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10 ’80s Movies That Scored 100% on Rotten Tomatoes


10 '80s Movies That Scored 100% on Rotten Tomatoes


As well-liked and iconic as the films from the 1980s are, you would be impressed at how this differs from the perspective of critics. Extremely commercial films always tended to do well, but in terms of horror and sci-fi, they weren’t as popular, and straight-to-video films were practically inexistent for renowned critics. This makes us think about one thing and one thing only: Fortunately, review aggregators like Rotten Tomatoes didn’t exist back then.

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Things would have been very different, but more obscure films would have suffered from the backlash often associated with the most important film site on the internet. Back then, critics were journalists, and outlets weren’t as abundant. Perhaps these limitations were simply better, as some of their opinions were more selective. Critics should be outspoken, but sometimes what they do is just harmful.

Proof of this is in the following list. When you think of the highest-rated ’80s films on Rotten Tomatoes, the iconic films from the era surely come to mind. Spielberg, slasher horror, and Hughes’ coming-of-age. However, you will find none of these in the select group of ’80s films with a 100% score on Rotten Tomatoes. Instead, you will find some that, though you should watch as soon as you can, probably remain underseen treasures that belong to an era and aren’t exactly relevant today.

10 Broadway Danny Rose (1984)

In Woody Allen’s Broadway Danny Rose, Danny Rose is a talent manager in the comedy scene in New York City. Always trying to help his clients succeed, Danny accepts the adventure of a lifetime. Lou is one of Danny’s promising clients, and he’s having an affair with Tina, whose ex-boyfriend will not be happy when he finds out she’s dating someone else. Unfortunately, Danny is mistaken for Tina’s new boyfriend and falls into a trap of violence alongside Tina. Escaping the wrath of a mobster won’t be easy for the duo.

The Best Performance Ever by Mia Farrow

One of Allen’s most notoriously simple scripts, Broadway Danny Rose, raises the stakes with a different style of storytelling that Allen’s fans weren’t exactly used to. It’s undoubtedly one of his most original entries in the comedy setting that doesn’t resort to more secondarily romantic outtakes for the sake of being appealing.

It was nominated for Best Director and Best Original Screenplay at the Oscars in 1985. Mia Farrow, who always participated in Allen’s films before the debacle of the family, portrays Tina in a very honest fashion and naturally gives her best performance ever. You can stream Broadway Danny Rose on Tubi.

9 The Terminator (1984)

James Cameron’s The Terminator follows Sarah Connor, a waitress in Los Angeles who one day starts being chased by an enormous dude who appears to be made of steel. Bullets don’t hurt him, and he survives car wrecks without a scratch. Luckily, Kyle Reese also shows up and tries to defend Sarah from the killing machine, who’s revealed to be a Terminator.

Terminators are cyborgs sent back in time from 2029, and their agenda is one: to stop Sarah from giving birth to the leader of the Resistance, John Connor. Connor sent Reese as well from the future in order to defend Sarah from the android.

A Perfect Blend of Action, Sci-Fi, and Horror

The Terminator was Cameron’s passion project since the beginning of his career in Hollywood. After coming up with the idea, he attempted to bring to life what seemed almost impossible, considering how important special effects would be to the movie and how poor they looked on the big screen.

Fortunately, Cameron had a knack for details, and upon getting a solid cast, he managed to make one of modern sci-fi’s most groundbreaking films, one that started a whole franchise. Though it failed to impress some of the critics at the time, those who cared enough about it gave it a positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes, where it remains at a solid 100%. You can stream The Terminator on Prime Video.

Related: Rotten Tomatoes’ 9 Biggest Controversies Explained

8 Threads (1984)

In BBC’s nuclear panic made-for-TV film, Threads, Britain suffers the consequences of powerful nations fighting over world domination. The story is told from the perspective of the residents of Sheffield, an English city that witnesses the mushroom cloud and prepares for the worst. Sadly, moments later another bomb drops in Sheffield and millions of people in the UK perish as a result. This is the most realistic film about a nuclear attack ever made and, contrary to what you would believe, it was broadcast in prime time.

The One That Didn’t Flinch at the Idea of Realism

Today, Threads is seen as a bold movie released by the BBC during the nuclear panic era of the ’80s, and some claim it’s the most disturbing film ever made. And yes, it doesn’t shy away from being graphic, violent and most of all, realistic. But is it a good movie above all?

Critics think so. Its 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes is based on the opinions of a handful of critics, but beyond that, the film’s impact speaks for itself. The “warning” aspect of the movie is just too darn poignant, as it dares to touch on many themes that conservative platforms wouldn’t think of today. You can stream Threads on Tubi.

7 A Room with a View (1985)

A Room with a View takes viewers to Florence, Italy, in the early 1900s. Lucy and Charlotte are cousins, and they meet other English guests staying in their hotel. The very next day, Lucy witnesses a crime and is comforted by fellow Englishman, George Emerson. The two begin a strange relationship that continues when Lucy goes back to England, gets engaged, and reunites with George. Apparently, forgetting what happened before is impossible for both of them. This is one of the most interesting romance approaches of the 1980s in Hollywood.

A Solid Debut by Helena Bonham Carter

Helena Bonham Carter made her debut with A Room with a View, giving life to Lucy Honeychurch, the counterpart to George Emerson, played by the late Julian Sands. Her character is witty, smart, and doesn’t follow the gender rules of female characters in romantic films from the ’80s.

A Room with a View was critically acclaimed since its release, and it garnered eight Academy Award nominations, winning for Best Costume Design, Best Art Direction, and Best Adapted Screenplay. You can stream A Room with a View on Max.

6 Shoah (1985)

Claude Lanzmann’s epic documentary, Shoah, is formatted in the style of a chronicle that documents the Nazi Holocaust during World War II. It features Lanzmann traveling across Europe in order to witness the remains of the war, and he interviews people from every side who somehow participated in the life-changing events of the genocide. The nine-hour film took more than a decade to complete, and upon release, it wasn’t as well-received as many would think. This is one of the best war documentaries of all time.

One of the Best Documentary Films Ever Made

You would think that such a noble endeavor would be acclaimed by basically everyone. And though it did somehow, it also had its detractors who opposed the film’s bias and how it portrayed some of the nations participating in the conflict. Today, it holds that precious rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and in retrospect, many would think it’s blatantly tilted to one side.

But in reality, Shoah is extremely contemplative and cold in its presentation of facts. It doesn’t portray the Jewish community as victims, but as witnesses to pure evil. Regardless of your line of thought, it’s a very difficult film to watch. You can stream Shoah on AMC+.

Shoah

Shoah

Release Date
April 30, 1985

Director
Claude Lanzmann

Cast
Simon Srebnik , Michael Podchlebnik , Motke Zaïdl

Runtime
9hr 26min

5 Fanny and Alexander (1982)

In Fanny and Alexander, the Ekdahls are a perfect family. Fanny and Alexander look up to their parents, and things go great until Oscar, their father, suddenly dies. The children are left in the care of Emilie, their mother. Emilie decides to remarry and chooses Edvard to do so. The problem is that Edvard is a cold and emotionless man who represses the children any chance he gets. For a family that had always indulged in art, the union with a bishop represents a terrible ordeal.

Ingmar Bergman (Finally) Gets the Respect He Deserves

Even though the film was highly acclaimed by most at the time, Bergman was always a divisive director among critics. With Fanny and Alexander, he didn’t exactly attempt to make a friendly film.

Instead, he made a dramatic epic that lasted more than five hours, something that would seem like a joke by today’s standards. Regardless, this beautiful coming-of-age Swedish drama won four Academy Awards and was Bergman’s last work as a director. You can stream Fanny and Alexander on Max.

4 Roger & Me (1989)

Michael Moore’s whimsical and sharp look at America in the 1980s, Roger & Me, was the director’s debut in a string of political and social documentaries that always used humor and grit to portray a side of Americana that wasn’t usually visible. In the film, Moore navigates around Flint, Michigan, his hometown, as it shows the deterioration brought by the shutdown of General Motors’ manufacturing plants in the ’80s.

The Remains of Progress

Roger & Me is one of Moore’s finest works. It’s also one of his most relevant documentaries, as it perfectly balances his views with those reflected in the poverty-stricken land that was once a promising side of society.

Moore isn’t afraid to ask the right questions, and in the film, he goes for the jugular of the corporate side of America. He’s a bold filmmaker, and Roger & Me is the perfect business presentation for his ability to disrupt the norms. You can rent Roger & Me on Vudu.

Roger & Me

Roger & Me

Release Date
September 1, 1989

Runtime
91

3 Grave of the Fireflies (1988)

Grave of the Fireflies tells the story of Seita and Setsuko, a pair of siblings living in Japan during the Americans’ attack on Japan in 1945. Seita and Setsuko make it alive after the attack, but they’re now war orphans trying to survive in a wasteland of misery and hunger. What follows is Seita’s journey to care for his little sister, as he also tries to hide the fact that their parents are dead. Unfortunately, Setsuko suffers the consequences of war in one of the saddest animated films of all time.

Studio Ghibli’s Most Sober (and Sad) Film

When people talk about Studio Ghibli, they often refer to My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononoke, and Spirited Away. What all of those have in common is that neither is as poignant and tragic as Grave of the Fireflies.

It’s undoubtedly one of the finest war films ever made that tells the story from the perspective of victims, and not exactly those that stand on the American side. Themes of identity and indoctrination are present in the very relevant film by Isao Takahata. You can rent Grave of the Fireflies on iTunes.

Grave of the Fireflies

Grave of the Fireflies

Release Date
July 26, 1989

Cast
Tsutomu Tatsumi , Ayano Shiraishi , Akemi Yamaguchi

Runtime
1hr 29min

2 Vagabond (1985)

From the mind of Belgian-born and extremely relevant filmmaker Agnès Varda, Vagabond is the harrowing tale of Mona Bergeron, a woman who’s found dead in the extreme cold of the French countryside. Through the film’s flashback narrative, we find out about Mona’s descent into being a vagabond. At one time, a promising secretary living in Paris, Mona, decided she wanted something else, got rid of all societal norms, and went for a responsibility-free life on the road.

Varda’s Peculiar Sense of Realism

The film’s success was instant. It won the top prize at the Venice International Film Festival the year of its release, and many critics hailed Varda’s style of filmmaking as very effective: she often shoots like it’s actually a documentary about a strange woman who decided to stand against society and all its rules, up to the point of being a police target when she did nothing wrong. She just found passion in being different. You can stream Vagabond on The Criterion Channel.

Related: Do Rotten Tomatoes Scores Really Matter?

1 The Decline of Western Civilization (1980)

In The Decline of Western Civilization, by writer/director Penelope Spheeris, we are given exclusive access to the punk scene in Los Angeles in the ’70s and ’80s. Using the excuse of providing press coverage for the subculture that is punk rock and all its offshoots, Spheeris managed to perfectly capture the dynamics of the music genre and its display in a city that, yes, was experimental in terms of art, but it didn’t accept everything it was proposed. If you’re into punk, this film is a must-watch.

Is Punk Meant to be Understood?

The film is undeniably one of the finest music documentaries ever made. But it also resembles a stroke of genius for a filmmaker who hadn’t necessarily shown her features in the industry. With The Decline of Western Civilization, she loudly stated that she could give life to the misfits and underdogs by allowing their voice to be heard and unfiltered by the standards.

The film is a raw exposition of something as misunderstood and complicated as punk, and to this day, critics recognize Spheeris’ attempt at documenting the impossible. You can stream The Decline of Western Civilization on Freevee.

To stay in tune with the 1980s, here’s a video with the best sci-fi movies of that decade:

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