Best of the 1980s

by Saacsquatch | created - 11 Jun 2013 | updated - 01 Feb 2017 | Public
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1. 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: 49,278 | Gross: $4.97M

2. Blade Runner (1982)

R | 117 min | Sci-Fi, Thriller

89 Metascore

A blade runner must pursue and terminate four replicants who stole a ship in space and have returned to Earth to find their creator.

Director: Ridley Scott | Stars: Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young, Edward James Olmos

Votes: 588,113 | Gross: $27.00M

3. The Shining (1980)

R | 146 min | Drama, Horror

63 Metascore

A family heads to an isolated hotel for the winter where an evil spiritual presence influences the father into violence, while his psychic son sees horrific forebodings from the past and of the future.

Director: Stanley Kubrick | Stars: Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Danny Lloyd, Scatman Crothers

Votes: 723,996 | Gross: $44.02M

4. Heaven's Gate (1980)

R | 325 min | Adventure, Drama, Western

57 Metascore

A dramatization of the real-life Johnson County War in 1890 Wyoming, in which a Sheriff born into wealth, attempts to protect immigrant farmers from rich cattle interests.

Director: Michael Cimino | Stars: Kris Kristofferson, Christopher Walken, John Hurt, Sam Waterston

Votes: 11,479 | Gross: $3.48M

5. Brazil (1985)

R | 132 min | Drama, Sci-Fi

88 Metascore

A bureaucrat, in a retro-future world, tries to correct an administrative error, and becomes an enemy of the state.

Director: Terry Gilliam | Stars: Jonathan Pryce, Kim Greist, Robert De Niro, Katherine Helmond

Votes: 168,356 | Gross: $9.93M

6. 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: 67,046 | Gross: $2.18M

7. Ran (1985)

R | 162 min | Action, Drama

96 Metascore

In Medieval Japan, an elderly warlord retires, handing over his empire to his three sons. However, he vastly underestimates how the new-found power will corrupt them and cause them to turn on each other...and him.

Director: Akira Kurosawa | Stars: Tatsuya Nakadai, Akira Terao, Jinpachi Nezu, Daisuke Ryû

Votes: 93,591 | Gross: $3.52M

8. Raging Bull (1980)

R | 129 min | Biography, Drama, Sport

89 Metascore

The life of boxer Jake LaMotta, as the violence and temper that leads him to the top in the ring destroys his life outside of it.

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

Votes: 272,133 | Gross: $23.38M

9. Cinema Paradiso (1988)

R | 155 min | Drama

80 Metascore

A filmmaker recalls his childhood when falling in love with the pictures at the cinema of his home village and forms a deep friendship with the cinema's projectionist.

Director: Giuseppe Tornatore | Stars: Philippe Noiret, Enzo Cannavale, Antonella Attili, Isa Danieli

Votes: 186,012 | Gross: $11.99M

10. Distant Voices, Still Lives (1988)

PG-13 | 85 min | Drama, Music

83 Metascore

The lives of an English working-class family are told out of order in a free-associative manner. The first part, "Distant Voices", focuses on the father's role in the family. The second part, "Still Lives", focuses on his children.

Director: Terence Davies | Stars: Pete Postlethwaite, Freda Dowie, Angela Walsh, Dean Williams

Votes: 2,764 | Gross: $0.69M

11. The Vanishing (1988)

Not Rated | 107 min | Mystery, Thriller

Rex and Saskia, a young couple in love, are on vacation. They stop at a busy service station and Saskia is abducted. After three years and no sign of Saskia, Rex begins receiving letters from the abductor.

Director: George Sluizer | Stars: Bernard-Pierre Donnadieu, Gene Bervoets, Johanna ter Steege, Gwen Eckhaus

Votes: 28,471

12. This Is Spinal Tap (1984)

R | 82 min | Comedy, Music

91 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: 115,501 | Gross: $0.19M

13. My Neighbor Totoro (1988)

G | 86 min | Animation, Family, Fantasy

86 Metascore

When two girls move to the country to be near their ailing mother, they have adventures with the wondrous forest spirits who live nearby.

Director: Hayao Miyazaki | Stars: Hitoshi Takagi, Noriko Hidaka, Chika Sakamoto, Shigesato Itoi

Votes: 218,663

14. Aliens (1986)

R | 137 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

86 Metascore

Ellen Ripley is rescued by a deep salvage team after being in hypersleep for 57 years. The moon that the Nostromo visited has been colonized, but contact is lost. This time, colonial marines have impressive firepower, but will that be enough?

Director: James Cameron | Stars: Sigourney Weaver, Michael Biehn, Carrie Henn, Paul Reiser

Votes: 568,947 | Gross: $85.16M

15. Akira (1988)

R | 124 min | Animation, Action, Drama

A secret military project endangers Neo-Tokyo when it turns a biker gang member into a rampaging psychic psychopath that only two teenagers and a group of psychics can stop.

Director: Katsuhiro Ôtomo | Stars: Mitsuo Iwata, Nozomu Sasaki, Mami Koyama, Tesshô Genda

Votes: 127,881 | Gross: $0.55M

16. The Terminator (1984)

R | 107 min | Action, Sci-Fi

83 Metascore

A seemingly indestructible android is sent from 2029 to 1984 to assassinate a waitress, whose unborn son will lead humanity in a war against the machines, while a soldier from that war is sent to protect her at all costs.

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

Votes: 690,072 | Gross: $38.40M

17. Videodrome (1983)

R | 87 min | Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller

60 Metascore

When he acquires a different kind of show for his station, a sleazy cable-TV programmer begins to see his life and the future of media spin out of control in a terrifying new reality.

Director: David Cronenberg | Stars: James Woods, Debbie Harry, Sonja Smits, Peter Dvorsky

Votes: 70,124 | Gross: $2.12M

18. Excalibur (1981)

PG | 140 min | Adventure, Drama, Fantasy

56 Metascore

Merlin the magician helps Arthur Pendragon unite the Britons around the Round Table of Camelot, even as dark forces conspire to tear it apart.

Director: John Boorman | Stars: Nigel Terry, Helen Mirren, Nicholas Clay, Cherie Lunghi

Votes: 51,315 | Gross: $34.97M

19. 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: 26,160 | Gross: $24.06M

20. RoboCop (1987)

R | 102 min | Action, Crime, Sci-Fi

67 Metascore

In a dystopic and crime-ridden Detroit, a terminally wounded cop returns to the force as a powerful cyborg haunted by submerged memories.

Director: Paul Verhoeven | Stars: Peter Weller, Nancy Allen, Dan O'Herlihy, Ronny Cox

Votes: 204,127 | Gross: $53.42M

21. 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: 15,936

22. 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: 571,265 | Gross: $46.36M

23. 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: 75,655 | Gross: $2.15M

24. The Fly (1986)

R | 96 min | Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi

79 Metascore

A brilliant but eccentric scientist begins to transform into a giant man/fly hybrid after one of his experiments goes horribly wrong.

Director: David Cronenberg | Stars: Jeff Goldblum, Geena Davis, John Getz, Joy Boushel

Votes: 136,347 | Gross: $40.46M

25. Witness (1985)

R | 112 min | Crime, Drama, Romance

76 Metascore

A young Amish boy is sole witness to a murder; policeman John Book goes into hiding in Amish country to protect him until the trial.

Director: Peter Weir | Stars: Harrison Ford, Kelly McGillis, Lukas Haas, Josef Sommer

Votes: 74,282 | Gross: $68.71M

26. Raising Arizona (1987)

PG-13 | 94 min | Comedy, Crime

68 Metascore

When a childless couple of an ex-con and an ex-cop decide to help themselves to one of another family's quintuplets, their lives become more complicated than they anticipated.

Directors: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen | Stars: Nicolas Cage, Holly Hunter, Trey Wilson, John Goodman

Votes: 111,246 | Gross: $22.85M

27. 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: 988,572 | Gross: $290.48M

28. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

PG | 115 min | Action, Adventure

85 Metascore

In 1936, archaeologist and adventurer Indiana Jones is hired by the U.S. government to find the Ark of the Covenant before Adolf Hitler's Nazis can obtain its awesome powers.

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

Votes: 761,941 | Gross: $248.16M

29. Back to the Future (1985)

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

86 Metascore

Marty McFly, a 17-year-old high school student, is accidentally sent thirty years into the past in a time-traveling DeLorean invented by his close friend, the maverick scientist Doc Brown.

Director: Robert Zemeckis | Stars: Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson, Crispin Glover

Votes: 867,044 | Gross: $210.61M

30. 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: 319,290 | Gross: $435.11M

31. Ghostbusters (1984)

PG | 105 min | Action, Comedy, Fantasy

71 Metascore

Three former parapsychology professors set up shop as a unique ghost removal service.

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

Votes: 307,634 | Gross: $238.63M

32. The Road Warrior (1981)

R | 94 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

76 Metascore

In the post-apocalyptic Australian wasteland, a cynical drifter agrees to help a small, gasoline rich, community escape a band of bandits.

Director: George Miller | Stars: Mel Gibson, Bruce Spence, Michael Preston, Max Phipps

Votes: 148,847 | Gross: $12.47M

33. The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985)

PG | 82 min | Comedy, Fantasy, Romance

75 Metascore

In New Jersey in 1935, a movie character walks off the screen and into the real world.

Director: Woody Allen | Stars: Mia Farrow, Jeff Daniels, Danny Aiello, Irving Metzman

Votes: 41,177 | Gross: $10.63M

34. 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: 35,663 | Gross: $11.80M

35. 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: 14,321 | Gross: $5.25M

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 a story called The Princess Bride.

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

Votes: 338,749 | Gross: $30.86M

37. Castle in the Sky (1986)

PG | 125 min | Animation, Adventure, Family

78 Metascore

A young boy and a girl with a magic crystal must race against pirates and foreign agents in a search for a legendary floating castle.

Director: Hayao Miyazaki | Stars: Anna Paquin, James Van Der Beek, Cloris Leachman, Mark Hamill

Votes: 118,659

38. Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988)

PG | 104 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy

83 Metascore

A toon-hating detective is a cartoon rabbit's only hope to prove his innocence when he is accused of murder.

Director: Robert Zemeckis | Stars: Bob Hoskins, Christopher Lloyd, Joanna Cassidy, Charles Fleischer

Votes: 160,048 | Gross: $156.45M

39. An American Werewolf in London (1981)

R | 97 min | Comedy, Horror

60 Metascore

Two American college students on a walking tour of Britain are attacked by a werewolf that none of the locals will admit exists.

Director: John Landis | Stars: David Naughton, Jenny Agutter, Joe Belcher, Griffin Dunne

Votes: 76,879 | Gross: $30.57M

40. Southern Comfort (1981)

R | 106 min | Action, Thriller

During a routine exercise, a team of National Guards are threatened by angry and violent locals.

Director: Walter Hill | Stars: Keith Carradine, Powers Boothe, Fred Ward, Franklyn Seales

Votes: 13,499 | Gross: $5.00M

41. 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: 45,885 | Gross: $34.70M

42. 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: 198,564 | Gross: $52.77M

43. Drugstore Cowboy (1989)

R | 102 min | Crime, Drama

82 Metascore

A pharmacy-robbing dope fiend and his crew pop pills and evade the law.

Director: Gus Van Sant | Stars: Matt Dillon, Kelly Lynch, James Le Gros, Heather Graham

Votes: 28,073 | Gross: $4.73M

44. The Thing (1982)

R | 109 min | Horror, Mystery, Sci-Fi

57 Metascore

A crew in Antarctica finds a neighboring camp destroyed and its crew dead. Whatever killed them is nowhere to be found, unless it's hidden in plain sight.

Director: John Carpenter | Stars: Kurt Russell, Wilford Brimley, Keith David, Richard Masur

Votes: 309,032 | Gross: $13.78M

45. Die Hard (1988)

R | 132 min | Action, Thriller

70 Metascore

John McClane, officer of the NYPD, tries to save his wife Holly Gennaro and several others that were taken hostage by German terrorist Hans Gruber during a Christmas party at the Nakatomi Plaza in Los Angeles.

Director: John McTiernan | Stars: Bruce Willis, Alan Rickman, Bonnie Bedelia, Reginald VelJohnson

Votes: 680,648 | Gross: $83.01M

46. Evil Dead II (1987)

R | 84 min | Comedy, Horror

69 Metascore

The lone survivor of an onslaught of flesh-possessing spirits holes up in a cabin with a group of strangers while the demons continue their attack.

Director: Sam Raimi | Stars: Bruce Campbell, Sarah Berry, Dan Hicks, Kassie Wesley DePaiva

Votes: 128,623 | Gross: $5.92M

47. The Evil Dead (1981)

NC-17 | 85 min | Horror

70 Metascore

Five friends travel to a cabin in the woods, where they unknowingly release flesh-possessing demons.

Director: Sam Raimi | Stars: Bruce Campbell, Ellen Sandweiss, Richard DeManincor, Betsy Baker

Votes: 160,870 | Gross: $2.40M

48. Batman (1989)

PG-13 | 126 min | Action, Adventure

69 Metascore

The Dark Knight of Gotham City begins his war on crime with his first major enemy being the clownishly homicidal Joker.

Director: Tim Burton | Stars: Michael Keaton, Jack Nicholson, Kim Basinger, Robert Wuhl

Votes: 299,243 | Gross: $251.19M

49. Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984)

R | 113 min | Drama, Sci-Fi

67 Metascore

In a totalitarian future society, a man, whose daily work is re-writing history, tries to rebel by falling in love.

Director: Michael Radford | Stars: John Hurt, Richard Burton, Suzanna Hamilton, Cyril Cusack

Votes: 56,911 | Gross: $8.40M

50. Altered States (1980)

R | 102 min | Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller