in Pink? E.T. had everyone phoning home while Tom Cruise gave us all the "need for speed." 

While the music and film world was changing, you could see the fashion change along with it! Bell bottoms gave way to acid-wash jeans. Neon colors and leg warmers filled all the major retailers.

A lot happened in the ten-year span of the '80s. From celebrations like a major wedding to the shocking death of one of music's greats, how much do you remember from the '80s?

Not everyone can be a total '80s fan. Can you prove that you are? Let's find out!

The so-called "wedding of the century" took place in 1981, watched by millions of people around the globe. Who got married?

Many people called in sick on July 29, 1981 to watch the wedding of Charles and Diana. Millions of people around the world tuned in, but the marriage was not the fairy tale we'd hoped for.


Producer and director John Hughes emerged during the 1980s with a series of highly successful coming-of-age films such as "Pretty in Pink," "The Breakfast Club," and "Sixteen Candles." What was the nickname given to the young actors who starred in these movies?

The Brat Pack was a take-off on the Rat Pack that included Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Sammy Davis Jr. During the '80s, it was Molly Ringwald, Judd Hirsch, Anthony Michael Hall, Emilio Estevez, and other young stars who gained prominence in various John Hughes films.


Which now-legendary NBA player was named Rookie of the Year in 1985?

Michael Jordan blew onto the scene in a big way, earning the title of NBA Rookie of the Year in 1985. He and his Chicago Bulls went on to dominate the sport for several years.


"Who shot J.R.?" was the question on the top of everyone's mind during the summer of 1980. On what hit television show did the character J.R. appear?

Television viewers gasped in unison when J.R. Ewing was shot during the season finale of "Dallas" in 1980. The show had been popular, but it became the center of a feeding frenzy as people tried to figure out who had finally taken a shot at him.


1980s fashion for business women borrowed something from the men's department. What was it?

Suits were the uniform for working women during much of the 1980s, and the bigger the shoulder pads, the better. Combine that with a shirt featuring a bow and you've got yourself an outfit.


What device revolutionized the way we listened to music during the 1980s?

It seems like a dinosaur by today's standards, but the Walkman was revolutionary during its time. It was introduced during the 1970s but became popular during the 1980s, enabling people to listen to their own music without disturbing others and it was portable.


In 1982, a movie about a lovable space alien captured the hearts of people of all ages. What was it?

Stephen Spielberg's "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial" took the box office by storm in 1982 and went on to become the highest-grossing film of the decade. Movie-goers couldn't get enough of the adorable space creature who befriended a lonely boy in his quest to get back to his home planet.


The world was rocked by a shocking assassination on December 8, 1980. Who was the victim?

The shooting death of John Lennon sent shock waves around the world. Those who had come to love him as a member of the Beatles were particularly devastated by this seemingly-impossible occurrence.


What now-beloved television family made its debut in 1987 on someone else's TV show?

The Simpsons have been a fixture on TV for nearly three decades, but we met them before they got their own show. Homer, Bart, and the others debuted on "The Tracey Ullman" show in 1987.


Exercising took on a whole new meaning during the '80s with the introduction of videos that enabled you to work out in your own home. Who led this revolution?

Jack LaLanne and others had introduced television audiences to the convenience of working out at home, but Jane Fonda took it to the next level. In 1982, she released the first of several VHS workouts that combined the growing popularity of aerobics with exercises for strengthening and toning muscles.


What '80s TV show featured four older women who shared a home in Miami?

"The Golden Girls" was the first television show to feature a group of older women who led active, fulfilled lives without being married or in a regular relationship. The mystery was, how they could afford such an expensive home and those amazing wardrobes?


In 1989, an event took place that symbolically marked the end of the Cold War. What was it?

The Berlin Wall, for which construction had begun in 1961, had long been a symbol of the division between Communism and Democracy. As tensions gradually eased between Russia and the United States, thousands of citizens took part in demolishing the wall in late 1989.


Arcade and home video gaming gained immense popularity during the 1980s. Which of these games did not rise to prominence during that decade?

Video games were huge during the 1980s. Nintendo led the pack in improving the sophistication of home consoles, and games like Super Mario Brothers, Frogger, and Pac-Man were enormously popular.


Which of these talking dolls was introduced during the 1980s?

The Teddy Ruxpin talking bear was the best selling toy of the mid-1980s. It used an audio cassette to enable Teddy to read stories to children and led to a popular cartoon TV program based on the character.


What was the first 24-hour cable news network?

CNN, or Cable News Network, debuted in 1980 as the first 24-hour news channel. Headquartered in Atlanta and founded by Ted Turner, it led the way for the many channels on the air today.


In 1983, a beloved television show went off the air, setting an all-time record for viewership of a TV series finale. What was the show?

When "M*A*S*H" left the air after 11 seasons, more than 121 million viewers tuned in to say goodbye. The two-hour episode, entitled "Goodbye, Farewell and Amen" still holds the record for the largest number of people to watch a series finale.


What was the primary trend in women's hair styles during the 1980s?

Women's hair was huge in the '80s. The higher and fuller, the better seemed to be the rule.


"The Cosby Show" was noted for showing viewers something they had never seen before on a TV series. What was it?

Claire and Cliff Huxtable set a new tone for TV shows focusing on a black family. She was an attorney and he was a physician, both working full-time while providing a loving home for their children and living in an upscale neighborhood.


In 1981, the term "video jockeys" became part of our vocabulary with the launch of an innovative new television network. What was it?

Music Television, or MTV, hit the airwaves in August 1981 and it changed everything. Video Jockeys showed music videos and provided commentary, giving viewers a whole new way to appreciate music and launching or enhancing the careers of some of the decades' greatest artists.


During the 1980s, a fashion trend for both men and women emerged that was popular then but is often snickered at now. What was it?

Track suits are a form of athletic wear featuring matching pants and tops, usually with a zipper front. They became an essential wardrobe item during the 1980s, but are now considered a bit dated.


This TV drama aired through almost all of the 1980s and featured a wealthy Denver oil magnate and his dysfunctional family.

"Dynasty" launched in 1981 as a competitor for "Dallas," another successful nighttime soap opera. The show centered on wealthy Blake Carrington, his wife, Krystal, and his former wife, Alexis, along with their wide collection of family, friends, and enemies.


What brand name shoe became a much sought-after status symbol during the 1980s, sometimes leading people to commit violence to attain them?

Air Jordan athletic shoes, created for and named after basketball superstar Michael Jordan, became the must-have item for teenage boys and young men. Their high price and desirability created controversy after numerous robberies, assaults, and even murders resulted from guys going to any lengths to attain a pair.


Which of these popular movie franchises were not created and produced primarily during the 1980s?

While X-Men came along later, the 1980s were a great time for film franchises. The Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Beverly Hills Cop, Lethal Weapon, and Police Academy franchises were among the decade's most successful films.


The VMA Music Awards launched in 1984. What pop icon is known for making a major splash on the show's first broadcast?

Madonna put the VMA Awards's maiden broadcast on the map, to say the least. Her writhing performance of "Like a Virgin," complete with a very sexy wedding dress, was quite a shock to the tux-wearing audience, and it set the tone for every show since then.


The 1988 Winter Olympics are remembered for a lovable team from a small country competing in an unexpected sport for the first time. What was that team?

The bobsled team from Jamaica captured hearts around the world during the 1988 Winter Olympics. The tropical island is not exactly known for its winter sports, so the ragtag team, which had to borrow sleds from other teams and had almost no experience, garnered attention as the ultimate underdog. The movie, "Cool Runnings," is loosely based on the team's experience.


What unfortunate men's hairstyle was prevalent during the '80s?

In one form or another, the mullet has been around for a long time, but it hit its heyday during the 1980s. Country singers, including Billy Ray Cyrus and Alan Jackson, are notable offenders.


In 1983, Tom Cruise showed us how to make the most of being left home alone with a dance for which he'll always be remembered. What was the film?

He was virtually unknown when "Risky Business" came out, but Tom Cruise slid his way into our hearts in his sock feet, whitey tighties, and long-tailed shirt. With a lamp as his microphone, Cruise gave us his own unique interpretation of "Old Time Rock and Roll."


A complex puzzle drove everyone crazy during the 1980s. What was it?

Although it was invented a few years earlier, the Rubik's Cube became a sensation during the 1980s. People all over the world struggled to match up all six sides of the colorful puzzle box.


Which of the following world leaders was not in office during some part of the 1980s?

Charles deGaulle served as President of France for ten years, but he left office in 1969. Since he died a year later, he missed out on the '80s entirely.


In 1985, a hugely successful corporation made a terrible marketing mistake by introducing a new product that no one wanted. What was that product?

New Coke was one of the biggest manufacturing flops in history. Coke came out with the new version of its cola because it was losing ground to Pepsi, but the soda-drinking public was outraged and the company quickly re-introduced its tried-and-true formula.


Which United States team shocked the world by winning gold at the 1980 Winter Olympics?

The U.S. men's hockey team beat the Soviet Union in the match-up that became known as the Miracle on Ice. The U.S. hoceky team won its first gold medal ever and skated into sports history.


What now-iconic sports car was manufactured for only three years during the early 1980s?

With its gull-wing doors and brushed stainless steel exterior, the DeLorean looked like no other car. Unfortunately, the company quickly went bankrupt and the car is now best known as the time machine in "Back to the Future."


Toward the end of the 1980s, a dramatic innovation in video gaming occurred. What was the product?

Introduced in 1989, the Game Boy made it possible to play video games on a hand-held console, thereby making gaming systems completely portable. The invention is thought to have saved many lives by reducing the number of times children asked, "Are we there yet?" on road trips with their parents.


This popular 1980s TV show was set in a Boston bar.

Cheers premiered in 1982 and drew high ratings throughout its run. It followed the lives of bar owner Sam Malone, his employees, and the customers who occupied the stools at his Boston watering hole.


Three James Bond films were released during the '80s. Who played Bond in those movies?

By the 1980s, Sean Connery had moved on and Roger Moore had become the face of James Bond. He played the role in 1981's "For Your Eyes Only," 1983's "Octopussy," and 1985's "A View to a Kill."


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