40 Favorite Films of 1981by Blue_Leaf | created - 13 Dec 2014 | updated - 16 May 2015 | Public
This was a tough year for me to come up with 40 films. Even the films on my WATCHLIST from 1981 are not at the top of the list.
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1. An American Werewolf in London (1981)
R | 97 min | Comedy, Horror
Two American college students on a walking tour of Britain are attacked by a werewolf that none of the locals will admit exists.
Votes: 86,254 | Gross: $30.57M
3. Blow Out (1981)
R | 108 min | Mystery, Thriller
A movie sound recordist accidentally records the evidence that proves that a car accident was actually murder and consequently finds himself in danger.
Votes: 40,303 | Gross: $13.75M
4. Body Heat (1981)
R | 113 min | Crime, Drama, Romance
In the midst of a searing Florida heat wave, a woman persuades her lover, a small-town lawyer, to murder her rich husband.
Votes: 29,113 | Gross: $24.06M
5. Christiane F. (1981)
R | 138 min | Biography, Drama
A teen girl in 1970's Berlin becomes addicted to heroin. Everything in her life slowly begins to distort and disappear as she befriends a small crew of junkies and falls in love with a drug-abusing male prostitute.
6. The Chosen (1981)
PG | 108 min | Drama
In 1944, in Brooklyn, two Jewish kids become friends. One is from a very conservative family, and the other is more liberal. The issues of importance of tradition, parental expectations and the formation of Israel cause constant friction.
8. Das Boot (1981)
R | 149 min | Adventure, Drama, Thriller
The claustrophobic world of a WWII German U-boat; boredom, filth and sheer terror.
Votes: 219,132 | Gross: $11.49M
9. Diva (1981)
R | 117 min | Thriller
Two tapes, two Parisian mob killers, one corrupt policeman, an opera fan, a teenage thief, and the coolest philosopher ever filmed all twist their way through an intricate and stylish French-language thriller.
Votes: 11,244 | Gross: $0.11M
10. Escape from New York (1981)
R | 99 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
In 1997, when the U.S. president crashes into Manhattan, now a giant maximum security prison, a convicted bank robber is sent in to rescue him.
Votes: 117,179 | Gross: $25.24M
12. Eye of the Needle (1981)
R | 112 min | Romance, Thriller, War
A ruthless German spy, trying to get out of Britain with vital information about D-Day, must spend time with a young woman and her crippled husband.
Votes: 8,923 | Gross: $17.58M
13. The French Lieutenant's Woman (1981)
R | 124 min | Drama, Romance
Wife and husband, both actors, play a couple in love from the Victorian era. Soon they begin to feel that fiction interweaves into reality.
Votes: 11,352 | Gross: $22.60M
14. Gallipoli (1981)
PG | 110 min | Adventure, Drama, History
Two Australian sprinters face the brutal realities of war when they are sent to fight in the Gallipoli campaign in Turkey during World War I.
Votes: 35,058 | Gross: $5.73M
16. Lola (1981)
R | 115 min | Drama, Romance
In post-war West Germany, the charming Von Bohm is appointed a city's new Building Commissioner. His morality is tested when he unknowingly falls in love with a brothel worker, Lola, the paid mistress of a corrupt property developer.
17. Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981)
R | 96 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
In the post-apocalyptic Australian wasteland, a cynical drifter agrees to help a small, gasoline rich community escape a horde of bandits.
Votes: 159,237 | Gross: $12.47M
18. Man of Iron (1981)
PG | 156 min | Drama, History
A worker becomes a "man of iron" forged by experience, a son comes to terms with his father, a couple fall in love, a reporter searches for courage, and a nation undergoes historic change. ... See full summary »
19. Mephisto (1981)
Unrated | 144 min | Drama
In early-1930s Germany, a passionate stage actor finds himself before a dilemma: renounce his apolitical stance and comply with the Reich's doctrine, or face oblivion. But, Faustian bargains never end well. What is the price of success?
20. Modern Romance (1981)
R | 93 min | Comedy, Romance
Albert Brooks directs himself as a successful film editor with far too many issues that affects the relationship between him and his remarkably patient girlfriend.
Votes: 2,907 | Gross: $2.86M
21. My Dinner with Andre (1981)
PG | 110 min | Biography, Comedy, Drama
Two old friends meet for dinner; as one tells anecdotes detailing his experiences, the other notices their differing worldviews.
Votes: 16,307 | Gross: $5.25M
22. Pennies from Heaven (1981)
R | 108 min | Drama, Musical, Romance
During the Great Depression, a sheet music salesman seeks to escape his dreary life through popular music and a love affair with an innocent school teacher.
Votes: 4,965 | Gross: $9.18M
23. Pixote (1981)
R | 128 min | Crime, Drama
The life of a boy in the streets of Sao Paulo, involved with crimes, prostitution and drugs.
24. The Postman Always Rings Twice (1981)
R | 122 min | Crime, Drama, Romance
The sensuous wife of a lunch wagon proprietor and a rootless drifter begin a sordidly steamy affair and conspire to murder her Greek husband.
Votes: 20,481 | Gross: $12.38M
25. Prince of the City (1981)
R | 167 min | Crime, Drama
A New York City narcotics detective reluctantly agrees to cooperate with a special commission investigating police corruption, and soon realises he's in over his head, and nobody can be trusted.
Votes: 6,710 | Gross: $8.12M
26. Raggedy Man (1981)
R | 94 min | Drama
It's 1944 in the small town of Gregory, Texas. Divorcée Nita Longley has been brought into the town by the telephone company to work as its switchboard operator, a job which requires her to... See full summary »
Votes: 1,317 | Gross: $1.98M
27. Ragtime (1981)
PG | 155 min | Drama
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.
Votes: 8,340 | Gross: $21.02M
28. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
PG | 115 min | Action, Adventure
In 1936, archaeologist and adventurer Indiana Jones is hired by the U.S. government to find the Ark of the Covenant before Adolf Hitler's Nazis can obtain its awesome powers.
Votes: 841,605 | Gross: $248.16M
29. Smash Palace (1981)
Not Rated | 108 min | Drama, Thriller
Al Shaw's life revolves around motor racing and his back country junkyard, the "Smash Palace". His French wife, Jacqui, doesn't appreciate the lack of attention due to Al's obsession with ... See full summary »
31. Ticket to Heaven (1981)
PG | 108 min | Drama
David is a young man seduced by a religious cult that uses starvation, exhaustion, and brainwashing to mold recruits into money hustling disciples of a messiah-like leader. Chronicles ... See full summary »
32. Time Bandits (1981)
PG | 110 min | Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy
A young boy accidentally joins a band of time travelling dwarves, as they jump from era to era looking for treasure to steal.
Votes: 55,400 | Gross: $42.37M
33. True Confessions (1981)
R | 108 min | Crime, Drama
A worldly ambitious monsignor clashes with his older brother, a cynical Los Angeles homicide detective who is investigating the brutal murder of a young prostitute.
Votes: 6,854 | Gross: $10.20M
36. Whose Life Is It Anyway? (1981)
R | 119 min | Drama
Ken Harrison is an artist who makes sculptures. One day he is involved in a car accident, and is paralyzed from his neck down. All he can do is talk, and he wants to die. In hospital he ... See full summary »
Votes: 2,515 | Gross: $8.21M