Greatest Films of the 1980s
Greatest Films of the 1980s

Greatest Films of the 1980s
1980 | 1981 | 1982 | 1983 | 1984 | 1985 | 1986 | 1987 | 1988 | 1989


Title Screen Film Genre(s), Title, Year, (Country), Length, Director, Description

The Big Chill (1983), 103 minutes, D: Lawrence Kasdan

A Christmas Story (1983, US/Can.), 94 minutes, D: Bob Clark

The Dresser (1983, UK), 118 minutes, D: Peter Yates

El Norte (1983, US/UK) (aka The North), 139 minutes, D: Gregory Nava

Entre Nous (1983, Fr.) (aka Coup de Foudre), 110 minutes, D: Diane Kurys

Flashdance (1983), 95 minutes, D: Adrian Lyne

Local Hero (1983, UK), 111 minutes, D: Bill Forsyth

(National Lampoon's) Vacation (1983), 98 minutes, D: Harold Ramis

Return of the Jedi (1983) (aka Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi), 132 minutes, D: Richard Marquand

The Right Stuff (1983), 192 minutes, D: Philip Kaufman

Risky Business (1983), 98 minutes, D: Paul Brickman

Scarface (1983), 170 minutes, D: Brian De Palma

Tender Mercies (1983), 92 minutes, D: Bruce Beresford

Terms of Endearment (1983), 130 minutes, D: James L. Brooks
A comedy/drama classic, an entertaining film, but also a manipulative, soap-operatic melodramatic tearjerker, with an ending similar to Dark Victory (1939) and Love Story (1970). Its tagline was: "Have you come to Terms yet?" The feel-good, box-office hit from writer/director/producer James L. Brooks (his first directorial effort) was based on the novel of the same name by Larry McMurtry. It was a major Academy Award winner in 1983, with eleven nominations and five Oscars (including Best Picture, Best Actress, and Best Director). It told about the thirty-year mother-daughter relationship between two women: stubborn brunette Emma (Debra Winger) and her devoted, possessive, blonde, widowed mother Aurora Greenway (Shirley MacLaine). They endured Emma's marriage, separation, and illness. Aurora also engaged in a hilarious romance with her next-door neighbor - a boozy, beer-bellied, over-the-hill, former astronaut named Garrett Breedlove (Jack Nicholson). Their relationship was the comedic highlight of the film. The self-indulgent, horny playboy's flirtatious womanizing with reluctant, stiff and similarly middle-aged Aurora was hilarious. After their first, much-delayed luncheon date, ending with a drunken ride into the Gulf of Mexico in his open-roofed Corvette, she invited him over to her bedroom to look at a Renoir painting - her pretext for "lights-off" sex. Later, Garrett proved his decent, sensitive and fatherly nature in the film's tragic conclusion.
A sub-par sequel, titled The Evening Star (1996) found Shirley MacLaine reprising her role fifteen years later, as a grand-mother to her daughter Emma's three children, and Jack Nicholson with only a short cameo appearance.

Videodrome (1983), 87 minutes, D: David Cronenberg
In director David Cronenberg's terrorizing and shocking hallucinatory tale of erotic science fiction, Max Renn (James Woods) - the sleazy owner-director-producer of an X-rated Toronto cable TV station, became enticed (and obsessed) by his own pirated TV show called Videodrome that specialized in ultra-violent "snuff" films. The film's theme was the prophetic prediction that TV would replace 'real-life', as conspirators in a nightmarish cult wanted to entice (control and manipulate) the docile, consumer-oriented masses by marathon television watching (of extreme sex and violence). Renn also became mind-controlled and infected, leading to his brain mutating and developing fatal tumors, causing him to have many disturbing, mind-altering visions. Villains were able to forcefully insert videotapes into a slot in his abdomen to "play" him - causing him to be both "raped" and "programmed" - ultimately leading to his own suicidal self-destruction ("Long live the new flesh").

Zelig (1983), 80 minutes, D: Woody Allen

Previous Page Next Page