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. I don’t really believe in top “ten” lists, despite using the common nomenclature for the title of this page, nor do I hold fast to the order, though it’s generally from films I liked better to films I liked less well. This is going to be my top several films of each year, down to whatever point I feel is right. Might be eight one year, might be twenty-three another.

1989

  • Henry V
  • Crimes and Misdemeanors
  • Do the Right Thing
  • Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
  • Back to the Future Part II
  • When Harry Met Sally…
  • Batman
  • The Little Mermaid

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

1988

  • Cinema Paradiso
  • Die Hard
  • Wings of Desire
  • Grave of the Fireflies
  • Akira
  • Who Framed Roger Rabbit
  • The Last Temptation of Christ
  • A Fish Called Wanda
  • Scrooged
  • Rain Man
  • The Unbearable Lightness of Being
  • My Neighbor Totoro

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

1987

  • The Princess Bride
  • The Untouchables
  • Au revoir les enfants
  • Full Metal Jacket
  • Radio Days
  • Evil Dead 2
  • Planes, Trains and Automobiles

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

1986

  • Hannah and Her Sisters
  • Aliens
  • A Room With a View
  • Jean de Florette
  • Manon of the Spring
  • Little Shop of Horrors
  • Blue Velvet

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

1985

  • Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure
  • The Breakfast Club
  • After Hours
  • Clue
  • Ran
  • Back to the Future
  • Brazil
  • 28 Up
  • The Purple Rose of Cairo
  • 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

  • This is Spinal Tap
  • Blood Simple
  • Boy Meets Girl
  • The Terminator
  • Amadeus
  • The Neverending Story
  • Gremlins

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

1983

  • Return of the Jedi
  • A Christmas Story

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

1982

  • Blade Runner
  • The Man from Snow River
  • The Thing
  • Koyaanisqatsi
  • Annie

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

1981

  • Raiders of the Lost Ark
  • Chariots of Fire
  • Excalibur
  • An American Werewolf in London
  • The Evil Dead
  • Blow Out

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

1980

  • The Empire Strikes Back
  • The Shining
  • Raging Bull
  • The Elephant Man
  • The Fog

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