My Top Tens: 1980s

My top ten films for each year of the 1980s. These are always up for revision as I watch more films, revisit ones I’ve seen before, and think about them over time. The films as listed in the “Best of Year” section are held fast at the end of the year (and include a listing of all films I saw that year as well as films released that year).

Oh, and I don’t really believe in top “ten” lists, despite using the common nomenclature for the title of this page. This is going to be the top several films of each year, down to whatever point I think the films stop being worthy of inclusion. Might be eight one year, might be twenty-three another.

1989

  1. Henry V
  2. Crimes and Misdemeanors
  3. Do the Right Thing
  4. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
  5. Back to the Future Part II
  6. When Harry Met Sally…
  7. Batman
  8. The Little Mermaid

TOP TEN YET TO SEE
Close-Up
The Abyss
Kiki’s Delivery Service
sex, lies, and videotape
The Decalogue

1988

  1. Cinema Paradiso
  2. Die Hard
  3. Wings of Desire
  4. Grave of the Fireflies
  5. Akira
  6. Who Framed Roger Rabbit
  7. The Last Temptation of Christ
  8. A Fish Called Wanda
  9. Scrooged
  10. Rain Man
  11. The Unbearable Lightness of Being
  12. My Neighbor Totoro

TOP FIVE YET TO SEE
They Live
Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown
Frantic
The Vanishing
Alice

1987

  1. The Princess Bride
  2. The Untouchables
  3. Au revoir les enfants
  4. Full Metal Jacket
  5. Radio Days
  6. Evil Dead 2
  7. Planes, Trains and Automobiles

TOP FIVE YET TO SEE
Predator
A Short Film About Killing
Broadcast News
RoboCop
Near Dark

1986

  1. Hannah and Her Sisters
  2. Aliens
  3. A Room With a View
  4. Jean de Florette
  5. Manon of the Spring
  6. Little Shop of Horrors
  7. Blue Velvet

TOP FIVE YET TO SEE
The Fly
Big Trouble in Little China
Platoon
Stand By Me
A Better Tomorrow

1985

  1. Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure
  2. The Breakfast Club
  3. After Hours
  4. Clue
  5. Ran
  6. Back to the Future
  7. Brazil
  8. 28 Up
  9. The Purple Rose of Cairo
  10. The Goonies

TOP FIVE YET TO SEE
Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind
Detective
A Time to Live and a Time to Die
Pale Rider
Commando

1984

  1. This is Spinal Tap
  2. Blood Simple
  3. Boy Meets Girl
  4. The Terminator
  5. Amadeus
  6. The Neverending Story
  7. Gremlins

TOP FIVE YET TO SEE
Once Upon a Time in America
Paris, Texas
The Karate Kid
Sixteen Candles
Stranger Than Paradise

1983

  1. Return of the Jedi
  2. A Christmas Story

TOP FIVE YET TO SEE
Scarface
The Meaning of Life
Zelig
Confidentially Yours
Le dernier combat

1982

  1. Blade Runner
  2. The Man from Snow River
  3. The Thing
  4. Koyaanisqatsi
  5. Annie

TOP FIVE YET TO SEE
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
Fanny and Alexander
The Dark Crystal
Passion
Fitzcarraldo

1981

  1. Raiders of the Lost Ark
  2. Chariots of Fire
  3. Excalibur
  4. An American Werewolf in London
  5. The Evil Dead
  6. Blow Out

TOP FIVE YET TO SEE
Das Boot
The Woman Next Door
Scanners
Thief
Clash of the Titans

1980

  1. The Empire Strikes Back
  2. The Shining
  3. Raging Bull
  4. The Elephant Man
  5. The Fog

TOP FIVE YET TO SEE
The Blues Brothers
Stardust Memories
The Last Metro
Kagemusha
Heaven’s Gate