Best Of 1981

by dlooker | created - 28 Jun 2017 | updated - 8 months ago | Public
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1. Possession (1981)

R | 124 min | Drama, Horror

A woman starts exhibiting increasingly disturbing behavior after asking her husband for a divorce. Suspicions of infidelity soon give way to something much more sinister.

Director: Andrzej Zulawski | Stars: Isabelle Adjani, Sam Neill, Margit Carstensen, Heinz Bennent

Votes: 18,759 | Gross: $1.11M

2. 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: 776,722 | Gross: $248.16M

3. 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: 200,300 | Gross: $11.49M

4. The Road Warrior (1981)

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

77 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: 150,783 | Gross: $12.47M

5. Escape from New York (1981)

R | 99 min | Action, Sci-Fi

76 Metascore

In 1997, when the U.S. president crashes into Manhattan, now a giant maximum security prison, a convicted bank robber is sent in to rescue him.

Director: John Carpenter | Stars: Kurt Russell, Lee Van Cleef, Ernest Borgnine, Donald Pleasence

Votes: 107,460 | Gross: $25.24M

6. 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: 78,500 | Gross: $30.57M

7. 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: 163,708 | Gross: $2.40M

8. Mommie Dearest (1981)

R | 129 min | Biography, Drama

55 Metascore

The abusive and traumatic adoptive upbringing of Christina Crawford at the hands of her mother, screen queen Joan Crawford, is depicted.

Director: Frank Perry | Stars: Faye Dunaway, Diana Scarwid, Steve Forrest, Howard Da Silva

Votes: 12,586 | Gross: $19.03M

9. 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: 52,018 | Gross: $34.97M

10. Clash of the Titans (1981)

PG | 118 min | Action, Adventure, Family

59 Metascore

Perseus must battle both Medusa and the Kraken to save the Princess Andromeda.

Director: Desmond Davis | Stars: Laurence Olivier, Harry Hamlin, Claire Bloom, Maggie Smith

Votes: 36,604 | Gross: $41.09M

11. 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: 26,723 | Gross: $24.06M

12. Time Bandits (1981)

PG | 110 min | Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy

79 Metascore

A young boy accidentally joins a band of time travelling dwarves, as they jump from era to era looking for treasure to steal.

Director: Terry Gilliam | Stars: Sean Connery, Shelley Duvall, John Cleese, Katherine Helmond

Votes: 51,744 | Gross: $42.37M

13. Blow Out (1981)

R | 108 min | Mystery, Thriller

85 Metascore

A movie sound recordist accidentally records the evidence that proves that a car accident was actually murder and consequently finds himself in danger.

Director: Brian De Palma | Stars: John Travolta, Nancy Allen, John Lithgow, Dennis Franz

Votes: 35,143 | Gross: $13.75M

14. Dragonslayer (1981)

PG | 109 min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy

68 Metascore

A young wizarding apprentice is sent to kill a dragon which has been devouring girls from a nearby kingdom.

Director: Matthew Robbins | Stars: Peter MacNicol, Caitlin Clarke, Ralph Richardson, John Hallam

Votes: 12,731 | Gross: $14.11M

15. The Howling (1981)

R | 91 min | Horror

68 Metascore

After a bizarre and near deadly encounter with a serial killer, a television newswoman is sent to a remote mountain resort whose residents may not be what they seem.

Director: Joe Dante | Stars: Dee Wallace, Patrick Macnee, Dennis Dugan, Christopher Stone

Votes: 26,640 | Gross: $17.99M

16. Scanners (1981)

R | 103 min | Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller

60 Metascore

A scientist sends a man with extraordinary psychic powers to hunt others like him.

Director: David Cronenberg | Stars: Jennifer O'Neill, Stephen Lack, Patrick McGoohan, Lawrence Dane

Votes: 41,283 | Gross: $14.23M

17. The Burning (1981)

R | 91 min | Horror

A former summer camp caretaker, horribly burned from a prank gone wrong, lurks around an upstate New York summer camp bent on killing the teenagers responsible for his disfigurement.

Director: Tony Maylam | Stars: Brian Matthews, Leah Ayres, Brian Backer, Larry Joshua

Votes: 12,930

18. Thief (1981)

R | 123 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: 20,456 | Gross: $11.49M

19. 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: 18,574 | Gross: $40.38M

20. Southern Comfort (1981)

R | 106 min | Action, Thriller

63 Metascore

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: 13,756 | Gross: $5.00M

21. The Beyond (1981)

R | 87 min | Horror

A young woman inherits an old hotel in Louisiana where, following a series of supernatural "accidents", she learns that the building was built over one of the entrances to Hell.

Director: Lucio Fulci | Stars: Catriona MacColl, David Warbeck, Cinzia Monreale, Antoine Saint-John

Votes: 17,340 | Gross: $0.12M

22. Ragtime (1981)

PG | 155 min | Drama

57 Metascore

A young black pianist becomes embroiled in the lives of an upper-class white family set among the racial tensions, infidelity, violence, and other nostalgic events in early 1900s New York City.

Director: Milos Forman | Stars: James Cagney, Elizabeth McGovern, Howard E. Rollins Jr., Brad Dourif

Votes: 7,591 | Gross: $21.02M

23. The Funhouse (1981)

R | 96 min | Horror

Four teenage friends spend the night in a carnival funhouse and are stalked by a deformed man in a Frankenstein mask.

Director: Tobe Hooper | Stars: Elizabeth Berridge, Shawn Carson, Jeanne Austin, Jack McDermott

Votes: 10,453 | Gross: $7.89M

24. Galaxy of Terror (1981)

R | 81 min | Action, Adventure, Horror

Science fiction suspense thriller, in which a rescue space ship crew meets up with horrors projected by their own imaginations.

Director: Bruce D. Clark | Stars: Edward Albert, Erin Moran, Ray Walston, Bernard Behrens

Votes: 5,204

25. The House by the Cemetery (1981)

Not Rated | 86 min | Horror

A New England home is terrorized by a series of murders, unbeknownst to the guests that a gruesome secret is hiding in the basement.

Director: Lucio Fulci | Stars: Catriona MacColl, Paolo Malco, Ania Pieroni, Giovanni Frezza

Votes: 10,629

26. Dead & Buried (1981)

R | 94 min | Horror, Mystery

A suspense horror film set in a small coastal town where, after a series of gory murders commited by mobs of townspeople against visiting tourists, the corpses begin to come back to life.

Director: Gary Sherman | Stars: James Farentino, Melody Anderson, Jack Albertson, Dennis Redfield

Votes: 8,344 | Gross: $0.22M

27. Prince of the City (1981)

R | 167 min | Crime, Drama

A New York City narcotics detective reluctantly agrees to cooperate with a special commission investigating police corruption. However, he soon discovers that he's in over his head, and nobody can be trusted.

Director: Sidney Lumet | Stars: Treat Williams, Jerry Orbach, Richard Foronjy, Don Billett

Votes: 6,096 | Gross: $8.12M

28. Just Before Dawn (1981)

R | 90 min | Horror, Thriller

Five campers arrive in the mountains to examine some property they have bought, but are warned by Forest Ranger Roy McLean that a huge machete-wielding maniac has been terrorising the area.... See full summary »

Director: Jeff Lieberman | Stars: George Kennedy, Mike Kellin, Chris Lemmon, Gregg Henry

Votes: 4,289

29. 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: 10,504 | Gross: $0.11M

30. Ms .45 (1981)

R | 80 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

62 Metascore

A timid and mute seamstress goes insane after being attacked and raped twice in one day, in which she takes to the streets of New York City after dark and randomly shoots men with a .45 caliber pistol.

Director: Abel Ferrara | Stars: Zoë Lund, Bogey, Albert Sinkys, Darlene Stuto

Votes: 6,799

31. Cutter's Way (1981)

R | 109 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

Richard spots a man dumping a body, and decides to expose the man he thinks is the culprit with his friend Alex Cutter.

Director: Ivan Passer | Stars: Jeff Bridges, John Heard, Lisa Eichhorn, Ann Dusenberry

Votes: 4,272 | Gross: $1.73M

32. Smash Palace (1981)

Not Rated | 108 min | Drama, Thriller

Al Shaw's life revolves around motor racing and his back country junkyard, the "Smash Palace". His French wife, Jacqui, doesn't appreciate the lack of attention due to Al's obsession with ... See full summary »

Director: Roger Donaldson | Stars: Bruno Lawrence, Anna Maria Monticelli, Greer Robson-Kirk, Keith Aberdein

Votes: 742

33. Gallipoli (1981)

PG | 110 min | Adventure, Drama, History

65 Metascore

Two Australian sprinters face the brutal realities of war when they are sent to fight in the Gallipoli campaign in Turkey during World War I.

Director: Peter Weir | Stars: Mel Gibson, Mark Lee, Bill Kerr, Harold Hopkins

Votes: 33,140 | Gross: $5.73M



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