Obscure(ish) films from an undervalued decade (part one 1980-85)

A maligned era, often viewed through the prism of nostalgic kitsch or denounced as the beginning of the end of cinema by snootier critics, the 80s were truly my formative film years.

I watched an insane amount of films during that decade, benefitting from video (first Beta, then VHS), my friend Lisa’s mum owning a classic 'mum and dad' store and the now-unimaginable British TV programming of late night, cult, world cinema and classics.

This is a real pick n’ mix and I’ve tried hard to stay away from anything truly well-known, although there are films with big stars from big-name directors. Mostly, these are just oddities that have stayed with me, many of which I own, quite a few I don’t. These are not classics per se, although I think some of them are amazing. But they are all really interesting, and worth seeking out if you haven't seen them.

There are lots I haven’t seen in years, many only once, so it’s as much a reminder of things I would like to view again. Only a handful weren’t actually viewed in that decade. I was a rather precocious child in terms of wanting to see more advanced material (like most fledgling film geeks) so no doubt some of the subtleties of these flew over my head (maybe not Code of Silence).

I’ll tackle the latter half of the decade soon.

And I will keep adding to this as I remember. Suggestions welcome!

*UPDATED after a quick scan of the VHS collection. Interesting that, in the late 80s when I was buying tapes, my concept of foreign cinema was mostly French, with a few Japanese titles. I really hadn't been exposed to wider stuff from China, Russia etc.

  • Android
  • La balance
  • Le Bal
  • Baby It's You
  • The Black Marble
  • Body Rock
  • Brainstorm
  • Choose Me
  • Comfort and Joy
  • Code of Silence
  • Copkiller
  • Crazy Thunder Road
  • Creator
  • Crimes of Passion
  • Cutter's Way
  • Danton
  • Death in a French Garden
  • Death Warmed Up
  • Dreamchild
  • El Norte
  • Exposed
  • Fade to Black
  • The Flamingo Kid
  • Four Friends
  • Hail Mary
  • The Hit
  • Hopscotch
  • Insignificance
  • Into the Night
  • Kagemusha
  • Killpoint
  • Liquid Sky
  • The Last Metro
  • Losin' It
  • Maria's Lovers
  • Mephisto
  • Looker
  • The Loveless
  • Love Streams
  • The Moon in the Gutter
  • The Man Who Loved Women
  • Mike's Murder
  • Mommie Dearest
  • L’argent
  • My Bodyguard
  • Night of the Comet
  • Not For Publication
  • Of Unknown Origin
  • The Osterman Weekend
  • Out of the Blue
  • Personal Best
  • The Philadelphia Experiment
  • Pixote
  • The Professional
  • The Protector
  • The Quiet Earth
  • Smithereens
  • Slayground
  • Smash Palace
  • Special Effects
  • Star 80
  • Starstruck
  • Strange Invaders
  • Tattoo
  • Tampopo
  • Trouble in Mind
  • Two Crippled Heroes
  • White Dog
  • Wolfen
  • Atlantic City
  • ...All the Marbles
  • The Idolmaker
  • Night Shift
  • Static
  • Windows