Best Movies of 1987

10. RIVER’S EDGE

River's Edge

44 LISTS | 4 TOP SPOTS
Tim Hunter | 99 mins | Crime/Drama
Crispin Glover | Keanu Reeves | Ione Skye | Daniel Roebuck

“The scariest film of the year. But this wasn’t a conventional thriller. On the contrary, it was a lazy investigation into how a bunch of high school students could ignore that one of their classmates had strangled another student and left her dead on the river’s edge. The ringleader of the students is a wild punk, but the more frightening characters are laid-back students who move in a fog without a moral compass. The greatness of the film is that it consists of more than finger-wagging at the banality of evil. It’s an indictment of the crass, mass culture that has drugged America’s youth. The film is full of references to mindless TV, the literature of today’s teenager.” – Gene Siskel, Chicago Tribune

9. RAISING ARIZONA

Raising Arizona

52 LISTS | 0 TOP SPOTS
Joel Coen and Ethan Coen | 94 mins | Comedy/Crime
Nicolas Cage | Holly Hunter | Trey Wilson | John Goodman

“Nicolas Cage and Holly Hunter kidnap a baby, then ricochet through a cartoonish spree designed for total sock-pow impact by the brothers Coen, Joel and Ethan. It has the breakloose elation of silent comedies plus a Pee-wee pop that is entirely ’80s. The big chase is a wow; so are Cage, Hunter, John Goodman as a slob con, Barry Sonnenfeld’s images and the visit by doltish cousins.” – David Elliott, San Diego Union-Tribune

8. THE UNTOUCHABLES

The Untouchables

57 LISTS | 3 TOP SPOTS
Brian De Palma | 119 mins | Crime/Drama/Thriller
Kevin Costner | Sean Connery | Robert De Niro | Charles Martin Smith

“For flat-out entertainment, this Brian De Palma tour de force could not be beat, as long as you did not take it too seriously. As a gangster movie, it bears about the same relationship to the magnificent “Godfather” epics of Francis Coppola as a Willie Nelson “outlaws” album does to a Puccini opera.
With Kevin Costner as Eliot Ness, Sean Connery as his aging law-enforcement mentor and Robert DeNiro as Al Capone, this tale of Prohibition-era Chicago is unabashedly one-dimensional, put together in the style of an old-fashioned Western, with good guys and bad guys and shoot-’em-ups that waste more bullets than blood. The best scene, when Ness tries to stall a gunfight while a baby carriage rolls down a flight of stairs, is simultaneously classic adventure and classic satire. “The Untouchables” is sheer fun.” – Harper Barnes, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

7. JEAN DE FLORETTE

Jean De Florette

60 LISTS | 7 TOP SPOTS
Claude Berri | 120 mins | Drama
Yves Montand | Gérard Depardieu | Daniel Auteuil | Elisabeth Depardieu

“Marcel Pagnol’s 1930s novel comes to life again, in a second film version, with Claude Berri showing the pride and passion of Provencal farmers, whose attitude toward strangers is much like that of those who farm the Appalachian “hollers.” Yves Montand, Daniel Auteuil and Gerard Depardieu are marvelous, and Berri uses the land itself as a major participant. The sequel, “Manon,” completes the story and is outstanding, too, if slightly short of the opening chapter.” – Joe Pollack, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

6. MY LIFE AS A DOG

My Life as a Dog

66 LISTS | 5 TOP SPOTS
Lasse Hallström | 101 mins | Drama/Comedy
Anton Glanzelius | Tomas von Brömssen | Anki Lidén | Melinda Kinnaman

“This moving Swedish film, directed by Lasse Hallstrom, is hearty in its humor and profound in its wisdom. One becomes deeply involved in the life of a 12-year-old orphan (Anton Glanzelius) as he seeks a place to live and learns that “Life is hard sometimes. It’s not easy to be left behind.” As hard as life can be, it also has its bounty; if you can survive the pain, you can reap the rewards.” – Mike McGrady, Newsday

5. RADIO DAYS

Radio Days

68 LISTS | 2 TOP SPOTS
Woody Allen | 88 mins | Comedy
Mia Farrow | Dianne Wiest | Mike Starr | Paul Herman

“Woody Allen’s movie remembered not only the radio days of the 1940s, but also life as it was lived then, when fantasies were more real because the radio let them happen in your head. He recreates several radio legends–from adventure serials to game shows to treacly morning breakfast programs–and he sees them all through the eyes of a bright young kid from Far Rockaway who is doubtless not unlike young Woody himself. The movie had a Felliniesque ability to spin several stories at the same time — courtships and adulteries, gangland intrigues and a boy’s loss of innocence — and bring them altogether into a bittersweet, nostalgic New Year’s Eve in Times Square.” – Roger Ebert, Chicago Tribune

4. THE LAST EMPEROR

The Last Emperor

78 LISTS | 9 TOP SPOTS
Bernardo Bertolucci | 163 mins | Biography/Drama/History
John Lone | Joan Chen | Peter O'Toole | Ruocheng Ying

Bernardo Bertolucci is another filmmaker with an obvious, natural genius for movie imagery, and his much-acclaimed Chinese epic “The Last Emperor” was something of a comeback for him-but not one to get excited about. Though certainly it’s an improvement over “The Tragedy of a Ridiculous Man,” which he completed six years ago, it’s an uninvolving pageant. The film is ravishingly beautiful, but in a way that passifies rather than excites the eye.” – Hal Hinson, Washington Post

3. HOPE AND GLORY

Hope and Glory

82 LISTS | 13 TOP SPOTS
John Boorman | 113 mins | Comedy/Drama/Romance
Sarah Miles | David Hayman | Sebastian Rice-Edwards | Geraldine Muir

“The Christmas release of Steven Spielberg’s “Empire of the Sun”-also about a boy’s experience of World War II-only enhances the accomplishments of Boorman’s British production, which covers a wider emotional territory without bombast or false sentimentality. A veteran filmmaker (at the forefront of his craft since 1965), Boorman brilliantly weaves the authenticity of a semi-autobiographical narration with the subtle stylization-of space, rhythm and color-of a master formalist. The film does suffer from third act problems (chiefly, a disappointingly conventional performance by Ian Bannen), but repeat viewings minimize its light flaws while deepening its gracefully offered insights.” – Dave Kehr, Chicago Tribune

2. FULL METAL JACKET

Full Metal Jacket

86 LISTS | 6 TOP SPOTS
Stanley Kubrick | 116 mins | Drama/War
Matthew Modine | R. Lee Ermey | Vincent D'Onofrio | Adam Baldwin

“Stanley Kubrick examines the methods by which ordinary, mostly decent young men can be turned into killing machines. The war just happens to be the late disaster in Vietnam, and the victims just happen to be United States Marine Corps recruits. However, without generalizing, the film’s meaning is clear: this is the way that wars go.
Adapted by Mr. Kubrick and Michael Herr, from a novel by Gustav Hasford, the film initially looks to have been made by two different directors from two different screenplays. ”Full Metal Jacket” requires the audience to make leaps in continuity and reasoning that pay off with its sorrowful ending. The uniformly fine cast includes Matthew Modine, Vincent D’Onofrio and Lee Ermey, who’s unforgettable as a Parris Island gunnery sergeant.” – Vincent Canby, New York Times

1. BROADCAST NEWS

Broadcast News

108 LISTS | 20 TOP SPOTS
James L. Brooks | 133 mins | Comedy/Drama/Romance
William Hurt | Albert Brooks | Holly Hunter | Robert Prosky

“A serious comedy about the people who report the nightly news, by James L. Brooks, writer-producer-director of “Terms of Endearment.” I may never be able to watch another newscast without thinking of Holly Hunter, as the savvy producer in the control room, putting words into photogenic-but-incompetent anchorman William Hurt’s mouth through his earpiece.” – Joseph Gelmis, Newsday

Full List:

RFilmL#1ARL%#1%TCLTCL1TCL%TCL1%
1Broadcast News108204.0960%18%461262%27%
2Full Metal Jacket8664.5548%5%36149%2%
3Hope and Glory82134.1046%12%38851%18%
4The Last Emperor7894.1444%8%28438%9%
5Radio Days6825.3438%2%31042%0%
6My Life as a Dog6654.7237%5%29139%2%
7Jean De Florette6074.2934%6%29039%0%
8The Untouchables5735.1532%3%21128%2%
9Raising Arizona5205.8029%0%23031%0%
10River's Edge5134.6729%3%22230%5%
11Tin Men5116.3228%1%16122%2%
12The Dead5044.2028%4%24232%5%
13Roxanne4815.6227%1%16022%0%
14Empire of the Sun4345.3324%4%16222%5%
15Robocop4216.1323%1%14119%2%
16Manon of the Spring4044.5522%4%21128%2%
17Fatal Attraction3716.4721%1%304%0%
18Moonstruck3515.2020%1%11115%2%
19House of Games3345.1219%4%19226%5%
20The Princess Bride3316.2918%1%9012%0%
21Wall Street3226.3118%2%608%0%
22Tampopo3006.5017%0%15020%0%
23Swimming to Cambodia2606.4715%0%11015%0%
24No Way Out2625.6915%2%9112%2%
25Sammy and Rosie Get Laid2334.4013%3%12316%7%
26Matewan2214.9212%1%608%0%
27Barfly2106.0912%0%12016%0%
27Prick Up Your Ears2105.9212%0%608%0%
29Housekeeping2015.6711%1%13118%2%
30Wish You Were Here1707.149%0%507%0%
30The Big Easy1706.649%0%405%0%
32Cry Freedom1623.809%2%507%0%
33Maurice1506.578%0%9012%0%
34Dark Eyes1414.008%1%8011%0%
35Stakeout1307.337%0%405%0%
36High Tide1214.607%1%9112%2%
36Ironweed1215.867%1%101%0%
38Man Facing Southeast1116.256%1%517%2%
39La Bamba1107.006%0%405%0%
39Hollywood Shuffle1106.506%0%203%0%
39Lethal Weapon1105.836%0%405%0%
42The Stepfather1005.006%0%608%0%

Lists Included 179 | Top Critics’ Lists Included 74

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

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.