1981

Film Decades: 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989

Each review will be linked to the title below.

(*seen originally in theaters)

(**seen rereleased in theaters)

  • Absence of Malice – directed by Sydney Pollack, starring Paul Newman, Sally Field, Bob Balaban, Melinda Dillon
  • All Night Long – starring Barbra Streisand, Gene Hackman, Diane Ladd, Dennis Quaid
  • …All the Marbles, starring Peter Falk, Vicki Frederick and Laurene Landon
  • The Amateur, starring John Savage, Christopher Plummer, Marthe Keller
  • American Pop – an animated rotoscope musical by Ralph Bakshi, starring Ron Thompson
  • An American Werewolf in London – directed by John Landis, starring David Naughton, Griffin Dunne, Jenny Agutter – (US/UK)
  • Amy, starring Jenny Agutter and Barry Newman
  • Arthur, starring Dudley Moore, Liza Minnelli, John Gielgud, Geraldine Fitzgerald, Stephen Elliott, Jill Eikenberry
  • The Aviator’s Wife (La femme de l’aviateur), directed by Éric Rohmer – (France)
  • Back Roads – directed by Martin Ritt, starring Sally Field & Tommy Lee Jones
  • Beau-père, directed by Bertrand Blier – (France)
  • Die Berührte, directed by Helma Sanders-Brahms – (West Germany)
  • Betrayal (Løperjenten) – (Norway)
  • Bianco, rosso e Verdone – (Italy)
  • Blind Chance (Przypadek) – (Poland)
  • The Blood of Hussain – (Pakistan)
  • Blood Wedding (Bodas de sangre), directed by Carlos Saura – (Spain)
  • Blow Out – directed by Brian De Palma, starring John Travolta, Nancy Allen, Dennis Franz, John Lithgow
  • The Boat Is Full (Das Boot ist voll) – (Switzerland)
  • Body and Soul, starring Jayne Kennedy, Leon Isaac Kennedy, Michael V. Gazzo
  • Body Heat – directed by Lawrence Kasdan, starring William Hurt, Kathleen Turner, Ted Danson, Richard Crenna, J.A. Preston, Mickey Rourke
  • Das Boot – directed by Wolfgang Petersen, starring Jürgen Prochnow – West Germany
  • Buddy Buddy – directed by Billy Wilder, starring Jack Lemmon & Walter Matthau
  • Buriki no kunsho – (Japan)
  • The Burning, starring Brian Matthews – (United States/Canada)
  • The Bushido Blade – starring Richard Boone & Toshiro Mifune
  • Bustin’ Loose, starring Richard Pryor and Cicely Tyson
  • The Cannonball Run – directed by Hal Needham, starring Burt Reynolds, Dom DeLuise, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Roger Moore, Farrah Fawcett, Adrienne
  • Barbeau
  • Carbon Copy – starring George Segal, Denzel Washington, Susan Saint James, Jack Warden
  • Cattle Annie and Little Britches, starring Burt Lancaster, Rod Steiger, John Savage, Diane Lane, Amanda Plummer
  • Caveman, directed by Carl Gottlieb, starring Ringo Starr, Dennis Quaid, Shelley Long
  • Chariots of Fire – directed by Hugh Hudson, starring Ben Cross, Ian Charleson, Nigel Havers, Ian Holm – (U.K.)
  • Charlie Chan and the Curse of the Dragon Queen, starring Peter Ustinov, Lee Grant, Angie Dickinson
  • Charlotte – (Netherlands)
  • The Chosen, starring Robby Benson, Barry Miller, Maximilian Schell, Rod Steiger
  • Christiane F. – We Children from Bahnhof Zoo, directed by Uli Edel, starring Natja
  • Brunckhorst – (West Germany)
  • Chu Chu and the Philly Flash – directed by David Lowell Rich, starring Carol Burnett & Alan Arkin
  • Circle of Deceit (Die Fälschung), directed by Volker Schlöndorff, starring Bruno Ganz, Hanna Schygulla and Jerzy Skolimowski – (West Germany)
  • Clash of the Titans – starring Harry Hamlin, Laurence Olivier, Maggie Smith, Ursula Andress – (US/UK)
  • Condorman, starring Michael Crawford, Oliver Reed, Barbara Carrera – (U.K.)
    Le confort et l’indifférence (Comfort and Indifference) – (Canada)
  • Continental Divide – directed by Michael Apted, written by Lawrence Kasdan, starring John Belushi, Blair Brown, Allen Garfield
  • Coup de torchon, directed by Bertrand Tavernier, starring Philippe Noiret and Isabelle Huppert – (France)
  • Cutter’s Way – starring Jeff Bridges, Lisa Eichhorn, John Heard
  • Dance Craze, concert documentary featuring Madness, The Beat, The Specials and others – (U.K.)
  • Dark Night of the Scarecrow
  • Dead & Buried, starring James Farentino
  • Deadly Blessing. starring Sharon Stone and Ernest Borgnine
  • Death Hunt, starring Charles Bronson, Lee Marvin, Andrew Stevens, Carl Weathers, Angie Dickinson
  • The Decline of Western Civilization – directed by Penelope Spheeris – documentary
  • Deprisa, Deprisa (Hurry, Hurry!), directed by Carlos Saura – (Spain)
  • The Devil and Max Devlin, starring Elliott Gould and Bill Cosby
  • Diva, directed by Jean-Jacques Beineix – (France)
  • Do You Remember Dolly Bell? (Sjecas li se Doli Bel?) – (Yugoslavia)
  • Dragonslayer, starring Peter MacNicol
  • Dreszcze (Shivers) – (Poland)
  • Eijanaika (Why Not?), directed by Shohei Imamura – (Japan)
  • Ek Duuje Ke Liye (Made for Each Other) – (India)
  • Endless Love, directed by Franco Zeffirelli, starring Brooke Shields and Martin Hewitt
  • The Entity, starring Barbara Hershey, Ron Silver, Margaret Blye
  • Escape from New York – directed by John Carpenter, starring Kurt Russell, Lee Van Cleef, Ernest Borgnine, Isaac Hayes, Adrienne Barbeau
  • Escape to Victory (aka Victory) – directed by John Huston, starring Michael Caine, Sylvester Stallone, Max von Sydow, Pelé
  • The Evil Dead** – directed by Sam Raimi, starring Bruce Campbell
  • Excalibur – directed by John Boorman, starring Nigel Terry, Helen Mirren, Nicol Williamson, Nicholas Clay, Liam Neeson
  • An Eye for an Eye, starring Chuck Norris
  • Eye of the Needle, starring Donald Sutherland and Kate Nelligan – (U.K.)
  • Eyewitness – directed by Peter Yates, starring William Hurt, Sigourney Weaver, Christopher Plummer, James Woods
  • The Fan, directed by Edward Bianchi, starring Lauren Bacall, James Garner, Maureen Stapleton and Michael Biehn
  • Fever (Gorączka), directed by Agnieszka Holland – (Poland)
  • First Monday in October, starring Walter Matthau and Jill Clayburgh
  • For Your Eyes Only – starring Roger Moore, with Carole Bouquet, Lynn-Holly Johnson – UK
  • Fort Apache, The Bronx – directed by Daniel Petrie, starring Paul Newman, Ed Asner, Ken Wahl
  • Four Friends, directed by Arthur Penn, starring Craig Wasson and Jodi Thelen
  • The Four Seasons, directed by and starring Alan Alda, with Carol Burnett, Rita Moreno, Sandy Dennis, Len Cariou, Jack Weston
  • The Fox and the Hound – starring the voices of Mickey Rooney, Kurt Russell, Pearl Bailey
  • The French Lieutenant’s Woman, directed by Karel Reisz, starring Meryl Streep and Jeremy Irons – (U.K.)
  • Friday the 13th Part II, directed by Steve Miner, starring Amy Steel, John Furey and Adrienne King
  • Full Moon High, starring Adam Arkin
  • The Funhouse, directed by Tobe Hooper
  • Gallipoli – directed by Peter Weir, starring Mel Gibson – Australia
  • Gangster Wars, starring Michael Nouri, Joe Penny, Brian Benben, Madeleine Stowe
  • Garde à Vue, starring Romy Schneider and Michel Serrault – (France)
  • Gas, starring Susan Anspach, Sterling Hayden, Helen Shaver – (Canada)
  • Ghost Story – starring Fred Astaire, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Melvyn Douglas, John Houseman
  • The Girl with the Red Hair (Het meisje met het rode haar) – (Netherlands)
  • Going Ape!, starring Tony Danza, Stacey Nelkin, Jessica Walter, Danny DeVito
  • Goodbye Pork Pie – (New Zealand)
  • Graduation Day, starring Christopher George
  • The Great Muppet Caper – directed by and starring Jim Henson, with Frank Oz, Dave Goelz, Jerry Nelson, Richard Hunt, Charles Grodin, Diana Rigg, John Cleese, Peter Ustinov, Jack Warden – US/UK
  • Gregory’s Girl, directed by Bill Forsyth – (U.K.)
  • Grendel Grendel Grendel, starring Peter Ustinov – (Australia)
  • Gulliver in Lilliput
  • Halloween II – directed by Rick Rosenthal, starring Jamie Lee Curtis & Donald Pleasence
  • The Hand – directed by Oliver Stone, starring Michael Caine
  • Hands Up!, (Ręce do góry), directed by Jerzy Skolimowski – (Poland) – originally made in 1967 but withheld
  • Happy Birthday to Me, starring Melissa Sue Anderson and Glenn Ford – (Canada)
  • Hard Country, starring Jan-Michael Vincent and Kim Basinger
  • Hardly Working, directed by and starring Jerry Lewis
  • Harry’s War, starring Edward Herrmann
  • Heartbeeps – directed by Allan Arkush, starring Andy Kaufman & Bernadette Peters
  • Heavy Metal – directed by Gerald Potterton, produced by Ivan Reitman, starring the voices of Rodger Bumpass, Jackie Burroughs, John Candy, Joe Flaherty, Don Francks, Martin Lavut, Marilyn Lightstone, Eugene Levy, Alice Playten, Harold Ramis, Percy Rodriguez, Susan Roman, Richard Romanus, August Schellenberg, John Vernon, and Zal Yanovsky – Canada
  • Hell Night, starring Linda Blair
  • History of the World, Part I – directed by and starring Mel Brooks, with Gregory Hines, Dom DeLuise, Madeline Kahn, Cloris Leachman, Harvey Korman
  • Honky Tonk Freeway, starring William Devane, Beau Bridges, Teri Garr, Beverly D’Angelo, Howard Hesseman, Jessica Tandy
  • The Hound of the Baskervilles (Priklyucheniya Sherloka Kholmsa i doktora Vatsona: Sobaka Baskerviley) – (U.S.S.R.)
  • The Howling – directed by Joe Dante, co-written by John Sayles, starring Dee Wallace & Patrick Macnee
  • I Love You (Eu Te Amo), starring Sônia Braga – (Brazil)
  • The Incredible Shrinking Woman – directed by Joel Schumacher, starring Lily Tomlin, Charles Grodin, & Ned Beatty
  • Inseminoid, starring Judy Geeson, Stephanie Beacham, Victoria Tennant – (U.K.)
  • The Inventor (Der Erfinder) – (Switzerland/West Germany)
  • Just Another Missing Kid – documentary- Canada
  • Killing Heat (Gräset Sjunger), starring Karen Black – (Sweden/Zambia)
  • The Killing of Angel Street – (Australia)
  • Knightriders – directed by George A. Romero, starring Ed Harris
  • Kranti (Revolution), starring Dilip Kumar, Manoj Kumar, Shashi Kapoor – (India)
  • Ladies and Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains, starring Diane Lane and Laura Dern
  • Lady Chatterley’s Lover, starring Sylvia Kristel and Nicholas Clay
  • The Land of Hunger (Aakali Rajyam) – (India)
  • The Last Chase, starring Lee Majors
  • Lawaaris, starring Amitabh Bachchan and Zeenat Aman – (India)
  • The Legend of the Lone Ranger, starring Klinton Spilsbury
  • Light Years Away (Les Années lumière), starring Trevor Howard – (France)
  • Lili Marleen, directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder, starring Hanna Schygulla – (West Germany)
  • Lion of the Desert, starring Anthony Quinn – (Libya)
  • The Little Fox (Vuk) – (Hungary)
  • Lola, a German film directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder, starring Barbara Sukowa and Armin Mueller-Stahl – (West Germany)
  • Looker, directed by Michael Crichton, starring Albert Finney, James Coburn, Susan Dey
  • Looks and Smiles, directed by Ken Loach – (U.K.)
  • The Looney Looney Looney Bugs Bunny Movie
  • Loophole, starring Albert Finney and Martin Sheen
  • Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior – directed by George Miller, starring Mel Gibson – Australia
  • Man of Iron – directed by Andrzej Wajda – Poland
  • Mandala – (South Korea)
  • Marianne and Juliane – directed by Margarethe von Trotta, starring Barbara Sukowa – West Germany
  • Il Marchese del Grillo, directed by Mario Monicelli, starring Alberto Sordi – (Italy)
  • Masada – starring Peter O’Toole, Peter Strauss, Barbara Carrera, David Warner – miniseries
  • The Melody Haunts My Memory (Samo jednom se ljubi) – (Yugoslavia)
  • Mephisto, directed by István Szabó, starring Klaus Maria Brandauer – (Hungary/West Germany/Austria)
  • Il minestrone, starring Roberto Benigni – (Italy)
  • Modern Problems – directed by Ken Shapiro, starring Chevy Chase, Patti D’Arbanville, & Dabney Coleman
  • Modern Romance, directed by and starring Albert Brooks, with Kathryn Harrold & Bruno Kirby
  • Mommie Dearest – starring Faye Dunaway, Diana Scarwid, Steve Forrest – winner of five Golden Raspberry Awards including Worst Picture and Worst Actress
  • Montenegro, starring Susan Anspach and Erland Josephson – (Sweden)
  • Ms. 45, directed by Abel Ferrara
  • Muzhiki! – (U.S.S.R.)
  • My Bloody Valentine – (Canada)
  • My Dinner with Andre, starring Wallace Shawn and Andre Gregory
  • The Mysterious Castle in the Carpathians (Tajemství hradu v Karpatech) – (Czechoslovakia)
  • The Mystery of the Third Planet (Tayna tretyey planety) – (U.S.S.R.)
  • Naseeb (Destiny), starring Amitabh Bachchan – (India)
  • National Heritage (Patrimonio nacional), directed by Luis García Berlanga – (Spain)
  • Neighbors – directed by John G. Avildsen, starring John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, Cathy Moriarty, & Kathryn Walker
  • The Nesting, starring Bill Rowley, Gloria Grahame
  • Nice Dreams, a Cheech & Chong film
  • Nighthawks, starring Sylvester Stallone, Rutger Hauer, Billy Dee Williams, Lindsay Wagner, Persis Khambatta, Nigel Davenport
  • The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia, starring Kristy McNichol, Dennis Quaid, Mark Hamill
  • Nobody’s Perfekt, starring Gabe Kaplan, Alex Karras, Robert Klein
  • The Oil, the Baby and the Transylvanians (Pruncul, petrolul şi ardelenii) – (Romania)
  • Omen III: The Final Conflict, starring Sam Neill, Rossano Brazzi – (US/UK)
  • On Golden Pond – directed by Mark Rydell, starring Katharine Hepburn, Henry Fonda, Jane Fonda, Dabney Coleman
  • On the Right Track, starring Gary Coleman
  • Only When I Laugh, starring Marsha Mason, Kristy McNichol, James Coco, Joan Hackett
  • Outland – directed by Peter Hyams, starring Sean Connery & Peter Boyle – UK
  • Passion of Love (Passione d’amore), directed by Ettore Scola – (Italy)
  • Paternity – directed by David Steinberg, starring Burt Reynolds & Beverly D’Angelo
  • La Pelle (The Skin), directed by Liliana Cavani, starring Marcello Mastroianni and Claudia Cardinale – (Italy)
  • Pennies from Heaven – directed by Herbert Ross, starring Steve Martin, Bernadette Peters, Jessica Harper, Christopher Walken
  • Pixote, directed by Héctor Babenco – (Brazil)
  • Polyester – directed by John Waters, starring Divine, Tab Hunter, David Samson, Edith Massey, & Mink Stole
  • Le Pont du Nord – directed by Jacques Rivette – (France)
  • Porky’s, directed by Bob Clark, starring Dan Monahan, Wyatt Knight, Kim Cattrall, Boyd Gaines, Alex Karras, Susan Clark
  • Possession, starring Isabelle Adjani and Sam Neill – (France/West Germany)
  • The Postman Always Rings Twice – directed by Bob Rafelson, written by David Mamet, starring Jack Nicholson, Jessica Lange, Michael Lerner
  • Priest of Love, starring Ian McKellen, Janet Suzman, Ava Gardner – (UK)
  • Prince of the City, directed by Sidney Lumet, starring Treat Williams and Jerry Orbach
  • Private Lessons, starring Sylvia Kristel, Howard Hesseman, Ed Begley Jr.
  • The Prodigal Son (Bai ga jai), directed by and starring Sammo Hung – (Hong Kong)
  • The Pursuit of D.B. Cooper – starring Treat Williams, Robert Duvall, Kathryn Harrold
  • Quartet – directed by James Ivory, starring Alan Bates, Maggie Smith, Isabelle Adjani – (U.K.)
  • Quest for Fire – directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud – starring Everett McGill, Ron Perlman, Nameer El-Kadi, & Rae Dawn Chong – Canada/France/US
  • Race for the Yankee Zephyr, starring Ken Wahl, Lesley Ann Warren, George Peppard – (New Zealand)
  • Raggedy Man – starring Sam Shepard & Sissy Spacek
  • Ragtime – directed by Miloš Forman, starring James Cagney, Howard E. Rollins Jr., Elizabeth McGovern, Mandy Patinkin, Mary Steenburgen, Brad Dourif, Samuel L. Jackson
  • Raiders of the Lost Ark** – directed by Steven Spielberg, starring Harrison Ford, Karen Allen, Paul Freeman, John Rhys-Davies
  • Reds – directed by and starring Warren Beatty, with Diane Keaton, Jack Nicholson, Maureen Stapleton, Gene Hackman, Paul Sorvino
  • Rich and Famous – directed by George Cukor, starring Jacqueline Bisset and Candice Bergen
  • Roar, directed by Noel Marshall, starring Tippi Hedren and Melanie Griffith
  • Ritam zločina – (Yugoslavia)
  • Roadgames, directed by Richard Franklin, starring Stacy Keach and Jamie Lee Curtis – (Australia)
  • Rollover – directed by Alan J. Pakula, starring Jane Fonda & Kris Kristofferson
  • Ruckus, starring Dirk Benedict, Linda Blair, Richard Farnsworth
  • S.O.B. – directed by Blake Edwards, starring Julie Andrews, William Holden, Robert Preston, Richard Mulligan
  • The Salamander – starring Anthony Quinn, Franco Nero, Eli Wallach, Claudia Cardinale
  • Saturday the 14th, starring Paula Prentiss and Richard Benjamin
  • Scanners – directed by David Cronenberg – (Canada)
  • Sharky’s Machine – directed by and starring Burt Reynolds, with Rachel Ward, Henry Silva, Vittorio Gassman, Charles Durning, Earl Holliman
  • Shaukeen, starring Ashok Kumar – (India)
  • Shikake-nin Baian – (Japan)
  • Shock Treatment, starring Jessica Harper and Cliff DeYoung
  • Short Working Day, directed by Krzysztof Kieślowski – (Poland)
  • Shaolin and Wu Tang (Shao Lin yu Wu Dang), Directed by Liu Chia-Hui, starring Adam Cheng, Gordon Liu and Wang Lung-wei – (Hong Kong)
  • Silence of the North, directed by Allan King, Tom Skerritt, Gordon Pinsent and Ellen Burstyn – (Canada)
  • The Simple-Minded Murderer (Den Enfaldige Mördaren), starring Stellan Skarsgård – (Sweden)
  • The Sixth (Shestoy) – (U.S.S.R.)
  • Smash Palace, directed by Roger Donaldson – (New Zealand)
  • Sogni d’oro (Golden Dreams), directed by and starring Nanni Moretti – (Italy)
  • Southern Comfort, directed by Walter Hill, starring Keith Carradine, Powers Boothe and Fred Ward
  • Sphinx, starring Lesley-Anne Down and Frank Langella
  • Station (Eki Station) – (Japan)
  • Strange Affair (Une étrange affaire), starring Michel Piccoli – (France)
  • Strange Behavior, starring Michael Murphy and Louise Fletcher – (New Zealand)
  • Stripes – directed by Ivan Reitman, starring Bill Murray, Harold Ramis, Warren Oates, John Larroquette, John Candy
  • Student Bodies
  • Suddenly at Midnight (Gipeun bam, gapjagi) – (South Korea)
  • Take This Job and Shove It – starring Robert Hays, Barbara Hershey, Art Carney
  • Tales of Ordinary Madness (Storie di ordinaria follia), starring Ben Gazzara and Ornella Muti – (Italy/France)
  • Taps, directed by Harold Becker, starring Timothy Hutton, George C. Scott, Ronny Cox, Sean Penn, Tom Cruise
  • Tarzan, the Ape Man, starring Bo Derek and Richard Harris
  • Tattoo, starring Bruce Dern and Maud Adams
  • Taxi zum Klo (Taxi to the Toilet) – (West Germany)
  • Teheran 43, starring Alain Delon – (U.S.S.R./France/Switzerland)
  • They All Laughed – directed by Peter Bogdanovich, starring Audrey Hepburn and Ben Gazzara
  • They Don’t Wear Black Tie (Eles Não Usam Black-Tie) – (Brazil)
  • Thief (aka Violent Streets) – directed by Michael Mann, starring James Caan, Tuesday Weld, James Belushi, Robert Prosky
  • This Is Elvis – documentary
  • Three Brothers (Tre fratelli), directed by Francesco Rosi – (Italy)
  • Threshold, directed by Richard Pearce, starring Donald Sutherland, Jeff Goldblum, Mare Winningham – (Canada)
  • Ticket to Heaven, starring Nick Mancuso, Saul Rubinek, Meg Foster – (Canada)
  • Time Bandits – directed by Terry Gilliam, starring John Cleese, Sean Connery, Shelley Duvall, Michael Palin, Ian Holm – (U.K.)
  • Tragedy of a Ridiculous Man (La tragedia di un uomo ridicolo), directed by Bernardo Bertolucci, starring Ugo Tognazzi and Anouk Aimée – (Italy)
  • Tree of Knowledge (Kundskabens træ) – (Denmark)
  • True Confessions – directed by Ulu Grosbard, starring Robert De Niro, Robert Duvall, Charles Durning, Burgess Meredith, Kenneth McMillan
  • The True Story of Ah Q (Ā Q zhèng zhuàn) – (China)
  • Tuck Everlasting
  • Under the Rainbow – directed by Steve Rash, starring Chevy Chase, Carrie Fisher, & Billy Barty
  • Les Uns et les Autres, directed by Claude Lelouch – (France)
  • Útlaginn (Outlaw: The Saga of Gisli) – (Iceland)
  • Variola Vera – (Yugoslavia)
  • Vernon, Florida – documentary
  • Whose Life Is It Anyway? – directed by John Badham, starring Richard Dreyfuss, Bob Balaban, Christine Lahti, John Cassavetes
  • Will, starring Robert Conrad
  • Winter of Our Dreams, directed by John Duigan, starring Judy Davis, Brian Brown, and Baz Luhrmann – Australia
  • Wolfen, starring Albert Finney, Diane Venora and Gregory Hines
  • The Woman Next Door – directed by François Truffaut, starring Gérard Depardieu & Fanny Ardant – France
  • Woman Who Exposes Herself (Misetagaru onna) – (Japan)
  • Zoot Suit, starring Edward James Olmos
  • Zorro, The Gay Blade, starring George Hamilton, Lauren Hutton, Brenda Vaccaro, Ron Leibman