Nightman’s Favourite Films Of The 1980s – Stats Roundup

Greetings, Glancers! So, older readers of my Oscars posts may recall that I tried to give some stats at the end of the year. It became too difficult to gather metrics and I become too lazy, and lo the posts migrated to the Hades Of Blogs like so many before. The same will likely happen to these summary posts – where I give some ‘interesting’ stats on my favourite films of each decade. It doesn’t mean anything, you won’t gain any insight or pleasure from reading them, and they will be painful to write. Why do it? Well shucks, I’ve always had a thing for hurting myself. ‘Enjoy’!

Number Of Best Picture Nominees: Five (Out of a possible fifty)

Number Of Best Picture Winners: One (Out of a possible ten)

Number Of Movies In The Top Ten Grossing of The Year: Twenty nine (Out of a possible one hundred)

Number Of Movies Which Were The Top Grosser: Five (Out of a possible ten)

Well… this was the decade when The Academy began making truly bizarre choices when it came to Best Picture. When it came to most of the big categories actually, and it’s something they haven’t ever really recovered from. I’m not saying that just because this was the decade I grew up in and therefore have a lot of childhood association to the films I’ve picked as favourites – I do feel that many of the films in my Top Tens were far more deserving of critical attention, and in many cases that acclaim has come in the years and decades since.

This was certainly a decade when cinema as pure entertainment was perfected – we have more classics per genre than any other decade, and directors and writers must have been allowed a degree of freedom and creativity never seen before or since which led to many wacky ideas and films which you couldn’t believe would have ever seen the light of day at any other time. Naturally this meant we got an unprecedented level of crap too, and even some of those are beloved by me, but by and large it’s the decade when my favourite filmmakers and stars hit their peak. You may be wondering then why I only picked 29 out of the top 100 grossing films – well, we had a high rate of romances and comedies too which, while I like many of them, weren’t strong enough for me to put on my lists. While, as you’ll see below, there weren’t many foreign films causing my grossing figures to be low, there were a lot of cult hits and sequels that I love which didn’t make as much money as the originals.

Movies By Country In My Top 10:

USA: Ninety one

UK: Sixteen

Italy: One

Japan: Three

France: One

Australia: One

Canada: Two

HK: Five

The USA dominates again, to a ridiculous degree. While a lot of that is due to me mainly being exposed to Hollywood movies in my childhood, I still watched plenty of foreign stuff too. While those were mainly martial arts movies, few of those were strong enough to make my lists. The UK is really only here for Bond now but had plenty of crossover hits, Japan had still mostly fallen away even though there were plenty of Japanese animated movies I liked they were again rarely strong enough to penetrate the top ten.

Movies By Director:

John Carpenter: Seven

John Glen: Four

David Cronenberg: Four


Steven Spielberg: Two

John Landis: Two

David Lynch: Two

James Cameron: Two

Sam Raimi: Two

Francis Ford Coppola: Two

Stanley Kubrick: Two

Brian De Palma: Two

Jerry Paris: Two

Walter Hill: Two

George A Romero: Two

Richard Donner: Two

Robert Zemeckis: Two

John McTiernan: Two

Tim Burton: Two

John Woo: Two

John Hughes: Two

Sylvester Stallone: Two

Oliver Stone: Two

Rob Reiner: Two

Ivan Reitman: Two


John G Avildson: x

Tobe Hooper: x

Akira Kurosawa: x

Walter Murch: x

Robert Harmon: x

Martin Scorsese: x

Joe Dante: x

Ridley Scott: x

Tony Scott: x

George Miller: x

Russell Mulcahy: x

John Milius: x

Ted Kotcheff: x

Barry Levinson: x

George P Cosmatos: x

Alan Parker: x

Martin Brest: x

Gerald Scarfe: x

Cliver Barker: x

Paul Michael Glaser: x

Joel Schumacher: x

Paul Verhoeven: x

Chuck Russell: x

Jim Drake: x

Kathryn Bigelow: x

Larry Cohen: x

Irvin Kershner: x

John Hough: x

Mark L Lester: x

Ching Siu-Tung: x

Bruce Robinson: x

Ringo Lam: x

Vincent McEveety: x

Hayao Miyazaki: x

Arthur Hiller: x

Ruggero Deodato: x

Desmond Davis: x

Sidney J Furie: x

Wes Craven: x

John Huston: x

Mary Lambert: x

Stephen Herek: x

Ron Howard: x

Michael Lehmann: x

Christopher Cain: x

Katsushiro Otomo: x

Newt Arnold: x

Tony Randel: x

Richard Marquand: x

John Badham: x

Luc Besson: x

Jackie Chan: x

Sammo Hung: x

Hugh Wilson: x

One hundred films, seventy eight directors. When people think of the 80s, they usually say it was Spielberg’s decade, or belonged to John Hughes. I was never a massive fan of the more mainstream John Hughes films and while Spielberg was everywhere in the 80s, people may forget that he didn’t always direct many of the films he was associated with. For me, the decade belonged to John Carpenter. Ten years, seven top ten movies – that’s pretty unprecedented. Then again, I am biased as Carpenter is my favourite director of all time. The numbers don’t lie though, and he’s way out on top. While we have a large list of directors with only one hit on my lists, a number of those single hits happened to me my first or second film of the year, and we have plenty of stalwarts with a deuce. Only coming close to Carpenter are John Glen, who directed every Bond film of the 80s, and David Cronenberg with his terrific run of classics.

Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

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