Top 5 Greatest Films of the 1980's


The 1980’s were a transitional period in film, leaving the gritty realism of the ‘70s behind for a more campy, family-oriented style of filmmaking. Americans were weary from decades of war, and with the election of President Reagan, many shifts were occurring in the American psyche and this can be seen in the films produced during this period. Check out our Top 5 Greatest Films of the 1980’s to see which movies stood out from the rest!

1) Raging Bull

Raging Bull film
  • Tells the story of Jake LaMotta, a boxer whose self-destructive and obsessive rage, sexual jealousy, and animalistic appetite destroyed his relationship with his wife and family
  • Voted by many critics including Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel as the best film of the 1980s
  • Nominated for eight Oscars, including Best Picture, Director, Actor, Supporting Actress, Supporting Actor, Cinematography, Sound, and Editing
  • Selected for preservation in the National Film Registry in 1990
  • Ranked #4 in the American Film Institute’s updated 100 Years 100 Movies list

2) E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial

E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial film
  • Tells the story of Elliott, a lonely boy who befriends an extraterrestrial, dubbed "E.T.", who is stranded on Earth
  • Held the record for highest-grossing film of all-time for eleven years
  • Highest grossing film of the 1980s
  • Ranks as the greatest science fiction film ever made in a Rotten Tomatoes survey
  • Winner of four Oscars out of nine nominations

3) Amadeus

Amadeus film
  • Tells the story of the life and death of Wolfgang Mozart and the jealous man who may have killed him, Antonio Salieri, a fellow composer
  • Nominated for 53 awards and received 40, including eight Academy Awards (including Best Picture), four BAFTA Awards, and four Golden Globes
  • Both lead actors (Tom Hulce and F. Murray Abraham) were nominated for the Best Actor Oscar (Abraham won)
  • Grossed over $52 million in North America on an $18 million budget
  • American Film Institute ranked it #53 on its 100 Years 100 Movies list

4) Platoon

  • Oliver Stone wrote the story based upon his experiences as a U.S. infantryman in Vietnam to counter the vision of the war portrayed in John Wayne's The Green Berets
  • First Hollywood film to be written and directed by a Vietnam veteran
  • Winner of the Golden Globe for Best Picture- Drama
  • The American Film Institute placed Platoon at #83 in their "AFI's 100 Years... 100 Movies" list
  • Winner of four Oscars (including Best Picture)

5) Blue Velvet

Blue Velvet film
  • The discovery of a severed human ear found in a field leads a man on an investigation related to a beautiful, mysterious nightclub singer and a group of psychopathic criminals who have kidnapped her child
  • Has achieved cult status, significant academic attention and, alongside Eraserhead and Mulholland Drive, is widely regarded as one of David Lynch's finest works
  • Ranked as one of the 100 Greatest Films of All Time by Entertainment Weekly in 1999
  • Chosen by the American Film Institute as one of the greatest mystery films ever made
  • Won National Society of Film Critics awards for Best Film, Best Director, Best Cinematography, and Best Supporting Actor

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