80s movies The Best Movies of 1981  

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List Rules Only films that played in theaters in 1981

A list of the best movies of 1981, from action films like "Indiana Jones and Raiders of the Lost Ark" to comedies like "The Great Muppet Caper." The '80s were a decade where Hollywood thrived. In were new stars and big blockbusters and 1981 was no exception. Some the best movies of this year are some of the best teen, coming of age, adventure, comedies, and dramas in history. The films on here are very memorable and had audiences on the edges of their seats, and still pack a punch so many years after they were first released. You shouldn't be too surprised by the movies listed on this list of top 1981 films.
list ordered by

1
118 20
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Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark Harrison Ford, Alfred Molina, Karen Allen

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2
83 23
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Mad Max 2 Mel Gibson, Bruce Spence, Vernon Wells

3
63 19
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Stripes Bill Murray, John Candy, Dennis Quaid

4
69 26
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Escape from New York Jamie Lee Curtis, Kurt Russell, Ernest Borgnine

5
59 23
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An American Werewolf in London Jenny Agutter, Frank Oz, Rik Mayall

6
40 20
Excalibur is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Movies of 1981
Excalibur Liam Neeson, Helen Mirren, Patrick Stewart

7
51 22
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History of the World, Part I Mel Brooks, Orson Welles, Hugh Hefner

8
49 23
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Clash of the Titans Ursula Andress, Maggie Smith, Laurence Olivier

9
43 17
On Golden Pond is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Movies of 1981
On Golden Pond Jane Fonda, Katharine Hepburn, Henry Fonda

10
46 28
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Time Bandits Sean Connery, John Cleese, Ian Holm

11
52 30
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Superman II Gene Hackman, Christopher Reeve, Terence Stamp

12
47 19
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The Cannonball Run Farrah Fawcett, Terry Bradshaw, Burt Reynolds

13
43 24
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Arthur Liza Minnelli, Dudley Moore, John Gielgud

14
36 19
Das Boot is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Movies of 1981
Das Boot Jürgen Prochnow, Herbert Grönemeyer, Uwe Ochsenknecht

15
50 31
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The Evil Dead Bruce Campbell, Sam Raimi, Ted Raimi

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16
34 26
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Body Heat Mickey Rourke, Kathleen Turner, William Hurt

17
42 26
Porky's is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Movies of 1981
Porky's Kim Cattrall, Alex Karras, Art Hindle

18
35 18
The Fox and the Hound is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Movies of 1981
The Fox and the Hound Kurt Russell, Mickey Rooney, Corey Feldman

19
46 32
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Halloween II Jamie Lee Curtis, Dana Carvey, Kyle Richards

20
37 29
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Heavy Metal John Candy, Harold Ramis, Eugene Levy

21
39 30
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Friday the 13th Part 2 Betsy Palmer, Lauren-Marie Taylor, Warrington Gillette

22
38 26
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The Great Muppet Caper John Cleese, Diana Rigg, Jim Henson

23
31 20
Chariots of Fire is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Movies of 1981
Chariots of Fire Stephen Fry, Kenneth Branagh, Ian Holm

24
29 22
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Blow Out John Travolta, John Lithgow, Dennis Franz

25
25 19
Gallipoli is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Movies of 1981
Gallipoli Mel Gibson, Bill Hunter, Robert Grubb

26
35 19
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The Looney Looney Looney Bugs Bunny Movie Mel Blanc, Frank Welker, June Foray

27
16 3
Eye of the Needle is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Movies of 1981
Dimos Dicoudis added Eye of the Needle Donald Sutherland, Bill Nighy, Kate Nelligan

28
39 26
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For Your Eyes Only Roger Moore, Sheena Easton, Charles Dance

29
26 14
Scanners is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Movies of 1981
Scanners Michael Ironside, Patrick McGoohan, Jennifer O'Neill

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30
15 3
Hard Country is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Movies of 1981
Dimos Dicoudis added Hard Country Kim Basinger, Daryl Hannah, Jan-Michael Vincent

31
12 3
The Postman Always Rings Twice is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Movies of 1981
Dimos Dicoudis added The Postman Always Rings Twice Jack Nicholson, Jessica Lange, Anjelica Huston

32
12 3
True Confessions is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Movies of 1981
Dimos Dicoudis added True Confessions Robert De Niro, Robert Duvall, Burgess Meredith

33
14 4
Endless Love is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Movies of 1981
Dimos Dicoudis added Endless Love Tom Cruise, Brooke Shields, James Spader

34
33 25
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Taps Tom Cruise, Sean Penn, George C. Scott

35
14 7
Ghost Story is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Movies of 1981
Dimos Dicoudis added Ghost Story Fred Astaire, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.

36
22 18
Thief is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Movies of 1981
Thief Willie Nelson, James Caan, Tuesday Weld

37
29 23
The Gods Must Be Crazy is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Movies of 1981
The Gods Must Be Crazy Marius Weyers, Jamie Uys, Ken Gampu

38
19 15
Outland is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Movies of 1981
Outland Sean Connery, Peter Boyle, John Ratzenberger

39
11 5
Omen III: The Final Conflict is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Movies of 1981
Dimos Dicoudis added Omen III: The Final Conflict Sam Neill, Rossano Brazzi, Mason Adams

40
21 19
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Continental Divide John Belushi, Blair Brown, Tim Kazurinsky

41
23 21
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Neighbors Dan Aykroyd, John Belushi, Cathy Moriarty

42
21 17
Reds is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Movies of 1981
Reds Jack Nicholson, Diane Keaton, Gene Hackman

43
16 11
The Howling is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Movies of 1981
The Howling Dee Wallace, John Sayles, Slim Pickens

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44
18 14
Wolfen is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Movies of 1981
Wolfen Albert Finney, Edward James Olmos, Gregory Hines

45
21 19
My Dinner with Andre is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Movies of 1981
My Dinner with Andre Wallace Shawn, Andre Gregory, Jean Lenauer

46
11 6
The French Lieutenant's Woman is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Movies of 1981
Dimos Dicoudis added The French Lieutenant's Woman Meryl Streep, Jeremy Irons, David Warner

47
15 3
Tarzan, the Ape Man is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Movies of 1981
Dimos Dicoudis added Tarzan, the Ape Man Bo Derek, Richard Harris, John Phillip Law

48
19 10
Possession is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Movies of 1981
Possession Sam Neill, Isabelle Adjani, Heinz Bennent

49
15 4
Rich and Famous is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Movies of 1981
Dimos Dicoudis added Rich and Famous Meg Ryan, Candice Bergen, Jacqueline Bissett

50
19 16
My Bloody Valentine is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Movies of 1981
My Bloody Valentine Don Francks, Cynthia Dale, Helene Udy