<<1980's>> - THE BEST FILMS FROM THE EIGHTIESby marsblack333 | created - 10 Nov 2012 | updated - 12 Sep 2016 | Public
This list is a work in progress. Remembering a great decade in film. Blockbuster films like Raiders of the Lost Ark and Ghostbusters were great, but there was so much more. It was the dawn of the independent film movement. Classic Hollywood storytelling made a resurgence. Coming-of-age films gained new insights and relevance. Social issues were explored as never before. Horror, Sci-Fi and courtroom dramas were reinvented. Music and pop culture were celebrated. Computer technology in film made the first steps toward the advances we enjoy today. It was fun and exciting.
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1. Down by Law (1986)
R | 107 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama
Two innocent people are arrested. An interesting third person, with broken English, joins them in their cell. On his idea, they decide to escape from the prison. Their journey is the rest of the movie.
Votes: 39,915 | Gross: $1.44M
2. Racing with the Moon (1984)
PG | 108 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance
In 1942 California, two young men await induction into the U.S. Marines and say goodbye to their girlfriends.
Votes: 3,501 | Gross: $6.05M
3. Rumble Fish (1983)
R | 94 min | Drama
Rusty James, an absent-minded street thug struggles to live up to his legendary older brother's reputation, and longs for the days when gang warfare was going on.
Votes: 26,532 | Gross: $2.49M
4. Blood Simple. (1984)
R | 99 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller
A rich but jealous man hires a private investigator to kill his cheating wife and her new man. But, when blood is involved, nothing is simple.
Votes: 73,388 | Gross: $2.15M
5. Hannah and Her Sisters (1986)
PG-13 | 107 min | Comedy, Drama
Between two Thanksgivings two years apart, Hannah's husband falls in love with her sister Lee, while her hypochondriac ex-husband rekindles his relationship with her sister Holly.
Votes: 57,660 | Gross: $40.08M
6. Desert Bloom (1986)
PG | 105 min | Drama, Family, Romance
The story involves Rose Chismore's youth. She flashes back and remembers her coming-of-age. Her recollections are sometimes less than sweet, particularly those of her troubled and alcoholic... See full summary »
Votes: 824 | Gross: $0.42M
8. Paris, Texas (1984)
R | 145 min | Drama
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.
Votes: 59,489 | Gross: $2.18M
10. Stranger Than Paradise (1984)
R | 89 min | Comedy, Drama
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 »
Votes: 28,105 | Gross: $2.44M
12. Do the Right Thing (1989)
R | 120 min | Comedy, Drama
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.
Votes: 66,578 | Gross: $27.55M
13. Another Woman (1988)
PG | 81 min | Drama
Facing a mid-life crisis, a woman rents an apartment next to a psychiatrist's office to write a new book, only to become drawn to the plight of a pregnant woman seeking that doctor's help.
Votes: 10,951 | Gross: $1.56M
14. Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989)
PG-13 | 104 min | Comedy, Drama
An ophthalmologist's mistress threatens to reveal their affair to his wife while a married documentary filmmaker is infatuated with another woman.
Votes: 46,777 | Gross: $18.25M
15. Full Metal Jacket (1987)
R | 116 min | Drama, War
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.
Votes: 545,543 | Gross: $46.36M
16. Gloria (1980)
PG | 123 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller
When a young boy's family is killed by the mob, their tough neighbor Gloria becomes his reluctant guardian. In possession of a book that the gangsters want, the pair go on the run in New York.
18. Promised Land (1987)
R | 102 min | Drama
This gritty drama follows two high school acquaintances, Hancock, a basketball star, and Danny, a geek turned drifter, after they graduate. The first film commissioned by the Sundance Film ... See full summary »
Votes: 1,055 | Gross: $0.32M
19. My Dinner with Andre (1981)
PG | 110 min | Biography, Comedy, Drama
Two old friends meet for dinner; as one tells anecdotes detailing his experiences, the other notices their differing worldviews.
Votes: 13,661 | Gross: $5.25M
22. Sex, Lies, and Videotape (1989)
R | 100 min | Drama
A sexually repressed woman's husband is having an affair with her sister. The arrival of a visitor with a rather unusual fetish changes everything.
Votes: 41,119 | Gross: $24.74M
23. Something Wild (1986)
R | 114 min | Comedy, Crime, Romance
A free-spirited woman "kidnaps" a yuppie for a weekend of adventure. But the fun quickly takes a dangerous turn when her ex-convict husband shows up.
Votes: 13,316 | Gross: $8.36M
24. To Live and Die in L.A. (1985)
R | 116 min | Action, Crime, Drama
A fearless Secret Service agent will stop at nothing to bring down the counterfeiter who killed his partner.
Votes: 23,517 | Gross: $17.31M
25. Under Fire (1983)
R | 128 min | Drama, War
Three journalists in a romantic triangle are involved in political intrigue during the last days of the corrupt Somozoa regime in Nicaragua before it falls to a popular revolution in 1979.
Votes: 5,814 | Gross: $5.70M
26. The Year of Living Dangerously (1982)
PG | 115 min | Drama, Romance, War
A young Australian reporter tries to navigate the political turmoil of Indonesia during the rule of President Sukarno with the help of a diminutive photographer.
Votes: 16,781 | Gross: $10.28M
28. Broadway Danny Rose (1984)
PG | 84 min | Comedy
In his attempts to reconcile a lounge singer with his mistress, a hapless talent agent is mistaken as her lover by a jealous gangster.
Votes: 20,310 | Gross: $10.60M
29. The Coca-Cola Kid (1985)
R | 98 min | Comedy, Drama
An eccentric marketing guru visits a Coca-Cola subsidiary in Australia to try and increase market penetration. He finds zero penetration in a valley owned by an old man who makes his own ... See full summary »
32. Alamo Bay (1985)
R | 98 min | Action, Drama, Romance
A despondent Vietnam veteran in danger of losing his livelihood is pushed to the edge when he sees Vietnamese immigrants moving into the fishing industry in a Texas bay town.
Votes: 830 | Gross: $0.38M
33. Pascali's Island (1988)
PG-13 | 104 min | Drama
1908: Pascali, a spy for the Sultan, sends reports to Istanbul that nobody reads. His suspicions are roused when a British archeologist appears, who may not be quite what he seems.
Votes: 815 | Gross: $1.45M
34. Turtle Diary (1985)
PG | 97 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance
Two separate people, a man and a woman, find something very stirring about the sea turtles in their tank at the London Zoo. They meet and form an odd, but sympathetic camaraderie as they ... See full summary »
Votes: 644 | Gross: $2.16M
35. High Tide (1987)
PG-13 | 101 min | Drama
Story about a backup singer for an Elvis impersonator who re-enters her past when she leaves a tour in a small town and finds her daughter in a mobile home park.
Votes: 657 | Gross: $0.14M
36. Wild Style (1983)
R | 82 min | Drama, Music
Legendary New York graffiti artist Lee Quinones plays the part of Zoro, the city's hottest and most elusive graffiti writer. The actual story of the movie concerns the tension between ... See full summary »
37. The Elephant Man (1980)
PG | 124 min | Biography, Drama
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.
38. Scandal (1989)
R | 106 min | Drama, History
Based on the Profumo Scandal of 1963, an affair between an exotic dancer and the Minister of War shakes up the British government.
Votes: 4,019 | Gross: $8.80M
39. Da (1988)
PG | 102 min | Drama, Fantasy
A New York playwright is summoned to Ireland to bury his father (his "Da"). While at his boyhood home, he encounters his father's spirit and relives memories both pleasant and not.
Votes: 395 | Gross: $0.60M
41. Looks and Smiles (1981)
104 min | Drama
Thatcherism and the Irish troubles provide the backdrop for this study of Mick, a well-meaning youth in Sheffield, who has, unlike Dickens' Pip, no expectations. Mick lives with his parents... See full summary »
42. Tender Mercies (1983)
PG | 92 min | Drama, Music
A broken-down, middle-aged country singer gets a new wife, reaches out to his long-lost daughter, and tries to put his troubled life back together.
Votes: 7,796 | Gross: $8.44M
43. Little Dorrit (1987)
G | 357 min | Drama, Romance
Arthur Clennam returns to London after working abroad for many years with his now deceased father. Almost at once he becomes involved in the problems of his mother's seamstress Amy Dorrit ... See full summary »
Votes: 889 | Gross: $1.03M
PG | 109 min | Comedy, Drama
The Disciples of James Dean meet up on the anniversary of his death and mull over their lives in the present and in flashback, revealing the truth behind their complicated lives. Who is the... See full summary »
Votes: 3,389 | Gross: $0.84M
45. The Last of England (1987)
Unrated | 92 min | Drama, Fantasy
The artist's personal commentary on the decline of his country in a language closer to poetry than prose. A dark meditation on London under Thatcher.
46. The Draughtsman's Contract (1982)
R | 108 min | Comedy, Drama, History
A young artist is commissioned by the wife of a wealthy landowner to make a series of drawings of the estate while her husband is away.
48. Eleni (1985)
PG | 114 min | Drama, War
Nick is a writer in New York when he gets posted to a bureau in Greece. He has waited 30 years for this. He wants to know why his mother was killed in the civil war years earlier. In a ... See full summary »
Votes: 1,103 | Gross: $0.31M
49. Videodrome (1983)
R | 87 min | Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller
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.
Votes: 67,727 | Gross: $2.12M
50. The Brother from Another Planet (1984)
R | 108 min | Comedy, Sci-Fi
A mute alien with the appearance of a black human is chased by outer-space bounty hunters through the streets of Harlem.
Votes: 4,877 | Gross: $3.70M
51. Matewan (1987)
PG-13 | 135 min | Drama, History
A labor union organizer comes to an embattled mining community brutally and violently dominated and harassed by the mining company.
Votes: 6,241 | Gross: $1.68M
52. My Beautiful Laundrette (1985)
R | 97 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance
An ambitious Pakistani Briton and his white boyfriend strive for success and hope when they open a glamorous laundromat.
Votes: 11,612 | Gross: $2.45M
53. Mike's Murder (1984)
R | 109 min | Drama, Mystery, Thriller
Betty has a crush on her tennis coach Mike. He keeps on promising to call, but never does - she doesn't know that he's a little dealer. After a failed deal in someone else's district he has... See full summary »
Votes: 658 | Gross: $1.06M
54. Cal (1984)
R | 102 min | Drama, Thriller, Romance
Cal, a young man on the fringes of the IRA, falls in love with Marcella, a Catholic woman whose husband, a Protestant policeman, was killed one year earlier by the IRA.
55. Local Hero (1983)
PG | 111 min | Comedy, Drama
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.
Votes: 17,290 | Gross: $5.90M
57. Prick Up Your Ears (1987)
R | 105 min | Biography, Drama, Romance
This film is the story of the spectacular life and violent death of British playwright Joe Orton. In his teens, Orton is befriended by the older, more reserved Kenneth Halliwell, and while ... See full summary »
Votes: 4,861 | Gross: $1.65M
59. Wetherby (1985)
R | 102 min | Drama, Mystery
The mysterious death of an enigmatic young man newly arrived in the suburb of Wetherby releases the long-repressed, dark passions of some of its residents.
Votes: 1,199 | Gross: $1.30M
60. September (1987)
PG | 83 min | Drama
At a summer house in Vermont, neighbor Howard falls in love with Lane, who's in a relationship with Peter, who's falling for Stephanie, who's married with children.
Votes: 7,711 | Gross: $0.49M
61. Kiss of the Spider Woman (1985)
R | 120 min | Drama
A gay man and a political prisoner are together in a prison. The gay man narrates the stories of two fake movies and his own life.
Votes: 11,943 | Gross: $17.04M
64. Working Girls (1986)
Unrated | 93 min | Drama
A day in the life of several prostitutes in an upscale Manhattan whore house. The film is a stark portrayal of the women prostitutes, the male customers and the motivations of both. Watch ... See full summary »
Votes: 611 | Gross: $1.78M
65. Runaway Train (1985)
R | 111 min | Action, Adventure, Drama
Two escaped convicts and a female railway worker find themselves trapped on a train with no brakes and nobody driving.
Votes: 22,555 | Gross: $7.94M
68. Bride of Re-Animator (1989)
R | 96 min | Comedy, Horror, Sci-Fi
Doctors Herbert West and Dan Cain discover the secret to creating human life and proceed to create a perfect woman from dead tissue.
69. Sid and Nancy (1986)
R | 112 min | Biography, Drama, Music
Votes: 25,311 | Gross: $2.83M
70. Melvin and Howard (1980)
R | 95 min | Comedy, Drama
Votes: 3,705 | Gross: $4.31M
71. Swimming to Cambodia (1987)
R | 85 min | Comedy, Drama
Votes: 1,774 | Gross: $1.09M
72. Torch Song Trilogy (1988)
R | 120 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance
Tony Award-winning actor and playwright Harvey Fierstein re-creates his role as the unsinkable Arnold Beckoff in this film adaptation of the smash Broadway play TORCH SONG TRILOGY. A very ... See full summary »
Votes: 5,882 | Gross: $4.87M
73. Missing (1982)
PG | 122 min | Biography, Drama, History
When an idealistic American writer disappears during the Chilean coup d'état in September 1973, his wife and father try to find him.
Votes: 15,294 | Gross: $14.00M
76. Angelo My Love (1983)
R | 115 min | Drama
Step into the world of gypsy life. Come meet Angelo and his family. See the gypsy court system. A gypsy wedding where a boy's family pays for his wife. Come see the gypsy lifestyle, how they live, how they love family.
77. Letter to Brezhnev (1985)
R | 94 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance
Two Soviet sailors, Peter and Sergei, go ashore in Liverpool to spend one night on the town. Peter can speak a minimal amount of English but it's enough to make contact with two ... See full summary »
78. Re-Animator (1985)
Unrated | 105 min | Comedy, Horror, Sci-Fi
A dedicated student at a medical college and his girlfriend become involved in bizarre experiments centering around the re-animation of dead tissue when an odd new student arrives on campus.
Votes: 44,999 | Gross: $2.02M
79. Day of the Dead (1985)
Not Rated | 96 min | Horror, Thriller
A small group of military officers and scientists dwell in an underground bunker as the world above is overrun by zombies.
Votes: 54,056 | Gross: $5.80M
81. Hope and Glory (1987)
PG-13 | 113 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance
A semi-autobiographical project by John Boorman about a nine year old boy called Bill as he grows up in London during the blitz of World War 2. For a young boy, this time in history was ... See full summary »
Votes: 10,460 | Gross: $10.02M
82. A Prayer for the Dying (1987)
R | 107 min | Action, Crime, Drama
Martin, an IRA hitman, is seen by a catholic priest while carrying out a hit. He grows a bond with the priest and his niece. But his past and his former employers put all their lives in danger.
Votes: 3,786 | Gross: $1.43M
83. The Chocolate War (1988)
R | 100 min | Drama
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 »
Votes: 1,796 | Gross: $0.30M
85. Polyester (1981)
R | 86 min | Comedy
A suburban housewife's world falls apart when her pornographer husband admits he's serially unfaithful to her, her daughter gets pregnant, and her son is suspected of being the foot-fetishist who's been breaking local women's feet.
86. Sherman's March (1985)
Not Rated | 157 min | Documentary, Biography, Comedy
Ross McElwee sets out to make a documentary about the lingering effects of General Sherman's march of destruction through the South during the Civil War, but is continually sidetracked by ... See full summary »
87. The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne (1987)
R | 116 min | Drama, Romance
A middle-aged spinster falls in love with a fellow resident of her boardinghouse, who mistakenly believes she has the money to help him start a new business.
Votes: 713 | Gross: $0.52M
88. Dance with a Stranger (1985)
R | 96 min | Biography, Crime, Drama
A stormy relationship, complicated by the strictures of 1950s social class and gender roles, ends in death. Based on the life of Ruth Ellis, the last woman hanged in Britain.
Votes: 2,058 | Gross: $2.17M
89. Bad Timing (1980)
X | 123 min | Drama, Mystery, Thriller
A psychiatrist, living in Vienna, enters a torrid relationship with a married woman. When she ends up in the hospital from an overdose, an Inspector becomes set on discovering the demise of their affair.
90. Powwow Highway (1989)
R | 88 min | Drama
Depicts the struggles of reservation-dwelling Native Americans in the North Central United States. The main character is an introspective and lovable person in a process of seeking pride ... See full summary »
Votes: 1,384 | Gross: $0.28M
91. Choose Me (1984)
R | 106 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance
Several lost-soul night-owls, including a nightclub owner, a talkback radio relationships counseller, and an itinerant stranger have encounters that expose their contradictions and ... See full summary »
Votes: 2,210 | Gross: $2.49M
92. The Moderns (1988)
R | 126 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance
A struggling artist is hired to forge paintings, causing him to cross paths with his ex-wife and her powerful new husband.
Votes: 1,430 | Gross: $2.01M
94. The River Rat (1984)
PG | 93 min | Adventure, Crime, Drama
After serving time for a theft he didn't commit, all Billy wants to do is to reconnect with his daughter. However, some loose ends, like the whereabouts of the stolen loot, just won't let him go.
Votes: 733 | Gross: $1.14M
95. Shy People (1987)
R | 118 min | Drama
New York journalist visits her distant cousin for the first time to write an article about her hard life in the bayous of Louisiana. Journalist's wild drug addicted daughter just adds to tensions between two families' cultures.
Votes: 954 | Gross: $0.77M
96. Silence Like Glass (1989)
R | 102 min | Drama
A ballet dancer is affected with cancer.
Stark, low budget film with the feel of a stage play that offers an allegorical look at terminal cancer care from a patient's point of view. Great performance by Martha Plimpton.
97. This Is Spinal Tap (1984)
R | 82 min | Comedy, Music
Spinal Tap, one of England's loudest bands, is chronicled by film director Marty DiBergi on what proves to be a fateful tour.
Votes: 113,049 | Gross: $0.19M
98. Evil Dead II (1987)
R | 84 min | Comedy, Horror
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.
Votes: 124,958 | Gross: $5.92M