Movies that have influenced Netflix’s Stranger Things


Stranger Things is our new obsession, and it should be yours too! Anyone who’s anyone has been on Netflix, binge-watching the awesome ‘80s sci-fi hit over the past week or two. The first season was an unexpected success for Netflix, and the company was quick to market the second season, which was released at the end of October, 2017.

If like us, you’ve already marathoned all the episodes in a two day period, you might be getting withdrawal symptoms already! Well, unfortunately, you’ll probably be waiting a while until the next season is released. In the meantime, get a load of these totally rad eighties movies whose fingerprints can be found all over Stranger Things.

Stand By Me (1986)

There is so much in this movie that you can see in the blueprint of Stranger Things. If the obvious influences and the themes of children facing the harsh realities of the world aren’t obvious enough, how about this… The Duffer Brothers actually used scenes from Stand By Me to audition the child actors! The sense of togetherness resonates throughout, as the young boys in both learn about the more adult side of the world they inhabit.

Movies that have influenced Netflix’s Stranger Things

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

Stephen Spielberg’s family classic has its fingerprints all over Stranger Things. Shady government agents, kids, bikes, dark sheds, and extra-terrestrial powers. E.T. is everything the show attempts to be, though, tonally Stranger Things is significantly darker than the ‘80s classic. The Duffer Brothers revealed it as one of their key inspirations for the show, as well as going beyond the safety of films like E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. Next time you watch Spielberg’s hit film, you’ll definitely be expecting the scenery to suddenly morph into the Upside Down!

The Goonies (1985)

You could also file this one as similar to Stand By Me – a gang of young boys from a small town, teaming up to go on an adventure. In many ways, The Goonies is the nucleus of where the idea for Stranger Things probably germinated – even subconsciously. There are definite similarities between Mike and Dustin in Stranger Things and Mikey and Chunk from The Goonies. The influence of this movie on Stranger Things cannot be overlooked.

Poltergeist (1982)

Spooky ‘80s supernatural horror Poltergeist forms much of the basic framework for Stranger Things. In Poltergeist, Carol Anne is trapped in an alternate dimension by a demonic entity, communicating with her mother through the TV screen. In Stranger Things, Will Byers is trapped in the Upside Down by a demonic entity and communicates with his mother using Christmas lights. Furthermore, the movie gets a direct mention in the pilot episode of the show – clearly, The Duffer Brothers are big fans of the movie.

Movies that have influenced Netflix’s Stranger Things

It’s clear that Stranger Things nod vigorously toward the ‘80s, and, in particular, ‘80s pop culture. The show is very much an homage to that era, and that’s why there are so many movies that can be viewed as direct influences. In fact, there are loads we’ve not even mentioned, like The Thing and the Alien movies. Next time you watch Stranger Things (who are you kidding, you’ll rewatch it), look out for all the nods to classic eighties flicks.