REWIND & RANK: TOP 10 MOVIES of 1980

RANKING THE YEAR’S BEST: FROM OSCAR MOVIES TO BLOCKBUSTERS

rewind1980

TOP 10 Lists are always tons of fun. You can debate my choices, while getting a better idea of how I review newer movies. With looking back on years past, you can also stroll down memory lane. You never know, you may uncover a hidden gem or two.

Let’s REWIND to the year 1980.

These are personal TOP 10s that combine Oscar-nominated movies right alongside popcorn munching blockbusters, indie films, and cult classics.

1980 had some blockbusters that have lasted the test of times, like the #1 movie at the box office, STAR WARS: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, which made $209 million (not adjusted for inflation). There were also a few guilty pleasures and box office duds like FLASH GORDON, FAME, XANADU, and POPEYE.

My TOP 10 is followed by HONORABLE MENTIONS.

Let’s dig in…


THE TOP 10

10. THE BLUE LAGOON

This guilty pleasure was on my radar before I was a teenager driven by hormones. I always liked survival stories about people stranded on islands. This is generally considered as a cheesy melodrama and may be on a few Worst Of The Year lists. However, this TOP 10 is based on what I enjoyed the most, for various reasons. There will be b-movies, right alongside blockbusters and Oscar gems.

9. ALTERED STATES

This smart science-based thriller explores the human mind. Sensory deprivation chamber experiments focus on consciousness and evolution. William Hurt stars in this compelling head-scratcher. While it may turn into a typical b-movie, the compelling concept is what makes this one worth watching.

8. FRIDAY THE 13TH

The original slasher in the mega-franchise. This one is minus Jason and the hockey mask, but it’s still just as exciting as the sequels. Camp counselors get a dose of karma from a scorned mother hell-bent on revenge. Violent yet fun. It delivered on what the 1980’s audience wanted.

7. AIRPLANE

This spoof movie has one of the highest jokes per minute of any comedy in history. The plot may be simple, making fun of AIRPORT-like disaster movies,  but there are so many laugh out loud moments the auto-pilot story doesn’t affect the overall enjoyment.

6. SUPERMAN 2

It may not be as good as the original, but it’s still a big screen superhero movie. At the time, this was a rarity. Even bad comic book movies must have thrilled the way, way back fanboys. Christopher Reeve is still the best Man of Steel.

5. CADDYSHACK

Bill Murray steals the show in this golf comedy, but he’s not the only one providing laughs, fellow SNLer Chevy Chase and stand-up legend Rodney Dangerfield join in the fun. This cult classic influenced generations of comedians and changed the genre forever.

4. RAGING BULL

Martin Scorsese boldly photographed this biopic in black and white for dramatic effect. The man is also a bonafide ultra-cinephile. Robert DeNiro embraced his artform, transforming himself for the role of a real-life boxer. Impressive performances all around. Exciting boxing sequences and emotional drama are fueled by the excitement of Scorsese’s energetic direction.

3. THE ELEPHANT MAN

David Lynch settled down from all the strange of ERASERHEAD to helm this true story drama. This is the director’s best film. Anthony Hopkins and John Hurt star in this emotional tale about a disfigured man who just wants to be treated like a human. Incredibly moving and beautifully cinematic.

2. THE SHINING

Stanley Kubrick takes on horror, adapting Stephen King’s mega-popular novel. Jack Nicholson hams it up, in the best ways possible, as a family man who snaps. Isolation and paranoia boil under the surface. The supernatural lurks around every corner. Stunning visuals. Amazing performances. Entirely enthralling. Shocking. Provocative. One of the best horror movies ever made!

1. STAR WARS: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK

The best STAR WARS movie blended drama and character with sheer spectacle and mind-blowing excitement. This sequel blew my mind. Although this was a sci-fi flick aimed at kids, it took itself seriously, and expanded its audience. One of the best movies of all time!


MY CHECKLIST

movies I need to see 

9 TO 5 / AMERICAN GIGOLO / THE BIG RED ONE / BLUES BROTHERS / COAL MINER’S DAUGHTER / DRESSED TO KILL /  HEAVEN’S GATE / KAGEMUSHA / ORDINARY PEOPLE / PRIVATE BENJAMIN


HONORABLE MENTIONS

listed alphabetically

ALLIGATOR / CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST / CHEECH & CHONG’S NEXT MOVIE / THE FOG / THE GODS MUST BE CRAZY / INFERNO / PROM NIGHT / STIR CRAZY


Stay tuned for more REWIND & RANK.

Next up… 2010.


 

6 thoughts on “REWIND & RANK: TOP 10 MOVIES of 1980

  1. Wow this list really made me realise how many great movies were released in 1980. 1994,2004, 1982. We all know those were great years for films but 1980 was too it appears. Out of the ones I’ve seen that you’ve mentioned I got to put The Blues Brothers, Superman II, The Empire Strikes Back, Raging Bull, Caddyshack, The Shining, Flying High (that’s what we call Airplane here), Ordinary People, American Gigilo and The Gods Must Be Crazy and that’s without having seen so many of the other ones. Dressed to Kill wins best poster immediately – woof! And you’re absolutely right, Christopher Reeve was, is and always will be my Superman.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I like to look at these Top 10s as the only movies I could watch from any given year, so they include many genres. That said, I definitely need to see Blues Brothers. I own it, so I have no excuse 😉 But it seems like it’d be on most people’s Tops for 1980 or even the 80s. From the flicks you listed, I need to see Ordinary People too. Thanks for chiming in, Lloyd. Appreciate it!!

      Liked by 1 person

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