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80's Pop Culture and Nostalgia in Stranger Things

Stranger Things is a science fiction horror television series created by the Duffer Brothers for Netflix. The show is set in the 1980s in the fictional town of Hawkins, Indiana, and follows the story of a group of young friends and their families as they struggle to deal with supernatural events occurring in their town.

The show's central plot revolves around the disappearance of Will Byers, a young boy who goes missing under mysterious circumstances. His friends, including the brave and resourceful Mike, the tough and loyal Lucas, and the eccentric and sensitive Dustin, team up with a girl with psychokinetic powers named Eleven to search for him. Along the way, they encounter a variety of strange and dangerous creatures, as well as a government conspiracy to cover up the existence of the supernatural.

One of the key strengths of Stranger Things is its strong sense of nostalgia, as it is heavily influenced by 1980s pop culture, including films, music, and television shows. The show's retro aesthetic, coupled with its thrilling plot and memorable characters, has made it a critical and commercial success.


The 1980s was a decade marked by the emergence of pop culture phenomena that have had a lasting influence on entertainment and media. Many of the pop culture elements featured in Stranger Things are drawn directly from this decade.


One of the most prominent influences on the show is the science fiction and horror films of the 1980s, including E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, The Goonies, and A Nightmare on Elm Street. These films, as well as others like them, were known for their imaginative plotlines, memorable characters, and iconic soundtracks, all of which have had a lasting impact on popular culture.



Here are some of the movies that are featured in Stranger Things:

  1. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial: This classic science fiction film, directed by Steven Spielberg, tells the story of a young boy who befriends an alien who has been left behind on Earth. The film is referenced in Stranger Things when the character Mike talks about wanting to make a movie with his friends and mentions E.T. as an inspiration.

  2. The Goonies: This beloved adventure film follows a group of young misfits as they go on a quest to find a hidden treasure. The film is referenced in Stranger Things when the characters go on their own adventure to find Will.

  3. A Nightmare on Elm Street: This horror classic follows the story of a group of teenagers who are stalked by a mysterious serial killer in their dreams. The film is referenced in Stranger Things when the character Dustin talks about his love for horror movies and mentions A Nightmare on Elm Street as one of his favorites.

  4. The Twilight Zone: This classic science fiction and horror television series, created by Rod Serling, is known for its twist endings and supernatural storylines. The show is referenced in Stranger Things when the character Will is transported to an alternate dimension called the Upside Down, which bears some similarities to The Twilight Zone's "The Other Side of the Coin."

  5. The X-Files: This iconic science fiction television series follows the investigations of two FBI agents as they try to solve unexplained phenomena. The show is referenced in Stranger Things when the character Chief Hopper investigates the supernatural events occurring in Hawkins and the government's role in covering them up, similar to the investigations conducted by the agents in The X-Files.

These are just a few of the movies and television shows that are featured in Stranger Things. The show's creators, the Duffer Brothers, have said that they were heavily influenced by these and other works of pop culture from the 1980s.




In addition to film, the 1980s were also marked by the emergence of popular music genres like new wave, synthpop, and hair metal, which provided the soundtrack for many of the decade's most memorable moments. The show features a number of iconic 1980s tunes, including:


  1. "Should I Stay or Should I Go" by The Clash: This classic punk rock tune plays during the show's opening credits and serves as the show's theme song.

  2. "Africa" by Toto: This iconic 1980s hit plays during a memorable scene in which the characters dance and sing along.

  3. "Every Breath You Take" by The Police: This classic pop song plays during a scene in which the characters are at a high school dance.

  4. "Heaven" by Bryan Adams: This power ballad plays during a romantic scene between two of the show's main characters.

  5. "Whip It" by Devo: This new wave classic plays during a scene in which the characters are driving in a car together.

  6. "Rock You Like a Hurricane" by Scorpions: This hard rock hit plays during a scene in which the characters are engaging in a high-stakes confrontation.

  7. "The NeverEnding Story" by Limahl: This synthpop tune plays during a scene in which the characters are on an adventure together.

  8. "Love Will Tear Us Apart" by Joy Division: This post-punk classic plays during a tragic and emotional scene in the show.



These are just a few of the many memorable songs that appear in Stranger Things. Each one helps to create a unique and immersive atmosphere that transports viewers back to the 1980s.


Television was also an important part of 1980s pop culture, and Stranger Things pays tribute to a number of classic shows, including The Twilight Zone, The X-Files, and Twin Peaks. These shows, along with others like them, were known for their engaging storylines and complex characters, and they continue to be popular with audiences today.

In addition to its nostalgic appeal, Stranger Things also boasts a talented cast, including Winona Ryder, David Harbour, Finn Wolfhard, and Millie Bobby Brown. The show has also attracted a number of high-profile guest stars, including Sean Astin, Paul Reiser, and Jake Busey.


Since its debut in 2016, Stranger Things has become one of Netflix's most popular and beloved original series, with three seasons released to date and a fourth season currently in production. It has received numerous accolades, including numerous Emmy Awards and a devoted fan base.

Overall, Stranger Things is a must-see for fans of science fiction, horror, and nostalgia, offering a thrilling and emotionally resonant viewing experience.

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