Films from the 80s

10 brilliant movies from 1989

#10 – Say Anything…

Directed by Cameron Crowe. Starring John Cusack, Ione Skye & John Mahoney.

Who could forget the iconic romantic gesture that is the boombox over the head?

Say Anything… is the work of under-appreciated directing master Cameron Crowe, and follows the romance between an average student and the class valedictorian after their graduation.

It was ranked as the greatest modern movie romance by Entertainment Weekly in 2002, and is considered one of the best high school movies of all time.

There’s a character in this film that just about anyone can relate to, so it’s a guaranteed hit for a movie night!


#9 – The Abyss

Directed by James Cameron. Starring Ed Harris, Mary Elizabeth & Mastrantonio.

From an under-appreciated director to an under-appreciated film from a well-known director.

James Cameron’s The Abyss is a rather unusual science fiction film that follows a search and recovery team working with an oil platform crew to recover an American submarine that sank in the Caribbean.

I’m going to be honest, this film feels a little bit like a bad trip. It takes a very strange twist, but it’s classic Cameron and a winner of the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects.

It’s actually partly based on a short story of the same name by the famous H.G. Wells.


#8 – Born on the Fourth of July

Directed by Oliver Stone. Starring Tom Cruise, Kyra Sedgwick & Raymond J. Barry.

Tom Cruise was really taking the world by storm in the late 1980s.

Born on the Fourth of July is one of the most American movies ever made, a war drama telling of the life of a man paralysed in the Vietnam War who transitions into an anti-war activist upon his return.

Director Oliver Stone was hired onto the project as a Vietnam veteran himself, and was also involved in the script, so it’s about as intense and realistic as depictions of Vietnam get.

The film was originally in production in the late 1970s, with Al Pacino in talks to play the lead role, but it was dropped by the studio.


#7 – Glory

Directed by Edward Zwick. Starring Matthew Broderick, Denzel Washington & Cary Elwes.

Speaking of war films that will touch your heart and challenge your convictions, here’s a great one.

Glory is the story of the 54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment, the first African-American regiment in the American Civil War. It’s a powerful historical story of the heroic actions of the regiment.

Nominated for five Academy Awards and winning three, including Best Supporting Actor for Denzel Washington, this film is a true inspiration.

Get ready for what is labelled arguably the best Civil War movie ever made.


#6 – Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure

Directed by Stephen Herek. Starring Keanu Reeves, Alex Winter & George Carlin.

Totally excellent!

Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure is the time-travelling slacker comedy that launched the career of our beloved Keanu Reeves and capitalised on the comedic genius of the late George Carlin.

Bill and Ted must travel through time to assemble historical figures for their high school history presentation. It’s a classic concept that proves as hilarious as it is iconic.

The screenplay for this movie was based on a comedy stand-up routine that the writers performed when they were in college.


#5 – Parenthood

Directed by Ron Howard. Starring Steve Martin, Tom Hulce & Rick Moranis.

Keanu really killed it in 1989, this time alongside another comedy legend in Steve Martin.

Parenthood is directed by the ever-excellent Ron Howard, and is based on his own family and parenting experiences. It’s a goofy family comedy that managed to be nominated for two Academy Awards.

With an all-star cast of the likes of Martin, Reeves, Mary Steenburgen, Dianne Wiest, Tom Hulce, Rick Moranis and more, it’s a comedy classic that has since been adapted into an NBC television series.

This film will resonate with anyone who has started a family.


#4 – Batman

Directed by Tim Burton. Starring Jack Nicholson, Michael Keaton & Kim Basinger.

Tim Burton, quite simply, was the perfect choice for a Batman movie. In fact, I’d say there’s only one director better… (wink, wink).

Batman introduced us to a new version of the Caped Crusader after the success of Adam West in 1966. Replacing some of the campiness with a dark and brooding protagonist, we have this version of the story to thank for the Batman we know and love today.

With a brilliant performance as the Joker from Jack Nicholson that must be considered up there with Heath Ledger and Joaquin Phoenix, Michael Keaton’s Bruce Wayne faces a serious threat in this superhero classic.

The whole family will love it. It’s some of Batman’s best.


#3 – The Little Mermaid

Directed by Ron Clements & John Musker. Starring Rene Auberjonois, Christopher Daniel Barnes & Jodi Benson.

1989 also marks the beginning of Disney’s renaissance – something I’m very excited for.

The revival of Disney’s success in animation began with The Little Mermaid, a touching tale of love, being yourself and the classic Disney whimsy and magic.

Based on the 1837 Danish fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen, it brings beloved characters, amazing songs and gorgeous animation back to the fore of Disney’s lineup.

Get ready to see a whole lot of Disney animation in the coming weeks.


#2 – Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

Directed by Steven Spielberg. Starring Harrison Ford, Denholm Elliott & Alison Doody.

Some argue that The Temple of Doom was a bit underwhelming, but Steven Spielberg bounced back to make the third Indiana Jones movie one of his best.

The Last Crusade brings Indy together with his father, played by Sean Connery, this time in search of the legendary Holy Grail. It’s the booby-trapped, Nazi-fighting, treasure-hunting fun that we all love.

Delving into Indy’s past and swapping the dark violence of The Temple of Doom for a more light-hearted film, there’s no disputing that this is one of the classics of the series.

The role of the young Indy actually went to River Phoenix – Joaquin’s older brother.


#1 – Dead Poets Society

Directed by Peter Weir. Starring Robin Williams, Ethan Hawke & Robert Sean Leonard.

Anyone who knows me knows there was no chance this wasn’t getting number one.

The work of Australian director Peter Weir and starring the ever-enigmatic Robin Williams, Dead Poets Society follows an English teacher who inspires his students through the teaching of poetry.

While Williams is better known for his comedic work, Weir gave him the reins to improvise in this dramatic role, and it proved how truly versatile Williams was. He is absolutely astounding.

It was nominated for Best Picture and is remembered fondly as one of the all-time greats, so treat yourself. You just can’t miss Dead Poets Society.