1989 Movies

In 1989, many great films graced the big screen. Our Plex database is a fantastic collection of these gems, a dependable guide for those desiring to navigate the best movie releases of that year. We've gathered every link in one spot, saving you time and effort. We invite you to explore our extensive collection and discover the charm of the films that shaped 1989.
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The Best Movies of 1989

This memorable year produced a range of notable movies that left lasting impacts on the cinematic landscape. To highlight these exceptional releases, we'll explore ten standout films from 1989, each remarkable in its own right.

The Little Mermaid

Embarking on our journey, we find Disney's "The Little Mermaid." This film marked a turning point for Disney, ushering in a golden era sometimes referred to as the Disney Renaissance. "The Little Mermaid" is remembered for its memorable songs, engaging characters, and top-notch animation. Despite certain criticisms today, the movie remains cherished for its timeless narrative.

Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade

Next, we have "Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade." This third installment in the renowned Indiana Jones series, starring Harrison Ford, nearly matches the quality of the original film, "Raiders of the Lost Ark." The film successfully combines elements of adventure, action, and humor, making it a classic in its own right.

Born on the Fourth of July

Tom Cruise takes a serious turn in "Born on the Fourth of July," a significant role that proved Cruise's capability to excel beyond his usual comedic and blockbuster roles. The film, although occasionally over-the-top, serves as a poignant anti-war narrative that further solidified Cruise's status as one of the most talented actors of his time.

Dead Poets Society

"Dead Poets Society" is an emotional drama that captures the profound impact an unconventional English teacher has on a group of boys at an old-fashioned boarding school. Despite numerous references since its release, this film remains deeply affecting and establishes itself as one of Robin Williams' finest performances.

When Harry Met Sally

Few romantic comedies have achieved the acclaim and affection enjoyed by "When Harry Met Sally." Defining the rom-com genre for the 80s, this film blends humor and insight into the titular characters' relationship in a way that feels neither redundant nor cheesy.

My Left Foot

In "My Left Foot," Daniel Day-Lewis delivers a performance that transcends conventional film roles. The film tells the biographical story of Christy Brown, a man with severe cerebral palsy, skillfully navigating life within a working-class family. Day-Lewis' method acting adds depth and authenticity to this profoundly moving narrative.


1989's "Batman", directed by Tim Burton and featuring Michael Keaton as the titular character, is a significant film in the superhero genre. It boldly presents Batman's most notorious nemesis, The Joker, played memorably by Jack Nicholson. Despite the many adaptations since its release, this version of Batman remains a benchmark in superhero films.


"Glory" is a large-scale and ambitious film set during the American Civil War. It recounts the history of the first all-Black volunteer company to fight in the conflict. Although its emphasis on Robert Gould Shaw may age the film, it nonetheless illuminates the historical events and the harsh racism of the era, with Denzel Washington delivering an outstanding performance.

The Cook, The Thief, His Wife & Her Lover

"The Cook, The Thief, His Wife & Her Lover" offers an intense narrative that blurs the lines between crime and horror. The story revolves around the wife of an abusive husband seeking revenge through an affair. The film juxtaposes beautiful filmmaking and grim subject matter, making it a captivating viewing experience.

Do The Right Thing

Closing our list is "Do The Right Thing," a potent exploration of human rights, racism, and prejudice. Even without Best Director or Best Picture nominations, this film remains a forceful depiction of rising tension in a New York City neighborhood. With time, it has remained a thought-provoking and entertaining film, marking a significant point in director Spike Lee's career.

1989 Movies & Industry Highlights

1989 was a significant year in film history. Let's explore its noteworthy events, successful films, and pivotal industry occurrences.

Top-Grossing Films

Some of the most successful films of 1989, based on their worldwide gross earnings, include Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Batman, and Back to the Future Part II. Other movies such as Look Who's Talking, Dead Poets Society, The Little Mermaid, Lethal Weapon 2, Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, Ghostbusters II, and Born on the Fourth of July also performed exceptionally at the box office.

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade led the pack, with Paramount amassing $474,171,806 in gross revenue. This third installment of the Indiana Jones series made its debut on May 24, further solidifying the franchise's impact.


Warner Bros' Batman followed closely with $411,348,924. Released on June 23, Batman made its mark not only through its financial success but also through the critical attention it garnered for its director, Tim Burton.

Back to the Future Part II

Universal's Back to the Future Part II secured the third spot with $332,950,002. This highly anticipated sequel was released on November 22.

Notable Events

A few memorable events also unfolded throughout the year. Actress Kim Basinger and her brother Mick made headlines when they purchased Braselton, Georgia, for $20 million. Unfortunately, financial difficulties led to Basinger losing the town to Ameritech Corp.'s pension fund in 1993.

  • A director's cut of Lawrence of Arabia saw the light of day, painstakingly restored by Robert A. Harris under director David Lean's supervision.
  • In another milestone, Ghostbusters II was released on June 16. On the same day, Batman and Honey, I Shrunk the Kids made their debut. The latter film marked visual effects supervisor Joe Johnston's directorial debut, who would later helm films such as The Rocketeer and Captain America: The First Avenger.
  • June 30 saw the release of Do the Right Thing, a film that would be added to the National Film Registry in 1999. On July 7, Lethal Weapon 2 became the highest-grossing film in its franchise and the highest-grossing R-rated film of that year at the domestic box office.
  • On August 2, Ron Howard's family comedy Parenthood was released, featuring an ensemble cast including Steve Martin, Tom Hulce, and Rick Moranis.
  • In business developments, Sony announced its intention to buy Columbia Pictures and Tri-Star Pictures on September 28. The deal was finalized in November, costing nearly $5 billion. Sony also appointed Peter Guber and Jon Peters as co-chairmen, incurring additional costs to settle a lawsuit with Warner Bros.
  • Andrew G. Vajna sold his stake in Carolco Pictures to co-chairman and co-founder Mario Kassar for $106 million on November 7.

The Disney Revival

The Little Mermaid, released on November 17, signified a turning point for Walt Disney Feature Animation. Both critically and commercially successful, this film reinvigorated interest in The Walt Disney Company, which would become one of the most esteemed corporations of the 1990s.