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January 11, 2005

Favorite '80s movies

I hope Matt Yglesias is still blegging for 1980s movie picks. Scott Lemieux and Jim Snowden posted their favorites days ago.

My favorite 1980's movies:

Das Boot (1981), Wolfgang Petersen
Ran (1985), Akira Kurosawa
Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989), Woody Allen
Drugstore Cowboy, Gus Van Sant (1989)
Dragnet (1987), Tom Mankiewicz*
Thin Blue Line (1989), Errol Morris*
The Times of Harvey Milk (1984), Rob Epstein
Life of Brian (1979), Terry Jones*
Meaning of Life (1980), Terry Jones*
Stand by Me (1986), Rob Reiner*

(* indicates having been enjoyed during the '80s)


Blood Simple (1984), Joel Cohen (and Ethan Cohen, uncredited)
Raising Arizona (1987), Joel Cohen (and Ethan Cohen, uncredited)
Raging Bull (1980), Martin Scorsese
Blue Velvet (1986), David Lynch


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No Blood Simple? Gandhi? Raging Bull?

An 80s list without Scorsese is like a list of bad presidents without George W. Bush...

Das Boot (1981), Wolfgang Petersen
Life of Brian (1979), Terry Jones*

Zowie, 2 of my favorite movies of all time. DID -- Desert Island Discs -- if you will.

Scott, I'm sure the omission of Raging Bull was a mere memory lapse. Wasn't it, darling. WASN'T IT???!!!

Yes, dear.

Blood Simple, Raging Bull, and Blue Velvet all belong on my list.

I'll add an addendum to the original post.

I fear BLADE RUNNER's omission is intentional. Yes? (Tsk. Tsk.)




And, doesn't the best (by far) of the Star Wars franchise get a mention? (THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, of course.)

And I have to confess liking very much both GLORY and FULL METAL JACKET (the latter if only for the greatest one-liner in a war film: "Better you than me.")

An 80's movie which can't be left out:


There has never been another movie like it.


Very nice list (except for Dragnet. Dragnet! The one with Tom Hanks and Dan Aykroyd? It's an okay flick for a rainy Saturday afternoon but one of the best of the '80s?) I shouldn't talk. I left Raging Bull off my list, but only because--major movie fan lapse--I haven't seen it.

But I didn't write to tell you that. I just wanted to point out that you misspelled my name. It's Snowden. Do fix it when you can.



I just wanted to say that I like the word "blegging."

picnic at hanging rock

Amazing, I have not seen a single film on your original list. I will have to check some of them out.

Other 80's movies for consideration that I haven't seen on lists:

Sherman's March (McElwee)
The Goonies (Donner)
Losin' It (Hanson)
Body Heat (Kasdan)
Diva and Betty Blue (Beineix)
Cinema Paradiso (Tornatore)
My Life as a Dog (Hallstrom)
Dead Poets Society (Weir)

And, Jim, any list of the best films of one-hit directors requires Charles Laughton's The Night Of The Hunter.

And, Jim, any list of the best films of one-hit directors requires Charles Laughton's The Night Of The Hunter.

Yeah, I was gonna say! But Jim has no comments on his blog.

Since you asked:

L'Argent (Robert Bresson)
Distant Voices, Still Lives (Terence Davies)
The South (Victor Erice)
Meantime (Mike Leigh)
Berlin Alexanderplatz (Fassbinder)
Veronika Voss (Fassbinder)
Return to Oz (Walter Murch)
A Private Function (Malcolm Mowbray)
The Elephant Man (David Lynch)
Raging Bull (the only Scorcese movie I actually like)
This Is Spinal Tap (Rob Reiner)
Melo (Alain Resnais)
Vagabond (Agnes Varda)
Where is the Friend's Home? (Abbas Kiarostami)
Homework (Abbas Kiarostami)
Time of the Gypsies (Emir Kusterica)

Jeez. Spinal Tap. Forgot about that. Guess I'm not off my bender. And Repo Man... "John Wayne was a fag."

I'd also add "Better Off Dead," but I don't know how many people are going to follow me there.

Oh, man, BODY HEAT. How could I forget? I don't think the movie makes it to my best list, but Matty Walker is definitely one of my favorite characters!

How about A Fish Called Wanda?

and speaking of Kasdan, The Big Chill ought to be considered for soundtrack reasons alone.

My personal favorite, though, remains Ferris Buellers Day Off, with Caddyshack a close second

And Red Sonja!

...which reminds me: Apparently, MST3000 started in 1988 -- surely one of the most important movie-related events of the decade.

An exceptional list you put forth (he says, coming to the party late) but I'm not given to the propensity of narrowing things to decalogues. I certainly would include: Gandhi, Princess Bride, On Golden Pond, Platoon, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, The Killing Fields in any Eighties list, and from John Sayles alone: Return of the Secaucus Seven (the Big Chill was an imitation) Matewan, Eight Men Out.

From Oliver Stone (besides Platoon), at least honourable mentions for Salvador, Wall Street, Born on the Fourth of July.

You did well with two Monty Python greats, and I think a Fish Called Wanda's up there, but I'd also include comedies by Martin & Tomlin (All of Me), Christopher Lloyd (Back to the Future, Pt 1), Tom Hanks (Big, Bachelor Party - yeah, a dumb 'guy' flick), Billy Crystal (When Harry Met Sally), Cher in Moonstruck, and Sean Penn as Jeff Spicoli (Fast Times at Ridgemont High).

From Barbara Hershey (The Stunt Man, The Right Stuff, Hannah and Her Sisters, Shy People), and Duvall (Tender Mercies).

There's Streep (Sophie's Choice and Silkwood), MacLaine & others (Terms of Endearment, Steel Magnolias), Ordinary People, Rain Man, The Shining, The Elephant Man, Bull Durham, Scarface...

in fact, I'd say the Eighties were so loaded with good ones that the 15 years since have not equalled that last great decade of movies.

what about overboard, teen witch!!

I am looking for the name of the 80's movie where a girl wishes on a star and wakes up with a penis. HELP!

My favorite 1980's movies:
1) Platoon- Realistic drama on Vietnam War
2) Blade Runner- Unique sci fi action and romance
3) Tootsie- Romantic comedy
4) An Officer and a Gentleman- Drama & Romance
5) About Last Night- Relunctant Romance in 80's

Geaine... Re: I am looking for the name of the 80's movie where a girl wishes on a star and wakes up with a penis. HELP!

The film is called Willy/Milly or Something Special. 1986 Starring Pamela Seagall (Adlon)

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