The 1980s saw the continued rise of the blockbuster, an increased amount of nudity in film and the increasing emphasis in the American industry on film franchises, especially in the science fiction, horror, and action genres. Much of the reliance on these effect-driven blockbusters was due in part to the Star Wars films at the advent of this decade and the new cinematic effects it helped to pioneer.
The teen comedy sub-genre saw its popularity rise during this decade.
In the US, the PG-13 rating was introduced in 1984, to accommodate films that straddled the line between PG and R.
Top grossing films
The following are the 10 top-grossing films of the decade:
In the list, where revenues are equal numbers, the newer films are listed lower, due to inflation making the dollar-amount lower compared to earlier years.
The films of the 1980s covered many genres, with hybrids crossing between multiple genres. The trend strengthened towards creating ever-larger blockbuster films, which earned more in their opening weeks than any previous film, due in part to staging releases when audiences had little else to choose. Even today you can still see people wearing tee shirts that were featured in popular 1980s movies.
blockbusters - The decade started by continuing the blockbuster boom of the mid-1970s. The sequel to 1977'sStar Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, opened in May, 1980 becoming the highest-grossing film of the year. The film is considered among the best of films of the decade (being the highest rated 1980s film on IMDb). It was followed by Return of the Jedi (1983) finishing the trio. It perfectly set the euphoric fantastical tone of many of the similar films to come. Superman II was released in Europe and Australia in late 1980 but not distributed in the United States until June 1981. Though now seen as campier over the original 1978Superman, Superman II was received with a positive reaction. From the success of The Empire Strikes Back, creator George Lucas teamed up with director Steven Spielberg to create one of the most iconic characters in the 1981 film Raiders of the Lost Ark starring Harrison Ford, who had also co-starred in The Empire Strikes Back. The story about an archaeologist and adventurer, Indiana Jones (Ford), hired by the U.S. government to go on a quest for the mystical lost Ark of the Covenant, created waves of interest in old 1930s style cliffhanger serials. It became the highest grossing film of 1981, leading to sequels all in the top-10 films of the decade. In 1982, Spielberg directed his family, fairy-tale science-fiction blockbuster E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, which shattered all records, earning 40% more than any Star-Wars film, and double or triple the renevue of 46 of the top 50 films.
thriller - The 1980s saw an immense amount of thriller films, many being of an erotic nature, including Fatal Attraction (1987) and Body Heat (1981). Perhaps one of the most influential examples of 80s thriller films was David Lynch's bizarre cult classicBlue Velvet (1986), which dealt with the underworld of a seemingly idyllic American suburbia, a subject which has spawned many inferior imitations well into the first decade of the 21st century and Stanley Kubrick's horror/thriller The Shining (1980). Outside of film, Michael Jackson was inspired by the genre to create the extremely successful album Thriller in 1983.