1. Raging Bull (1980) – Portraying the remarkable life story of famed boxer Jake La Motta, never has director Martin Scorsese put together a better masterpiece. Robert De Niro also delivers his career performance (1980 Academy Award- Best Actor) in a movie that may have the most amazing sequencing ever.
2. Wall Street (1987) – Before Bernie Madoff, there was Gordon Gecko. And before rehab, there was the Charlie Sheen of the 80’s- the actor known for consistently delivering blockbusters every year. In a tale about one’s unruly lust for money, Michael Douglas delivers his famous “Greed is Good” speech, which nabbed him the 1987 Academy Award for Best Actor.
3. Ordinary People (1980) – Simply the ordinary tale of an ordinary family in an everyday Chicago suburb. Except this ordinary family has to deal with extraordinary problems, further complicated by the mother, a theatric Mary Tyler Moore, who is obsessed with the family portraying a clean image to the outside world. The culmination of all the emotional conflicts gives this stunning drama a climax so rousing that it won the 1980 Academy Award for Best Picture.
4. Rocky IV (1985) – A movie which needs not an explanation, because it is simply the best entry in the Rocky series. Dealing with the agony of death coupled with the ultimate revenge by victory, even the soundtrack to this movie is thrilling. “Heart’s on Fire” is a song which instantly reminds any Rocky fan of that epic Balboa training scene in the frozen Russian outdoors.
5. Purple Rain (1984) – Puzzled by the fact that Prince has always been able to pull the most stunning women such as Madonna, Kim Bassinger, and even Carmen Electra? Well Prince’s biopic will leave you even more baffled, as the musical story of his early life has him chasing another beauty, Appollonia, whom he also romanced in real life too. Prince also plays himself in the extremely successful movie/musical, whose soundtrack, Purple Rain, happened to sell over 20 million worldwide, including one of the biggest singles of the decade titled, yes, Purple Rain.
6. Platoon (1986) – Vietnam veteran Oliver Stone’s trilogy of movies depicting his experiences in the war began with this effort, starring many including Charlie Sheen. Highly regarded as one of the greatest war films ever made, it is of no surprise it won the 1986 Academy Award for Best Picture. Portraying a young college student who leaves school to serve in the war, the dramatic events in the life of a young soldier and his platoon are both amazing and shocking.
7. Coming to America (1988) – Eddie Murphy stars in this comedy so hilarious, that all that needs to be said about it is the “Soul Glo Commercial”-
8. Scarface (1983) – Everyone’s favorite Al Pacino crime drama not named The Godfather, the legend of Tony Montana exploits the highs of having all the money you need, and in epic fashion shows the lows that would accompany any great tragedy. The no-nonsense Cuban has many great quotables throughout the movie, including the classic “In this country, you gotta make the money first. Then when you get the money, you get the power. Then when you get the power, then you get the women.”
9. Glory (1989) – Acknowledged by many critics as the best civil movie ever made, Matthew Broderick, Morgan Freeman and a then unknown Denzel Washington (1989 Academy Award – Best Supporting Actor) deliver stellar performances in this brilliant war epic. As amazing as the storyline is, what is more amazing is that this movie is based on a true story.
10. Do the Right Thing (1989) – As groundbreaking as it is original, Spike Lee’s first major success was a very controversial snubfor the Academy Award Best Picture nomination. It is a pioneering movie which examined race relations from many different viewpoints in a Brooklyn neighborhood, and is meant for all to gain by watching. As the title suggests, when faced with predicaments or ignorance, Lee shows that one should simply just Do the Right Thing.