Great Years of Cinema: 1984

The ghostbusting crew from Ghostbusters, an iconic collection of cinema characters

List compiled by Eddie on 09/11/2018

The 1980’s were filled with ground-breaking and memorable film’s, a decade of movies that were lovingly constructed by masters of the art at the top of their games, such as Steven Spielberg, John Carpenter, Wes Craven and Joe Dante, just to name a few.

1984 however remains one of the decade’s most singularly impressive years of filmmaking, with a huge portion of film’s released in this time frame becoming both instant hits and cult favourites in equal measure.

I’ve assembled what I see as some of the great film’s of the 1984 calendar year that clearly indicates 1984 as being a great year of cinema.

Happy reading and happy watching!

Drama (best of)

Amadeus is a lavish and memorable epic

Amadeus

Directed By: Milos Forman  Starring: F. Murray Abraham, Tom Hulce

Regarded as one of the greatest biopics ever made, Milos Forman’s multi-Oscar winning epic based around the extraordinary life of famed composer Amadeus Mozart is a lavish and immaculately made feature film that stands the test of time.

Paris, Texas

Directed By: Wim Wenders  Starring: Harry Dean Stanton, Dean Stockwell

Wim Wenders at his very best and the crowning achievement of the late/great actor Harry Dean Stanton, Paris, Texas is a humanly real and emotionally poignant drama that has lost none of its quiet power to this day.

Once Upon a Time in America

Directed By: Sergio Leone   Starring: Robert De Niro, James Woods

They don’t make epics like this anymore and not many ever did make them quite like Italian master Sergio Leone who delivered one of the finest films of the era with his stunning 200 minute plus masterpiece. Featuring an array of memorable performances and an unforgettable music score, this is filmmaking at its most grandiose and extravagantly captivating.

See also – The Killing Fields, The Natural

Action/Thriller (best of)

Harrison Ford’s beloved Indiana Jones finds himself in a typically bad situation

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

Directed By: Steven Spielberg  Starring: Harrison Ford, Kate Capshaw

While not up there with the original in terms of pure quality and entertainment, Indiana Jone’s second outing is still a memorable and incredibly dark follow-up that well and truly established this at the time budding franchise to the next level.

Blood Simple

Directed By: The Coen Brothers  Starring: Frances McDormand, John Getz

There aren’t many as assured debuts as this Coen Brother’s thriller that has steadily and surely grown its audience in the time since its initially low-key release. A sign of great things to come for the brotherly directing duo, Blood Simple is a must-watch for any Coen Brother fans.

See also – Streets of Fire

Sci-fi/Horror (best of)

Freddy Kruger, ready to invade your nightmares!

A Nightmare on Elm Street

Directed By: Wes Craven  Starring: Robert Englund, Johnny Depp

Horror master Wes Craven struck gold with his scary and original Nightmare film that eventually became one of the longest running horror series ever made as well as being responsible for iconic villain Freddy Kruger.

The Terminator

Directed By: James Cameron   Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton

Setting up one of the most beloved sci-fi series in cinema history and catapulting its star Arnold Schwarzenegger to insane new heights, James Cameron’s at the time risky and original event is a genuine classic. Featuring an abundance of memorable action ticks and a collection of characters that are now pop-culture icons, The Terminator is deserving of its beloved status.

Repo Man is a well-regarded cult film for good reason

Repo Man

Directed By: Alex Cox   Starring: Emilio Estevez, Harry Dean Stanton

Alex Cox’s cult film is a truly original piece of filmmaking that moulds together sci-fi and comedy to memorable results. Never fully realizing his potential, this remains Cox’s greatest achievement behind the camera.

Starman

Directed By: John Carpenter   Starring: Jeff Bridges, Karen Allen

One of John Carpenter’s more forgotten about 80’s efforts, Starman is a lot better than many gave it credit for upon release and the Oscar nominated turn by its leading man Jeff Bridges remains one of the actors greatest turns. Well worth a revisit.

See also – Toxic Avenger, Children of the Corn, 1984, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, C.H.U.D

Comedy (best of)

Beverly Hills Cop is Eddie Murphy at his best

Beverly Hills Cop

Directed By: Martin Brest   Starring: Eddie Murphy, Judge Reinhold

Eddie Murphy at his finest, Beverly Hills Cop provided the comedy master a brilliant character with Axel Foley, with the fast-talking comedian dominating every scene of this classic 80’s romp.

Ghostbusters

Directed By: Ivan Reitman   Starring: Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd

The legacy of Ghostbusters speaks for itself and this at the time Box Office breaking comedy holds up today as one of the all-time great comedy experiences with a brilliant and eclectic cast.

This is Spinal Tap

Directed By: Rob Reiner   Starring: Rob Reiner, Christopher Guest

The big daddy of all mockumentaries and genuinely one of the funniest films ever made, Rob Reiner’s examination of fake rock band Spinal Tap is ripping-stuff. Many films have tried to emulate Spinal Tap’s flavour to various success but all these years on Reiner’s film remains king of them all.

Val Kilmer made quite the debut in Top Secret!

Top Secret!

Directed By: Jim Abrahams and David Zucker  Starring: Val Kilmer, Peter Cushing

I can still remember the day Jordan and I watched Top Secret!, tracking down an old and well-worn DVD copy to rent, I remember it because Top Secret! was one of the funniest films I had seen in a long time. Mostly ignored upon initial release, Jim Abrahams and David Zucker’s bizarre and hilarious film is a cult comedy deserving of its ever growing reputation.

Police Academy

Directed By: Hugh Wilson   Starring: Steve Guttenberg, Kim Cattrall

Far from a cinematic masterpiece, Police Academy may be a film of its time and place but there’s little denying the impact Hugh Wilson’s film had on pop culture and mainstream comedies moving forward. Silly and over the top, there’s a simple yet effective humour at play here that makes this original Academy movie a winner.

See also – Romancing the Stone, Sixteen Candles

Family/Animation (best of)

Gremlins is a genuine 80’s classic

Gremlins

Directed By: Joe Dante   Starring: Zach Galligan, Phoebe Cates

Gremlins might not be your usual cute and cuddly family film (even if its central little critters look adorable) but there’d be few children since its release that haven’t had the pleasure of sitting down and being thrilled, chilled and entertained by Joe Dante’s 80’s classic.

The NeverEnding Story

Directed By: Wolfgang Peterson   Starring: Noah Hathaway, Barret Oliver

A key part of many childhoods, The NeverEnding Story is a fantastical and magical family film that sparked the imaginations of many children that have watched it since its release and a likely key influencer on future films of this ilk.

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind

Directed By: Hayao Miyazaki   Starring: (Voices of) Sumi Shimamoto, Mahito Tsujimura

Jordan has summed up Nausicaä’s magic in a passionate review and Hayao Miyazaki’s much loved film is easily one of the most well-regarded animations ever produced.

See also – The Karate Kid

See other Great Year’s of Cinema list’s below –

1979

1982

2006

What are your favourite year’s of cinema? Let me know in the comments below!

6 responses to “Great Years of Cinema: 1984

  1. 1994 is a brilliant year in cinema. You’ve got Speed, Pulp Fiction, The Lion King, The Shawshank Redemption, Dumb and Dumber and so many more amazing movies that were released then!

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