Please list your favorites and their best film.
For me, of the above listed, I would select Woody Allen. Yes, he brought us his greatest film in the 1970s (Annie Hall) as well as some slapstick classics (Bananas, Sleeper) and the all-time great Manhattan. But then came the 1980s, when he directed the underrated Stardust Memories as well as a string of classics throughout the decade.
Of those not listed, I would call out Lawrence Kasdan (The Big Chill, The Accidental Tourist) and Warren Beatty (who directed only 1 film in the 1980s – 1981’s Reds – but what a classic it has become), as well as Sydney Pollack for Tootsie and Spike Lee for Do the Right Thing.
Several directors got their start in the 1980s: Robert Redford (Ordinary People), Harold Ramis (Caddyshack), Jim Abrahams, David Zucker and Jerry Zucker (Airplane!), Lawrence Kasdan (Body Heat), Hugh Hudson (Chariots of Fire), Michael Mann (Thief), Barry Levinson (Diner), Amy Heckerling (Fast Times at Ridgemont High), Barbara Streisand (Yentl), James L. Brooks (Terms of Endearment), Roland Joffe (The Killing Fields), Coen Bros (Blood Simple.), Rob Reiner (This Is Spinal Tap!), John Hughes (Sixteen Candles), Tim Burton (Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure), Stephen King (Maximum Overdrive), Spike Lee (She’s Gotta Have It), Penny Marshall (Jumpin’ Jack Flash), Michael Moore (Roger & Me), Kenneth Branagh (Henry V) among others.
My favorite film of the 1980s was directed by the aforementioned Martin Scorsese – Raging Bull – but I had a difficult time getting into his other 1980s contributions (aside from Jerry Lewis and Sandra Bernhard’s great work in The King of Comedy).
My stand-alone films of the 1980s are as follows: Raging Bull, Reds, The Purple Rose of Cairo, E.T., Beetlejuice, Hannah and Her Sisters, Do the Right Thing, The Elephant Man, Pennies from Heaven, Stand by Me, Diner, Glory.
I always forget how brilliantly versatile Rob Reiner used to be. Carpenter also had a great run (The Thing, They Live, Big Trouble in Little China, Escape From New York, Starman).
I really need to think this through…