What were the highest grossing movies in 1980? The fun will be the defining characteristic of the decade known as the eighties. It turned out that all of those crazy styles, creative ideas, and rebellious attitudes finally unchained a lot of immortal classics. The decade of the 1980s brought a lot of significant developments to the table, whether we are talking about movies, music, or fashion; but, for the time being, we are going to concentrate on the film business.

The decade has firmly established itself as one of the most successful and prolific years in the annals of the history of the seventh art as a whole, thanks to the success of such box office smashes as the Indiana Jones series, E.T., and Ghostbusters. Therefore, to give you an idea of what the movies of the 1980s were about, we have decided to go with some cold, hard facts and figures and present you with a list of the ten films that made the most money at the domestic box office during the 1980s. This list is based on the total amount of money the movies made in the United States. Could you have a look at it down below?

Highest Grossing Movies 1980 #1. Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back

Source: What’s On Disney Plus

 This “Star Wars” sequel brings on more of the action-packed fun. On the icy planet Hoth, Luke Skywalker, played by Mark Hamill, Han Solo, Harrison Ford, Princess Leia, Carrie Fisher, and Chewbacca, played by Peter Mayhew, come under siege from Imperial forces and their AT-AT walkers. Luke embarks on a journey to Dagobah in quest of Yoda as Han and Leia are making their escape on the Millennium Falcon. When the dark side of the Force draws Luke into the final confrontation with Darth Vader, he will only have a chance of survival with the assistance of the Jedi master (David Prowse).

Luke Skywalker begins his training as a Jedi with Yoda after the Rebel Alliance is soundly defeated by the Empire on the icy planet of Hoth. At the same time, Darth Vader and the bounty hunter Boba Fett are on the trail of Luke’s allies throughout the galaxy. Rating: P.G. (Sci-Fi Action Violence)

Genre: Adventure, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Action

Original Language: English

Director: Irvin Kershner

Producer: Gary Kurtz

Writer: George Lucas, Lawrence Kasdan, Leigh Brackett

Release Date (Theaters): May 21, 1980, Wide

Release Date (Streaming): Sep 21, 2004

Box Office (Gross USA): $291.9M

Runtime: 2h 4m

Distributor: 20th Century Fox

Sound Mix: Surround, Dolby Stereo, Dolby A, Magnetic Stereo 6 Track

Aspect Ratio: Scope (2.35:1)

View the collection: Star Wars Saga

#2. 9 to 5

Source: NINE TO FIVE, (aka 9 TO 5), Jane Fonda, Dolly Parton, Lily Tomlin, 1980, TM and Copyright (c)20th Century Fox Film Corp. All rights reserved.

A satire set in an office environment about three female secretaries who hatch a plot to get even with their despotic and sexist boss by kidnapping him and taking over the company themselves. The three individuals spend the night together, indulging in drug-induced dreams of murdering the slave-driving chauvinist. One of the individuals in the group has been passed over for promotion because she is a woman. The following day, one of them goes into a frenzy when she realizes that she may have poisoned the tyrant.

Rating: P.G.

Genre: Comedy

Original Language: English

Director: Colin Higgins

Writer: Colin Higgins

Release Date (Theaters): Dec 19, 1980, Wide

Release Date (Streaming): Apr 17, 2001

Runtime: 1h 50m

Distributor: 20th Century Fox

Highest Grossing Movies 1980 #3. Stir Crazy

Source: The Nerdy

Two of the best friends in the world are about to do time in prison for a crime that they did not commit because they were framed and falsely accused. However, they were able to escape from every cell in prison.

A sad couple realizes that the only way out of their predicament is through a jailbreak, so they rack their brains to devise a strategy that won’t fail. At the annual inmates’ rodeo, one of them stumbles onto an incredible skill as a rodeo rider, and as a result, the beginnings of a plan to break out of their cell begin to take shape.

Rating: R

Genre: Comedy

Original Language: English

Director: Sidney Poitier

Producer: Hannah Weinstein

Writer: Bruce Jay Friedman

Release Date (Theaters): Dec 12, 1980. Original

Release Date (Streaming): Aug 28, 2001

Runtime: 1h 51m

Distributor: Columbia Pictures

#4. Airplane!

Source: NBC News

After the sick pilots have taken over, it is up to a man terrified of flying to guarantee that the plane lands safely.

This satirical comedy pokes fun at the plethora of films about catastrophic events released throughout the 1970s. A rogue pilot with a drinking problem and his ex-girlfriend, who now works as a stewardess, must work together to bring the plane in for a safe landing when the passengers and crew of a jet become incapacitated by food sickness. Rating: P.G.

Genre: Comedy

Original Language: English

Director: Jim Abrahams, David Zucker, Jerry Zucker

Producer: Jon Davison, Howard W. Koch

Writer: Jim Abrahams, David Zucker, Jerry Zucker

Release Date (Theaters): Jan 1, 1980, Wide

Release Date (Streaming): Dec 13, 2005

Runtime: 1h 28m

Distributor: Paramount Pictures

Sound Mix: Mono

Aspect Ratio: Flat (1.85:1)

Highest Grossing Movies 1980 #5. Any Which Way You Can

Source: actorwilliamsmith

A truck driver turned prize boxer, his brother, and the family’s pet orangutan get themselves into scrapes with the mob, corrupt police, motorcycle gangs, and attractive dames.

Philo Beddoe (Clint Eastwood), an underground bare-knuckle fighter, is about to retire when he gets a request from the Mafia to battle East Coast champion Jack Wilson (William Smith). Wilson has been crippling opponents in his triumphs. The Mafia abducts Philo’s former flame, Lynn Halsey-Taylor, to convince him to participate in a battle (Sondra Locke). When Jack learns about it, he readily agrees to assist Philo in his mission to save Lynn. After that, Philo and Jack conclude that they should engage in combat to determine who is the superior brawler.

Rating: P.G.

Genre: Comedy

Original Language: English

Director: Buddy Van Horn

Producer: Fritz Manes

Writer: Stanford Sherman

Release Date (Theaters): Dec 17, 1980, Wide

Release Date (Streaming): May 7, 2002

Runtime: 1h 56m

Distributor: Warner Bros.

Sound Mix: Stereo

#6. Private Benjamin

Source: IMDb

A young woman from a privileged background who enters the United States Army on a whim finds herself in a more difficult circumstance than she could have ever imagined when she enlists.

Goldie Hawn plays Judy Benjamin, a Jewish-American princess whose life is turned upside down when her husband, played by Albert Brooks, passes away on their wedding night. While she is in a state of mourning, a treacherous recruiter for the Women’s Army Corps manages to persuade her to join. Judy is under the impression that her military service will be relaxing, but Captain Lewis, played by Eileen Brennan, swiftly destroys her aspirations of having an easy time. Judy transforms into a decent soldier and cultivates a healthy sense of self-esteem as she goes through basic training just like any other grunt.

Rating: R

Genre: Comedy

Original Language: English

Director: Howard Zieff

Producer: Nancy Meyers, Charles Shyer, Harvey Miller

Release Date (Theaters): Oct 10, 1980. Original

Release Date (Streaming): Aug 30, 2005

Runtime: 1h 49m

Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures

Highest Grossing Movies 1980 #7. Coal Miner’s Daughter

Source: Intro Film

A dramatized account of the life of country music legend Loretta Lynn, who rose from modest beginnings to become a prominent figure in the country music industry in the 1960s and 1970s.

Loretta Lynn (Sissy Spacek), born into abject poverty in rural Kentucky and married at the age of 13, started penning and performing her country songs when she was in her early 20s. Loretta Lynn rises from playing in local honky-tonks and small-time record deals to national tours and hit singles with the tireless assistance of her husband, Oliver “Mooney” Lynn (Tommy Lee Jones). Despite the toll that stardom takes on her family and her marriage, Loretta eventually becomes a country music icon despite her friendship with Patsy Cline (Beverly D’Angelo) and the fact that she became close with her idol.

Rating: P.G.

Genre: Biography, Drama

Original Language: English

Director: Michael Apted

Producer: Bernard Schwartz

Writer: Thomas Rickman

Release Date (Theaters): Mar 7, 1980, Original

Release Date (Streaming): Sep 13, 2005

Runtime: 2h 5m

Distributor: Universal Pictures

#8. Smokey and the Bandit II

Source: Late Night Streaming

The Bandit embarks on another transcontinental journey to deliver an elephant from Florida to Texas. And Sheriff Buford T. Justice is hot on his trail once more at this point.

After falling on hard times, the folk hero known as the Bandit is given a second chance at life when he is hired to assist in transporting a pregnant elephant to a Republican convention in Dallas. When the Bandit’s sworn opponent, Sheriff Buford T. Justice, finds out about the bargain, he decides to thwart the comeback attempt.

Rating: P.G.

Genre: Comedy

Original Language: English

Director: Hal Needham

Producer: Hank Moonjean

Writer: Jerry Belson, Brock Yates

Release Date (Theaters): Sep 15, 1980. Original

Release Date (Streaming): Jun 1, 2010

Runtime: 1h 41m

Distributor: Universal Pictures

Highest Grossing Movies 1980 #9. The Blue Lagoon

Source: Roger Ebert

Two young children are stranded on a tropical island in the South Pacific during the Victorian era after their ship sinks. The two make a simple existence together even though they are unaware that they will soon have to deal with the consequences of reaching sexual maturity.

Emmeline (Elva Josephson) and Richard (Glenn Kohan), both aged seven, are cousins who manage to survive a shipwreck and end up stranded on a lovely island in the Pacific Ocean. The two are taught the fundamentals of surviving on their own by a fellow stranded individual named Paddy Button (played by Leo McKern). Emmeline (Brooke Shields), who is now an adolescent, and Richard (Christopher Atkins), who is also an adolescent, are left on their own in a tropical paradise to find out about sex, love, and loneliness after Paddy passes away.

Rating: R

Genre: Adventure, Romance, Drama

Original Language: English

Director: Randal Kleiser

Producer: Randal Kleiser

Writer: Douglas Day Stewart, Henry DeVere Stacpoole

Release Date (Theaters): Jul 4, 1980, Wide

Release Date (Streaming): Dec 3, 2002

Runtime: 1h 44m

Distributor: Columbia Pictures

Sound Mix: Dolby Stereo, Dolby A

Aspect Ratio: Flat (1.85:1)

#10. The Blues Brothers

Source: The Verge

Jake Blues reunites with his brother Elwood after being released from prison, but the two have only a few days to save the Catholic home where they were raised and resurrect their old R&B band while evading the authorities as they tear through Chicago.

Jake, played by John Belushi, and Elwood, played by Dan Aykroyd, who are collectively known as the “Blues Brothers,” are reunited after Jake’s release from prison in the film. The first mission given to Jake is to prevent the orphanage the brothers spent their childhood in from being shut down by collecting $5,000 to pay back taxes. The two are confident that they will be able to meet their financial obligations if they reform their previous band. However, due to playing several jobs and gaining several adversaries, including the authorities, the brothers now confront formidable challenges in meeting their deadline for delivering the money.

Rating: R

Genre: Comedy, Action, Musical

Original Language: English

Director: John Landis

Producer: Robert K. Weiss

Writer: Dan Aykroyd, John Landis

Release Date (Theaters): Jun 18, 1980, Wide

Release Date (Streaming): Aug 30, 2005

Runtime: 2h 13m

Distributor: Universal Pictures

Sound Mix: Dolby, Mono


And that’s it for the list of the highest grossing movies in 1980. We have just returned from a little excursion during which we learned what is required first to create a movie script and then turn that script into the finished product of a movie. In this particular book, we did not go into detail on acting or movie stars. Many people will say that the presence of a specific movie personality makes them more excited about a film.

But do you? Is it the sole reason you go to the movies, or do you go for various reasons, some of which we’ve already covered? If you only attend the film because of a particular actor or actress, then you have no business reading this book in the first place. If a specific movie star has a string of unsuccessful movies in a row, it is common practice for fans of that actor to stop going to the movies to see that star. This is said to be the case from the perspective of a personal novice.

We hope that this concise conversation about film analysis has been of some use to you. After reading this textbook, you should have better knowledge, allowing you to take in everything you watch and notice more than before to derive the greatest enjoyment possible from a film. In light of this information, what are your thoughts on the structure and production of a movie, and how can you provide a solution to the burning question, “What’s so interesting about some movies that consistently draw people to them?”

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