Best movies of the 1980s

Best of the best

  • Amadeus
    • Possibly not historically accurate, but lots of fun. Mozart is a genius composer but he’s not very good at holding onto his money — jealous rival Salieri takes advantage of both.
  • Blade Runner
    • Redefined the look of a SF movie, and full of big ideas. In 2019 Rick Deckard hunts down replicants who have illegally come to Earth. Then he falls in love with one. Stars Harrison Ford and directed by Ridley Scott.
  • Brazil
    • A SF movie that’s thoughtful and funny. Sam is a cog in an insane bureaucracy, but he would like to break free with the woman of his dreams. Directed by Terry Gilliam.
  • The Color Purple
    • Much of it is sad, but it’s ultimately hopeful. Celie is forced to marry someone she doesn’t love but becomes able to leave him years later. Stars Whoopi Goldberg and Danny Glover.
  • Dead Poets Society
    • Both very funny and very sad. Mr. Keating encourages his English students to seize the day, and they do. Stars Robin Williams.
  • Driving Miss Daisy
    • A great movie about friendship. When Miss Daisy gets in an accident her son hires Hoke to be her driver — they gradually become friends. Stars Jessica Tandy and Morgan Freeman.
  • Field of Dreams
    • One of the greatest fantasy movies ever. Ray hears a voice in his corn field, and he thinks it wants him to build a baseball diamond. Stars Kevin Costner.
  • Gandhi
    • A heroic story of nonviolence. Based on a true story, the movie shows Gandhi’s life from when he’s kicked off a whites-only train to his assassination years later. Stars Ben Kingsley.
  • The Mission
    • One of the saddest movies ever. Based on a true story, Jesuits in the 1750s enter the jungles of South America to build a mission. Things change because of a treaty made in far-off Europe.
  • Parenthood
    • Funny and poignant, this movie takes a look at several generations of the Buckman family. Stars Steve Martin and Mary Steenburgen.
  • Pee-wee’s Big Adventure
    • Pee-wee Herman’s funniest adventure. Pee-wee’s bike is stolen and he goes on a quest to get it back. Stars Paul Reubens and directed by Tim Burton.
  • The Princess Bride
    • One of the funniest movies ever. Princess Buttercup agrees to marry Prince Humperdinck because she believes her true love Westley to be dead.
  • Rain Man
    • It’s about family and becoming a better person. Charlie discovers his brother Raymond is an autistic savant, and they go on a road trip. Stars Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman.
  • Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
    • It’s about aging, sacrifice, and the potential dangers of technology. Kirk’s old friend Khan, who has stolen a starship, shows up to kill him. Stars Leonard Nimoy and Ricardo Montalban.
  • Star Trek III: The Search for Spock
    • It’s about doing whatever it takes to save your best friend. Kirk risks his career to put back together Spock’s mind and his body. Stars William Shatner and Christopher Lloyd.
  • Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
    • It’s about doing whatever it takes to save Earth. Kirk and crew are on their way home when the Earth is threatened by a probe that wants to speak to some humpback whales. Stars DeForest Kelley and James Doohan.
  • Witness
    • An amazing movie about worlds colliding. Detective John Book stays with some Amish people while he tries to solve a murder. Stars Harrison Ford.

Runner ups

  • 2010
  • The Abyss
  • Airplane!
  • Aliens
  • Back to the Future
  • Back to the Future Part II
  • Beetlejuice
  • Cocoon
  • Crocodile Dundee
  • The Dead Zone
  • Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
  • Eight Men Out
  • Fletch
  • Good Morning, Vietnam
  • Gorillas in the Mist
  • Heathers
  • Henry V
  • Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
  • La Bamba
  • The Last Emperor
  • The Last Temptation of Christ
  • The Mosquito Coast
  • The Name of the Rose
  • NausicaƤ of the Valley of the Wind
  • Raising Arizona
  • Stand and Deliver
  • Stand by Me
  • Star Trek V: The Final Frontier
  • Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
  • UHF
  • Uncle Buck

Honourable mentions

  • The Adventures of Baron Munchausen
  • Airplane II: The Sequel
  • Batman
  • Big
  • Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure
  • The Breakfast Club
  • Communion
  • The Dream Team
  • The Emerald Forest
  • Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
  • For Your Eyes Only
  • Ghostbusters
  • The Goonies
  • Gremlins
  • Kiki’s Delivery Service
  • Ladyhawke
  • Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior
  • My Neighbor Totoro
  • The Navigator: A Medieval Odyssey
  • Quest for Fire
  • Planes, Trains & Automobiles
  • Raiders of the Lost Ark
  • Scrooged
  • The Secret of NIMH
  • Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
  • Terminator
  • Time Bandits
  • WarGames
  • Willow

Worth watching once

  • 1984
  • The Dark Crystal
  • Dune
  • Excalibur
  • Labyrinth
  • Licence to Kill
  • The Living Daylights
  • Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome
  • Octopussy
  • Spaceballs
  • Superman II
  • A View to a Kill
  • The Wings of Honneamise

I previously listed the best movies of the 1970s.

This entry was posted on Sunday, October 11th, 2015 at 9:41 pm and is filed under My thoughts. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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