Over the past few months, a lot has of ink has been spilled about how 1939 was the greatest year in movies ever. After all, that was the year of The Wizard of Oz and Gone with the Wind. Granted, not a bad double whammy. And it didn’t stop there: 1939 also was the year of Stagecoach, Wuthering Heights, Love Affair, Gunga Din, Dark Victory, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, and The Hunchback of Notre Dame.Those are all celluloid gems, no doubt about it. But aside from the first two, how many of them make you honestly want to play hooky and watch right this second?

I thought so.

So let me put forth an alternate argument. When it comes to the year-in-film you really want to waste a Cheetos-snarfing afternoon on the sofa with, all you have to do is go back 25 years. Will the cinema eggheads and film snobs ever agree with this? Of course not. Not when you’re dealing with movies like Ghostbusters, Bachelor Party, and Gremlins. But personally, I’ll take 1984 over just about any other Hollywood vintage. Here’s a month-by-month argument (with embedded clips!) why…


-The Lonely Guy

-Broadway Danny Rose…which includes this shootout scene in room full of helium.


-A little Kevin Bacon movie you may have heard of…


-Splash (Part of a great one-two punch of pre-serious Tom Hanks from the year, along with Bachelor Party)

-Romancing the Stone

-And only the greatest movie about rock & roll ever made…



-Friday the 13thThe Final Chapter (Don’t laugh, it’s one of the few good ones. With Corey Feldman as a pint-sized psycho)

-And Rick Springfield “in his sizzling motion picture debut”…


-Mel Gibson shirtless in The Bounty

-Robert Redford swinging for the fences in The Natural

-Harrison Ford and Short Round eating chilled monkey brains in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

-Lil’ Drew Barrymore being all spooky in Firestarter

-And, of course, this…


-Segio Leone’s Once Upon a Time in America

-Star Trek III: The Search For Spock


-Bachelor Party

-Top Secret!

-The Pope of Greenwich Village

-The Karate Kid

-Conan the Destroyer

-Cannonball Run II



-Repo Man

-The Gods Must Be Crazy

-The Muppets Take Manhattan

-Purple Rain

-And a little honey that we’ll let Orson Welles introduce…


-Red Dawn

-Clint Eastwood in Tightrope

-Oxford Blues


-A trio of great high-brow films (The Brother From Another Planet, Amadeus, Stranger Than Paradise) and one very low-brow one…


-The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai

-The Coen brothers’ debut, Blood Simple

-Stop Making Sense

-Body Double

-And another movie you may have heard of…


-The Killing Fields

-A Nightmare on Elm Street

-And just to show that they can’t all be classics…


-Beverly Hills Cop


-The Flamingo Kid

-Johnny Dangerously

-And just to close out this miraculous cinematic year on a catchy note…

Now it’s your turn, PopWatchers: What’s your favorite film from 1984?