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The Best Movies of 1983

Updated March 30, 2021 10.5k votes 730 voters 18.8k views

List RulesOnly movies released in theaters in 1983.

A list of the best movies of 1983, from highly anticipated sequels like "Return of the Jedi" to instant classics like "A Christmas Story." The '80s were a decade where Hollywood thrived. In were new stars and big blockbusters, and 1983 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 the top 1983 films.
  • 1


    Chevy Chase, Christie Brinkley


    Directed byHarold Ramis

    National Lampoon's Vacation, sometimes referred to as Vacation, is a 1983 Technicolor comedy film directed by Harold Ramis and starring Chevy Chase, Beverly D'Angelo, Randy Quaid, Dana Barron, and...  more

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  • 2


    Al Pacino, Michelle Pfeiffer


    Directed byBrian De Palma

    Scarface is a 1983 American crime drama film directed by Brian De Palma, and a remake of the 1932 film. In 1980s Miami, Cuban refugee Tony Montana (Al Pacino) rises up and becomes a powerful drug...  more

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  • 3

    Trading Places

    Eddie Murphy, Jamie Lee Curtis


    Directed byJohn Landis

    Trading Places is a 1983 American comedy film directed by John Landis, starring Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy. It tells the story of an upper-class commodities broker and a homeless street hustler...  more

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  • 4

    Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi

    Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher


    Directed byRichard Marquand

    Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi is a 1983 American epic space opera film directed by Richard Marquand, and the third and final film in the original Star Wars trilogy. After a daring...  more

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  • 5

    A Christmas Story

    Darren McGavin, Melinda Dillon


    Directed byBob Clark

    A Christmas Story is a 1983 American Christmas comedy film based on the short stories and semi-fictional anecdotes of author and raconteur Jean Shepherd, based on his book In God We Trust: All Others...  more

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  • 6

    Mr. Mom

    Michael Keaton, Christopher Lloyd


    Directed byStan Dragoti

    Mr. Mom is a 1983 American comedy film directed by Stan Dragoti and written by John Hughes about Jack Butler, a stay-at-home dad. It stars Michael Keaton, Teri Garr, Jeffrey Tambor, Ann Jillian,...  more

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  • 7

    The Outsiders

    Tom Cruise, Nicolas Cage


    Directed byFrancis Ford Coppola

    The Outsiders is a 1983 American drama film directed by Francis Ford Coppola, an adaptation of the novel of the same name by S. E. Hinton. The film was released on March 25, 1983. Jo Ellen Misakian,...  more

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  • 8

    Twilight Zone: The Movie

    Dan Aykroyd, John Lithgow


    Directed bySteven Spielberg, George Miller, John Landis, Joe Dante

    Twilight Zone: The Movie is a 1983 American anthology science-fiction fantasy horror film produced by Steven Spielberg and John Landis as a theatrical version of the 1959–64 TV series The Twilight...  more

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  • 9


    Matthew Broderick, William H. Macy


    Directed byJohn Badham

    WarGames is a 1983 American science-fiction film written by Lawrence Lasker and Walter F. Parkes and directed by John Badham. The film stars Matthew Broderick, Dabney Coleman, John Wood, and Ally...  more

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  • 10

    Risky Business

    Tom Cruise, Megan Mullally


    Directed byPaul Brickman

    Risky Business is a 1983 American romantic comedy film written by Paul Brickman in his directorial debut. It stars Tom Cruise and Rebecca De Mornay. The film launched Cruise to stardom. It covers...  more

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  • 11

    The Dead Zone

    Christopher Walken, Martin Sheen


    Directed byDavid Cronenberg

    This film is a 1983 American horror thriller film directed by David Cronenberg. The screenplay by Jeffrey Boam was based on the 1979 novel of the same name by Stephen King. The film stars Christopher...  more

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  • 12

    The Right Stuff

    Jeff Goldblum, Ed Harris


    Directed byPhilip Kaufman

    The Right Stuff is a 1983 American drama film that was adapted from Tom Wolfe's best-selling 1979 book of the same name about the Navy, Marine and Air Force test pilots who were involved in...  more

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  • 13


    Jennifer Beals, Lee Ving


    Directed byAdrian Lyne

    Flashdance is a 1983 American romantic drama film directed by Adrian Lyne. It was the first collaboration of producers Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer and the presentation of some sequences in the...  more

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  • 14

    Easy Money

    Joe Pesci, Jennifer Jason Leigh


    Directed byJames Signorelli

    Easy Money is a 1983 comedy film starring Rodney Dangerfield, Joe Pesci, Geraldine Fitzgerald, Candice Azzara, and Jennifer Jason Leigh. It was directed by James Signorelli and written by...  more
  • 15

    Monty Python's The Meaning of Life

    John Cleese, Terry Gilliam


    Directed byTerry Gilliam

    Monty Python's The Meaning of Life, also known as The Meaning of Life, is a 1983 British musical sketch comedy film written and performed by the Monty Python troupe, and directed by one of its...  more

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  • 16

    Tender Mercies

    Robert Duvall, Ellen Barkin


    Directed byBruce Beresford

    Tender Mercies is a 1983 American drama film directed by Bruce Beresford. The screenplay by Horton Foote focuses on Mac Sledge, a recovering alcoholic country music singer who seeks to turn his life...  more

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  • 17


    Kelly Preston, Alexandra Paul


    Directed byJohn Carpenter

    Christine is a 1983 American horror thriller film directed by John Carpenter and starring Keith Gordon, John Stockwell, Alexandra Paul and Harry Dean Stanton. It was written by Bill Phillips and...  more

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  • 18

    Blue Thunder

    Malcolm McDowell, Roy Scheider


    Directed byJohn Badham

    Blue Thunder is a 1983 action thriller film that features a high-tech helicopter of the same name. The movie was directed by John Badham and stars Roy Scheider. A spin-off television series also...  more


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  • 19

    Terms of Endearment

    Jack Nicholson, Danny DeVito


    Directed byJames L. Brooks

    Terms of Endearment is a 1983 comedy-drama film adapted from the novel of the same name by Larry McMurtry, directed, written, and produced by James L. Brooks and starring Shirley MacLaine, Debra...  more

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  • 20

    Never Say Never Again

    Sean Connery, Kim Basinger


    Directed byIrvin Kershner

    Never Say Never Again is a 1983 spy film based on the James Bond novel Thunderball, which was previously adapted in 1965 under that name. Unlike the majority of Bond films, Never Say Never Again was...  more
  • 21

    Star 80

    Mariel Hemingway, Eric Roberts


    Directed byBob Fosse

    Star 80 is a 1983 American film about the true story of Playboy Playmate of the Year Dorothy Stratten, who was murdered by her estranged husband Paul Snider in 1980. The film was directed by Bob...  more
  • 22

    Psycho II

    Anthony Perkins, Dennis Franz


    Directed byRichard Franklin

    Psycho II is a 1983 American psychological horror slasher film directed by Richard Franklin and written by Tom Holland. It is the first sequel to Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho and second film in the...  more

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  • 23


    Meryl Streep, Cher


    Directed byMike Nichols

    Silkwood is a 1983 American drama film directed by Mike Nichols. The screenplay by Nora Ephron and Alice Arlen was inspired by the life of Karen Silkwood. In real life, it was vindicated in a...  more

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  • 24

    Strange Brew

    Max von Sydow, Rick Moranis


    Directed byRick Moranis, Dave Thomas

    Strange Brew is a 1983 Canadian comedy film starring the popular SCTV characters Bob and Doug McKenzie, portrayed by Dave Thomas and Rick Moranis, who also served as co-directors. Co-stars include...  more

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  • 25

    The Man with Two Brains

    Steve Martin, Kathleen Turner


    Directed byCarl Reiner

    The Man with Two Brains is a 1983 American science fiction comedy film directed by Carl Reiner and starring Steve Martin and Kathleen Turner. Written by Martin, Reiner and George Gipe, the film is a...  more

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