Top Ten 1984

1. The Terminator
2. The Killing Fields
3. The Times Of Harvey Milk
4. Broadway Danny Rose
5. Antonio Gaudi
6. Streetwise
7. The Home And The World
8. Paris, Texas
9. Romancing The Stone
10. Fear City


Comedy is always so very underappreciated, and among my favourites is the great Steve Martin in one of his best roles, as a man whose body is half possessed by the spirit of Lily Tomlin in All Of Me. It’s hard to believe that any other actor could pull off the complex physicality of the role while imbuing it with such sincerity and intelligence at the same time.

Honour Roll: Albert Finney, Under The Volcano; Philip Baker Hall, Secret Honour; John Hurt, The Hit; Terence Stamp, The Hit


I’ll get eccentric yet again and go with the terrific work done by Linda Hamilton in James Cameron’s breakout masterpiece The Terminator.  It’s not easy being a woman in an action movie that’s supposed to explore male aggression, yet somehow Hamilton’s combination of grit and compassion give us much more to look at than just the murderous robot chasing her throughout the film. Hell, who even remembers the heroics of Michael Biehn next to her?

Honour Roll: Jessica Lange, Country


Wax-On-Wax-Off became a movie catchphrase for years after the release of one of the best kids’ movies in the eighties, and it’s easy to see why.  Noriyuki ‘Pat’ Morita‘s performance as the wise and wacky martial arts teacher in The Karate Kid made him an indelible icon, one that even bad sequels and an unnecessary remake did nothing to dampen. His stoicism in giving a highly sympathetic Ralph Macchio instruction is never the Noble Asian stereotype that it could have become, while his terrific scenes when he gets drunk and reveals his past heartbreak show what this masterful performer’s history of comedy could give to a rich, dramatic performance.

Honour Roll: Adolph Caesar, A Soldier’s Story; Colin Firth, Another Country; Zeljko Ivanek, Mass Appeal; Ralph Richardson, Greystoke: The Legend Of Tarzan, Lord Of The Apes


Melanie Griffith as the fresh-mouthed porn star in Brian de Palma’s Body Double rescues an otherwise trashy, Hitchcock ripoff thriller with her delightful comedy, and puts herself on the path of better roles that would culminate in the hit Working Girl four years later.

Honour Roll: Fanny Ardant, Swann in Love; Sabine Azema, A Sunday In The Country; Christine Lahti, Swing Shift; Tuesday Weld, Once Upon a Time In America


Roland Joffe created one of the richest, strongest political thrillers of the 80s when he released The Killing Fields (Missing is still my favourite, but this one has aged just as well in the years since). It’s a fascinating, complex drama with superb performances and a brilliant script. He had another success two years later with The Mission, but it fails to achieve this one’s lustre, and he has not made a movie nearly as good in the years since.

Honour Roll: James Cameron, The Terminator; Stephen Frears, The Hit