Roger Ebert's Yearly Top Films Lists-- 1980 - 1989

by kingwilson | created - 30 Apr 2011 | updated - 26 May 2011 | Public

Each year is a "Top Ten". These lists are broken up into decades. I figure it's a good way to find new movies.

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1. The Black Stallion (1979)

G | 118 min | Adventure, Family, Sport

84 Metascore

While traveling with his father, young Alec becomes fascinated by a mysterious Arabian stallion who is brought on board and stabled in the ship he is sailing on. When it tragically sinks ... See full summary »

Director: Carroll Ballard | Stars: Kelly Reno, Mickey Rooney, Teri Garr, Clarence Muse

Votes: 9,999

1980 #1

2. Raging Bull (1980)

R | 129 min | Biography, Drama, Sport

92 Metascore

Emotionally self-destructive boxer, Jake La Motta's journey through life, as the violence and temper that leads him to the top in the ring destroys his life outside it.

Director: Martin Scorsese | Stars: Robert De Niro, Cathy Moriarty, Joe Pesci, Frank Vincent

Votes: 270,905 | Gross: $23.38M

1980 #2

3. Kagemusha (1980)

PG | 162 min | Drama, History, War

A petty thief with an utter resemblance to a samurai warlord is hired as the lord's double. When the warlord later dies the thief is forced to take up arms in his place.

Director: Akira Kurosawa | Stars: Tatsuya Nakadai, Tsutomu Yamazaki, Ken'ichi Hagiwara, Jinpachi Nezu

Votes: 27,037

1980 #3

4. Being There (1979)

PG | 130 min | Comedy, Drama

A simple, sheltered gardener becomes an unlikely trusted advisor to a powerful businessman and an insider in Washington politics.

Director: Hal Ashby | Stars: Peter Sellers, Shirley MacLaine, Melvyn Douglas, Jack Warden

Votes: 57,561 | Gross: $30.18M

1980 #4

5. Ordinary People (1980)

R | 124 min | Drama

87 Metascore

The accidental death of the older son of an affluent family deeply strains the relationships among the bitter mother, the good-natured father, and the guilt-ridden younger son.

Director: Robert Redford | Stars: Donald Sutherland, Mary Tyler Moore, Judd Hirsch, Timothy Hutton

Votes: 39,666 | Gross: $54.80M

1980 #5

6. The Great Santini (1979)

PG | 115 min | Drama

As he approaches manhood, Ben Meechum struggles to win the approval of his demanding alpha male father, an aggressively competitive, but frustrated Marine pilot.

Director: Lewis John Carlino | Stars: Robert Duvall, Blythe Danner, Michael O'Keefe, Lisa Jane Persky

Votes: 4,977

1980 #6

7. Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

PG | 124 min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy

82 Metascore

After the rebels are brutally overpowered by the Empire on the ice planet Hoth, Luke Skywalker begins Jedi training with Yoda, while his friends are pursued by Darth Vader.

Director: Irvin Kershner | Stars: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams

Votes: 983,338 | Gross: $290.48M

1980 #7

8. Coal Miner's Daughter (1980)

PG | 124 min | Biography, Drama, Music

87 Metascore

Biographical story of Loretta Lynn, a legendary country singer that came from poverty to worldwide fame. She rose from humble beginnings in Kentucky to superstardom and changing the sound and style of country music forever.

Director: Michael Apted | Stars: Sissy Spacek, Tommy Lee Jones, Levon Helm, Phyllis Boyens-Liptak

Votes: 14,377 | Gross: $67.18M

1980 #8

9. American Gigolo (1980)

R | 117 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

57 Metascore

A Los Angeles male escort, who mostly caters to an older female clientèle, is accused of a murder which he did not commit.

Director: Paul Schrader | Stars: Richard Gere, Lauren Hutton, Hector Elizondo, Nina van Pallandt

Votes: 18,085 | Gross: $23.00M

1980 #9

10. Best Boy (1979)

111 min | Documentary, Biography

In this documentary, the director follows the day-to-day activities of his retarded, middle-aged cousin Philly, over a three-year period.

Director: Ira Wohl | Stars: Ira Wohl, Philip Wohl, Zero Mostel, Christine O'Connor

Votes: 556

1980 #10

11. 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.

Director: Louis Malle | Stars: Andre Gregory, Wallace Shawn, Jean Lenauer, Roy Butler

Votes: 14,219 | Gross: $5.25M

1981 #1

12. Chariots of Fire (1981)

PG | 125 min | Biography, Drama, Sport

78 Metascore

Two British track athletes, one a determined Jew, and the other a devout Christian, compete in the 1924 Olympics.

Director: Hugh Hudson | Stars: Ben Cross, Ian Charleson, Nicholas Farrell, Nigel Havers

Votes: 46,330 | Gross: $58.97M

1981 #2

13. Gates of Heaven (1978)

Not Rated | 85 min | Documentary, Comedy, Drama

A documentary about a pet cemetery in California, and the people who have pets buried there.

Director: Errol Morris | Stars: Lucille Billingsley, Zella Graham, Cal Harberts, Dan Harberts

Votes: 4,686

1981 #3

14. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

PG | 115 min | Action, Adventure

85 Metascore

Archaeologist and adventurer Indiana Jones is hired by the U.S. government to find the Ark of the Covenant before the Nazis.

Director: Steven Spielberg | Stars: Harrison Ford, Karen Allen, Paul Freeman, John Rhys-Davies

Votes: 758,496 | Gross: $248.16M

1981 #4

15. Heartland (1979)

PG | 96 min | Western, Drama

A widow with a young daughter travels to a ranch in Wyoming to manage the household of a rancher. After a while the man and woman develop a relationship that leads to a marriage. But life in the harsh place takes its toll.

Director: Richard Pearce | Stars: Rip Torn, Conchata Ferrell, Barry Primus, Megan Folsom

Votes: 746

1981 #5

16. Atlantic City (1980)

R | 104 min | Crime, Drama, Romance

In a corrupt city, a small-time gangster and the estranged wife of a pot dealer find themselves thrown together in an escapade of love, money, drugs, and danger.

Director: Louis Malle | Stars: Burt Lancaster, Susan Sarandon, Kate Reid, Michel Piccoli

Votes: 12,589

1981 #6

17. Thief (1981)

R | 122 min | Action, Crime, Drama

78 Metascore

Coming closer to his dream of leading a normal life, a professional safecracker agrees to do a job for the Mafia, who has other plans for him.

Director: Michael Mann | Stars: James Caan, Tuesday Weld, Willie Nelson, Jim Belushi

Votes: 19,580 | Gross: $11.49M

1981 #7

18. Body Heat (1981)

R | 113 min | Crime, Drama, Romance

77 Metascore

In the midst of a searing Florida heat wave, a woman persuades her lover, a small-town lawyer, to murder her rich husband.

Director: Lawrence Kasdan | Stars: William Hurt, Kathleen Turner, Richard Crenna, Ted Danson

Votes: 26,044 | Gross: $24.06M

1981 #8

19. Tess (1979)

PG | 186 min | Drama, Romance

A strong-willed young peasant girl becomes the affection of two men.

Director: Roman Polanski | Stars: Nastassja Kinski, Peter Firth, Leigh Lawson, John Collin

Votes: 12,721

1981 #9

20. Reds (1981)

PG | 195 min | Biography, Drama, History

76 Metascore

A radical American journalist becomes involved with the Communist revolution in Russia, and hopes to bring its spirit and idealism to the United States.

Director: Warren Beatty | Stars: Warren Beatty, Diane Keaton, Edward Herrmann, Jerzy Kosinski

Votes: 18,231 | Gross: $40.38M

1981 #10

21. Sophie's Choice (1982)

R | 150 min | Drama, Romance

68 Metascore

Sophie is the survivor of Nazi concentration camps, who has found a reason to live in Nathan, a sparkling if unsteady American Jew obsessed with the Holocaust. They befriend Stingo, the ... See full summary »

Director: Alan J. Pakula | Stars: Meryl Streep, Kevin Kline, Peter MacNicol, Rita Karin

Votes: 33,923 | Gross: $30.04M

1982 #1

22. Diva (1981)

R | 117 min | Thriller

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.

Director: Jean-Jacques Beineix | Stars: Wilhelmenia Fernandez, Frédéric Andréi, Richard Bohringer, Thuy An Luu

Votes: 10,283 | Gross: $0.11M

1982 #2

23. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

PG | 115 min | Family, Sci-Fi

91 Metascore

A troubled child summons the courage to help a friendly alien escape Earth and return to his home world.

Director: Steven Spielberg | Stars: Henry Thomas, Drew Barrymore, Peter Coyote, Dee Wallace

Votes: 318,070 | Gross: $435.11M

1982 #3

24. Fitzcarraldo (1982)

PG | 158 min | Adventure, Drama

The story of Brian Sweeney Fitzgerald, an extremely determined man who intends to build an opera house in the middle of a jungle.

Director: Werner Herzog | Stars: Klaus Kinski, Claudia Cardinale, José Lewgoy, Miguel Ángel Fuentes

Votes: 25,690

1982 #4a

25. Burden of Dreams (1982)

Not Rated | 95 min | Documentary

A documentary on the chaotic production of Werner Herzog's epic Fitzcarraldo (1982), showing how the film managed to get made despite problems that would have floored a less obsessively ... See full summary »

Director: Les Blank | Stars: Werner Herzog, Klaus Kinski, Claudia Cardinale, Jason Robards

Votes: 5,166

1982 #4b

26. Personal Best (1982)

R | 124 min | Drama, Sport

The intertwined lives and loves of three highly-ranked athletes striving for the national team; Chris bounces between the beds of male coach Terry and her female friend, competitor, and role model Tory.

Director: Robert Towne | Stars: Mariel Hemingway, Scott Glenn, Patrice Donnelly, Kenny Moore

Votes: 2,121 | Gross: $5.67M

1982 #5

27. Das Boot (1981)

R | 149 min | Adventure, Drama, Thriller

86 Metascore

The claustrophobic world of a WWII German U-boat; boredom, filth, and sheer terror.

Director: Wolfgang Petersen | Stars: Jürgen Prochnow, Herbert Grönemeyer, Klaus Wennemann, Hubertus Bengsch

Votes: 195,878 | Gross: $11.49M

1982 #6

28. Mephisto (1981)

Unrated | 144 min | Drama

A German stage actor finds unexpected success and mixed blessings in the popularity of his performance in a Faustian play as the Nazis take power in pre-WWII Germany. As his associates and ... See full summary »

Director: István Szabó | Stars: Klaus Maria Brandauer, Krystyna Janda, Ildikó Bánsági, Rolf Hoppe

Votes: 8,134

1982 #7

29. Moonlighting (1982)

PG | 97 min | Drama

A Polish contractor, Nowak, leads a group of workmen to London so they can provide cheap labor for a government official based there. Nowak (Irons) has to manage the project and the men as ... See full summary »

Director: Jerzy Skolimowski | Stars: Jeremy Irons, Eugene Lipinski, Jirí Stanislav, Eugeniusz Haczkiewicz

Votes: 2,186

1982 #8

30. The Verdict (1982)

R | 129 min | Drama

A lawyer sees the chance to salvage his career and self-respect by taking a medical malpractice case to trial rather than settling.

Director: Sidney Lumet | Stars: Paul Newman, Charlotte Rampling, Jack Warden, James Mason

Votes: 30,228 | Gross: $54.00M

1982 #9

31. The Weavers: Wasn't That a Time (1981)

PG | 78 min | Documentary, Music

Documentary about the blacklisted folk group, "The Weavers," and the events leading up to their triumphant return to Carnegie Hall.

Director: Jim Brown | Stars: Lee Hays, Pete Seeger, Ronnie Gilbert, Arlo Guthrie

Votes: 181

1982 #10

32. The Right Stuff (1983)

PG | 193 min | Adventure, Biography, Drama

91 Metascore

The story of the original Mercury 7 astronauts and their macho, seat-of-the-pants approach to the space program.

Director: Philip Kaufman | Stars: Sam Shepard, Scott Glenn, Ed Harris, Dennis Quaid

Votes: 49,716 | Gross: $21.50M

1983 #1

33. Terms of Endearment (1983)

PG | 132 min | Comedy, Drama

79 Metascore

Follows hard-to-please Aurora looking for love, and her daughter's family problems.

Director: James L. Brooks | Stars: Shirley MacLaine, Debra Winger, Jack Nicholson, Danny DeVito

Votes: 46,310 | Gross: $108.42M

1983 #2

34. The Year of Living Dangerously (1982)

PG | 115 min | Drama, Romance, War

65 Metascore

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.

Director: Peter Weir | Stars: Mel Gibson, Sigourney Weaver, Linda Hunt, Bembol Roco

Votes: 17,135 | Gross: $10.28M

1983 #3

35. Fanny and Alexander (1982)

R | 188 min | Drama

100 Metascore

Two young Swedish children experience the many comedies and tragedies of their family, the Ekdahls.

Director: Ingmar Bergman | Stars: Bertil Guve, Pernilla Allwin, Kristina Adolphson, Börje Ahlstedt

Votes: 49,126 | Gross: $4.97M

1983 #4

36. Gandhi (1982)

PG | 191 min | Biography, Drama, History

79 Metascore

Gandhi's character is fully explained as a man of nonviolence. Through his patience, he is able to drive the British out of the subcontinent. And the stubborn nature of Jinnah and his commitment towards Pakistan is portrayed.

Director: Richard Attenborough | Stars: Ben Kingsley, John Gielgud, Candice Bergen, Edward Fox

Votes: 197,841 | Gross: $52.77M

1983 #5

37. El Norte (1983)

R | 141 min | Drama

67 Metascore

Peasants escaping mindless labor and a murderous Guatemalan government head to America in hopes for something better.

Director: Gregory Nava | Stars: Zaide Silvia Gutiérrez, David Villalpando, Ernesto Gómez Cruz, Alicia del Lago

Votes: 4,208

1983 #6

38. Testament (1983)

PG | 90 min | Drama

The life of a suburban American family is scarred after a nuclear attack.

Director: Lynne Littman | Stars: Jane Alexander, William Devane, Rossie Harris, Roxana Zal

Votes: 4,937 | Gross: $2.04M

1983 #7

39. Silkwood (1983)

R | 131 min | Biography, Drama, History

64 Metascore

A worker at a plutonium processing plant is purposefully contaminated, psychologically tortured and possibly murdered to prevent her from exposing worker safety violations at the plant.

Director: Mike Nichols | Stars: Meryl Streep, Kurt Russell, Cher, Craig T. Nelson

Votes: 15,755 | Gross: $35.62M

1983 #8

40. Say Amen, Somebody (1982)

G | 100 min | Documentary, Music

Documentary about the American gospel music scene, focusing on two of the movement's pioneering forces, Thomas A. Dorsey and Willie May Ford Smith.

Director: George T. Nierenberg | Stars: Willie May Ford Smith, Thomas A. Dorsey, Delois Barrett Campbell, Billie Barrett GreenBey

Votes: 217

1983 #9

41. Risky Business (1983)

R | 99 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama

75 Metascore

A Chicago teenager is looking for fun at home while his parents are away, but the situation quickly gets out of hand.

Director: Paul Brickman | Stars: Tom Cruise, Rebecca De Mornay, Joe Pantoliano, Richard Masur

Votes: 69,064 | Gross: $63.50M

1983 #10

42. Amadeus (1984)

R | 160 min | Biography, Drama, History

93 Metascore

The life, success and troubles of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, as told by Antonio Salieri, the contemporary 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: 316,029 | Gross: $51.97M

1984 #1

43. 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.

Director: Wim Wenders | Stars: Harry Dean Stanton, Nastassja Kinski, Dean Stockwell, Aurore Clément

Votes: 66,432 | Gross: $2.18M

1984 #2

44. Love Streams (1984)

PG-13 | 141 min | Drama

Two closely bound, emotionally wounded siblings reunite after years apart.

Director: John Cassavetes | Stars: Gena Rowlands, John Cassavetes, Diahnne Abbott, Seymour Cassel

Votes: 3,844

1984 #3

45. This Is Spinal Tap (1984)

R | 82 min | Comedy, Music

85 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: 115,131 | Gross: $0.19M

1984 #4

46. The Cotton Club (1984)

R | 127 min | Crime, Drama, Music

68 Metascore

The Cotton Club was a famous night club in Harlem. The story follows the people who visited the club, those who ran it, and is peppered with the Jazz music that made it so famous.

Director: Francis Ford Coppola | Stars: Richard Gere, Gregory Hines, Diane Lane, Lonette McKee

Votes: 14,092 | Gross: $25.93M

1984 #5

47. Secret Honor (1984)

Not Rated | 90 min | Biography, Comedy, Drama

A fictionalized former President Richard M. Nixon offers a solitary, stream-of-consciousness reflection on his life and political career - and the "true" reasons for the Watergate scandal and his resignation.

Director: Robert Altman | Star: Philip Baker Hall

Votes: 2,298

1984 #6

48. The Killing Fields (1984)

R | 141 min | Biography, Drama, History

A journalist is trapped in Cambodia during tyrant Pol Pot's bloody 'Year Zero' cleansing campaign, which claimed the lives of two million 'undesirable' civilians.

Director: Roland Joffé | Stars: Sam Waterston, Haing S. Ngor, John Malkovich, Julian Sands

Votes: 45,753 | Gross: $34.70M

1984 #7

49. Stranger Than Paradise (1984)

R | 89 min | Comedy, Drama

86 Metascore

A New Yorker's life is thrown into a tailspin when his younger cousin surprise visits him, starting a strange, unpredictable adventure.

Director: Jim Jarmusch | Stars: John Lurie, Eszter Balint, Richard Edson, Cecillia Stark

Votes: 28,962 | Gross: $2.44M

1984 #8

50. Choose Me (1984)

R | 106 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

6.8