film directors The Greatest Directors of the 1980s  

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List Rules Vote only based on the director's feature films released in the 1980s.

List of the top directors of the 80s. From 1980 to 1989, film history was shaped by esteemed directors who defined the decade through their movies. After all, what would the eighties be without the Brat Pack movies directed by John Hughes? The 1980s is also the time when when heavyweights like Steven Spielberg and George Lucas were honing their directorial skills on epic levels, from the Indiana Jones movies to "E.T."
 
Woody Allen is also an auteur who made some of his absolute funniest and most dramatic Oscar-winning flicks during the 1980s. And between the "Lethal Weapon" movies and "The Goonies," director Dick Donner made the eighties an unforgettable 10 years for major motion pictures.

With nostalgic '80s movies on the mind, who can forget the arguable directorial peak of Rob Reiner with smash hits like "Spinal Tap," "Stand by Me," "The Princess Bride," and "When Harry Met Sally," which transitioned us into the 1990s.
list ordered by

1
58 20
Steven Spielberg is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1980s
Steven Spielberg age 71 Always (1989)
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)
Empire of the Sun (1987)
The Color Purple (1985)
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)
Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983)
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

The Scariest Movies of the 1980s The Best British Documentaries

2
57 22
John Hughes is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1980s
John Hughes Died at 59 (1950-2009) Sixteen Candles (1984)
The Breakfast Club (1985)
Weird Science (1985)
Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986)
She's Having a Baby (1988)
Uncle Buck (1989)
Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987)

3
42 15
John Carpenter is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1980s
John Carpenter age 69 The Fog (1980)
Escape From New York (1981)
The Thing (1982)
Christine (1983)
Starman (1984)
Big Trouble in Little China (1986)
Prince of Darkness (1987)
They Live (1988)

4
32 12
Martin Scorsese is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1980s
gschwayze added Martin Scorsese age 75

Raging Bull (1980)
The Kings of Comedy (1982)
After Hours (1985)
The Color of Money (1986)
The Last Temptation of Christ (1988)

5
38 18
Rob Reiner is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1980s
Rob Reiner age 70 This Is Spinal Tap (1984)
The Sure Thing (1985)
Stand by Me (1986)
The Princess Bride (1987)
When Harry Met Sally.... (1989)

6
35 16
John Landis is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1980s
John Landis age 67 The Blues Brothers (1980)
An American Werewolf in London (1981)
Trading Places (1983)
Spies Like Us (1985)
Three Amigos (1986)
Coming to America (1988)
Into the Night (1985)

7
30 12
James Cameron is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1980s
James Cameron age 63 Piranha II: The Spawning (1981)
The Terminator (1984)
Aliens (1986)
The Abyss (1989)

8
31 14
Robert Zemeckis is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1980s
Robert Zemeckis age 66 Used Cars (1980)
Romancing the Stone (1984)
Back to the Future (1985)
Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988)
Back to the Future Part II (1989)

9
31 15
Tim Burton is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1980s
Tim Burton age 59 Pee-wee's Big Adventure (1985)
Beetlejuice (1988)
Batman (1989)

10
23 9
David Cronenberg is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1980s
David Cronenberg age 74 The Scanners (1981)
Videodrome (1983)
The Dead Zone (1983)
The Fly (1986)
Dead Ringers (1988)

11
25 12
David Lynch is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1980s
David Lynch age 71 The Elephant Man (1980)
Dune (1984)
Blue Velvet (1986)

12
21 9
Terry Gilliam is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1980s
Mollevangsvagen added Terry Gilliam age 77

Time Bandits (1981)
Brazil (1985)
The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1988)

13
13 2
Ridley Scott is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1980s
outlel added Ridley Scott age 80

Blade Runner (1982)
Legend (1985)
Someone to Watch Over Me (1987)
Black Rain (1989)

14
25 14
Oliver Stone is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1980s
Oliver Stone age 71 Salvador (1986)
Platoon (1986)
Wall Street (1987)
Talk Radio (1988)
Born on the Fourth of July (1989)

15
22 12
Richard Donner is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1980s
Richard Donner age 87 The Toy (1982)
The Goonies (1985)
Ladyhawke (1985)
Lethal Weapon (1987)
Scrooged (1988)
Leathal Weapon 2 (1989)

The Greatest Movies of the 1980s, Ranked 95+ Amazing Behind the Scenes Photos from Iconic Movies

16
14 7
Barry Levinson is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1980s
Barry Levinson age 75 Diner (1982)
The Natural (1984)
Young Sherlock Homes (1985)
Tin Men (1987)
Good Morning Vietnam (1987)
Rain Man (1988)

17
9 5
Joe Dante is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1980s
Joe Dante age 71 Gremlins (1984)
Explorers (1985)
Innerspace (1986)
The 'Burbs (1989)

18
8 4
Éric Rohmer is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1980s
Mollevangsvagen added Éric Rohmer Died at 90 (1920-2010)

Catherine de Heilbronn (1980)
La Femme de l'aviateur (The Aviator's Wife, 1981)
Le Beau mariage (A Good Marriage, 1982)
Pauline à la plage (Pauline at the Beach, 1983)
Les Nuits de la pleine lune (Full Moon in Paris, 1984)
Le Rayon vert (The Green Ray/Summer, 1986)
L'Ami de mon amie (My Girlfriend's Boyfriend, 1987)
Le trio en si bémol (1987)
Quatre Aventures de Reinette et Mirabelle (1987)

19
12 9
Werner Herzog is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1980s
Mollevangsvagen added Werner Herzog age 75

Huie's Sermon (1981)
God's Angry Man (1981)
Fitzcarraldo (1982)
Where the Green Ants Dream (1984)
Ballad of the Little Soldier (1984)
The Dark Glow of the Mountains (1984)
Cobra Verde (1987)
Herdsmen of the Sun (1989)

20
7 4
Robert Bresson is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1980s
Mollevangsvagen added Robert Bresson Died at 98 (1901-1999)

L'argent (Money, 1983)

21
6 3
Alan Clarke is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1980s
Mollevangsvagen added Alan Clarke Died at 55 (1935-1990)

Billy the Kid and the Green Baize Vampire (1987)
Rita, Sue and Bob Too (1987)

22
19 17
Woody Allen is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1980s
Woody Allen age 82 A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy (1982)
Broadway Danny Rose (1984)
Hannah and Her Sisters (1986)
Radio Days (1987)
New York Stories (1989)

23
15 13
Harold Ramis is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1980s
Harold Ramis Died at 70 (1944-2014) Caddyshack (1980)
National Lampoon's Vacation (1983)
Club Paradise (1986)

24
8 6
Vladimir Bortko is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1980s
Mollevangsvagen added Vladimir Bortko age 71

Without Family (1984)
The Blonde from Around the Corner (1984)
Heart of a Dog (1988)

25
7 5
Jan Troell is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1980s
Mollevangsvagen added Jan Troell age 86

Flight of the Eagle (1982)
Land of Dreams (1988)

26
7 5
Ryszard Bugajski is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1980s
Mollevangsvagen added Ryszard Bugajski age 74

Interrogation (1982)

27
7 5
Emir Kusturica is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1980s
Mollevangsvagen added Emir Kusturica age 63

Do You Remember Dolly Bell? (1981)
When Father Was Away on Business (1985)
Time of the Gypsies (1988)
 

28
6 4
Konstantin Lopushansky is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1980s
Mollevangsvagen added Konstantin Lopushansky age 70

Dead Man's Letters (1987)
A Visitor to a Museum (1989)

29
6 4
Juraj Jakubisko is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1980s
Mollevangsvagen added Juraj Jakubisko age 79

Build a House, Plant a Tree (1980)
A Thousand-Year Old Bee (1983)
Perinbaba (1985)
Freckled Max and the Spooks (1987)
I'm Sitting on a Branch and I'm Fine (1989)

The Best 1980s Animated Series Things Only Female Basketball Fans Understand

30
5 3
Leos Carax is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1980s
Mollevangsvagen added Leos Carax age 57

Boy Meets Girl (1984)
Mauvais Sang (1986)

31
9 8
Abel Ferrara is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1980s
Mollevangsvagen added Abel Ferrara age 66

Ms. 45 (1981)
Fear City (1984)
China Girl (1987)
Cat Chaser (1989)

32
7 6
Marcell Jankovics is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1980s
Mollevangsvagen added Marcell Jankovics age 76

Son of the White Mare (1981)
The Transsylvanian Woman and the Devil (1985)
A Hungarian Fairy Tale (1987)
angram (1988

33
6 5
Piotr Szulkin is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1980s
Mollevangsvagen added Piotr Szulkin age 67

Wojna światów – następne stulecie (The War of the Worlds: Next Century, 1981)
O-Bi, O-Ba. Koniec cywilizacji (1984)
Ga, Ga. Chwała bohaterom (1985)

34
6 5
Godfrey Reggio is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1980s
Mollevangsvagen added Godfrey Reggio age 77

Koyaanisqatsi: Life Out of Balance (1982)
Powaqqatsi: Life in Transformation (1988)

35
1 0
Robert Altman is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1980s
mchris65 added Robert Altman Died at 81 (1925-2006)

36
11 11
Hans-Jürgen Syberberg is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1980s
Mollevangsvagen added Hans-Jürgen Syberberg age 82

Parsifal (1982)
Die Nicht (1985)
Edith Clever liest Joyce (1985)
Fräulein Else (1986)
Penthesilea (1987)
Die Marquise von O. (1989)

37
6 6
Jiří Menzel is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1980s
Mollevangsvagen added Jiří Menzel age 79

Cutting it Short (1980)
The Snowdrop Festival (1984)
My Sweet Little Village (1985)
Chocolate Cop (1986)
End of Old Times (1989)

38
5 5
Claude Chabrol is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1980s
Mollevangsvagen added Claude Chabrol Died at 80 (1930-2010)

Le Cheval d'orgueil (1980)
Les Fantômes du chapelier (1982)
Le Sang des autres (1984)
Poulet au vinaigre (1985)
Inspecteur Lavardin (1986)
Masques (1987)
Le cri du hibou (1988)
Une affaire de femmes (1988)

39
5 5
Hrafn Gunnlaugsson is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1980s
Mollevangsvagen added Hrafn Gunnlaugsson age 69

Inter Nos (1982)
When the Raven Flies (1984)
In the Shadow of the Raven) (1988)

40
4 4
Juliusz Machulski is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1980s
Mollevangsvagen added Juliusz Machulski age 62

Vabank (1981)
Seksmisja (1984)
Vabank II czyli Riposta (1984)
Kingsajz (1987)
Déjà vu (1988)