Best Movies of 1986

10. PEGGY SUE GOT MARRIED

Peggy Sue Got Married

53 LISTS | 0 TOP SPOTS
Frances Ford Coppola | 103 mins | Comedy/Drama/Fantasy
Kathleen Turner | Nicolas Cage | Barry Miller

“Francis Coppola working from a screenplay by the Toronto writing team of Arlene Sarner and Jerry Liechtling, produced this bittersweet comedy about a 42-year-old woman who collapses at her high school reunion. When she wakes up it is 1960 and she is a teenager again. It’s all about destiny and attempts to change our lives, and the impossibility of doing it.” – Ron Base, Toronto Star

9. THE COLOR OF MONEY

The Color Purple

60 LISTS | 1 TOP SPOT
Martin Scorsese | 119 mins | Drama/Sport
Paul Newman | Tom Cruise | Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio

“Because of: Paul Newman, returning again as Fast Eddie Felson, garbed in cash- mere and surrounded by Cadillac. Newman’s hair has assumed the color of burnished steel, his voice a huskiness born of whiskey. And this time out, Newman has been given a role and lines that actors dream about and he delivers one of his finest performances.
Because of: strong support from the extraordinarily talented Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio and the up-and-coming Tom Cruise. Not to mention a brilliant script by Richard Price, dazzling camerawork by Michael Mallhaus and the genius of director Martin Scorcese.” – Mike McGrady, Newsday

8. ROUND MIDNIGHT

Round Midnight

63 LISTS | 2 TOP SPOTS
Bertrand Tavernier | 133 mins | Drama/Music
Dexter Gordon | François Cluzet | Gabrielle Haker

“Bertrand Tavernier’s movie is a love poem to jazz and the legends who create it. His film is set mostly in Paris of 1959, at a little club named the Blue Note, where an old American saxophonist comes to play. The man is tired, sick and has a drinking problem, but sometimes his music still lifts his spirit.
The old jazzman is played by Dexter Gordon, himself a legend, and his performance is a masterpiece. He is filled with a deep sadness, and he has a need to get drunk whenever he possibly can. But he is touched by the kindness of a young French jazz fan who worries about him and cares for him, and for a few months in Paris, he creates some of the best music of his life.” – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

7. STAND BY ME

Stand By Me

67 LISTS | 2 TOP SPOTS
Rob Reiner | 89 mins | Adventure/Drama
Wil Wheaton | River Phoenix | Corey Feldman

“A rare event… a film about children that reaches adults. The appeal of this delicate treatment of a Stephen King short story is the regret that having experienced childhood, so little of it survives in adulthood. Director Rob Reiner’s achievement is to mold a cast of 12-year-olds into an ensemble of astonishing empathy… that, and the 1950-ish mellowness of their Oregon odyssey to discover a body.” – Noel Taylor, Ottawa Citizen

6. ALIENS

Aliens

72 LISTS | 4 TOP SPOTS
James Cameron | 137 mins | Action/Adventure/ Sci-Fi
Sigourney Weaver | Michael Biehn | Carrie Henn

“The best sequel since After the Thin Man, which covers quite a lot of territory. Sigourney Weaver said in countless interviews how she hated the appellation “Rambolina.’ Yet that’s just what she became with her rough, tough portrayal of a natural-born survivor. When Sigourney squares off against the Mother Alien, for the sake of her surrogate daughter, you’ll cheer as never before. The film is fiendishly clever and horrifyingly scary. James Cameron, who gave us Arnold Schwarzenegger’s lone hit, The Terminator, not only surpassed Arnold’s surprise smash but also the original 1979 Alien. The new film is more viscerally exciting, more emotionally rewarding and much less pretentious.” – Philip Wuntch, Dallas Morning News

5. MONA LISA

Mona Lisa

77 LISTS | 4 TOP SPOTS
Neil Jordan | 104 mins | Crime/Drama/Romance
Bob Hoskins | Cathy Tyson | Michael Caine

“Irish director Neil Jordan’s disturbingly poignant film noir wed the doomed dreams of a love blinded romantic to the nightmarish comedy of contemporary, crime-besotted London in telling the tale of a small-time ex-con smitten by a beautiful but enigmatic black call girl.
Bob Hoskins (in the most accomplished male performance of 1986) made the seedy hero, a fallen man who earns redemption through an unselfish act of kindness, one of the most indelible – if unlikely – screen suitors in recent memory, investing the film with a moral dimension fully equal to its entertainment value. And Cathy Tyson’s exquisite looks and bearing, complemented by the dusky timbre of her voice, teamed with innate presence to incarnate the hauntingly seductive woman of Nat “King” Cole’s swooning title tune.
Splendidly atmospheric and relentlessly exciting, the film gained further luster from Michael Caine’s snarlingly reptilian supporting turn as an underworld boss, as well as from its candid yet compassionate treatment of still-taboo interracial relationships.” – David Baron, New Orleans Times-Picayune

4. BLUE VELVET

Blue Velvet

80 LISTS | 12 TOP SPOTS
David Lynch | 120 mins | Drama/Mystery/Thriller
Isabella Rossellini | Kyle MacLachlan | Dennis Hopper

“Disturbing is hardly the word for David Lynch’s nightmarish inversion of small-town Americana, a film that has prompted more than a few fainting spells in its engagements around the country. But shock is not the sole aim of this artfully perverse work, which juxtaposes extreme cruelty with an unflappable, childlike innocence to create a darkly poetic, distressingly plausible vision of American life.” – Dave Kehr, Chicago Tribune

3. PLATOON

Platoon

81 LISTS | 9 TOP SPOTS
Oliver Stone | 120 mins | Drama/War
Charlie Sheen | Tom Berenger | Willem Dafoe

“Oliver Stone’s Platoon, which will be released this month, will also provoke discussion: this is one of the ugliest and most traumatic war films ever made — perhaps the strongest on the subject of Vietnam. Until this year, Stone was known for directing or writing coarse, macho thrillers like Midnight Express, The Hand, Scarface and Year of the Dragon. But in March, he released Salvador, an enthralling film about a gonzo journalist (James Woods) scrambling over bodies in Central America — an amoral parasite who gets caught up in the plight of besieged peasants. Salvador and Platoon are like a sinner’s penance. No action filmmaker has gone against the political grain this way in years.
Stone, a decorated Vietnam vet, doesn’t buy the once-again fashionable idea that our presence there was moral and right but our methods wrong. So he has recreated the jungle-fever mindscape that led to the My Lai massacre and scores of buried American atrocities. The enemy, says Stone, was and is us: in times of extreme stress, our morals can explode under us like land mines. The film’s centerpiece, in which American soldiers enter a Vietnamese village and, in the course of interrogating villagers about a weapons stash, commit senseless murder, is indescribably harrowing. Stone, by plunging us into the carnage without any relief, captures the fear, disorientation and crazed high of battle — he makes us understand what’s possible when we’ve seen people we know cut to pieces and have no idea where the next bullet is going to come from.
In this regressive, let’s-go-back-and-win-the-Vietnam-War era, it’s hard to imagine most audiences knowing how to respond to Stone’s attempt to set the record straight. Every frame fights against the notion of a towering hero, a John Wayne or Stallone; in order to appreciate real heroism, Stone seems to say, you’ve first got to understand what it feels like to have a gun in your hand, license to pull the trigger and a reason to want a lot of people dead. Platoon is the wild card this Christmas. Success or flop, it’s going to blow everything else off the screen.” – David Edelstein, Rolling Stone

2. A ROOM WITH A VIEW

A Room With a View

108 LISTS | 7 TOP SPOTS
James Ivory | 117 mins | Drama/Romance
Maggie Smith | Helena Bonham Carter | Denholm Elliott

“The latest in a series of literary adaptations by Ivory and his partners, producer Ishmail Merchant and screenwriter Ruth Jhbala, breaks through their usual suffocatingly polite style. An earthy and very funny filming of an early E. M. Forster novel about an aristocratic English virgin (the sublime Helena Bonham-Carter) coming of age in turn-of-the-century Florence, Italy. Nice work by Julian Sands, Daniel Day Lewis, Denholm Elliott, and Maggie Smith.
into a tremendously affecting contemporary version of “Beauty and the Beast. ” In the latter, Cameron’s mind-boggling special-effect sequences work hand-in-glove with Weaver’s almost Shakespearean woman warrior, engaged in a duel to the death with an Alien Queen to save their respective offspring.” – Lou Lumenick, The Record

1. HANNAH AND HER SISTERS

Hannah and Her Sisters

147 LISTS | 41 TOP SPOTS
Woody Allen | 107 mins | Comedy/Drama
Mia Farrow | Dianne Wiest | Michael Caine

“Woody Allen was back early in the year with this lighthearted series of sketches about the extended family of a retired theatrical couple. A considerable departure in tone from his last two works, the film saw the 50ish director taking himself much less seriously and signaled a refreshing new chapter in the development of America’s greatest postwar comic sensibility.” – William Arnold, Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Full List:

RFilmL#1ARL%#1%TCLTCL1TCL%TCL1%
1Hannah and Her Sisters147412.3284%38%491579%37%
2A Room With a View10873.7761%6%33153%2%
3Platoon8194.0246%8%28345%7%
4Blue Velvet80125.4345%11%27744%17%
5Mona Lisa7744.9044%4%24239%5%
6Aliens7245.0041%4%24039%0%
7Stand by Me6725.9638%2%12019%0%
8Round Midnight6325.8336%2%23237%5%
9The Color of Money6014.7834%1%20132%2%
10Peggy Sue Got Married5307.1030%0%18029%0%
11Children of a Lesser God5215.8130%1%15124%2%
12My Beautiful Laundrette4225.5724%2%13021%0%
13Something Wild4126.1223%2%14023%0%
14Little Shop of Horrors4106.3523%0%8013%0%
15The Fly3925.7422%2%14123%2%
16Salvador3806.3322%0%17027%0%
17Crimes of the Heart3716.8221%1%15024%0%
18Sid and Nancy3107.3118%0%12019%0%
19Down and Out in Beverly Hills2906.4216%0%9015%0%
20Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home2805.1016%0%8013%0%
21Ruthless People2608.1315%0%7011%0%
22Crocodile Dundee2006.1111%0%203%0%
23The Mission2017.5011%1%518%2%
24Nothing in Common1807.2910%0%508%0%
25She's Gotta Have It1705.3010%0%6010%0%
26Desert Bloom1607.609%0%6010%0%
27Vagabond1616.229%1%9015%0%
28Down by Law1616.889%1%6010%0%
29True Stories1605.809%0%6010%0%
30The Sacrifice1555.508%5%9315%7%
31Therese1507.758%0%6010%0%
3228 Up1404.148%0%7011%0%
33Trouble in Mind1401.718%0%508%0%
34Summer1316.507%1%10116%2%
35The Mosquito Coast1215.257%1%203%0%
36Turtle Diary1207.507%0%508%0%
37Sherman's March1205.297%0%8013%0%
38Kaos1106.336%0%508%0%
39Lucas1008.296%0%508%0%
40The Decline of the American Empire1005.606%0%406%0%

Lists Included 176 | Top Critics’ Lists Included 62

R Rank
L Total number of lists where the film was selected as one of the top 10 films of the year
AR Average position on ranked top 10 lists
#1 Total number of lists where the film was selected as the best film of the year
L% Percentage of total lists where the film was selected as one of the top 10 films of the year
#1% Percentage of mentions where the film was selected as the best film of the year
TCL Number of times that the film was selected as one of the top 10 films of the year on top critics’ lists
TCL1 Number of times that the film was selected as the best film of the year on top critics’ lists
TCL% Percentage of times that the film was selected as one of the top 10 films of the year on top critics’ lists
TCL1% Percentage of lists where the film was selected as the best film of the year on top critics’ lists

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