The Best films of 1984

I really like films that stick by you - ones that may not hit you when they arrive but show staying power.

Since all sorts of awards ceremonies are around, I thought I'd do my own - the 25 year awards. Now that it is 2009, it would be good to examine just how great some films released in 1984 were.

I'm basing this upon imdb ratings. Anything over 7.5 is a decent film. Anything over 8.0 is a classic. To be counted, the film must have been first released in 1984.

And then, of course, there are the duds:

And these are my recommended 1984 films (ie they are in my collection):

  • The story of two young men who become unlikely friends. Al (Nicholas Cage) is popular and good looking while "Birdy" (Matthew Modine) is introverted and obsessed with birds. Both are injured during the Vietnam War - Al with a burned face while Birdy ends up in an asylum. This is a "male friendship" film which shows just how loyal men can be to one another when things get bad. The ending is completely unexpected.
  • The much maligned David Lynch version is confused, departs from Frank Herbert's storyline in many ways and suffers from bad editing and some rather strange acting. Once you accept these shortcomings, the film is highly entertaining and has become a cult classic as a result. The presence of Sting in a major role is both fitting and hilarious.
Repo Man
  • Alex Cox is a director whose works are very rough diamonds. Otto (Emilio Estevez) is a young punk who ends up becoming a Repo Man. Along the way there are aliens, the CIA and a glowing green 1964 Chevy Malibu. An intense film.
The Terminator
  • Who would've thought that this film would last? At the time it was a violent action film starring an indecipherable and relatively unknown Austrian actor (Arnie) playing a cyborg sent back into the past to kill Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton). Ignored at the time, the film's popularity took off during the video revolution and has resulted in fame for Arnie, cash for James Cameron (writer and director) and permanently changed the science fiction genre (The Matrix for instance)
This is Spinal Tap
  • The fictional "mockumentary" about a British Heavy Metal band touring the United States was so convincing to some that they thought it was real. Lawsuits against the film-makers by a number of bands who felt slighted by the film indicates the power of satire. Now a cult classic, Spinal Tap deserves to be turned up to eleven.


Sam Charles Norton said...

That's cool.
Birdy was one of my favourite films when I was a teenager; haven't watched it for years though.

Ron said...

Amadeus say 8.9 I watch it every couple of years. Strange how Tom Hulce the actor hardly did anything else.
The History is dubious but the music descriptions are great and the Emperor is a class act. And it did Win Best Pic and Nest Actor for F Murray Abraham

Terminator II I prefer to I but as you say it started a sequence.

You did not mention "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)" which for sure was not as good as the 1st or the Sean Connery but still perhaps 7.5

Or Passage to India, A (1984) and I don't think its something I'd want to see aqain

Funny I have never seen Dune

Smith Mill Creek Notes said...

I thought Repo Man was one of the most important films of the 1980's. Not because it influenced things, but because it reflected things.

Seeing it helped me realize that I was not the only person who thought that the Reagan era was insane. though, sad to say, 25 years later, the Reagan era is only now ending.