Best Movies of 1981

This page is updated regularly. Subscribe, so you don't miss new recommendations. The list of "Best Movies of 1981" contains films with the following parameters. Style: talky, intense, cult film, suspense, interesting and serious. Plot: dialogue, mentor, storytelling, runaway, catastrophe, suprisingly clever, chase, death, culture clash and brutality. Genre: Drama, Adventure and Thriller. Country: USA, UK and Canada.
Best Movies of 1981
Best Movies of 1981
TOP Movies: Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), Chariots of Fire (1981), On Golden Pond (1981), The Evil Dead (1981), Arthur (1981), An American Werewolf in London (1981), Reds (1981), The Fox and the Hound (1981), Escape from New York (1981), For Your Eyes Only (1981), My Dinner with Andre (1981), Thief (1981), Halloween II (1981), Blow Out (1981), Time Bandits (1981), Scanners (1981), The Howling (1981), Body Heat (1981), The Boat (1981), History of the World: Part I (1981).
Type:
TV Shows

List of Best Movies

Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
Genre: Action, Adventure
Country: USA
Duration: 115 min.
Story: When Dr. Indiana Jones – the tweed-suited professor who just happens to be a celebrated archaeologist – is hired by the government to locate the legendary Ark of the Covenant, he finds himself up against the entire Nazi regime.
Style: exciting, breathtaking, entertaining, atmospheric, epic ...
Audience: kids, family outing, boys' night, teens
Plot: treasure hunt, adventure, archaeologist, artifact, adventurer, escapades, treasure, archaeology, ancient, journey, desert, secret place ...
Time: 1930s, year 1936, 20th century
Place: egypt, nepal, cairo egypt, south america, usa ...
Is relevant ?
Chariots of Fire (1981)
Genre: Biography, Drama, Sport
Country: UK
Duration: 125 min.
Story: The true story of British athletes preparing for and competing in the 1924 Summer Olympics.
Style: inspirational, sexy, christian film, sentimental, thought provoking ...
Audience: family outing
Plot: christian, sport, underdog, prejudice, jewish, faith, missionary, friendship, running, athlete, race, religion ...
Time: 1920s, 1930s, 1910s, 20th century, post world war one ...
Place: scotland, england, vatican, paris france, europe ...
Is relevant ?
 7.6
 31K
On Golden Pond (1981)
Genre: Drama
Country: USA
Duration: 109 min.
Story: For Norman and Ethel Thayer, this summer on golden pond is filled with conflict and resolution. When their daughter Chelsea arrives, the family is forced to renew the bonds of love and overcome the generational friction that has existed for years. ...
Style: inspirational, sexy, realistic, emotional, touching ...
Audience: girls' night, family outing
Plot: family relations, elderly, aging, love story, family, bittersweet, family holiday, senior citizen, summer, marriage, parenthood, father daughter relationship ...
Time: 80s, 20th century
Place: new hampshire, new england, maine
Is relevant ?
 7.4
 207K
The Evil Dead (1981)
Genre: Horror
Country: USA
Duration: 85 min.
Story: When a group of college students finds a mysterious book and recording in the old wilderness cabin they've rented for the weekend, they unwittingly unleash a demonic force from the surrounding forest.
Style: macabre, scary, psychotronic, bloody, slasher ...
Audience: boys' night
Plot: zombie, monster, evil, dark humor, supernatural horror, evil dead, supernatural, extreme violence, demonic possession, survival, demon, strong violent content ...
Time: 80s, 20th century, 70s
Place: usa, michigan, tennessee
Is relevant ?
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cult film movies
8458
80s movies
80s
5397
dialogue movies
9256
intense movies
4897
 6.9
 29K
Arthur (1981)
Genre: Comedy, Romance
Country: USA
Duration: 97 min.
Story: Arthur is the most quotable drunk millionaire that is likely to ever steal your heart. Dudley Moore portrays Arthur, a thirty year old child who will inherit 750 million dollars if he complies with his family's demands and marries the woman of ...
Style: funny, witty, clever, touching, feel good ...
Audience: kids, date night
Plot: butler, alcoholic, screwball, culture clash, addiction, bittersweet, love, wedding, inheritance, class differences, heir, drunkenness ...
Time: 80s
Place: new york, california, usa
Is relevant ?
An American Werewolf in London (1981)
Genre: Comedy, Horror
Country: UK, USA
Duration: 97 min.
Story: Two American tourists in England are attacked by a werewolf that none of the locals will admit exists.
Style: scary, funny, atmospheric, suspenseful, humorous ...
Audience: teens
Plot: werewolf, monster, supernatural, beast, afterlife, monster as victim, nurse, full moon, transformation, college student, dark humor, curses spells and rituals ...
Time: 80s, 20th century
Place: london, england, yorkshire, europe, scottish highlands ...
Is relevant ?
 7.3
 23K
Reds (1981)
Genre: Biography, Drama, History, Romance
Country: USA, UK
Duration: 195 min.
Story: A radical American journalist becomes involved with the Communist revolution in Russia and hopes to bring its spirit and idealism to the United States.
Style: epic, sentimental, serious, captivating, tense ...
Plot: politics, russian revolution, communism, love triangle, journalism, romance, world war one, adaptation, american abroad, idealism, political unrest, revolution ...
Time: 1920s, 1910s, year 1917, 20th century, year 1918 ...
Place: russia, st. petersburg russia, california, new york, usa ...
Is relevant ?
The Fox and the Hound (1981)
Genre: Animation, Adventure, Drama, Family
Country: USA
Duration: 83 min.
Story: When a feisty little fox named Tod is adopted into a farm family, he quickly becomes friends with a fun and adorable hound puppy named Copper. Life is full of hilarious adventures until Copper is expected to take on his role as a hunting dog -- and ...
Style: touching, emotional, sentimental, tear jerker, sweet ...
Audience: kids, family outing, pre-teens, preschoolers, girls' night
Plot: dog, disney, friendship, animals, animal life, adventure, fox, reconciliation, chase, rescue, cartoon dog, hunting ...
Time: 80s, 20th century, 60s
Place: canada
Is relevant ?
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12969
suspense movies
17006
suspenseful movies
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murder movies
19449
Escape from New York (1981)
Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
Country: USA
Duration: 99 min.
Story: In 1997, the island of Manhattan has been walled off and turned into a giant maximum security prison within which the country's worst criminals are left to form their own anarchic society. However, when the President of the United States crash ...
Style: exciting, futuristic, serious, rough, apocalyptic ...
Audience: teens, boys' night
Plot: distopia, cyberpunk, post apocalypse, prison, future dystopia, hostage, loner, rescue, race against time, lone hero, violence, escape ...
Time: future, year 1997, 80s, 90s, 20th century
Place: new york, manhattan new york city, new jersey, usa, brooklyn new york city ...
Is relevant ?
For Your Eyes Only (1981)
Genre: Action, Adventure, Thriller
Country: UK
Duration: 127 min.
Story: A British spy ship has sunk and on board was a hi-tech encryption device. James Bond is sent to find the device that holds British launching instructions before the enemy Soviets get to it first.
Style: exciting, twists and turns, sexy, tense, suspenseful ...
Audience: boys' night
Plot: james bond, 007, espionage, cold war, british secret service, adventure, secret service, kgb, vengeance, undercover, spy, submarine ...
Time: 80s, future, 20th century
Place: greece, albania, england, europe, london ...
Is relevant ?
My Dinner with Andre (1981)
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Country: USA
Duration: 110 min.
Story: Wallace Shawn and Andre Gregory, apparently playing themselves, share their lives over the course of an evening meal at a restaurant.
Style: thought provoking, philosophical, intellectual, surreal, sexy ...
Plot: restaurant, food, philosophy, existentialism, stream of consciousness, mysticism, jewish, technology, humanity, death, bittersweet, melancholy ...
Time: 80s, 20th century, contemporary
Place: poland, new york, manhattan new york city, usa, sahara
Is relevant ?
 7.4
 32K
Thief (1981)
Genre: Action, Crime, Drama, Thriller
Country: USA
Duration: 123 min.
Story: Frank is an expert professional safecracker, specialized in high-profile diamond heists. He plans to use his ill-gotten income to retire from crime and build a nice life for himself complete with a home, wife and kids. To accelerate the process, he ...
Style: atmospheric, noir, cerebral, realistic, tense ...
Audience: boys' night
Plot: heist, gangsters, thief, safecracker, mafia, character study, bank robbery, betrayal, car salesman, crimes, vengeance, home invasion ...
Time: 80s, 70s, 20th century
Place: chicago illinois, new jersey, usa, illinois, los angeles
Is relevant ?
 6.5
 89K
Halloween II (1981)
Genre: Horror
Country: USA
Duration: 92 min.
Story: After failing to kill stubborn survivor Laurie and taking a bullet or six from former psychiatrist Dr. Sam Loomis, Michael Myers has followed Laurie to the Haddonfield Memorial Hospital, where she's been admitted for Myers' attempt on her ...
Style: slasher, scary, suspense, suspenseful, psychotronic ...
Audience: teens
Plot: halloween, serial killer, hospital, murder, masked villain, male nudity, sadistic psychopath, paramedic, stalking, masked killer, torture, nudity (full frontal - brief) ...
Time: year 1978, 70s, 20th century, 80s
Place: midwest, usa, illinois
Is relevant ?
 7.4
 52K
Blow Out (1981)
Genre: Crime, Drama, Mystery, Thriller
Country: USA
Duration: 108 min.
Story: Jack Terry is a master sound recordist who works on grade-B horror movies. Late one evening, he is recording sounds for use in his movies when he hears something unexpected through his sound equipment and records it. Curiosity gets the better of him ...
Style: neo noir, suspenseful, twists and turns, disturbing, intense ...
Plot: conspiracy, political conspiracy, serial killer, surveillance, assassination, crimes, conspiracy theory, investigation, murder, politics, hitman, whodunit ...
Time: 80s, 20th century
Place: philadelphia, california, pennsylvania
Is relevant ?
 6.9
 64K
Time Bandits (1981)
Genre: Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy, Sci-Fi
Country: UK
Duration: 110 min.
Story: Young history buff Kevin can scarcely believe it when six dwarfs emerge from his closet one night. Former employees of the Supreme Being, they've purloined a map charting all of the holes in the fabric of time and are using it to steal ...
Style: humorous, surreal, absurd, light, colourful ...
Audience: kids, pre-teens, family outing
Plot: time travel, treasure, adventure, alternate dimension, childhood, magic, good versus evil, dwarf, adventurer, map, time, parallel universe ...
Time: 80s
Place: ancient greece, london, england, europe
Is relevant ?
 6.7
 55K
Scanners (1981)
Genre: Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Country: Canada
Duration: 103 min.
Story: Darryl Revok is the most powerful of all the scanners, and is the head of the underground scanner movement for world domination. Scanners have great psychic power, strong enough to control minds; they can inflict enormous pain/damage on their ...
Style: tense, disturbing, suspenseful, suspense, scary ...
Plot: telekinesis, scientist, mind control, violence, exploitation, investigation, psychic power, murder, mind reading, supernatural ability, body horror, misfit ...
Time: 80s, 20th century
Is relevant ?
 6.5
 36K
The Howling (1981)
Genre: Horror
Country: USA
Duration: 91 min.
Story: After a bizarre and near fatal encounter with a serial killer, a newswoman is sent to a rehabilitation center whose inhabitants may not be what they seem.
Style: scary, tense, suspenseful, macabre, slasher ...
Audience: teens
Plot: werewolf, serial killer, monster, transformation, creature feature, psychiatrist, adultery, female werewolf, murder, supernatural, lycanthropy, dangerous animal ...
Time: 80s
Place: california, los angeles
Is relevant ?
 7.4
 36K
Body Heat (1981)
Genre: Crime, Drama, Romance, Thriller
Country: USA
Duration: 113 min.
Story: In the midst of a searing Florida heat wave, a woman convinces her lover, a small-town lawyer, to murder her rich husband.
Style: sexual, sexy, neo noir, surprise ending, suspenseful ...
Plot: femme fatale, murder, adultery, lust, lawyer, obsession, sex scene, betrayal, nudity (full frontal - brief), greed, female nudity, lechery ...
Time: 80s, 20th century
Place: florida, usa, miami
Is relevant ?
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chase movies
12198
weird movies
7555
adventure movies
8708
 8.4
 249K
The Boat (1981)
Genre: Drama, War
Country: West Germany, Italy, France, UK
Duration: 149 min.
Story: A German submarine hunts allied ships during the Second World War, but it soon becomes the hunted. The crew tries to survive below the surface, while stretching both the boat and themselves to their limits.
Style: epic, suspenseful, suspense, atmospheric, realistic ...
Plot: submarine, world war two, naval battle, navy, war, nazi, battles, ocean, anti war, survival, german, military ...
Time: 20th century, 1940s, year 1942, year 1941
Place: germany, atlantic ocean, mediterranean sea
Is relevant ?
History of the World: Part I (1981)
Genre: Comedy, History, Musical
Country: USA
Duration: 92 min.
Story: An uproarious version of history that proves nothing is sacred – not even the Roman Empire, the French Revolution and the Spanish Inquisition.
Style: parody, funny, humorous, witty, absurd ...
Audience: teens
Plot: roman empire, spanish inquisition, torture, satire, revolution, farce, ancient, jewish, marijuana, art critic, empress, weapons ...
Time: 18th century, stone age, 1st century, 15th century, prehistory ...
Place: rome italy, france, ancient greece, europe, spain
Is relevant ?
The French Lieutenant's Woman (1981)
Genre: Drama, Romance
Country: UK
Duration: 124 min.
Story: In this story-within-a-story, Anna is an actress starring opposite Mike in a period piece about the forbidden love between their respective characters, Sarah and Charles. Both actors are involved in serious relationships, but the passionate nature ...
Style: emotional, romantic, scenic, stylized, atmospheric ...
Plot: adultery, love, tragedy, love affair, romance, lieutenant, social differences, infidelity, destructive relationship, society, love story, love triangle ...
Time: victorian era, 19th century, 18th century, 80s, 20th century ...
Place: england, europe, london
Is relevant ?
 7.3
 62K
Excalibur (1981)
Genre: Adventure, Drama, Fantasy, Romance
Country: UK, USA
Duration: 140 min.
Story: A surreal adaptation of Sir Thomas Malory's "Le Morte d'Arthur", chronicling Arthur Pendragon's conception, his rise to the throne, the search by his Knights of the Round Table for the Holy Grail, and ultimately his death.
Style: epic, exciting, serious, stylized, fairy tale ...
Plot: knight, arthurian legend, king arthur, mythology, sword fight, witch, adventure, medieval, legends and myths, good versus evil, holy grail, legend ...
Time: middle ages, future, 5th century
Place: england, europe, britain
Is relevant ?
Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981)
Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Country: Australia
Duration: 96 min.
Story: Max Rockatansky returns as the heroic loner who drives the dusty roads of a postapocalyptic Australian Outback in an unending search for gasoline. Arrayed against him and the other scraggly defendants of a fuel-depot encampment are the bizarre ...
Style: road movie, apocalyptic, exciting, bleak, stylized ...
Audience: boys' night
Plot: post apocalypse, apocalypse, car chase, desert, dystopic future, truck, loner, distopia, car, oil, survival, good versus evil ...
Time: future, 80s
Place: australia, middle east
Is relevant ?
Related movie lists
runaway movies
9301
talky movies
6154
violence movies
14401
 6.8
 74K
Stripes (1981)
Genre: Comedy, War
Country: USA
Duration: 106 min.
Story: John Winger, an indolent sad sack in his 30s, impulsively joins the U.S. Army after losing his job, his girlfriend and his apartment.
Style: funny, humorous, feel good, intense, not serious ...
Audience: teens
Plot: friendship, military, boot camp, u.s. army, basic training, soldier, cold war, slacker, nudity (full frontal - brief), flirting, obstacle course, army ...
Time: 80s, 70s, 20th century
Place: milan italy, italy, czechoslovakia, california, west germany ...
Is relevant ?
Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981)
Genre: Horror, Mystery, Thriller
Country: USA
Duration: 87 min.
Story: Five years after the horrible bloodbath at Camp Crystal Lake, it seems Jason Voorhees and his demented mother are in the past. Paul opens up a new camp close to the infamous site, ignoring warnings to stay away, and a sexually-charged group of ...
Style: slasher, scary, suspenseful, suspense, brutal ...
Audience: teens
Plot: serial killer, summer camp, masked killer, murder, serial murder, psychopath, survival, crazy, demon, stalking, teenager, torture ...
Time: 80s, 20th century, year 1980, year 1984
Place: new jersey
Is relevant ?
Prince of the City (1981)
Genre: Crime, Drama
Country: USA
Duration: 167 min.
Story: New York City detective Daniel Ciello agrees to help the United States Department of Justice help eliminate corruption in the police department, as long as he will not have to turn in any close friends. In doing so, Ciello uncovers a conspiracy ...
Style: neo noir, tense, realistic, bleak, suspense ...
Plot: corruption, police, gangsters, drug addiction, police corruption, lawyer, whistleblower, redemption, fighting the system, betrayal, crimes, police investigation ...
Time: 70s, 80s, 20th century
Place: new york, new jersey, usa, virginia, washington d.c.
Is relevant ?
 6.6
 16K
Mommie Dearest (1981)
Genre: Biography, Drama
Country: USA
Duration: 129 min.
Story: In this biographical film, glamorous yet lonely star Joan Crawford takes in two orphans, and at first their unconventional family seems happy. But after Joan's attempts at romantic fulfillment go sour and she is fired from her contract with MGM ...
Style: disturbing, factual, intense, talky, psychological ...
Audience: chick flick, teens
Plot: child abuse, adoption, abusive mother, dysfunctional family, mother daughter relationship, narcissism, bad mother, mansion, strangulation, borderline personality disorder, family relations, family problems ...
Time: 20th century, 1930s, 1940s, 50s, 60s ...
Place: usa, los angeles, new york
Is relevant ?
Southern Comfort (1981)
Genre: Action, Thriller
Country: USA
Duration: 106 min.
Story: A squad of National Guards on an isolated weekend exercise in the Louisiana swamp must fight for their lives when they anger local Cajuns by stealing their canoes. Without live ammunition and in a strange country, their experience begins to mirror ...
Style: atmospheric, exciting, suspenseful, bleak, gothic ...
Plot: wilderness, survival, swamp, vietnam war, jungle, murder, soldier, paranoia, gunfight, brutality, violence, chase ...
Time: 70s
Place: louisiana, california, texas, usa, southern usa ...
Is relevant ?
 7.3
 10K
Ragtime (1981)
Genre: Drama
Country: USA
Duration: 155 min.
Story: A young black pianist becomes embroiled in the lives of an upper-class white family set among the racial tensions, infidelity, violence, and other nostalgic events in early 1900s New York City.
Style: sexy, clever, intense, suspense, talky ...
Audience: kids
Plot: racism, racial injustice, nudity (full frontal - brief), fighting the system, jazz, female nudity, murder, friendship, anarchist, racial slur, piano, pianist ...
Time: victorian era, 1930s, 20th century, 1910s, 90s ...
Place: london, harlem, new york, usa, philadelphia ...
Is relevant ?
Clash of the Titans (1981)
Genre: Action, Adventure, Family, Fantasy
Country: UK, USA
Duration: 118 min.
Story: To win the right to marry his love, the beautiful princess Andromeda, and fulfil his destiny, Perseus must complete various tasks including taming Pegasus, capturing Medusa's head, and battling the Kraken monster.
Style: exciting, stylized, dark fantasy, psychotronic, intense ...
Audience: kids, boys' night, teens
Plot: mythology, legends and myths, greek mythology, adventure, greek god, good versus evil, snake, monster, witch, sea monster, antiquity, medieval ...
Time: future, 80s
Place: ancient greece, greece, europe
Is relevant ?
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