50. The Razor's Edge (1984)
49. St. Elmo's Fire (1985)
48. Time Bandits (1981)
47. They Live (1988)
46. Coming to America (1988)
45. Romancing the Stone (1984)
44. A Fish Called Wanda (1988)
43. This is Spinal Tap (1984)
42. The NeverEnding Story (1984)
41. National Lampoon's Vacation (1983)
40. Field of Dreams (1989)
39. Parenthood (1989)
38. The Right Stuff (1983)
37. The Untouchables (1987)
36. The Road Warrior (1981)
35. Batman (1989)
34. The Thing (1982)
33. The Natural (1984)
32. Raging Bull (1980)
31. Brazil (1985)
30. Glory (1989)
29. Raising Arizona (1987)
28. Footloose (1984)
27. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
26. Caddyshack (1980)
25. Dead Poets Society (1989)
24. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982)
23. Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982)
22. Big Trouble in Little China (1986)
21. Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn (1987)
20. Say Anything ... (1989)
19. Airplane! (1980)
18. Amadeus (1984)
17. Ghostbusters (1984)
16. The Terminator (1984)
15. The Princess Bride (1987)
14. Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986)
13. Poltergeist (1982)
12. Die Hard (1988)
11. Once Upon a Time in America (1984)
Without further ado, here are the final TOP 10 picks for the Top Films of the 1980s!
10. The Goonies (1985)
Directed by Richard Donner
Starring Sean Astin, Josh Brolin, Jeff Cohen, Corey Feldman, Kerri Green, Martha Plimpton, Jonathan Ke Quan, John Matuszak, Robert Davi, Joe Pantoliano, and Anne Ramsey
Stef: "This is ridiculous. It's crazy. I feel like I'm babysitting, except I'm not getting paid."
Jay: The best kids adventure movie of all time, The Goonies feels like a Spielberg movie (it was produced by him), but it was actually directed by Richard Donner. This has to the best ensemble of child actors and actresses ever assembled for a film. Sean Astin, Corey Feldman, Josh Brolin, Martha Plimpton, etc., etc. My favorite, though, is definitely "Chunk" (Jeff Cohen), who gave us one of the most hilarious and heartfelt performances as the fat kid befriends the scary but loveable "Sloth" (John Matuszak). The Goonies' quest to save their homes from being sold out from underneath them leads them on an epic search for the forgotten treasure of legendary pirate, "One-Eyed Willie". The chemistry and banter between the group of friends is what really works here. Each of them is unique and they all gel like no other cast has ever before. I would be remiss if I didn't mention the great performances of the movie's villains, the Fratelli's (Anne Ramsey, Joe Pantoliano and Robert Davi). They are nearly equally as funny and just menacing enough. The Goonies is a movie that I look forward to watching with my kids one day. It is a classic that continues to entertain generations of children and adults. "Kids suck." Indeed.
Matt: The definitive kid movie! Forget The Little Rascals! The Goonies was the beginning of the likeable kid adventure movie. Any film nowadays that centers around a group of likeable kids comes from this film. As this ragtag group of friends reluctantly band together to try and find the buried treasure of local tall tale, pirate One-Eyed Willie, all so they can save their parents' homes from being foreclosed on. This was the first time I remember seeing kids written as realistic; they were just like the kinds of kids I hung out with. But what makes The Goonies so great to watch over and over is ultimately that it's fun. There's peril, adventure, friendly insults, and childish glee that saturates the script. Even the film's protagonists -- the criminal Fratelli's -- are fun to watch! Pretty much all of my favorite scenes revolve around the character of Chunk; whether it's quote-worthy scenes like the spill-your-guts scene, the ice cream rant, or when he's being forced into the back of the Fratelli's truck. The kid is a comedic ace, his timing in impeccable! I was so excited when I first introduced this film to my kids and still get a kick out of the film every time I watch it!
9. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
Directed by Steven Spielberg
Starring Henry Thomas, Dee Wallace, Peter Coyote, Robert MacNaughton, and Drew Barrymore
Elliot: [tearfully, while looking down at E.T.]"I'll believe in you all my life, everyday. E.T. ..... I love you."
Jay: It is difficult to imagine my childhood without E.T. It's the very first movie I can remember seeing in the theater. This is Steven Spielberg at the height of his powers as a filmmaker. His run from Jaws in 1975 through this film in 1982, which would include Close Encounters of the Third Kind in 1977 and Raiders of the Lost Ark in 1980 would be impossible for any director to top. What makes E.T. so great is hard to quantify to one thing. I think it all starts with a fantastic performance by Henry Thomas as Elliott, the boy who befriends an alien, trapped on our world and helps him find a way to get back home. It is known that when Thomas auditioned for the role, he tried to remember the sadness he felt when his dog died. Apparently this caused Spielberg to also cry and he gave Henry the part of Elliott on the spot. There is a blanket of sadness that hangs over this film as we are confronted with a child struggling in the wake of his parent's divorce. The camera was intentionally placed low as to allow the audience to see every image from a child's point-of-view. Elliott's mother, played by Dee Wallace, is the only adult we really see in the movie until the final 30 minutes. If Poltergeist is a movie about a suburban nightmare, then E.T. is a suburban dream, brought fully to life by Rick Baker's excellent work on the creation of the alien. At its core, this is a film about a boy and his family finding their joy again with the help of a little guy from another planet who just wants to "phone home".
Matt: Jaws may have put director Steven Spielberg on the map, but E.T. is the movie that made him a household name! Like most Spielberg films, there is an artistic look to this film and every time I watch it, I'm engrossed in the story. I especially love Spielberg's decision to shoot Peter Coyote's government agent, who is never named, only at his waist, with a light always shining on his set of keys attached to his belt loop; this is why his character is only referred to as "Keys." Like most Spielberg films, there's the absent father, the suburban setting, the wonderful John Williams score, the extraordinary plot device. But what shines the most in E.T. is the humanity -- which is ironic since the film centers around an alien. The coming-of-age story set against a sci-fi film remains a beloved classic. It was one of the first films I introduced to my youngest daughter, who, at first, would get completely spooked, but soon absolutely loved it! What also makes this film stand out so much is the symbiotic bond that forms between protagonist Elliott (Henry Thomas) and E.T. It can easily be argued that even though the two beings are completely different, what happens to one affects the other. This concept helps to teach kids empathy and caring. And, no matter how many times I watch it, I can't help but get the slightest bit choked up when E.T. leaves and says, "I'll be ... right ... here." A truly wonderful film that never loses its luster!
8. The Breakfast Club (1985)
Directed by John Hughes
Starring Judd Nelson, Molly Ringwald, Emilio Estevez, Ally Sheedy, Anthony Michael Hall, and Paul Gleason
Andrew: "We're all pretty bizarre. Some of us are just better at hiding it, that's all."
Jay: I love The Breakfast Club, but this is a little high on the list for this film to be. That being said, this is, like Fast Times at Ridgemont High, a quintessential move to watch about being a teenager in the 1980's. Taking place over the course of one day of detention in a school library, five high schoolers from different walks of life and very different personalities manage to bond over the struggles each of them faces as they hurtle toward adulthood. The dialogue is great and the performances are iconic, especially Judd Nelson as the rebellious bad boy, John Bender and Ali Sheedy as the introverted and quirky Allison Reynolds. It would be a mistake to overlook the late, great Paul Gleason as the oppressive and almost abusive vice principal, Richard Vernon. Gleason holds the award for best actor to cast as a dickhead in the 80's, along with William Atherton (Ghostbusters, Die Hard). Another unique quality I love about The Breakfast Club is that it watches like a stage play with 95% of the action taking place in one setting, the library. Throughout the film, the five teenagers go from antagonizing each other to ultimately relating to each other in many ways. The social intricacies and stereotyping of these kids existed before this movie and it still exists today. The Breakfast Club does a great job of defining that and breaking through it as each character matures in many ways as the day presses on.
Matt: Watching The Breakfast Club, I cannot help but think how wonderful of a stage play this would be! In fact, I often wonder if writer/director John Hughes meant to originally release this as a play or eventually stage it as a play. Hughes was known as saying he didn't understand why when he saw teens or kids in most films, most times they were written so poorly and as being quite superficial and/or trivial. Hughes believed that teens especially were the same as adults and should be written as such. The reason this movie resonates with so many who watch it is because every character-type is represented. Hughes strips down to the popular rich, the poor rebel, the outcast, the nerd/dork, and the jock, but makes them all relate to one another. All of the performances here are spot on, finding just the right balance between laughing one moment and tense drama the next. Breakfast Club is a constant reminder that as different as we try to identify or label ourselves (or others), we are the same in our emotions. What I appreciate so much about this film is, although it's relatively deep and existential, it's not pretentious. It unflinchingly points out many truths of which teens of any generation can relate because, at its core, The Breakfast Club is about what it means to face the awkwardness and harshness of growing up.
7. Stand by Me (1986)
Directed by Rob Reiner
Starring Wil Wheaton, River Phoenix, Corey Feldman, Jerry O' Connell, Kiefer Sutherland, John Cusack and Richard Dreyfuss
The Writer: "I never had any friends later on like the ones I had when I was twelve. Jesus, does anyone?"
Jay: With movies like The Goonies, E.T., and the cult classic, Monster Squad, no other decade assembled a better assortment of talented child actors. This 1986 film, based on the short story "The Body" by Stephen King is the really the pinnacle of the "coming-of-age" genre. Four friends, played by Wil Wheaton, River Phoenix, Corey Feldman and Jerry O'Connell, decide to go on a backpacking trip down the railroad tracks to find the rumored dead body of a kid that apparently had been hit by a train. Along the way we learn about their backgrounds and upbringings. They get into some misadventures and end up clashing with the local gang of hoodlums led a very young Kiefer Sutherland. There are a lot of funny moments, to be sure, but overall Stand By Me is a much more serious and, at times, somber look at adolescence and growing up. All four of these boys have had trauma of some sort in their lives. The main boy and narrator of the story, Gordie (Wheaton) is still dealing with the death of his older brother (John Cusack) from a car crash. The unavoidable lessons of mortality hang over this film from start to finish, but it is not significantly depressing at all. In many ways it is an uplifting treatise on the everlasting bonds of friendship that live on in our memory. It remains one of the very best movies of the 1980's and grows more and more in appreciation as time has gone on.
Matt: Yet another classic with kids as the main characters, Stand by Me is a wonderfully bittersweet tale about the loss of innocence. At its forefront, the story is about discovering mortality and death, but, underneath the surface lies a story of breaking that cusp between the carefree days of childhood and the gray landscape of adolescence. Wheaton, Phoenix, Feldman, and O'Donnell all give outstanding performances but it is especially Phoenix who shines here, making it even more of a shame that he died so young in his career. There are so many memorable vignettes in this story, which is no surprise seeing how it follows quite closely to the story written by Stephen King, a writer who deserves so much more credit for his mastery of wonderfully developed real-life-type characters. Shows like Netflix's Stranger Things owe a lot to films such as The Goonies and especially Stand by Me. As with most King stories, there is no complete happy ending here, but there is a brutal truth to life and how harsh it can be. However, this film presents several happy, fun moments, and its those moments, mixed with the brutal truths, that make Stand by Me so wonderful!
6. Blade Runner (1982)
Directed by Ridley Scott
Starring Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young, Edward James Olmos, M. Emmet Walsh, Daryl Hannah, and Brion James
Batty: "I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near Tannhauser gate. All those moments will be lost in time .... like tears in the rain .... time to die."
Jay: Ridley Scott's Blade Runner represents everything that can be done perfectly with a science fiction story in the film medium. It is seriously without flaw. It's even more impressive that Scott had just come off of directing another landmark film of the sci-fi genre in 1979's Alien, only to one-up himself and create the best film of his career. Style, script, score, performance and visual effects all combine to make the most successful movie to ever combine art house sensibilities with mainstream audience appeal. Blade Runner is the dark futuristic story of Rick Dekkard (Harrison Ford), a cop whose job it is to hunt and "retire" Replicants who have gone astray. Replicants are the artificial people created by the Tyrell Corporation to perform all the work that real humans no longer want to do. When one Replicant murders another Blade Runner, Dekkard is called on to find the killer(s) before more harm is done. More film noir than out right action, Scott's film becomes very concerned with what it means to be human and has a lot to say about the right to live. Rutger Hauer is also brilliant as the villain, Roy Batty, who by the end of the film has convinced us that he may actually not be the villain at all, but simply fighting for the lives of himself and his friends in a society that sees them as expendable and nothing more than escaped slaves. Blade Runner is the very best science fiction can offer, but besides that it is a masterpiece of filmmaking that had been copied and copied again for years since it was released.
Matt: I cannot fully express the cinematic and technological breakthroughs this film achieved upon its first release. Like the first Star Wars in the 1970s, Blade Runner was so technologically advanced, it made my mouth hang open when I first saw it. In my opinion, this film would be the blueprint for what was to come and is now present in sci-fi cinema. Based on the 1968 Philip K. Dick novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Blade Runner explores questions of humanity and how humans and A.I. relate to one another (James Cameron would go on to also address this relationship with his Terminator franchise; but I prefer this film). Harrison Ford plays the hard-boiled ex-cop, ex-Blade Runner Rick Dekkard, a play on the classic film noir detective, with all of the damn cool swagger you'd see out of Humphrey Bogart. Due to his experience as a Blade Runner (hunting down replicants -- robots that look completely human), Dekkard is hired to track down a small group of replicants to "retire" them but finds they're willing to fight to the death for their life. Blade Runner is a visual masterpiece, with a story of existentialism, a love story, and an exploration of what it truly means to be human. It's one of the top sci-fi films I always make a point to revisit often.
5. The Shining (1980)
Directed by Stanley Kubrick
Starring Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Danny Lloyd, and Scatman Crothers
Jack Torrance: "Mr. Grady, you were the caretaker here."
Delbert Grady: "I'm sorry to differ with you, sir. but you are the caretaker. You've always been the caretaker. I should know, sir. I've always been here."
Jay: When it first came out in 1980, Stanley Kubrick's The Shining was a flop at the box office. A point that disappointed the legendary filmmaker very much and, at the time, vindicated the author of the original novel on which it is based, Stephen King, who publically made no secret about his distaste for the movie. With time, though, Kubrick's gothic horror masterpiece has taken its place among the very best in its genre. Everything is about setting a mood in The Shining. Kubrick once again proved he was one of the very best innovators in cinema history by basically inventing, along with cinematographer John Alcott, what would come to be called the Steadicam -- where the camera's basically mounted on a rig that is attached to the torso of the operator. This would allow him to have fluid motion and steady tracking shots throughout the hallways of the Overlook Hotel as the young boy, Danny Torrance (Danny Boyd) rides his big wheel through the empty corridors. Well, almost empty ..... The Shining manages to tap into a primal fearby allowing us to witness the collapse of the Torrance family as the patriarch, Jack (Jack Nicholson at his bombastic best), succumbs to the ghostly influence of the hotel and turns on the family it seems obvious he never wanted in the first place. In this way, the ghosts of the Overlook (if they exist or not is somewhat debatable) are really just the catalyst of Jack's psychotic break. Unlike King's version of the character in his fantastic book, Kubrick is showing us something much more terrifying. That deep down inside some men there already is the opportunity to turn against those we are supposed to love more than ourselves. I guess all that is needed is a little push.
Matt: To me, The Shining is one of those rare cases which pretty much never happen with film adaptations of books -- specifically, I equally love the original novel by Stephen King and the Stanley Kubrick film adaptation. Nicholson here is a man possessed. He becomes Jack Torrance. This film was one of the first true mental mindf#*%s of a film in that you don't quite know what's real and what isn't. The isolationist feel of the film and its setting add to the terror of the story, as well as -- near the end -- the cold. But what is most creepy here is the concept of a dear loved one as suddenly becoming a rampaging, murderous maniac. Kubrick's photography -- assisted heavily by cinematographer John Alcott -- help to surround the viewer in Torrance's world as well as his son, Danny's, and his wife, Wendy's (Shelley Duvall). By the end of the film, even though each character's fate is shown quite distinctly, you're still left feeling not quite sure what the hell is going on ... in a good way! This is another notch in Kubrick's successful film career, well worth watching over and over.
4. Back to the Future (1985)
Directed by Robert Zemeckis
Starring Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson, Crispin Glover, and Thomas F. Wilson
Dr. Emmett Brown: "Roads? Where we're going, we don't need roads."
Jay: One day I will realize my childhood dream and own a time traveling DeLorean like the one Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) has in Robert Zemeckis's blockbuster smash, Back to the Future. In a way, the premise of this film should never have been greenlit. Teenage boy mistakenly travels back in time and inadvertently prevents his mother and father from meeting and falling in love. Instead, his mother falls for him and he must find a way to help his teenage father win his mother's heart again, or Marty and his brother and sister will be erased from existence. It probably shouldn't have worked but boy does it ever under Zemeckis's fantastic direction. Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd and Thomas F. Wilson, in particular, give iconic performances, but my favorite was always Crispin Glover as George McFly, Marty's nerdy dad. It's a real shame he never reprised this role in the sequels but, from what I've heard, he has always been a "unique" individual to work with. Everything about Back to the Future makes it the perfect representation of the summer blockbuster. It is fun, heartfelt, and makes me cheer every time George finally kisses Lorraine (Lea Thompson) at the "Fish Under the Sea Dance" and saves his kids without even knowing it.
Matt: This is, hands down, one of my favorite all-time movies! There is so much going on in the story and philosophical meaning that I could write pages about it. The writers took a goofy comedy about a teenage boy going back in time to when his father was his age and really dug into the mechanics and existential morals of time travel. There are so many wonderful subtleties of the differences between Marty's pre-time travel and post-time travel life. For instance, in his pre-time travel life, Marty's mom, Lorraine (Lea Thompson), tells her kids how she met and fell in love with their dorky dad, George (an excellent, underrated Crispin Glover); she speaks of how her father hit George with the car and pretty much felt sorry for him. But, when Marty comes back from his "trip," after George sticks up for Lorraine at the dance by standing up to bully Biff (Thomas F. Wilson), their life together is better, some of it resulting from the fact that Lorraine respects George rather than feeling sorry for him. One of the best aspects of the film is Michael J. Fox as Marty. Fox was a megastar in the 80's and this film was my favorite role of his; he has a likable everyman quality; he is one of my favorite actors and one of my favorite people! There are simply too many things to list about this movie that I love. So, all I'll say is that this is one of those movies that, despite what point I find it on TV, I always watch when it. It's not just fun and heartfelt, but also smart in its writing and direction. Back to the Future is truly one of the BEST films ever made!
3. Aliens (1986)
Directed by James Cameron
Starring Sigourney Weaver, Michael Biehn, Paul Reiser, Lance Henriksen, Bill Paxton, and Carrie Henn
Private Hudson: "Seventeen *days*? Hey man, I don't wanna rain on your parade, but we're not gonna last seventeen hours! Those things are gonna come in here just like they did before. And they're gonna come in here ... "
Private Hudson: " .... and they're gonna come in here AND THEY'RE GONNA GET US!"
Ripley: "Hudson! This little girl survived longer than that with no weapons and no training."
Jay: You may not realize this but James Cameron made a Vietnam War movie in the 1980's. It's called Aliens. It happens to be a sequel to Ridley Scott's masterpiece of space horror, Alien. Now, movie buffs have debated for years over which film is the better one. I find it a pointless argument as both pictures, though narratively connected, are so different in tone and pace. One is a suspenseful, scary, thriller that happens to be one of the most frightening movies ever made. The other is an action-packed thrill ride that is much smarter than it lets on. There is no argument, though, that Aliens is in the conversation of best sequels of all time. Cameron smartly realized that there was no way an audience could be convinced that Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) would ever return to the planet of her nightmares unless she was chaperoned by a platoon of the most advanced, battle-hardened marines that could be found. Also, the mission always had to be about wiping out any remaining aliens and their eggs. As usual with these things it is the corporation's greed that is the real villain here and they have other motive for sponsoring this return trip. The smartest choice Cameron made, though, was to raise the stakes for Ripley by giving her a surrogate daughter to protect, in Newt (Carrie Henn). Her new role as warrior mother elevates the character to an iconic level making her one of the very first female action heroes and still one of the best. The final battle between the two "mothers" of the film, Ripley and the Alien Queen, still is one of the very best final confrontations in an action or science fiction movie, ever. Aliens is, like I said earlier, meant to be an allegory for the Vietnam War. A highly modern military force faces off against an enemy they do not comprehend or know how to fight against.
Matt: One of the very first kick-ass heroines I remember seeing as a kid was Sigourney Weaver's Ellen Ripley in Aliens. Now, I will admit that I watched Aliens before I watched Alien. But I'm damn glad I did. If for no other reason than Ripley's characterization. In Alien, Ripley is a "final girl" in a horror film set in outer space. But, in Aliens, Ripley is the experienced, tough, smart protagonist, who overcomes her fear to fight for the life of another, a young girl (Carrie Henn), who is representative of Ripley's own young daughter who has since grown up and died since the 57 years of the events of the first film. This film not only has the intense suspense of the first film, but also plenty of high octane action. One of my favorite scenes in this film is when the aliens, represented as dots, are shown on the Marines' scanner and the dots surround them. A lot of people ask why Ripley, knowing how bad the alien is, would agree to go this colony where the eggs have supposedly landed. But the simple answer has always been that she does it as an act of revenge; she's going to kill them as was promised her by representatives of the Weyland-Yutani Corporation, and she figures she'll be well-protected by the Marines accompanying her. This may feature an ensemble of memorable characters, but Weaver owns the film!
2. Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
Directed by Irvin Kershner
Starring Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford, Billy Dee Williams, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, Alec Guinness, James Earl Jones, David Prowse, and Frank Oz
Yoda: "Try not. Do... or do not. There is no try."
Jay: I don't think there is any single movie I have seen more times than The Empire Strikes Back. I remember the paper slipcase of my old VHS tape of the film being worn and bent from the repeated action of the cassette out and placing in so many times. There are many reasons why it is widely considered to be the best of the Star Wars films. It's the most personal and develops the characters in ways the first movie did not. It's darker and deals with the harsh realities of fighting a war - sometimes the good guys lose. It has a central love story between Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) that's believable and feels organic, unlike any other romance that is portrayed in these films. The pacing is superb with breakneck chase scenes (Millennium Falcon), giving way to introspective Jedi training scenes (Luke and Yoda). Darth Vader is at his most evil and most compelling, revealing to Luke the truth about his father, Anakin, after chopping off his hand in the best lightsaber duel in the entire series. Everything about Empire is expertly done and exemplifies all that makes Star Wars great. It will remain a movie that parents will share with their kids for generations, anxious to see their reactions when Vader drops the mic in the final act.
Matt: Whereas Star Wars (A New Hope) was a pretty straight-forward sci-fi adventure tale, Empire really steeped the characters into a more developed universe, a mythology expanding with, and steeped in, spiritual and philosophical motifs. While creator George Lucas decided to step down from director duties (a wise move as Kershner brought his filmmaking expertise in all of the most important aspects), he still had a lot of input during the filming. With the introduction of Jedi Master Yoda as well as new characters Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Willliams) and Boba Fett, there are many standout scenes in many new worlds. But the most memorable scene of the entire film -- and the story -- is when Darth Vader reveals to Luke who truly is Luke's father. I clearly remember watching this scene and my jaw practically dropping to the floor. The revelation was the biggest cinematic shock I had seen and it also marked the first concept that not all villains are as completely evil as we may think; in many ways, this film was a child's introduction to the concept that the world is not all just black and white, and, in life, there are gray areas. Empire continues to be my favorite Star Wars film of the entire saga. From its concepts of spirituality (Buddhism as the Force) to its twists in story, its romance, rescue aspect, and somewhat inconclusive ending, Empire would set the tone for the greatness of the Star Wars saga!
1. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
Directed by Steven Spielberg
Starring Harrison Ford, Karen Allen, Paul Freeman, John Rhys-Davies, and Denholm Elliott
Belloq: "What a fitting end to your life's pursuits. You're about to become a permanent addition to this archaeological find. Who knows? In a thousand years, even you may be worth something."
Indiana: "Ha, ha, ha, ha. [under his breath] Son of a bitch ......."
Jay: Here it is ...... the very best movie of the 1980's. I didn't really have to think about it too hard. Raiders of the Lost Ark is entertainment at its very finest and it is Steven Spielberg and George Lucas having the most fun of their careers while delivering a film that is so brilliant I don't know where to begin. Well, I guess it all has to start with Harrison Ford who delivers the role he seems born to play. His Indiana Jones has become a permanent fixture in popular culture and now is seen as an archetype that has been copied in countless other action and/or adventure heroes. Dr. Jones's quest to find the long lost Ark of the Covenant is full of thrills, laughs and even some scares. Placing the story in the 1930's and pitting the archaeologist against one of history's most notorious villains, the Nazi's gives the movie a pulpy feel of golden age comic book lore while also brilliantly keeping it grounded in reality by making Jones an "Everyman", someone we all identify with. The action set pieces in this film are still legendary today. The famous all-too-brief battle with the swordsman in the streets of Cairo. The chase scene where Indy takes down a tuck full of Nazi's while they try and shepard the Ark out of Egypt. But my favorite is still the fantastic Map Room scene. No other scene in movie history has done a better job of perfectly melding effects, costume, performance and score in order to create an emotional excitement in the viewer. It is a prime example on how to illicit a cathartic response from an audience, with nearly no dialogue, just a simple moment where our hero uses the Staff of Ra and the light of the sun to point his way to the Arks final resting place. All with John Williams' gorgeous music rising in crescendo to a climax that is jaw-dropping awesome and simplistic all at once. I submit for viewing pleasure, Exhibit A:
AAAAAHHHHHHH!! So fucking awesome!! It never gets old. Raiders of the Lost Ark is not only one of the best movies of the 80's, it really is one of the best of all time! But that is a list for another time. I can't even begin to imagine how I would write that one. This is Spielberg and Lucas drawing on Treasure of the Sierra Madre, Lawrence of Arabia, James Bond and old adventure serials to give us the best adventure movie I have ever seen.
Matt: This was one of the most difficult choices to make -- especially since I have a such a strong affinity for numbers 2 and 4 on this list! But Jay and I have to agree, and Raiders of the Lost Ark is the best! Creator George Lucas took one of his favorite literary adventurers, James Bond, and adapted him into an American adventurer/archaeologist. Henry "Indiana" Jones (Harrison Ford) would come to be one of the best cinematic characters ever created; he's liked by men, women and children alike, and is the closest thing to a superhero come to life. Everyone loves a great story and Lucas' creation -- coupled with direction by master director Steven Spielberg and John Williams' iconic musical score -- is the epitome of a great story! There's not much more to say that Jay hasn't already! The action is great and what Raiders is known for, but I really took to the suspense and emotion in the film. The love story between Indy and Marion (Karen Allen) -- especially how the audience is dropped in the middle of their story; and the thought of her death and how it affects Indy -- it's all wonderfully played! There is not a moment in this story where something unimportant or uninteresting occurs! Every ounce of dialogue even captures your attention and is quote-worthy. One of my favorites is when a battered Indy lies down on a bed, finally relaxing after an action-packed day, and Marion says, "You're not the man I knew ten years ago," to which Indy replies, "It's not the years, honey; it's the mileage." Anyone looking for a great 1980's film need look no further than Raiders!
So, that's it! What did you think? Did we hit or miss the mark? Let us know if you agree or mention some we maybe missed in the comments!