My Favorite Films of the 1980s

by sapphiresky | created - 13 May 2011 | updated - 03 Jul 2013 | Public
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1. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

PG | 115 min | Family, Sci-Fi

7.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
91 Metascore

A troubled child summons the courage to help a friendly alien escape Earth and return to his home world.

Director: Steven Spielberg | Stars: Henry Thomas, Drew Barrymore, Peter Coyote, Dee Wallace

Votes: 311,902 | Gross: $435.11M

Top of the list.

2. The Elephant Man (1980)

PG | 124 min | Biography, Drama

8.2
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

A Victorian surgeon rescues a heavily disfigured man who is mistreated while scraping a living as a side-show freak. Behind his monstrous facade, there is revealed a person of intelligence and sensitivity.

Director: David Lynch | Stars: Anthony Hopkins, John Hurt, Anne Bancroft, John Gielgud

Votes: 181,970

3. The Breakfast Club (1985)

R | 97 min | Comedy, Drama

7.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
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: 290,230 | Gross: $45.88M

4. When Harry Met Sally... (1989)

R | 96 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

7.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
76 Metascore

Harry and Sally have known each other for years, and are very good friends, but they fear sex would ruin the friendship.

Director: Rob Reiner | Stars: Billy Crystal, Meg Ryan, Carrie Fisher, Bruno Kirby

Votes: 164,576 | Gross: $92.82M

5. Coal Miner's Daughter (1980)

PG | 124 min | Biography, Drama, Music

7.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
87 Metascore

Biographical story of Loretta Lynn, a legendary country singer that came from poverty to worldwide fame. She rose from humble beginnings in Kentucky to superstardom and changing the sound and style of country music forever.

Director: Michael Apted | Stars: Sissy Spacek, Tommy Lee Jones, Levon Helm, Phyllis Boyens-Liptak

Votes: 14,113 | Gross: $67.18M

6. Dangerous Liaisons (1988)

R | 119 min | Drama, Romance

7.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
74 Metascore

A scheming widow and her manipulative ex-lover make a bet regarding the corruption of a recently married woman.

Director: Stephen Frears | Stars: Glenn Close, John Malkovich, Michelle Pfeiffer, Swoosie Kurtz

Votes: 56,597 | Gross: $34.70M

7. The Goonies (1985)

PG | 114 min | Adventure, Comedy, Family

7.8
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60 Metascore

In order to save their home from foreclosure, a group of misfits set out to find a pirate's ancient valuable treasure.

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

Votes: 198,376 | Gross: $61.50M

8. Witness (1985)

R | 112 min | Crime, Drama, Romance

7.4
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
76 Metascore

A young Amish boy is sole witness to a murder; policeman John Book goes into hiding in Amish country to protect him until the trial.

Director: Peter Weir | Stars: Harrison Ford, Kelly McGillis, Lukas Haas, Josef Sommer

Votes: 72,698 | Gross: $68.71M

9. Dirty Dancing (1987)

PG-13 | 100 min | Drama, Music, Romance

6.9
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65 Metascore

Spending the summer at a Catskills resort with her family, Frances "Baby" Houseman falls in love with the camp's dance instructor, Johnny Castle.

Director: Emile Ardolino | Stars: Patrick Swayze, Jennifer Grey, Jerry Orbach, Cynthia Rhodes

Votes: 159,141 | Gross: $63.95M

10. Some Kind of Wonderful (1987)

PG-13 | 95 min | Drama, Romance

7.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
55 Metascore

When Keith goes out with Amanda, the girl of his dreams, Amanda's ex-boyfriend plans to get back at Keith. Meanwhile, Keith's best friend, tomboy Watts, realizes she has feelings for Keith.

Director: Howard Deutch | Stars: Eric Stoltz, Mary Stuart Masterson, Lea Thompson, Craig Sheffer

Votes: 22,461 | Gross: $18.55M

11. The Shining (1980)

R | 146 min | Drama, Horror

8.4
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63 Metascore

A family heads to an isolated hotel for the winter where an evil spiritual presence influences the father into violence, while his psychic son sees horrific forebodings from the past and of the future.

Director: Stanley Kubrick | Stars: Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Danny Lloyd, Scatman Crothers

Votes: 697,281 | Gross: $44.02M

12. Pretty in Pink (1986)

PG-13 | 96 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

6.8
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57 Metascore

A poor girl must choose between the affections of her doting childhood sweetheart and a rich but sensitive playboy.

Director: Howard Deutch | Stars: Molly Ringwald, Jon Cryer, Harry Dean Stanton, Annie Potts

Votes: 61,776 | Gross: $40.47M

13. Tightrope (1984)

R | 114 min | Crime, Mystery, Thriller

6.3
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New Orleans single dad and cop Wes Block goes after a serial rapist-killer but when he gets too close to the target the hunter suddenly becomes the hunted.

Director: Richard Tuggle | Stars: Clint Eastwood, Geneviève Bujold, Dan Hedaya, Alison Eastwood

Votes: 12,794 | Gross: $48.14M

14. Lethal Weapon (1987)

R | 110 min | Action, Crime, Thriller

7.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
67 Metascore

A veteran policeman, Murtaugh, is partnered with a younger, suicidal officer, Riggs. They both have one thing in common: hating working in pairs. Now they must learn to work with one another to stop a gang of drug smugglers.

Director: Richard Donner | Stars: Mel Gibson, Danny Glover, Gary Busey, Mitchell Ryan

Votes: 207,627 | Gross: $65.21M

15. Lethal Weapon 2 (1989)

R | 114 min | Action, Crime, Thriller

7.2
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
70 Metascore

Riggs and Murtaugh are on the trail of South African diplomats who are using their immunity to engage in criminal activities.

Director: Richard Donner | Stars: Mel Gibson, Danny Glover, Joe Pesci, Patsy Kensit

Votes: 139,963 | Gross: $147.25M

16. Sudden Impact (1983)

R | 117 min | Action, Crime, Thriller

6.6
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A rape victim is exacting revenge on her aggressors in a small town outside San Francisco. "Dirty" Harry Callahan, on suspension for angering his superiors (again), is assigned to the case.

Director: Clint Eastwood | Stars: Clint Eastwood, Sondra Locke, Pat Hingle, Bradford Dillman

Votes: 34,259 | Gross: $67.64M

17. Urban Cowboy (1980)

PG | 132 min | Drama, Romance, Western

6.2
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  
61 Metascore

Bud is a young man from the country who learns about life and love in a Houston bar.

Director: James Bridges | Stars: John Travolta, Debra Winger, Scott Glenn, Madolyn Smith Osborne

Votes: 11,062 | Gross: $53.30M

18. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

PG | 115 min | Action, Adventure

8.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
85 Metascore

Archaeologist and adventurer Indiana Jones is hired by the U.S. government to find the Ark of the Covenant before the Nazis.

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

Votes: 738,348 | Gross: $248.16M

19. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)

PG-13 | 127 min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy

8.3
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
65 Metascore

When Dr. Henry Jones, Sr. suddenly goes missing while pursuing the Holy Grail, eminent archaeologist Dr. Henry "Indiana" Jones, Jr. must follow in his father's footsteps to stop the Nazis from getting their hands on the Holy Grail first.

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

Votes: 578,363 | Gross: $197.17M

20. St. Elmo's Fire (1985)

R | 110 min | Drama, Romance

6.4
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A group of friends, just out of college, struggle with adulthood.

Director: Joel Schumacher | Stars: Demi Moore, Rob Lowe, Andrew McCarthy, Emilio Estevez

Votes: 30,459 | Gross: $37.80M

21. Child's Play (1988)

R | 87 min | Horror, Thriller

6.6
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A single mother gives her son a much sought-after doll for his birthday, only to discover that it is possessed by the soul of a serial killer.

Director: Tom Holland | Stars: Catherine Hicks, Chris Sarandon, Alex Vincent, Brad Dourif

Votes: 69,791 | Gross: $33.24M

22. Steel Magnolias (1989)

PG | 117 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

7.2
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A young beautician, newly arrived in a small Louisiana town, finds work at the local salon, where a small group of women share a close bond of friendship and welcome her into the fold.

Director: Herbert Ross | Stars: Shirley MacLaine, Olympia Dukakis, Sally Field, Julia Roberts

Votes: 37,947 | Gross: $83.76M

23. Rain Man (1988)

R | 133 min | Drama

8.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  
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: 414,654 | Gross: $172.83M

24. Planes, Trains & Automobiles (1987)

R | 93 min | Comedy

7.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
72 Metascore

A man must struggle to travel home for Thanksgiving with an obnoxious slob of a shower curtain ring salesman as his only companion.

Director: John Hughes | Stars: Steve Martin, John Candy, Laila Robins, Michael McKean

Votes: 101,552 | Gross: $49.53M

25. La Bamba (1987)

PG-13 | 108 min | Biography, Drama, Music

6.8
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
65 Metascore

Biographical story of the rise from nowhere of early rock and roll singer Ritchie Valens who died at age 17 in a plane crash with Buddy Holly and the Big Bopper.

Director: Luis Valdez | Stars: Lou Diamond Phillips, Esai Morales, Rosanna DeSoto, Elizabeth Peña

Votes: 23,199 | Gross: $54.22M

26. Mask (1985)

PG-13 | 120 min | Biography, Drama

7.2
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A teenager with a massive facial skull deformity and biker gang mother attempt to live as normal a life as possible under the circumstances.

Director: Peter Bogdanovich | Stars: Cher, Eric Stoltz, Sam Elliott, Estelle Getty

Votes: 22,335 | Gross: $48.23M

27. The Trip to Bountiful (1985)

PG | 108 min | Drama

7.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

In 1940s Texas, an elderly woman is determined to visit her childhood home for one last time.

Director: Peter Masterson | Stars: Geraldine Page, John Heard, Carlin Glynn, Richard Bradford

Votes: 3,293 | Gross: $7.47M

28. Gremlins (1984)

PG | 106 min | Comedy, Fantasy, Horror

7.2
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
70 Metascore

A boy inadvertently breaks three important rules concerning his new pet and unleashes a horde of malevolently mischievous monsters on a small town.

Director: Joe Dante | Stars: Zach Galligan, Phoebe Cates, Hoyt Axton, John Louie

Votes: 162,324 | Gross: $148.17M

It's all about Gizmo. He's so cute.

29. The Untouchables (1987)

R | 119 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

7.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
79 Metascore

Federal Agent Eliot Ness sets out to stop Al Capone; because of rampant corruption, he assembles a small, hand-picked team.

Director: Brian De Palma | Stars: Kevin Costner, Sean Connery, Robert De Niro, Charles Martin Smith

Votes: 237,873 | Gross: $76.27M

30. Big (1988)

PG | 104 min | Comedy, Drama, Family

7.3
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
73 Metascore

After wishing to be made big, a teenage boy wakes the next morning to find himself mysteriously in the body of an adult.

Director: Penny Marshall | Stars: Tom Hanks, Elizabeth Perkins, Robert Loggia, John Heard

Votes: 166,630 | Gross: $114.97M

Adorable, deliciously far-fetched early Hanks film. :)

31. Just One of the Guys (1985)

PG-13 | 90 min | Comedy, Romance

6.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Terry Griffith has got it all -- looks, popularity, the perfect college boyfriend, and an article that's a shoo-in to win her a summer internship at the local newspaper... or so she thinks.... See full summary »

Director: Lisa Gottlieb | Stars: Joyce Hyser, Clayton Rohner, Billy Jayne, Toni Hudson

Votes: 11,036 | Gross: $11.50M

Love this movie. :)

32. Housekeeping (1987)

PG | 116 min | Comedy, Drama

7.3
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After their mother commits suicide, two sisters end up living with their kind but peculiar aunt in their grandmother's old house in a small 1950s town.

Director: Bill Forsyth | Stars: Christine Lahti, Sara Walker, Andrea Burchill, Anne Pitoniak

Votes: 1,677 | Gross: $1.08M

Different, but an interesting watch for me.

33. Terms of Endearment (1983)

PG | 132 min | Comedy, Drama

7.4
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
79 Metascore

Follows hard-to-please Aurora looking for love, and her daughter's family problems.

Director: James L. Brooks | Stars: Shirley MacLaine, Debra Winger, Jack Nicholson, Danny DeVito

Votes: 45,055 | Gross: $108.42M

34. Children of a Lesser God (1986)

R | 119 min | Drama, Romance

7.2
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A new speech teacher at a school for the deaf falls in love with the janitor, a deaf woman speechless by choice.

Director: Randa Haines | Stars: William Hurt, Marlee Matlin, Piper Laurie, Philip Bosco

Votes: 12,715 | Gross: $31.85M