Crash! Landen’s Best 100 Movies of the 1980s
I finally got to my Best of for the 80s, so I’ve now gone backwards through the last 3 decades… It was difficult, believe me. But here is my list. You can click on The 1990s and The 2000s to see those lists.
Someone asked my criteria for this (and the other film lists). The most important was that I’ve seen the film. There are a large number of highly praised films that I still have not seen, especially when it comes to foreign films from this decade. Foreign films were not readily available (for me) until the mid 90s. That’s when I started watching them, and as with most people I tended to watch either the cream of the crop from foreign lands or movies that were current. I now seek out those films that I might have missed because of access at the time or because I was too busy watching the mindless drivel that Hollywood usually churns out.
Other factors do go into my rational for the best films. How well a movie was made. How entertaining. The performances. The production values. The impact the movie had when it was released. How well written a story is. What it says about the human condition. Originality. How influential a film is. The relevance of the story. The impact that the film may have had within its particular genre. I put weight on how well a movie did at what it was trying to do.
There are intangibles, also. There are movies, for instance, that are lacking in production values, but were so well made that their shortcomings could be brushed aside. Take my #51 Evil Dead II. Made on an extremely meager budget, it was still highly entertaining and at times both shocking and hilarious. It had an outstanding performance from an unknown (at the time) B actor as well as a director. It was unpredictable and amazingly well written for its genre (horror). It never winks at the camera, either (okay, maybe a few times). The actors completely buy into the situation. It did not have a cookie cutter ending. It’s a landmark horror film that never gets old, despite the dated FX. The very next film I have is Empire of the Sun? Is ED2 a better movie than EOTS? Probably not, but it is one of the best low budget horror films ever made by independent filmmakers. And it’s probably had a FAR greater influence that Empire of the Sun, which is a very fine movie (and one of my favorites).
There are also some films that either transcend or blur the line on exactly what genre they’re in. Two friends of mine disagreed with some of my picks such as Robocop in my Top 10. One of the arguments was that it wasn’t a better film than Die Hard. I argue(d) that Robocop despite having some flaws, is a better film because… While Die Hard is one of, if not the best action film of all time, Robocop is a not just an action film. It’s not just science fiction, either. Or a superhero story. Or a fantasy. Or a comedy. Or a satire. It has elements of all of those. It has a number of underlying themes that ask questions that are relevant to just about anyone. It has biting commentary on society that is just as relevant today as when it was made, maybe even more so now than then. It’s also just a really cool film. Die Hard is, too (and also another favorite). It’s also well written, well made, highly influential, has one of the best villains of all time and features a star making performance by Willis, but it’s just more of an entertainment than a movie that says somethinglike Robocop WHILE having all of those exact qualities. And they’re only 3 spots difference on my list, anyway, so it’s not like I’m knocking the brilliance of Die Hard.
Ultimately this is just my opinion, so the list really can’t be wrong. If it were titled ‘Best 100 Movies of the 1980s’, then sure I could be wrong, but it’s not. it’s Crash! Landen’s Best 100 Movies of the 1980s, so I’m always 100% correct about what Crash! Landen thinks are the best films. I didn’t make the list just for myself. I made it hoping that if you like films like I do and feel like you can’t find a good film to watch, then maybe you might try one of these. I have no stake in that. I just hope other folks will seek out better films to support and be entertained by, than the typical Hollywood pablum. Do I have any qualifications for making my list? Nope. Just an opinion. I do watch more movies than most other people and I don’t stick to any particular genres. I try to be impartial and when I know I won’t be (negative bias), I generally just won’t watch the film. I also seek out films that have a bit of intelligence to them, even if it’s a low brow comedy. Despite what some may think, most dumb comedies have a level of intelligence behind what’s being shown onscreen.
I have adjusted some of the placement of films from the individual years that I’ve already posted, but it;s minimal. The biggest change I made was moving The Breakfast Club up to fill the last spot on the list. I think it was at #104 on my list. I had to drop Twilight Zone:The Movie in order to do that. Footloose made the list mostly made it onto the list because of its iconic value also. Probably the best 80s dance movie. I won’t mention that other one (shudder)… Some that just missed the cut: Dramas like Lucas, The River’s Edge, the Fabulous Baker Boys, Do The Right Thing and Dead Poets Society… genre flicks like Escape From New York, Legend, and Christine… Comedies like Better off dead, Fast Times At Ridgemont High, Trading Places, Airplane! and Stir Crazy…. And others like Back To The Future Part II, Crocodile Dundee, Field Of dreams, and War Games… They go on and on.
Update #1: Added ‘A Passage To India’ and bumped ‘Footloose’
Update #2: Added ‘A Cry In The Dark’ and bumped ‘The Breakfast Club’
Update #3: Added ‘My Left Foot’ and bumped ‘The Never Ending Story’
Update #4: Added ‘Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman (1989)’ and bumped ‘National Lampoon’s Vacation’
Update #5: Added ‘Highlander (1986)’ and bumped ‘The Witches Of Eastwick’
Update #6: Added ‘Crusoe (1988)’ and bumped ‘Hellraiser’
Update #7: Added Dangerous Liaisons (1988)…
The Witches of Eastwick (Bumped)
Now that I’ve stated all of that; here’s my list.
89 The Verdict
58 Planes, Trains and Automobiles
44 The Dead Zone
40 Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
27 The Adventures of Baron Munchausen
26 The Unbearable Lightness of Being
22 The Shining
21 Back to the Future
20 Time Bandits
This entry was posted on December 21, 2010 at 12:01 AM and is filed under Lists with tags 'Planes, 1984, 1990s, 2000s, A Christmas Story, A Cry In The Dark, A Fish Called Wanda, A Nightmare On Elm Street, A Passage To India, Absence of Malice, Alan Rickman, Aliens, Altered States, Amadeus, An American Werewolf In London, Angel Heart, Back To The Future, Big Trouble In Little China, Blade Runner, Blood Simple, Brazil, Broadcast News, Bruce Willis, Caddyshack, Chariots of Fire, Cinema Paradiso, Clash Of The Titans, Coming To America, Crusoe, Dangerous Liaisons, Dead Calm, Die Hard, Dragonslayer, Dreamscape, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Empire Of The Sun, Evil Dead II, Eye Of The Needle, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Footloose, Frantic, Full Metal Jacket, Gallipoli, Gandhi, Ghostbusters, Gremlins, Harry and the Hendersons, Hellraiser, Highlander, Hoosiers, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Innerspace, John Carpenter’s The Thing, Lethal Weapon, Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior, Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, Midnight Run, Moonstruck, My Left Foot, National Lampoon's Vacation, Near Dark, Peter Weller, Planes Trains and Automobiles, Predator, Raging Bull, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Rain Man, Raising Arizona, Ran, Return of the Jedi, Robocop, Roxanne, Smithereens, Something Wicked This Way Comes, Spaceballs, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, The Abyss, The Accidental Tourist, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, The Blues Brothers, The Breakfast Club, The Color of Money, The Color Purple, The Dark Crystal, The Dead Zone, The Elephant Man, The Empire Strikes Back, The Fox and the Hound, The Goonies, The Hidden, The Hitcher, The Howling, The Killing Fields, The Last Emperor, The Lost Boys, The Natural, The Never Ending Story, The NeverEnding Story, The Princess Bride, The Right Stuff, The Secret of NIMH, The Shining, The Terminator, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, The Untouchables, The Verdict, The Witches of Eastwick, The Year of Living Dangerously, Three O’ Clock High, Time Bandits, Trains And Automobiles', Tron, Used Cars, Valmont, Waxwork, Witness, Young Sherlock Holmes, Zatoichi (The Blind Swordsman). You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.