Top Ten 1986

1. Hannah and Her Sisters
2. Blue Velvet
3. Platoon
4. The Sacrifice
5. Down By Law
6. Aliens
7. Down and Out In America
8. Salvador
9. Peggy Sue Got Married
10. Something Wild


Oliver Stone has only ever really made two incredibly good films, and both of them came out in 1986. Platoon deservedly won Best Picture, while Salvador is notable as a terrific cross between politics and entertainment. Not all credit can be given to Stone for the latter film, however, as Salvador is driven by the terrific energy and manic brilliance of James Woods at his finest. The years to follow would have this wonderful character actor veering closer to the manic side of his personality, while this is one of the rare roles that allowed him to skirt the middle ground.

Honour Roll: Roberto Benigni, Down By Law; Dexter Gordon, ‘Round Midnight; Bob Hoskins, Mona Lisa; Paul Newman, The Colour Of Money


Peggy Sue Got Married is forgettable to some (to me, it’s a classic), but there’s no denying the incredible depth and joy that Kathleen Turner finds in every scene. As a woman who passes out during her high school reunion and suddenly finds herself in the 60s of her youth, Turner experiences nostalgia, happiness and regret and does so with a deft touch in every scene. “Oh mom…I forgot you were ever this young.” Gets me every time.

Honour Roll: Mia Farrow, Hannah And Her Sisters; Andrea Ferreol, A Zed And Two Noughts; Bette Midler, Ruthless People; Sigourney Weaver, Aliens


The only thing more disturbing than David Lynch’s brightly colourful cinematography and exploration of LA’s seedy underbelly in Blue Velvet is the terror wrought by Dennis Hopper as the villain who needs an oxygen mask to handle shoving his face up Isabella Rossellini’s skirt (and, really, he’s the only man who ever would).  It’s a far more fascinating performance than his nominated turn in Hoosiers, though Hopper does bring a lot of heart to what is otherwise a stock character type in classic movies.

Honour Roll: Tom Berenger, Platoon; Michael Caine, Hannah And Her Sisters/Mona Lisa; Willem Dafoe, Platoon; Christopher Walken, At Close Range


My favourite ever Woody Allen film is Hannah And Her Sisters, not the least because of the terrific performances by everyone in the cast. Standing out from them all, however, is a star-making turn by Dianne Wiest as Holly, the youngest of three sisters with the rockiest road towards self-fulfillment. Following a modestly successful career on the stage before a few bit parts in films, Wiest deservedly achieved renown with the film (and her subsequent Oscar), going on to become a film favourite in movies like Parenthood and Edward Scissorhands before a second Oscar (for Bullets Over Broadway) and a further career on television. Despite all this success, I feel there’s still great things to come from this magnificent performer.

Honour Roll: Ellen Barkin, Down By Law; Barbara Hershey, Hannah And Her Sisters; Sandra Reaves-Phillips, ‘Round Midnight; Cathy Tyson, Mona Lisa


David Lynch, Blue Velvet

Honour Roll: Woody Allen, Hannah And Her Sisters; James Cameron,Aliens; Jim Jarmusch, Down By Law; Oliver Stone, Platoon