20 awesome ’80s movies you should totally see before you die

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17. Aliens (1986)

There are a handful of sequels considered to be superior to their predecessors, and Aliens is one of those films. Sigourney Weaver reprises her role as Ellen Ripley, who awakens from hypersleep 57 years after the events that take place in Alien (1979).

Still traumatized, she accompanies a platoon of marines back to the scene of the crime where colonists have seemingly disappeared.

Everything about Aliens is bigger. Instead of trying to survive one nasty predator, Ripley finds herself waging battle against hundreds. Directed by noted perfectionist James Cameron, this sci-fi/action hybrid is a complete departure from the more chills than thrills vibe of Ridley Scott’s original.

Many films of this time period and genre don’t hold up technically, resembling Attack of the Killer Tomatoes. But Aliens retains the futuristic feel even without reaping the benefits of more recent technical innovations when it comes to special effects. This is likely due to Cameron’s painstaking attention to every detail.

Weaver proves to be a formidable action hero who also balances a softer side as she takes on a maternal role on her second outing. One of just a few females in a film filled with aggro males, she doesn’t just hold her own, she owns the movie.

Aliens was nominated for seven Academy Awards, including a Best Actress nod for Weaver.

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