Top 100 Favorite Films of the 1980s

From time to time, my friends (several of the editors of this blog included) like to take on tasks, like assembling our top 100 favorite (or best, depending on the person) films of a certain decade list. This kicked off several years back when the aughts came to a close, and without the benefit of much hindsight, my list came together with relative ease, an occurrence that would become more and more impossible with each passing year. Time will forever be the ultimate judge of a movie’s worth, so I would be interested in revisiting that particular manifest at some point down the road.

From there we began to work our way backwards, tackling the 90s, a decade that proved more problematic since that 10 years was when my love for film really took off. As herculean as that task was, it didn’t come close to preparing me for the challenge I had in creating my 80s list. I foolishly thought this was going to be a cinch, an idiotic result of a thought process that would have been considered nebulous at best*. I had failed to think about three important factors that would influence my list of favorite 80s films:

1.       Most of my favorite films from childhood are from the decade because I came of age. While some of them aren’t what one would call a typical “kids” film, my family was cool enough to raise me right and get me started on the works of Carpenter and Hooper early on, so kudos to them.

2.       I love action films more than any other genre; they are criminally underrated and, generally speaking, not treated with the reverence they deserve by casual film fans and cineastes alike. I will resist the urge to rant and rave on this topic and just leave it alone, but suffice to say that the genre is well represented here.

3.       Over the past decade, I’ve become a considerable fan of horror, sci-fi, and, in a general sense, the low budget, totally insane films that could have only come out in the 80s. Just like the action genre, these genres hit a high water mark that, for my money, hasn’t been equaled sense.

In an effort to make an accurate list, I re-watched 80% (this guesstimate seems right, I suppose) of the movies that make an appearance below, plus a whole lot more that fell out of contention at one point or another during this highly scientific process. The last 5 cut from the list are always the hardest, so in the interest of full disclosure, I decided to list them here:

1.       Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

2.       After Hours

3.       Zelig

4.       This is Spinal Tap

5.       Unbearable Lightness of Being

Unfortunately, I don’t have the time or the willpower to write up something about each movie, so this humble preamble will have to do. I have written up full reviews of some of the films on this list for the blog, so those titles will offer a hyperlink to the previous post. If you’ve never heard of or seen any film on this list, I strongly urge you to track it down and enjoy a night in. As always, voicing one’s opinions and objections to my list is welcomed.

100. Year of the Dragon (1985)

99. Road Games (1981)

98. Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (1988)

97. Razorback (1984)

96. Breathless (1983)

95. Missing (1982)

94. The Hit (1985)

93. Night of the Comet (1984)

92. Mystery Train (1989)

91. Turkey Shoot (1983)

90. Sex, Lies, and Videotape (1989)

89. Death Wish 3 (1985)

88. Akira (1988)

87. Say Anything… (1989)

86. Secret Honor (1985)

85. Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989)

84. The Blob (1988)

83. Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987)

82. Do the Right Thing (1989)

81. Evil Dead II (1987)

80. They Live (1988)

79. Little Shop of Horrors (1986)

78. Police Story 2 (1988)

77. As Tears Go By (1988)

76. Re-Animator (1985)

75. The Last Temptation of Christ (1988)

74. Big (1988)

73. Dead Ringers (1988)

72. Broadcast News (1987)

71. Mona Lisa (1986)

70. The Return of the Living Dead (1985)

69. Fitzcarraldo (1982)

68. Near Dark (1987)

67. Police Story (1985)

66. The Mission (1986)

65. Something Wild (1986)

64. Hannah and Her Sisters (1986)

63. Lost in America (1985)

62. Witness (1985)

61. Paris, Texas (1984)

60. Blue Velvet (1986)

59. Better off Dead… (1985)

58. Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure (1985)

57. Beverly Hills Cop (1984)

56. The King of Comedy (1983)

55. Top Secret! (1984)

54. Body Heat (1981)

53. Thief (1981)

52. 48 Hrs. (1982)

51. Knightriders (1981)

50. Once Upon a Time in America (1984)

49. Gremlins (1984)

48. To Live and Die in L.A. (1985)

47. RoboCop (1987)

46. Commando (1985)

45. ¡Three Amigos! (1986)

44. The Fly (1986)

43. Platoon (1986)

42. Back to the Future (1985)

41. The Terminator (1984)

40. Blood Simple (1984)

39. Project A (1983)

38. Southern Comfort (1981)

37. Hopscotch (1980)

36. Pennies from Heaven (1981)

35. Prince of the City (1981)

34. Tampopo (1985)

33. Blade Runner (1982)

32. The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985)

31. Bloodsport (1988)

30. Coming to America (1988)

29. Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982)

28. Used Cars (1980)

27. Videodrome (1983)

26. The Muppets Take Manhattan (1984)

25. Escape from New York (1981)

24. Repo Man ( 1984)

23. The Untouchables (1987)

22. Blow Out (1981)

21. Withnail & I (1987)

20. The Goonies (1985)

19. Aliens (1986)

18. Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988)

17. Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988)

16. Poltergeist (1982)

15. From Beyond (1986)

14. A Christmas Story (1983)

13. Road House (1989)

12. Beetlejuice (1988)

11. Clue (1985)

10. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

9. Die Hard (1988)

8. The Long Good Friday (1980)

7. Ghostbusters (1984)

6. Predator (1987)

5. Ran (1985)

4. Big Trouble in Little China (1986)

3. Brazil (1985)

2. The Thing (1982)

1. Raging Bull (1980)

-David

*Just to put the difficultly of this is perspective, I was supposed to get my list out roughly two months back.

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One thought on “Top 100 Favorite Films of the 1980s

  1. Pingback: Mas Fotos: Kevin cortandose el pelo » HON 2000

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