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The Best Movies of 1983 

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Originally by Ranker Community
Updated June 14, 2019 9.9k votes 654 voters 16.3k views

List Rules Movies that played 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.
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1
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Al Pacino, Michelle Pfeiffer, Steven Bauer

Released: 1983

Directed by: Brian 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 ...more

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#79 of 553 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made #21 of 481 The Greatest Movies for Guys #916 of 1,646 The Most Rewatchable Movies

2
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Chevy Chase, Christie Brinkley, John Candy

Released: 1983

Directed by: Harold 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, ...more

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#108 of 481 The Greatest Movies for Guys #24 of 522 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked #7 of 922 The All-Time Greatest Comedy Films

3
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Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill

Released: 1983

Directed by: Richard 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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#3 of 11 Every Star Wars Movie, Ranked Best to Worst #15 of 553 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made #69 of 481 The Greatest Movies for Guys

4
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Eddie Murphy, Jamie Lee Curtis, Dan Aykroyd

Released: 1983

Directed by: John 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 ...more

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#95 of 481 The Greatest Movies for Guys #9 of 922 The All-Time Greatest Comedy Films #4 of 1,137 The Absolute Funniest Movies Of All Time

5
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Darren McGavin, Melinda Dillon, Zack Ward

Released: 1983

Directed by: Bob 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 ...more

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Every Inaccuracy In 'A Christmas Story’s Version Of The '40s #53 of 922 The All-Time Greatest Comedy Films #50 of 1,137 The Absolute Funniest Movies Of All Time

6
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Michael Keaton, Christopher Lloyd, Teri Garr

Released: 1983

Directed by: Stan 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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#319 of 481 The Greatest Movies for Guys #162 of 922 The All-Time Greatest Comedy Films #112 of 560 The Greatest Guilty Pleasure Movies

7
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Matthew Broderick, William H. Macy, Ally Sheedy

Released: 1983

Directed by: John 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 ...more

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#501 of 1,646 The Most Rewatchable Movies #69 of 522 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Rankedlisted on The Very Best Movies About Hackers

8
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Tom Cruise, Megan Mullally, Rebecca De Mornay

Released: 1983

Directed by: Paul 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 ...more

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#203 of 481 The Greatest Movies for Guys #201 of 922 The All-Time Greatest Comedy Films #459 of 1,137 The Absolute Funniest Movies Of All Time

9
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Tom Cruise, Nicolas Cage, Diane Lane

Released: 1983

Directed by: Francis 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 ...more

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#76 of 358 The Best Movies Based On Books #24 of 76 The Best Film Adaptations of Young Adult Novels #142 of 481 The Greatest Movies for Guys

10
Twilight Zone: The Movie... is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Movies of 1983
Dan Aykroyd, John Lithgow, Burgess Meredith

Released: 1983

Directed by: Steven 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 ...more

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#235 of 522 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked #150 of 784 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time #293 of 384 The Greatest Movie Themes

11
The Right Stuff is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Movies of 1983
looksharp added Jeff Goldblum, Ed Harris, Dennis Quaid

Released: 1983

Directed by: Philip 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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#365 of 553 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made #162 of 481 The Greatest Movies for Guyslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

12
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John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle

Released: 1983

Directed by: Terry 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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#230 of 553 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made #157 of 522 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked #70 of 922 The All-Time Greatest Comedy Films

13
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Christopher Walken, Martin Sheen, Tom Skerritt

Released: 1983

Directed by: David 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 ...more

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#132 of 239 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #273 of 522 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked #166 of 784 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time

14
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Joe Pesci, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Jeffrey Jones

Released: 1983

Directed by: James 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
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Jennifer Beals, Lee Ving, Michael Nouri

Released: 1983

Directed by: Adrian 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 ...more

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#226 of 560 The Greatest Guilty Pleasure Movies #619 of 1,646 The Most Rewatchable Movieslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

16
Terms of Endearment is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Movies of 1983
Jack Nicholson, Danny DeVito, John Lithgow

Released: 1983

Directed by: James 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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#166 of 693 The Greatest Chick Flicks Ever Made #91 of 276 The Top Tearjerker Movies That Make Men Crylisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

17
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Kelly Preston, Alexandra Paul, John Madden

Released: 1983

Directed by: John 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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'Christine’ Is One Of The Most Underrated Adaptations To Come Off Stephen King’s Assembly Line #70 of 784 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time #216 of 560 The Greatest Guilty Pleasure Movies

18
Tender Mercies is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Movies of 1983
Robert Duvall, Ellen Barkin, Wilford Brimley

Released: 1983

Directed by: Bruce 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 ...more

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#436 of 522 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked #75 of 89 The Best Movies with Christian Themeslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

19
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Sean Connery, Kim Basinger, Rowan Atkinson

Released: 1983

Directed by: Irvin 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 ...more

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#360 of 481 The Greatest Movies for Guys #213 of 560 The Greatest Guilty Pleasure Movies #1,524 of 1,646 The Most Rewatchable Movies

20
Psycho II is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Movies of 1983
Anthony Perkins, Dennis Franz, Vera Miles

Released: 1983

Directed by: Richard 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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#255 of 784 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time #464 of 560 The Greatest Guilty Pleasure Movies #365 of 522 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked

21
Blue Thunder is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Movies of 1983
Blue Thunder Malcolm McDowell, Roy Scheider, Warren Oates

Released: 1983

Directed by: John 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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#419 of 560 The Greatest Guilty Pleasure Movies #309 of 522 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked #132 of 280 The Best Whodunit Movies

22
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Steve Martin, Kathleen Turner, Sissy Spacek

Released: 1983

Directed by: Carl 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 ...more

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#344 of 522 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked #366 of 922 The All-Time Greatest Comedy Films #402 of 1,137 The Absolute Funniest Movies Of All Time

23
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Max von Sydow, Rick Moranis, Mel Blanc

Released: 1983

Directed by: Rick 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 ...more

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#240 of 522 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked #423 of 922 The All-Time Greatest Comedy Films #289 of 1,137 The Absolute Funniest Movies Of All Time

24
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Mariel Hemingway, Eric Roberts, Cliff Robertson

Released: 1983

Directed by: Bob 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

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#495 of 522 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked #428 of 675 The Best Movies Roger Ebert Gave Four Stars

25
Silkwood is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Movies of 1983
Meryl Streep, Cher, Kurt Russell

Released: 1983

Directed by: Mike 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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#399 of 522 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked #294 of 363 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime #6 of 17 Every Nora Ephron Movie, Ranked Best to Worst