films The Best Historical Movies Released in the 1980s  

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List Rules Vote up your favorite historical films from the 1980s.

What are the best historical movies from the 1980s? This list includes great historical movies such as Glory, Amadeus, and Name of the RoseHistorical movies allow audiences to relive a piece of a history that they may never know about otherwise. They become sources of both entertainment and education.   

 The movies on this list are the best of the best when it comes to historical films. Which one is the best? Well, that's up to the voters to decide. Vote up your favorite historical movie from the 1980s, and if there isn't one on here that you think deserves a spot, be sure to add it. 

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Full Metal Jacket Stanley Kubrick, Vincent D'Onofrio, R. Lee Ermey Full Metal Jacket is a 1987 war film directed and produced by Stanley Kubrick. The screenplay by Kubrick, Michael Herr, and Gustav Hasford was based on Hasford's novel The Short-Timers. The film ...more

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21 7
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Glory Morgan Freeman, Denzel Washington, Matthew Broderick Glory is a 1989 American drama war film directed by Edward Zwick and starring Matthew Broderick, Denzel Washington, Cary Elwes and Morgan Freeman. The screenplay was written by Kevin Jarre, ...more

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Gandhi Daniel Day-Lewis, Ben Kingsley, Martin Sheen Gandhi is a 1982 epic biographical film which dramatises the life of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, the leader of India's non-violent, non-cooperative independence movement against the United ...more

4
12 5
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The Right Stuff Jeff Goldblum, Ed Harris, Dennis Quaid 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

5
12 5
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Mississippi Burning Willem Dafoe, Gene Hackman, Frances McDormand Mississippi Burning is a 1988 American crime thriller film directed by Alan Parker and written by Chris Gerolmo. It was loosely based on the FBI investigation into the murders of three civil ...more

6
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Amadeus Jeffrey Jones, Cynthia Nixon, Christine Ebersole Amadeus - Directors Cut is a 1984 biography drama film written by Peter Shaffer and directed by Milos Forman.

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The Last Emperor Peter O'Toole, Joan Chen, Vivian Wu The Last Emperor is a 1987 biographical film about the life of Puyi, the last Emperor of China, whose autobiography was the basis for the screenplay written by Mark Peploe and Bernardo ...more

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12 7
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Born on the Fourth of July Born on the Fourth of July, published in 1976, is the best selling autobiography by Ron Kovic, a paralyzed Vietnam War veteran who became an anti-war activist. Kovic was born on July 4, 1946, ...more

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11 6
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The Name of the Rose Sean Connery, Christian Slater, Ron Perlman The Name of the Rose is a 1986 film directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud, based on the book of the same name by Umberto Eco. Sean Connery is the Franciscan friar William of Baskerville and Christian ...more

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12 8
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The Killing Fields John Malkovich, Craig T. Nelson, Sam Waterston The Killing Fields is a 1984 British drama film set in Democratic Kampuchea, which is based on the experiences of two journalists: Cambodian Dith Pran and American Sydney Schanberg. The film, ...more

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8 4
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Great Balls of Fire! Alec Baldwin, Winona Ryder, Dennis Quaid Great Balls of Fire! is a 1989 American biographical film directed by Jim McBride and starring Dennis Quaid as pioneer rock 'n' roll star Jerry Lee Lewis. Based on a biography by Myra Lewis and ...more

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8 6
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Henry V Christian Bale, Emma Thompson, Judi Dench Henry V is a 1989 British drama film adapted for the screen and directed by Kenneth Branagh, based on William Shakespeare's play of the same name about King Henry V of England. The film stars ...more

13
2 0
Raging Bull is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Historical Movies Released in the 1980s
Tom Islava added Raging Bull Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, Martin Scorsese Raging Bull is a 1980 American biographical black-and-white sports drama film directed by Martin Scorsese, produced by Robert Chartoff and Irwin Winkler and adapted by Paul Schrader and Mardik ...more

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North and South North and South is the title of three American television miniseries broadcast on the ABC network in 1985, 1986, and 1994. Set before, during, and immediately after the American Civil War, they ...more

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Tom Islava added Sophie's Choice Meryl Streep, Kevin Kline, Peter MacNicol Sophie's Choice is a 1982 American drama film directed by Alan J. Pakula, who adapted William Styron's novel of the same name. Meryl Streep stars as Sophie, a Polish immigrant who shares a ...more

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Chariots of Fire Stephen Fry, Kenneth Branagh, Ian Holm Chariots of Fire is a 1981 British historical drama film. It tells the fact-based story of two athletes in the 1924 Olympics: Eric Liddell, a devout Scottish Christian who runs for the glory of ...more

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Reds Jack Nicholson, Diane Keaton, Gene Hackman Reds is a 1981 epic film that was co-written, produced, and directed by Warren Beatty. The picture centers on the life and career of John Reed, the journalist and writer who chronicled the ...more

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Jack the Ripper Michael Caine Jack the Ripper is a 1988 two-part television film/miniseries portraying a fictionalized account of the hunt for Jack the Ripper, the unidentified serial killer responsible for the Whitechapel ...more

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Masada Peter O'Toole, Barbara Carrera, David Warner Masada is an American television miniseries that aired on ABC in April 1981. Advertised by the network as an "ABC Novel for Television," it was a fictionalized account of the ...more

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4 5
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Cry Freedom Denzel Washington, Kevin Kline, Julian Glover Cry Freedom is a 1987 British drama film directed by Richard Attenborough, set in the late 1970s, during the apartheid era of South Africa. The screenplay was written by John Briley based on a ...more

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Fat Man and Little Boy Paul Newman, John Cusack, Laura Dern Fat Man and Little Boy is a 1989 film that reenacts the Manhattan Project, the secret Allied endeavor to develop the first nuclear weapons during World War II. The film is named after the ...more

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The Year of Living Dangerously Mel Gibson, Sigourney Weaver, Linda Hunt The Year of Living Dangerously is a 1982 drama film directed by Peter Weir and adapted from the novel The Year of Living Dangerously by Christopher Koch. The story is about a love affair set in ...more

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4 6
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Lion of the Desert Oliver Reed, John Gielgud, Anthony Quinn Lion of the Desert is a 1981 Libyan historical action film starring Anthony Quinn as Libyan tribal leader Omar Mukhtar, a Bedouin leader fighting the Italian army in the years leading up to ...more

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3 5
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The Winds of War The Winds of War is Herman Wouk's second book about World War II, the first being The Caine Mutiny. Published in 1971, it was followed up seven years later by War and Remembrance; originally ...more

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The Scarlet Pimpernel Ian McKellen, Jane Seymour, Anthony Andrews The Scarlet Pimpernel is a 1982 British romantic adventure film set during the French Revolution. It is based on the novels The Scarlet Pimpernel and Eldorado by Baroness Emmuska Orczy, and ...more

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Heaven's Gate Mickey Rourke, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Bridges Heaven's Gate is a 1980 American epic Western film written and directed by Michael Cimino. Loosely based on the Johnson County War, it portrays a fictional dispute between land barons and ...more

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Lady Jane Helena Bonham Carter, Patrick Stewart, Cary Elwes Lady Jane is a 1986 British costume drama romance film directed by Trevor Nunn, written by David Edgar, and starring Helena Bonham Carter as the titular character. It tells the story of Lady ...more

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The Last Bastion Timothy West, John Wood, Max Cullen The Last Bastion is a television mini-series which aired in Australia in November 1984. It is a docudrama telling the story of Australia's involvement in World War II, and its often strained ...more

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2 5
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Danton GĂ©rard Depardieu, Andrzej Seweryn, Ronald Guttman Danton is a 1983 French language film depicting the last months of Georges Danton, one of the leaders of the French Revolution. It is an adaptation of the Polish play "The Danton Case" ...more

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Stealing Heaven Denholm Elliott, Kim Thomson, Derek de Lint Stealing Heaven is a 1988 film, a costume drama based on the French 12th century medieval romance of Peter Abelard and Héloïse and on a historical novel by Marion Meade. The director

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King David Richard Gere, Gina Bellman, Alice Krige King David is an American 1985 drama film about the second king of Israel, David. It was directed by Bruce Beresford and starred Richard Gere in the title role.

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Revolution Al Pacino, Annie Lennox, Donald Sutherland Revolution is a 1985 British historical drama film directed by Hugh Hudson, written by Robert Dillon, and starring Al Pacino, Donald Sutherland, and Nastassja Kinski. The film stars Pacino as a ...more