12 Best Movies of 1984, Ranked

Whereas 1994 is usually thought of one of the best-ever years for movies, 10 years earlier, 1984 gave it a run for its cash. At roughly the midway level of the Eighties, it noticed the discharge of quite a few traditional movies which have stood the check of time. Some had been profitable upon launch, whereas others took a short time to seek out an viewers and have seen their reputations develop significantly within the years (and a long time) since first popping out.

What follows are a number of the biggest film releases of 1984, ranked under so as from nice to biggest. There are many classics that simply missed making the reduce, together with, Starman, Beverly Hills Cop, and The Eight Diagram Pole Fighter, which speaks to the general high quality of the 12 months, and the sheer amount of iconic films launched inside it.

12 ‘The Karate Child’

Directed by John G. Avildsen

Picture through Columbia Photos

Kicking off a collection that is still common to today, as demonstrated by the Cobra Kai TV collection, 1984’s The Karate Kid is about as simple but satisfying as sports activities films get. It follows a younger boy named Daniel, who’s combating numerous facets of his life, and finds himself a goal of bullies. Issues flip round, nonetheless, when a neighbor, the enigmatic Mr. Miyagi, begins coaching him in martial arts.

The Karate Child is an underdog story at its core, in addition to a coming-of-age movie that may encourage hope for anybody who watches it at a younger age, and maybe nostalgia for anybody who watches it after they’re a bit of older. It’s received a appeal and directness to it that proves onerous to withstand, and it’s simply among the best family-friendly movies of its decade.

The Karate Kid

Launch Date
June 22, 1984

John G. Avildsen


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11 ‘Paris, Texas’

Directed by Wim Wenders

Paris, Texas - 1984
Picture through Argos Movies

Nobody makes films fairly like Wim Wenders, as he’s a filmmaker who focuses on character-focused tales that aren’t afraid to take their time whereas proving surprisingly immersive in consequence. Paris, Texas is one in all Wenders’ most acclaimed movies, and deservedly so, being a shifting drama a couple of man who’s misplaced in additional methods than one, earlier than reconnecting with a brother who tries to get his life again on monitor.

Paris, Texas is a protracted and undoubtedly slow-paced movie, solely actually having a handful of most important characters taking part in a component throughout the easy premise, and having a runtime of almost 2.5 hours. Nonetheless, it’s nonetheless value diving into and devoting one’s consideration to, as a result of it gives a singular cinematic expertise that’s delicate and shifting, to not point out fantastically acted and shot all through.

Paris, Texas

Launch Date
Could 19, 1984

Wim Wenders

Harry Dean Stanton, Nastassja Kinski, Dean Stockwell, Aurore Clément, Hunter Carson

Run Time
2 hr 27 min

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10 ‘The Killing Fields’

Directed by Roland Joffé

A harrowing historic movie in regards to the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia throughout the mid to late Seventies, The Killing Fieldstells a troublesome however necessary story and stands as an essential war movie. It follows a journalist caught within the nation throughout this violent interval in its historical past, in addition to following the plight of Dith Pran, a Cambodian man making an attempt to outlive a nationwide genocide that ended up claiming between 1.5 and a pair of million lives.

The story being advised naturally makes it a disturbing and saddening film, although it is excellently made and does job of shedding mild on this horrible (and unnervingly latest) historic occasion. Haing S. Ngor, who performed Dith, additionally received an Oscar for his efficiency, notably doing so though it was his first-ever performing position.

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9 ‘Gremlins’

Directed by Joe Dante

A closeup of Gizmo's face in 'Gremlins'
Picture through Warner Bros. Photos

There’s not a lot that may be stated about Gremlins that hasn’t already been stated. It is a charming mixture of fantasy, comedy, and horror, and one of many uncommon films that really feel like a real, warm-hearted Christmas movie and a subversive, darkish, nearly anti-Christmas film on the identical time. It is the perfect of each worlds, with one thing for everybody, no matter how they really feel about Christmas.

Gremlins follows a father getting his son a wierd reward for Christmas – a creature known as a mogwai – and the chaos that unravels when the son fails to observe the important thing guidelines that include caring for such a creature. It is an entertaining and distinctive film that may technically be loved by folks of all ages, even when a few of its scenes run the danger of traumatizing the youngest of viewers.


Launch Date
June 8, 1984

Hoyt Axton , John Louie , Keye Luke , Don Steele , Susan Burgess , Scott Brady

106 minutes

8 ‘Blood Easy’

Directed by Joel and Ethan Coen

Frances McDormand as Abby in Blood Simple
Picture through Circle Movies

The Coen Brothers got here out swinging with their debut function movie, Blood Simple, which demonstrated their mastery of the crime/thriller genres proper from the beginning of their careers. It is a significantly tense neo-noir that follows a husband taking dramatic steps to get again at his spouse for having an affair, just for that to set off a series of chaotic and violent occasions.

It is a very simple movie, and as such, would possibly lack a number of the depth related to their finest works. Nonetheless, it is nonetheless an incredible film, and one which holds up effectively, contemplating it is almost 40 years previous. It additionally helps that it has some nice performances too, significantly from Frances McDormand and M. Emmet Walsh​​​​​, the latter of whom performs an underrated and really chilling villainous character in the Coen Brothers movie.

Blood Simple

Joel Coen , Ethan Coen

99 minutes

7 ‘Ghostbusters’

Directed by Ivan Reitman

Ghostbusters (1984)

Although its sequels, reboots, and remakes could show divisive, the unique Ghostbusters endures as a movie that only a few folks appear to dislike. It launched the world to the novel thought of “ghost-busting,” following a number of males who discover New York Metropolis to be swarming with paranormal entities, and so resolve to arrange a ghost-catching enterprise as a technique to earn a residing.

It was a shock success upon launch, and kicked off an enormous franchise that is still common (or not less than “passionately” mentioned and debated) to today. Because of its memorable theme track, iconic characters (with Bill Murray making a particularly strong impression), and mixture of humor and fantasy/sci-fi ideas, Ghostbusters rightly stands as a traditional, and one of many decade’s largest blockbusters.

6 ‘A Nightmare on Elm Road’

Directed by Wes Craven

Heather Langenkamp taking a bath as a claw rises between her legs in A Nightmare on Elm Street
Picture through New Line Cinema

Although Freddy Krueger is seemingly unstoppable, and stored getting back from the lifeless to function in quite a few Nightmare on Elm Street films, it is onerous to argue that the perfect of the collection is not the primary. It launched horror followers to the legendary villain, and stood out due to its uniquely unsettling premise, which concerned a murderous demon that might solely hurt you in your sleep.

Subsequently, A Nightmare on Elm Road may be boiled right down to a movie about numerous youngsters who’re making an attempt to remain awake, and the surreal, usually lethal nightmares they fall into when the urge to sleep turns into overwhelming. It is much more partaking and tense than that may sound, and it is the creativity of the story and its visuals which might be a giant cause why the unique Nightmare on Elm Road lives on as a horror traditional.

A Nightmare on Elm Road (1984)

Launch Date
November 16, 1984

91 minutes

5 ‘Cease Making Sense’

Directed by Jonathan Demme

vocalist of the Talking Heads on stage during a concert, dancers in the background

Few live performance films really feel as cinematic as conventional function movies do, however Cease Making Sense is way from most live performance films, and can be a top-notch documentary, if one desires to categorise it as such. It is a creatively shot and edited movie displaying Speaking Heads performing a few of its finest music dwell, with the live performance itself additionally being quirky, enjoyable, and infectiously energetic all through.

It even builds and progresses in an fascinating manner, with numerous band members, visitor musicians, dancers, and facets of the stage being added because the monitor checklist goes on. It retains momentum going for its entire runtime, and is a pleasure to observe from starting to finish. It is a must-watch for Speaking Heads followers, and any non-fans who watch it are nearly assured to be transformed to the church of David Byrne as soon as it is over.

Cease Making Sense

Launch Date
October 19, 1984

Jonathan Demme

Speaking Heads

Run Time
88 minutes

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4 ‘That is Spinal Faucet’

Directed by Rob Reiner

The band members of Spinal Tap performing on stage
Picture through Embassy Photos

Although it wasn’t the very first mockumentary, That is Spinal Faucet is the one to which all others are in contrast. It is a traditional of the style for good cause, displaying the disastrous American tour of a once-popular however now washed-up heavy steel from England, and the assorted misadventures that befall them.

It is endlessly quotable, and maybe one of many funniest (largely) improvised comedy films of all time. It presents larger-than-life characters, fixed gags, and a bitingly humorous have a look at the music enterprise and the delicate relationship between celebrities and their seemingly loyal followers. In that sense, That is Spinal Faucet works as a great piece of satire, having continuous gags and a few surprisingly memorable music, all clocking in at a lean and no-nonsense 82 minutes.

That is Spinal Faucet

Launch Date
March 2, 1984

82 minutes

3 ‘The Terminator’

Directed by James Cameron

Arnold Schwarzenegger in a police station in The Terminator
Picture through Orion Photos

Science-fiction motion films do not get a complete lot extra iconic than The Terminator, which – like Ghostbusters and A Nightmare on Elm Road – was one other 1984 movie that kicked off a collection that now spans a long time. It follows a girl named Sarah Connor who finds herself preventing for survival after an unstoppable cyborg travels again in time to kill her, as she’s to be the mom of the one man who’ll develop as much as defeat a worldwide machine rebellion.

At its core, The Terminator can be a surprisingly efficient love story, due to the truth that a seemingly unusual man can be despatched again in time to guard Sarah. It makes use of its comparatively low finances successfully, manages to be surprisingly tense in elements, and was additionally an instrumental film in making Arnold Schwarzenegger a star, with The Terminator nonetheless holding up as his most well-known position to this point.

The Terminator (1984)

Launch Date
October 26, 1984

James Cameron

107 minutes

2 ‘As soon as Upon a Time in America’

Directed by Sergio Leone

James Woods as Max and Robert De Niro as Noodles in Once Upon a Time in America (1984)
Picture through Warner Bros.

Operating for nearly 4 hours and telling a really epic story that spans a long time, As soon as Upon a Time in America is an plain epic, and among the best crime movies of all time. It begins at the start of the twentieth century and ends within the Sixties, with an uncommon construction that sees the previous and current collide with different scenes that might be goals, giving it a surreal, even haunting really feel for a lot of its runtime.

It additionally boasts some nice performances, with the talented Robert De Niro playing one of the vital vicious and troubling protagonists in crime movie historical past, and backed up by a supporting solid that features Joe Pesci, James Woods, Elizabeth McGovern, and even a really younger Jennifer Connelly. With improbable visuals and one in all Ennio Morricone‘s finest scores, it stands as not only a traditional of 1984, however among the best movies of its decade.

As soon as Upon a Time in America

Launch Date
Could 23, 1984

Sergio Leone

1 ‘Amadeus’

Directed by Milos Forman

Mozart conducting in the film 'Amadeus'
Picture through Orion Photos

Amadeus received the Academy Award for Greatest Image, and it is the uncommon occasion the place most would agree that it was certainly the perfect image of its 12 months. It is a historic drama/biopic that performs quick and unfastened with the details, to some extent, depicting a fictionalized rivalry between two composers: the world-famous Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and the less-known Antonio Salieri. Nonetheless, it reveals how biographical films may be nice with out essentially specializing in historic accuracy, significantly when the story being advised occurred so way back.

It won’t sound too thrilling on paper, however the way in which it unfolds in motion is a blast to observe, no matter how a lot you want classical music. It exists as each a theatrical cut and an extended cut, with each being compelling, fantastically acted, and naturally backed by some unbelievable and dramatic music all through.


Launch Date
September 19, 1984

Milos Forman

F. Murray Abraham , Tom Hulce , Elizabeth Berridge , Simon Callow , Roy Dotrice , Christine Ebersole


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