It’s been a while but I’m back again with another top five list, this time 1984. I won’t bury the lead here… this was the most difficult list I’ve come up with yet! I thought 1982 was difficult but this one puts it to shame. WOW… so many amazing films were released in 84! So basically, the way I make these lists are go through every movie and narrow it down to a list of “candidates”. I then take a couple of passes through to come down to my top 10, choose the top five, order those and we’re done. With this list, I had TWENTY-NINE films after those first couple of passes!!! I could very easily have gone with a Top 10 list this year but no, I’m sticking to my format with five honorable mentions and a top five.
Like I said… I’m sticking with my format of Five Honorable Mentions and a Top Five and I won’t deviate from that other than to cheat this one little bit and say that the last three films dropped were Revenge of the Nerds, The Terminator and Cloak & Dagger. All amazing films but jut not quite there. With that, here we go.
Chewie’s Top 5 Films From 1984
All of these films received their US theatrical release within calendar year 1984. If you want to see the full list of all films eligible for this list you can view it here. Keep in mind, these are my “favorite” movies not necessarily what I’d consider the “best” movies.
- Police Academy – A group of incompetent misfits enter the police academy, but the instructors there are not going to put up with their pranks. Starring Steve Guttenberg (in his best role), Kim Cattrall (looking smoking hot), Bubba Smith, Michael Winslow, Leslie Easterbrook and a slew of others, Police Academy is the first in a franchise that spawned 6 sequels, some of which were awesome, some of which were terrible but all were worthwhile. If you’ve never seen this I beg you to stop read and start watching. And when you’re done swing by the Blue Oyster and tell them Mahoney sent you.
- A Nightmare on Elm Street – Several people are hunted by Freddy Krueger, a serial killer who kills his victims in their dreams. Yes, I’m a horror buff but this film is simply amazing. I won’t spoil it, but rest assured this one will show up on my Top Five Horror films to be posted over at ScareTissue. Starring Heather Langenkamp, Johnny Depp (in his first role) and the amazing Robert Englund as Freddy this is an outstanding flick even if you’re not a horror fan that holds up incredibly to this day. Horror or not, it belongs on any 1984 list you run across.
- Rhinestone – A country music star (Dolly Parton) must turn an obnoxious New York cabbie (Sylvester Stallone) into a singer in order to win a bet. Yep… you read that right. I’ll take some heat for this pick but I don’t care. I love it. Two scenes, “Drinkenstein” and the final scene, alone make this one worth watching.
- Beverly Hills Cop – A freewheeling Detroit cop (Eddie Murphy) pursuing a murder investigation finds himself dealing with the very different culture of Beverly Hills. Murphy was already a well established star by this point but his portrayal of Axel Foley here stands as my favorite of his work. Judge Reinhold, John Ashton and Lisa Eilbacher round out the cast.
- The Karate Kid – Starring Ralph Macchio in probably the only movie you’ve ever seen him in and Pat Morita in probably the only movie you’ve ever seen him in, Karate Kid tells the story of a handyman / martial arts master who agrees to teach a bullied boy karate. Throw in Elisabeth Shue and the simply outstanding William Zabka and Martin Kove as antagonists and you’ve got a crane kick of a winner. FINISH HIM!!!
The Top Five
It’s come to this. I have to say again just how difficult it was to make this list. There were SO many awesome films that were released in 1984. I’m guessing this year’s list will generate quite a bit of discussion as I’ve had to leave a slew of amazing films off the list. That said, here’s the top five.
After arriving in India, Indiana Jones is asked by a desperate village to find a mystical stone which is one of five fabled Sankara stones. He agrees, and stumbles upon a secret cult led by high priest Mola Ram plotting a terrible plan in the catacombs of an ancient palace. What can I say… it’s Indiana Jones. Harrison Ford returns in the sequel to Raiders Of The Lost Ark in a much darker film that’s actually a prequel (it’s set before Raiders). These films are simply timeless. They don’t rely on CGI the way say Star Wars does so they hold up maybe even better than those films. Temple of Doom was the film responsible for the PG-13 rating due to scenes such as the human sacrifice and monkey brains. It’s edgier than the other films in the series but just as good. Be on the lookout for a cameo by none other than Dan Aykroyd early in the first act.
#4 – Footloose
A city teenager (Kevin Bacon) moves to a small town where rock music and dancing have been banned, and his rebellious spirit shakes up the populace. This movie defines the 80’s for me. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched Ren McCormack dance his way through Beaumont. Pip and I danced to the song at his wedding. This film is a perfect combination of plot, acting and an AMAZING soundtrack including songs from Sammy Hagar, Deniece Williams, Bonnie Tyler and of course… Kenny Loggins. I don’t want to turn this into a post where I link to other stuff on my blog, but if you’re a Footloose fan, you owe it to yourself to watch Kevin Bacon’s performance on Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show.
#3 – The Natural
An unknown baseball player Roy Hobbs (Robert Redford) comes out of seemingly nowhere to become a legendary player with almost divine talent. This is where things really start getting difficult. For years if you asked me what my all time favorite movie is I’d say The Natural. In fact if you were to ask me that question before I did the research for this list I might have said the same thing. How then is it #3 on this list? Hell if I know. Regardless of its spot on the list it’s one of my all time favorites and for good reason. Redford’s portrayal of Hobbs is masterful. Throw in Robert Duvall, Glenn Close, Kim Basinger, Wilford Brimley, Barbara Hershey, Robert Prosky, Richard Farnsworth and Joe Don Baker and you can see why its such an outstanding film. The final scene literally brings tears to my eyes every time I see it. I remember the first time I ever saw this and I was balling at the conclusion. If I ever do a list of my all time favorite scenes this will most likely top the list for its perfect combination of cinematography and score. Right in the feels… every time. *sniffle*
#2 – Romancing the Stone
A romance writer sets off to Colombia to ransom her kidnapped sister, and soon finds herself in the middle of a dangerous adventure. There’s something special and “pure” about a story that revolves around a treasure map. Kathleen Turner, Michael Douglas, Danny DeVito and Alfonso Arau put together a film that is immensely re-watchable and quotable. Douglas’ portrayal as Jack T. Colton is possibly one of my favorite “every man” performances of all time.
#1 – Ghostbusters
Who ya gonna call? How about three unemployed parapsychology professors who’ve set up shop as a unique ghost removal service? Ghostbusters is possibly the most quotable movie to come out of the 80’s. Nearly everyone who’s my age can recite the at least a few lines from memory. Gems such as:
- Yes it’s true. This man has no dick.
- Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together… mass hysteria!
- Ray, when someone asks you if you’re a god, you say “YES”!
- Don’t cross the streams.
- We came, we saw, we kicked its ass!
- During the rectification of the Vuldrini, the traveler came as a large and moving Torg! Then, during the third reconciliation of the last of the McKetrick supplicants, they chose a new form for him: that of a giant Slor! Many Shuvs and Zuuls knew what it was to be roasted in the depths of the Slor that day, I can tell you!
I could go on and on. And talk about an All-Star cast! Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, Sigourney Weaver, Rick Moranis, Annie Potts, William Atherton and Ernie Hudson. Wow. I’ve got to say that I’m REALLY not looking forward to this upcoming reboot and it’s got nothing to do with the fact that the cast is female. This franchise (Ghostbusters II came out in 1989) is damn near perfect and should be left alone. That said, even if the reboot is disaster on par with Crystal Skull it won’t tarnish just how masterful this 1984 version is. It blends comedy, science fiction and action perfectly. Please don’t tell me you’ve not seen this one.
Did I leave off your favorite film from 1984? Leave a comment with your thoughts!