Best of the 1980's

by nick2151 | created - 23 Jun 2011 | updated - 4 days ago | Public

My picks for the 40 best films of the 1980's in chronological order

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1. The Shining (1980)

R | 146 min | Drama, Horror

66 Metascore

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

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

Votes: 930,518 | Gross: $44.02M

2. The Elephant Man (1980)

PG | 124 min | Biography, Drama

78 Metascore

A Victorian surgeon rescues a heavily disfigured man who is mistreated while scraping a living as a side-show freak. Behind his monstrous façade, there is revealed a person of kindness, intelligence and sophistication.

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

Votes: 227,981

3. Heaven's Gate (1980)

R | 219 min | Adventure, Drama, Western

57 Metascore

During the Johnson County War in 1890 Wyoming, a sheriff born into wealth does his best to protect immigrant farmers from rich cattle interests.

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

Votes: 14,306 | Gross: $3.48M

4. Raging Bull (1980)

R | 129 min | Biography, Drama, Sport

89 Metascore

The life of boxer Jake LaMotta, whose violence and temper that led him to the top in the ring destroyed his life outside of it.

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

Votes: 332,084 | Gross: $23.38M

5. Cutter's Way (1981)

R | 109 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

70 Metascore

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: 5,660 | Gross: $1.73M

6. Blow Out (1981)

R | 108 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

86 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: 47,540 | Gross: $13.75M

7. The Thing (1982)

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

57 Metascore

A research team in Antarctica is hunted by a shape-shifting alien that assumes the appearance of its victims.

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

Votes: 385,647 | Gross: $13.78M

8. Blade Runner (1982)

R | 117 min | Action, Sci-Fi, Thriller

84 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: 714,297 | Gross: $32.87M

The "final cut" is the best version.

9. First Blood (1982)

R | 93 min | Action, Adventure

61 Metascore

A veteran Green Beret is forced by a cruel Sheriff and his deputies to flee into the mountains and wage an escalating one-man war against his pursuers.

Director: Ted Kotcheff | Stars: Sylvester Stallone, Brian Dennehy, Richard Crenna, Bill McKinney

Votes: 235,457 | Gross: $47.21M

10. The King of Comedy (1982)

PG | 109 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama

73 Metascore

Rupert Pupkin is a passionate yet unsuccessful comic who craves nothing more than to be in the spotlight and to achieve this, he stalks and kidnaps his idol to take the spotlight for himself.

Director: Martin Scorsese | Stars: Robert De Niro, Jerry Lewis, Diahnne Abbott, Sandra Bernhard

Votes: 94,750 | Gross: $2.50M

11. 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: 59,708 | Gross: $4.97M

12. The Ballad of Narayama (1983)

Not Rated | 130 min | Drama

In a poor 19th century rural Japanese village, everyone who reaches the age of 70 has to climb a nearby mountain to die. An old woman is getting close to the cut-off age, and we follow her last days with her family.

Director: Shohei Imamura | Stars: Ken Ogata, Sumiko Sakamoto, Tonpei Hidari, Aki Takejô

Votes: 7,730

13. Local Hero (1983)

PG | 111 min | Comedy, Drama

82 Metascore

An American oil company has plans for a new refinery and sends someone to Scotland to buy up an entire village, but things don't go as expected.

Director: Bill Forsyth | Stars: Burt Lancaster, Peter Riegert, Fulton Mackay, Denis Lawson

Votes: 22,671 | Gross: $5.90M

14. Videodrome (1983)

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

60 Metascore

A programmer at a TV station that specializes in adult entertainment searches for the producers of a dangerous and bizarre broadcast.

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

Votes: 86,693 | Gross: $2.12M

15. Paris, Texas (1984)

R | 145 min | Drama

78 Metascore

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, Sam Berry

Votes: 97,032 | Gross: $2.18M

16. 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: 35,879 | Gross: $2.44M

17. The Company of Wolves (1984)

R | 95 min | Drama, Fantasy, Horror

69 Metascore

A teenage girl in a country manor falls asleep while reading a magazine, and has a disturbing dream involving wolves prowling the woods below her bedroom window.

Director: Neil Jordan | Stars: Sarah Patterson, Angela Lansbury, David Warner, Graham Crowden

Votes: 15,577 | Gross: $4.39M

18. Yellow Earth (1984)

TV-PG | 89 min | Drama, History, Music

'Yellow Earth' focuses on the story of a communist soldier who is sent to the countryside to collect folk songs for the Communist Revolution. There he stays with a peasant family and learns... See full summary »

Director: Kaige Chen | Stars: Xueqi Wang, Bai Xue, Quiang Liu, Tuo Tan

Votes: 2,239

19. The Terminator (1984)

R | 107 min | Action, Sci-Fi

84 Metascore

A human soldier is sent from 2029 to 1984 to stop an almost indestructible cyborg killing machine, sent from the same year, which has been programmed to execute a young woman whose unborn son is the key to humanity's future salvation.

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

Votes: 815,217 | Gross: $38.40M

20. The Times of Harvey Milk (1984)

Not Rated | 90 min | Documentary, Biography, History

A documentary of the successful career and assassination of San Francisco's first elected gay city supervisor.

Director: Rob Epstein | Stars: Harvey Fierstein, Harvey Milk, Anne Kronenberg, Tory Hartmann

Votes: 5,875 | Gross: $0.01M

21. Desert Hearts (1985)

R | 91 min | Drama, Romance

67 Metascore

While waiting for her divorce papers, a repressed professor of literature is unexpectedly seduced by a carefree, spirited young lesbian.

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

Votes: 5,618 | Gross: $2.49M

22. My Beautiful Laundrette (1985)

R | 97 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

75 Metascore

An ambitious Pakistani Briton and his white boyfriend strive for success and hope when they open a glamorous laundromat.

Director: Stephen Frears | Stars: Saeed Jaffrey, Roshan Seth, Daniel Day-Lewis, Richard Graham

Votes: 15,095 | Gross: $2.45M

23. The Angelic Conversation (1985)

Not Rated | 77 min | Drama

An unseen woman recites Shakespeare's sonnets - fourteen in all - as a man wordlessly seeks his heart's desire. The photography is stop-motion, the music is ethereal, the scenery is often ... See full summary »

Director: Derek Jarman | Stars: Paul Reynolds, Phillip Williamson, Judi Dench, Dave Baby

Votes: 762

24. Brazil (1985)

R | 132 min | Drama, Sci-Fi

84 Metascore

A bureaucrat in a dystopic society becomes an enemy of the state as he pursues the woman of his dreams.

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

Votes: 193,329 | Gross: $9.93M

25. Shoah (1985)

Not Rated | 566 min | Documentary, History, War

99 Metascore

Claude Lanzmann's epic documentary recounts the story of the Holocaust through interviews with witnesses - perpetrators as well as survivors.

Director: Claude Lanzmann | Stars: Simon Srebnik, Michael Podchlebnik, Motke Zaïdl, Hanna Zaïdl

Votes: 8,875 | Gross: $0.02M

26. Come and See (1985)

Not Rated | 142 min | Drama, Thriller, War

After finding an old rifle, a young boy joins the Soviet resistance movement against ruthless German forces and experiences the horrors of World War II.

Director: Elem Klimov | Stars: Aleksey Kravchenko, Olga Mironova, Liubomiras Laucevicius, Vladas Bagdonas

Votes: 65,567

27. Vagabond (1985)

Not Rated | 105 min | Drama, Romance

A young woman's body is found frozen in a ditch. Through flashbacks and interviews, we see the events that led to her inevitable death.

Director: Agnès Varda | Stars: Sandrine Bonnaire, Macha Méril, Stéphane Freiss, Setti Ramdane

Votes: 9,969

28. 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: 165,793 | Gross: $40.46M

29. Blue Velvet (1986)

R | 120 min | Drama, Mystery, Thriller

76 Metascore

The discovery of a severed human ear found in a field leads a young man on an investigation related to a beautiful, mysterious nightclub singer and a group of psychopathic criminals who have kidnapped her child.

Director: David Lynch | Stars: Isabella Rossellini, Kyle MacLachlan, Dennis Hopper, Laura Dern

Votes: 186,967 | Gross: $8.55M

30. 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: 240,927 | Gross: $53.42M

31. Where Is the Friend's House? (1987)

Not Rated | 83 min | Drama, Family

8 year old Ahmed has mistakenly taken his friend Mohammad's notebook. He wants to return it, or else his friend will be expelled from school. Determinedly, the conscientious boy sets out to find Mohammad's home in the neighbouring village.

Director: Abbas Kiarostami | Stars: Babek Ahmed Poor, Ahmed Ahmed Poor, Khodabakhsh Defaei, Iran Outari

Votes: 12,216

32. Maurice (1987)

R | 140 min | Drama, Romance

75 Metascore

After his lover rejects him, a young man trapped by the oppressiveness of Edwardian society tries to come to terms with and accept his sexuality.

Director: James Ivory | Stars: James Wilby, Rupert Graves, Hugh Grant, Denholm Elliott

Votes: 17,503 | Gross: $3.13M

33. Empire of the Sun (1987)

PG | 153 min | Action, Drama, History

62 Metascore

A young English boy struggles to survive under Japanese occupation of China during World War II.

Director: Steven Spielberg | Stars: Christian Bale, John Malkovich, Miranda Richardson, Nigel Havers

Votes: 119,091 | Gross: $22.24M

34. Grave of the Fireflies (1988)

Not Rated | 89 min | Animation, Drama, War

94 Metascore

A young boy and his little sister struggle to survive in Japan during World War II.

Director: Isao Takahata | Stars: Tsutomu Tatsumi, Ayano Shiraishi, Akemi Yamaguchi, Yoshiko Shinohara

Votes: 247,955

35. Landscape in the Mist (1988)

TV-MA | 127 min | Drama

Two children journey the long road to Germany to find the man they believe to be their father.

Director: Theodoros Angelopoulos | Stars: Michalis Zeke, Tania Palaiologou, Stratos Tzortzoglou, Eva Kotamanidou

Votes: 7,654

36. They Live (1988)

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

55 Metascore

They influence our decisions without us knowing it. They numb our senses without us feeling it. They control our lives without us realizing it. They live.

Director: John Carpenter | Stars: Roddy Piper, Keith David, Meg Foster, George 'Buck' Flower

Votes: 117,769 | Gross: $13.01M

37. Do the Right Thing (1989)

R | 120 min | Comedy, Drama

93 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: 94,561 | Gross: $27.55M

38. Tongues Untied (1989)

Not Rated | 55 min | Documentary

A documentary about the experiences of black homosexual men living in the United States of America.

Director: Marlon Riggs | Stars: Marlon Riggs, Michael Bell, Kerrigan Black, Blackberri

Votes: 1,257

39. 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: 56,039 | Gross: $18.25M

40. Dead Poets Society (1989)

PG | 128 min | Comedy, Drama

79 Metascore

Maverick teacher John Keating uses poetry to embolden his boarding school students to new heights of self-expression.

Director: Peter Weir | Stars: Robin Williams, Robert Sean Leonard, Ethan Hawke, Josh Charles

Votes: 443,355 | Gross: $95.86M



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