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The Best Movies of 1984, Ranked by Tomatometer

Welcome to our guide to the best movies of 1984, compiled from every Fresh and Certified Fresh movie from that year!

The year 1984 has long insisted on sneaking itself into titles, presenting itself through American Horror Story 1984, Summer of ’84, Class of 1984, and George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four. The latest is Wonder Woman 1984: As Diana of Themyscira hits up the mall for fanny packs and some Rax at the food court, what decent movies could be playing steps away from her at the multiplex? From The Terminator to Best Picture-winner Amadeus, and Gremlins to Ghostbusters, these are the best movies of 1984, ranked by Tomatometer!

#45

2010 (1984)
66%

#45
Adjusted Score: 68.199%
Critics Consensus: 2010 struggles to escape from the shadow of its monolithic predecessor, but offers brainy adventure in a more straightforward voyage through the cosmos.
Synopsis: In the long-awaited sequel to "2001: A Space Odyssey," Roy Scheider is sent back into space on a joint mission... [More]
Directed By: Peter Hyams

#44

Streets of Fire (1984)
69%

#44
Adjusted Score: 70.376%
Critics Consensus: Streets of Fire may sometimes buckle under the strain of its ambitious fusion of disparate genres, but Walter Hill's bravura style gives this motorcycle musical fuel to burn.
Synopsis: More like a series of MTV sequences than a long-term narration, this super-thin story line focuses on a kidnapped singer... [More]
Directed By: Walter Hill

#43
Adjusted Score: 70.655%
Critics Consensus: Sci-fi parodies like these usually struggle to work, but Buckaroo Banzai succeeds through total devotion to its own lunacy.
Synopsis: Neurosurgeon, nuclear scientist, and rock 'n' roller, the multi-talented Buckaroo Banzai is called upon save the world from a hostile... [More]
Directed By: W.D. Richter

#42
#42
Adjusted Score: 70.828%
Critics Consensus: A silly and ribald superhero spoof, Toxic Avenger uninhibited humor hits more than it misses.
Synopsis: In a crazy spoof of heroic monster movies that spawned two sequels, The Toxic Avenger is about the transformation of... [More]

#41

Purple Rain (1984)
70%

#41
Adjusted Score: 74.118%
Critics Consensus: Purple Rain makes for undeniably uneven cinema, but it's held together by its star's singular charisma -- not to mention a slew of classic songs.
Synopsis: The Kid is a Minneapolis musician on the rise with his band, the Revolution, escaping a tumultuous home life through... [More]
Directed By: Albert Magnoli

#40

1984 (1984)
74%

#40
Adjusted Score: 75.467%
Critics Consensus: 1984 doesn't fully emerge from the shadow of its source material, but still proves a solid, suitably discomfiting adaptation of a classic dystopian tale.
Synopsis: This is the second film version of George Orwell's cautionary novel. Winston Smith, a bureaucratic flunky living in a totalitarian... [More]
Directed By: Michael Radford

#39
#39
Adjusted Score: 78.376%
Critics Consensus: A Passage to India is a visually striking exploration of colonialism and prejudice, although it doesn't achieve the thematic breadth of director David Lean's finest work.
Synopsis: Set in the colonial India of the 1920s, this is the epic story of an Indian man who befriends a... [More]
Directed By: David Lean

#38

The Cotton Club (1984)
77%

#38
Adjusted Score: 78.742%
Critics Consensus: Energetic and brimming with memorable performers, The Cotton Club entertains with its visual and musical pizazz even as its plot only garners polite applause.
Synopsis: There are those who insist that the backstage intrigues which occurred during the production of Cotton Club would make a... [More]
Directed By: Francis Ford Coppola

#37
#37
Adjusted Score: 78.016%
Critics Consensus: The plot is as barebones a space movie will allow, but The Last Starfighter captures an era and eager style of filmmaking well.
Synopsis: Trailer-park teenager Lance Guest regularly escapes from his humdrum existence by playing the video game Starfighter. His expertise at this... [More]
Directed By: Nick Castle Jr.

#36

Body Double (1984)
76%

#36
Adjusted Score: 78.107%
Critics Consensus: Exemplifying Brian De Palma's filmmaking bravura and polarizing taste, Body Double is a salacious love letter to moviemaking.
Synopsis: In Body Double, director Brian DePalma pays homage to the Alfred Hitchcock movies Vertigo and Rear Window, adding a few... [More]
Directed By: Brian DePalma

#35

Dreamscape (1984)
77%

#35
Adjusted Score: 78.833%
Critics Consensus: Dreamscape mixes several genres -- horror, sci-fi, action -- and always maintains a sense of adventure and humor.
Synopsis: In an attempt to help people who experience recurring nightmares, a research program is using psychics to enter the patients'... [More]
Directed By: Joseph Ruben

#34

Top Secret! (1984)
75%

#34
Adjusted Score: 78.387%
Critics Consensus: Top Secret! finds the team of Zucker-Abrahams-Zucker sending up everything from spy movies to Elvis musicals with reckless, loony abandon.
Synopsis: The second of Zucker-Abraham-Zucker's theatrical-feature spoofs (Airplane was the first, discounting the patchwork Kentucky Fried Movie), Top Secret! lampoons practically... [More]

#33
#33
Adjusted Score: 81.016%
Critics Consensus: Valley Girl culture satire Night of the Comet gets lots of mileage out of its slapstick sci-fi zombie approach.
Synopsis: In this sharp-witted sci-fi disaster outing, a comet smashes into California leaving a pair of Valley girls and a few... [More]
Directed By: Thom Eberhardt

#32
Adjusted Score: 82.295%
Critics Consensus: Though it may be short on dazzling special effects, The Search for Spock is still a strong Star Trek installment, thanks to affecting performances by its iconic cast.
Synopsis: Star Trek II ended with Spock presumed dead, but this film reveals that his consciousness survives within McCoy. Spock's body... [More]
Directed By: Leonard Nimoy

#31
#31
Adjusted Score: 82.747%
Critics Consensus: A magical journey about the power of a young boy's imagination to save a dying fantasy land, The NeverEnding Story remains a much-loved kids adventure.
Synopsis: Wolfgang Petersen adapted Michael Ende's children's story for this charming fantasy film that spawned several sequels. Bastian (Barret Oliver) is... [More]
Directed By: Wolfgang Petersen

#30

The Natural (1984)
82%

#30
Adjusted Score: 85.112%
Critics Consensus: Though heavy with sentiment, The Natural is an irresistible classic, and a sincere testament to America's national pastime.
Synopsis: Nothing was going to stop Roy Hobbs from fulfilling his boyhood dream of baseball superstardom. 14-year-old Hobbs fashions a powerful... [More]
Directed By: Barry Levinson

#29
Adjusted Score: 84.193%
Critics Consensus: If it's not quite as sharp as The Muppet Movie, The Muppets Take Manhattan is still a smart, delightfully old-fashioned tale that follows the formula established by the first two movies -- a madcap adventure assisted by a huge group of human stars.
Synopsis: Jim Henson's Muppets find themselves in Manhattan yearning to get a musical on Broadway in this charming film that also... [More]
Directed By: Frank Oz

#28
#28
Adjusted Score: 86.844%
Critics Consensus: The buddy cop movie continues its evolution unabated with this Eddie Murphy vehicle that's fast, furious, and funny.
Synopsis: What's that wisecracking young black guy (Eddie Murphy) in that beat-up Chevy Nova doing in lily-white Beverly Hills? He's Axel... [More]
Directed By: Martin Brest

#27

Sixteen Candles (1984)
84%

#27
Adjusted Score: 86.93%
Critics Consensus: Significantly more mature than the teen raunch comedies that defined the era, Sixteen Candles is shot with compassion and clear respect for its characters and their hang-ups.
Synopsis: On the eve of her sister's wedding, suburban teenager Samantha (Molly Ringwald) suffers silently as her family forgets her birthday.... [More]
Directed By: John Hughes

#26
Adjusted Score: 89.306%
Critics Consensus: It may be too "dark" for some, but Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom remains an ingenious adventure spectacle that showcases one of Hollywood's finest filmmaking teams in vintage form.
Synopsis: The second of the George Lucas/Steven Spielberg Indiana Jones epics is set a year or so before the events in... [More]
Directed By: Steven Spielberg

#25

Birdy (1984)
83%

#25
Adjusted Score: 84.65%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Director Alan Parker tackles this adapation of William Wharton's novel, which retains much of the source material's texture and complexity.... [More]
Directed By: Alan Parker

#24

Starman (1984)
85%

#24
Adjusted Score: 87.016%
Critics Consensus: What initially begins as sci-fi transforms into a surprisingly sweet, offbeat drama, courtesy of John Carpenter's careful direction.
Synopsis: Having crashed to Earth, an extraterrestrial space traveller must assume a human identity lest he be captured by the authorities.... [More]
Directed By: John Carpenter

#23

All of Me (1984)
85%

#23
Adjusted Score: 87.747%
Critics Consensus: A high-concept farce carried by Carl Reiner's deft direction and the precise timing of its leads, All of Me is a body-swap comedy worth holding onto.
Synopsis: On her deathbed, mean-spirited millionairess Lily Tomlin has her will amended so that her soul will pass into the body... [More]
Directed By: Carl Reiner

#22
#22
Adjusted Score: 88.844%
Critics Consensus: Romancing the Stone reaches back to the classic Saturday morning serials of old with an action-filled adventure enlivened by the sparkling chemistry between its well-matched leads.
Synopsis: In this film, adventure writer Kathleen Turner learns that her sister is being held prisoner by evil art dealers in... [More]
Directed By: Robert Zemeckis

#21

Gremlins (1984)
85%

#21
Adjusted Score: 90.58%
Critics Consensus: Whether you choose to see it as a statement on consumer culture or simply a special effects-heavy popcorn flick, Gremlins is a minor classic.
Synopsis: "Don't expose him to bright light. Don't ever get him wet. And don't ever, ever feed him after midnight." This... [More]
Directed By: Joe Dante

#20

El Norte (1984)
86%

#20
Adjusted Score: 86.919%
Critics Consensus: Sensitively written, skillfully directed, and powerfully portrayed, El Norte wrings deeply affecting drama from intractable real-life issues.
Synopsis: "When will we find a home?" Rosa asks her brother Enrique at the end of their long journey. Alone in... [More]
Directed By: Gregory Nava

#19
#19
Adjusted Score: 86.919%
Critics Consensus: With Robin Williams' affecting portrayal as a Russian immigrant at the center of its fish-out-of-water story, Moscow on The Hudson soars with an abundance of laughs and heart.
Synopsis: In this film, Robin Williams stars as a Russian sax player working in a circus. His warm home life does... [More]
Directed By: Paul Mazursky

#18
Adjusted Score: 90.935%
Critics Consensus: Sergio Leone's epic crime drama is visually stunning, stylistically bold, and emotionally haunting, and filled with great performances from the likes of Robert De Niro and James Woods.
Synopsis: Though some viewers might be put off by its length, graphic violence, and absence of likable characters, Sergio Leone's final... [More]
Directed By: Sergio Leone

#17
Adjusted Score: 90.559%
Critics Consensus: Featuring director John Sayles trademark humanity and an expressive performance from Joe Morton, The Brother from Another Planet is an observant, dryly comic sci-fi gem.
Synopsis: Filmmaker John Sayles' first bonafide box-office success, Brother from Another Planet centers on a black escaped slave from a faraway... [More]
Directed By: John Sayles

#16
#16
Adjusted Score: 91.473%
Critics Consensus: Places in the Heart is a quiet character piece with grand ambitions that it more than fulfills, thanks to absorbing work from writer-director Robert Benton and a tremendous cast.
Synopsis: After her husband is killed, Sally Field is forced to take over the debt-ridden Texas family farm herself. She accepts... [More]
Directed By: Robert Benton

#15

The Karate Kid (1984)
89%

#15
Adjusted Score: 92.021%
Critics Consensus: Utterly predictable and wholly of its time, but warm, sincere, and difficult to resist, due in large part to Pat Morita and Ralph Macchio's relaxed chemistry.
Synopsis: Newly arrived in California from New Jersey, teenager Daniel (Ralph Macchio) almost immediately runs afoul of karate-trained high school bullies.... [More]
Directed By: John G. Avildsen

#14
#14
Adjusted Score: 93.193%
Critics Consensus: A meticulously-crafted murder mystery with incisive observations about race in America, A Soldier's Story benefits from a roundly excellent ensemble and Charles Fuller's politically urgent screenplay.
Synopsis: Inspired by the Herman Melville novel Billy Budd, writer Charles Fuller created the Pulitzer Prize-winning A Soldier's Play, which he... [More]
Directed By: Norman Jewison

#13

Splash (1984)
91%

#13
Adjusted Score: 93.93%
Critics Consensus: A perfectly light, warmly funny romantic comedy that's kept afloat by Ron Howard's unobtrusive direction and charming performances from Tom Hanks and Daryl Hannah.
Synopsis: This story begins in 1959, when a young boy is rescued from a watery grave by an adolescent mermaid. Twenty-five... [More]
Directed By: Ron Howard

#12
#12
Adjusted Score: 95.93%
Critics Consensus: Artfully composed, powerfully acted, and fueled by a powerful blend of anger and empathy, The Killing Fields is a career-defining triumph for director Roland Joffé and a masterpiece of cinema.
Synopsis: Covering the U.S. pull-out from Vietnam in 1975, New York Times reporter Sidney Schanberg relies upon his Cambodian friend Dith... [More]
Directed By: Roland Joffé

#11

Amadeus (1984)
93%

#11
Adjusted Score: 101.139%
Critics Consensus: A lavish, entertaining, powerful film about the life and influence, both positive and negative, of one of Western culture's great artists.
Synopsis: For this film adaptation of Peter Shaffer's Broadway hit, director Milos Forman returned to the city of Prague that he'd... [More]
Directed By: Milos Forman

#10
#10
Adjusted Score: 97.935%
Critics Consensus: Wes Craven's intelligent premise, combined with the horrifying visual appearance of Freddy Krueger, still causes nightmares to this day.
Synopsis: A group of teenagers are terrorized by "Freddy Krueger", an evil being from another world who gets to his victims... [More]
Directed By: Wes Craven

#9

Blood Simple (1984)
94%

#9
Adjusted Score: 102.504%
Critics Consensus: Brutally violent and shockingly funny in equal measure, Blood Simple offers early evidence of the Coen Brothers' twisted sensibilities and filmmaking ingenuity.
Synopsis: In the first film of brothers Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, M. Emmett Walsh plays Visser, an unscrupulous private eye... [More]
Directed By: Joel Coen

#8
#8
Adjusted Score: 100.032%
Critics Consensus: Smartly directed, brilliantly acted, and packed with endlessly quotable moments, This Is Spinal Tap is an all-time comedy classic.
Synopsis: A spoof about a filmmaker making a documentary about a once-famous, now almost forgotten British heavy metal band returning to... [More]
Directed By: Rob Reiner

#7
#7
Adjusted Score: 97.376%
Critics Consensus: A striking debut for director Jim Jarmusch, Stranger than Paradise is an effortlessly cool exploration of finding meaning in the mundane.
Synopsis: Jim Jarmusch's Stranger Than Paradise is an odd, low-key comedy about trio of misfits--an everyday guy, his Hungarian female cousin,... [More]
Directed By: Jim Jarmusch

#6

Paris, Texas (1984)
97%

#6
Adjusted Score: 99.107%
Critics Consensus: A quiet yet deeply moving kind of Western, Paris, Texas captures a place and people like never before (or after).
Synopsis: Travis (Harry Dean Stanton) is wandering through the Texas desert, a bit shaky and in desperate need of water, when... [More]
Directed By: Wim Wenders, Win Wenders

#5
Adjusted Score: 102.671%
Critics Consensus: An infectiously fun blend of special effects and comedy, with Bill Murray's hilarious deadpan performance leading a cast of great comic turns.
Synopsis: Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis and Ernie Hudson star as a quartet of Manhattan-based "paranormal investigators". When their government... [More]
Directed By: Ivan Reitman

#4

Repo Man (1984)
98%

#4
Adjusted Score: 101.204%
Critics Consensus: Repo Man is many things: an alien-invasion film, a punk-rock musical, a send-up of consumerism. One thing it isn't is boring.
Synopsis: A down and out young punk gets a job working with a seasoned repo man, but what awaits him in... [More]
Directed By: Alex Cox

#3
#3
Adjusted Score: 101.65%
Critics Consensus: Woody Allen's hard-working, uphill-climbing Broadway talent agent is rendered memorably with equal parts absurdity and affection.
Synopsis: A smaller, amusing comedy from writer/director Woody Allen, Broadway Danny Rose begins with a bunch of show business vets sitting... [More]
Directed By: Woody Allen

#2

Stop Making Sense (1984)
100%

#2
Adjusted Score: 102.747%
Critics Consensus: Jonathan Demme's Stop Making Sense captures the energetic, unpredictable live act of peak Talking Heads with color and visual wit.
Synopsis: Stop Making Sense was the first feature-length documentary effort of filmmaker Jonathan Demme. The director's subject is The Talking Heads,... [More]
Directed By: Jonathan Demme

#1

The Terminator (1984)
100%

#1
Adjusted Score: 104.94%
Critics Consensus: With its impressive action sequences, taut economic direction, and relentlessly fast pace, it's clear why The Terminator continues to be an influence on sci-fi and action flicks.
Synopsis: A Cyborg has been sent from the future on a deadly mission, it has been programmed to kill a young... [More]
Directed By: James Cameron

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