Wednesday, July 24, 2019

The 100 Project: The Top 50 Movies of the 1980s

After having gone through every year of the 1980s and writing about every movie that made my top 10 in the year they were released, it was time to compile them into a top 50 for the decade. In case you don't remember, the goal of The 100 Project is to arrive at my top 100 movies of all-time. That will be easier to do with one list for each decade rather than trying to pull from what will be about 40 yearly lists when it's all said and done. However, I'm not going to make you read about them all over again. If you want to do that, click on the tab labeled The 100 Project (or the link at the bottom of this post) then click on the corresponding year. These are just a bunch of numbered pictures I'm passing off as...

My Top 50 Movies of the 1980s

  • According to my Letterboxd account I watched a bit over 500 movies released during the 1980s.
  • Kiddie flicks are once again notably absent. There are none here.
  • There are, however, a few that are known as family movies.

50. Young Guns (1988)
49. An American Werewolf in London (1981)

48. Fort Apache, The Bronx (1981) 
47. Body Heat (1981)

46. The Shining (1980)
45. Eddie Murphy Raw (1987)

44. Krush Groove (1985)
43. Ghostbusters (1984)
42. The Thing (1982)
41. Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986)
40. Fatal Attraction (1987)
39. Gremlins (1984)
38. The Blues Brothers (1980)
37. Beverly Hills Cop (1984)

36. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
 35. A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987)

34. Beat Street (1984)
33. Porky's (1981)
32. Purple Rain (1984)
31. Predator (1987)

30. Glory (1989)
29. Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982)

28. Little Shop of Horrors (1986)
27. Harlem Nights (1989)

26. Friday the 13th (1980)
25. Lean on Me (1989)

24. Die Hard (1988)
23. I'm Gonna Git You Sucka (1988)

22. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
21. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

20. Raging Bull (1980)
19. Videodrome (1983)
18. National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (1989)
17. Batman (1989)
16. Airplane! (1980)
15. Robocop (1987)
14. The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! (1988)
13. A Soldier's Story (1984)

12. The Terminator (1984) 
11. The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

10. Full Metal Jacket (1987)

9. Scarface (1983)

8. The Color Purple (1985)

7. Stand By Me (1986)

6. The Untouchables (1987)

5. Back to the Future (1985)

4. Once Upon a Time in America (1984)

3. A Christmas Story (1983)

2. Coming to America (1988)

1. Do the Right Thing (1989)


  1. Fucking incredible. Of the films on the list, the ones I haven't seen either in their entirety or at all are The Color Purple, A Soldier's Story, Beat Street, and Fort Apache, the Bronx. I notice there aren't a lot of foreign films but that's OK. You can't go wrong with these choices. I'm planning to do a list of the 250 best films of the 2010s likely in 2022 but it will be subtitled as (take one) as it's likely I won't see everything from the 2010s.

    1. Of course, I recommend you see all those you haven't. Unfortunately, I just didn't watch many foreign films until we get past 2000. So the 90s won't have many either. Looking forward to your list for the 2010s. Don't worry too much about it because none of us can see everything.

  2. I thought Coming to America would be #1, completely spaced Do The Right Thing. I always think that movie came out in 90 for some reason. There's lots of movies I need to see on this list.

  3. Great to see Batman in the top 20, I love that film. Your list reminds me just how many classics were put out in that decade.
    I should do my own list at some point but I keep delaying. I find it tough distinguising between childhood favorites and current favorites from the 80s.

    1. That very thing is soooooooo tough to do. I wound up with some sort of combination of the two.

  4. Marvelous list Dell and great wrap-up to an awesome project. I’ve seen all but Krush Groove and Beat Street. I’ll have to check them out sooner rather than later.

    Of course your fondness for horror and my aversion to it guaranteed that our choices would be quite different!

    You inspired me to make a list of my own and we have six matches (one is my first and another my last), at least in titles if not in placement.

    There are four, An American Werewolf in London, Glory, The Terminator and Stand by Me, that just missed my line-up. Wonderful films.

    Some others, Beverly Hills Cop, E.T., Christmas Vacation, Naked Gun, A Soldier’s Story and Once Upon a Time in America, I like a great deal but not enough for them to make the cut.

    Mine would run this way:

    1. Die Hard
    2. Raiders of the Lost Ark
    3. Hannah and Her Sisters
    4. Torch Song Trilogy
    5. Steel Magnolias
    6. Running on Empty
    7. Crossing Delancey
    8. Missing
    9. A Room with a View
    10. A Christmas Story
    11. Baby Boom
    12. American Dreamer
    13. Beaches
    14. Longtime Companion
    15. Back to the Future
    16. Aliens
    17. My Favorite Year
    18. Back to School
    19. Outrageous Fortune
    20. Ruthless People
    21. Evil Under the Sun
    22. Seems Like Old Times
    23. Adventures in Babysitting
    24. Silverado
    25. Excalibur
    26. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
    27. Somewhere in Time
    28. The Times of Harvey Milk
    29. Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
    30. Resurrection
    31. Return of the Soldier
    32. Tootsie
    33. 9 to 5
    34. To Be or Not to Be
    35. Suspect
    36. From the Hip
    37. Outland
    38. Stakeout
    39. 84 Charing Cross Road
    40. Parenthood
    41. Creator
    42. No Way Out
    43. The Hidden
    44. The Fourth Man
    45. Romancing the Stone
    46. Under Fire
    47. Working Girl
    48. Gloria
    49. Clue
    50. Airplane!

    1. Thanks! Now, it's on to the 90s!

      I still need to see a number of yours. Hannah and Her Sisters is probably my biggest miss, but honestly, I'm not in a rush to keep going through Woody Allen's filmography. Extremely happy you have A Christmas Story in your top 10. Also pleasantly surprised that Back to School made your list. That movie is so much fun.

    2. Maybe one or two of the ones your missing will turn up eventually on your Blind Spot list. :-)

      I'm looking forward to what you come up with in regards to the 90's! Lots of great films, it will be interesting to see where we stand with our likes and dislikes.

      Speaking of which I LOVE Back to School!! Rodney Dangerfield is SO likable as Thorton Melon, Sally Kellerman and he are a surprisingly great pairing and the movie overall a goofy blast.

    3. Probably so.

      Gonna hit the 90s hard, pretty quickly.

      I've seen it several times and have a blast with it.

  5. Do the Right Thing is one of the most provocative films I've ever seen. Left me with so many questions for ages after. I included the movie in my last post actually. I still might put Die Hard top. So many great ones in your list. Ones you haven't included I'd have to add Amadeus and Planes, Trains and Automobiles.

    1. No arguments with anyone who wants to put Die Hard at the top of their list. I still need to see both of your suggestions.

  6. Okay first off, I'm insanely impressed you were able to put something this ambitious together. I wouldn't know where to even start!!! Well done! As a teen of the 80s so many movies come to mind and it would take me a year to finish arguing with myself over the ranks. Your list both excited me and bruised me. LOVE seeing The Untouchables in the Top 10. But Raiders at #21? Dell, you cut me deep with that one! ;)

    1. Thanks...and I'm not done.

      Funny thing is if you had asked me before I started working on this I would've said "Of course Raiders is one of my top 10 movies of the 80s!" I love the film. As I got to putting this together though, I just came across a number of movies that just mean more to me. whether or not they're "better."

  7. I like your list and there are some here I still need to see. I also love Joel's List sand glad to see Star Trek IV on it but I would add Wrath of Khan in there as well. Planes, Trains and Automobiles, Excalibur, The Incredible Lightness of Being is a must see, Empire of the Sun and My Left Foot would be in my top 10

    1. Thanks! The Wrath of Khan is still my favorite Star Trek movie. I still need to see the rest of the movie's you mentioned.