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

1987

The Big Easy (1987), 108 minutes, D: Jim McBride
Description.

Broadcast News (1987), 131 minutes, D: James L. Brooks
Description.

The Dead (1987, UK), 83 minutes, D: John Huston
Description.

Dirty Dancing (1987), 105 minutes, D: Emile Ardolino
Description.

Evil Dead 2 (1987) (aka Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn), 84 minutes, D: Sam Raimi
Description.

Fatal Attraction (1987), 120 minutes, D: Adrian Lyne
Description.

Full Metal Jacket (1987), 116 minutes, D: Stanley Kubrick
Stanley Kubrick's thought-provoking Vietnam War film was partly based on Gustav Hasford's 1979 book The Short Timers, and followed in the footsteps of Kubrick's other anti-war films: Paths of Glory (1957) and Dr. Strangelove, Or: (1964). This was Kubrick's first film after The Shining (1980), and it made an underappreciated appearance the year after Oliver Stone's Platoon (1986) won Best Picture. Kubrick's film was unsuccessful at the box office -- lost in the spate of mostly Vietnam-related war films that came out in Platoon's wake, including Heartbreak Ridge (1986) (about the invasion of Grenada), Hamburger Hill (1987), The Hanoi Hilton (1987), Casualties of War (1989), 84 Charlie Mopic (1989), and Born on the Fourth of July (1989). A two-part drama, the first part of the film takes place at Parris Island training-boot camp in S. Carolina (although the entire film was shot in England), where drill instructor Gunnery Sgt. Hartman (R. Lee Ermey, a former, real life Marine sergeant) transforms young Marine cadets into killing machines with twisted sentiments, and verbal, psychological, and physical abuse and torment. The first half climaxes with a chilling, dehumanizing bathroom scene between Hartman, Private Leonard Lawrence (dubbed "Gomer Pyle") (Vincent D'Onofrio) - an overweight, misfit cadet driven insane by Hartman's bullying, and Private J.T. Davis (dubbed "Joker") (Matthew Modine), who is caught between them. "Joker," a cynical Stars & Stripes military correspondent/journalist, is the bridge to the second half of the film on the nightmarish, violent front lines within Hue City - a cool, unemotional look at urban warfare on the eve of the 1968 Tet Offensive at the turning point of the war.

Good Morning, Vietnam (1987), 121 minutes, D: Barry Levinson
Description.

Hope and Glory (1987, UK), 113 minutes, D: John Boorman
Description.

The Last Emperor (1987, UK/It./China/HK), 160 minutes, D: Bernardo Bertolucci
One of the most successful films ever, Italian director Bernardo Bertolucci's lavish epic biography of Pu Yi, the last emperor of the Qing dynasty of China (the "Lord of ten thousand years and Son of Heaven") before the Communist revolution deposed him. Based in part on Pu Yi's autobiography, From Emperor to Citizen, Bertolucci garnered unprecedented support and permission from the Chinese government, something no other Western film company had received since 1949. This was the first film ever to be shot in the Forbidden City in the People's Republic of China, aside from the Lucy Jarvis documentary Forbidden City (1973). The grand, sweeping, character-driven story, a Best Picture-winner, told through flashbacks, follows the bittersweet life of the boy emperor born in 1906, who first sat in the Dragon Throne at the age of three -- memorably depicted by the imagery of the scene in which the restless young boy leaps up and pushes away a billowing yellow drapery - and sees thousands of his loyal costumed eunuch-servants bowing before him. He was literally a puppet - imprisoned within the gilded walls of the Forbidden City, and never allowed to leave its gates. In 1912, at the age of 7, he formally abdicated the throne, and remained a powerless figurehead Emperor, receiving tutoring from Scottish Reginald Johnston (Peter O'Toole) in the ways of the West. In 1924 during a period of civil war, he was ousted from the Forbidden City (along with his opium-addicted empress Wan Jung (Joan Chen) and official consort Wen Hsiu (Mei)) and moved to his native, Japanese-controlled Manchuria, where he served as a puppet emperor backed by the Japanese. After World War II, he was held prisoner as a pro-Japanese war criminal - first by the Russians, and then by the Communist Chinese for ten years, until being freed at the dawn of the Cultural Revolution. In one of the film's most memorable scenes, as a dispassionate young adult (John Lone), Pu Yi wears Western clothes and wistfully croons "Am I Blue" - a silent cry for salvation from his boredom and entrapment. By film's end, his new life as a lowly gardener in Peking in the late 1960s is finally happy and free, and in a poignant scene as an elderly man, he revisits the Forbidden City, now open to tourists. One of the few films that won all of its Academy Award nominations.

Lethal Weapon (1987), 110 minutes, D: Richard Donner
See Lethal Weapon film series.

Moonstruck (1987), 102 minutes, D: Norman Jewison
Cher won an Oscar for her role as a cynical widow in this romantic comedy. She was "moonstruck" by a hot-headed baker (Nicolas Cage). Famous for her quote: "Snap out of it."

No Way Out (1987), 115 minutes, D: Ronald Donaldson
Description.

Predator (1987), 107 minutes, D: John McTiernan
Description.

The Princess Bride (1987), 98 minutes, D: Rob Reiner
Description.

Radio Days (1987), 96 minutes, D: Woody Allen
Description.

Raising Arizona (1987), 94 minutes, D: Joel Coen
Description.

Robocop (1987), 103 minutes, D: Paul Verhoeven
Description.

The Untouchables (1987), 119 minutes, D: Brian De Palma
Description.

Wall Street (1987), 124 minutes, D: Oliver Stone
Description.

Wings of Desire (1987, W. Ger/Fr.), 130 minutes, D: Wim Wenders
Description.

Withnail & I (1987, UK), 108 minutes, D: Bruce Robinson
Description.


Previous Page Next Page