1984 Movies

1984 was as iconic a year in cinema as you can get. From Ghostbusters to Terminator, there seemed to be a new benchmark film for many genres. Thankfully, Plex serves as an accessible repository of the best 1984 films. Our database simplifies the navigation process and streamlines your access to one of the most important years in cinema.
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The Best Movies of 1984

1984 saw the release of multiple films that would later become classics. These films not only captured audiences' attention during their initial release but have continued to hold it through the test of time. Here are some of the top films from that year.

The Terminator

The science fiction action film "The Terminator" remains iconic, following the narrative of Sarah Connor, who finds herself fighting for her life against an indestructible cyborg sent from the future to eliminate her. This film effectively combines the suspense of an action thriller with the emotional elements of a love story.

The Killing Fields

"The Killing Fields" is a gripping historical film about the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia during the mid to late 1970s. The narrative follows a journalist trapped in the country during a period of violence, alongside Dith Pran, a Cambodian man endeavoring to survive a nationwide genocide. The genocide claimed between 1.5 and 2 million lives, and this film does an exceptional job shedding light on this tragic event. Haing S. Ngor, who portrayed Dith, received an Oscar for his performance in this film.


"Amadeus," a historical drama and biopic, won the Academy Award for Best Picture in 1984. The film presents a fictionalized rivalry between two composers: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Antonio Salieri. It is a delight to watch, regardless of one's affinity for classical music.


"Gremlins" is an enchanting blend of fantasy, comedy, and horror. The narrative revolves around a unique Christmas gift - a mogwai - and the pandemonium that ensues when its owner fails to adhere to the critical care instructions. This film has something for everyone, providing a fascinating viewing journey.

Once Upon a Time in America

"Once Upon a Time in America" stands as one of the greatest crime films of all time. The film spans decades, beginning at the start of the 20th century and ending in the 1960s. With Robert De Niro playing a complex protagonist and a supporting cast that includes Joe Pesci, James Woods, and Elizabeth McGovern, the film offers a stunning portrayal of crime in America.

A Nightmare on Elm Street

"A Nightmare on Elm Street" introduced horror fans to the legendary villain, Freddy Krueger. This film presents an unnerving premise involving a murderous demon that can only harm you in your sleep. The tension and creativity in the story and visuals make the original "A Nightmare on Elm Street" a continued favorite among horror enthusiasts.

This is Spinal Tap

Considered a benchmark in the mockumentary genre, "This is Spinal Tap" chronicles the American tour of an erstwhile popular but now declined heavy metal band from England. With its comedic improvisation and sharp insights into the music business, the film provides a hilarious viewing experience.

Stop Making Sense

"Stop Making Sense" transcends the typical confines of concert movies. This film showcases the Talking Heads performing live, capturing the energy and creativity inherent in their music. The cinematic editing and the concert's progression make for a delightful viewing experience.

Blood Simple

The Coen Brothers introduced themselves to the film industry with their debut feature, "Blood Simple." This film, a tense neo-noir, showcases their mastery over the crime/thriller genres. The narrative explores a husband's drastic measures to get back at his wife for an affair, a course of action that triggers a cascade of chaotic and violent events.


Few people can argue with the enduring appeal of the original "Ghostbusters." This film introduced audiences to the concept of "ghost-busting" with a narrative focusing on men who launch a ghost-catching business after finding New York City teeming with paranormal entities. With its unforgettable theme song, iconic characters, and mix of humor and fantasy/sci-fi, "Ghostbusters" remains a classic film from the 1980s.

1984 Movies & Industry Highlights

In the context of cinema, the year 1984 holds great significance. A series of important occurrences took place in the movie industry that not only shaped the future of cinema but also paved the way for new trends.

A Milestone Year for the Film Industry

In 1984, the movie industry saw a significant rise in its revenue generation. For the first time in history, U.S. box office grosses reached an unprecedented $4 billion mark. This was a landmark accomplishment for the industry and indicated a growing interest in film consumption among the masses.

High Grossing Films

The year was marked by the release of numerous notable films, each unique in its own right, offering a broad array of themes and concepts. One of the standout releases was "Beverly Hills Cop." It topped the charts in the United States and Canada, demonstrating its wide appeal. The movie's success was later matched by "Ghostbusters," which exceeded the revenue of "Beverly Hills Cop" upon its re-release in the subsequent year.

However, it is worth noting that this was the first year since 1979 that neither George Lucas nor Steven Spielberg contributed to the highest-grossing film of the year, despite their significant involvement in several other successful productions. For instance, Spielberg directed and Lucas executive produced "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom," which secured the third spot in the list of highest-grossing films of 1984.

Major Achievements

Two films in 1984, "Ghostbusters" and "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom," accomplished an exceptional feat: they returned over $100 million to their distributors, a remarkable achievement for the time. "Beverly Hills Cop" joined them the following year, making it three films from 1984 to achieve this distinction.

Unforgettable Films of 1984

In addition to high revenue earners, numerous other films left an indelible mark on the audiences. "The NeverEnding Story" is one such example. As the costliest film ever produced in West Germany, it captured audiences with its extraordinary storytelling.

Similarly, "The Karate Kid" and "Romancing the Stone" received appreciation from audiences and critics alike, reinforcing the varied and innovative nature of the movies released during the year. It is also noteworthy that a significant number of sci-fi/fantasy films were released in 1984, marking it as a year rich in cinematic diversity.

Top Ten Films in North America

Analyzing the top ten films by box office gross in North America offers further insight into the tastes and preferences of the audiences. Following "Beverly Hills Cop," "Ghostbusters," and "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom" in the top three spots, we find "Gremlins" occupying the fourth position.

Continuing the list, "The Karate Kid" earned a respectable fifth place, followed by "Police Academy," "Footloose," "Romancing the Stone," "Star Trek III: The Search for Spock," and "Splash," in respective order.