The top movie of 1980 was the sequel to George Lucas' blockbuster 1977 scifi flick Star Wars. Empire Strikes Back continued the saga of Luke Skywalker and his fight against the dark side. It grossed more money than any other film in 1980. Other top movies from 1980 included two more sequels. Christopher Reeves returned to save Metropolis from the evil Zod in Superman II and Burt Reynolds was back in the Trans Am for another cross country run in Smokey and the Bandit II. Elsewhere in 1980, Dolly Parton crossed over to the big screen in the hit comedy 9 to 5, Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder went Stir Crazy in prison, and The Blues Brothers tried to save an orphanage by getting the band back together for a benefit concert. 1980 also included one of the funniest movies of the 80s in Airplane! the movie. Airplane! was a spoof on all of the disaster movies of the 70s. The movie was voted the 10th funniest American comedy in AFI's "100 years of Laughs" list.
The highest grossing movie of 1981 was the classic adventure movie Raiders of the Lost Ark. Harrison Ford continued his run of blockbuster movies by moving from swashbuckling spaceman Han Solo to swashbuckling archeologist Indiana Jones. Another adventure flick from 1981 that does not get as much attention is Terry Gilliam's fantasy flick Time Bandits. The story of a group of time traveling dwarves hunting for treasure is a sci fi classic. If serious dramas are more up your alley, 1981 gave us the academy award nominated On Golden Pond and winner Chariots of Fire. If your tastes are toward not so serious movies, than your are in luck. 1981 also gave us the comedies Porky's, Stripes, and Arthur. Also in 1981 was the James Bond flick For Your Eyes Only and the zany cross country road race The Cannonball Run.
In 1982, ET phoned home with the top grossing move of the decade: E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial. Also in 1982, Dustin Hoffman wore a dress in Tootsie and Richard Gear wore a naval uniform in An Officer and a Gentleman. A couple of sequels were in the top 5 movies of 1982. Sylvester Stallone continued the Rocky franchise by taking on Mr. T in Rocky III and the crew of the starship Enterprise returned to take on Ricardo Montalbán in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Elsewhere in 1982, Poltergeist taught us it probably was not a good idea to build a housing development on an indian burial ground and Eddie Murphy and Nick Nolte taught us that teaming up a convict with a tough cop will not only help catch a killer in 48 Hrs, but also bring along plenty of laughs in the process.
The run of top grossing sequels continued in 1983, as the top movie was Return of the Jedi, which was the third of the Star Wars movies.. but was actually episode 6. Three more movies continued existing franchises in 1983. James Bond returned to save the world from a world war in Octopussy, Dirty Harry was back on the trail of a serial killer in Sudden Impact, and John Travolta was back on the dance floor in the Saturday Night Fever sequel Staying Alive. John Travolta was not the only one tearing up the dance floor in 1983. Jennifer Beals was also on the floor trying to make the common jump from being a welder to a ballet dancer in Flashdance. 1983 also gave us the tearjerker Terms of Endearment, Michael Keaton as Mr. Mom, Tom Cruise turning his house into a brothel in Risky Business, and Matthew Broderick hacking into NORAD in WarGames.
Who ya gonna call for the top movie of 1984? Ghostbusters of course! The flick, starring Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd as ghost hunters, was the top grossing movie of '84. 1984 also gave us Eddie Murphy's hilarious detective Axel Foley, a Detroit cop who takes his investigation to California in Beverly Hills Cop, and Tom Hanks hilarious love affair with a mermaid in Splash. A couple of more sequels turned up in the top grossing movies of 1984. Harrison Ford was back for another adventure in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Also back were the crew of the Enterprise in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. In 1984, we learned not to let the Gremlins get wet and that painting a fence and waxing a car will turn you into The Karate Kid. Rounding out the top movies of 1984 was the Indiana Jones clone Romancing the Stone, the wacky group of cadets at the Police Academy, and the Kevin Bacon dance flick Footloose.
We went Back to the Future for the top movie of 1985. The Michael J. Fox time traveling flick was the top grossing movie of the year. A couple of Sylvester Stallone sequels where he takes on communists were among the top movies of 1985. In Rambo: First Blood Part II he single handedly saves a group of vietnam POWs and in Rocky IV he takes on the Russians in a boxing match. Lovers of dramas had a great year in 1985. Academy award nominated The Color Purple, winner Out of Africa, and Cocoon all had critical and box office success. Harrison Ford was back in 1985, this time as a cop assigned to protect an Amish boy in Witness. Other top movies from 1985 included the Romancing the Stone sequel The Jewel of the Nile, the Dan Aykroyd and Chevy Chase comedy Spies Like Us, and the treasuring hunting kids known as The Goonies.
Tom Cruise took his career to superstar status in 1986 with the release of his adrenaline fueled Top Gun movie. On Cruise's tail was Paul Hogan with his fish out of water comedy about an Australian outback guide dropped into New York City in Crocodile Dundee. As usual there were several sequels in the top ten. Mr. Miyagi and Daniel were back in The Karate Kid Part II, Sigourney Weaver was fighting Aliens again, and the crew of the Enterprise went back in time to modern day earth in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. Oliver Stone's first Vietnam flick, Platoon, was released in 1986. The movie was the first in his Vietnam trilogy that later would include Born on the 4th of July and Heaven and Earth. Also in 1986, Rodney Dangerfield went Back to School, Mathew Broderick skipped school in Ferris Bueller's Day off, Eddie Murphy tracks down kidnapped children in The Golden Child, and Danny Devito does not care at all that his wife is kidnapped in Ruthless People.
The number one flick of 1987 starred Three Men and a Baby. Tom Selleck, Steve Guttenberg, and Ted Danson try to take care of a baby left on their doorstep in the top grossing flick of 1987. Also in 1987, Glenn Close had a Fatal Attraction to Michael Douglas, Eddie Murphy's Axel Foley was back in Beverly Hills Cop II, and Robin Williams shakes things up on US Armed Forces Radio in Good Morning Vietnam. Cher had a great year in 1987. Her romantic comedy Moonstruck did great at the box office, and she followed that up by starring with Susan Sarandon, Michelle Pfeiffer and Jack Nicholson in the hit movie Witches of Eastwick. In 1987 we learned not to put baby in the corner in Dirty Dancing, not to mess with Eliot Ness in The Untouchables, and how to get ahead in business with the Michael J. Fox flick Secret of My Success. Rounding out the top movies of 1987 were a couple of cop buddy movies. Richard Dreyfuss and Emilio Estevez were partners tasked to watch over Madeleine Stowe in Stakeout and Danny Glover had to deal with his half crazy partner Mel Gibson in Lethal Weapon.
Tom Cruise was at the top of the box office again in 1988. First he co-starred with Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man, the top grossing flick of 1988. Then he spent time as a bartender while wooing Elisabeth Shue in Cocktail. Surprisingly a couple of cartoons made it into the top ten movies of 1988. Who Framed Roger Rabbit was a half cartoon\half real life, movie starring Bob Haskins as a detective who has to go to Toon Town to investigate a murder. Oliver & Company was a full cartoon about a homeless kitten who joins a pack of thieving dogs. On the comedy front, 1988 gave us Tom Hanks playing a young kid who becomes Big overnight, Eddie Murphy Coming to America, and Mick Dundee back for another walkabout in Crocodile Dundee II. Also in 1988, Bruce Willis saves the day in Die Hard, Leslie Nielsen screws up but still manages to save the day in The Naked Gun, and Arnold Schwarznegger and Danny Devito are Twins.
The number one movie of 1989 was the super hero flick Batman. Michael Keaton's take on the Dark Knight grossed more money than any other film in 1989. Sequels were heavily represented in the top movies of '89. Harrison Ford was back again in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Glover and Gibson were back for another run in Lethal Weapon 2, Marty returned to 1955 in Back to the Future Part II, and the ghost busting gang was back in Ghostbusters 2. Also in 1989, the babies were speaking in Look Who's Talking, Morgan Freeman was Driving Miss Daisy, Steve Martin was discovering Parenthood, The Little Mermaid was leaving the sea, and Rick Moranis was in big trouble with the wife in Honey, I Shrunk the Kids.