80s Movies 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
106 30
John Hughes is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1980s
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)

2
106 33
Steven Spielberg is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1980s
age 72 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)

3
72 25
John Carpenter is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1980s
age 70 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
61 19
Robert Zemeckis is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1980s
age 67 Used Cars (1980)
Romancing the Stone (1984)
Back to the Future (1985)
Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988)
Back to the Future Part II (1989)

5
61 23
Tim Burton is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1980s
age 60 Pee-wee's Big Adventure (1985)
Beetlejuice (1988)
Batman (1989)

6
51 18
Martin Scorsese is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1980s
gschwayze added age 76

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

7
60 22
Rob Reiner is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1980s
age 71 This Is Spinal Tap (1984)
The Sure Thing (1985)
Stand by Me (1986)
The Princess Bride (1987)
When Harry Met Sally.... (1989)

8
54 23
James Cameron is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1980s
age 64 Piranha II: The Spawning (1981)
The Terminator (1984)
Aliens (1986)
The Abyss (1989)

9
53 20
John Landis is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1980s
age 68 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)

10
34 10
Ridley Scott is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1980s
outlel added age 81

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

11
35 14
David Cronenberg is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1980s
age 75 The Scanners (1981)
Videodrome (1983)
The Dead Zone (1983)
The Fly (1986)
Dead Ringers (1988)

12
37 18
Oliver Stone is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1980s
age 72 Salvador (1986)
Platoon (1986)
Wall Street (1987)
Talk Radio (1988)
Born on the Fourth of July (1989)

13
38 19
David Lynch is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1980s
age 72 The Elephant Man (1980)
Dune (1984)
Blue Velvet (1986)

14
34 15
Richard Donner is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1980s
age 88 The Toy (1982)
The Goonies (1985)
Ladyhawke (1985)
Lethal Weapon (1987)
Scrooged (1988)
Leathal Weapon 2 (1989)

15
30 16
Terry Gilliam is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1980s
Mollevangsvagen added age 78

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

16
28 16
Harold Ramis is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1980s
Died at 70 (1944-2014) Caddyshack (1980)
National Lampoon's Vacation (1983)
Club Paradise (1986)

17
17 12
Barry Levinson is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1980s
age 76 Diner (1982)
The Natural (1984)
Young Sherlock Homes (1985)
Tin Men (1987)
Good Morning Vietnam (1987)
Rain Man (1988)

18
4 0
Ivan Reitman is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1980s
EastOfTheAnduin added age 72

Ghostbusters (1984)

Ghostbusters II (1989)

Stripes (1981)

Meatballs (1979)

19
5 3
Mark Zakharov is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1980s
Alex Gaginsky added age 85

The House That Swift Built (1983)
Formula of Love (1984)
To Kill a Dragon (1988)

20
9 9
Juliusz Machulski is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1980s
Mollevangsvagen added age 63

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

21
12 11
Abel Ferrara is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1980s
Mollevangsvagen added age 67

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

22
3 3
Eldar Ryazanov is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1980s
Alex Gaginsky added age 91

Say a Word for the Poor Hussar (1981)
Station for Two (1982) 
A Cruel Romance (1984) 
Forgotten Melody for a Flute (1987) 
Dear Yelena Sergeevna (1988) 

23
6 5
Robert Altman is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1980s
mchris65 added Died at 81 (1925-2006)

24
15 15
Werner Herzog is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1980s
Mollevangsvagen added age 76

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)

25
8 8
Éric Rohmer is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1980s
Mollevangsvagen added 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)

26
7 7
Alan Clarke is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1980s
Mollevangsvagen added Died at 55 (1935-1990)

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

27
8 9
Vladimir Bortko is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1980s
Mollevangsvagen added age 72

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

28
8 9
Jan Troell is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1980s
Mollevangsvagen added age 87

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

29
8 9
Robert Bresson is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1980s
Mollevangsvagen added Died at 98 (1901-1999)

L'argent (Money, 1983)

30
8 9
Marcell Jankovics is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1980s
Mollevangsvagen added age 77

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

31
7 8
Ryszard Bugajski is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1980s
Mollevangsvagen added age 75

Interrogation (1982)

32
7 8
Jiří Menzel is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1980s
Mollevangsvagen added age 80

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

33
7 8
Godfrey Reggio is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1980s
Mollevangsvagen added age 78

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

34
7 8
Piotr Szulkin is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1980s
Mollevangsvagen added age 68

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

35
7 8
Emir Kusturica is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1980s
Mollevangsvagen added age 64

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

36
6 7
Leos Carax is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1980s
Mollevangsvagen added age 58

Boy Meets Girl (1984)
Mauvais Sang (1986)

37
6 7
Konstantin Lopushansky is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1980s
Mollevangsvagen added age 71

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

38
12 15
Hans-Jürgen Syberberg is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1980s
Mollevangsvagen added age 83

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

39
25 32
Woody Allen is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1980s
age 83 A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy (1982)
Broadway Danny Rose (1984)
Hannah and Her Sisters (1986)
Radio Days (1987)
New York Stories (1989)

40
6 9
Juraj Jakubisko is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1980s
Mollevangsvagen added Juraj Jakubisko age 80

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)

41
5 8
Claude Chabrol is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1980s
Mollevangsvagen added 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)

42
5 8
Hrafn Gunnlaugsson is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1980s
Mollevangsvagen added Hrafn Gunnlaugsson age 70

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