Lets get something straight, Drama films are not something I actively seek out. Let’s get one other thing straight, the 80’s were a great time for action, horror and comedy, but the truly great dramas came from the 70’s and 90’s in opinion. The 80’s were such a time of total excess dramas for the most part suffered from them. In going over various titles to compile this list I noticed that lots of stuff from the 80’s are wrongly categorized. For example. Starman and Action Jackson are considered Drams. I see them as Sci-Fi and most definitely action for the latter. Beverly Hills Cop an action comedy is listed as a drama as well. I mean sure all those film had drama elements but to me they all belonged in a different category. Now I am sure people may find a few of my choices belong in a deferent category so I must stress, like I always do this is my opinion. Also before you ask I love Rocky 4 but it was to goofy for me to count as a drama. So here we go, The Top 10 80’s Dramas.
10) Full Metal Jacket: Vincent D’Onofrio steals this film, and had he been around in the second act it would have been higher on my list. Yes, I am going on record saying he was not only the best part of the film, but the only reason to even care about the film. His performance was so powerful I put this on the top 10 drama films of all time let alone the 80’s. The fact he did not get an Oscar nod is a horrendous oversight. Stanley Kubrick's take on the Vietnam War follows smart-aleck Private Davis (Matthew Modine), quickly christened "Joker" by his foul-mouthed drill sergeant (R. Lee Ermey), and pudgy Private Lawrence (Vincent D'Onofrio), nicknamed "Gomer Pyle," as they endure the rigors of basic training. Though Pyle takes a frightening detour, Joker graduates to the Marine Corps and is sent to Vietnam as a journalist, covering -- and eventually participating in -- the bloody Battle of Hué.
9) Mississippi Burning: Watching Gene Hackman beat the crap out of a racist wife beating cop in a barbershop is one of the best scenes in film. Its also fantastic to watch the performance of Willem Dafoe as the straight laced FBI agent who finally decides to start using more “Unorthodox” measures to solve a crime. When a group of civil rights workers goes missing in a small Mississippi town, FBI agents Alan Ward (Willem Dafoe) and Rupert Anderson (Gene Hackman) are sent in to investigate. Local authorities refuse to cooperate with them, and the African American community is afraid to, precipitating a clash between the two agents over strategy. As the situation becomes more volatile, the direct approach is abandoned in favor of more aggressive, hardline tactics.
8) Pope of Greenwich Village: Mickey Rourke and Eric Roberts are both fantastic in this little film from 1984. Once again the fact that Rourke was not given an Oscar nod is a shame. In fact It’s something I believe he himself resents to this day. Roberts is amazing as well and gives one of his best performances of all time. Cousins Paulie (Eric Roberts) and Charlie (Mickey Rourke) plan to rob a merchant in the New York City neighborhood that's home to the restaurant where they work. When their scheme results in the death of a police officer and draws the ire of the Mafia-linked businessman who was ripped off, Charlie's girlfriend (Daryl Hannah) bolts, and mob henchmen exact a brutal price from Paulie. With the mob threatening to kill them, the thieves must think fast if they intend to survive
7) The Breakfast Club: Considered by some a comedy to me dealings of parental abuse, suicidal thoughts, angst, and other various teen problems are dramatic. John Hughes who normally makes simple family teen comedies really did a fantastic job with this young cast. Throw in the fact it all takes place in a high school, mostly the library makes it all the more charming. Five high school students from different walks of life endure a Saturday detention under a power-hungry principal (Paul Gleason). The disparate group includes rebel John (Judd Nelson), princess Claire (Molly Ringwald), outcast Allison (Ally Sheedy), brainy Brian (Anthony Michael Hall) and Andrew (Emilio Estevez), the jock. Each has a chance to tell his or her story, making the others see them a little differently -- and when the day ends, they question whether school will ever be the same.
6) Fatal Attraction: The movie that made men stop having affaires, and buying Rabbits. This is a marvelous film that hold up perfectly to this day. In fact I must say all of these films do, none of them miss a beat in terms of years gone by. Michael Douglas (who will be on this list again) is fantastic. Sure he messed up cheating on his wife, but he’s also able to play the character as semi sympathetic as well. The film went on to get 6 Oscar nominations that year. For Dan Gallagher (Michael Douglas), life is good. He is on the rise at his New York law firm, is happily married to his wife, Beth (Anne Archer), and has a loving daughter. But, after a casual fling with a sultry book editor named Alex (Glenn Close), everything changes. Jilted by Dan, Alex becomes unstable, her behavior escalating from aggressive pursuit to obsessive stalking. Dan realizes that his main problem is not hiding his affair, but rather saving himself and his family.
5) Blow Out: Not only John Travolta’s most overlooked film, but probably one of the most overlooked films ever. Brian De Palma chose Travolta of Al Pachino for this small film, its budget was only around 9 million, and Travolta delivered. Filmed mostly at night with amazing editing and style Blow Out has luckily developed a cult following over the years. While recording sound effects for a slasher flick, Jack Terri (John Travolta) stumbles upon a real-life horror: a car careening off a bridge and into a river. Jack jumps into the water and fishes out Sally (Nancy Allen) from the car, but the other passenger is already dead -- a governor intending to run for president. As Jack does some investigating of his tapes, and starts a perilous romance with Sally, he enters a tangled web of conspiracy that might leave him dead.
4) Stand By Me: Without a doubt the greatest coming of age film ever made. Corey Feldman gives one of the greatest performances of any child actor with his turn as Teddy Duchamp. The narration, heart, humor, and overall simplicity make this a must see film. Its rated R, but its defiantly a film that parents can watch with their kids. This film has such a great chemistry between the entire cast that will never be duplicated again. After learning that a stranger has been accidentally killed near their rural homes, four Oregon boys decide to go see the body. On the way, Gordie Lachance (Wil Wheaton), Vern Tessio (Jerry O'Connell), Chris Chambers (River Phoenix) and Teddy Duchamp (Corey Feldman) encounter a mean junk man and a marsh full of leeches, as they also learn more about one another and their very different home lives. Just a lark at first, the boys' adventure evolves into a defining event in their lives.
3) Scarface: Yeah Yeah it’s a gangster film, but all gangster films are dramas if you think about it. Al Pacino gives one of the most memorable performances of his career in this now iconic film about drug trafficking in Miami in the 80’s It become a pop culture phenomenon. Games, toys, posters, shirts, you name it. The lines are quoted to this day. Its Brian De Palma’s second film on this list and it really is a must see. After getting a green card in exchange for assassinating a Cuban government official, Tony Montana (Al Pacino) stakes a claim on the drug trade in Miami. Viciously murdering anyone who stands in his way, Tony eventually becomes the biggest drug lord in the state, controlling nearly all the cocaine that comes through Miami. But increased pressure from the police, wars with Colombian drug cartels and his own drug-fueled paranoia serve to fuel the flames of his eventual downfall.
2) Raging Bull: I give Robert De Niro a lot of flak for phoning in performances now a days but there is no denying he deserved the Oscar for this film. He what can only be called amazing commitment he gained over 60lbs to portray LaMotta after he retired from boxing. That’s a commitment you don’t see often. Shot in glorious black and white this film is truly historic. In fact it’s the first film to ever be selected into the National Film Registry the first year it was eligible. Based on the true story of Jake LaMotta The story of a middleweight boxer as he rises through ranks to earn his first shot at the middleweight crown. He falls in love with a gorgeous girl from the Bronx. The inability to express his feelings enters into the ring and eventually takes over his life. He eventually is sent into a downward spiral that costs him everything
1) Wall Street: “Greed is Good” only of the most memorable lines in film was uttered by Michael Douglas in his Oscar winning performance in the Oliver Stone masterpiece. Truly a film of the 80’s its power holds true to this day. It no doubt inspired waves of people to become stockbrokers. Charlie Sheen is equally as fantastic in his role of Bud Fox, a young naive stockbroker who falls under the spell of Douglas. Its one of my all time favorite films, top three actually. On the Wall Street of the 1980s, Bud Fox (Charlie Sheen) is a stockbroker full of ambition, doing whatever he can to make his way to the top. Admiring the power of the unsparing corporate raider Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas), Fox entices Gekko into mentoring him by providing insider trading. As Fox becomes embroiled in greed and underhanded schemes, his decisions eventually threaten the livelihood of his scrupulous father (Martin Sheen). Faced with this dilemma, Fox questions his loyalties.