50 movies from 1981 worth watching

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1.
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
Archaeologist and adventurer Indiana Jones is hired by the U.S. government to find the Ark of the Covenant before the Nazis. (115 mins.)
 
2.
Chariots of Fire (1981)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
Two British track athletes, one a determined Jew and the other a devout Christian, compete in the 1924 Olympics. (125 mins.)
Director: Hugh Hudson
 
3.
Reds (1981)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
A radical American journalist becomes involved with the Communist revolution in Russia and hopes to bring its spirit and idealism to the United States. (195 mins.)
Director: Warren Beatty
 
4.
Das Boot (1981)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
The claustrophobic world of a WWII German U-boat; boredom, filth, and sheer terror. (149 mins.)
 
5.
Pixote (1981)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
The life of a boy in the streets of Sao Paulo, involved with little crimes, prostitution, etc (128 mins.)
Director: Hector Babenco
 
6.
Diva (1981)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
Two tapes, two Parisian mob killers, one corrupt policeman, an opera fan, a teenage thief, and the coolest philosopher ever filmed. All these characters twist their way through an intricate and stylish French language thriller. (117 mins.)
 
7.
Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
In the post-apocalyptic Australian wasteland, a cynical drifter agrees to help a small, gasoline rich, community escape a band of bandits. (95 mins.)
Director: George Miller
 
8.
Gallipoli (1981)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
Two Australian sprinters face the brutal realities of war when they are sent to fight in the Gallipoli campaign in Turkey during World War I. (110 mins.)
Director: Peter Weir
 
9.
Mephisto (1981)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A German stage actor finds unexpected success and mixed blessings in the popularity of his performance... (144 mins.)
Director: István Szabó
 
10.
Man of Iron (1981)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
A worker becomes a "man of iron" forged by experience, a son comes to terms with his father, a couple fall in love... (156 mins.)
Director: Andrzej Wajda
 
11.
Prince of the City (1981)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
A New York City narcotics detective reluctantly agrees to cooperate with a special commission investigating police corruption. However, he soon discovers that he's in over his head, and nobody can be trusted. (167 mins.)
Director: Sidney Lumet
 
12.
On Golden Pond (1981)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
Norman is a curmudgeon with an estranged relationship with his daughter Chelsea. At Golden Pond, he and his wife nevertheless agree to care for Billy, the son of Chelsea's new boyfriend, and a most unexpected relationship blooms. (109 mins.)
Director: Mark Rydell
 
13.
Body Heat (1981)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
In the midst of a searing Florida heat wave, a woman convinces her lover, a small-town lawyer, to murder her rich husband. (113 mins.)
Director: Lawrence Kasdan
 
14.
Lola (1981)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
In post-war West Germany, the charming Von Bohm is appointed a city's new Building Commissioner. His morality is tested when he unknowingly falls in love with a brothel worker, Lola, the paid mistress of a corrupt property developer. (113 mins.)
 
15.
Gregory's Girl (1981)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
Gregory is a normal teen who is infatuated with a classmate. He must work to win her affection. (91 mins.)
Director: Bill Forsyth
 
16.
An American Werewolf in London (1981)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
Two American college students on a walking tour of Britain are attacked by a werewolf that none of the locals will admit exists. (97 mins.)
Director: John Landis
 
17.
My Dinner with Andre (1981)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
Two old friends meet for dinner; as one tells anecdotes detailing his experiences, the other notices their differing worldviews. (110 mins.)
Director: Louis Malle
 
18.
Cutter's Way (1981)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
Richard spots a man dumping a body, and decides to expose the man he thinks is the culprit with his friend Alex Cutter. (109 mins.)
Director: Ivan Passer
 
19.
The Evil Dead (1981)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
Five friends travel to a cabin in the woods, where they unknowingly release flesh-possessing demons. (85 mins.)
Director: Sam Raimi
 
20.
The French Lieutenant's Woman (1981)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
A film is being made of a story, set in 19th century England, about Charles, a biologist who's engaged to be married... (124 mins.)
Director: Karel Reisz
 
21.
Three Brothers (1981)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
Three men face their mother's death. (113 mins.)
Director: Francesco Rosi
 
22.
Arthur (1981)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
Arthur is a happy drunk with no pretensions at any ambition. He is also the heir to a vast fortune which... (97 mins.)
Director: Steve Gordon
 
23.
Time Bandits (1981)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
A young boy accidentally joins a band of dwarves as they jump from era to era looking for treasure to steal. (116 mins.)
Director: Terry Gilliam
 
24.
Quest for Fire (1981)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
This story takes place in prehistoric time when three prehistoric tribesmen search for a new fire source. (100 mins.)
 
25.
Coup de torchon (1981)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
1938, in a French african colony. Lucien Cordier is the cop of this village, populated with blacks and a few whites (usually racialist and lustful)... (128 mins.)
 
26.
Absence of Malice (1981)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
When a prosecutor leaks a false story that a liquor warehouse owner is involved in the murder of an union head, the man's life begins to unravel. (116 mins.)
Director: Sydney Pollack
 
27.
Mommie Dearest (1981)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
Mommie Dearest, best-selling memoir turned motion picture, depicts the abusive and traumatic adoptive upbringing of Christina Crawford at the hands of her mother, screen queen Joan Crawford. (129 mins.)
Director: Frank Perry
 
28.
The Chosen (1981)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
In 1944, in Brooklyn, two Jewish kids become friends. One is from a very conservative family, and the other is more liberal. The issues of importance of tradition, parental expectations and the formation of Israel cause constant friction. (108 mins.)
 
29.
Blow Out (1981)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
A movie sound recordist accidentally records the evidence that proves that a car accident was actually murder and consequently finds himself in danger. (107 mins.)
Director: Brian De Palma
 
30.
The Weavers: Wasn't That a Time (1981 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
Documentary about the blacklisted folk group, "The Weavers," and the events leading up to their triumphant return to Carnegie Hall. (78 mins.)
Director: Jim Brown
 
31.
Circle of Deceit (1981)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
Laschen, a German journalist, travels to the city of Beirut during the fights between Christians and... (108 mins.)
 
32.
True Confessions (1981)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  
A worldly ambitious monsignor clashes with his older brother, a cynical Los Angeles homicide detective who is investigating the brutal murder of a young prostitute. (108 mins.)
Director: Ulu Grosbard
 
33.
Excalibur (1981)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
Merlin the magician helps Arthur Pendragon unite the Britons around the round table of Camelot even as forces conspire to tear it apart (140 mins.)
Director: John Boorman
 
34.
Southern Comfort (1981)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
A squad of National Guards on an isolated weekend exercise in the Louisiana swamp must fight for their... (106 mins.)
Director: Walter Hill
 
35.
Whose Life Is It Anyway? (1981)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
Ken Harrison is an artist who makes sculptures. One day he is involved in a car accident, and is paralyzed from his neck down... (119 mins.)
Director: John Badham
 
36.
Pennies from Heaven (1981)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
During the Great Depression, a sheet music salesman seeks to escape his dreary life through popular music and a love affair with an innocent school teacher. (108 mins.)
Director: Herbert Ross
 
37.
Ragtime (1981)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
A young black pianist becomes embroiled in the lives of an upper-class white family set among the racial tensions, infidelity, violence, and other nostalgic events in early 1900s New York City. (155 mins.)
Director: Milos Forman
 
38.
Modern Romance (1981)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
Albert Brooks directs himself as a successful film editor with far too many issues that affects the relationship between him and his remarkably patient girlfriend. (93 mins.)
Director: Albert Brooks
 
39.
Tragedy of a Ridiculous Man (1981)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
The son of the owner of a large Italian cheese factory is kidnapped, but as the factory is on the verge... (116 mins.)
 
40.
Beau Pere (1981)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
After her mother dies, fourteen-year-old Marion falls in love with her stepfather, Remy. (123 mins.)
Director: Bertrand Blier
 
41.
Marianne & Juliane (1981)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
Two sisters both fight for women's rights. Juliane is a journalist and Marianne a terrorist. When Marianne is jailed, Juliane feels obligated to help her despite their differing views on how to live. (106 mins.)
 
42.
Smash Palace (1981)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
Al Shaw's life revolves around motor racing and his back country junkyard, the "Smash Palace". His French wife... (108 mins.)
Director: Roger Donaldson
 
43.
Porky's (1981)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  
In 1954, a group of Florida high schoolers seek out to help their buddy lose his virginity, which leads them to seek revenge on a sleazy nightclub owner and his redneck sheriff brother for harassing them. (94 mins.)
Director: Bob Clark
 
44.
The Four Seasons (1981)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
Three middle-aged wealthy couples take vacations together in Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. Along the way we are treated to mid-life... (107 mins.)
Director: Alan Alda
 
45.
Clash of the Titans (1981)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
A film adaption of the myth of Perseus and his quest to battle both Medusa and the Kraken monster to save the Princess Andromeda. (118 mins.)
Director: Desmond Davis
 
46.
Stripes (1981)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
Two friends who are dissatisfied with their jobs decide to join the army for a bit of fun. (106 mins.)
Director: Ivan Reitman
 
47.
Wolfen (1981)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  
A New York cop investigates a series of brutal deaths that resemble animal attacks. (115 mins.)
 
48.
Escape from New York (1981)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
In 1997, when the US President crashes into Manhattan, now a giant maximum security prison, a convicted bank robber is sent in to rescue him. (99 mins.)
Director: John Carpenter
 
49.
Das Boot ist voll (1981)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
During World War II, Switzerland severely limited refugees: "Our boat is full." A train from Germany... (101 mins.)
Director: Markus Imhoof
 
50.
Why Not? (1981)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
Near the turbulent end of the Edo era, a man returning to Japan after exile in America searches for his wife and becomes swept up in the current of revolution in this incisive period drama from the great Shohei Imamura. (151 mins.)
Director: Shôhei Imamura