My Ten Best Movies of the 80s
10. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)
The Indiana Jones trilogy brought a real sense of fun and adventure back into Hollywood. In this great third installment, Ford is partnered with Connery in a father-son relationship which is at the heart of the story. Crusade is great for this relationship, the humour, and the great treasure-hunting story.
9. Back to the Future (1985)
Back to the Future was really great fun and excellent story-telling. This tale of time travel has become iconic and watching it today makes it easy to see that it hasn’t lost its edge one bit.
8. This is Spinal Tap (1984)
Rob Reiner’s mockumentary, about a British heavy metal bands whose amps may go to 11 but whose IQ’s may not, is one of the most hilarious comedies I’ve seen. Spinal Tap focuses on the subtleties of stupidity and does it so well that no one has been able to match it until BBC’s The Office almost twenty years later.
7. The Terminator (1984)
The Terminator was a film where the concept behind the film was so damn good it was hard for the film itself to keep up, but keep up it did. James Cameron game us a haunting look at what our future could become as well as an intense, action-packed chase between a bewildered waitress and a machine that will never stop hunting her no matter what. A hard-nosed action film with a lot of brains behind it.
6. Die Hard (1988)
The eighties was notorious for macho action films, but Die Hard stood head and shoulders above the rest. Die Hard has become the quintessential action movie. It has a great premise, great suspense, great excitement, as well as a truly great main character along with a fantastic villain. This is an action film with smart writing and great acting and proof that great films can come from any genre.
5. Platoon (1986)
One of my favourite war movies of all time. Platoon was a documentation of how war can corrupt the innocent and it does so very well. Oliver Stone made this movie with obvious passion and emotion, basing it off of his actual experiences in Vietnam. Platoon is powerful, gripping and compelling. It is beautifully shot the battle scenes are riveting. An all-around great war pic.
4. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
Raiders is one of those movies which seems to be infused with some sort of intangible movie magic which simply cannot be repeated. This first Indiana Jones story is simply movie-making magic every step of the way. The adventurous spirit is unrivaled, its main character is one of the most iconic movie heroes of all time, and the story is wonderfully compelling right up to the dramatic conclusion.
3. E.T.: The Extraterrestrial
ET is one of the most popular movies of all time and with good reason. It is a tale of friendship, of childhood, of family. The relationship between ET and Elliot always grabs my heartstrings. Everything Spielberg does here works and works well. ET is one of the most touching movies I’ve ever seen and will always be one of my all-time favourites.
2. Return of the Jedi
Being the Star Wars fan that I am, the next two choices on my list shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. Jedi was the weakest of the original trilogy, but it was only really weakened by the Ewoks. The opening first act at Jabba’s palace was excellent, as was the speeder chase and final space battle, and of course the conclusion of the Skywalker family arc. The greatest of all movie sagas ends just the way we want it too.
1. The Empire Strikes Back
Empire is simply the greatest of all movie sequels. It took everything that was great about the first movie (which was a lot in this case) and took it further, deeper and made it more serious. Darth Vader and the Empire becomes truly frightening in this segment as their might is seen in their massive fleet barreling through the asteroid field and their massive AT-AT assault upon Hoth. The addition of Yoda adds more of a mythological factor around the story, while the dramatic climax between Luke and Vader provides one of cinemas greatest revelations. The Empire Strikes Back may just be my favourite movie not just of the eighties, but of all-time.