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Top Movies Of The 1980s

THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK

1980

Summary:

After the Rebels are brutally overpowered by the Empire on the ice planet Hoth, Luke Skywalker begins Jedi training with Yoda, while his friends are pursued by Darth Vader and a bounty hunter named Boba Fett all over the galaxy.

Cast:

Mark Hamill- Luke Skywalker, Harrison Ford- Han Solo, Carrie Fisher- Princess Leia

Gross Revenue:

$538.4 million

"It balances bloodshed with charm, spectacle with childlike glee. It's a near flawless movie of its kind." Chicago Tribune

INDIANA JONES & THE RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK

1981

Summary

With Adolf Hitler's Nazis rumored to have pinpointed the secret resting place of the fabled Ark of the Covenant, the sacred artifact that holds the Ten Commandments, the U.S. government enlists the help of the American archaeologist, and adventurer Indiana Jones to prevent the ark from falling into the wrong hands.

Cast:

Harrison Ford- Indiana Jones, Karen Allen- Marion, Paul Freeman- Belloq

Gross Revenue:

$367.5 million

"One of the most deliriously funny, ingenious and stylish American adventure movies ever made." The New York Times

E.T. THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL

1982

Summary:

After a gentle alien becomes stranded on Earth, the being is discovered and befriended by a young boy named Elliott. Bringing the extraterrestrial into his house, Elliot decides to keep its existence a secret. Soon, however, E.T. falls ill, resulting in government intervention and a dire situation for both Elliott and the alien. They must work fast to find a way to reunite E.T with his family.

Cast:

Dee Wallace- Mary, Henry Thomas- Elliot, Peter Coyote- Keys

Gross Revenue:

$792.9 million

"Seeing E.T. again reminds us of how much we've remained the same, how gratified we still are by a film that connects so beautifully to our sense of wonder and joy." Los Angeles Times

RETURN OF THE JEDI

1983

Summary:

After a daring mission to rescue Han Solo from Jabba the Hutt, the Rebels dispatch to Endor to destroy the second Death Star. Meanwhile, Luke struggles to help Darth Vader back from the dark side without falling into the Emperor's trap.

Cast:

Mark Hamill- Luke Skywalker, Harrison Ford- Han Solo, Carrie Fisher- Princess Leia

Gross Revenue:

$471.1 million

"'Return of the Jedi' is fun, magnificent fun. The movie is a complete entertainment, a feast for the eyes and a delight for the fancy. It's a little amazing how Lucas and his associates keep topping themselves." Chicago Sun-Times

GHOSTBUSTERS

1984

Summary:

After being kicked out of their university, parapsychology professors Spengler, Stantz and Venkman decide to go into business for themselves by trapping ghosts. The team comes up with "Ghostbusters", a paranormal search-and-destroy service, targeting the Big Apple's rogue spirits, until they come face-to-face with the ancient shape-shifting demon, Gozer the Destructor.

Cast:

Bill Murray- Dr. Peter Venkman, Dan Aykroyd- Dr. Raymond Stantz, Harold Ramis- Dr. Egon Spengler, Sigourney Weaver- Dana Barrett

Gross Revenue:

$295.2 million

"Whoever thought of having evil's final manifestation take the form of a 100-ft. marshmallow deserves the rational mind's eternal gratitude." Time

BACK TO THE FUTURE

1985

Summary:

Marty McFly, a 17-year-old high school student, is accidentally sent thirty years into the past in a time-traveling DeLorean invented by his close friend, the eccentric scientist Doc Brown.

Cast:

Michael J. Fox- Marty McFly, Christopher Lloyd- Dr. Emmett Brown, Lea Thompson- Lorraine Baines

Gross Revenue:

$385.5 million

"This brilliant contraption of a film could become the hit of the summer. It's a cinematic Rube Goldberg machine whose parts connect in audacious, witty ways." Orlando Sentinel

TOP GUN

1986

Summary:

Lieutenant Pete "Maverick" Mitchell is an expert United States Naval Aviator. When his wingman turns in his wings, Maverick is moved up in the standings and sent to the Top Gun Naval Flying School. There, he vies with Tom Kasansky for the coveted "Top Gun" award and competes to be best in the class.

Cast:

Tom Cruise- Maverick, Kelly McGillis- Charlie, Val Kilmer- Iceman

Gross Revenue:

$356.8 million

"Not exactly a cinema classic but it has not only become a cultural icon but remains infinitely rewatchable." Empire

DEAD POETS SOCIETY

1989

Summary:

A new English teacher, John Keating, is introduced to an all-boys preparatory school that is known for its ancient traditions and high standards. He uses unorthodox methods to reach out to his students. With Keating's help, students Neil Perry, Todd Anderson and others learn to break out of their shells, use poetry for self expression, pursue their dreams and seize the day.

Cast:

Robin Williams- John Keating, Robert Sean Leonard- Neil Perry, Ethan Hawke- Todd Anderson

Gross Revenue:

$239.5 million

"Hurrah! Poetry and passion, comedy and tragedy are fused into one absolutely marvelous affirmation of independent spirit in Dead Poets Society." San Francisco Chronicle

BATMAN

1989

Summary:

The Dark Knight of Gotham City begins his war on crime with his first major enemy being Jack Napier, a criminal who becomes the clownishly homicidal Joker.

Cast:

Michael Keaton- Batman/ Bruce Wayne, Jack Nicholson- Joker, Kim Basinger- Vicki Vale

Gross Revenue:

$411.3 million

"The movie fixes you in its gravitational pull. It's an enveloping, walk-in vision... As rich and satisfying a movie as you're likely to see all year." Washington Post

WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT

1988

Summary:

A toon-hating detective is a cartoon rabbit's only hope to prove his innocence when he is accused of murder.

Cast:

Bob Hoskins- Eddie Valiant, Christopher Lloyd- Judge Doom, Joanna Cassidy- Dolores

Gross Revenue:

$351.5 million

"Combines live-action and animation with breathtaking wizardry... Alternately hilarious, frightening, and awesome." Chicago Reader