50 Best Romance Movies of the 1980's

by reh3959 | created - 13 Jun 2011 | updated - 13 Jun 2011 | Public

As per my other "50 Best Romances" lists - they are alphabetically by year of release. As always I can only list movies I've seen (it would be difficult to judge ones that I haven't). These appear to be mostly comedies. No doubt that was the sort of film I was interested in watching way back then.

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1. The Blue Lagoon (1980)

R | 104 min | Adventure, Drama, Romance

31 Metascore

In the Victorian period, two children are shipwrecked on a tropical island in the South Pacific. With no adults to guide them, the two make a simple life together, unaware that sexual maturity will eventually intervene.

Director: Randal Kleiser | Stars: Brooke Shields, Christopher Atkins, Leo McKern, William Daniels

Votes: 57,520 | Gross: $58.85M

2. The Competition (1980)

PG | 123 min | Drama, Romance, Music

The movie centers on a piano competition whose winner is assured of success. It is Paul's last chance to compete, but newcomer Heidi may be a better pianist. Can romance be far away? Will ... See full summary »

Director: Joel Oliansky | Stars: Richard Dreyfuss, Amy Irving, Lee Remick, Sam Wanamaker

Votes: 1,661 | Gross: $14.29M

3. Fatso (1980)

PG | 93 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

Dominick DiNapoli has always been a big kid who loved eating. It was his favorite thing. Then his cousin dies from health complications due to a lack of exercise and improper diet. ... See full summary »

Director: Anne Bancroft | Stars: Dom DeLuise, Anne Bancroft, Ron Carey, Candice Azzara

Votes: 1,627 | Gross: $7.65M

4. Hero at Large (1980)

PG | 98 min | Comedy, Romance

An idealistic but struggling actor finds his life unexpectedly complicated when he stops a robbery while wearing the costume of Captain Avenger, a superhero character of a film he is hired ... See full summary »

Director: Martin Davidson | Stars: John Ritter, Anne Archer, Bert Convy, Kevin McCarthy

Votes: 1,208 | Gross: $15.93M

5. Seems Like Old Times (1980)

PG | 102 min | Comedy, Romance

58 Metascore

Wrongfully accused of a bank robbery, a writer seeks the help of his ex-wife, who is now married to the soon-to-be D.A. of California.

Director: Jay Sandrich | Stars: Goldie Hawn, Chevy Chase, Charles Grodin, Robert Guillaume

Votes: 7,759 | Gross: $44.00M

6. Somewhere in Time (1980)

PG | 103 min | Drama, Fantasy, Romance

29 Metascore

A Chicago playwright uses self-hypnosis to travel back in time and meet the actress whose vintage portrait hangs in a grand hotel.

Director: Jeannot Szwarc | Stars: Christopher Reeve, Jane Seymour, Christopher Plummer, Teresa Wright

Votes: 24,107 | Gross: $9.71M

7. Arthur (1981)

PG | 97 min | Comedy, Romance

69 Metascore

Arthur is a happy drunk with no pretensions at any ambition. He is also the heir to a vast fortune which he is told will only be his if he marries Susan. He does not love Susan, but she ... See full summary »

Director: Steve Gordon | Stars: Dudley Moore, Liza Minnelli, John Gielgud, Geraldine Fitzgerald

Votes: 23,744 | Gross: $95.46M

8. Continental Divide (1981)

PG | 103 min | Comedy, Romance

64 Metascore

A hard-nosed Chicago journalist has an unlikely love affair with an eagle researcher.

Director: Michael Apted | Stars: John Belushi, Blair Brown, Allen Garfield, Carlin Glynn

Votes: 4,202 | Gross: $15.58M

9. Endless Love (1981)

R | 116 min | Drama, Romance

30 Metascore

A high school student's love for a 15-year-old girl is thwarted by parental disapproval, circumstance and accident.

Director: Franco Zeffirelli | Stars: Brooke Shields, Martin Hewitt, Shirley Knight, Don Murray

Votes: 6,314 | Gross: $31.18M

10. Kiss Me Goodbye (1982)

PG | 101 min | Comedy, Fantasy, Romance

Not until three years after the death of her husband Jolly, Kay dares to move back into their former house, persuaded by her new fiancé Rupert. But soon her worst expectations come true, ... See full summary »

Director: Robert Mulligan | Stars: Sally Field, James Caan, Jeff Bridges, Paul Dooley

Votes: 1,689 | Gross: $15.78M

11. An Officer and a Gentleman (1982)

R | 124 min | Drama, Romance

75 Metascore

A young man must complete his work at a Navy Officer Candidate School to become an aviator, with the help of a tough Gunnery Sergeant and his new girlfriend.

Director: Taylor Hackford | Stars: Richard Gere, Debra Winger, David Keith, Robert Loggia

Votes: 43,784 | Gross: $129.80M

12. Tootsie (1982)

PG | 116 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

87 Metascore

Michael Dorsey, an unsuccessful actor, disguises himself as a woman in order to get a role on a trashy hospital soap.

Director: Sydney Pollack | Stars: Dustin Hoffman, Jessica Lange, Teri Garr, Dabney Coleman

Votes: 88,044 | Gross: $177.20M

13. The World According to Garp (1982)

R | 136 min | Comedy, Drama

63 Metascore

A struggling young writer finds his life and work dominated by his unfaithful wife and his radical feminist mother, whose best-selling manifesto turns her into a cultural icon.

Director: George Roy Hill | Stars: Robin Williams, Mary Beth Hurt, Glenn Close, John Lithgow

Votes: 23,200 | Gross: $29.71M

14. Flashdance (1983)

R | 95 min | Drama, Music, Romance

39 Metascore

A Pittsburgh woman with two jobs as a welder and an exotic dancer wants to get into ballet school.

Director: Adrian Lyne | Stars: Jennifer Beals, Michael Nouri, Lilia Skala, Sunny Johnson

Votes: 42,133 | Gross: $94.90M

15. Lovesick (1983)

PG | 95 min | Comedy, Fantasy, Romance

A psychiatrist, who falls in love with a patient, is visited by the spirit of Sigmund Freud, who gives him advice on how to handle it.

Director: Marshall Brickman | Stars: Dudley Moore, Elizabeth McGovern, Alec Guinness, Christine Baranski

Votes: 681 | Gross: $10.17M

16. Pauline at the Beach (1983)

R | 95 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

Marion is about to divorce from her husband and takes her 15-year-old niece Pauline on a vacation to Granville. She meets an old love...

Director: Éric Rohmer | Stars: Amanda Langlet, Arielle Dombasle, Pascal Greggory, Féodor Atkine

Votes: 5,676

17. 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: 48,607 | Gross: $108.42M

18. All of Me (1984)

PG | 93 min | Comedy, Fantasy, Romance

A dying millionaire has her soul transferred into a younger, willing woman. However, something goes wrong, and she finds herself in her lawyer's body - together with the lawyer.

Director: Carl Reiner | Stars: Steve Martin, Lily Tomlin, Victoria Tennant, Madolyn Smith Osborne

Votes: 15,054 | Gross: $36.40M

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: 74,481 | Gross: $76.57M

20. 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: 62,418 | Gross: $62.10M

21. Just One of the Guys (1985)

PG-13 | 90 min | Comedy, Romance

57 Metascore

Terry Griffith has got it all -- looks, popularity, the perfect college boyfriend, and an article that's a shoo-in to win her a summer internship at the local newspaper... or so she thinks.... See full summary »

Director: Lisa Gottlieb | Stars: Joyce Hyser, Clayton Rohner, Billy Jayne, Toni Hudson

Votes: 12,040 | Gross: $11.50M

22. A Room with a View (1985)

Not Rated | 117 min | Drama, Romance

80 Metascore

When Lucy Honeychurch and chaperone Charlotte Bartlett find themselves in Florence with rooms without views, fellow guests Mr Emerson and son George step in to remedy the situation. Meeting... See full summary »

Director: James Ivory | Stars: Maggie Smith, Helena Bonham Carter, Denholm Elliott, Julian Sands

Votes: 35,339 | Gross: $20.97M

23. The Sure Thing (1985)

PG-13 | 100 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

76 Metascore

A college student plans a cross-country trip to get laid, but ends up traveling with a young woman. They hate each other, so naturally...

Director: Rob Reiner | Stars: John Cusack, Daphne Zuniga, Anthony Edwards, Boyd Gaines

Votes: 17,576 | Gross: $18.14M

24. About Last Night... (1986)

R | 113 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

70 Metascore

A man and woman meet and try to have a romantic affair, despite their personal problems and the interference of their disapproving friends.

Director: Edward Zwick | Stars: Rob Lowe, Demi Moore, Jim Belushi, Elizabeth Perkins

Votes: 13,104 | Gross: $38.70M

25. Children of a Lesser God (1986)

R | 119 min | Drama, Romance

A new speech teacher at a school for the deaf falls in love with the janitor, a deaf woman speechless by choice.

Director: Randa Haines | Stars: William Hurt, Marlee Matlin, Piper Laurie, Philip Bosco

Votes: 13,443 | Gross: $31.85M

26. The Karate Kid Part II (1986)

PG | 113 min | Action, Family, Romance

55 Metascore

Daniel accompanies his mentor, Mr. Miyagi, to Miyagi's childhood home in Okinawa. Miyagi visits his dying father and confronts his old rival, while Daniel falls in love and inadvertently makes a new rival of his own.

Director: John G. Avildsen | Stars: Pat Morita, Ralph Macchio, Pat E. Johnson, Bruce Malmuth

Votes: 64,477 | Gross: $115.10M

27. Peggy Sue Got Married (1986)

PG-13 | 103 min | Comedy, Drama, Fantasy

74 Metascore

Peggy Sue faints at a high school reunion. When she wakes up, she finds herself in her own past, just before she finished school.

Director: Francis Ford Coppola | Stars: Kathleen Turner, Nicolas Cage, Barry Miller, Catherine Hicks

Votes: 30,031 | Gross: $41.38M

28. Pretty in Pink (1986)

PG-13 | 97 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

57 Metascore

A poor girl must choose between the affections of dating her childhood sweetheart or a rich but sensitive playboy.

Director: Howard Deutch | Stars: Molly Ringwald, Jon Cryer, Harry Dean Stanton, Annie Potts

Votes: 66,174 | Gross: $40.47M

29. Top Gun (1986)

PG | 110 min | Action, Drama

50 Metascore

As students at the United States Navy's elite fighter weapons school compete to be best in the class, one daring young pilot learns a few things from a civilian instructor that are not taught in the classroom.

Director: Tony Scott | Stars: Tom Cruise, Tim Robbins, Kelly McGillis, Val Kilmer

Votes: 257,553 | Gross: $179.80M

30. Broadcast News (1987)

R | 133 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

84 Metascore

Take two rival television reporters: one handsome, one talented, both male. Add one Producer, female. Mix well, and watch the sparks fly.

Director: James L. Brooks | Stars: William Hurt, Albert Brooks, Holly Hunter, Robert Prosky

Votes: 24,323 | Gross: $51.25M

31. Can't Buy Me Love (1987)

PG-13 | 94 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

36 Metascore

A nerdy outcast secretly pays the most popular girl in school one thousand dollars to be his girlfriend.

Director: Steve Rash | Stars: Patrick Dempsey, Amanda Peterson, Courtney Gains, Tina Caspary

Votes: 28,851 | Gross: $31.62M

32. Dirty Dancing (1987)

PG-13 | 100 min | Drama, Music, Romance

65 Metascore

Spending the summer at a Catskills resort with her family, Frances "Baby" Houseman falls in love with the camp's dance instructor, Johnny Castle.

Director: Emile Ardolino | Stars: Patrick Swayze, Jennifer Grey, Jerry Orbach, Cynthia Rhodes

Votes: 171,100 | Gross: $0.62M

33. Hiding Out (1987)

PG-13 | 98 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

47 Metascore

A stockbroker on the run from the mob decides to hide out from them by enrolling as a student in high school.

Director: Bob Giraldi | Stars: Jon Cryer, Keith Coogan, Annabeth Gish, Oliver Cotton

Votes: 2,823 | Gross: $7.02M

34. Mannequin (1987)

PG | 90 min | Comedy, Fantasy, Romance

21 Metascore

A young artist, searching for his vocation, makes a mannequin so perfect he falls in love with it. Finding the mannequin in a store window, he gets a job there and his creation comes to life.

Director: Michael Gottlieb | Stars: Andrew McCarthy, Kim Cattrall, Estelle Getty, James Spader

Votes: 26,224 | Gross: $42.72M

35. The Pick-up Artist (1987)

PG-13 | 81 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama

47 Metascore

A womanizer meets his match when he falls for a woman in debt to the mafia.

Director: James Toback | Stars: Molly Ringwald, Robert Downey Jr., Dennis Hopper, Danny Aiello

Votes: 5,856 | Gross: $13.29M

36. The Princess Bride (1987)

PG | 98 min | Adventure, Family, Fantasy

77 Metascore

While home sick in bed, a young boy's grandfather reads him the story of a farmboy-turned-pirate who encounters numerous obstacles, enemies and allies in his quest to be reunited with his true love.

Director: Rob Reiner | Stars: Cary Elwes, Mandy Patinkin, Robin Wright, Chris Sarandon

Votes: 351,849 | Gross: $30.86M

37. Roxanne (1987)

PG | 107 min | Comedy, Romance

73 Metascore

The large-nosed C.D. Bales is in love with the beautiful Roxanne; she falls for his personality but another man's looks.

Director: Fred Schepisi | Stars: Steve Martin, Daryl Hannah, Rick Rossovich, Shelley Duvall

Votes: 37,027 | Gross: $40.05M

38. Some Kind of Wonderful (1987)

PG-13 | 95 min | Drama, Romance

55 Metascore

When Keith goes out with Amanda, the girl of his dreams, Amanda's ex-boyfriend plans to get back at Keith. Meanwhile, Keith's best friend, tomboy Watts, realizes she has feelings for Keith.

Director: Howard Deutch | Stars: Eric Stoltz, Mary Stuart Masterson, Lea Thompson, Craig Sheffer

Votes: 24,019 | Gross: $18.55M

39. Big (1988)

PG | 104 min | Comedy, Drama, Family

73 Metascore

After wishing to be made big, a teenage boy wakes the next morning to find himself mysteriously in the body of an adult.

Director: Penny Marshall | Stars: Tom Hanks, Elizabeth Perkins, Robert Loggia, John Heard

Votes: 175,751 | Gross: $114.97M

40. Cocktail (1988)

R | 104 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

12 Metascore

A talented New York City bartender takes a job at a bar in Jamaica and falls in love.

Director: Roger Donaldson | Stars: Tom Cruise, Bryan Brown, Elisabeth Shue, Lisa Banes

Votes: 72,478 | Gross: $78.22M

41. Coming to America (1988)

R | 116 min | Comedy, Romance

47 Metascore

An African prince travels to America to find a suitable woman to marry.

Director: John Landis | Stars: Eddie Murphy, Paul Bates, Garcelle Beauvais, Feather

Votes: 143,652 | Gross: $128.15M

42. Crossing Delancey (1988)

PG | 97 min | Comedy, Romance

A Manhattan single meets a man through her Jewish grandmother's matchmaker.

Director: Joan Micklin Silver | Stars: Amy Irving, Peter Riegert, Reizl Bozyk, Jeroen Krabbé

Votes: 3,173 | Gross: $16.26M

43. Working Girl (1988)

R | 113 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

73 Metascore

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.

Director: Mike Nichols | Stars: Melanie Griffith, Harrison Ford, Sigourney Weaver, Alec Baldwin

Votes: 47,163 | Gross: $64.00M

44. Always (1989)

PG | 122 min | Fantasy, Romance

50 Metascore

The spirit of a recently deceased expert pilot mentors a newer pilot while watching him fall in love with the girlfriend that he left behind.

Director: Steven Spielberg | Stars: Richard Dreyfuss, Holly Hunter, Brad Johnson, John Goodman

Votes: 25,660 | Gross: $43.86M

45. Chances Are (1989)

PG | 108 min | Comedy, Fantasy, Romance

62 Metascore

A reincarnated man unknowingly falls in love with his own daughter from his previous life. Once he realizes this, he tries to end their relationship before angels erase his memory.

Director: Emile Ardolino | Stars: Cybill Shepherd, Robert Downey Jr., Ryan O'Neal, Mary Stuart Masterson

Votes: 9,700 | Gross: $16.28M

46. The Little Mermaid (1989)

G | 83 min | Animation, Family, Fantasy

88 Metascore

A mermaid princess makes a Faustian bargain with an unscrupulous sea-witch in order to meet a human prince on land.

Directors: Ron Clements, John Musker | Stars: Jodi Benson, Samuel E. Wright, Rene Auberjonois, Christopher Daniel Barnes

Votes: 208,025 | Gross: $111.54M

47. Look Who's Talking (1989)

PG-13 | 93 min | Comedy

51 Metascore

After a single, career-minded woman is left on her own to give birth to the child of a married man, she finds a new romantic chance in a cab driver. Meanwhile, the point-of-view of the newborn boy is narrated through voice-over.

Director: Amy Heckerling | Stars: John Travolta, Kirstie Alley, Olympia Dukakis, George Segal

Votes: 71,759 | Gross: $140.09M

48. Say Anything... (1989)

PG-13 | 100 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

85 Metascore

A noble underachiever and a beautiful valedictorian fall in love the summer before she goes off to college.

Director: Cameron Crowe | Stars: John Cusack, Ione Skye, John Mahoney, Lili Taylor

Votes: 75,409 | Gross: $20.78M

49. Shirley Valentine (1989)

R | 108 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

7.2