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

71 Metascore

Three parapsychologists forced out of their university funding set up shop as a unique ghost removal service in New York City, attracting frightened yet skeptical customers.

Director: Ivan Reitman | Stars: Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Sigourney Weaver, Harold Ramis

Votes: 383,583 | 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

66 Metascore

A freewheeling Detroit cop pursuing a murder investigation finds himself dealing with the very different culture of Beverly Hills.

Director: Martin Brest | Stars: Eddie Murphy, Judge Reinhold, John Ashton, Lisa Eilbacher

Votes: 175,594 | 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

84 Metascore

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.

Director: James Cameron | Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Michael Biehn, Paul Winfield

Votes: 825,114 | 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)

R | 91 min | Horror

76 Metascore

The monstrous spirit of a slain child murderer seeks revenge by invading the dreams of teenagers whose parents were responsible for his untimely death.

Director: Wes Craven | Stars: Heather Langenkamp, Johnny Depp, Robert Englund, John Saxon

Votes: 224,109 | 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

70 Metascore

A young man inadvertently breaks three important rules concerning his new pet and unleashes a horde of malevolently mischievous monsters on a small town.

Director: Joe Dante | Stars: Zach Galligan, Phoebe Cates, Hoyt Axton, John Louie

Votes: 210,457 | 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

60 Metascore

A martial arts master agrees to teach karate to a bullied teenager.

Director: John G. Avildsen | Stars: Ralph Macchio, Pat Morita, Elisabeth Shue, Martin Kove

Votes: 210,007 | 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

57 Metascore

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.

Director: Steven Spielberg | Stars: Harrison Ford, Kate Capshaw, Ke Huy Quan, Amrish Puri

Votes: 468,520 | 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

92 Metascore

Spinal Tap, one of England's loudest bands, is chronicled by film director Marty DiBergi on what proves to be a fateful tour.

Director: Rob Reiner | Stars: Rob Reiner, Michael McKean, Christopher Guest, Kimberly Stringer

Votes: 135,578 | Gross: $4.74M

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

41 Metascore

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.

Director: Hugh Wilson | Stars: Steve Guttenberg, G.W. Bailey, Kim Cattrall, Bubba Smith

Votes: 120,809 | 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

44 Metascore

At Adams College, a group of bullied outcasts and misfits resolve to fight back for their peace and self-respect.

Director: Jeff Kanew | Stars: Robert Carradine, Anthony Edwards, Timothy Busfield, Andrew Cassese

Votes: 51,867 | 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

42 Metascore

A city teenager moves to a small town where rock music and dancing have been banned, and his rebellious spirit shakes up the populace.

Director: Herbert Ross | Stars: Kevin Bacon, Lori Singer, John Lithgow, Dianne Wiest

Votes: 75,914 | 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

61 Metascore

A girl's "sweet" sixteenth birthday becomes anything but special, as she suffers from every embarrassment possible.

Director: John Hughes | Stars: Molly Ringwald, Anthony Michael Hall, Justin Henry, Michael Schoeffling

Votes: 111,061 | 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

61 Metascore

A middle-aged unknown comes seemingly out of nowhere to become a legendary baseball player with almost supernatural talent.

Director: Barry Levinson | Stars: Robert Redford, Robert Duvall, Glenn Close, Kim Basinger

Votes: 47,102 | Gross: $47.95M

Haven't seen it in years, but always enjoyed it.

14. Amadeus (1984)

R | 160 min | Biography, Drama, Music

88 Metascore

The life, success and troubles of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, as told by Antonio Salieri, the contemporaneous composer who was insanely jealous of Mozart's talent and claimed to have murdered him.

Director: Milos Forman | Stars: F. Murray Abraham, Tom Hulce, Elizabeth Berridge, Roy Dotrice

Votes: 385,093 | 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

56 Metascore

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.

Director: Leonard Nimoy | Stars: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, James Doohan

Votes: 78,176 | 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

71 Metascore

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.

Director: Ron Howard | Stars: Tom Hanks, Daryl Hannah, Eugene Levy, John Candy

Votes: 74,335 | 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

56 Metascore

A soon-to-be-married man's friends throw him the ultimate bachelor party.

Director: Neal Israel | Stars: Tom Hanks, Tawny Kitaen, Adrian Zmed, George Grizzard

Votes: 38,663 | 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

53 Metascore

It is the dawn of World War III. In the west mountains of America, a group of teenagers band together to defend their town, and their country, from invading Soviet forces.

Director: John Milius | Stars: Patrick Swayze, C. Thomas Howell, Lea Thompson, Charlie Sheen

Votes: 54,091 | Gross: $38.38M

Remake to come out someday...

19. Romancing the Stone (1984)

PG | 106 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy

63 Metascore

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.

Director: Robert Zemeckis | Stars: Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner, Danny DeVito, Zack Norman

Votes: 89,163 | 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

31 Metascore

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.

Director: Charles E. Sellier Jr. | Stars: Lilyan Chauvin, Gilmer McCormick, Toni Nero, Robert Brian Wilson

Votes: 14,586 | 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

33 Metascore

After being announced dead and taken to a morgue, Jason Voorhees spontaneously revives, escapes from the hospital, and stalks a group of friends renting a house in the countryside near Crystal Lake.

Director: Joseph Zito | Stars: Erich Anderson, Judie Aronson, Peter Barton, Kimberly Beck

Votes: 49,711 | 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

67 Metascore

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.

Director: Nick Castle | Stars: Lance Guest, Robert Preston, Kay E. Kuter, Dan Mason

Votes: 40,857 | Gross: $28.73M

Excellent sci-fi movie.

23. Starman (1984)

PG | 115 min | Romance, Sci-Fi

70 Metascore

An alien takes the form of a young Wisconsin widow's husband and makes her drive him to his departure point in Arizona. Distrustful government agents, along with a more ambivalent scientist, give pursuit in hopes of intercepting them.

Director: John Carpenter | Stars: Jeff Bridges, Karen Allen, Charles Martin Smith, Richard Jaeckel

Votes: 45,632 | Gross: $28.70M

Good John Carpenter flick. Another great Jeff Bridges performance.

24. Purple Rain (1984)

R | 111 min | Drama, Music, Romance

55 Metascore

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.

Director: Albert Magnoli | Stars: Prince, Apollonia Kotero, Morris Day, Olga Karlatos

Votes: 20,834 | 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

64 Metascore

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.

Director: Frank Oz | Stars: Jim Henson, Frank Oz, Dave Goelz, Steve Whitmire

Votes: 20,614 | Gross: $25.53M

One of the best!

26. Body Double (1984)

R | 114 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

69 Metascore

A young actor's obsession with spying on a beautiful woman who lives nearby leads to a baffling series of events with drastic consequences.

Director: Brian De Palma | Stars: Craig Wasson, Melanie Griffith, Gregg Henry, Deborah Shelton

Votes: 31,980 | Gross: $8.80M

Good flick.

27. 2010: The Year We Make Contact (1984)

PG | 116 min | Adventure, Mystery, Sci-Fi

53 Metascore

A joint USA-Soviet expedition is sent to Jupiter to learn exactly what happened to the "Discovery" and its H.A.L. 9000 computer.

Director: Peter Hyams | Stars: Roy Scheider, John Lithgow, Helen Mirren, Bob Balaban

Votes: 51,872 | Gross: $40.20M

28. Dune (1984)

PG-13 | 137 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

41 Metascore

A Duke's son leads desert warriors against the galactic emperor and his father's evil nemesis to free their desert world from the emperor's rule.

Director: David Lynch | Stars: Kyle MacLachlan, Virginia Madsen, Francesca Annis, Leonardo Cimino

Votes: 152,805 | Gross: $30.93M

29. Johnny Dangerously (1984)

PG-13 | 90 min | Comedy, Crime

54 Metascore

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.

Director: Amy Heckerling | Stars: Michael Keaton, Joe Piscopo, Marilu Henner, Maureen Stapleton

Votes: 14,095

Hilariously so bad, it's good.

30. Supergirl (1984)

PG | 124 min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy

42 Metascore

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.

Director: Jeannot Szwarc | Stars: Helen Slater, Faye Dunaway, Peter O'Toole, Mia Farrow

Votes: 21,351 | 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

43 Metascore

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.

Director: Joseph Zito | Stars: Chuck Norris, M. Emmet Walsh, David Tress, Lenore Kasdorf

Votes: 14,706 | Gross: $22.81M

Chuck Norris' answer to Rambo

32. Top Secret! (1984)

PG | 90 min | Comedy, Crime, Music

68 Metascore

An American rock and roll singer becomes involved in a Resistance plot to rescue a scientist imprisoned in East Germany.

Directors: Jim Abrahams, David Zucker, Jerry Zucker | Stars: Val Kilmer, Lucy Gutteridge, Peter Cushing, Jeremy Kemp

Votes: 64,122 | 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

36 Metascore

A country music star must turn an obnoxious New York cabbie into a singer in order to win a bet.

Director: Bob Clark | Stars: Sylvester Stallone, Dolly Parton, Richard Farnsworth, Ron Leibman

Votes: 7,337 | 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

53 Metascore

Conan leads a ragtag group of adventurers on a quest for a princess.

Director: Richard Fleischer | Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Grace Jones, Olivia d'Abo, Wilt Chamberlain

Votes: 78,574 | Gross: $31.04M


35. Broadway Danny Rose (1984)

PG | 84 min | Comedy

82 Metascore

In his attempts to reconcile a lounge singer with his mistress, a hapless talent agent is mistaken as her lover by a jealous gangster.

Director: Woody Allen | Stars: Woody Allen, Mia Farrow, Nick Apollo Forte, Sandy Baron

Votes: 24,975 | Gross: $10.60M

36. Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes (1984)

PG | 143 min | Adventure, Drama

62 Metascore

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.

Director: Hugh Hudson | Stars: Christopher Lambert, Andie MacDowell, Ralph Richardson, Ian Holm

Votes: 19,713 | Gross: $45.90M

37. Against All Odds (1984)

R | 128 min | Action, Adventure, Crime

42 Metascore

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.

Director: Taylor Hackford | Stars: Rachel Ward, Jeff Bridges, James Woods, Alex Karras

Votes: 11,900 | Gross: $25.10M

38. Children of the Corn (1984)

R | 92 min | Horror, Thriller

45 Metascore

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.

Director: Fritz Kiersch | Stars: Peter Horton, Linda Hamilton, R.G. Armstrong, John Franklin

Votes: 50,653 | 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

44 Metascore

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.

Director: Stewart Raffill | Stars: Robert Urich, Mary Crosby, Michael D. Roberts, Anjelica Huston

Votes: 10,508 | 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

67 Metascore

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.

Director: Paul Mazursky | Stars: Robin Williams, Maria Conchita Alonso, Cleavant Derricks, Alejandro Rey

Votes: 11,623 | Gross: $25.10M

41. The Gods Must Be Crazy (1980)

PG | 109 min | Adventure, Comedy

73 Metascore

A comic allegory about a traveling Bushman who encounters modern civilization and its stranger aspects, including a clumsy scientist and a band of revolutionaries.

Director: Jamie Uys | Stars: N!xau, Marius Weyers, Sandra Prinsloo, Louw Verwey

Votes: 54,659 | 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

50 Metascore

A couple who participated in a potent medical experiment gain telepathic ability and then have a child who is pyrokinetic.

Director: Mark L. Lester | Stars: Drew Barrymore, David Keith, Freddie Jones, Heather Locklear

Votes: 31,253 | 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

50 Metascore

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.

Director: Michael Crichton | Stars: Tom Selleck, Cynthia Rhodes, Gene Simmons, Kirstie Alley

Votes: 12,896 | 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

64 Metascore

A young boy and his imaginary friend end up on the run while in possession of a top-secret spy gadget.

Director: Richard Franklin | Stars: Henry Thomas, Dabney Coleman, Michael Murphy, Christina Nigra

Votes: 7,269 | 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.