My Take: 50 Favorite Movies of 1985-1989

These particular years saw my graduation from high school in West Texas and introduction into college life in Nebraska. I'd like to say that my taste in movies got better. I'd like to say that, really, but I would be lying. If anything, I gravitated even more towards spectacle, plain and simple. I blame my fraternity brothers, college professors, and everyone I ever met during these years for not providing me with better taste in movies. There's no excuse for some of the films listed below to appear on this list, considering the absence of many so-called classics from the same time period, except to offer that there's one or two movies on this list that got good reviews, maybe even an Academy Award nomination. Yes, I'm shallow. I have all ready admitted as much, let's move on. I mean, honestly, if you've been reading any of these lists of mine, did you really expect THE LAST EMPEROR, WINGS OF DESIRE or MANON OF THE SPRING to make an appearance? Anyone? Anyone?
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1.
Aliens (1986)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
The moon from Alien has been colonized, but contact is lost. This time, the rescue team has impressive firepower, but will it be enough? (137 mins.)
Director: James Cameron
 
2.
Apartment Zero (1988)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
Set in modern day Buenos Aires, the film centers around a relationship between two emotionally crippled roommates... (124 mins.)
Director: Martin Donovan
 
3.
Peggy Sue Got Married (1986)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  
Peggy Sue faints at a high school reunion. When she wakes up, she finds herself in her own past, just before she finished school. (103 mins.)
Director: Francis Coppola
 
4.
The Monster Squad (1987)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
A young group of monster fanatics attempt to save their hometown from Count Dracula and his monsters. (82 mins.)
Director: Fred Dekker
 
5.
National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (1989)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
The Griswold family's plans for a big family Christmas predictably turn into a big disaster. (97 mins.)
 
6.
Masquerade (1988)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.0/10 X  
A recently orphaned millionairess, Olivia, really hates her scheming step-father. Olivia finds love with a young yacht racing captain... (91 mins.)
Director: Bob Swaim
 
7.
Dangerous Liaisons (1988)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
A scheming widow and her manipulative ex-lover make a bet regarding the corruption of a recently married woman. (119 mins.)
Director: Stephen Frears
 
8.
Ruthless People (1986)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
A couple, cheated by a vile businessman, kidnap his wife in retaliation, without knowing that their enemy is delighted they did. (93 mins.)
 
9.
A Fish Called Wanda (1988)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
In London, four very different people team up to commit armed robbery, then try to doublecross each other for the loot. (108 mins.)
 
10.
Broadcast News (1987)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
Take two rival TV reporters: one handsome, one talented, both male. Add one producer, female. Mix well and watch the sparks fly. (133 mins.)
Director: James L. Brooks
 
11.
Evil Dead II (1987)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
The lone survivor of an onslaught of flesh-possessing spirits holes up in a cabin with a group of strangers while the demons continue their attack. (84 mins.)
Director: Sam Raimi
 
12.
The Emerald Forest (1985)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
After the son of engineer Bill Markham is abducted by an aboriginal tribe on the edge of the rain forest, the engineer spends the next 10 years searching for him. (114 mins.)
Director: John Boorman
 
13.
Midnight Run (1988)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
An accountant is chased by bounty hunters, the FBI, and the Mafia after jumping bail. (126 mins.)
Director: Martin Brest
 
14.
Full Metal Jacket (1987)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
A pragmatic U.S. Marine observes the dehumanizing effects the Vietnam War has on his fellow recruits from their brutal boot camp training to the bloody street fighting in Hue. (116 mins.)
Director: Stanley Kubrick
 
15.
Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
A high school wise guy is determined to have a day off from school, despite what the principal thinks of that. (103 mins.)
Director: John Hughes
 
16.
The Little Mermaid (1989)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
A mermaid princess makes a Faustian bargain with an unscrupulous sea-witch in order to meet a human prince on land. (83 mins.)
 
17.
Little Shop of Horrors (1986)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
A nerdy florist finds his chance for success and romance with the help of a giant man-eating plant who demands to be fed. (94 mins.)
Director: Frank Oz
 
18.
Fright Night (1985)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
When a teenager learns that his next door neighbour is a vampire, no one will believe him. (106 mins.)
Director: Tom Holland
 
19.
The Goonies (1985)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
In order to save their home from foreclosure, a group of misfits set out to find a pirate's ancient valuable treasure. (114 mins.)
Director: Richard Donner
 
20.
Big Trouble in Little China (1986)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
An All-American trucker gets dragged into a centuries-old mystical battle in Chinatown. (99 mins.)
Director: John Carpenter
 
21.
Haunted Honeymoon (1986)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  
Larry Abbot, speaker in the radio horror shows of Manhattan Mystery Theater wants to marry. For the... (82 mins.)
Director: Gene Wilder
 
22.
Field of Dreams (1989)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
An Iowa corn farmer, hearing voices, interprets them as a command to build a baseball diamond in his fields; he does, and the Chicago White Sox come. (107 mins.)
 
23.
Lifeforce (1985)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  
A race of space vampires arrive in London and infect the populace. (116 mins.)
Director: Tobe Hooper
 
24.
Back to the Future (1985)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
Marty McFly, a 17-year-old high school student, is accidentally sent 30 years into the past in a time-traveling DeLorean invented by his close friend, the maverick scientist Doc Brown. (116 mins.)
Director: Robert Zemeckis
 
25.
Adventures in Babysitting (1987)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
A babysitter must battle her way through the big city after being stranded there with the kids she's looking after. (102 mins.)
Director: Chris Columbus
 
26.
The Morning After (1986)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.0/10 X  
A washed up, alcoholic actress who is prone to blackouts wakes up next to a murdered man. Did she kill him and, if not, is she in danger? (103 mins.)
Director: Sidney Lumet
 
27.
Planes, Trains & Automobiles (1987)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
A man must struggle to travel home for Thanksgiving with an obnoxious slob of a shower curtain ring salesman as his only companion. (93 mins.)
Director: John Hughes
 
28.
The Untouchables (1987)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
Federal Agent Eliot Ness sets out to stop Al Capone; because of rampant corruption, he assembles a small, hand-picked team. (119 mins.)
Director: Brian De Palma
 
29.
Ishtar (1987)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.2/10 X  
Two terrible lounge singers get booked to play a gig in a Moroccan hotel but somehow become pawns in an international power play between the CIA, the Emir of Ishtar, and the rebels trying to overthrow his regime. (107 mins.)
Director: Elaine May
 
30.
Working Girl (1988)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
When a secretary's idea is stolen by her boss, she seizes an opportunity to steal it back by pretending she has her boss' job. (113 mins.)
Director: Mike Nichols
 
31.
The Church (1989)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  
An old Gothic cathedral, built over a mass grave, develops strange powers which trap a number of people inside with ghosts from a 12th Century massacre seeking to resurrect an ancient demon from the bowels of the Earth. (102 mins.)
Director: Michele Soavi
 
32.
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
To save Earth from an alien probe, Admiral James T. Kirk and his fugitive crew go back in time to San Francisco in 1986 to retrieve the only beings who can communicate with it: humpback whales. (119 mins.)
Director: Leonard Nimoy
 
33.
Stand by Me (1986)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
After the death of a friend, a writer recounts a boyhood journey to find the body of a missing boy. (89 mins.)
Director: Rob Reiner
 
34.
Lethal Weapon 2 (1989)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
Riggs and Murtaugh are on the trail of South African diplomats who are using their immunity to engage in criminal activities. (114 mins.)
Director: Richard Donner
 
35.
A View to a Kill (1985)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  
An investigation of a horse-racing scam leads 007 to a mad industrialist who plans to create a worldwide microchip monopoly by destroying California's Silicon Valley. (131 mins.)
Director: John Glen
 
36.
The Witches of Eastwick (1987)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
Three single women in a picturesque village have their wishes granted - at a cost - when a mysterious and flamboyant man arrives in their lives. (118 mins.)
Director: George Miller
 
37.
Big (1988)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
After wishing to be made big, a teenage boy wakes the next morning to find himself mysteriously in the body of an adult. (104 mins.)
Director: Penny Marshall
 
38.
Steel Magnolias (1989)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
A young beautician, newly arrived in a small Louisiana town, finds work at the local salon, where a small group of women share a close bond of friendship and welcome her into the fold. (117 mins.)
Director: Herbert Ross
 
39.
Wildcats (1986)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  
A rookie high school football coach has a harder time than she expected trying to whip her tough inner city team into shape. (106 mins.)
Director: Michael Ritchie
 
40.
Gymkata (1985)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.2/10 X  
An American gymnast travels to a foreign country to compete in a deadly game not won by anyone other than a native in more than 900 years. (90 mins.)
Director: Robert Clouse
 
41.
RoboCop (1987)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
In a dystopic and crime-ridden Detroit, a terminally wounded cop returns to the force as a powerful cyborg haunted by submerged memories. (102 mins.)
Director: Paul Verhoeven
 
42.
Cocoon (1985)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
When a group of trespassing seniors swim in a pool containing alien cocoons, they find themselves energized with youthful vigour. (117 mins.)
Director: Ron Howard
 
43.
The War of the Roses (1989)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
A married couple try everything to get each other to leave the house in a vicious divorce battle. (116 mins.)
Director: Danny DeVito
 
44.
Shoot to Kill (1988)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
An FBI agent teams up with a tracker to pursue a murderer after he vanishes into the mountains and infiltrates a hiking group. (110 mins.)
 
45.
SpaceCamp (1986)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  
The young attendees of a space camp find themselves in space for real when their shuttle is accidently launched into orbit. (107 mins.)
Director: Harry Winer
 
46.
Lost in America (1985)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
A husband and wife in their 30s decide to quit their jobs, live as free spirits and cruise America in a Winnebago. (91 mins.)
Director: Albert Brooks
 
47.
Highlander (1986)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
An immortal Scottish swordsman must confront the last of his immortal opponent, a murderously brutal barbarian who lusts for the fabled "Prize". (116 mins.)
Director: Russell Mulcahy
 
48.
The Best of Times (1986)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  
A small-town loser determines to have one more shot at the big time by winning a football game. (104 mins.)
 
49.
Jocks (1986)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 3.4/10 X  
The coach of a college tennis team is given an ultimatum: put together a winning team, or else. (91 mins.)
Director: Steve Carver
 
50.
The Color Purple (1985)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
A black Southern woman struggles to find her identity after suffering abuse from her father and others over four decades. (154 mins.)