Essential 80s Movies (Work In Progress)

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Tags: 
  • Airplane (Abraham, Zucker & Zucker-1980)
  • The Blues Brothers (John Landis-1980)
  • Caddyshack (Harold Ramis-1980)
  • The Elephant Man (David Lynch-1980)
  • The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
  • Flash Gordon ( Mike Hodges-1980)
  • The Fog (John Carpenter-1980)
  • Friday the 13 (Sean S. Cunningham-1980)
  • The Long Good Friday (John MacKenzie-1980)
  • Oh Heavenly Dog (Chevy Chase-1980)
  • Ordinary People (Robert Redford-1980)
  • The Outsiders (Francis Ford Coppola-1980)
  • The Raging Bull (Martin Scorsese-1980))
  • Seems Like Old Times (Jay Sandrich-1980)
  • Superman 2 (Richard Lester-1980)
  • Absence Of Malice (Sydney Pollack-1981)
  • Arthur (Steve Gordon-1981)
  • Atlantic City (Louis Malle-1981)
  • The Big Red One (Sam Fuller-1981)
  • Body Heat (Lawrence Kasdan-1981)
  • Cannonball Run 1 (Burt Reynolds-1981)
  • Chariots of Fire (Hugh Hudson-1981)
  • Das Boot (Wolfgang Petersen-1981)
  • Gallipoli (Peter Weir-1981)
  • Escape from New York (John Carpenter-1981)
  • Excalibur (John Boorman-1981)
  • Nighthawks (Bruce Malmuth-1981)
  • On Golden Pond (Mark Rydell-1981)
  • Outland (Peter Hyams-1981)
  • Raiders of the Lost Ark (Steven Spielberg-1981)
  • Reds (Warren Beatty-1981)
  • Stripes (Ivan Reitman-1981)
  • Blade Runner (Ridley Scott-1982)
  • Conan: The Barbarian (John Milius-1982)
  • Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid (Carl Reiner-1982)
  • Diner (Barry Levinson-1982)
  • ET: The Extra-Terrestrial (Steven Spielberg-1982)
  • Fast Times at Ridgemont High (Amy Heckerling-1982)
  • Forced Vengeance (James Fargo-1982)
  • 48 Hours (Walter Hill-1982)
  • Gandhi (Richard Attenborough-1982)
  • An Officer and A Gentleman (Taylor Hackford-1982)
  • Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (George Miller-1982)
  • Manhattan (Woodie Allen-1982)
  • My Favorite Year (Richard Benjamin-1982)
  • Rocky 3 (Sly Stallone-1982)
  • Star Terk 2: The Wrath of Khan (Nicholas Meyer-1982)
  • Tron (Disney-1982)
  • Tootsie (Sydney Pollack-1982)
  • The Verdict (Sidney Lumet-1982)
  • The Big Chill (Lawrence Kasdan-1983)
  • The Christmas Story (Bob Clark 1983)
  • The Dark Crystal (Jim Henson-1983)
  • Eddie and the Cruisers (Martin Donaldson-1983)
  • Koyaaniquatsi (Godfrey Reggio-1983)
  • Never Cry Wolf (Charles Martin Smith-1983)
  • Never Say Never Again (Sean Conner-1983)
  • The Neverending Story (1984)
  • Octopussy (John Glen-1983)
  • THe Return Of the Jedi (Richard Marquand-1983)
  • The Right Stuff (Philip Kaufman-1983)
  • Risky Business (Paul Brickman-1983)
  • Scarface (Brian DePalma-1983)
  • Tender Mercies (Bruce Beresford-1983)
  • Terms of Endearment (James L. Brooks-1983)
  • Trading Places (John Landis-1983)
  • Vacation (Harold Ramis-1983)
  • Wargames (1983)
  • The Adventures of Buckaroo Bonzai (W.D. Richter-1984)
  • Amadeus (Milos Forman-1984)
  • The Bachelor Party (Neal Israel-1984)
  • Beverly Hills Cop (Martin Brest-1984)
  • Blood Simple (The Coen Brothers-1984)
  • The Bounty (Roger Donaldson-1984)
  • The Cotton Club (Francis Ford Coppola-1984)
  • Ghostbuster (Ivan Rietman-1984)
  • Gremlins (Joe Dante-1984)
  • Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom (Spielberg-1984)
  • Johnny Dangerously (Amy Heckerling-1984)
  • The Karate Kid (John G. Avildsen-1984)
  • The Killing Fields (Roland Joffe-1984)
  • The Last Starfighter (Nick Castle-1984)
  • Moscow on the Hudson (Paul Mazursky-1984)
  • Places in the Heart(Robert Benton-1984)
  • Nightmare on Elm Street (Wes Craven-1984)
  • Police Academy (Hugh Wilson-1984)
  • Protocol (Herbert Ross-1984)
  • Red Dawn (John Milius-1984)
  • Revenge of the Nerds (Jeff Kanew-1984)
  • Romancing the Stone (Robert Zemekis-1984)
  • A Soldier's Story (Norman Jewison-1984)
  • Splash (Ron Howard-1984)
  • Star Trek 3: The Search for Spock (Leonard Nimoy-1984)
  • Starman (John Carpenter-1984)
  • Terminator (James Cameron-1984)
  • This is Spinal Tap (Rob Reiner-1984)
  • The Year of Living Dangerously (Peter Weir-1984)
  • The World According to Garp (1984)
  • A Trip To Bountiful (Peter Masterson-1985)
  • Back To The Future (Robert Zemekis-1985)
  • Better Off Dead (Steve Holland-1985)
  • Brazil (Terry Gilliam-1985)
  • Brewster's Millions (Walter Hill-1985)
  • The Breakfast Club (John Hughes-1985)
  • Clue (Jonathan Lynn-1985)
  • Cocoon (Ron Howard-1985)
  • The Code of Silence (Andrew Davis-1985)
  • The Color Purple (Steven Spielberh-1985)
  • Commando (Mark L. Lester-1985)
  • Enemy Mine (Wolfgang Petersen-1985)
  • Fletch (Michael Ritchie-1985)
  • The Fly (David Cronenberg-1986)
  • The Goonies (Richard Donner-1985)
  • Heaven Help Us (Andrew McCarthy-1985)
  • Invasion USA (Joseph Zito-1985)
  • Kiss of the Spider Woman (Hector Babenco-1985)
  • Mad Max 3: Beyond Thunderdome (Miller & Ogilvie-1985)
  • The Man WIth One Red Shoe (Stan Dragoti-1985)
  • Pale Rider (Clint Eastwood-1985)
  • Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment (Jerry Paris-1985)
  • Prizzi's Honor (John Huston-1985)
  • Ran (Akira Kurosowa-1985)
  • Rambo: First Blood Part 2 (George P. Cosmatos)
  • Remo Williams: THe Adventure Begins (Guy Hamilton-1985)
  • Rocky 4 (Sylvester Stallone-1985,Bad but Memorable)
  • Runaway (Tom Selleck-1985)
  • Spies Like Us (John Landis-1985, not hilarious but has its moments)
  • Summer Rental (Carl Reiner-1985)
  • Trancers (Charles Band-1985)
  • Volunteers (Nicholas Meyer-1985)
  • Weird Science (John Hughes-1985)
  • Witness (Peter Weir-1985)
  • Aliens (James Cameron-1986)
  • Armed and Dangerous (Mark L. Lester-1986)
  • Blue Velvet (David Lynch-1986)
  • Big Trouble in Little China (John Carpenter-1986)
  • Brighton Beach Memoirs (Gene Saks-1986)
  • Cobra (George P. Cosmatos-1986)
  • Crocodile Dundee (Peter Faiman-1986)
  • Delta Force (Menahem Golan-1986)
  • Fatal Attraction (Adrian Lynne-1986)
  • Ferris Bueller's Day Off (John Hughes-1986)
  • Gung-Ho (Ron Howard-1986)
  • Hannah and Her Sisters (Woodie Allen-1986)
  • Hoosiers (David Auspaugh-1986)
  • Iron Eagle (Sidney J. Furie-1986)
  • Jake Speed (Andrew Lane-1986, so bad, it's funny)
  • The Last Temptation of Christ (Martin Scorsese-1986)
  • Little Shop of Horrors (1986)
  • The Mission (Roland Joffe-1986)
  • My Life As A Dog (Lasse Hollstrom-1986)
  • The Name of the Rose (Sean Connery-1986)
  • 9 1/2 Weeks (Adrian Lyne-1986)
  • One Crazy Summer (Steve Holland-1986)
  • Police Academy 3: Back In Training (Jerry Paris-1986)
  • Platoon (Oliver Stone-1986)
  • Real Genius (Martha Cooldige-1986)
  • Round Midnight (Tavernier-1986)
  • Running Scared (Peter Hyams-1986)
  • Ruthless People(Better Midler-1986)
  • Tough Guys (Lancaster/Douglas-1986)
  • Salvidor (Oliver Stone-1986)
  • Short Circuit (John Bodham-1986)
  • Stand By Me (Rob Reiner-1986)
  • Star Trek 4: The Journey Home (Leonard Nimoy-1986)
  • The Three Amigos (John Landis-1986)
  • Top Gun (Tony Scott-1986)
  • Young Sherlock Holmes (Barry Levinson-1986, mediocre but fun in parts)
  • Beverly Hills Cop 2 (Tony Scott-1987)
  • THe Big Easy (Jim McBride-1987)
  • Cinema Paradisio (1987)
  • Cry Freedom (Richard Attenborough-1987)
  • Dirty Dancing (Emile Ardolino-1987)
  • Dragnet (Tom Mankiewicz-1987)
  • Fatal Beauty (Tom Holland-1987)
  • Full Metal Jacket (Stanley Kubrick-1987)
  • Good Morning, Vietnam (Barry Levinson-1987)
  • Hope And Glory (John Boorman-1987)
  • Innerspace (Joe Dante-1987)
  • The Last Emperor (Bernardo Bertolucci-1987)
  • Lethal Weapon (Richard Donner-1987)
  • The Living Daylights (John Glen-1987)
  • The Lost Boys (Joel Schumacher-1987)
  • Mona Lisa (Neil Jordan-1987)
  • Moonstruck (Norman Jewison-1987)
  • Police Academy 4: Citizens On Patrol (Jim Drake 1987)
  • Predator (John McTiernan-1987)
  • The Princess Bride (Rob Reiner-1987)
  • Radio Days (Woodie Allen-1987)
  • Raising Arizona (Coen Brothers-1987)
  • Robocop (Paul Verhoven-1987)
  • Roxanne (Fred Schepisi-1987)
  • THe Running Man (Paul Michael Glaser-1987)
  • Russkies (Rick Rosenthal-1987)
  • Spaceballs (Mel Brooks-1987)
  • Throw Mama From The Train (Danny DeVito-1987)
  • The Untouchables (Brian DePalma-1987)
  • Wall Street (Oliver Stone-1987)
  • The Abyss (James Cameron-1988)
  • Alien Nation (Graham Baker-1988)
  • Bat 21 (Peter Markle-1988)
  • The Bear (Jean-Jaques Armand-1988)
  • Beetlejuice (Tim Burton-1988)
  • Big (Penny Marshall-1988)
  • Biloxi Blues (Mike Nichols-1988)
  • Bull Durham (Ron Shelton-1988)
  • Clean and Sober (Glenn Caron-1988)
  • Colors (Dennis Hopper-1988)
  • Crimes and Misdemeanors (Woodie Allen-1988)
  • Dangerous Liaisons (Stephen Frears-1988)
  • Die Hard (John McTiernan-1988)
  • Do The Right Thing (Spike Lee-1988)
  • Eight Men Out (John Sayles-1988)
  • A Fish Called Wanda (Charles Crichton-1988)
  • The Great Outdoors (1988)
  • Milagro Beanfield War (Robert Redford-1988)
  • Naked Gun (David Zucker-1988)
  • Parenthood (Ron Howard-1988)
  • Pell The Conqueror (Max Von Sydow-1988)
  • Powaaqatsi (Godfrey Reggio-1988)
  • Rain Man (Barry Levinson-1988)
  • Rambo 3 (Peter MacDonald-1988)
  • Red Heat (Walter Hill-1988)
  • Stand and Deliver (Ramon Menendez-1988)
  • The Thin Blue Line (Erroll Morris-1988)
  • Tucker: The Man and His Dream (Francis Ford Coppola-1988)
  • The Unbearable Lightness of Being (Philip Kaufman-1988)
  • Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (Robert Zemekis-1988)
  • Willow (Ron Howard-1988)
  • Young Guns (Christopher Gain-1988)
  • Back To The Future 3 (Robert Zemekis-1989)
  • Batman (Tim Burton-1989)
  • Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure (Stephen Herek-1989)
  • The Burbs (Joe Dante-1989)
  • Casualties of War (Brian DePalma-1989)
  • Dead Poet's Society (Peter Weir-1989)
  • Driving Miss Daisy (Bruce Beresford-1989)
  • Fat Man And The Little Boy (Roland Joffe-1989)
  • Field of Dreams (Philip Alden Robinson-1989)
  • Glory (Edward Zwick-1989)
  • Henry V (Kenneth Branagh-1989)
  • Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade (Steven Spielberg-1989)
  • K-9 (Rod Daniel-1989)
  • Lean On Me (John G Avildsen-1989)
  • Lethal Weapon 2 (Richard Donner-1989)
  • My Left Foot (Jim Sheridan-1989)
  • Roadhouse (Rowdy Herrington-1989)
  • Roger and Me (Michael Moore-1989)
  • UHF (Jay Levey-1989)
  • When Harry Met Sally (Rob Reiner-1989)
Author Comments: 

Like I Said, not necessarily the greatest movie ever, but they were popularly and/or critically successful enough to help you figure out what the cultural issues of the strange era known as the 1980s werre all about. Some of these were also just childhood favorites that I watched because the key characters were children, teenagers, or young adults: Karate Kid, Ruskies, The Christmas Story. The Goonies, Lost Boys, My Life As A Dog, Brighton Beach Memoirs. etc.

there is NO excuse for liking the goonies.

I didn't like the Goonies.....I LOVED THE GOONIES. IT WAS A FUN MOVIE SO There. LOL

And I really don't "like" all of the movies I have on the list. I am listing movies that are essential to watch, in my opinion, if you want to have an understanding of the pop culture of the 80s. I didn't really love Out of Africa or Invasion USA or Rambo 2 or 3, or Jake Speed. But they are memorable for being sunk in the 80s culture. Out of Africa bore the hell out of me, and I can't understand how that movie beat out Witness, Kiss of the Spider Woman, Prizzi's Honor, or Color of Purple for best picture and best director, but it was a big movie back then.

i know... i was just giving you a hard time about your comment paragraph... the goonies fame is one of the top 4 or 5 biggest mysteries of the universe for me... so many people love it, there must be something wrong with me...

... Hard to Kill belongs on this list so much... but sadly it was released in 1990... it's SOOO 80's and it's SOOO great.

Hard to Kill? The Steven Seagal movie? Well, you know with most cfirst years of a new decade, tey first two years of the 1990s bore some resemblence to the last years of the 1980s, just like 1980 and 1981 bore some resemblence to 1978 and 1979. New eras and pop culture things evolve more than change. So often in America have the previous decade bled somewhat into the first years of the following decade. 2000 still felt a little bit like 1999 and 1998, at least to me, even though we reach a momentous occassion as the dawn of a new millenium.

Goonies is actually like a guilty pleasure for a lot of people, so many people who love were around my age when it came out. Kind of like Home Alone was a guilty pleasure for kids in the 1990s. Home Alone now seems to be overdone with the real-life cartoon violence and syrupy kids stuff.

i guess i can see it as a guilty pleasure... it's no harder to explain than hard to kill or home alone...

john carpenter's the fog 1980

The Fog was 1980? Hmmm, alright