15 TV Shows And Movies To Watch If You Like "Stranger Things"

·6 min read

Stranger Things is famous for blending elements of many classic films and TV shows to create the Duffer Brothers' sprawling sci-fi adventure.

Netflix / Via Giphy

Even though the show takes elements from many other stories, the creators still manage to take all those little pieces and make something into something completely original, giving it its own identity in pop culture. So, as we all anxiously wait for more episodes, here are 15 TV shows and movies to watch if you enjoy Stranger Things.

15.Wayward Pines

A billboard for Wayward Pines on the side of the road in "Wayward Pines"

Based on the novels by Blake Crouch, this series follows a Secret Service agent who becomes trapped in the titular town while investigating the disappearance of two other agents. The Duffer Brothers had written a few episodes for this mind-bending show, and you can see how this sci-fi mystery translated into Stranger Things.

20th Television / Via YouTube

14.The Adam Project

Laura and adult Adam, who holds a mag cell, in "The Adam Project"

Directed by Shawn Levy, who produced and helmed multiple episodes of Stranger Things, this recent time-traveling adventure became a smash-hit on Netflix thanks to its exciting sci-fi story, hilarious one-liners, and stirring moments. The Adam Project also pays homage to beloved sci-fi films like Back to the Future and The Last Starfighter, making it the perfect movie for those looking for another nostalgia trip. And you can't go wrong with Ryan Reynolds being Ryan Reynolds.

Netflix / Via YouTube

13.Super 8

Joe, Cary, and Charles filming a scene for their film in "Super 8"

Directed by J.J. Abrams and produced by Steven Spielberg, Super 8 follows a group of teenagers trying to stop the mysterious threat released from a train that derails during the making of their film. Like Stranger Things, this film pays homage to classic '80s films while putting a new and darker spin on classic stories. While it may not be as beloved today, the film's nostalgic elements, heartfelt story, and wonderful performances warrant a look-back at this underrated classic.

Paramount / Via YouTube

12.The Goonies

Sloth wearing a Superman shirt in "The Goonies"

This movie is the epitome of the child adventure subgenre that Spielberg popularized in the '80s and inspired Stranger Things. While certain aspects of the film have not aged well, The Goonies remains a timeless and entertaining story that has continued to influence many other child-centric stories today.

Warner Bros. / Via YouTube


Carol Anne kneeling in front of a TV as spirits emerge from it in "Poltergeist"

Just as Will is dragged into the Upside Down, young Carol Anne gets pulled into another dimension by the ghosts haunting her new house, forcing her family to journey to the other side to save her. Blending science with the supernatural, Poltergeist invokes the same kind of paranormal mystery and family drama that have become staples of Stranger Things.

MGM / Via YouTube

10.Stand By Me

Gordie, Chris, Teddy, and Vern walking on the train tracks in "Stand By Me"

Based on Stephen King's novella, The Body, Stand By Me is one of the stories that influenced the Duffer Brothers' show the most. They even named the show's fourth episode after the film's source material. Like The Goonies, Stand By Me embodied the coming-of-age adventures of the '80s with its entertaining story, outstanding performances, and heartfelt moments. But instead of extra-dimensional monsters and government agents, this film shows its heroes facing the horrors of growing up.

Columbia Pictures / Via YouTube

9.The Thing (1982)

The Norris-Thing clinging to the ceiling in "The Thing" (1982)

Stranger Things depicts the same kind of Lovecraftian body horror found in this classic film by John Carpenter. Both stories depict strange and malevolent creatures infecting their victims and making horrific monstrosities out of their remains. They also play on the fear that any of the characters can and may be controlled by some ancient and unknowable force. The Thing is particularly famous for its realistic practical effects, so if you're looking for more creature features to gawk at, look no further.

Universal / Via YouTube


The Xenomorph hissing in the dark in "Alien"

Ridley Scott introduced a new kind of alien terror with this horror masterpiece. Its influence on Stranger Things is clear as day with such horrifying creatures as the Demogorgon and even the Mind Flayer. Not only that, but the film's unsettling atmosphere and seamless blend of sci-fi and gothic horror have continued to impact cinema decades later, making it a must-see for any film buff.

20th Century Studios / Via YouTube

7.The X-Files

The opening title card for "The X-Files"

While Stranger Things centers around the small-town kids and their concerned elders, both of these groundbreaking shows have government agents investigating paranormal activity, ultimately revealing the government conspiracies that cover them up. Even the opening themes of both shows sound similar.

Fox / Via YouTube


Carrie with pig's blood all over her in "Carrie"

You already know where I'm going with this. Both Eleven and Carrie are social outcasts with psychic powers who just want to live a normal life. But so far, Eleven has walked a more heroic path than her counterpart. Nevertheless, Stephen King's tragic tale of a girl who suffers abuse and exclusion from society continues to haunt and inspire audiences today, making it a film that every horror fan should see.

United Artists / Via YouTube

5.Close Encounters of the Third Kind

The alien mothership hovering upside down in "Close Encounters of the Third Kind"

Here's a fun fact: Joyce Byers was actually based on Richard Dreyfuss's character in this classic Spielberg film. These protagonists become obsessed with uncovering the truth about visitors from other worlds as government agencies seek to cover them up. But while Stranger Things portray these visitors as hostile invaders, Close Encounters depicts their aliens as friendly and benevolent, despite all the human abductions. All in all, this film is a dazzling and wondrous piece of cinema that few have come close to replicating.

Columbia Pictures / Via YouTube


Brody with the great white shark behind him in "Jaws"

Another fun fact: Stranger Things was meant to be set in Montauk as a tribute to this legendary blockbuster. Though Hawkins is now set in Indiana, the premise of a group of small-town people trying to hunt down a prehistoric predator remains in both stories. And while Jaws is devoid of any elements of fantasy or sci-fi, Spielberg still presents a suspenseful and brutally realistic battle between man and beast that you must see to believe.

Universal / Via YouTube

3.It (2017)

Pennywise crouching in the clown room in "It"

Clearly, the latest adaptation of Stephen King's terrifying novel was influenced by Stranger Things. But you can't deny King's tale of seven kids fighting an entity in Derry also influenced the story of Hawkins. Though the child half of the novel takes place in the '50s, Andy Muschietti's version moves the story to the '80s, invoking the sense of childhood nostalgia associated with the Duffer Brothers' Netflix series.

Warner Bros. / Via YouTube

2.A Nightmare on Elm Street

Freddy Krueger holding his knife glove over his face in "A Nightmare on Elm Street"

In Wes Craven's landmark horror film, a group of teens tries to survive against an undead killer who is able to murder them from their dreams. You can really see the similarities between Freddie Krueger and Hawkins's new psychic threat, Vecna. However, Elm Street had a lasting effect on the show as a whole, as these two stories show a supernature killer disrupting regular teenage life, and the fact that they can attack anywhere at any time makes them all the more frightening.

New Line Cinema / Via YouTube

1.E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial

Elliot flying on his bike with E.T. with the moon in the sky in "E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial"

The bond forged between Mike and Eleven is very similar to that of Elliot and the adorable E.T. Audiences fell in love with the superpowered Eleven the same way they did with Spielberg's little alien, and both stories invoke a childlike sense of wonder and fantasy that have appealed to audiences everywhere. Though Stranger Things falls more in the lines of dark fantasy, E.T. acts as a modern fairy tale that never fails to enchant its viewers.

Universal / Via YouTube

Do you agree with this list? Are there any other films and TV shows that I missed? Please let me know in the comments section below.