These 80s Cartoons Deserve Live-Action Movies

Everything that was old is new again. The 80s are back in film, television and video games. Here we’ve picked out some of our favorite 80s cartoons that deserve live-action movies.

Even kids not born in the decade agree: the 80s were awesome. It’s not even the rose-colored glasses talking here, it’s just the facts. The amount of unique cartoons and other iconic pieces of pop culture has redefined the way we view television, movies, music, and even technology! We know that Hollywood always works according to trends, but there is a big exception to this fundamental rule: the 80s are always in vogue. For that, we’ve put together our list of 80s cartoons that we think would make amazing live-action movies, in no particular order.

The Centurions

Released in 1986, The Centurions followed the same formula as many shows of the decade. Simply put, the whole cartoon was a thinly veiled advertisement for awesome toys. Despite, The Centurions still lives fondly in the memories of many 80s kids as a Western alternative to anime shows like Saint Seiya.

The story revolves around three brave men wearing exo-suits who are Earth’s last line of defense against the evil forces of Doc Terror. Considering the popularity of superhero teams and collectibles these days, it’s almost too surprising that no one has revived the centurions IP again.


Following the success of the ThunderCats – a series that also deserves its own action movie, might we add – the SilverHawks delivered some of the same action the feline team was known for, but this time in space!

The series began airing in 1986, featuring some of the classic ’80s cartoon elements that are, at first glance, so easy to replicate but so hard to get right. SilverHawks introduced a diverse team of heroes known as – you guessed it – the SilverHawks, whose sole task is to stop the evil alien Mon*Star. It’s a great nostalgic watch that would definitely make a decent live-action sci-fi movie.

Saber Rider and the Star Sheriffs

As you can see, space exploration and science fiction were big in the 80s. Almost every show had to include some sort of “space patrol” if it was to succeed. When all else fails, however, you can always get the rights to an anime show, rewrite some of the scripts, and market it as a completely different show. It would work for the Power Rangers, and it worked for Saber Rider and the Star Sheriffs.

Original title Star Musketeer Bismarck in his native Japan, saber rider was a show about a group of interplanetary lawmen who must ensure the sustainability of human life away from Earth. Their enemies are the Outriders – interdimensional beings who also command an army of giant robots, as all 80s anime villains do.

He-Man and the Masters of the Universe

He-Man comes from the realm of Eternia – which, in retrospect, is a more than apt name: masters of the universe is one of those ’80s franchises that keeps coming back every few years.

The adventures of masters of the universe essentially needs no introduction: even if only through cultural osmosis, everyone knows who Skeletor is, or that He-Man must raise his sword to gain his superhuman powers. Given the mass of new masters of the universe material Netflix has produced over the past two years, a new live-action He-Man movie is inevitable at this point.

Of all the ’80s cartoons, He-Man deserves a movie franchise the most.

Visionaries: Knights of Magical Light

Visionaries: Knights of Magical Light

One of the more obscure franchises on our list, Visionaries: Knights of Magical Light released in 1987 – but the show failed to capture the public’s attention with the same force as He-Man and a few other contemporaries. It’s still a shame because Visionaries had a lot of potential when it came to sci-fi/fantasy shows.

With a line of toys produced by Hasbro, the team behind Visionaries bet everything in the show will be the next toy-selling hit. There was even a comic published by Marvel! Perhaps this team of cybernetic wizards could find a second wind with a live-action adaptation.


It’s clear that toys were a major selling point of animated TV shows in the 80s. Studios usually produced these series in conjunction with a new line of toys, much like what happened with Kenner’s MASK figurines.

In 1985, children around the world gathered around their televisions to watch the valiant forces of MASK battle against the evil forces of VENOM. Meanwhile, parents everywhere were flabbergasted by the ever-growing list of action figures they had to buy, according to the show. Maybe a live-action version of the series is just what we need to revitalize the dormant action figure market?


Part jurassic parkpart Transformersall great – the Inhumanoids were carefully crafted to appeal to everything an 80s kid would unequivocally consider cool. The series debuted in 1986 and, of course, it came out the same year as the Inhumanoids toy line produced by Hasbro.

The show saw a group of science superheroes take on the aforementioned Inhumanoids with the help of elemental beings known as the Mutores. Again, since superheroes are all the rage in modern Hollywood, an alternate superteam like the Inhumanoids would make perfect sense for a live-action production.

Dino Riders

If you think Marvel is big today, you should have seen it in the 80s. franchises, Robotcop at Dungeons & Dragons. Of these non-superhero comics, Dino Riders was one of the most influential of the group.

In 1988, the Dino-Riders came to the small screen in their own animated series, which featured the same plot as the comics. The story sees the Valorians battling the Rulons, with both factions leading dinosaurs into battle. As a little anecdote, the Tyrannosaurus Rex toy from Dino Riders the toy line served as the basis for the design of Rex, the friendly green dinosaur from the toy story series.

With jurassic world finally over, maybe it’s time for the 80s cartoon to finally get a movie.

Six Bionics

What started as an animated sequel at a time The Six Million Dollar Man and The bionic woman eventually turned into Six Bionics. Directed by none other than Osamu Dezaki of Astro Boy fame, this show also features bionically augmented people battling Doctor Scarab and his henchmen.

Each member of the team has unique powers that make them essential to the Bionic Six, a dynamic that resonates well with today’s audiences given the success of everything. avengers film. With the right director on board – someone who wouldn’t shy away from plot absurdity, like James Gunn – 80s cartoon Six Bionics would absolutely be a great live action movie.

Brave Starr

To wrap up our list, we have one of the most bizarrely unique shows to ever come out of the eighties. Brave Starr sees Marshal BraveStarr and his trusty steed/companion, Thirty/Thirty, as they uphold the law and keep the evil Tex-Hex off the peaceful planet of New Texas.

This futuristic take on some classic Western ideas already had an animated film produced in 1988, which also happened to be one of the very first animated films to use computer-generated visuals. It’s not every day that we see an anthropomorphic horse wielding a blunderbuss – and that alone should be reason enough to make a Brave Starr live action feature film.

What other cartoons from the 80s do you think would make good live-action movies?

Kimberly B. Nguyen