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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: 67023%
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: Brave explorers are headed for the far reaches of the galaxy in the continuation of the story that began with... [More]
Directed By: Peter Hyams

#44

Streets of Fire (1984)
67%

#44
Adjusted Score: 67332%
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: Raven Shaddock (Willem Dafoe), along with his gang of merciless biker friends, kidnaps rock singer Ellen Aim (Diane Lane). Ellen's... [More]
Directed By: Walter Hill

#43
Adjusted Score: 68626%
Critics Consensus: Sci-fi parodies like these usually struggle to work, but Buckaroo Banzai succeeds through total devotion to its own lunacy.
Synopsis: Buckaroo Banzai is caught with his trusted allies, the Hong Kong Cavaliers, in a battle to the death between evil... [More]
Directed By: W.D. Richter

#42
#42
Adjusted Score: 70821%
Critics Consensus: A silly and ribald superhero spoof, Toxic Avenger uninhibited humor hits more than it misses.
Synopsis: A 98-pound nerd (Mark Torgl) from New Jersey lands in a vat of toxic waste and becomes a benevolent monster... [More]
Directed By: Michael Herz, Samuel Weil

#41

Purple Rain (1984)
70%

#41
Adjusted Score: 72836%
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: A victim of his own anger, the Kid (Prince) is a Minneapolis musician on the rise with his band, the... [More]
Directed By: Albert Magnoli

#40

1984 (1984)
74%

#40
Adjusted Score: 74252%
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: A man loses his identity while living under a repressive regime. In a story based on George Orwell's classic novel,... [More]
Directed By: Michael Radford

#39
#39
Adjusted Score: 77367%
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: Based on the renowned E.M. Forster novel, this expansive period drama centers on the changing dynamic between British colonials and... [More]
Directed By: David Lean

#38

The Cotton Club (1984)
77%

#38
Adjusted Score: 77591%
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: The lives of various characters intersect at Harlem's renowned Cotton Club. Handsome horn player Dix Dwyer (Richard Gere) falls for... [More]
Directed By: Francis Ford Coppola

#37
#37
Adjusted Score: 77864%
Critics Consensus: While The Last Starfighter is clearly derivative of other sci-fi franchises, its boundary-pushing visual effects and lovably plucky tone make for an appealing adventure.
Synopsis: After finally achieving the high score on Starfighter, his favorite arcade game, everyday teenager Alex Rogan (Lance Guest) meets the... [More]
Directed By: Nick Castle

#36

Body Double (1984)
76%

#36
Adjusted Score: 77936%
Critics Consensus: Exemplifying Brian De Palma's filmmaking bravura and polarizing taste, Body Double is a salacious love letter to moviemaking.
Synopsis: After losing an acting role and his girlfriend, Jake Scully (Craig Wasson) finally catches a break: he gets offered a... [More]
Directed By: Brian De Palma

#35

Dreamscape (1984)
78%

#35
Adjusted Score: 78544%
Critics Consensus: Dreamscape mixes several genres -- horror, sci-fi, action -- and always maintains a sense of adventure and humor.
Synopsis: Selfish teen Alex Gardner (Dennis Quaid) is coerced into joining a government project in which psychics like him are trained... [More]
Directed By: Joseph Ruben

#34

Top Secret! (1984)
75%

#34
Adjusted Score: 78143%
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: Popular and dashing American singer Nick Rivers (Val Kilmer) travels to East Germany to perform in a music festival. When... [More]

#33
#33
Adjusted Score: 78641%
Critics Consensus: Valley Girl culture satire Night of the Comet gets lots of mileage out of its slapstick sci-fi zombie approach.
Synopsis: After a rare comet sighting, teen sisters Regina (Catherine Mary Stewart) and Samantha (Kelli Maroney) find that they're among the... [More]
Directed By: Thom Eberhardt

#32
Adjusted Score: 82145%
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: Adm. James T. Kirk (William Shatner) has defeated his archenemy but at great cost. His friend Spock has apparently been... [More]
Directed By: Leonard Nimoy

#31
#31
Adjusted Score: 83715%
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: On his way to school, Bastian (Barret Oliver) ducks into a bookstore to avoid bullies. Sneaking away with a book... [More]
Directed By: Wolfgang Petersen

#30

The Natural (1984)
83%

#30
Adjusted Score: 84973%
Critics Consensus: Though heavy with sentiment, The Natural is an irresistible classic, and a sincere testament to America's national pastime.
Synopsis: On the way to a tryout with the Chicago Cubs, young baseball phenom Roy Hobbs (Robert Redford) is shot by... [More]
Directed By: Barry Levinson

#29
Adjusted Score: 85158%
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: When Kermit the Frog and friends start a stage act, they decide to take the show from their college town... [More]
Directed By: Frank Oz

#28
#28
Adjusted Score: 86661%
Critics Consensus: The buddy cop movie continues its evolution unabated with this Eddie Murphy vehicle that's fast, furious, and funny.
Synopsis: After his childhood buddy is murdered while visiting Detroit, rebellious cop Axel Foley (Eddie Murphy) follows the leads to Beverly... [More]
Directed By: Martin Brest

#27

Sixteen Candles (1984)
81%

#27
Adjusted Score: 83712%
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: With the occasion all but overshadowed by her sister's upcoming wedding, angst-ridden Samantha (Molly Ringwald) faces her 16th birthday with... [More]
Directed By: John Hughes

#26
Adjusted Score: 88959%
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 Lucas/Spielberg Indiana Jones epics is set a year or so before the events in Raiders of... [More]
Directed By: Steven Spielberg

#25

Birdy (1984)
83%

#25
Adjusted Score: 83503%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Birdy (Matthew Modine) returns from the Vietnam War scarred from the horrific experiences of battle. He is so damaged by... [More]
Directed By: Alan Parker

#24

Starman (1984)
85%

#24
Adjusted Score: 85848%
Critics Consensus: What initially begins as sci-fi transforms into a surprisingly sweet, offbeat drama, courtesy of John Carpenter's careful direction.
Synopsis: Answering a NASA message intended for aliens, a space being tries to contact mankind, but an American missile grounds his... [More]
Directed By: John Carpenter

#23

All of Me (1984)
85%

#23
Adjusted Score: 85758%
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: While on her deathbed, the rich Edwina Cutwater (Lily Tomlin) has her lawyer Roger Cobb (Steve Martin) add the odd... [More]
Directed By: Carl Reiner

#22
#22
Adjusted Score: 88750%
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: A dowdy romantic-adventure writer is hurled into a real-life adventure in the Colombian jungle in order to save her sister,... [More]
Directed By: Robert Zemeckis

#21

Gremlins (1984)
85%

#21
Adjusted Score: 90473%
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: A gadget salesman is looking for a special gift for his son and finds one at a store in Chinatown.... [More]
Directed By: Joe Dante

#20

El Norte (1983)
92%

#20
Adjusted Score: 96109%
Critics Consensus: Sensitively written, skillfully directed, and powerfully portrayed, El Norte wrings deeply affecting drama from intractable real-life issues.
Synopsis: When a group of Mayan Indians decides to organize a labor union to improve conditions in their village, their community... [More]
Directed By: Gregory Nava

#19
#19
Adjusted Score: 81844%
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: A Russian musician defects to the United States and settles in New York with the help of a Bloomingdale's employee.... [More]
Directed By: Paul Mazursky

#18
Adjusted Score: 90747%
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: In 1968, the elderly David "Noodles" Aaronson (Robert De Niro) returns to New York, where he had a career in... [More]
Directed By: Sergio Leone

#17
Adjusted Score: 90420%
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: "The Brother" (Joe Morton) is an alien and escaped slave on the run from his home planet. After he lands... [More]
Directed By: John Sayles

#16
#16
Adjusted Score: 91280%
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: In 1935 rural Texas, recently widowed Edna Spaulding (Sally Field) struggles to survive with two small children, a farm to... [More]
Directed By: Robert Benton

#15

The Karate Kid (1984)
89%

#15
Adjusted Score: 90799%
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: Daniel (Ralph Macchio) moves to Southern California with his mother, Lucille (Randee Heller), but quickly finds himself the target of... [More]
Directed By: John G. Avildsen

#14
#14
Adjusted Score: 92071%
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: A black Army investigator (Howard E. Rollins Jr.) travels to a remote military base in the heart of the Louisiana... [More]
Directed By: Norman Jewison

#13

Splash (1984)
91%

#13
Adjusted Score: 92713%
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: A young boy saved from drowning by a beautiful mermaid, falls in love with her 20 years later when she... [More]
Directed By: Ron Howard

#12
#12
Adjusted Score: 95712%
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: New York Times reporter Sydney Schanberg (Sam Waterston) is on assignment covering the Cambodian Civil War, with the help of... [More]
Directed By: Roland Joffé

#11

Amadeus (1984)
93%

#11
Adjusted Score: 100892%
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: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Tom Hulce) is a remarkably talented young Viennese composer who unwittingly finds a fierce rival in the... [More]
Directed By: Milos Forman

#10
#10
Adjusted Score: 97748%
Critics Consensus: Wes Craven's intelligent premise, combined with the horrifying visual appearance of Freddy Krueger, still causes nightmares to this day.
Synopsis: In Wes Craven's classic slasher film, several Midwestern teenagers fall prey to Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund), a disfigured midnight mangler... [More]
Directed By: Wes Craven

#9

Blood Simple (1984)
93%

#9
Adjusted Score: 101065%
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: "Blood Simple" was the first feature film from Joel and Ethan Coen. This is the newly restored and re-edited director's... [More]
Directed By: Joel Coen

#8
#8
Adjusted Score: 99700%
Critics Consensus: Smartly directed, brilliantly acted, and packed with endlessly quotable moments, This Is Spinal Tap is an all-time comedy classic.
Synopsis: "This Is Spinal Tap" shines a light on the self-contained universe of a metal band struggling to get back on... [More]
Directed By: Rob Reiner

#7
#7
Adjusted Score: 97244%
Critics Consensus: A striking debut for director Jim Jarmusch, Stranger than Paradise is an effortlessly cool exploration of finding meaning in the mundane.
Synopsis: New York City layabout Willie (John Lurie) and his dopey sidekick, Eddie (Richard Edson), get by on TV dinners and... [More]
Directed By: Jim Jarmusch

#6

Paris, Texas (1984)
94%

#6
Adjusted Score: 96232%
Critics Consensus: A quiet yet deeply moving kind of Western, Paris, Texas captures a place and people like never before (or after).
Synopsis: A disheveled man who wanders out of the desert, Travis Henderson (Harry Dean Stanton) seems to have no idea who... [More]
Directed By: Wim Wenders

#5

Ghostbusters (1984)
97%

#5
Adjusted Score: 102475%
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: After the members of a team of scientists (Harold Ramis, Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray) lose their cushy positions at a... [More]
Directed By: Ivan Reitman

#4

Repo Man (1984)
98%

#4
Adjusted Score: 100058%
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: After being fired from his job, Los Angeles slacker and punk rocker Otto (Emilio Estevez) lands a gig working for... [More]
Directed By: Alex Cox

#3
#3
Adjusted Score: 100330%
Critics Consensus: Woody Allen's hard-working, uphill-climbing Broadway talent agent is rendered memorably with equal parts absurdity and affection.
Synopsis: Danny Rose (Woody Allen), a hopeless New York talent agent, is a tireless workhorse for his eccentric, unimpressive acts. When... [More]
Directed By: Woody Allen

#2

Stop Making Sense (1984)
100%

#2
Adjusted Score: 101005%
Critics Consensus: Jonathan Demme's Stop Making Sense captures the energetic, unpredictable live act of peak Talking Heads with color and visual wit.
Synopsis: Director Jonathan Demme captures the frantic energy and artsy groove of Talking Heads in this concert movie shot at the... [More]
Directed By: Jonathan Demme

#1

The Terminator (1984)
100%

#1
Adjusted Score: 104612%
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: Disguised as a human, a cyborg assassin known as a Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger) travels from 2029 to 1984 to kill... [More]
Directed By: James Cameron

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