1984-The Best Year in Cinema EVER!!!by TomConnors | created - 25 May 2011 | updated - 26 May 2011 | Public
I've thought long and hard about it. Denied it, and several other steps. Scoured the years of films and which ones stuck with me, and ones that most people know, and for some reason, the better part of the 80's just had some of the best and longest lasting movies that have become a part of pop-culture and the lives of many. Part of it may have been because Home Video was becoming the latest craze, but it still can't be argued that throughout the 70's and most of the 80's the movie studios released less than 150-200 titles per year (In 2009 the average was over 600) and each of those films grossing around 10 million on average in that nearly 20 year span compared to the overblown market now. The year 1984 in particular stands out as a year that was so full of movies that are memorable and most people have seen. I haven't even seen all of the films on this list yet, but am aware of them, and hope to see the few I haven't or have not in so long. It's so hard to believe that in a time when less than 200 movies were released on average per year, this many movies managed to not only turn an average profit at the box office of about 15-20 million dollars (Not counting the huge numbers that pulled in close to or over 100 million on their own at a time when the average budget was 5-10 million). Here is a list of the ones that stick out, 60 movies in a year that only 181 were released, right down to the lesser known at the bottom of the pile. It could have been longer, but here are the movies in a year that was so awesome to be a film lover, and have stayed with us the longest...
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1. Ghostbusters (1984)
PG | 105 min | Action, Comedy, Fantasy
Three former parapsychology professors set up shop as a unique ghost removal service.
Votes: 351,916 | Gross: $238.63M
A classic. Still one of the funniest movies of all time. The effects are still well done, even for being almost 30 years old. One of the best ensemble casts ever.
2. Beverly Hills Cop (1984)
R | 105 min | Action, Comedy, Crime
A freewheeling Detroit cop pursuing a murder investigation finds himself dealing with the very different culture of Beverly Hills.
Votes: 161,489 | Gross: $234.76M
Eddie Murphy's best film and character to date. Still a classic.
3. The Terminator (1984)
R | 107 min | Action, Sci-Fi
A human soldier is sent from 2029 to 1984 to stop an almost indestructible cyborg killing machine, sent from the same year, which has been programmed to execute a young woman whose unborn son is the key to humanity's future salvation.
Votes: 793,536 | Gross: $38.40M
The movie speaks for itself 3 decades, and 3 sequels, and a TV series, the franchise is still a hot commodity in Hollywood.
4. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
TV-14 | 91 min | Horror
The monstrous spirit of a slain child murderer seeks revenge by invading the dreams of teenagers whose parents were responsible for his untimely death.
Votes: 205,114 | Gross: $25.50M
There was never before, and never will be a horror icon like Freddy Krueger, who managed to pierce pop-culture and our Nightmares like only a few movie creations had before. Wes Craven's masterpiece is a well crafted thriller-fantasy more than slasher but Freddy will always be the Slasher King of Horror, with is razor sharp finger-knives clawing his way to the top forever.
5. Gremlins (1984)
PG | 106 min | Comedy, Fantasy, Horror
A boy inadvertently breaks three important rules concerning his new pet and unleashes a horde of malevolently mischievous monsters on a small town.
Votes: 195,030 | Gross: $148.17M
Gremlins is just one of those movies that when it came out engrained itself into pop culture like most of the movies in the top part of my list. It is still referenced to this day, (just like most the films in the top part of my list...) Along with Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Gremlins was responsible for the now "Safety-net" rating of PG-13, instituted to give a rating to films that were not harsh enough for an R rating, but a little too adult-oriented for younger children. Gotta love micro-waves!
6. The Karate Kid (1984)
PG | 126 min | Action, Drama, Family
A martial arts master agrees to teach karate to a bullied teenager.
Votes: 185,115 | Gross: $90.82M
More movies in 1984 created phrases and quotes that are still used today ("I'll be back...)...(I'm back). Karate Kid had more than any other, Mr. Miyagi taught us that if you can learn to wax on wax off, you can learn to wax the floor with anyone. Still a classic, and like most films from '84 has already gotten the remake treatment.
7. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)
PG | 118 min | Action, Adventure
In 1935, Indiana Jones arrives in India, still part of the British Empire, and is asked to find a mystical stone. He then stumbles upon a secret cult committing enslavement and human sacrifices in the catacombs of an ancient palace.
Votes: 443,978 | Gross: $179.87M
The follow up to the Spielberg-Lucas team-up blockbuster hit, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Temple of Doom continues the adventures of everyone's favorite archeologist. Along with Gremlins, Doom is responsible for the PG-13 rating due mostly to it's heart wrenching scene involving a 10 year old kid yelling at our favorite archeologist. How dare that Goonie punk! Wait...maybe it had something more to do with the monkey brains, and the heart being ripped out of some dude's chest in the middle of a family movie...something like that. Still love this movie though!
8. 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: 127,722 | Gross: $0.19M
The original, the only, the loudest, the rudest, and most awesome mock-u-mentary ever! Christopher Guest and gang created a genre, along with their own legacy in rock n' roll history with this classic comedy hit.
9. Police Academy (1984)
R | 96 min | Comedy
A group of good-hearted, but incompetent misfits enter the police academy, but the instructors there are not going to put up with their pranks.
Votes: 112,982 | Gross: $81.20M
6 sequels, and nearly 100 million in domestic gross, and embarrassed fans world wide know and secretly love the antics of these bumbling recruits. The podium scene is still one of the funniest, and classic comedy scenes ever!
10. Revenge of the Nerds (1984)
R | 90 min | Comedy
At Adams College, a group of bullied outcasts and misfits resolve to fight back for their peace and self-respect.
Votes: 48,355 | Gross: $40.90M
Nerds and geeks everywhere still hold this classic under-dog movie close to their hearts.
11. Footloose (1984)
PG | 107 min | Drama, Music, Romance
A city teenager moves to a small town where rock music and dancing have been banned, and his rebellious spirit shakes up the populace.
Votes: 69,538 | Gross: $80.04M
Not sure if I should say anything about this one, but people still love it.
12. Sixteen Candles (1984)
PG | 93 min | Comedy, Romance
A girl's "sweet" sixteenth birthday becomes anything but special, as she suffers from every embarrassment possible.
Votes: 104,350 | Gross: $23.69M
John Hughes' classic coming of age story, that even a lot of guy's secretly love and won't admit. Not me though.
13. The Natural (1984)
PG | 138 min | Drama, Sport
A middle-aged unknown comes seemingly out of nowhere to become a legendary baseball player with almost supernatural talent.
Votes: 43,762 | Gross: $47.95M
Haven't seen it in years, but always enjoyed it.
14. Amadeus (1984)
R | 160 min | Biography, Drama, History
Votes: 365,326 | Gross: $51.97M
Won a lot of Oscar gold for the year 84.
15. Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984)
PG | 105 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
Admiral Kirk and his bridge crew risk their careers stealing the decommissioned U.S.S. Enterprise to return to the restricted Genesis Planet to recover Spock's body.
Votes: 74,116 | Gross: $76.47M
Decent follow-up to Wrath of Kahn, directed by Nimoy. Christopher Lloyd stands out in his role.
16. Splash (1984)
PG | 111 min | Comedy, Fantasy, Romance
A young man is reunited with a mermaid who saved him from drowning as a boy. He falls in love with her, not knowing who or what she is.
Votes: 68,508 | Gross: $62.10M
One of the two movies that had this comedic actor with excellent timing. He would go one to make at least a few more movies in the years to come, I guess, but he had two movies that year that were hits!
17. Bachelor Party (1984)
R | 105 min | Comedy
A soon-to-be-married man's friends throw him the ultimate bachelor party.
Votes: 35,240 | Gross: $38.44M
The other movie that year with that comedic actor that was being talked about or something like that. He made a few more movies, I think one of them was about a dog called K:9, or something like that.
18. Red Dawn (1984)
PG-13 | 114 min | Action, Drama
It is the dawn of World War III. In mid-western America, a group of teenagers band together to defend their town, and their country, from invading Soviet forces.
Votes: 50,902 | Gross: $38.38M
Remake to come out someday...
19. Romancing the Stone (1984)
PG | 106 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy
A mousy romance novelist sets off for Colombia to ransom her kidnapped sister, and soon finds herself in the middle of a dangerous adventure hunting for treasure with a mercenary rogue.
Votes: 82,003 | Gross: $76.57M
Robert Zemeckis' (Back to the Future, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Forrest Gump) first big movie!
20. Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984)
R | 79 min | Horror, Thriller
Little Billy witness his parents getting killed by Santa after being warned by his senile grandpa that Santa punishes those who are naughty. Now Billy is 18, and out of the orphanage, and he has just become Santa, himself.
Votes: 13,275 | Gross: $2.49M
What a controversial movie! One of the most ever, still a messed up piece of film!
21. Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984)
R | 91 min | Horror, Thriller
After being mortally wounded and taken to the morgue, murderer Jason Voorhees spontaneously revives and embarks on a killing spree as he makes his way back to his home at Camp Crystal Lake.
Votes: 44,895 | Gross: $32.98M
Still one of the best Friday the 13th sequels, with Corey Feldman kickin' ass!
22. The Last Starfighter (1984)
PG | 101 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
Video game expert Alex Rogan finds himself transported to another planet after conquering The Last Starfighter video game only to find out it was just a test. He was recruited to join the team of best starfighters to defend their world from the attack.
Votes: 38,045 | Gross: $28.73M
Excellent sci-fi movie.
23. Starman (1984)
PG | 115 min | Romance, Sci-Fi
An alien takes the form of a young widow's husband and makes her drive him across the country. The government tries to stop them.
Votes: 42,219 | Gross: $28.70M
Good John Carpenter flick. Another great Jeff Bridges performance.
24. Purple Rain (1984)
R | 111 min | Drama, Music, Romance
A young musician, tormented by an abusive situation at home, must contend with a rival singer, a burgeoning romance, and his own dissatisfied band, as his star begins to rise.
Votes: 19,316 | Gross: $68.39M
It speaks for itself. It's Prince...I mean come on.
25. The Muppets Take Manhattan (1984)
G | 94 min | Adventure, Comedy, Drama
Kermit and his friends go to New York City to get their musical on Broadway only to find it's a more difficult task than they anticipated.
Votes: 19,323 | Gross: $25.53M
One of the best!
26. Body Double (1984)
R | 114 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery
A young actor's obsession with spying on a beautiful woman who lives nearby leads to a baffling series of events with drastic consequences.
Votes: 28,572 | Gross: $8.80M
28. Dune (1984)
PG-13 | 137 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
A Duke's son leads desert warriors against the galactic emperor and his father's evil nemesis when they assassinate his father and free their desert world from the emperor's rule.
Votes: 125,872 | Gross: $30.93M
29. Johnny Dangerously (1984)
PG-13 | 90 min | Comedy, Crime
Set in the 1930s, an honest, good-hearted man is forced to turn to a life of crime to finance his neurotic mother's sky-rocketing medical bills.
Hilariously so bad, it's good.
30. Supergirl (1984)
PG | 124 min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy
After losing a powerful orb, Kara Zor-El, Superman's cousin, comes to Earth to retrieve it and instead finds herself up against a wicked witch.
Votes: 18,532 | Gross: $13.60M
Ha ha ha ha....this is another one of those that's memorable because of how bad it was!
31. Missing in Action (1984)
R | 101 min | Action, Adventure, Drama
Colonel Braddock launches a mission deep into the jungles of Vietnam to find the POW camp that he escaped from and free the Americans still held captive there.
Votes: 13,697 | Gross: $22.81M
Chuck Norris' answer to Rambo
32. Top Secret! (1984)
PG | 90 min | Comedy, Music
Parody of WWII spy movies in which an American rock and roll singer becomes involved in a Resistance plot to rescue a scientist imprisoned in East Germany.
Votes: 59,614 | Gross: $20.50M
Classic goofy and irreverent, from the guys who brought us Airplane! Young Val Kilmer shows at one time he had a sense of humor, that was before he ate Marlon Brando, in that tragic dinner accident.
33. Rhinestone (1984)
PG | 111 min | Comedy, Music
A country music star must turn an obnoxious New York cabbie into a singer in order to win a bet.
Votes: 6,793 | Gross: $21.44M
Better than it had the right to be, strange but enjoyable.
34. Conan the Destroyer (1984)
PG | 103 min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Conan leads a ragtag group of adventurers on a quest for a princess.
Votes: 75,594 | Gross: $31.04M
35. 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: 23,723 | Gross: $10.60M
36. Greystoke (1984)
PG | 143 min | Adventure, Drama
A missing heir of respected Scottish family, raised in African jungles by animals, finally returns to his estate only to realize that difference between the two worlds is really significant.
Votes: 17,552 | Gross: $45.90M
37. Against All Odds (1984)
R | 128 min | Action, Adventure, Crime
A gangster hires an ex-football player to find his girlfriend. When he finds her, they fall in love, and the twists start to appear.
Votes: 10,803 | Gross: $25.10M
38. Children of the Corn (1984)
R | 92 min | Horror, Thriller
A young couple is trapped in a remote town where a dangerous religious cult of children believes that everyone over age 18 must be killed.
Votes: 47,232 | Gross: $14.57M
Still producing sequels I swear, they are on like Children of the Corn 13 now...you would think these people would learn to stop reproducing already!!!
39. The Ice Pirates (1984)
PG | 91 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy
In a distant future scarce of water, space pirates get caught after stealing ice from a spaceship. They are sold to a princess looking for her dad. He might have found a planet abundant with water.
Votes: 9,775 | Gross: $14.26M
One of my earliest memories of going to the theater.
40. Moscow on the Hudson (1984)
R | 115 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance
A Russian saxophonist visiting New York with a circus troupe suddenly decides to defect from the USSR during a shopping trip to a department store, but he finds adjusting to American life more difficult than he imagined.
Votes: 10,807 | Gross: $25.10M
41. The Gods Must Be Crazy (1980)
PG | 109 min | Adventure, Comedy
A comic allegory about a traveling Bushman who encounters modern civilization and its stranger aspects, including a clumsy scientist and a band of revolutionaries.
Votes: 52,118 | Gross: $30.03M
Released in 1984 in the USA, I remember this film fondly, a very funny movie.
42. Firestarter (1984)
R | 114 min | Action, Horror, Sci-Fi
A couple who participated in a potent medical experiment gain telepathic ability and then have a child who is pyrokinetic.
Votes: 29,103 | Gross: $15.10M
Drew showing she can hold her own, even at her age at the time.
43. Runaway (I) (1984)
PG-13 | 99 min | Action, Crime, Sci-Fi
In the near future, a police officer specializes in malfunctioning robots. When a robot turns out to have been programmed to kill, he begins to uncover a homicidal plot to create killer robots... and his son becomes a target.
Votes: 11,590 | Gross: $6.77M
Gene Simmons of Kiss is delightful as the villain in this well-remembered sci-fi classic.
44. Cloak & Dagger (1984)
PG | 101 min | Action, Adventure, Crime
A young boy and his imaginary friend end up on the run while in possession of a top-secret spy gadget.
Votes: 6,789 | Gross: $9.72M
I remember this one, it has E.T.'s brother in it, n' Dabney Coleman. Dabney, that's a cool ass name.
45. Best Defense (1984)
R | 94 min | Comedy, War