15 Good ’80s Movies

Tuesday, February 16, 2010 at 5:45 pm

These 15 good ’80s movies are ideal for anyone wanting to recapture the films of their childhood or explore the cinema of a past generation. From sexy thrillers to wacky comedies, this list includes a little bit of everything. If you look hard enough at some local garage sales, I’ll bet you can even find these films on VHS. And for those who enjoy modern technology, Netflix carries these films on DVD and Blu-ray (and they give us a small commission to boot).

Fatal Attraction (1987) – Michael Douglas plays a guy who cheats on his wife. Unfortunately, he cheats on his wife with crazy-ass Glenn Close. Big mistake, Mr. Douglas. I think your soon-to-be-cooked pet bunny would agree.

Field of Dreams (1989) – Kevin Costner stars as a farmer who hears voices. Normally, this would result in a one-way trip to the local asylum, but instead Costner gets to play baseball with his childhood heroes.

Kiss of the Spider Woman (1985) – Two men occupy a prison cell in Brazil. One is a political revolutionary (Raul Julia), while the other is an effeminate homosexual (William Hurt). As they bond, the film throws viewers a number of twists and turns. Hurt won an Oscar for Best Actor.

Melvin and Howard (1980) – Inspired by the real-life story of Melvin Dummar, a man who once gave a ride to stranded billionaire Howard Hughes and was mentioned in his will to the tune of $156 million. Directed by Jonathan Demme.

A Fish Called Wanda (1988) – A jewel heist draws together an unhappy lawyer (John Cleese), a former CIA killer (Kevin Kline), a crook with a stutter (Michael Palin), and a seductive con artist (Jamie Lee Curtis). An absurdist comedy that still holds up well today.

Full Metal Jacket (1987) – Stanley Kubrick turns out another anti-war film, this time set during Vietnam. The first part follows draftees as they undergo basic training at the hands of a demanding drill sergeant, and the second half follows the main character, Private Joker (Matthew Modine), into the cities and jungles of Vietnam. R. Lee Ermey is outstanding as Gunnery Sergeant Hartman.

The Big Chill (1983) – When their friend commits suicide, a group of baby boomers gather together for his funeral and begin to re-connect. Starring Tom Berenger, Jeff Goldblum, Glenn Close, Kevin Kline, William Hurt and Meg Tilly. Kevin Costner was supposed to play the corpse, but all his scenes were cut, prompting director Lawrence Kasdan to cast him in Silverado.

Blood Simple (1984) – The first film directed by the Coen brothers, Blood Simple concerns a bar owner (Dan Hedaya) who suspects his wife (Frances McDormand) of having an affair with one of his employees. He hires a seedy detective (M. Emmet Walsh) to gather evidence, and events quickly spiral out of control.

Tender Mercies (1983) – Robert Duvall plays a former country music legend who falls in love with a single mother. Inspired to give up alcohol, he decides to resurrect his career. Can he find true happiness, or will life succeed in grinding him into the dirt?

A Soldier’s Story (1984) – Dealing with themes of segregation and racism, the film is about a black officer (Howard E. Rollins Jr.) who heads down to Louisiana to investigate the murder of a black sergeant. Denzel Washington appears in his first big budget role.

The Vanishing (1988) – A Dutch woman disappears from a French rest stop, and her boyfriend becomes obsessed with finding out her fate. As the years pass, he moves ever closer to an eventual confrontation with the culprit. Avoid the American remake.

She’s Gotta Have It (1986) – The first feature-length film from director and Knicks fan Spike Lee, She’s Gotta Have It follows the life of a sexually independent woman in Brooklyn as she juggles the advances of three suitors.

The Stunt Man (1980) – A Vietnam veteran stumbles onto the set of a World War I film, accidentally causes the death of a stuntman, and receives refuge from the director (Peter O’Toole) in exchange for taking the dead man’s place. Real world events are blurred with those of the war movie, and the young vet begins to suspect that director Eli Cross is trying to get him killed.

sex, lies, and videotape (1989) – James Spader plays a guy who can only get off while watching videotapes of women confessing their sexual experiences. This bizarre fetish draws a number of people into its web, including a repressed housewife (Andie MacDowell) and her more librated sister (Laura San Giacomo). Winner of the Palm d’Or at Cannes, it was also highly influential in the independent film movement.

Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982) – High school kids experiment with sex, drugs, and rock ‘n roll. Phoebe Cates looks amazing in a bikini, and Sean Penn shows off his comic timing as stoner Jeff Spicoli. Written by Cameron Crowe and directed by Amy Heckerling, the film marks early appearances by Nicolas Cage, Eric Stoltz, Forest Whitaker and Anthony Edwards.

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If you’re still thirsting for good ’80s movies, be sure to click on the following links:

This entry was posted on Tuesday, February 16th, 2010 at 5:45 pm and is filed under Good Movies. 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.

6 Responses to “15 Good ’80s Movies”

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September 22, 2010


My all time favorite Jewel of the nile 🙂


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