Greetings, Glancers! We continue my new series of posts which will detail my favourite films of every year since 1950. Why 1950? Why 10? Why anything? Check out my original post here. As with most of these lists the numbering doesn’t really matter much, though in most cases the Number 1 will be my clear favourite. As I know there are plenty of Stats Nerds out there, I’ll add in some bonus crap at the bottom but the main purpose of these posts is to keep things short. So!
10: Project A (HK)
A period Jackie Chan movie about clashing cops and bad guys, but most importantly it features some of Chan, and Cinema’s most death-defying stunts.
9: The Hunger (UK/US)
Tony Scott’s sultry, stylish vampire story starring David Bowie, Catherine Deneuve, and Susan Sarandon is a feast for the eyes and the loins.
8: The Dead Zone (US)
The first of two David Cronenberg movies on my list, it’s perhaps amusing that the story of a man who can see the awful shit which is going to happen in the future just by touching a person, is not the strangest of his two entries. One of the finest, understated Stephen King adaptations, it’s a very straight film considering the director and the cast, and is sadly one of the most prescient films of today considering when it was released.
7: Le Dernier Combat (France)
Luc Besson’s thrilling, low-budget debut is chocked full of the ambition and style he would show in later movies once funds caught up with him. It’s an end of the world story about holding on to the final scraps which make life worth living and a damning statement on humanity darkest aspects.
6: Blue Thunder (US)
Helicopter action was all the rage in the 80s, what with Airwolf, Rambo III, and this. Starring Roy Scheider and featuring a young Daniel Stern, Malcolm McDowell, Warren Oates, and Candy Clark, it’s a thriller with plenty of familiar faces and even if the plot is your typical Cop versus Shady Crim Org, the helicopter action more than makes up for any nonsense.
5: Rumble Fish (US)
My four and five are interchangeable and similar in many ways. Both directed by Coppola and sharing a lot of ideas and both featuring a young cast of up and comers, Rumble Fish is the more visually striking of the two. This one follows the relationship between two brothers – one who is trying to move away from the violence of his thug life, and one who is trying to get into it.
4: The Outsiders (US)
The Outsiders is another film focused on youth, brothers, and friendship, this time featuring a more extensive cast, overlapping plots, and a more straightforward directing approach. It’s one of the great teen movies.
3: Videodrome (Canada)
A film which could have only come out in the 80s and only from the mind of David Cronenberg. A small-time TV Exec discovers what appears to be an underground TV show which presents mainly snuff footage and other assorted treats and becomes obsessed with finding out about the show, believing it to be the future of entertainment. The more he learns, the more unhinged he becomes, and both he and the viewer become unsure of what is real or fantasy or if such distinctions even matter any more. A twisted satire on entertainment, culture, and political causes, it’s a showcase for Cronenberg’s Body-Horror ethos and Rick Baker’s wizardry.
2: Scarface (US)
One of the all time great remakes, Brian De Palma’s Scarface is quintessentially 80s. While most of us were rightfully lapping up Spielberg and Amblin, and dreaming of BMX adventures, something more sinister was spreading across the US. Crime, drugs, and all manner of related excess was rampant and the acquiring of the American Dream no longer meant rolling up your sleeves and getting stuck in to your particular craft, instead it meant meeting (or killing) the right person, and cheating, gambling, and shooting your way to the top until there was nobody left to stand in your way. Al Pacino’s sneering performance is one for the ages, the Miami setting is seedy in the extreme, and the supporting cast featuring Michelle Pfeifer, Robert Loggia, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Steven Bauer, and F Murray Abraham is stellar.
1: Return Of The Jedi (US)
Covered in my favourite movies of the Decade post.
How Many Of My Films Were In The Top 10 Grossing Of The Year: One (the top grosser)
How Many Of My Films Were Nominated For the Best Picture Oscar: Zero
One of my favorite films from 1983 is “The Year of Living Dangerously” with a gorgeous Mel Gibson (he’s never looked or acted better), Signourney Weaver (who is at her most sexy) and the amazing Linda Hunt who deservedly won Best Supporting Actress that year. The film also contains a rarely recognized supporting performance by the great Michael Murphy who plays a sleazy Western reporter in Jakharta. The real star of the piece, however, is the screenplay. It is a magnificent film which deals with the rare subject of hunger causing much of the political turmoil in the world (have things changed?). Another great reason to watch the film is Maurice Jarre’s beautiful, haunting music score. The film has aged well. It’s just as relevant today.
Good choice. It comes up in my Oscars series a few times