1. My Dinner With Andre (Louis Malle) Wonderful film about a conversation at dinner between two friends. A simple premise but pulled off amazingly by the two actors who also wrote the screenplay. I am pulled in by this movie everytime.
2. The Last Temptation of Christ (Martin Scorsese) Scorsese’s look at the life of Jesus and all he had to give up is one of the great spiritual films of all time.
3. Raising Arizona (The Coen Brothers) Possibly the Coen’s greatest comedy and the closest anything has come to looking like a live action cartoon. Nicholas Cage has never been better.
4. E.T. The Extraterrestrial (Steven Spielberg) Spielberg’s ode to childhood, loneliness, and friendship hasn’t lost any of its wonder despite being one of the most successful films ever made.
5. Do the Right Thing (Spike Lee) Lee’s study ofnracism in America has never looked out of date. It’s stark, colorful, musical, and as hard hitting as any film can get.
6. Raging Bull (Martin Scorsese) Scorsese’s character study on boxer Jake LaMotta is a transcendent film of human redemption.
7. Raiders of the Lost Ark/Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (Steven Spielberg) Spielberg along with George Lucas created perhaps the most entertaining series of movies in history. The first two films are the best. Raiders is crowd pleasing fun mixed with great set pieces and stunt, while Temple of Doom is just as fast paced with more peril and darkness pushing the limits of blockbuster entertainment.
8. Ran (Akira Kurosawa) Kurosawa’s late aged masterpiece is a recreation of King Lear, but it’s also fatalist and apocalyptic in its own way.
9. Stranger Than Paradise (Jim Jarmusch) A look at isolation in the modern world, this was Jarmusch’s breakout film. It’s full of deadpan humour and a wonderful point of view.
10. The King of Comedy (Martin Scorsese) Scorsese excelled in this decade and “The King of Comedy” is one of his best most under seen gems. A look at fame and what it does to someone who obsessively wants it.
Honorable Mentions: Peter Weir’s “Witness” “The Year of Living Dangerously”, “The Mosquito Coast” and “Gallipoli” were all terrific, he’s one of the great underrated filmmakers. “The Road Warrior” is one of the best action films ever. Brian De Palma had his greatest film “Blow-Out” in this decade. Spielberg had his one under seen masterpiece “Empire of the Sun”. Scorsese was on a roll with “After Hours”. Michael Mann had a stunning debut with “Thief” and made the first Hannibal Lector film “Manhunter” The Coen’s first film “Blood Simple” was an excellent debut. David Lynch came on the scene with “Blue Velvet”. Steve Martin and Carl Reiner continued their collaboration with success in “Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid”, “The Man with Two Brains” and the brilliant “All of Me”. Steve Martin’s “Roxanne” should be considered one of the great romantic comedies. I have never been a fan of John Hughes however I have a soft spot for “Planes, Trains, and Automobiles” which features John Candy’s best performance. Kurosawa had “Kagemusha”. Sergio Leone had his final masterpiece “Once Upon a Time in America”. “The Empire Strikes Back” was the promise of a great follow-up to “Star Wars”. “Back to the Future” and its sequel were as entertaining as any sci-fi comedy could get. “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” was an animated nerd’s wet dream to true. Woody Allen had “Zelig”, “Broadway Danny Rose” “Hannah and Her Sister” and “Crimes and Misdemeanors”. Ingmar Bergman had “Fanny and Alexander”. “Babette’s Feast” was a wonderful world film. “Gremlins” worked as the anti-“E.T”. “The Terminator” is for me James Cameron’s best film, but “Aliens” isn’t bad either. “Platoon” is Oliver Stone’s most personal film. “Poltergeist” was a wonderful blockbuster horror while “A Nightmare on Elm Street” played on our most cerebral fears.
Those are my picks did I miss any? I’m sure some will come to me later on, but let me know what you think tell me your favorite of the 1980s