<<1980's>> - THE BEST FILMS FROM THE EIGHTIES

by 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

75 Metascore

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.

Director: Jim Jarmusch | Stars: Tom Waits, John Lurie, Roberto Benigni, Nicoletta Braschi

Votes: 41,030 | 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.

Director: Richard Benjamin | Stars: Sean Penn, Elizabeth McGovern, Nicolas Cage, John Karlen

Votes: 3,556 | Gross: $6.05M

3. Rumble Fish (1983)

R | 94 min | Drama

63 Metascore

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.

Director: Francis Ford Coppola | Stars: Matt Dillon, Mickey Rourke, Diane Lane, Dennis Hopper

Votes: 27,149 | Gross: $2.49M

4. Blood Simple. (1984)

R | 99 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

81 Metascore

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.

Directors: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen | Stars: John Getz, Frances McDormand, Dan Hedaya, M. Emmet Walsh

Votes: 75,365 | Gross: $2.15M

5. Hannah and Her Sisters (1986)

PG-13 | 107 min | Comedy, Drama

90 Metascore

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.

Director: Woody Allen | Stars: Mia Farrow, Dianne Wiest, Michael Caine, Barbara Hershey

Votes: 59,000 | 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 »

Director: Eugene Corr | Stars: Jon Voight, JoBeth Williams, Annabeth Gish, Ellen Barkin

Votes: 832 | Gross: $0.42M

7. Bagdad Cafe (1987)

PG | 95 min | Comedy, Drama

71 Metascore

A lonely German woman ends up in the most desolate motel on Earth and decides to make it brighter.

Director: Percy Adlon | Stars: Marianne Sägebrecht, CCH Pounder, Jack Palance, Christine Kaufmann

Votes: 10,565 | Gross: $3.59M

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.

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

Votes: 66,465 | Gross: $2.18M

9. Mona Lisa (1986)

R | 104 min | Crime, Drama, Romance

A man recently released from prison manages to get a job driving a call girl from customer to customer.

Director: Neil Jordan | Stars: Bob Hoskins, Cathy Tyson, Michael Caine, Robbie Coltrane

Votes: 11,112 | Gross: $5.79M

10. 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: 28,973 | Gross: $2.44M

11. She's Gotta Have It (1986)

R | 84 min | Comedy, Romance

79 Metascore

Story of a woman and her three lovers.

Director: Spike Lee | Stars: Tracy Camilla Johns, Tommy Redmond Hicks, John Canada Terrell, Spike Lee

Votes: 6,187 | Gross: $7.14M

12. Do the Right Thing (1989)

R | 120 min | Comedy, Drama

91 Metascore

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.

Director: Spike Lee | Stars: Danny Aiello, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, Richard Edson

Votes: 68,738 | 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.

Director: Woody Allen | Stars: Gena Rowlands, Mia Farrow, Ian Holm, Blythe Danner

Votes: 11,269 | Gross: $1.56M

14. Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989)

PG-13 | 104 min | Comedy, Drama

77 Metascore

An ophthalmologist's mistress threatens to reveal their affair to his wife while a married documentary filmmaker is infatuated with another woman.

Director: Woody Allen | Stars: Martin Landau, Woody Allen, Bill Bernstein, Claire Bloom

Votes: 47,902 | Gross: $18.25M

15. Full Metal Jacket (1987)

R | 116 min | Drama, War

76 Metascore

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.

Director: Stanley Kubrick | Stars: Matthew Modine, R. Lee Ermey, Vincent D'Onofrio, Adam Baldwin

Votes: 568,640 | 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.

Director: John Cassavetes | Stars: Gena Rowlands, Buck Henry, Julie Carmen, Tony Knesich

Votes: 6,856

17. The Long Good Friday (1980)

R | 114 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

An up-and-coming gangster is tested by the insurgence of an unknown, very powerful threat.

Director: John Mackenzie | Stars: Bob Hoskins, Helen Mirren, Paul Freeman, Leo Dolan

Votes: 15,872

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 »

Director: Michael Hoffman | Stars: Jason Gedrick, Kiefer Sutherland, Meg Ryan, Tracy Pollan

Votes: 1,072 | 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.

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

Votes: 14,226 | Gross: $5.25M

20. Desert Hearts (1985)

R | 96 min | Drama, Romance

A woman on the precipice of divorce becomes drawn to a ranchowner's daughter.

Director: Donna Deitch | Stars: Helen Shaver, Patricia Charbonneau, Audra Lindley, Andra Akers

Votes: 3,907 | Gross: $2.49M

21. Radio Days (1987)

PG | 88 min | Comedy

A nostalgic look at radio's golden age focusing on one ordinary family and the various performers in the medium.

Director: Woody Allen | Stars: Mia Farrow, Dianne Wiest, Mike Starr, Paul Herman

Votes: 27,385 | Gross: $14.79M

22. Sex, Lies, and Videotape (1989)

R | 100 min | Drama

86 Metascore

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.

Director: Steven Soderbergh | Stars: James Spader, Andie MacDowell, Peter Gallagher, Laura San Giacomo

Votes: 42,339 | Gross: $24.74M

23. Something Wild (1986)

R | 114 min | Comedy, Crime, Romance

73 Metascore

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.

Director: Jonathan Demme | Stars: Jeff Daniels, Melanie Griffith, George 'Red' Schwartz, Leib Lensky

Votes: 13,729 | Gross: $8.36M

24. To Live and Die in L.A. (1985)

R | 116 min | Action, Crime, Drama

81 Metascore

A fearless Secret Service agent will stop at nothing to bring down the counterfeiter who killed his partner.

Director: William Friedkin | Stars: William Petersen, Willem Dafoe, John Pankow, Debra Feuer

Votes: 24,267 | 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.

Director: Roger Spottiswoode | Stars: Nick Nolte, Ed Harris, Gene Hackman, Joanna Cassidy

Votes: 5,941 | Gross: $5.70M

26. 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: 17,140 | Gross: $10.28M

27. Zelig (1983)

PG | 79 min | Comedy

"Documentary" about a man who can look and act like whoever he's around, and meets various famous people.

Director: Woody Allen | Stars: Woody Allen, Mia Farrow, Patrick Horgan, John Buckwalter

Votes: 35,555 | Gross: $11.80M

28. Broadway Danny Rose (1984)

PG | 84 min | Comedy

80 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: 20,809 | 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 »

Director: Dusan Makavejev | Stars: Eric Roberts, Greta Scacchi, Bill Kerr, Chris Haywood

Votes: 2,565

30. Insignificance (1985)

R | 109 min | Drama, Comedy

Four 1950s icons meet in the same hotel room and two of them discover more in common between them than they ever anticipated.

Director: Nicolas Roeg | Stars: Gary Busey, Tony Curtis, Theresa Russell, Michael Emil

Votes: 2,668

31. Mystery Train (1989)

R | 110 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama

80 Metascore

Three stories are connected by a Memphis hotel and the spirit of Elvis Presley.

Director: Jim Jarmusch | Stars: Masatoshi Nagase, Yûki Kudô, Screamin' Jay Hawkins, Cinqué Lee

Votes: 21,231 | Gross: $0.37M

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.

Director: Louis Malle | Stars: Amy Madigan, Ed Harris, Ho Nguyen, Donald Moffat

Votes: 850 | 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.

Director: James Dearden | Stars: Ben Kingsley, Charles Dance, Kevork Malikyan, George Murcell

Votes: 831 | 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 »

Director: John Irvin | Stars: Glenda Jackson, Ben Kingsley, Richard Johnson, Michael Gambon

Votes: 650 | 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.

Director: Gillian Armstrong | Stars: Judy Davis, Jan Adele, Claudia Karvan, Frankie J. Holden

Votes: 669 | Gross: $0.14M

36. Wild Style (1983)

R | 82 min | Drama, Music

Zoro, the city's hottest and most elusive graffiti writer. The actual story of the movie concerns the tension between Zoro's passion for his art and his personal life, particularly his ... See full summary »

Director: Charlie Ahearn | Stars: 'Lee' George Quinones, Lady Pink, Fab 5 Freddy, Patti Astor

Votes: 1,895

37. The Elephant Man (1980)

PG | 124 min | Biography, Drama

77 Metascore

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.

Director: David Lynch | Stars: Anthony Hopkins, John Hurt, Anne Bancroft, John Gielgud

Votes: 189,009

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.

Director: Michael Caton-Jones | Stars: John Hurt, Joanne Whalley, Bridget Fonda, Ian McKellen

Votes: 4,114 | 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.

Director: Matt Clark | Stars: Barnard Hughes, Martin Sheen, William Hickey, Karl Hayden

Votes: 402 | Gross: $0.60M

40. High Hopes (1988)

PG | 108 min | Comedy, Drama

84 Metascore

The life of a working class couple living in London and their complicated relationships with other members of the family.

Director: Mike Leigh | Stars: Phil Davis, Ruth Sheen, Edna Doré, Philip Jackson

Votes: 3,449 | Gross: $1.19M

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 »

Director: Ken Loach | Stars: Graham Green, Carolyn Nicholson, Tony Pitts, Roy Haywood

Votes: 304

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.

Director: Bruce Beresford | Stars: Robert Duvall, Tess Harper, Betty Buckley, Wilford Brimley

Votes: 7,985 | 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 »

Director: Christine Edzard | Stars: Derek Jacobi, Alec Guinness, Joan Greenwood, Max Wall

Votes: 906 | Gross: $1.03M

44. Come Back to the 5 & Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean (1982)

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 »

Director: Robert Altman | Stars: Cher, Karen Black, Sandy Dennis, Sudie Bond

Votes: 3,469 | 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.

Director: Derek Jarman | Stars: Tilda Swinton, Spencer Leigh, 'Spring' Mark Adley, Gerrard McArthur

Votes: 961

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.

Director: Peter Greenaway | Stars: Anthony Higgins, Janet Suzman, Anne-Louise Lambert, Hugh Fraser

Votes: 7,752