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)
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.
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)
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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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)
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 –