The Best 80s Porn: A Complete Guide

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Looking for some ‘bodacious’ or ‘gnarly’ 80s porn?

As well as some pretty dodgy new words, the eighties were a decade that was known for its conservatism in politics yet its extravagance in popular culture and consumerism. It was the age of big hair, big fashion and big technological advances. After the social shifts of the 1960s and 1970s which were marked by sexual liberalism and cultural revolutions in the West, the 1980s were largely dominated by greed and wealth. In all ways, the porn industries of the United States and Western Europe, were products of this decade. With the earlier part of the 1980s seeing the end of the Golden Age of Porn and the latter part heralding a major change in filming styles and content, 80s porn has a very distinct feel of its own.

In this guide, we talk you through the 1980s from its style, producers and studios to the top porn stars and films of the period.



What is 80s Porn?

Any adult content released between 1 January 1980 and 31st December 1989 can be referred to as 80s porn although some adult content released in the early 1990s may have been filmed during this period.

As a style, it is often referred to as retro (or classic) vintage porn and has typically been produced in either the United States (notably in either San Fernando Valley and New York) or in European porn studios like Private, Video Art Holland and Dorcel.

Primarily using cameras to film the action from a traditional third-person perspective, the style is very much ‘of the period’ and is similar to the kinds of Hollywood movies being produced at the time. Whilst ‘gonzo porn’ (POV/voyeur-style) was being experimented with in Japan, it wouldn’t become a format of choice for mainstream studios until the early 1990s. Early porn from this decade may have been filmed on 35mm video cameras that required a laborious setting up process . This meant that scenes would need to be filmed over and a single-take scene was almost impossible. Increasingly, as the 80s went on, movies were being shot more quickly and with greater agility for action shots.

porn stars of the 1980s

Joey Silver, Peter North and John Leslie; Three Legends of the 1980s at the AVN Expo 2008. Image via Wikimedia.

Until the late 1970s, if you wanted to watch pornographic films you had to go to a blue movie theater but with advances in technology introducing affordable home VCRs, the 1980s also saw a huge increase in demand for video content.

As a style, 1980s porn pretty much sets the standard when it comes to our expectations of those stereotypes we think of when we imagine porn. With instrumental and seedy sounding soundtracks overlaid with muffled grunts and moans, the lighting is often subdued and atmospheric with the quality of the shots (however hardcore) being less ‘obscured’ than in earlier films of this genre. However, there can sometimes be less genital action than current standards set. Part of the reason for this is the abundance of pubic hair that was fashionable at the time!  We did say big hair was a 1980s thing and this extends to the men’s chest hair as well as the mullets, mustaches and bouffant ‘dos’ sported by the ladies.

Either way, even the close-up shots of full penetration are far less extreme than the hardcore scenes that were to follow in the 1990s and beyond. Of course, early films of the period were not shot with the same flexibility of camera position that is common today. POV (point-of-view) for instance, although invented by Hitchcock in the 1930s, was virtually impossible to achieve on the low budgets available to directors of porn movies from the eighties.

1980s: The Porn Industry

With the 1980s bridging two periods of porn production (The Golden Age and the Retro/Classic Age), we thought we’d give a little historical background to the industries.

Prior to the technological advancements that the 1980s offered the home video markets, porn producers in the 1970s and earlier were focused on creating content that would be played to movie theaters. This meant that there was a more limited demand for material as well as the obvious necessity to create content that was mainstream. Films had to be shown to have a strong narrative in order to be played in cinemas so the sex really took a back seat.

what is 80s porn

The humble VHS revolutionized the porn industry. Image via Wikimedia.

Known as the Golden Age of Porn, movies made for the theater were generally filmed with a big budget and had to comply with strict obscenity laws. Movies made in the early part of this decade, particularly by established directors, were still adhering to the ‘porno chic’ genre of the 1970s.

However, with VHS (private viewing) and mail order video growing in appeal, producers and studios were at liberty to create content that was more niche. The result was a greater mass production of fetish videos or mainstream movies that had a fetish appeal. In fact, porn production rates for all kinds of films were pushed through the roof at the start of the decade and studios could hardly keep up with the demand for new titles including fresh faced newcomers as well as firm fan favorites. New directors emerged on the scene who were experimental with new filming techniques (eg gonzo) and new genres began to emerge including alt-porn.

With demand rising, films were increasingly being made on smaller budgets with shorter timescales and with a rising ‘openly gratuitous’ feel to them. With  their films going straight to home release and there being no need for a strong narrative, dialog and plot took a backseat to the main action.

You can see this increase in production rates when you check out sites like the Internet Adult Film Database. Compared to the 1970s, as the eighties progresses, the number of titles rises at an almost exponential rate.

Of course, this technological advancement in cheap and easy filming saw the beginning of another huge change in the porn industry. Though it would be a few decades before the real impact was felt, home video recording was now a possibility and amateur movies also began to flourish in this decade.

80s porn

Image via XHamster.

However, there was to be a fly in the ointment of this rise in porn production in the form of HIV/AIDS. Though the first cases of the virus were reported in the USA in 1981, the story being peddled by the media and which was believed by the public was that HIV was a ‘gay disease’.  Safe sex campaigns and general awareness began to grow yet the porn industry was largely closed off to the brewing crisis. However, an outbreak of the virus in the mid-80s saw many big names leave the industry and production rates did slow as a result. According to some reports, more than 25 porn stars died as a result of HIV/AIDS during the 80s including the screen legend John Holmes (1988).

To find out more about what happened to the industry as the 1990s rolled in you can find our full Guide to Nineties Porn here.

Top Porn Stars of the 80s

You can’t have a porn scene without the stars and whilst the names of the films themselves might elude you sometimes, most of us will remember the names of our favorite performers.

So, what were the names on everyone’s lips in the 1980s when it came to which VHS to purchase?

Best Female Porn Stars of the 80s

Anyone over the age of 40 will probably be familiar with the female porn stars of the 1980s; some in an intimate and nostalgic way. Yet, even millennials will probably know some of the big names of this decade including the notorious Traci Lords, the infamous Cicciolina and the legendary Bambi Woods.

Of course, there are dozens more that you can probably think of an far too many to list here. However, we’ve handpicked some of the biggest names in the adult film industry from the 1980s, each chosen for their own distinct styles, infamy and notoriety.

Have we missed your favorite female porn star of the 1980s? Drop us a comment and tell us who you think should have made the cut.

Tracey Adams

best 80s porn tracey adams

Image via XHamster.

Working through the mid-1980s and into the 1990s, Tracey Adams appeared in over 300 porn films during her career and also directed a handful of movies.

Unusually for a working porn actor of the time, Adams was also credited in some mainstream movies including Wimps (1986) and Enrapture (1987).

Now retired and living in Hollywood, she was inducted into the AVN Hall of Fame in 1995 and the XRCO Hall of Fame in 2000.

Her best work was in the movie Pretty Peaches Part 2 for which she won an XRCO Award for Best Copulation Scene (1988).

Juliet Anderson

Juliet Anderson was a late starter in the porn film industry, only getting into blue movies at the age of 39 in 1977. During the 1980s, she was a mature performer and she was known for her sex-hungry and giddy on-screen persona ‘Aunt Peg’. She was stuck with this nickname following a scene she filmed for a Swedish Erotica series in which she had sex with her ‘niece’.

Bringing a touch of class mixed with a splash of vaudeville, ‘Aunt Peg’ is known for never faking an orgasm during her career. She was clearly someone who loved her work and she contributed to the industry both on screen and off. She was also a mentor to one of the other 80s porn stars on our list, Nina Hartley, whom remained a close friend up to Anderson’s death in 2010.

Starring in more than 70 adult films, Anderson took a break from her porn career in 1987 when she decided to focus on massage and relationship counselling. However, she returned to the industry in the mid-1990s as a performer, director and producer.

She was awarded an honorary Doctor of the Arts in 2007 by the Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality and has been inducted into the Halls of Fame at both AVN and XRCO.

She features in some great oral scenes but it would be rude not to check her out in her eponymous role of Aunt Peg:

  • Aunt Peg (1980)
  • Aunt Peg Goes to Hollywood (1981)
  • Aunt Peg’s Fulfillment (1981)

Christy Canyon

best 80s porn christy canyon

Image via The Classic Porn.

Performing in over 100 porn movies during the 1980s and 1990s, Christy Canyon has turned her back on the industry three times; each time she has returned to the fold.

Her first stint in the adult movie business was in 1984 when she made her debut with Ron Jeremy in Swedish Erotica 57. She continued working with Jeremy throughout her career and remains a close friend. Her second stint was 1989 to 1992 and then she went back in front of the camera between 1995 and 1997. Though now retired from screen she still works in the industry as a host for Vivid Radio and promoting her back catalog of work through the Christy Canyon website.

She has won several industry awards including Fan Favorite and Best Female performer plus she has been inducted into the halls of fame at both AVN and XRCO.

As well as appearing in two of our top picks of best 1980s porn films, Black Throat (1985) and Savage Fury (1985), Canyon also put in some fine performances in:

  • I Like To Be Watched(1984)
  • Hollywood Starlets(1985)
  • Educating Mandy(1985)
  • Holly Does Hollywood(1985)

If you only watch her in one movie then Black Throat  is sure to make you an avid fan of her work.

Cicciolina (Ilona Staller)

best 80s porn cicciolina

Image via Vintage Hot Porn.

Born in Budapest in 1951, Ilona Staller is better known by her stage name, Cicciolina. The Hungarian settled in Italy with her husband in the early 1970s. It was here that she met the pornographer Ricardo Schicchi whom she eventually worked with when she started her adult film career.

It wasn’t until the 1980s that she starred in her first hardcore movie; the famous Telefono Rosso (Red Telephone). She continued to make porn movies in Europe but came to prominence in the late 1980s across the Western world when she appeared in The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empress (1987) with the legendary John Holmes (see below). Though a mediocre film with some highlights, the title gained notoriety for negative reasons as Holmes tested positive for HIV prior to production on it but failed to notify his co-stars.

Elected to parliament in Italy in 1987, she famously offered to have sex with Saddam Hussein in return for peace in the region! Though no longer in office she continues to have a prominent political career, launching a new party in 2012 to promote the opening of new brothels, legalizing same-sex marriage and eliminating the privileges of the echelons of rich politicians.

Staller has been nothing short of a real character during her porn and political careers as well as hitting the headlines in her personal life. She was married to the American artist Jeff Koons from 1991 to 1994, has been an actor in a Brazilian soap opera and even released several music CDs during the 70s and 80s. Sung to the tunes of popular children’s songs, her explicit lyrics prevented several of these being released in her adopted country, Italy.

Red Telephone is by far her best title and is well worth a watch if you want to sample some European 1980s porn.

Lisa De Leeuw

best 80s porn lisa de leeuw

Image via Pornhub.

Another member of the AVN and XRCO Halls of Fame, Lisa De Leeuw has starred in over 200 porn movies during the 1980s although her debut was in 1977 in a film called Feelings II. She worked in the industry right up to 1991 when she disappeared from public view.

It was mistakenly reported that she died of AIDS in 1993 but this was refuted by industry representatives at the time. As with performers like Juliet Anderson, De Leeuw is thought to have hidden herself away from publicity around her porn career and little is known about her current personal life and status.

During her time at the top she won several Best Supporting Actress Awards including one for her role in Raw Heat (1984); this is another of our top picks for the decade and is definitely some of De Leeuw’s finest work.

Vanessa Del Rio

best 80s porn vanessa del rio

Image via XHamster.

Born in Harlem in 1952, Del Rio is of mixed Cuban and Puerto Rican descent. Before she started working in the adult film industry she was working as a call girl and go-go dancer.

Known for her enlarged clitoris, Del Rio started out in 1974 appearing in more than 100 porno films until she retired in 1986. Her withdrawal from the industry coincided with the AIDS outbreak that was prevalent in the porn scene at the time.

Highlights of her career include one of our favorite titles of the 1980s, Dracula Exotica (1980) in which she played Vita Valdez. The role earned her a CAFA award for Best Supporting Actress.

She has since been inducted into both the AVN and XRCO Halls of Fame and dips back into the industry now and again, sometimes appearing at conventions and award shows.

Debi Diamond

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Image via Vintage Porn.

Appearing in her first movie in 1983, Diamond is known by several pseudonyms including Josi Emerson, Debi Hanson, Shelly Rae, Debbie Lester and Miss D.D.

She worked right through the 80s and 90s gaining an avid fan following in the mid-nineties specifically for her group sex scenes.

She bowed out of the adult film industry in the late 1990s before surprising her fans with an unexpected reappearance onto the scene in 2008. Performing for the cameras for the first time in a decade in the Zero Tolerance Entertainment title You’ve Got a Mother Thing Cumming 3, Diamond’s return was a big publicity stunt for her own directorial career.

Launching her own studio in 2010 (Debi Diamond Films), she focused on creating FemDom content for a few years before going quiet again.

She is yet another AVN and XRCO Hall of Fame inductee as well as the winner of several adult film industry awards.

Diamond also appeared in one of our top pick films of the 80s, Talk Dirty To Me Part III (1984).

Nina Hartley

best 80s porn vanessa nina hartley

Image via The Classic Porn.

Started her porn career in 1984, Nina Hartley was working under the tutelage of Juliet Anderson (see above) in her eponymous role in the film Educating Nina. Still making porn movies, Hartley is one of the longest active porn performers in the industry. Though most of her current work is in the ‘Mature’ genre, even at 60 years’ old she is still one hot woman.

As well as being active in the adult film industry she is a sex-positive educator and feminist having produced her own series of instructional videos covering topics from fetishes to basic sexual intercourse. Hartley has also written a best-selling book, Nina Hartley’s Guide to Total Sex (2006) and co-authored a series entitled How To Be Kinkier (2012 onwards).

Liberal and outspoken, she is well known in the media as a ‘go-to’ for an opinion on the adult industry and can often be seen on news and talks shows representing the pro-porn angle.

Her trademark ‘baby-blue eyes’, bubble butt and narrow waist made her an obvious front runner when it came to the casting couch and she was a firm favorite of many guys (and gals – she is openly bisexual in her private life) during the 1980s. She’s worked on more than 1,000 films and has even directed a dozen or so.

Hartley has won a lot of awards during her four decades in the industry including F.O.X.E. Female Fan Favorite 1990, 1991 and 1992 as well as several Lifetime Achievement Awards. She s also in both the AVN and XRCO Halls of Fame.

Though her best work is undoubtedly Every Woman Has A Fantasy 2 (1987), she was also in a spin-off parody series based on the Debbie Does Dallas films, the best of which is Debbie Duz Dishes (1986). It’s a great example of the style of 80s porn and the sense of humor for which it is widely known. We can also recommend her debut movie, Educating Nina.

Hyapatia Lee

best 80s porn vanessa hyapatia lee

Image via The Hun.

With a Cherokee heritage, Hyapatia Lee was the only Native American porn star of her time. She made her debut in Naughty Girls Need Love Too which was released in 1983.  She continued working in the industry throughout the 1980s and early 1990s before in 1993.

Her husband, Bud Lee, was a prominent adult film director and he cast her in several of his own movies.

Her most notable work was a film that she and her husband worked on together for which she wrote the screenplay. The film, The Ribald Tales of Canterbury, was released in 1985 and was the second most expensive porno film ever produced at the time. It wasn’t a huge success but was generally well received by existing fans of Lee. If you want to see her in some of her best scenes then check out any of the eponymous movies that bear her name in the title role, including:

  • True Confessions of Hyapatia Lee (1989)
  • Insatiable Hyapatia Lee (1987)
  • Hyapatia Lee’s Secret Dreams (1986)
  • Hyapatia Lee’s Wild Wild West (1986)

Lee has won several awards over her career including a Best Actress AVN award for her role in the 1990 film Masseuse.  And, of course, she is also an inductee in the halls of fame at AVN and XRCO.

Traci Lords

Claiming to be 18 at the time she started out her career in porn, Traci Lords is one of the most infamous names in the industry. Just a few years into her film career, it was revealed that Lords had been just 16 years old when she first appeared on screen in a hardcore role. The revelation was (rightly) an utter scandal and rocked the industry to its core.

Her first sex role was in the sequel to the popular porn film Talk Dirty To Me Part III in which she performed with John Leslie. The title won an AVN Award for Best Movie but is credited more for being that film which sparked the controversy – Leslie was 23 years older than, the then 16-year-old, Lords.

One of the highest paid actresses of the decade and in huge demand, she starred alongside fellow performers like Ginger Lynn, Tom Byron and Harry Reems.

When the news broke that Lords was underage when most of her films were made, a scramble to clear the shelves of her hardcore work ensued at every U.S. porn shop. The only title that is still available to legally purchase is Traci, I Love You which was filmed two days after her 18th birthday.

Taken into protective custody, the owners of her movie agency were arrested and the mass withdrawal of movies in which she featured plus re-editing to take her out of the back catalog reportedly cost the industry millions and millions of dollars.

Though she was asked to perform in many pornos after she was 18, Lords declined and Traci, I Love You was her last adult content movie. However, the ‘Princess of Porn’ went on to a mainstream, acting career appearing in Cry Baby (1990), Blade (1998) and the TV series Melrose Place as well as other movies.

She has pursued a career in the music industry as well designing her own line of fashion for Pin-Up Girl clothing.

Though her career in the porno industry of the 1980s was brief, there are few names on this list that are as well known or have created such as storm in the world of adult entertainment than that of Traci Lords.

In 2002 Lords was voted the 4th Top Porn Star Of All Time by AVN,

Ginger Lynn

best 80s porn ginger lynn

Image via XHamster.

Voted the 7th Top Porn Start of All Time in the 2002 AVN list, Ginger Lynn is probably the most well known of all our eighties porn stars. Starting out her career in adult modelling for Penthouse and Cheri, Lynn was blessed with those ‘girl next door’ looks and had a stunning all-natural physique. Obviously taking great pleasure in her work, her on-screen performances show authenticity and a real talent for the job.

Though she only worked in the eighties porn industry for two years and three months, she utterly conquered the world of porn and was THE name on the lips of all casting directors and studio producers of the time. She retired from the industry in 1986 with more than 300 film credits to her name and dozens of awards including 1984 XRCO Starlet of the Year, 1985 AVN Best New Starlet and several Best Actress titles. She is an inductee to both the AVN and XRCO plus the NightMoves halls of fame.

Her best work from this decade is in the film Pleasure Hunt (1984) which Lynn herself rates as her finest movie but you can also enjoy her in action in titles like New Wave Hookers (1985), The Grafenberg Spot (1985) and Too Naughty To Say No (1984).

After her spell in porn during the 1980s, Lynn went on to star in many B movie films before making a short comeback to the adult industry in 1999. She made a further three films and then became a host for Playboy’s radio station. By now a more mature model, she performed some more hardcore for Kink’s Ultimate Surrender and Sex & Submission channels as well as some more movies with a more current performer James Deen as well as her 80s co-star Tom Byron.

Kay Parker

best 80s porn kay parker

Image via Pornhub.

This British former porn actress was active in the industry from the late 1970s through to the mid-1980s and is best known for her role in the 1980 film Taboo. Cast in the lead role, Parker’s performance was well received by critics:

“(Parker) envelops the role of Barbara with a gentle, sensuous mist of sophisticated feminine allure that tantalizes with tangible passion stirring deep within that magnificent bosom.”

Nearly thirty years after its release, the original film (though serialized in 23 episodes through to 2007) still holds up pretty well. This is mainly due to the adept way in which Parker handles the script plus a natural chemistry with her co-star, Mike Ranger.

Another inductee in the hallowed AVN and XRCO Halls of Fame, Parker also won a Best Supporting Actress Award for her role in Sweet Young Foxes. In all, she starred in over 80 adult movies many of which depicted her in the role of older woman, seducing young men.

Loni Sanders

best 80s porn loni sanders

Image via The Classic Porn.

Kicking off her career in 1980 and working through to 1985, Loni Sanders has almost 100 credits to her name as a performer on the Internet Adult Film Database. These include Sexboat (1980) and Never So Deep (1981). However, her best work (in our opinion) is definitely in her role in 8 to 4 (1981). A parody of the Colin Higgins’ film 9 to 5, Sanders plays one of six women who take the upper hand with their demanding boss. She stars alongside fellow 80s legends, Annette Haven, Lisa De Leeuw and Juliet Anderson.

She was married to fellow porn star Mike Ranger whom she worked with exclusively for the first part of her career (as well as performing with women). After divorcing Ranger, she went on to have a relationship with the founder of Vivid Entertainment, Steve Hirsch.

Though she quit starring in movies by the mid-1980s, she can be seen in cameo roles after she stopped making hardcore films.

Inevitably, Sanders was also inducted into the halls of fame at both AVN and XRCO.

Seka

best 80s porn seka

Image via IMDb/Amazon.

Born Dorothiea Ivonniea Hundley and sometimes known in her film work as Linda Grasser, Dottie or Sweet Alice, Seka is one of the porn industry’s biggest names from the 1980s and 1990s.

The Platinum Princess of Porn, Seka started her adult film career in 1977 and starred in more than 200 videos. Though she took a break in the mid-1980s citing the AIDs epidemic as the major factor (“I like to live”), she returned to the business for a brief spell in the 1990s.

She has appeared on several talk shows and documentaries including the popular Bryce Wagoner, After Porn Ends and she also published her autobiography in 2015, Inside Seka.

Her most well-known work is Blond Heat (1985) in which she performed with John Leslie as well as several eponymous films; Inside Seka (1980), Rocking With Seka (1980), Seka’s Fantasies (1981) and many more.

Though she is no longer making adult movies, her fan website is still active and she has an avid following of supporters who still pay handsomely for her back catalog of work.

Yes, another inductee to both the AVN and XRCO halls of fame, Seka was once described by fellow porn star, Jamie Gillis, as a ‘white trash queen’ who was a ‘bit above porn’.

Bambi Woods

best 80s porn bambi woods

Image via Wikipedia/Amazon.

There are few porn films of the Golden Age which people in their 20s and 30s can name but Debbie Does Dallas is certainly one of them. And, whilst the original was released in 1978, its two sequels (Debbie Does Dallas 2 and Debbie Does Dallas 3) were filmed in the 1980s. Released in 1981 and 1985 respectively, the star of all three classic titles is the infamous Bambi Woods. Though there are plenty of films which bear the name Debbie, Woods only appears in the second sequel.

It is alleged that Woods did not film any new porn material after 1981 when she became disillusioned with the fame the first title had given her. Rumor has it that at least one of the sequels was stitched together using footage filmed for an earlier title and Woods had completely disappeared from the porn scene by the time Debbie Does Dallas 3 was released.

Given the fact that Bambi Woods was a stage name (No? Really?) she was able to melt away into utter obscurity and to this day there is no confirmation of who the real Bambi Woods actually is. Though it was reported that she died of a drug overdose in 1986, this has not been proven and a woman who claimed to be Woods came forward in 2007 to conduct an interview by email for a documentary. Private investigators were used in the 1990s to trace her whereabouts and they reported that she was living an ordinary life and did not wish to have any involvement with her past porn life.

So, despite the fact that Woods is one of the best-known names in porn, she is an unknown entity these days and was probably only paid a few hundred dollars for her role in what could be the most famous porn film of all time.

Best Male Porn Stars of the 1980s

Of course, the ladies are only half of the on-screen talent and the 1980s saw some of the biggest male actors in porn doing their thing. Performers like Ron Jeremy and Peter North have gone on to cement their careers in the industry as legends whilst seventies stars like John Holmes and Randy West continued to make adult movies of note.

Whilst we just couldn’t list then all, we’ve chosen the most infamous male performers from the 1980s porn industry and given you a couple of reasons why you shouldn’t miss their work.

Have we missed your favorite male porn star of the 1980s? Tell us below in the comment section who you think should have made the list.

Buck Adams

best 80s porn buck adams

Buck Adams with Jade East. Image via XHamster.

Brother to Amber Lynn, another porn star of note from the 80s, Buck Adams was working as a bouncer and boxer before he entered the adult film industry.

Performing in over 600 movies and directing more than 80, he was a prolific member of the porn community and there aren’t many female stars of the 80s that he didn’t perform with or direct.

Well decorated with awards from both AVN and XRCO, Adams struggled with drug and alcohol addiction as well as suffering several near-fatal heart attacks in the 1990s. He showed enormous courage and strength to overcome all this and was well liked and respected for it.

One of his greatest achievements was his big-budget production of the movie Uninhibited starring Rocco Siffredi. Shot in 1993 on 35mm, it cost $1.2 million to produce and was one of the first feature films to come out of the porn industry to hit the mainstream; it was picked up by the USA Network and HBO.

Highlights from his performance career of the 1980s include Rockey X (1986), Bad Wives (1989) and Chameleon (1989).

Jerry Butler

best 80s porn jerry butler

Jerry Butler and Honey Wilder. Image via XHamster.

Appearing in more than 650 porno films during his career which spans the 1980s and early 1990s, Jerry Butler was a talented adult film performer. Starting out in his first hardcore role in 1981 in Jim Buckley’s Young, Wild and Wonderful, he had the perfect build and stamina for the work but, above all, had great on-screen charisma.

His finest work from the 80s can be seen in porn films like Roommates (1981), In Love (1983) and Snake Eyes (1984).

After retiring from porn in 1993, Butler went on to a more mainstream acting career before briefly returning to the industry with a non-sex roles in the 2003 film, Sexy Sluts: Been There, Done That.

Tom Byron

best 80s porn tom byron

Image via IMDb/IAFD.

Starting out as a fresh-faced 21-year-old in 1982, the clean-shaven Bryon looked younger than his years and made his first hardcore movies in the ‘coming of age’ genre. He has remained active over the last three decades following a directorial path from the early 1990s through to 2013.

Appearing on over 3,200 movies, Byron is a prolific performer star and, in 2002, was voted #20 in the AVN list of top porn stars of all time. He has won over 40 awards during his career including the 2010 People’s Choice Male Porn Star of the Year (XBiz), 3 Best Actor Awards (AVN) and 2 Male Performer of the Year Awards (XRCO).

He famously worked alongside the (then) underage Traci Lords in her 1984 porn debut film and who he is also alleged to have had an off-screen relationship with.

His look and style changed a bit during the 1980s from his ‘adolescent, virgin’ years at the beginning of the decade through to his ‘hard rock’ persona complete with long hair in the late 1980s. This coincided with his own attempts to forge a career as a musician outside of the adult industry.

If you only check out one performance of Tom Byron’s in the 1980s then make it Private Teacher (1984) for which he won the CAFA Best Actor Award. It also took home the Best Couples Sex Scene Award. He also appeared in New Wave Hookers (see below).

Jamie Gillis

best 80s porn jamie gillis

Jamie Gillis with Ginger Lynn. Image via XHamster.

Star of the first (and much loved) Buttman series of films, Jamie Gillis has been described as “sexually the wildest, most decadent, off-the-wall guy in the business”.

He started working in the industry in the early 1970s and was still working on screen three decades later. Openly bi-sexual, Gillis has credits in both heterosexual porn as well as gay adult content.

Performing in more than 470 adult movies but with over 700 credits including compilation works, Gillis was also a successful director of porn movies. He is known for pioneering the gonzo style of pornography which he used to great effect when he created the highly influential On The Prowl series of films (see below).

Winning multiple awards for his work including AAFA, XRCO and AVN Awards for Best Actor he is also an inductee to the AVN and XRCO halls of fame.

John Holmes

best 80s porn john holmes

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There are very few people who won’t be familiar with the name John C Holmes, or Johnny Wadd as he was often called. So named after a character he played in several of his early films, Holmes was a prolific porn star of the seventies and eighties and appeared in over 550 films.

Most famously known for his enormous dick, he was, according to the cinematographer Bob Vasse, “to the adult film industry what Elvis was to rock n roll”. Interestingly there is no proof of the exact size of Holmes’ penis with claims being made that it was 16” long and 13” in girth. Holmes himself made several differing claims from 10” to 14”; the latter was made when he stated he had insured his dick with Lloyds of London for a value of $14 million…”one million per inch”.

However big it was, he certainly put it to good use on screen and his female co-stars never complained about it. All that is except for Annette Haven who claimed that Holmes was never able to achieve a fully hard erection. She likened his penis to a “soft kind of loofah“.

Whilst most of Holmes big films were all shot in the seventies, his eighties porn career was also noteworthy with some great films such as Insatiable (1980), Young n Hung (1985) and Saturday Night Beaver (1986).

In 1986, Holmes was diagnosed as HIV positive yet, notoriously, he chose to hide this fact when he went on to film his last movies before dying of AIDS; The Rise of the Roman Empress with Cicciolina and The Devil In Mr. Holmes with Amber Lynn and Tracey Adams.

He was the first inductee into the XRCO Hall of Fame in 1985 and was posthumously awarded a Lifetime Achievement in 2008 by XBiz.

Ron Jeremy

best 80s porn ron jeremy

Four decades at the top of his game, Ron Jeremy is one of the biggest names in porn today from the 80s. Image via Wikipedia.

With more than 2,000 film performances and having directed over 400 movies, there are few people in the porn industry with more experience than Ron Jeremy. Ranked as the top porn star of all time by the AVN, he is in the Guinness Book of World Records for Most Appearances in Adult Films.

Much loved by fans for his ‘ordinary, everyman’ appeal, Jeremy (nicknamed the ‘hedgehog’) is living proof that you don’t have to be a muscled, six foot tall guy to get a dream job in porn; however, it doesn’t hurt to have a (nearly) 10 inch dick.

Short, mustachioed and ‘portly’, Jeremy brings a lot of warmth and charm to his work and has a great sense of humor as well as excellent stamina. He’s a regular guy who is known as one of the hardest working men in the business.

He first appeared in an adult movie in 1979 aged just 26 years old and he still makes films today aged 66. Four decades of work is a lot to browse through and there are so many films from his early career that are worth watching but we think that his finest work is alongside some of the hottest female co-stars of the day in titles like Inside Seka (1980), Terms of Endowment (1986), Lust of Blackula (1987) and 21 Hump Street (1988).

A true icon of the 1980s porn scene, Ron Jeremy has also enjoyed plenty of crossover success in the mainstream media appearing in films, documentaries, TV series and even music videos, video games and advertising. Hell, he’s even got his name on a brand of rum.

John Leslie

Along with John Holmes, Harry Reems and Jamie Gillis, John Leslie was one of the enduring male porn stars of the 1970s and 1980s. Starring in over 600 films, Leslie went on to become a prolific director winning many awards for his films.

He famously won the AFAA Best Actor Award in 1984 in a tie with himself for his roles in two films; Every Woman Has a Fantasy and Dixie Ray.

Star of one the most influential porn movies of the decade, Talk Dirty To Me (1980), Leslie continued to develop the gonzo style of filming whilst focusing on the porn movie as ‘sex drama’.

He is a member of the AVN and XRCO hall of fame.

Other notable films in which you can appreciate his performances are Nothing To Hide (1981) and Wicked Sensations (1981).

Peter North

best 80s porn peter north

Image via The Classic Porn.

Canadian-American, North is another prolific male porn star of the 1980s with over 2,500 film credits to his name. Initially performing as a gay porn star in 1983, he quickly made the transition to straight sex on-screen.

Famous in the industry for his multiple ejaculations, he cums around 8-10 times per climax. Most of his scenes feature a facial shot and he also specializes with deepthroat porn stars.

Whilst much of his work hails from the 1990s porn scene, he became infamous during the 1980s when the scandal of the underage Traci Lords (see above) broke the headlines. Lords had performed several scenes with North and he was involved with the investigations at the time.

Now producing porn under his own studio brand and directing many of the films himself, North is an inductee in the AVN and XRCO halls of fame as well as holding many awards from both organisations.

Whilst his best work is undoubtedly from the 1990s, you can catch him in 1980s classics like Bare Elegance (1984), Black Throat (1985) and Hot Gun (1986).

Harry Reems

best 80s porn harry reems

Image via XHamster.

The iconic seventies star of classic porn films Deep Throat (1972) and The Devil in Miss Jones (1973), Harry Reems continued working in the business until 1985. As a result, he was able to grace the home movie screens with some of his infamous work before he retired.

He took a break from porn in the mid-70s to work on his ‘real’ acting skills and found roles in the theater as well as grindhouse ‘roughies’. Reems was originally cast as Coach Calhoun in the original film production of Grease but producers were worried that the notoriety of his involvement with Deep Throat would affect the box office takings.

His return to the industry was met with a six-figure sum for performing in the film Society Affairs (1982). Other works featuring Reems of note from this decade include Too Naughty To Say No (1984), Wet, Wild and Wicked (1984) and Educating Mandy (1985).

Herschel Savage

best 80s porn herschel savage

Image via XHamster.

Ranked 46th on the 2002 AVN Top Porn Stars of All Time list, Herschel Savage has appeared in over 1,000 adult movies.

One of the biggest stars of the late 1970s and early 1980s his film credits include many classics from the Golden Age of Porn including the 1978 movie Debbie Does Dallas.

Leaving his performance career in 1988 to focus on a sales and distribution role he returned to the screen in 1997. He has since starred in both sex and non-sex roles and has a nomination for the 2019 XBiz Awards for his appearance in Fallen II: Angels & Demons.

An inductee of both the XRCO and AVN halls of fame, Savage’s best work can be seen in films like Memphis Cathouse Blues (1982), What Gets Me Hot (1984) and Droid (1988).

Long Dong Silver

best 80s porn long dong silver

Seka meets Long Dong Silver. Image via XNXX.

If you call your kid Long Dong then it can’t be a surprise when he becomes a porn star, right? Real name Daniel Arthur Mead and born in London, Long Dong Silver first appeared in a porno movie in 1979. His debut on the low budget film Sex Freaks showcased, what appeared to be, an 18-inch penis and instantly launched his name.

It has later been revealed that although Mead was blessed with ‘a good nine or ten inches’, the enormous cock for which he was famed, was in fact a latex sleeve.

Though he only appeared in several porn films of the 1980s, his name and fame is pretty legendary for this period. If you only see one of his films then make sure it’s Beauty and the Beast (1982) in which he can be seen performing with the Platinum Princess of Porn, Seka.

Joey Silvera

best 80s porn joey silvera

Image via XHamster.

With a 9.5” cock, chiseled good looks, firm physique and standing 6’ 2” tall, there aren’t many reasons why Silvera shouldn’t have been cast in more than 1,000 porn videos. He was a big name in the eighties but was mainly known in a supporting role rather than as a lead. However, directors had no trouble casting him as women liked to work with Silvera.

Originally starting out in 1974, he won several awards including the AVN Best Couples Sex Scene 1987 and 1988 for Blame it on Ginger and Made in Germany.

In the early 1990s, Silvera started directing movies for his own company and began picking up multiple awards for his work. He went on to work with John Stagliano for Evil Angel and has been specializing in transsexual porn movies over the last two decades (XBiz Transsexual Director of the Year 2012, 2014 and 2015).

If you want to see him perform in some fine 1980s porn films then check out She’s So Fine (1985) and Public Affairs (1984).

Jeff Stryker

best 80s porn jeff stryker

Image via IMDb.

Though most well-known as a gay porn star, Jeff Stryker is another iconic screen star of the 1980s adult film industry. He made well over 1,000 movies some of which featured heterosexual and bisexual performances. The most famous of these was one of the biggest selling hits of the decade Jamie Loves Jeff (see below).

His name is synonymous wit the porn industry of the 80s and also with the sex toy industry of the 90s. His massive cock and balls have been immortalized in dildo and vibrator form and are still sold in sex shops today.

Though clearly a gay man, his studio and agents tried very hard to promote him to a female audience, presumably to maximize his commercial appeal. They even went so far as to produce a VHS in 1987 called Jeff Stryker: A Romance Video For Women. It featured Stryker dancing and working out to music wearing very little and flexing his muscles in a ‘teasing’ way. Whether many women purchased it or not is unknown but the title is still very popular in gay circles.

Once called the ‘Cary Grant of Porn’, Stryker is a giant of the adult film world and thoroughly deserves his place in the AVN and GayVN halls of fame. His name can also be found on the Hustler Porn Walk of Fame.

Randy West

Randy West’s porn career started in 1978 with a small role in the film Mystyique. However it wasn’t until 1980 that he came to prominence (literally) when he became the first male centerfold model to appear in print with an erection.

With an abundance of energy and stamina, he has been referred to as a ‘human pile driver’ notching up over 1,300 film credits with performances alongside 2,500+ female porn stars.

In the 1990s, West started making porn and set up Randy West Productions; a company that is credited with launching the careers of stars like Tera Patrick and Jenna Jameson. His series of videos that showcased new talent, Up and Cummers, was a popular format and featured interviews with the models before the sex acts began. This style of behind-the-scenes is still used today and is popular with fetish porn producers to demonstrate consent.

Ranked as the 29th top porn star of all time by AVN, West has won plenty of awards during his three decades in the industry.

There aren’t many films of the 1980s that don’t have Randy West popping up somewhere but you can catch some of his finer scenes in titles like Hot Gun (1986), Hyapatia Lee’s Wild West (1986) and Three Men and a Barbi (1988).

Jack Wrangler

Known more for his gay porn roles in the 1970s, Jack Wrangler first lost his screen virginity to a woman in 1978 when making the straight porn movie China Sisters. It was after this appearance that he began making more heterosexual and bisexual movies in the 1980s.

A favorite performer of one of the top directors of the decade, Chuck Vincent (see below), Wrangler retired from porn in 1990 with almost 100 movie credits to his name.

An icon for the gay movements of the 70s and 80s, Wrangler married his wife, singer Margaret Whiting) in 1994 though they had been lovers since they first met in 1976. Often accused of ‘turning straight’, Wrangler considered himself homosexual but was in love with Whiting despite her gender.

Some of his finest hetero porn work can be seen in the 1982 film, The Devil in Miss Jones 2 and also Roommates (1981), Sex Machine (1980) and In Love (1983).

Top Porn Films of the 80s

With so many porno movies to choose from, it’s not been an easy task to bring you our selection of the  top adult films from the 1980s. However, at great personal expense (!), we’ve reviewed some of the best titles and chosen our favorite films for each year of this great decade including those that deserve special mention.

Have we missed your top adult film of the 1980s? Drop us a comment to tell us which porn flick you think should be on our list.

1980

Very much a part of the Golden Age of porn still with plenty of big budget titkes intended for adult film theaters, 1980 was a bumper year for blue movies. With so many to choose from, it was a hard selection to kick off with but we’ve plumped for the Anthony Spinelli film, Talk Dirty To Me.

best 80s porn films talk dirty to me

Talk Dirty To Me. Images via Wikipedia/XVideos.

Considered one of the most influential porn movies of the era, Talk Dirty To Me stars Juliet Anderson, John Leslie and Jessie St James. The premise of the movie is pretty simple, a ladies-man who has bragged to his friend that he can bed anyone he chooses, the pair set their sights on a stunning blonde. The film spawned several sequels with one starring the notorious Traci Lords when she was still underage.  Though it is far from being the most hardcore of movies you’ll ever watch, it is a good example of the way porn movies were transitioning at the start of this decade from the porno chic of the 1970s.

Winning several awards including four Critics’ Adult Film Awards and four AFAA awards for Best Film and Best Actor, Talk Dirty To Me is a ‘four letter fantasy’.

Other films of note from this year include:

  • Bella
  • Blonde Ambition
  • Dracula Exotica
  • Exposed
  • F
  • Fascination
  • High Test Girls
  • Insatiable
  • Platinum Paradise
  • Taboo
  • Talk Dirty to Me

1981

The ‘definitive statement in erotic cinema’, we’ve chosen Neon Nights as our top selection for blue movies from 1981. Cecil Howard’s work (according to some critics), ‘sets the standard against which other films must be judged’.

best 80s porn films neon nights

Image via HotMovies.

The film follows the character of Sandy, a troubled young girl who runs away from home after she is caught almost getting it on with her mother’s boyfriend. The film stars Lysa Thatcher, Veronica Hart and Kandi Barbour as well as 70s porn veterans Jamie Gillis and Eric Edwards.

What is great about the movie is that it perfectly exemplifies a period of porn production when the plot is as important (if not more so) as the sex scenes as Neon Nights perfectly strikes the balance between mainstream and adult cinema. Yes, it’s hardcore and has some exquisite scenes and dialog but it also romps along with a cracking story too. The cinematography, lighting and inter-cutting are all handled with skill demonstrating that even nearing the end of the Golden Age of porn, films could still be produced with artistic flair.

Some other films from this year of note include:

  • Amanda by Night
  • American Desire
  • Bad Girls
  • Daydream
  • Desire for Men
  • Nothing to Hide
  • Nightdreams
  • Roommates
  • The Dancers
  • Wanda Whips Wall Street

1982

A year which spawned quite a few sequels to some earlier hits, our choice for best film of 1982 is Memphis Cathouse Blues. Starring Herschel Savage, Joey Silvera, Kay Parker, Lisa De Leeuw and Annette Haven, it is a spoof of the popular Dolly Parton/Burt Reynolds film, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas which was released the same year.

best 80s porn films memphis cathouse blues

With an all-star cast, the movie was bound to be a success and it still has an enduring appeal getting some good reviews even with a modern audience. It’s very much ‘of the decade’ in style and perfectly showcases the humor of the writing from this period.

Interesting fact…..Kay Parker who plays the role of Rose also appeared in a scene in the Parton/Reynolds film.

The studio responsible (Caballero Home Video) made lots of parody movies like this and they are very typical of the period. The parody genre remains popular today with plenty of porn spoofs being made of the latest Hollywood blockbusters.

  • Café Flesh
  • .. The Untold Story
  • Devil in Miss Jones 2
  • Irresistible
  • Scoundrels
  • Taboo II
  • Talk Dirty to Me Part II

1983

In a film for any fans of Loni Sanders, Blue Confessions is a pretty typical porn movie of the 1980s. With an absurd plot in which Sanders is writing a sex advice column on her typewriter. When she falls asleep at her desk, she ‘wakes up to find that there is a magical telephone beside her which she uses to call people who each tell her their secret sexual confession.

With nine vignettes, each starring various porn stars from the archives as a part of the confessions, performers like John Leslie, Kitty Shayne, Tina Blair and Serena are all featured in this compilation style format.

With demand for porn being so high, it was pretty common for producers to stitch together new content from existing footage or use scenes from the cutting room floor. It’s not an original film by any means but it does give you a nice whistle-stop tour of some great performances from some of the 80s best adult film stars.

  • Between Lovers
  • Corruption
  • Naughty Girls Need Love Too
  • Night Hunger
  • Playing with Fire
  • Sexcapades
  • Suzie Superstar

1984

Starring Ginger Lynn and Herschel Savage The Pleasure Hunt was nominated for the 1985 AVN All Sex Film award and won Lynn an XRCO Award for Female Performer of the Year.

best 80s porn films the pleasure hunt

Image via XVideos.

A fast-paced film that acts as a perfect vehicle to show off the natural talents of Lynn, it follows the story of a woman who finds a treasure map. Obviously she needs to screw her way past a whole host of horny guys to get to the booty (pun intended). A real romp of a film, The Pleasure Hunt will delight fans of Ginger Lynn and, we think, create new ones.

Other films from this year which are worth watching include:

  • Emmanuelle 4
  • Every Woman Has A Fantasy
  • Firestorm
  • Jack N Jill 2
  • Let Me Tell Ya ’bout White Chicks
  • Kinky Business
  • Raw Talent
  • Reel People
  • Sade
  • Spitfire
  • Talk Dirty to Me Part III
  • What Gets Me Hot!

1985

Our top pick for 1985 is the film that defined a new genre in porn production of Alt Porn. New Wave Hookers starring Peter North, Ginger Lynn, Tom Byron, Jamie Gillis and Kimberley Carson was directed by the Dark Brothers (see Gregory Dark, below).

best 80s porn films new wave hookers

Scenes from New Wave Hookers. Image via XVideos.

The film had to be re-edited after the Traci Lords scandal revealed that she was underage at the time of filming. However, even without this notorious claim to the headlines of the time, New Wave Hookers is an excellent piece of eighties porn.

The movie won three awards in 1986 at the AAFA as well as picking up Film of the Year from the Adam Film World guide. It is also included in the XRCO Hall of Fame and is 17th on the list of the AVN’s greatest adult videos of all time.

The film went on to spawn plenty of sequels including a recent reinvention of the movie in 2007, Neu Wave Hookers which won an AVN Award for Best All Sex Release.

Other good porn films from 1985 include:

  • American Babylon
  • Black Throat
  • Dangerous Stuff
  • Emmanuelle 5
  • Great Sexpectations
  • Hollywood Heartbreakers
  • Let Me Tell Ya ’bout Black Chicks
  • Savage Fury
  • The Grafenberg Spot
  • Times Square Comes Alive

1986

Though a commercial and critical disaster when it was released and certainly not the best film on our list, we wanted to choose Behind the Green Door: the Sequel as a representative of 80s porn films. Made by Jim and Artie Mitchell who lost a lot of money on the venture, the film was created in response to the HIV/AIDS crisis that had rocked the industry.

best 80s porn films behind the green door the sequel

Images via Wikipedia/YouTube.

Focusing on safe sex, all the performers in the movie used barrier protection such as condoms, dental dams and surgical gloves.

The film features just one familiar face, that of Jack Wrangler but the rest of the cast are all unknowns, including Artie Mitchell’s girlfriend of the time, Elisa Florez (billed as Missy Manners).

One of the main reasons for the film flopping is the fact that it was made as a sequel to probably one of the classics of the 1970s, Behind The Green Door. The original was one of the first hardcore movies released in the United States and certainly the first to feature an interracial sex scene. Also created by the Mitchell brothers, the original made a household name of its star, Marilyn Chambers.

Some other notable films from this year include:

  • Blame It On Ginger
  • Emmanuelle 6
  • Farmer’s Daughter: The Movie
  • Man Trap
  • Pink and Pretty
  • Sex with a Stranger
  • Traci Takes Tokyo
  • Year of the Sex Dragon

1987

We had to pick Traci, I Love You as our choice for 1987 as this remains the only title of porno movie starring the infamous Traci Lords which you can legally buy in the United States.

Made a few days after her eighteenth birthday all of her other work was withdrawn from sale following the scandal that revealed she had been underage when filming hardcore sex scenes. However, its not easy to get hold of a copy as despite selling the rights away for a reported $100,000 at the time she has since recovered ownership of the movie and is not allowing it to be sold.

best 80s porn films traci i love you

Traci I Love You (1987) and Lords in 2011. Images via IMDb and Wikimedia.

As it goes, Traci, I Love is not a bad film to get some sense of who Lords was at the time of the notorious scandal. Filmed in Cannes, France with her own production company, it stars Monegasque porn actor of the Golden Age, Alban Ceray and other European porn stars.

There is plenty of action here to enjoy including an orgy with Lords portraying a ‘good girl gone bad’. Overall it’s not a particular ‘classic’ but it is such a sought after title that we felt compelled to give it some spotlight attention.

For some other 1987 porn classics, try some of these:

  • Baby Face 2
  • Black Silk Secrets
  • Firestorm II: The Angel Blade
  • Lingerie Party
  • Peggy Sue
  • Pretty Peaches Pt 2

1988

One of the bestselling titles at the time for the distribution company Vivid Entertainment Jamie Loves Jeff stars Jeff Stryker in a heterosexual role alongside Jamie Sommers, Megan Leigh, Nikki Nights and Tom Byron.

best 80s porn films jamie loves jeff

Not the best film of the 1980s but a memorable one. Images via AdultDVDEmpire/IMDb/Pornhub.

Mostly known for his gay porno work, this is a rare opportunity for you to catch Stryker having sex with a woman. It is probably for this reason that the film was so popular as the movie itself isn’t scorching hot with plot, dialogue or even some of the casting of Stryker’s co-stars (Sommers aside). Even still, we think this is a good example of one of the kings of eighties porn in action, even if it is a mediocre film at best.

There are some better titles from this year including Ginger Lynn: The Movie, plus:

  • Catwoman
  • Conflict
  • Naughty Naughty
  • Party Girls
  • Seduction of Christy
  • Wet Dream on Elm Street

1989

The first film in a series shot by Jamie Gillis, On the Prowl was released in 1989 and was one of the first gonzo porn movies to be shot. The premise of the film is simple, Gillis approaches random men inviting them to have sex for free with a porn star. Its not clear whether any guys refused this kind offer and the film was reportedly shot in a single night. Locations for the series range from cars and park,  bookstores and beyond. However, it is the degradation that features in some of these films that has earned them a bit of notoriety and, among other acts, you can witness golden showers, occasional violence and analingus featured in these titles. The original is definitely well worth a watch.

best 80s porn films on the prowl

On The Prowl. Image via XHamster.

The film series is also the basis for a scene in the 1997 film Boogie Nights. Gillis was not pleased with this attempt at homage and he was reported as saying:

…they took it and made it into a very depressing and kind of ugly thing …. I mean, I’ve done a lot of sleazy movies and things in my life, but I never felt dirtier than after I saw Boogie Nights.”

Other films of note from 1989 include:

  • Bat Bitch
  • For Your Lips Only
  • Night Trips
  • One Wife to Give
  • Super Tramp
  • The Adventures of Buttman
  • The Bitter End

Top Porn Directors of the 1980s

Along with those performers listed above who also directed porn films of the 1980s (Buck Adams, Tom Byron, Jamie Gillis, John Leslie and Herschel Savage), there were many more (mostly) men who were influential in creating iconic content of this decade. Far too many to list but we’ve selected a handful of those who deserve special mention.

Bob Chinn

best 80s porn director bob chinn

Image via Twitter.

Creator and director of the famed 1970s Johnny Wadd series of films starring John C Holmes, Bob Chinn began his work in the adult film industry in 1970.

With more than 40 film credits to his name in the Internet Adult Film Database, his work spans into the 1980s with titles like Sweet Young Foxes (1983), Baby Cakes (1982), Age of Consent (1985) and Olinka: Goddess of Love (1987)

Shaun Costello

best 80s porn director shaun costello

Images via Amazon/Amazon.

Directing and producing more than 70 films, Costello worked a lot with Harry Reems and even authored a biography about him, Wild About Harry.

He started out in the 1960s creating ‘stag’ loops but went on to produce and direct many successful porno movies during the 1970s and into the early 1980s. His best work of the decade is probably Dracula Exotica (1980) but you can also find some good examples of his work in the following titles:

  • Heaven’s Touch (1983)
  • Hot Dreams (1983)
  • My Mistress Electra (1982)
  • Beauty (1981)
  • Pandora’s Mirror (1981)
  • Prisoner of Pleasure (1981)
  • Afternoon Delights (1980)

After his stint in the adult film industry, Costello went on to have an even more successful career producing award-winning television commercials.

Gregory Dark

Known as the Martin Scorsese of erotic thriller and the Steven Spielberg of soft-core, Gregory Dark’s work is seen as groundbreaking by academics, critics and establishments like the British Film Institute.

His film New Wave Hookers was the first movie that pioneered a new genre at the time, that of Alt Porn. Dark is also credited with inventing the erotic thriller genre, also known as noir-romance.

Working in the porn industry through the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s, Dark made the transition to the mainstream media producing music videos for Britney Spears, Snoop Dogg and Linkin Park. He also directed motion pictures with the horror film See No Evil being his most commercial successful work.

Bobby Hollander

Directing almost 60 adult films between 1979 and 1995, Hollander was one of the pioneers of the shot-on-video porn movie. He was originally in front of the camera appearing in loops during the 1970s before taking a more executive role at the end of the seventies.

His best work is on films like Seka’s Fantasies (1981), Dreams of Pleasure (1983), Camp Beaver Lake: The Movie (1984) and The Sorceress (1989). He is also known for his compilation releases which include several editions of popular titles like Breast Worx and Bubble Butts.

He is also famous for managing the porn career of Shauna Grant.

Cecil Howard

best 80s porn director cecil howard scoundrels

Scoundrels. Image via YouTube.

Also known by the names Howard Winters, Ward Summers, and Umberto Corleone, Howard worked with other directors Chuck Vincent and Henri Pachard before starting to direct on his own. He has won two AVN Best Director Awards for his films Scoundrels (1984) and Star Angel (1987) plus was inducted into both the AVN and XRCO halls of fame. He was also the man behind the 1981 classic, Neon Nights (see above).

Scoundrels has often been referred to as the ‘most intelligent‘ erotic film from the 1980s and has recently been remastered for release on Blu-Ray with 4K restoration.

Henri Pachard

best 80s porn director henri pachard

Image via YouTube.

Real name Ron Sullivan, Pachard was the director behind such classic 1980s porn movies as The Devil in Miss Jones 2 (1982) and Blame it on Ginger (1986). He was already well known for his sexploitation films of the 1960s grindhouse scene and was also forging a name for himself in spanking fetish videos.

His best work from the decade earned him five Best Director awards and can be seen in Long Hard Nights (1985), Taboo American Style (1985) and Talk Dirty To Me Part V (1988).

Larry Revene

best 80s porn director larry revene

Image via Facebook.

Nominated for Best Director with the AVN in 1984 for Raw Talent, Larry Revene is known as a prolific adult movie director with credits in cinematography for some of the top porno flicks of the era, including:

  • Wanda Whips Wall Street (1982)
  • Roommates (1982)
  • Velvet High (1981)
  • Midnight Heat (1983)
  • Night Hunger (1983)
  • Hollywood Hot Tubs (1984)
  • Flesh and Fantasy (1985)
  • Young Nurses in Love (1987)

He was also nominated as Best Director for his movie Deep Throat II (1987).

Anthony Spinelli

Once a mainstream movie actor himself during the 1950s and 1960s, Anthony Spinelli latterly became a prominent adult film director.

He started in the industry after seeing a film in an adult movie theater and decided that was the best way to support his family. At the time, he was an encyclopedia salesman.

Working through the 1970s and into the 1980s behind the camera, his first film, The Diary of a Nymph was released in 1971 in which he demonstrated a natural talent for capturing the action in a naturalistic way yet producing a movie that was sumptuous in its detail.

He is most well-known for his 1981 film, Nothing to Hide which stars John Leslie and Richard Pacheco and the 1980 classic Talk Dirty to Me. The former has been voted the #2 All Time Greatest Adult Movies by the AVN. Winner of two AVN Best Director awards, his son followed in his footsteps and Mitchel Spinelli was also a big name in the industry during the 1990s and early noughties.

Roger Watkins

best 80s porn director roger watkins

Images via Target/Wikimedia/Amazon.

Directing in the industry from 1977 to 1988, Roger Watkins used a number of aliases to protect his real identity. These range from Victor Janos, Bernie Travis and Claude Armand to the unlikely Norman F Kaiser. He worked on many films in the 1980s both as director and writer as well some in which he starred as a performer.

  • The Pink Ladies (1980)
  • Her Name Was Lisa (1980)
  • Spittoon (1981)
  • Corruption (1983)
  • Midnight Heat (1983)
  • Driller: A Sexual Thriller (1984)
  • American Babylon (1987)
  • Decadence (1988)

Chuck Vincent

best 80s porn chuck vincent

Chuck Vincent (centre) directing on the set of Roommates. Image via Facebook.

Another director who was making films in the seventies, Chuck Vincent’s most acclaimed work was for the 1981 film Roommates which was critically received by both the porn industry and the mainstream media. He won two Best Director awards for this movie (AFAA and CFAA – 1982) as well as earning an AVN Award for Best Screenplay for the 1984 film Puss N Boots.

In the mid-80s, Vincent moved away from the adult film industry and focused his efforts on creating B movies. He did, however, maintain a connection to the world of porn by partnering with the Playboy channel in which he created content exclusively for them.

Where to Find The Best 80s Porn

We’ve selected our favorite websites that showcase some of the best in classic porn from the 1980s. Most of these are premium porn sites so you will need a membership to view the titles. However, there are some decent clips on a lot of the tube hosting channels, some of which we’ve included links to below.

Don’t forget you can also check out our guide to the best vintage porn websites which includes some retro and classic 1980s porn films.

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