Top Ten Films of the 1980’s


10. “Mona Lisa” – 1986. Dir. Neil Jordan

With Bob Hoskins, Cathy Tyson and Michael Caine

If the Martin Scorsese’s “Taxi Driver” had a brother, it would be “Mona Lisa”.

9. “Kiss of the Spider Woman” – 1985. Dir. Hector Babenco

With William Hurt, Raul Julia and Sonia Braga

A political prisoner (Raul Julia) and a drag queen (William Hurt) form an unlikely bond in a Central American prison. A slow burn of a character study that is nothing but an acting clinic, Hurt gives his finest and Oscar winning performance.

8. “The King of Comedy” – 1983. Dir. Martin Scorsese.

With Robert De Niro, Jerry Lewis and Sandra Bernhard

This is the finest Scorsese film that no one has heard of and it showcases Robert De Niro’s finest career performance as Rupert Pupkin.


7. “The Big Chill” – 1983. Dir. Lawrence Kasdan.

With Kevin Kline, William Hurt, Glenn Close, Mary Kay Place, Jo Beth Williams, Jeff Goldblum and Tom Berenger

You know how there are movies that are kinda slow, not much is going on and it’s all built around its characters? Watch “The Big Chill”

6. “Ordinary People” – 1980. Dir. Robert Redford.

With Donald Sutherland, Mary Tyler Moore, Timothy Hutton and Judd Hirsch

They don’t make films like this anymore.


5. “When Harry Met Sally” – 1989. Dir. Rob Reiner

With Billy Crystal, Meg Ryan, Carrie Fisher and Bruno Kirby.

This is the film every romantic comedy wants to be, and this is the film that started a landslide of crap. But my goodness is it wonderful.


4. “Blue Velvet” – 1986. Dir. David Lynch

With Kyle MacLachlan, Dennis Hopper, Isabella Rossolini, Laura Dern and Dean Stockwell.

Hand down the most fucked up love story I’ve ever seen.


3. “The Empire Strikes Back” – 1983. Dir. Irvin Kirshner.

With Mark Hamil, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams and Alec Guinness

The second best sequel ever made.


2. “Wall Street” – 1987. Dir. Oliver Stone

With Michael Douglas, Charlie Sheen, Daryl Hannah, John C. McGinley, with Terrence Stamp, Hal Holbrook and Martin Sheen.

Greed, selfishness, materialism and the raping of the American Dream – all in a day’s work.



1. “The Last Temptation of Christ” – 1987. Dir. Martin Scorsese

With Willem Dafoe, Harvey Keitel, Barbra Hershey, Victor Argo, Verna Bloom, with Harry Dean Stanton and David Bowie

Martin Scorsese’s most controversial and important film; the story of Jesus Christ with a different interpretation.


Author: Frank Mengarelli

Everybody relax, Frank's here. After going to film school at Columbia College Chicago, Frank decided to underachieve with his vast knowledge of film into a career in civil service. Frank had a brief stint as a film blogger, and then he met the heterosexual love of his life, Nick Clement. The two instantly bonded over their love from everything to Terence Malick to THE EXPENDABLES films. Some of Frank's favorite filmmakers are Terence Malick, Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino, Sylvester Stallone, Oliver Stone and Spike Lee. Some of his favorite films are THE TREE OF LIFE, STAR WARS (all of them), BAD LIEUTENANT, THE THING and ALL THAT JAZZ. Frank spends his free time with his dog Roger, collecting any Star Wars collectible he can find and trying to finish his pretentious, first person narrative novel(la), LARGE MEN IN SMALL CARS..

16 thoughts on “Top Ten Films of the 1980’s”

  1. Great list. It’s certainly different to your average top 10 80s movies list. I like how you’ve largely avoided the high-concept blockbusters for more character-based stuff. It’s nice to see The King of Comedy appear – it’s my favourite Scorsese film.

  2. Yep I’ve seen 4 of these.

    Ordinary People was NOT one of them, but this new movie called The Greatest (Brosnan, Sarandon, Mulligan, Shannon) got a lot of comparisons to it. You might want to check it out.

  3. I’m a little surprised you didn’t put Raging Bull on here, but I suppose with the other two Scorsese films it may have seemed a bit much.

  4. Interesting list for sure. The only one I haven’t seen is Mona Lisa, and I agree with pmak, i’m surprised Raging Bull was included – my favorite 80s film.

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