1985 Movies

This Plex database contains links to the best films of 1985. This collection, assembled with meticulous care, serves as a one-stop resource to access and explore some terrific 80s cinema. Here's your gateway to the raddest movies from 1985!
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The Best Movies of 1985

The year 1985 brought a multitude of cinematic releases that, over time, have earned the status of classics. These films have left lasting marks on popular culture and have had a profound impact on the evolution of the film industry. Some that didn't make this list but are worth mentioning include The Purple Rose of Cairo, The Goonies, Vagabond, and Day of the Dead, indicating the high-quality output of that period.

Come and See

Come and See is a Soviet anti-war film set in 1943 in Belarus. The film centers on a Belarusian child who witnesses the horrors of the Nazis' retaliatory action. This trauma ages the child from a happy teenager to a middle-aged man in just two days.


Shoah is a French documentary focused on the Holocaust, an event referred to as "Shoah" in Hebrew. The film features conversations with survivors, witnesses, and perpetrators, all the while exploring Holocaust sites in Poland, including extermination camps. Shoah has been vital in educating people about the history of the Holocaust and intolerance.

A Room With A View

A Room With A View is an adaptation of E.M. Forster's novel. The film follows a young Englishwoman, Lucy Honeychurch, traveling in Italy. She becomes captivated by George, an endearing, free-spirited man while staying at a hotel in Florence. Once she returns to England, she considers settling down with the affluent, formal Cecil and must choose when George reappears.

The Breakfast Club

The Breakfast Club is a movie about five high school students from different backgrounds. They find themselves in Saturday detention under a power-hungry principal. Throughout the detention, they each have an opportunity to share their stories, which shifts their perceptions of one another.

Back to the Future

The film Back to the Future, the first part of the franchise, tells the tale of a young man, Marty McFly, who is accidentally sent back in time to 1955. A time-traveling DeLorean car, the invention of his quirky scientist friend Emmett "Doc" Brown, serves as the vehicle for his journey. The trip results in Marty disrupting his parents' meeting, putting his own existence at risk. This forces him to rectify the situation to ensure his return to the present.


Set in medieval Japan, the action drama Ran tells the story of an old warlord who transfers his kingdom to his three sons upon his retirement. However, he underestimates the corrupting power of authority, resulting in his sons turning against each other and him.

The Color Purple

Based on Alice Walker's Pulitzer Prize-winning 1982 novel, The Color Purple portrays the struggles of a young African-American girl, Celie Harris, in the early 20th century. The film confronts issues such as domestic abuse, incest, child abuse, poverty, racism, and sexism.

After Hours

After Hours centers on Paul Hackett, a computer data entry worker. His journey home from New York City's SoHo neighborhood at night becomes a series of misadventures. The film was well-received and acclaimed for its dark humor and Martin Scorsese's daring direction.

Out of Africa

Out of Africa is loosely based on the 1937 autobiographical book by Karen Blixen. It portrays the author's life on an African plantation, focusing on her marriage to Bror Blixen and her affair with a free-spirited hunter. The film showcased her struggles on the estate and was a commercial success, taking home the Best Picture award at the 58th Academy Awards.


The dystopian black comedy Brazil follows Sam Lowry, a low-ranking bureaucrat trapped in a mindless job within a society overly reliant on malfunctioning machinery. He spends his time in pursuit of a woman who appears in his dreams.

1985 Movies & Industry Highlights

In the history of cinema, the year 1985 is particularly notable. This year was marked by an unusual set of circumstances that would have significant implications for the film industry.

Notable Films Released in 1985

There were several key films released in 1985. One of the most successful was "Back to the Future," a Universal film, which grossed a staggering $210M. Following close behind was "Rambo: First Blood Part II," which raked in $150.4M. Other notable releases include "Rocky IV," "The Color Purple," and "Out of Africa."

Other films, while perhaps not as successful in monetary terms, are still worth noting. "The Goonies," for example, is a film that continues to be a favorite among many, despite a gross earning of $61.3M. Additionally, "Cocoon" surprised many by grossing $76.1M, proving that films targeting an older demographic could succeed.

An Unusual Year for the Industry

Despite the success of a handful of films, 1985 was generally considered an unfortunate year for the film industry. A multitude of film releases failed to gain traction, resulting in a 17% drop in ticket sales compared to the previous year. It was believed that a lack of unique concepts was partly to blame.

Fantasy and magic-themed films suffered, while the audience showed a stronger preference for science-fiction movies. Interestingly, films that offered an escape from reality and promoted pro-America themes, like "Rambo: First Blood Part II" and "Rocky IV," fared well.

The Impact of Youth-Oriented Films

The industry was saturated with films geared towards those under 18. Even though industry professionals were not particularly fond of these films, the potential for financial gain was difficult to ignore. However, the influx of these films, including "Return to Oz" and "The Black Cauldron," along with science-fiction comedies like "Weird Science," "Real Genius," and "My Science Project," resulted in a string of failures. It was suggested that the homogeneity of these films and their marketing strategies offered no variety to audiences.

Key Events in 1985

Some notable events also occurred in 1985, which would become significant historical markers. One such event was a baseball game at Wrigley Field on June 5 between the Chicago Cubs and the Atlanta Braves. Excerpts from the broadcast of this game were later used to pinpoint this date as the day featured in "Ferris Bueller's Day Off."

Moreover, December 3 marked a critical transition for the James Bond franchise. Roger Moore stepped down from his role after twelve years and seven films. He was succeeded by Timothy Dalton, marking a new era for the franchise.