Best movies of 1981

by pauleta_mtr | created - 14 Jan 2017 | updated - 1 month ago | Public
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1. 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: 231,469 | Gross: $11.49M

9/10

2. On Golden Pond (1981)

PG | 109 min | Drama

68 Metascore

Norman is a curmudgeon with an estranged relationship with his daughter Chelsea. At Golden Pond, he and his wife nevertheless agree to care for Billy, the son of Chelsea's new boyfriend, and a most unexpected relationship blooms.

Director: Mark Rydell | Stars: Katharine Hepburn, Henry Fonda, Jane Fonda, Doug McKeon

Votes: 27,590 | Gross: $119.29M

9/10

3. Indiana Jones and the 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: 882,815 | Gross: $248.16M

8/10

4. Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981)

R | 96 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 horde of bandits.

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

Votes: 166,381 | Gross: $12.47M

8/10

5. Quest for Fire (1981)

R | 100 min | Adventure, Drama, History

79 Metascore

This story takes place in prehistoric time when three tribesmen search for a new fire source.

Director: Jean-Jacques Annaud | Stars: Everett McGill, Ron Perlman, Nicholas Kadi, Rae Dawn Chong

Votes: 20,713 | Gross: $20.96M

8/10

6. Vabank (1981)

108 min | Comedy, Crime

Set in Warsaw in 1930's. After six years in jail, framed for bank robbery by an accomplice, the legendary Kwinto has only revenge on his mind. He is a safecracker in the old style, a thief ... See full summary »

Director: Juliusz Machulski | Stars: Jan Machulski, Leonard Pietraszak, Witold Pyrkosz, Ewa Szykulska

Votes: 3,942

8/10

7. The Evil Dead (1981)

NC-17 | 85 min | Horror

71 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: 187,140 | Gross: $2.40M

7.5/10

8. Thief (1981)

R | 123 min | Action, Crime, Drama

78 Metascore

A former ace safe-cracker is trying to go straight--if he can score one last big heist for the mob.

Director: Michael Mann | Stars: James Caan, Tuesday Weld, Willie Nelson, Jim Belushi

Votes: 25,403 | Gross: $11.49M

7.5/10

9. Kobieta samotna (1987 TV Movie)

92 min | Drama

A story of a middle-aged woman, Irena, living alone on the outskirts of Wroclaw with her 8-year old son. They live in a drab apartment. She is a mail carrier and her son is her only pride ... See full summary »

Director: Agnieszka Holland | Stars: Maria Chwalibóg, Boguslaw Linda, Pawel Witczak, Danuta Balicka

Votes: 389

7.5/10 It was made in 1981, but due to the censorship it was released in 1987.

10. 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: 30,872 | Gross: $24.06M

7.5/10

11. Absence of Malice (1981)

PG | 116 min | Drama, Romance, Thriller

64 Metascore

When a prosecutor leaks a false story that a liquor warehouse owner is involved in the murder of a union head, the man's life begins to unravel.

Director: Sydney Pollack | Stars: Paul Newman, Sally Field, Bob Balaban, Melinda Dillon

Votes: 11,958 | Gross: $40.72M

7/10

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: 58,574 | Gross: $42.37M

7/10

13. Eye of the Needle (1981)

R | 112 min | Romance, Thriller, War

61 Metascore

A ruthless German spy, trying to get out of Britain with vital information about D-Day, must spend time with a young woman and her crippled husband.

Director: Richard Marquand | Stars: Donald Sutherland, Kate Nelligan, Stephen MacKenna, Philip Martin Brown

Votes: 9,606 | Gross: $17.58M

7/10

14. The Quack (1982)

128 min | Drama, Romance

Abandoned by his wife and daughter, a famous surgeon starts drinking, hurts his head and loses his memory. His medical knowledge gradually resurfaces and he becomes a village healer, not remembering who he is.

Director: Jerzy Hoffman | Stars: Jerzy Binczycki, Anna Dymna, Tomasz Stockinger, Bernard Ladysz

Votes: 2,480

7/10. It was made in 1981.

15. The War of the Worlds: Next Century (1981)

96 min | Sci-Fi, Thriller

Film opens on December 28, 1999, three days before the dawn of the new century. A local reporter, Iron Idem, announces that the Martians have landed. Shortly after that his program loses ... See full summary »

Director: Piotr Szulkin | Stars: Roman Wilhelmi, Krystyna Janda, Mariusz Dmochowski, Jerzy Stuhr

Votes: 527

7/10

16. The Skin (1981)

Not Rated | 131 min | Drama, War

After the Allies liberate Naples in 1943, the life for the locals is not much easier, especially for women. Many sacrifice their dignity and morale to survive.

Director: Liliana Cavani | Stars: Marcello Mastroianni, Ken Marshall, Alexandra King, Carlo Giuffrè

Votes: 926

7/10

17. 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: 36,803 | Gross: $5.73M

7/10

18. My Dinner with Andre (1981)

PG | 110 min | Biography, Comedy, Drama

83 Metascore

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: 18,437 | Gross: $5.25M

7/10

19. Blind Chance (1987)

Not Rated | 114 min | Drama

Witek runs after a train. Three variations follow on how such a seemingly banal incident could influence the rest of Witek's life.

Director: Krzysztof Kieslowski | Stars: Boguslaw Linda, Tadeusz Lomnicki, Zbigniew Zapasiewicz, Boguslawa Pawelec

Votes: 8,607

7/10 It was made in 1981, but due to the censorship it was released in 1987.

20. The Postman Always Rings Twice (1981)

R | 122 min | Crime, Drama, Romance

61 Metascore

The sensuous wife of a lunch wagon proprietor and a rootless drifter begin a sordidly steamy affair and conspire to murder her Greek husband.

Director: Bob Rafelson | Stars: Jack Nicholson, Jessica Lange, John Colicos, Michael Lerner

Votes: 21,610 | Gross: $12.38M

7/10

21. Lola (1981)

R | 115 min | Drama, Romance

A seductive cabaret singer-prostitute pits a corrupt building contractor against the new straight-arrow building commissioner, launching an outrageous plan to elevate herself in a world where everything-and everyone-is for sale.

Director: Rainer Werner Fassbinder | Stars: Barbara Sukowa, Armin Mueller-Stahl, Mario Adorf, Matthias Fuchs

Votes: 5,274

7/10

22. The Fox and the Hound (1981)

G | 83 min | Animation, Adventure, Drama

65 Metascore

A little fox named Tod, and Copper, a hound puppy, vow to be best buddies forever. But as Copper grows into a hunting dog, their unlikely friendship faces the ultimate test.

Directors: Ted Berman, Richard Rich, Art Stevens, David Hand, Wolfgang Reitherman | Stars: Mickey Rooney, Kurt Russell, Pearl Bailey, Jack Albertson

Votes: 84,713 | Gross: $63.46M

7/10

23. 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: 44,494 | Gross: $13.75M

7/10

24. Chariots of Fire (1981)

PG | 125 min | Biography, Drama, Sport

78 Metascore

Two British track athletes, one a determined Jew, and the other a devout Christian, compete in the 1924 Olympics.

Director: Hugh Hudson | Stars: Ben Cross, Ian Charleson, Nicholas Farrell, Nigel Havers

Votes: 54,749 | Gross: $58.97M

7/10

25. Nighthawks (1981)

R | 99 min | Action, Crime, Thriller

56 Metascore

When one of Europe's most lethal terrorists shows up in New York, an elite undercover cop is assigned to take him down by any means necessary.

Directors: Bruce Malmuth, Gary Nelson | Stars: Sylvester Stallone, Rutger Hauer, Billy Dee Williams, Lindsay Wagner

Votes: 17,673 | Gross: $14.91M

7/10

26. Halloween II (1981)

R | 92 min | Horror

40 Metascore

While Sheriff Brackett and Dr. Loomis hunt for Michael Myers, a traumatized Laurie is rushed to hospital, and the serial killer is not far behind her.

Director: Rick Rosenthal | Stars: Jamie Lee Curtis, Donald Pleasence, Charles Cyphers, Jeffrey Kramer

Votes: 75,247 | Gross: $25.53M

7/10

27. The Aviator's Wife (1981)

PG | 106 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

A young student is devastated when he finds that his girlfriend is cheating on him. In order to find out why she did it, he decides to spy on her and her lover.

Director: Éric Rohmer | Stars: Philippe Marlaud, Marie Rivière, Anne-Laure Meury, Mathieu Carrière

Votes: 3,554

6.5/10

28. Escape from New York (1981)

R | 99 min | Action, Adventure, 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: 126,250 | Gross: $25.24M

6.5/10

29. Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981)

R | 87 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

26 Metascore

Mrs. Voorhees is dead, and Camp Crystal Lake is shut down, but a camp next to the infamous place is stalked by an unknown assailant.

Director: Steve Miner | Stars: Betsy Palmer, Amy Steel, John Furey, Adrienne King

Votes: 59,368 | Gross: $21.72M

6/10

30. Modern Romance (1981)

R | 93 min | Comedy, Romance

Albert Brooks directs himself as a successful film editor with far too many issues that affects the relationship between him and his remarkably patient girlfriend.

Director: Albert Brooks | Stars: Albert Brooks, Kathryn Harrold, Tyann Means, Bruno Kirby

Votes: 3,446 | Gross: $2.86M

6/10

31. The French Lieutenant's Woman (1981)

R | 124 min | Drama, Romance

64 Metascore

A movie is being made of a story, set in nineteenth century England, about Charles, a paleontologist who's engaged to be married, but who falls in love with outcast Sarah, whose melancholy ... See full summary »

Director: Karel Reisz | Stars: Meryl Streep, Jeremy Irons, Hilton McRae, Emily Morgan

Votes: 12,163 | Gross: $22.60M

6/10

32. An American Werewolf in London (1981)

R | 97 min | Comedy, Horror

55 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: 92,721 | Gross: $30.57M

6/10

33. Happy Birthday to Me (1981)

R | 110 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

24 Metascore

At the snobby Crawford Academy, Virginia's group of friends start to go missing years after horrible events that happened to her as a child around her birthday.

Director: J. Lee Thompson | Stars: Melissa Sue Anderson, Glenn Ford, Lawrence Dane, Sharon Acker

Votes: 8,328

6/10

34. Victory (1981)

PG | 116 min | Drama, Sport, War

57 Metascore

As allied P.O.W.s prepare for a soccer game against the German National Team to be played in Nazi-occupied Paris, the French Resistance and British officers are making plans for the team's escape.

Director: John Huston | Stars: Michael Caine, Sylvester Stallone, Pelé, Bobby Moore

Votes: 27,690 | Gross: $10.85M

6/10

35. Rys (1982)

84 min | Drama, War

During the Nazi occupation a young priest tries hard to prevent the execution of a local farmer, accused of treason, by a resistance fighter.

Director: Stanislaw Rózewicz | Stars: Jerzy Radziwilowicz, Franciszek Pieczka, Piotr Bajor, Ryszarda Hanin

Votes: 231

6/10. It was made in 1981.

36. La Chevre (1981)

91 min | Adventure, Comedy, Crime

A daughter of a millionaire, distinguish by incredible bad luck, goes missing. The idea how to find her is either insane or brilliant - to send after her an equally unlucky person.

Director: Francis Veber | Stars: Pierre Richard, Gérard Depardieu, Pedro Armendáriz Jr., Corynne Charbit

Votes: 8,073

6/10

37. Outland (1981)

R | 109 min | Action, Crime, Sci-Fi

48 Metascore

A federal marshal stationed at a mining colony on the Jupiter moon of Io uncovers a drug-smuggling conspiracy. He gets no help from the workers or authorities when he finds himself marked for murder.

Director: Peter Hyams | Stars: Sean Connery, Frances Sternhagen, Peter Boyle, James Sikking

Votes: 27,307 | Gross: $17.37M

6/10

38. Shivers (1981)

106 min | Drama, History

A boy comes of age under an oppressive, cruel socialist government and watches as it slowly but surely distorts his family, his school and even his own thoughts.

Director: Wojciech Marczewski | Stars: Tomasz Hudziec, Teresa Marczewska, Marek Kondrat, Zdzislaw Wardejn

Votes: 392

6/10

39. My Bloody Valentine (1981)

R | 90 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

46 Metascore

A decades-old folk tale surrounding a deranged murderer killing those who celebrate Valentine's Day turns out to be true to legend when a group defies the killer's order and people start turning up dead.

Director: George Mihalka | Stars: Paul Kelman, Lori Hallier, Neil Affleck, Keith Knight

Votes: 18,081 | Gross: $5.67M

6/10



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