1981

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1. Son of the White Mare (1981)

81 min | Animation, Adventure, Fantasy

90 Metascore

In this dreamlike Hungarian folk myth, a horse goddess gives birth to three powerful brothers who set out into the Underworld to save three princesses from three evil dragons and reclaim their ancestors' lost kingdom.

Director: Marcell Jankovics | Stars: György Cserhalmi, Vera Pap, Gyula Szabó, Ferenc Szalma

Votes: 1,497

2. 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: 236,157 | Gross: $11.49M

3. Thief (1981)

R | 123 min | Action, Crime, Drama

78 Metascore

An ace safe cracker wants to do one last big heist for the mob before going straight.

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

Votes: 27,067 | Gross: $11.49M

4. 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: 59,917 | Gross: $42.37M

5. Stripes (1981)

R | 106 min | Comedy, War

68 Metascore

Two friends who are dissatisfied with their jobs decide to join the army for a bit of fun.

Director: Ivan Reitman | Stars: Bill Murray, John Candy, Harold Ramis, Warren Oates

Votes: 67,139 | Gross: $85.30M

6. 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: 95,789 | Gross: $30.57M

7. Le Pont du Nord (1981)

Not Rated | 129 min | Adventure, Crime, Drama

61 Metascore

Young unhinged female ex-con with a motorcycle helps a sickly young homeless woman in red discover what the map of Paris she took from her gangster boyfriend leads to.

Director: Jacques Rivette | Stars: Bulle Ogier, Pascale Ogier, Pierre Clémenti, Jean-François Stévenin

Votes: 1,067 | Gross: $0.01M

8. Shock Treatment (1981)

PG | 94 min | Comedy, Musical

36 Metascore

Janet and Brad become contestants on a game show... but wind up as captives instead.

Director: Jim Sharman | Stars: Jessica Harper, Cliff De Young, Richard O'Brien, Patricia Quinn

Votes: 4,593

9. Sea Prince and the Fire Child (1981)

TV-Y7-FV | 108 min | Animation, Drama, Family

A prince of the sea and a child of fire engage in a tragic forbidden romance.

Director: Masami Hata | Stars: Tôru Furuya, Mami Koyama, Keiko Han, Michiko Nomura

Votes: 465

10. 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: 3,541 | Gross: $2.86M

11. 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: 19,178 | Gross: $5.25M

12. 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: 31,634 | Gross: $24.06M

13. Heavy Metal (1981)

R | 86 min | Animation, Adventure, Fantasy

51 Metascore

A glowing green orb - which embodies ultimate evil - terrorizes a young girl with an anthology of bizarre and fantastic stories of dark fantasy, eroticism and horror.

Directors: Gerald Potterton, John Bruno, John Halas, Julian Harris, Jimmy T. Murakami, Barrie Nelson, Paul Sabella, Jack Stokes, Pino Van Lamsweerde, Harold Whitaker | Stars: Richard Romanus, John Candy, Joe Flaherty, Don Francks

Votes: 32,552

14. Possession (1981)

R | 124 min | Drama, Horror

72 Metascore

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: 26,597 | Gross: $1.11M

15. Arthur (1981)

PG | 97 min | Comedy, Romance

69 Metascore

Alcoholic billionaire playboy Arthur Bach must marry a woman he does not love, or he will be cut off from his $750,000,000 fortune. But when Arthur falls in love with a poor waitress, he must decide if he wants to choose love or money.

Director: Steve Gordon | Stars: Dudley Moore, Liza Minnelli, John Gielgud, Geraldine Fitzgerald

Votes: 26,394 | Gross: $95.46M

16. 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: 37,575 | Gross: $5.73M

17. 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: 28,401 | Gross: $119.29M

18. 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: 9,841 | Gross: $17.58M

19. 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: 900,236 | Gross: $248.16M

20. 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: 169,455 | Gross: $12.47M

21. 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: 46,303 | Gross: $13.75M

22. Mephisto (1981)

Unrated | 144 min | Drama

In early-1930s Germany, a passionate stage actor finds himself before a dilemma: renounce his apolitical stance and comply with the Reich's doctrine, or face oblivion. But, Faustian bargains never end well. What is the price of success?

Director: István Szabó | Stars: Klaus Maria Brandauer, Krystyna Janda, Ildikó Bánsági, Rolf Hoppe

Votes: 9,780

23. 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: 190,814 | Gross: $2.40M

24. 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: 32,046 | Gross: $17.99M

25. 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: 9,126

26. 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: 130,286 | Gross: $25.24M

27. 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: 50,080 | Gross: $14.23M

28. History of the World: Part I (1981)

R | 92 min | Comedy, History, Musical

47 Metascore

Mel Brooks brings his one-of-a-kind comic touch to the history of mankind covering events from the Old Testament to the French Revolution in a series of episodic comedy vignettes.

Director: Mel Brooks | Stars: Mel Brooks, Gregory Hines, Dom DeLuise, Madeline Kahn

Votes: 46,663 | Gross: $31.67M

29. For Your Eyes Only (1981)

PG | 127 min | Action, Adventure, Thriller

54 Metascore

James Bond is assigned to find a missing British vessel, equipped with a weapons encryption device and prevent it from falling into enemy hands.

Director: John Glen | Stars: Roger Moore, Carole Bouquet, Topol, Lynn-Holly Johnson

Votes: 94,128 | Gross: $62.30M

30. The Cannonball Run (1981)

PG | 95 min | Action, Comedy, Sport

28 Metascore

A wide variety of eccentric competitors participate in a wild and illegal cross-country road race. However, the eccentric entrants will do anything to win the road race, including low-down, dirty tricks.

Director: Hal Needham | Stars: Burt Reynolds, Roger Moore, Farrah Fawcett, Dom DeLuise

Votes: 33,832 | Gross: $72.18M

31. The Great Muppet Caper (1981)

G | 97 min | Adventure, Comedy, Crime

70 Metascore

Kermit the Frog, The Great Gonzo, and Fozzie Bear are reporters who travel to Britain to interview a rich victim of jewel thieves and help her along with her secretary, Miss Piggy.

Director: Jim Henson | Stars: Jim Henson, Frank Oz, Dave Goelz, Jerry Nelson

Votes: 14,221 | Gross: $31.21M

32. Tarzan the Ape Man (1981)

Approved | 115 min | Adventure, Drama

24 Metascore

While on an African expedition with her father, Jane Parker meets Tarzan, and the two become fascinated by each other.

Director: John Derek | Stars: Bo Derek, Richard Harris, Miles O'Keeffe, John Phillip Law

Votes: 5,279 | Gross: $36.57M



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