What Are The Best Movies Of The Year 1980?
From New York to Los Angeles this is a question that will get a different answer from every person you ask.
There were some great films in the 1980s, and 1980 started the decade off with a bang as a year full of innovation in every way throughout all of society, and it was the start of some exciting new techniques, technologies, and ideas in the film industry in particular with many movies from the year 1980 introducing revolutionary and pioneering cinematic visions.
Many people think that some of the best 80s movies of the decade came out in 1980.
In this article post, we will go through our top picks for the 20 best movies of 1980, you might be surprised to find out which movies made it on the list!
1) Kramer vs. Kramer
In 1980, “Kramer vs. Kramer” was released and became a huge success at the box office.
The movie starred Meryl Streep as Joanna Kramer, Dustin Hoffman as Ted Kramer, Jane Alexander as Marylin Jaffe-Jenson, and Justin Henry as Billy Kramer.
This film won five Academy Awards in 1981 including Best Picture of 1979 or 1980.
It also received nominations for best director (Robert Benton), best actor (Dustin Hoffman), and best-adapted screenplay based on another work (Erica Mann).
It is now considered one of the most significant Hollywood films ever made about divorce because it provides nuance to both sides of an argument.
2) The Shining
This iconic horror classic film directed by Stanley Kubrick and starring Jack Nicholson and Shelley Duvall was released in 1980.
It is based on Stephen King’s 1977 novel of the same name.
The film has been ranked a number of times as one of the best horror movies ever made and is now considered to be one of Kubrick’s best films.
It was nominated for two Academy Awards (Best Actor in Leading Role–Jack Nicholson) and won none at the time.
The Shining also received nominations for Best Director – Stanley Kubrick), Best Adapted Screenplay–Steven Spielberg/Stanley Kubrick).
Its reputation grew over time, eventually earning an Oscar nomination for Best Picture.
3) Being There
Hal Ashby himself had been nominated for an Academy Award in 1971 with directing The Last Detail.
It is a film that could be classified as both comedy and drama, but the emphasis on this 1980 release lies more on its comedic aspects.
While it was not one of the most acclaimed films when it came out, many now consider Being There to be a classic film about society’s relationship with television at the time.
It offers commentary on economic inequality and how people are often reduced to simple archetypes who can easily fit into neat narratives for consumption purposes.
4) Time Bandits
Time Bandits, a 1980 British fantasy film about adventure, was co-written by Terry Gilliam. It stars Sean Connery and John Cleese as well as Shelley Duvall and Ralph Richardson. Katherine Helmond, Ian Holm. Peter Vaughan and David Warner are also featured.
It is a whimsical kids’ movie with the fantasy adventure of time travel that has been ranked as one of the best movies ever made by many critics.
Gilliam has referred to time bandits as first in his “Trilogy of Imagination”, which includes Brazil (1985), and then The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (88).
They all revolve around the “craziness and incoherence of our society, and the desire for escape through every means.
These films all focus on the struggles and attempts to escape through imagination. Brazil is seen through the eyes of a young man, Time Bandits through a child’s eyes, and Munchausen through an old man’s eyes.
Time Bandits, in particular, was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Visual Effects.
5) Pennies from Heaven
Quite a departure from his previous work, this film is much more lighthearted and comedic than the serious dramas of The Miracle Worker or Bonnie and Clyde.
The plot revolves around Arthur Parker (Steve Martin), whose life becomes increasingly chaotic as he tries to juggle two jobs, an impending child custody battle for his daughter, and a demanding girlfriend who wants him to give up one job so that they can have some time together.
This Leslie Nielsen instant comedy classic was one of the highest-grossing movies of 1980.
The movie is about an airplane crew that must find a way to land their plane after food poisoning breaks out on board and the pilots become incapacitated, with only two inexperienced passengers who happen to be a doctor (Robert Hays) and a flight attendant (Julie Hagerty) qualified to land the plane.
Airplane! was one of the most successful films at theaters in 1980
It had more than $83 million worth of ticket sales by year’s end – it became one of Leslie Nielsen’s most popular roles ever
The film also helped launch Robert Hays’ career as a leading man, though he later found greater success playing comedic supporting characters before retiring from acting.
7) The Empire Strikes Back
One of the most famous of the 1980s movies, The Empire Strikes Back is remembered for its numerous plot twists and turns as well as introducing fan-favorite Yoda
The film features Mark Hamill reprising his role as Luke Skywalker in this second installment of George Lucas’ Star Wars series and it was the first star wars to be released on VHS.
Featuring a mixture of live-action footage with high-quality animation from Japanese company Toho, it became one of the best critically acclaimed movies ever.
In 1997, it won an American Film Institute award for being among the top 100 films since 1941.
8) Raging Bull
1980 was a strong year for movies, and Martin Scorsese’s Raging Bull is one of the most acclaimed action films to be released that year.
It stars Robert De Niro in an Academy Award-winning performance as new york boxer Jake La Motta, who has a turbulent affair with Kim Basinger’s Vickie.
The film depicts how new york boxing served as both his escape from domestic abuse but also led him on a self-destruction path.
In addition to being nominated for ten Oscars (including best picture), it won two including best actor for Robert de Niro and best director awards respectively.
Released by United Artists, the movie has ranked among the top 100 American Films ever made according to AFI rankings.
This release is considered one of the best films of the 80s by many critics.
One of the most interesting and well-made movies that 1980 has to offer, Kagemusha tells the story of a warlord who is critically injured and after being buried alive.
The movie was directed by Akira Kurosawa and stars Tatsuya Nakadai in one of his best performances ever as both warrior leader Katsuyori Shibata and an imposter named Shingen Yashida.
Released in Japan on April 20th, 1980, it became the second-highest-grossing film at the Japanese box office just behind The Return of Godzilla (1984).
Kagemusha made its international debut at Cannes Film Festival’s Directors Fortnight where it won two major awards: Special Jury Prize for Best Direction and Grand Prix du Festival International du Film – Art.
10) The Gods Must Be Crazy
Part comedy, part drama, The Gods Must Be Crazy is a timeless classic.
Released in 1980, the film follows Xi (N!xau), an out-of-touch bushman who lives happily with his family until he encounters Coca Cola for the first time and it changes their world forever.
The premise of this movie makes us laugh because we can relate to how much more comfortable life was before modern society became so intricate that things like Coke began infiltrating every aspect of our lives.
We’re drawn into Xi’s story as he goes from living peacefully with his tribe to being thrust into a completely different reality when they start hunting down any remaining cases of coca-cola at stores all over town!
It also touches on some deeper themes such as the cultural modern world where his customs and rituals mean nothing.
Xi’s journey is our own as we watch the culture clash of modern society, with all its good intentions and never-ending thirst for new things to consume, come into contact with a simpler time that has long since passed by.
The humorous film release was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film but lost out to Italy’s Cinema Paradiso (1988).
Released in 1980 this classic comedy film by Harold Ramis is widely considered one of the funniest movies ever made by fans and critics alike.
It features an amazing comedic all-star ensemble cast, including Chevy Chase as a rich playboy who turns caddie in order to get girls; Ted Knight as Judge Smails, who wants to keep his country club memberships exclusive and prestigious; Rodney Dangerfield as Ty Webb, a millionaire golfer-cum-caddy who has been banned from all other golf courses for being too good.
Also featuring Bill Murray as Carl Spackler, the groundskeeper at Bushwood Country Club whose only goal seems to be killing off gophers with any weapon he can devise (including explosives); Michael O’Keefe as Danny Noonan, a young man hired by Judge Smails’s daughter (Castle) to caddy for him; and Brian Doyle-Murray as Lou Loomis, the club’s ultra-snobby head professional.
12) The Blues Brothers
Another instant classic 1980 movie, The Blues Brothers are best known for its 1980 car chases. Starring John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd as Joliet Jake & Elwood Blues respectively, the two brothers who perform a blues show before being arrested by police.
They break out of jail with their friends to save an orphanage from foreclosure through satanic cult leader sheik Abdul Khadaffi’s “Elvis-Is-King” rally in Chicago Illinois on Mothers Day 1980 at noon.
The film has been praised by audiences and critics alike for its music, screenplay, and performances but criticized for its lack of character development (most likely due to budget constraints).
This was even acknowledged during production when director John Landis told cast members not to act too much because “no one is going to see this movie.”
The 1980 car chases are iconic and highly regarded by film critics. One of the most memorable moments in 1980 was when Elwood Blues while driving his 1980 Chevy Malibu, spots a cat on the front fender as he’s being chased by police officers from Illinois State Troopers who try to arrest him for not wearing seat belts (the law at that time).
The chase ends with Jake & Elwood crashing into an old man sitting atop a 1980 Chevy Monte Carlo.
After striking them, the cops then swerve quickly around their fallen comrade before continuing after our heroes.
13) 9 To 5
9 to 5 (listed in the opening credits as Nine to Five) is a 1980 American comedy film directed by Colin Higgins, who wrote the screenplay with Patricia Resnick.
It stars Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, and Dolly Parton as three working women who live out their fantasies of getting even with and overthrowing the company’s autocratic, “sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot” boss, played by Dabney Coleman.
The film grossed over $103.9 million and is the 20th-highest-grossing comedy film.
As a star vehicle for Parton—already established as a successful singer, musician, and songwriter—it launched her permanently into mainstream popular culture.
A television series of the same name based on the film ran for five seasons, and a musical version of the film (also titled 9 to 5), with new songs written by Parton, opened on Broadway on April 30, 2009.
9 to 5 is number 74 on the American Film Institute’s “100 Funniest Movies” and has an 83% approval rating on the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes.
14) Smokey And The Bandit 2
Smokey and the Bandit 2 Is a 1980 American action comedy film directed by Hal Needham, starring Burt Reynolds, Sally Field, Jerry Reed, Jackie Gleason, And Dom DeLuise.
This film is a sequel to 1977’s film Smokey and the Bandit.
The original release of the film was in the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Australia.
Bo “Bandit”, Darville (Burt Reynolds), and Cledus “Snowman,” Snow (Jerry Reed) transport an elephant to the GOP National Convention. Sheriff Buford T. Justice, Jackie Gleason (Jackie Gleason), is once more in hot pursuit.
15) Superman 2
Superman II, a 1980 superhero movie directed by Richard Lester, is written by Mario Puzo, David, and Leslie Newman and is based on a story by Puzo about the DC Comics character Superman.
It features Gene Hackman and Terence Stamp, Terence Stamp, Ned Beatty, and Sarah Douglas.
The film was first released in Australia and Europe on December 4, 1980. It was also released in other countries during 1981.
Megasound is a high-impact surround sound system that’s similar to Sensurround and was used for select premiere Superman II engagements.
The Salkinds decided in 1977 that they would simultaneously film Superman and its sequel. Principal photography began in March 1977 and ended in October 1978.
There were tensions between Richard Donner, the original director, and the producers. It was decided to stop filming the sequel (of which 75 percent was already completed) and instead finish the first film.
After the December 1978 release of Superman, Donner was fired from his post as director and was replaced by Lester.
Many cast members and crew members declined to return following Donner’s firing.
Lester was officially acknowledged as the director. Principal photography resumed in September 1979 and ended in March 1980.
Film critics gave the film positive reviews, praising the performances of Reeve, Stamp, and Hackman as well as the visual effects and humor.
The film grossed $190million against a $54 million production budget.
16) Friday The 13th
Friday the 13th, 1980 American slasher movie, is directed and produced by Sean S. Cunningham. Written by Victor Miller, it stars Betsy Palmer and Adrienne King.
The plot centers on a group of teenager camp counselors, who are each murdered by an unknown killer as they attempt to reopen an abandoned summer camp.
Cunningham, inspired by John Carpenter’s Halloween (1978) success, put out an advertisement in Variety to sell the film. Miller was still writing the screenplay.
Filming began in New York City after casting the film. It was shot in New Jersey during summer 1979 on an estimated budget of $550,000.
The finished film was the subject of a bidding war. Paramount Pictures won domestic distribution rights while Warner Bros. Pictures took European rights.
Friday the 13th, which was released on May 9, 1980, was a huge box office hit, earning $59.8 million globally.
The film received mixed reviews, some praised its cinematography, score, and performances while others criticized it for depicting graphic violence.
It was the first independent film of its type to be distributed in the U.S. by major studios.
The film’s box office success led it to many sequels, a crossover film with A Nightmare on Elm Street, and a reboot of the series in 2009.
17) Flash Gordon
Flash Gordon is a 1980 space opera film directed and produced by Mike Hodges. It was based on Alex Raymond’s King Features comic strip.
The film stars Sam J. Jones and Melody Anderson as well as Max von Sydow, Max von Sydow, Max von Sydow, and Topol. Topol is supported by Timothy Dalton and Mariangela Melato. Peter Wyngarde plays the role of Peter Wyngarde.
The film features Flash Gordon (Jones), a star quarterback, and his friends Dale Arden and Hans Zarkov (Topol), as they unify the warring factions on the planet Mongo to resist the oppression by Ming the Merciless (von Sydow), a man who wants to destroy Earth.
Producer Dino De Laurentiis had been involved in two comic book adaptations: Danger: Diabolik and Barbarella (both 1968). He had also previously worked on Danger.
De Laurentiis declined a George Lucas directorial offer, a Star Wars version directed by Federico Fellini was also rejected.
De Laurentiis hired Nicolas Roeg as director and Enter the Dragon writer Michael Allin as the lead developer on the film.
They were replaced in 1977 by Lorenzo Semple Jr. and Hodges, who had written De Laurentiis’ remake of King Kong, this was due to Roeg’s dissatisfaction.
Flash Gordon was mostly shot in England, with several soundstages at Elstree Studios and Shepperton Studios. It uses a camp style that is similar to the 1960s TV series Batman, which Semple created.
Jones quit the film before principal photography was overdue to a dispute between De Laurentiis and Jones. Much of Jones’s dialogue was dubbed by Peter Marinker. The documentary Life After Flash examines the main subjects of Jones’ departure and his career after it was released.
It is known for its Queen-inspired musical score, which features orchestral sections by Howard Blake.
Flash Gordon was a box-office success in Italy and the United Kingdom, but it did poorly in other markets.
The film received generally positive reviews upon its initial release and has since developed a large cult following.
There have been many attempts at sequels or reboots, but none of them have ever made it to production.
18) Cheech & Chong’s Next Movie
Cheech and Chong’s Next Movie, a 1980 comedy film by Tommy Chong, is the second feature-length Cheech & Chong project, after Up in Smoke.
It was released by Universal Pictures.
Cheech and Chong go on a mission: siphon gasoline to their neighbor’s car.
They then continue their day. Cheech works at a movie theater, while Chong looks for something to smoke (a roach).
Then Chong revs up his indoor motorcycle and plays loud rock music that disrupts the neighborhood.
Cheech is fired and the couple goes to Donna, Cheech’s girlfriend, and welfare officer. Cheech seduces Donna over her objections and gets her in trouble with her boss.
19) Coal Miner’s Daughter
Coal Miner’s Daughter, a 1980 American musical biographical film, was directed by Michael Apted and based on a screenplay by Tom Rickman.
The film follows Loretta Lynn’s rise to stardom as a country singer, starting in her teen years with a poor family.
The film is based on Lynn’s 1976 biography by George Vecsey. SissySpacek stars as Lynn. As supporting characters, Tommy Lee Jones and Beverly D’Angelo are seen.
As for themselves, Ernest Tubb and Roy Acuff make cameo appearances.
Since the publication of the biography, a film about Lynn was planned. The film was produced in March 1979. Lynn saw a photo of Spacek and decided to play her role.
The soundtrack included all Lynn’s hits, which Spacek sang along with Patsy Cline’s “Sweet Dreams”, sung and produced by D’Angelo.
The Recording Industry Association of America certified the soundtrack gold and it reached the top 40 of the Billboard 200 charts.
Universal Pictures released Coal Miner’s Daughter on March 7, 1980. Rotten Tomatoes’ critical consensus calls it “a deeply moving story.”
It was the seventh-highest-grossing movie of 1980, with $67.18 million-grossing in North America.
At the 53rd Academy Awards, the film received seven nominations, including Best Picture. Spacek won Best Actress.
It received four nominations at the 38th Golden Globe Awards and won two: Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy and Best Actress (for Spacek).
The U.S. Library of Congress has selected the film to be preserved in the National Film Registry for 2019.
20) Stir Crazy
Stir Crazy was a 1980 comedy film in the United States. It was directed by Sidney Poitier and produced by Hannah Weinstein. The script was written by Bruce Jay Friedman.
Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder star as friends, who are sentenced to 125 years in prison after being framed by bank robbers.
They make friends with other prisoners while in prison.
Wilder and Pryor were reunited in this film, which was a remake of the 1976 comedy-thriller Silver Streak.
The film was first released in the United States on December 12, 1980, to mixed reviews. It was also a huge financial success.
That’s it for our list of the top 20 films of 1980!
Thanks for reading and we hope this list of the best films of 1980 has helped you find some new classics to watch and rediscover.
It’s very hard to narrow the best of anything to just 20, so check back on our site often to see more extended lists and articles on great movies from every year and decade as we release them.
Now that we’ve given you a range of movies from the past, it is your turn to enjoy them!
With so many truly epic films released in 1980, there are plenty of options for everyone.
So go and experience some of these amazing and epic 1980s classic films for yourself today!
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Originally Published On: InterestArticles.com