Steven Spielberg is so prolific that he has released the best movies of every decade since the 70s. He even recently released one of the best movies of the 2020s to date with the remake of West Side Story. But the most interesting and active decade of Spielberg’s career was the 1980s.
The decade saw the director create one of the most iconic movie heroes of all time, one of the most famous sci-fi films in history, and a woefully overlooked historical epic. Most of these movies would be career bests if they were directed by someone else, but that’s just another day at the office by Spielberg standards.
8 Always (1989) – 6.4
Spielberg is one of the greatest filmmakers of this generation, and apart from Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, he didn’t have many critically hated films. Corn Always is one of the very few exceptions. The film is a romantic fantasy about a pilot who is framed by the ghost of a deceased former pilot.
The film is too melodramatic, and although it has worked in films like The terminalhe fell flat in Always. However, the 1989 film is notable for several reasons. The fantasy drama sees Audrey Hepburn in her final film role, and it’s worth watching just to see what an actress she was even at the very end of her career.
7 Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983) – 6.4
Twilight Zone: The Movie was an interesting experience at the time, as it is an adaptation and partial remake of the television series of the same name. Unfortunately, audiences didn’t react well to the horror film, and it lacked the usual excitement of Spielberg and his beloved brands.
However, the failure of Twilight Zone: The Movie can’t sleep with Spielberg alone, because it’s an anthology film made up of four completely separate stories. And the four different segments are all directed by different filmmakers, including John Landis, George Miller, and Joe Dante. While Spielberg’s segment certainly isn’t the best, it’s not the worst either.
6 Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984) – 7.5
If anyone remembers anything from the 1980s in cinema, it’s Indiana Jones. The character is one of the most iconic movie heroes of all time, and the films are no-nonsense action-adventure flicks the whole family can enjoy. However, of the original three films, The cursed temple did not receive the best reception upon its release.
The film is criticized for the character of Willie, which is necessarily dark, and all the blunders that have entered the film. While audiences have come to the film and there’s so much to love, including the darker tone, it’s still not as well-liked as the first and third films.
5 Empire of the Sun (1987) – 7.7
Spielberg has so many classics under his belt and has such a vast and genre-spanning filmography that audiences speak fondly of so many of them. But the one that gets overlooked, even by the director’s fans, is Empire of the Sunbecause it is highly rated by people who have seen it.
The 1987 film is one of the best historical dramas out there, as the film follows a young British boy who struggles to survive when the Japanese invade Shanghai during World War II. It’s one of Spielberg’s most moving films, which says a lot, and it’s also one of his most ambitious, which says even more. The film also sees Christian Bale in one of his earliest roles, and it shows just how talented this actor was from a young age.
4 The Color Violet (1985) – 7.7
Spielberg really showed his dramatic side in the 1980s more than in any other decade. In the same way Always and Empire of the Sun, The purple color is an engaging melodrama, as it follows the racial segregation that an African-American teenager suffered in Georgia in the 1910s.
The film was criticized by some for not detailing the lesbian relationship as depicted in the book which The purple color is based on. But in an interview with Weekly entertainment, Spielberg didn’t think he could have got away with keeping the movie PG-13. And other than that, it’s one of the most important films made in the 1980s. The film was nominated for an astonishing 11 Oscars at the 58th Academy Awards, but it somehow went home empty hands.
3 ET The Extra-Terrestrial (1982) – 7.9
AND the extra-terrestrial is one of the early films that helped make Spielberg the greatest science fiction filmmaker of all time. And if it seems that Denis Villeneuve, director of Arrival, Blade Runner 2049and Dunes, aims for the crown, no one can capture iconic imagery and whimsical, childlike wonder that Spielberg can. It’s all in the 1982 film.
Between the iconic shot of ET flying beyond the moon, John Williams’ magical score, and the amazing special effects, the movie touches the hearts of millions of 80s kids. It’s one of the best movies kid-friendly aliens, and it’s influenced so many filmmakers that it’s been imitated to death.
2 Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) – 8.3
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade is the perfect Indy movie because it brings the whole crew together, features Sean Connery as Indy’s dad, which was perfect casting, and is packed with amazing action sequences. The Last Crusade could have been the perfect ending to the Indiana Jones series, making it one of the greatest trilogies of all time. But unfortunately, crystal skull followed 20 years later.
However, the series could be picked up in 2023, as the fifth film in the works. It’s not directed by Spielberg, which would normally be cause for concern, but it’s helmed by Logan director James Mangold, and he’s the perfect filmmaker to give Indy the swan song it deserves. .
1 Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) – 8.4
While The Last Crusade might be the most entertaining and thrilling Indy movie, it wouldn’t exist without the true original. There was no such thing The Raiders of the Lost Ark before him, and although there have been countless attempts to imitate him, including the recent Unexploredthere has been nothing like it since.
However, fans hilariously noted that Indy had no effect on the film’s outcome. The Nazis would have found the Ark of the Covenant with or without him, they would have opened it with or without him, and they would have died with or without him.
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