Hey, did you realise it’s been thirty years since 1987? I was but a little boy back then, in the heady days of Thatcher’s reign over Britain and the closing years of the Cold War. While I was watching Thomas The Tank Engine (and being scared out of my wits by the Ghost Train episode!), 1987 was being graced with great films. Of course, as I grew up, I became acquainted with the films of 1987 (not all of them, however. I still haven’t seen The Princess Bride!). Here are my Top 10 Films of 1987!
- The Untouchables
There’s no two ways about it: The Untouchables is a great gangster film. However, I’ve only managed to watch it once. It’s due for a re-viewing, but until then, it remains at #10 on this list. Robert De Niro as Al Capone, Kevin Costner as the Prohibition man trying to catch him, Brian De Palma directing, a brilliant supporting cast…I could go on.
- The Running Man
Not only is this Arnie classic thirty years old, but it takes place in 2017! Judging events in the USA, it looks like we’re not too far from the future of ‘The Running Man.’ I placed this at #10 on My Top 10 Stephen King Film Adaptations (click here for my list). Maybe classic is an improper term, as it’s not a great film by any means. But for Arnie one-liners, 80s cheese and a great concept, ‘The Running Man’ has much in its favour. And it has Arnie calling someone “cutie pie.”
Clive Barker gave us this gruesome treat as his directorial debut, and he’s arguably made nothing better since his debut. It’s a tale of supernatural forces, alternate dimensions, a resurrection and Pinhead, who rightfully claim a place in the Horror Hall of Fame. For a 80s horror films, it’s morally ambiguous and raises some interesting questions. For those craving gore, Hellraiser has plenty of it (Franks resurrection being particularly gruesome), but it doesn’t rely on the gore to create an atmosphere of horror. A horror classic.
- Wall Street
Thanks to best buddies Ronnie and Maggie, capitalism (and bankers) ran wild during the ‘80s. Back when Oliver Stone had courage, he exposed injustice. Wall Street was his expose on the banking system in America, where greed is valued above everything else, even life. Michael Douglas has never been better as Gordon Gecko, and neither has Charlie Sheen, playing Gecko’s protégé. It may be too preachy on occasion, but sometimes we need a preacher to tell us what’s wrong with the world.
- Evil Dead II
This is a glorified remake of Evil Dead, but that doesn’t matter. Evil Dead II is possibly Sam Raimi’s greatest film. It encapsulates everything good about Raimi: dark humour, bucket loads of gore, innovate direction and even more gore. I always think of Ash using ‘A Farewell to Arms’ whilst fighting his own hand when I think of great visual gags in cinema. Evil Dead II starts out crazy, and only gets crazier as it progresses.
- Full Metal Jacket
Stanley Kubrick entered the Vietnam War sub-genre late, but added another towering film to his resume. For my money, it’s the best Vietnam War film. Some say the second half is inferior to the first half. That’s because the first half straddles the fine line between humour and horror, thanks to Senior Drill Instructor Gunnery Sergeant Hartman (“What’s your major malfunction Private?!?”). But the second half is the true, unrelenting reality of war. It’s grim and hard to watch, but that’s part of its beauty. I placed it at #2 in My Top 10 War Films (click here for my list).
- Dirty Dancing
I blame my mum for my love of Dirty Dancing. She exposed it to me at an early age. I learned how to dance to ‘Hungry Eyes’ for my high school prom by watching Patrick Swayze’s smooth moves. My moves weren’t smooth, but that didn’t matter. Here’s a love story that has edges of darkness (an abortion, for one) for those looking for that sort of thing, but it’s mainly about two people falling in love whilst dancing. Dirty dancing, at that. If you’re not smiling by the end (and possibly dancing in your living room), then you are not a human being. Now I’ve had the time of my life…
Yes, it’s Arnie again, this time teamed up with professional wrestler Jesse ‘The Body’ Ventura and Apollo Creed (among others). A crack team of soldiers are sent on a mission in rescue hostages in an fictional South American country. However, they find themselves hunted by an invisible alien. Not only does Predator contain one of cinema’s most creative creatures in the titular character, but it’s also an allegory for the Vietnam War. Experienced soldiers being outwitted and murdered by something using the forest for its own advantage…ring any bells? It’s a blend of science fiction, horror and action that balances just right. Plus, it’s bloody quotable! GET TO THE CHOPPERRRRRRRRRR!
(Click here for my review)
- Empire of the Sun
You may ask what was #1 in My Top 10 War Films. This is my answer. This is surely Steven Spielberg’s most underrated film (and Christian Bale’s best performance? Considering he was 12 years old, Bale knocks it out of the park. And then some). It’s the tale of a boy lost during Japan’s invasion of China in World War II. Among other places, he ends up in a Japanese internment camp. Spielberg is restrained, giving us just enough to see the horrors of war in a PG setting. It’s also a wonderful adaptation of JG Ballard’s work. The best war film I’ve ever seen.
Could there be any other choice for my Number 1 film of 1987? Nope. I placed Robocop at #7 on My Top 10 Films of All-Time (click here for my list). It has everything: satire, ultra-violence, Christ under/overtones, buying things for a dollar, and one of the all-time great screen villains in Clarence Bodderick. It also has a heart, in the guise of Robocop/Alex Murphy, a dead man trying to regain his humanity in a world where humanity is a dirty word. Paul Verhoeven’s best work.
(Click here for my review)
*batteries not included
Agree or disagree? Any you’d take away or add? What is your Top 10?
Click here for my Top 10 Films of 2007