45+ Gnarly 1980s Trivia Questions for a Game Night Rewind

How well do you know the 1980s? Check out our totally tubular 80s trivia questions and answers to find out.

Published March 5, 2024
80s trainer doing exercises

In the 1980s, they wanted their MTV. But in the 2020s, you probably want your 80s trivia. From iconic behind-the-scenes moments in film and television to crimes that rocked the decade, these are some 1980s trivia questions that’ll melt your brain.

45+ Totally Tubular 1980s Trivia Questions

With giant perms, big shoulder pads, and fat wallets, the 1980s was a deceptively prosperous time. Break from those 80s stereotypes and dig deeper into the Decade of Greed with these 80s trivia questions.

80s TV Trivia

From cheesy police procedurals to classics that we still rewatch today, the 1980s was full of memorable TV moments. Sitting too close to these questions might not mess with your vision, but it will help you wow your friends some with impressive vintage trivia.

Farrah Fawcett of Charlie’s Angels fame starred in the made-for-TV movie The Burning Bed, which is based on what famous case?

It’s based on Francine Hughe’s murder trial. She claimed that she killed her husband in response to 13 years of domestic abuse.

Which TV show’s finale aired in 1983 and is the most-watched TV ending of all time?


Which recurring character from The Carol Burnett Show got her own spinoff in 1983?

Thelma “Mama” Harper

What was the name of the car in Knight Rider?


Which 1988 TV show was loosely based on the 1967 film of the same name starring Sidney Poitier?

In the Heat of the Night

Right after he starred in Rocky III, Mr. T went on to film what popular 80s television show?

The A-Team

In Star Trek: The Next Generation, Captain Jean Luc Picard calls First Officer William Riker what nickname?

Number One

Which 80s show police procedural was significant because it broke the male-led mold by starring two female detectives?

Cagney & Lacey

What show do you have to thank for the term that describes someone being able to fix something without the proper tools or instructions?


What is Rose Nylund’s hometown in The Golden Girls?

St. Olaf

What is the name of Bob Ross’s instructional landscape painting show which debuted in 1983?

Joy of Painting

What catchphrase swept America in 1980 thanks to the plush soap opera Dallas?

Who shot JR?

80s Movie Trivia

The 1980s was the time of the big-budget blockbuster. No studios spared any expenses on the 80s movies that stand the test of time, and we didn’t spare any effort on rounding up some of the best 80s movie trivia questions out there.

What mockumentary does the famous line “these go to eleven” come from?

This Is Spinal Tap

Stanley Kubrick terrorized what actress during the shooting of The Shining?

Shelley Duvall

Which actor was originally cast as Marty McFly in Back to the Future and fired within a few months of shooting?

Eric Stoltz

What 1987 cult classic features a ragtag group of teenage vampires terrorizing a coastal California town?

The Lost Boys

Denzel Washington won his first Academy Award for his supporting role in what 1989 Civil War feature film?


Paul Newman reprises his role as Fast Eddie Felson in what 1986 film?

The Color of Money

Having S. Ngor who starred in and won an Academy Award for his role in The Killing Fields survived what horrifying event?

He survived rule under the Khmer Rouge.

Movie special effects broke the mold with what scene in the 1981 horror movie Scanners?

Capturing someone’s head exploding in real time

Related: We Love Our 1980s, But Not These 80s Trends

80s True Crime Trivia

While murder wasn’t necessarily the name of the game in the 1980s, there was enough crime to go around. See how well you know your true crime history with these trivia questions.

Dorothy Stratten, a famous Playboy Playmate, was dating who when her ex-husband murdered her?

Director Peter Bogdanovich

In 1980, Candy Montgomery was acquitted of murdering her friend with what?

A wood-splitting axe

What tragedy befell America’s Most Wanted’s host, John Walsh, in 1981?

The kidnapping and murder of his son, Adam Walsh

John DeLorean — Pontiac GTO and Firebird designer — was arrested for what in 1982?

Intent to distribute 55 pounds of cocaine

What year did John Gotti have Paul Castellano — the head of the Gambino crime family — assassinated?


Who assassinated John Lennon in December 1980?

Mark David Chapman

In 1981, which President was shot and wounded by John Hinkley Jr.?

Ronald Reagan

What was the group of young men targeted in a racially motivated false conviction in 1989 called?

The Central Park Five

Who were police looking for during the largest manhunt in South Carolina history in 1985?

Larry Gene Bell

80s Music Trivia

MTV broke onto the scene in the 1980s and completely changed the music industry. From music videos to the rise of new genres like new wave, metal, and rap, the 1980s had it all. Think you know your 1980s music? Take a stab at our trivia questions and see. 

What massive multi-venture concert featuring some of the biggest artists of the time was held in the summer of 1985?

Live Aid

Dionne Warwick was a cousin to which famous vocalist whose debut album came out in 1985?

Whitney Houston

In 1980, Led Zeppelin broke up over what tragic event?

Drummer John Bonham’s death

Which iconic artist is credited with inventing the crossfader and helping to bring rap to the masses?

Grandmaster Flash

What controversial performance at the 1984 MTV Video Music Awards catapulted Madonna into the stratosphere?

Her performance of “Like a Virgin”

What was the first music video to air on MTV?

The Buggles’ “Video Killed the Radio Star”

Which rock legend performed the guitar solo on Michael Jackson’s 1982 song “Beat It”?

Eddie Van Halen

Which iconic 1980s singer babysat Paula Abdul long before either of them were stars?

Michael Bolton

Vince Neil — frontman for 80s metal band Mötley Crüe — had to pay 2.6 million dollars and spend 30 days in jail for what incident?

He crashed while drinking and driving and killed his passenger, Nicholas “Razzle” Dingley.

80s Pop Culture Trivia

Some cultural touchstones popped up in the 1980s that you couldn’t scrub from your memory if you tried. See just how well your memory holds up with this 80s pop cultural trivia.

Which religious “panic” gripped America throughout the 1980s?

The Satanic Panic

What famous elastic hair tie was patented in 1987?

The Scrunchie

Which famous futuristic car brand was a massive failure?

DeLorean Motor Company

MTV captured 1980s teens with what tagline?

I Want My MTV

In 1984, Wendy’s launched a hugely successful commercial where what question was posed?

Where’s the beef?

Around 750 million people tuned in to watch what royal event on July 29, 1981?

They watched Diana Spencer marry Prince Charles.

Which TV network debuted the first 24-hour news cycle in 1980?


What colorful puzzle cube delighted and frustrated people throughout the 1980s?

The Rubik’s Cube

What famous lost wreckage was discovered on September 2, 1985?

The Titanic

What rescue mission were people tuned into around the clock in October 1987?

Seeing if Baby Jessica could be rescued alive from a hole 22 feet underground

Get to Know the 1980s From the Inside

Out of all the things that gag you with a spoon, these trivia questions shouldn’t make the cut. Just remember that the best part about trivia isn’t getting every question right but learning something new along the way.

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45+ Gnarly 1980s Trivia Questions for a Game Night Rewind