Welcome to Part 3 of a 5-part, decade-wise exploration of the finest English language cinema. So far, we've done the 60's and the 70's. This, and the following lists, look not just at the most acclaimed films of the decade, but the ones with the most impactful cultural footprint. We hope you enjoy the show, and go back to your classic DVDs with a smile on your face.
Bring on the big hair.
MTV. Pac-Man. India winning the cricket World Cup. The fall of the Berlin Wall. Aviator sunglasses. Michael Jackson's Thriller. Protests in Tiananmen Square. Bananarama. Rubik's Cube. The assassination of Indira Gandhi. Duran Duran. He-Man and the Masters Of The Universe. Madonna. The Chernobyl disaster. Jane Fonda workout videos. Live Aid. Oprah Winfrey. The famine in Ethiopia. Iron Maiden. Prince. Miami Vice. Boom boxes. Alan Moore's Watchmen. The assassination of John Lennon. Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go.
It was indeed a decade of mayhem. The largest period for global population growth in history, the 80s gave us disasters of both fashionable and fatal kind. Caricaturists rejoiced as Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher led their countries, while popular culture became pop-er than ever as synthesisers and music videos turned everything we saw and heard into bright and colourful plastic.
In film, the blockbuster era only grew stronger, and successful sequels minted money. The extreme popularity of home video allowed films to tap into cult audiences more easily. Action movies grew into a niche of their own, and critically acclaimed directors got their hands dirty with horror. Teen movies and fantasy films all flourished, as filmmakers tried to bend the censor's rules and squeeze in as much explicit sex and violence as they possibly could.
In many ways a transitional phase for English cinema, the 80s is a deceptively tricky decade to filter into a list so tiny simply because it saw the birth of several genres and yet, not enough standout masterpieces. In many ways, it was a decade that laid the ground for better-crafted film -- while also being a period that created the most popular and enduring cinema.
Without further ado, here's a chronologically presented top ten. And it's one crazy, mixed up bunch.
Text: Raja Sen