My Favourite Films of the 1980s

by CriticalPoet | created - 8 months ago | updated - 2 weeks ago | Public
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1. 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: 167,185 | Gross: $8.55M

2. The Princess Bride (1987)

PG | 98 min | Adventure, Family, Fantasy

77 Metascore

While home sick in bed, a young boy's grandfather reads him the story of a farmboy-turned-pirate who encounters numerous obstacles, enemies and allies in his quest to be reunited with his true love.

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

Votes: 369,230 | Gross: $30.86M

3. The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover (1989)

NC-17 | 124 min | Crime, Drama

62 Metascore

The wife of an abusive criminal finds solace in the arms of a kind regular guest in her husband's restaurant.

Director: Peter Greenaway | Stars: Richard Bohringer, Michael Gambon, Helen Mirren, Alan Howard

Votes: 32,501 | Gross: $7.72M

4. 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 who can only be stopped by two teenagers and a group of psychics.

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

Votes: 147,301 | Gross: $0.55M

5. 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 and a bounty hunter named Boba Fett all over the galaxy

Director: Irvin Kershner | Stars: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams

Votes: 1,081,864 | Gross: $290.48M

6. The Elephant Man (1980)

PG | 124 min | Biography, Drama

77 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: 205,100

7. 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 deadly powers.

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

Votes: 832,358 | Gross: $248.16M

8. 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: 157,894 | Gross: $12.47M

9. 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: 342,832 | Gross: $13.78M

10. The Plague Dogs (1982)

PG-13 | 103 min | Animation, Adventure, Drama

Two dogs escape from a laboratory and are hunted as possible carriers of the bubonic plague.

Director: Martin Rosen | Stars: John Hurt, Christopher Benjamin, James Bolam, Nigel Hawthorne

Votes: 6,351

11. Blade Runner (1982)

R | 117 min | Action, 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: 646,785 | Gross: $32.87M

12. The Dark Crystal (1982)

PG | 93 min | Adventure, Family, Fantasy

66 Metascore

On another planet in the distant past, a Gelfling embarks on a quest to find the missing shard of a magical crystal, and so restore order to his world.

Directors: Jim Henson, Frank Oz | Stars: Jim Henson, Kathryn Mullen, Frank Oz, Dave Goelz

Votes: 57,847 | Gross: $40.58M

13. Scarface (1983)

R | 170 min | Crime, Drama

65 Metascore

In 1980 Miami, a determined Cuban immigrant takes over a drug cartel and succumbs to greed.

Director: Brian De Palma | Stars: Al Pacino, Michelle Pfeiffer, Steven Bauer, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio

Votes: 684,378 | Gross: $45.60M

14. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)

PG | 118 min | Action, Adventure

57 Metascore

In 1935, Indiana Jones arrives in India, still part of the British Empire, and is asked to find a mystical stone. He then stumbles upon a secret cult committing enslavement and human sacrifices in the catacombs of an ancient palace.

Director: Steven Spielberg | Stars: Harrison Ford, Kate Capshaw, Ke Huy Quan, Amrish Puri

Votes: 417,235 | Gross: $179.87M

15. 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: 332,708 | Gross: $238.63M

16. 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: 77,046 | Gross: $2.12M

17. Amadeus (1984)

R | 160 min | Biography, Drama, History

88 Metascore

The life, success and troubles of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, as told by Antonio Salieri, the contemporaneous composer who was insanely jealous of Mozart's talent and claimed to have murdered him.

Director: Milos Forman | Stars: F. Murray Abraham, Tom Hulce, Elizabeth Berridge, Roy Dotrice

Votes: 346,084 | Gross: $51.97M

18. The Breakfast Club (1985)

R | 97 min | Comedy, Drama

62 Metascore

Five high school students meet in Saturday detention and discover how they have a lot more in common than they thought.

Director: John Hughes | Stars: Emilio Estevez, Judd Nelson, Molly Ringwald, Ally Sheedy

Votes: 326,343 | Gross: $45.88M

19. 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: 81,476 | Gross: $2.15M

20. Back to the Future (1985)

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

87 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 eccentric scientist Doc Brown.

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

Votes: 968,149 | Gross: $210.61M

21. 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: 178,461 | Gross: $9.93M

22. The Goonies (1985)

PG | 114 min | Adventure, Comedy, Family

62 Metascore

A group of young misfits who call themselves The Goonies discover an ancient map and set out on a quest to find a legendary pirate's long-lost treasure.

Director: Richard Donner | Stars: Sean Astin, Josh Brolin, Jeff Cohen, Corey Feldman

Votes: 224,685 | Gross: $61.50M

23. Street of Crocodiles (1986)

Not Rated | 20 min | Animation, Short

Inside a box full of curio, a puppet who is recently freed from his strings explores a dusty and forlorn commercial area. The explorer becomes ensnared into miniature tailor shop by baby-faced dolls.

Directors: Stephen Quay, Timothy Quay, Weiser Quay | Star: Feliks Stawinski

Votes: 2,305

24. Aliens (1986)

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

84 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: 615,613 | Gross: $85.16M

25. Labyrinth (1986)

PG | 101 min | Adventure, Family, Fantasy

50 Metascore

Sixteen-year-old Sarah (Jennifer Connelly) is given thirteen hours to solve a labyrinth and rescue her baby brother Toby (Toby Froud) when her wish for him to be taken away is granted by the Goblin King Jareth (David Bowie).

Director: Jim Henson | Stars: David Bowie, Jennifer Connelly, Toby Froud, Shelley Thompson

Votes: 116,514 | Gross: $12.73M

26. A Zed & Two Noughts (1985)

Not Rated | 115 min | Comedy, Drama

Twin zoologists lose their wives in a car accident and become obsessed with decomposing animals.

Director: Peter Greenaway | Stars: Brian Deacon, Eric Deacon, Andréa Ferréol, Frances Barber

Votes: 5,989

27. Stand by Me (1986)

R | 89 min | Adventure, Drama

75 Metascore

After the death of one of his friends, a writer recounts a boyhood journey with his friends to find the body of a missing boy.

Director: Rob Reiner | Stars: Wil Wheaton, River Phoenix, Corey Feldman, Jerry O'Connell

Votes: 341,832 | Gross: $52.29M

28. 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: 119,035 | Gross: $22.85M

29. 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: 139,500 | Gross: $5.92M

30. The Man Who Planted Trees (1987)

30 min | Animation, Short, Drama

The story of a shepherd's single handed quest to re-forest a barren valley.

Director: Frédéric Back | Stars: Philippe Noiret, Christopher Plummer

Votes: 5,218

31. Drowning by Numbers (1988)

R | 118 min | Comedy, Drama

Three generations of women all share the same problem: marriage woes, and they want to put an end to it.

Director: Peter Greenaway | Stars: Bernard Hill, Joan Plowright, Juliet Stevenson, Joely Richardson

Votes: 7,583 | Gross: $0.42M

32. Rain Man (1988)

R | 133 min | Drama

65 Metascore

Selfish yuppie Charlie Babbitt's father left a fortune to his savant brother Raymond and a pittance to Charlie; they travel cross-country.

Director: Barry Levinson | Stars: Dustin Hoffman, Tom Cruise, Valeria Golino, Gerald R. Molen

Votes: 449,576 | Gross: $178.80M

33. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)

PG-13 | 127 min | Action, Adventure

65 Metascore

In 1938, after his father Professor Henry Jones, Sr. goes missing while pursuing the Holy Grail, Professor Henry "Indiana" Jones, Jr. finds himself up against Adolf Hitler's Nazis again to stop them from obtaining its powers.

Director: Steven Spielberg | Stars: Harrison Ford, Sean Connery, Alison Doody, Denholm Elliott

Votes: 650,216 | Gross: $197.17M

34. Dead Poets Society (1989)

PG | 128 min | Comedy, Drama

79 Metascore

English teacher John Keating inspires his students to look at poetry with a different perspective of authentic knowledge and feelings.

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

Votes: 384,568 | Gross: $95.86M

35. The Abyss (1989)

PG-13 | 145 min | Adventure, Drama, Mystery

62 Metascore

A civilian diving team is enlisted to search for a lost nuclear submarine and face danger while encountering an alien aquatic species.

Director: James Cameron | Stars: Ed Harris, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Michael Biehn, Leo Burmester

Votes: 154,416 | Gross: $54.46M

36. Castle in the Sky (1986)

PG | 125 min | Animation, Adventure, Drama

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: 132,049

37. Tetsuo: The Iron Man (1989)

Not Rated | 67 min | Horror, Sci-Fi

A businessman accidentally kills The Metal Fetishist, who gets his revenge by slowly turning the man into a grotesque hybrid of flesh and rusty metal.

Director: Shin'ya Tsukamoto | Stars: Tomorô Taguchi, Kei Fujiwara, Nobu Kanaoka, Shin'ya Tsukamoto

Votes: 17,609

38. The Killer (1989)

R | 111 min | Action, Crime, Drama

82 Metascore

A disillusioned assassin accepts one last hit in hopes of using his earnings to restore vision to a singer he accidentally blinded, only to be double-crossed by his boss.

Director: John Woo | Stars: Yun-Fat Chow, Danny Lee, Sally Yeh, Kong Chu

Votes: 43,816

39. 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: 174,903 | Gross: $2.40M



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