Entertainment

The Greatest Directors of the 1980s  

Ranker Film
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2.1k votes 338 voters 18.7k views 46 items

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
Steven Spielberg is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1980s
age 73
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)
2
John Hughes is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1980s
Dec. 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
John Carpenter is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1980s
age 71
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
Robert Zemeckis is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1980s
age 68
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
Rob Reiner is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1980s
age 72
This Is Spinal Tap (1984)
The Sure Thing (1985)
Stand by Me (1986)
The Princess Bride (1987)
When Harry Met Sally.... (1989)
6
Tim Burton is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1980s
age 61
Pee-wee's Big Adventure (1985)
Beetlejuice (1988)
Batman (1989)
7
James Cameron is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1980s
age 65
Piranha II: The Spawning (1981)
The Terminator (1984)
Aliens (1986)
The Abyss (1989)
8
John Landis is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1980s
age 69
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)
9
Ivan Reitman is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1980s
EastOfTheAnduin added age 73

Ghostbusters (1984)

Ghostbusters II (1989)

Stripes (1981)

Meatballs (1979)

10
Martin Scorsese is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1980s
gschwayze added age 77

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

11
Richard Donner is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1980s
age 89
The Toy (1982)
The Goonies (1985)
Ladyhawke (1985)
Lethal Weapon (1987)
Scrooged (1988)
Leathal Weapon 2 (1989)
12
Ridley Scott is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1980s
outlel added age 82

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

13
Oliver Stone is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1980s
age 73
Salvador (1986)
Platoon (1986)
Wall Street (1987)
Talk Radio (1988)
Born on the Fourth of July (1989)
14
David Cronenberg is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1980s
age 76
The Scanners (1981)
Videodrome (1983)
The Dead Zone (1983)
The Fly (1986)
Dead Ringers (1988)
15
Harold Ramis is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1980s
Dec. at 70 (1944-2014)
Caddyshack (1980)
National Lampoon's Vacation (1983)
Club Paradise (1986)
16
David Lynch is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1980s
age 73
The Elephant Man (1980)
Dune (1984)
Blue Velvet (1986)
17
Terry Gilliam is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1980s
Mollevangsvagen added age 79

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

18
Barry Levinson is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1980s
age 77
Diner (1982)
The Natural (1984)
Young Sherlock Homes (1985)
Tin Men (1987)
Good Morning Vietnam (1987)
Rain Man (1988)
19
Ron Howard is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1980s
starwarssuperfan added age 65
20
Robert Altman is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1980s
mchris65 added Dec. at 81 (1925-2006)
21
Bertrand Blier is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1980s
Conker added age 80
22
Irvin Kershner is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1980s
starwarssuperfan added Dec. at 87 (1923-2010)
23
Woody Allen is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1980s
age 84
A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy (1982)
Broadway Danny Rose (1984)
Hannah and Her Sisters (1986)
Radio Days (1987)
New York Stories (1989)
24
Werner Herzog is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1980s
Mollevangsvagen added age 77

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
Juliusz Machulski is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Directors of the 1980s
Mollevangsvagen added age 64

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