Though the term was not popularized until a decade later, the 1980s had quite a few bromances in the realm of film. Though Hollywood tends to overwhelm us with forced love stories, when we get a good bromance, it can evoke an even more powerful series of emotional reactions.
Even though some of these bromances didn’t get a ton of screen time, the “bro” part of these bromances are quite palpable. Sometimes the bromance is a neat little detail, sometimes it’s something that gets paid off in the finale, and sometimes the bromance is what drives the whole narrative.
8 David Kessler & Jack Goodman (An American Werewolf In London)
A friendship so crucial to the plot that it’s featured on the poster itself. Though David Kessler is the character that the plot of An American Werewolf In London focuses on, his friendship with Jack Goodman is part of what ultimately instigates the plot as they encounter a werewolf on The Moors.
Their friendship is really sold by actors David Naughton and Griffin Dunne, with their chemistry really coming through on the screen. Sadly, of all the bromances on this list, David & Jack’s is one of the few that end in tragedy as neither one of the members of this friendship make it to the credits.
7 John Nada & Frank Armitage (They Live)
The film that spawned a capitalist empire despite having an anti-capitalist message also has a great bromance in it. They Live, despite being loathed by critics upon its initial release, became a pop culture sensation in time, with Rowdy Roddy Piper’s Nada (though he remains unnamed outside of the credits) and Keith David’s Armitage being one of the biggest highlights.
Though Keith David was a proven actor at the time, They Live was Roddy Piper’s first film, so their chemistry must have come as a huge surprise on set. Despite their admittedly brief friendship being phenomenal, their bust-up in an alley halfway through the film is the movie’s biggest highlight.
6 Mac & Blain (Predator)
Out of all the bromances on this list, this one has by far the most testosterone. Despite initially failing to light up the box office, Predator flexed its way into our hearts pretty quickly, with its mix of makeup effects, tension, music, and machismo. Every character is memorable, but Mac and Blaine’s dynamic is a unique aspect of the film.
Played by future Black Lightning actor Bill Duke and pro-wrestler turned divisive-politician Jesse Ventura, the back and forth between Mac & Blaine is one of the many highlights of this brilliantly dumb Arnold Schwarzenegger vehicle. Unfortunately, much like with An American Werewolf In London, neither Mac nor Blain make it out of Predator alive.
5 John McLane & Al Powell (Die Hard)
Die Hard’s pairing of John McLane and Al Powell is an oddity on this list, as for the majority of the film’s runtime, the two don’t even share the screen. However, the bromance between these two cops is evident regardless, and a lot of that has to do with the performances.
Bruce Willis and Reginald VelJohnson have a great rapport in the film even when they aren’t physically together, with their conversations via radio selling both the comedy and emotion of Die Hard. The scene where they finally meet face-to-face is a bit cheesy, but after all they’ve gone through, it is well earned.
4 Kirk & Spock (The Star Trek Franchise)
Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock’s friendship has been front and center for years in Star Trek, but their bond was at its strongest in Star Trek II, III, and IV. While actors William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy often clashed personally, you would never know that if you watched the films, as their chemistry remained eternal.
The whole arc of Star Trek II-IV, which many see as a trilogy, is dependent on the relationship between James T. Kirk and Spock, with both men being forced to go through Hell and back for each other. In the hands of lesser actors it would have been an utter flop, but Shatner and Nimoy’s bromance really elevates the sometimes corny scripts.
3 Peter Mitchell, Michael Kellam, & Jack Holden (Three Men And A Baby)
Hello again, Leonard! 1987 was a big year for movies, but in terms of box office, Three Men And A Baby came out on top. The film, about three bachelors being forced to raise a baby in an NYC apartment, was one of the biggest hits of the year, and one thing that helped sell those tickets was the union of three major stars.
Magnum P.I.’s Tom Selleck, Police Academy’s Steve Guttenberg, and Cheers‘ Ted Danson fill the roles of Mitchell, Kellam, and Holden perfectly. Their individual talents and mutual chemistry really do the job in selling the comedy of the film, helping director Leonard Nimoy bag one of the biggest hits of the 1980s.
2 Martin Riggs & Roger Murtaugh (Lethal Weapon)
Often, buddy cop films hinge on the friendships of their two leads, but while the genre has many contenders, Lethal Weapon’s pairing is a cut above the rest. The odd couple of Mel Gibson’s Martin Riggs and Danny Glover’s Roger Murtaugh really does a lot to emphasize the character focus of the movie which director Richard Donner was pushing for.
Famously, neither Gibson nor Glover were initially considered for the role, but once the two men got together, it was as if the final piece was placed into the puzzle to make Lethal Weapon a masterpiece. The paring of these two made the oncoming franchise a box office marvel and it is 100% deserved.
1 Marty McFly & Doc Brown (Back To The Future)
A pairing so good, that it spawned an equally amazing rip-off. As noted by comedian John Mulaney, the pairing of a teenaged boy and a crazed, middle-aged mad scientist should not have worked whatsoever. However, not only did it work spectacularly, it made Back To The Future arguably the best movie of the ’80s.
Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd, with the help of director Robert Zemeckis, made Marty McFly and Doc Brown pop culture icons, with their bromance driving the plot of the film. Out of all the great bromances on this list, Back To The Future’s is the only one that spans through two separate time periods.
NEXT: 5 Horror Films From The 80s That Are Way Underrated (& 5 That Are Overrated)
10 Small Details You May Have Missed In Pixar’s Posters
About The Author