Best of the 1980's

by nick2151 | created - 23 Jun 2011 | updated - 4 months ago | Public

My picks for the 40 best films of the 1980's in chronological order

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1. Raging Bull (1980)

R | 129 min | Biography, Drama, Sport

8.2
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92 Metascore

An emotionally self-destructive boxer's journey through life, as the violence and temper that leads him to the top in the ring destroys his life outside it.

Director: Martin Scorsese | Stars: Robert De Niro, Cathy Moriarty, Joe Pesci, Frank Vincent

Votes: 259,782 | Gross: $23.38M

2. The Shining (1980)

R | 146 min | Drama, Horror

8.4
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63 Metascore

A family heads to an isolated hotel for the winter where an evil spiritual presence influences the father into violence, while his psychic son sees horrific forebodings from the past and of the future.

Director: Stanley Kubrick | Stars: Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Danny Lloyd, Scatman Crothers

Votes: 691,008 | Gross: $44.02M

3. The Elephant Man (1980)

PG | 124 min | Biography, Drama

8.2
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A Victorian surgeon rescues a heavily disfigured man who is mistreated while scraping a living as a side-show freak. Behind his monstrous facade, there is revealed a person of intelligence and sensitivity.

Director: David Lynch | Stars: Anthony Hopkins, John Hurt, Anne Bancroft, John Gielgud

Votes: 180,535

4. Heaven's Gate (1980)

R | 325 min | Adventure, Drama, Western

6.8
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
57 Metascore

A dramatization of the real-life Johnson County War in 1890 Wyoming, in which a Sheriff born into wealth, attempts to protect immigrant farmers from rich cattle interests.

Director: Michael Cimino | Stars: Kris Kristofferson, Christopher Walken, John Hurt, Sam Waterston

Votes: 11,064 | Gross: $3.48M

5. Blow Out (1981)

R | 107 min | Mystery, Thriller

7.4
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85 Metascore

A movie sound recordist accidentally records the evidence that proves that a car accident was actually murder and consequently finds himself in danger.

Director: Brian De Palma | Stars: John Travolta, Nancy Allen, John Lithgow, Dennis Franz

Votes: 32,203 | Gross: $13.75M

6. The Thing (1982)

R | 109 min | Horror, Mystery, Sci-Fi

8.2
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57 Metascore

A crew in Antarctica finds a neighboring camp destroyed and its crew dead. Whatever killed them is nowhere to be found, unless it's hidden in plain sight.

Director: John Carpenter | Stars: Kurt Russell, Wilford Brimley, Keith David, Richard Masur

Votes: 292,951 | Gross: $13.78M

7. Blade Runner (1982)

R | 117 min | Sci-Fi, Thriller

8.2
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89 Metascore

A blade runner must pursue and try to terminate four replicants who stole a ship in space and have returned to Earth to find their creator.

Director: Ridley Scott | Stars: Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young, Edward James Olmos

Votes: 548,019 | Gross: $27.00M

The "final cut" is the best version.

8. Fanny and Alexander (1982)

R | 188 min | Drama

8.1
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100 Metascore

Two young Swedish children experience the many comedies and tragedies of their family, the Ekdahls.

Director: Ingmar Bergman | Stars: Bertil Guve, Pernilla Allwin, Kristina Adolphson, Börje Ahlstedt

Votes: 46,936 | Gross: $4.97M

9. Tootsie (1982)

PG | 116 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

7.4
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87 Metascore

Michael Dorsey, an unsuccessful actor, disguises himself as a woman in order to get a role on a trashy hospital soap.

Director: Sydney Pollack | Stars: Dustin Hoffman, Jessica Lange, Teri Garr, Dabney Coleman

Votes: 83,668 | Gross: $177.20M

10. The King of Comedy (1982)

PG | 109 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama

7.8
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Aspiring comic Rupert Pupkin attempts to achieve success in show business by stalking his idol, a late night talk-show host who craves his own privacy.

Director: Martin Scorsese | Stars: Robert De Niro, Jerry Lewis, Diahnne Abbott, Sandra Bernhard

Votes: 60,275 | Gross: $2.50M

11. Narayama bushikô (1983)

Not Rated | 130 min | Drama

7.9
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In a poor 19th century rural Japanese village, everyone who reaches the age of 70 has to climb a nearby mountain to die. An old woman is getting close to the cut-off age, and we follow her last days with her family.

Director: Shôhei Imamura | Stars: Ken Ogata, Sumiko Sakamoto, Tonpei Hidari, Aki Takejô

Votes: 5,600

12. Local Hero (1983)

PG | 111 min | Comedy, Drama

7.5
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An American oil company sends a man to Scotland to buy up an entire village where they want to build a refinery. But things don't go as expected.

Director: Bill Forsyth | Stars: Burt Lancaster, Peter Riegert, Fulton Mackay, Denis Lawson

Votes: 17,280 | Gross: $5.90M

13. Videodrome (1983)

R | 87 min | Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller

7.3
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60 Metascore

When he acquires a different kind of show for his station, a sleazy cable-TV programmer begins to see his life and the future of media spin out of control in a terrifying new reality.

Director: David Cronenberg | Stars: James Woods, Debbie Harry, Sonja Smits, Peter Dvorsky

Votes: 67,670 | Gross: $2.12M

14. Paris, Texas (1984)

R | 145 min | Drama

8.1
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Travis Henderson, an aimless drifter who has been missing for four years, wanders out of the desert and must reconnect with society, himself, his life, and his family.

Director: Wim Wenders | Stars: Harry Dean Stanton, Nastassja Kinski, Dean Stockwell, Aurore Clément

Votes: 59,404 | Gross: $2.18M

15. Stranger Than Paradise (1984)

R | 89 min | Comedy, Drama

7.6
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86 Metascore

A self-styled New York hipster is paid a surprise visit by his younger cousin from Budapest. From initial hostility and indifference a small degree of affection grows between the two. Along... See full summary »

Director: Jim Jarmusch | Stars: John Lurie, Eszter Balint, Richard Edson, Cecillia Stark

Votes: 28,090 | Gross: $2.44M

16. Huang tu di (1984)

89 min | Drama, History, Music

7.3
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'Yellow Earth' focuses on the story of a communist soldier who is sent to the countryside to collect folk songs for the Communist Revolution. There he stays with a peasant family and learns... See full summary »

Director: Kaige Chen | Stars: Xueqi Wang, Bai Xue, Quiang Liu, Tuo Tan

Votes: 1,707

17. The Times of Harvey Milk (1984)

Not Rated | 90 min | Documentary, Biography, History

8.4
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A documentary of the successful career and assassination of San Francisco's first elected gay councilor.

Director: Rob Epstein | Stars: Harvey Fierstein, Harvey Milk, Anne Kronenberg, Tory Hartmann

Votes: 4,870 | Gross: $0.01M

18. Desert Hearts (1985)

R | 96 min | Drama, Romance

7.0
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A woman on the precipice of divorce becomes drawn to a ranchowner's daughter.

Director: Donna Deitch | Stars: Helen Shaver, Patricia Charbonneau, Audra Lindley, Andra Akers

Votes: 3,663 | Gross: $2.49M

19. My Beautiful Laundrette (1985)

R | 97 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

6.9
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An ambitious Pakistani Briton and his white boyfriend strive for success and hope when they open a glamorous laundromat.

Director: Stephen Frears | Stars: Saeed Jaffrey, Roshan Seth, Daniel Day-Lewis, Richard Graham

Votes: 11,601 | Gross: $2.45M

20. The Angelic Conversation (1985)

77 min | Drama

5.3
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An unseen woman recites Shakespeare's sonnets - fourteen in all - as a man wordlessly seeks his heart's desire. The photography is stop-motion, the music is ethereal, the scenery is often ... See full summary »

Director: Derek Jarman | Stars: Paul Reynolds, Phillip Williamson, Judi Dench, Dave Baby

Votes: 567

21. Brazil (1985)

R | 132 min | Drama, Sci-Fi

8.0
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88 Metascore

A bureaucrat, in a retro-future world, tries to correct an administrative error, and becomes an enemy of the state.

Director: Terry Gilliam | Stars: Jonathan Pryce, Kim Greist, Robert De Niro, Katherine Helmond

Votes: 164,424 | Gross: $9.93M

22. Shoah (1985)

Not Rated | 566 min | Documentary, History, War

8.4
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99 Metascore

Claude Lanzmann's epic documentary recounts the story of the Holocaust through interviews with witnesses - perpetrators as well as survivors.

Director: Claude Lanzmann | Stars: Simon Srebnik, Michael Podchlebnik, Motke Zaïdl, Hanna Zaïdl

Votes: 6,463 | Gross: $0.02M

23. Come and See (1985)

Not Rated | 142 min | Drama, War

8.2
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After finding an old rifle, a young boy joins the Soviet resistance movement against ruthless German forces and experiences the horrors of World War II.

Director: Elem Klimov | Stars: Aleksey Kravchenko, Olga Mironova, Liubomiras Laucevicius, Vladas Bagdonas

Votes: 32,982

24. Vagabond (1985)

Not Rated | 105 min | Drama, Romance

7.8
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A young woman's body is found frozen in a ditch. Through flashbacks and interviews, we see the events that led to her inevitable death.

Director: Agnès Varda | Stars: Sandrine Bonnaire, Macha Méril, Stéphane Freiss, Setti Ramdane

Votes: 5,303

25. The Fly (1986)

R | 96 min | Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi

7.5
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79 Metascore

A brilliant but eccentric scientist begins to transform into a giant man/fly hybrid after one of his experiments goes horribly wrong.

Director: David Cronenberg | Stars: Jeff Goldblum, Geena Davis, John Getz, Joy Boushel

Votes: 131,807 | Gross: $40.46M

26. Blue Velvet (1986)

R | 120 min | Drama, Mystery, Thriller

7.8
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76 Metascore

The discovery of a severed human ear found in a field leads a young man on an investigation related to a beautiful, mysterious nightclub singer and a group of psychopathic criminals who have kidnapped her child.

Director: David Lynch | Stars: Isabella Rossellini, Kyle MacLachlan, Dennis Hopper, Laura Dern

Votes: 148,693 | Gross: $8.55M

27. RoboCop (1987)

R | 102 min | Action, Crime, Sci-Fi

7.5
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67 Metascore

In a dystopic and crime-ridden Detroit, a terminally wounded cop returns to the force as a powerful cyborg haunted by submerged memories.

Director: Paul Verhoeven | Stars: Peter Weller, Nancy Allen, Dan O'Herlihy, Ronny Cox

Votes: 198,542 | Gross: $53.42M

28. Khane-ye doust kodjast? (1987)

83 min | Drama, Family

8.1
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An 8 year old boy must return his friend's notebook he took by mistake, lest his friend be punished by expulsion from school.

Director: Abbas Kiarostami | Stars: Babek Ahmed Poor, Ahmed Ahmed Poor, Khodabakhsh Defaei, Iran Outari

Votes: 6,598

29. Maurice (1987)

R | 140 min | Drama, Romance

7.7
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74 Metascore

After his lover rejects him, a young man trapped by the oppressiveness of Edwardian society tries to come to terms with and accept his sexuality.

Director: James Ivory | Stars: James Wilby, Rupert Graves, Hugh Grant, Denholm Elliott

Votes: 12,086 | Gross: $3.13M

30. Au Revoir les Enfants (1987)

PG | 104 min | Drama, War

8.0
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A French boarding school run by priests seems to be a haven from World War II until a new student arrives. He becomes the roommate of top student in his class. Rivals at first, the roommates form a bond and share a secret.

Director: Louis Malle | Stars: Gaspard Manesse, Raphael Fejtö, Francine Racette, Stanislas Carré de Malberg

Votes: 26,243 | Gross: $4.54M

31. Empire of the Sun (1987)

PG | 153 min | Drama, History, War

7.8
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62 Metascore

A young English boy struggles to survive under Japanese occupation during World War II.

Director: Steven Spielberg | Stars: Christian Bale, John Malkovich, Miranda Richardson, Nigel Havers

Votes: 97,862 | Gross: $22.24M

32. Grave of the Fireflies (1988)

Not Rated | 89 min | Animation, Drama, War

8.5
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A young boy and his little sister struggle to survive in Japan during World War II.

Director: Isao Takahata | Stars: Tsutomu Tatsumi, Ayano Shiraishi, Akemi Yamaguchi, Yoshiko Shinohara

Votes: 164,102

33. Neco z Alenky (1988)

Not Rated | 86 min | Animation, Adventure, Fantasy

7.5
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A surrealistic revision of Alice in Wonderland.

Director: Jan Svankmajer | Stars: Kristýna Kohoutová, Camilla Power

Votes: 9,351

34. The Chocolate War (1988)

R | 100 min | Drama

6.9
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A surreal portrait of a Catholic Private School and its hierarchy. A new student must submit to the bizarre rituals of his peers and the expectations of the school's administration by ... See full summary »

Director: Keith Gordon | Stars: John Glover, Ilan Mitchell-Smith, Wallace Langham, Doug Hutchison

Votes: 1,798 | Gross: $0.30M

35. The Thin Blue Line (1988)

Not Rated | 101 min | Documentary, Crime, Drama

8.1
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79 Metascore

A film that successfully argued that a man was wrongly convicted for murder by a corrupt justice system in Dallas County, Texas.

Director: Errol Morris | Stars: Randall Adams, David Harris, Gus Rose, Jackie Johnson

Votes: 17,887 | Gross: $1.21M

36. The Vanishing (1988)

Not Rated | 107 min | Mystery, Thriller

7.8
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Rex and Saskia, a young couple in love, are on vacation. They stop at a busy service station and Saskia is abducted. After three years and no sign of Saskia, Rex begins receiving letters from the abductor.

Director: George Sluizer | Stars: Bernard-Pierre Donnadieu, Gene Bervoets, Johanna ter Steege, Gwen Eckhaus

Votes: 27,733

37. Topio stin omichli (1988)

TV-MA | 127 min | Drama

8.0
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Two children journey the long road to Germany to find the man they believe to be their father.

Director: Theodoros Angelopoulos | Stars: Michalis Zeke, Tania Palaiologou, Stratos Tzortzoglou, Eva Kotamanidou

Votes: 4,894

38. Do the Right Thing (1989)

R | 120 min | Comedy, Drama

7.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
91 Metascore

On the hottest day of the year on a street in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, everyone's hate and bigotry smolders and builds until it explodes into violence.

Director: Spike Lee | Stars: Danny Aiello, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, Richard Edson

Votes: 66,533 | Gross: $27.55M

39. Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989)

PG-13 | 104 min | Comedy, Drama

8.0
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77 Metascore

An ophthalmologist's mistress threatens to reveal their affair to his wife while a married documentary filmmaker is infatuated with another woman.

Director: Woody Allen | Stars: Martin Landau, Woody Allen, Bill Bernstein, Claire Bloom

Votes: 46,745 | Gross: $18.25M

40. Tongues Untied (1989)

55 min | Documentary

6.6
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Marlon Riggs, with assistance from other gay Black men, especially poet Essex Hemphill, celebrates Black men loving Black men as a revolutionary act. The film intercuts footage of Hemphill ... See full summary »

Director: Marlon Riggs | Stars: Marlon Riggs, Michael Bell, Kerrigan Black, Blackberri

Votes: 698