14 Best Fantasy Movies From the 80s (2024)

We all love going to the movies for different reasons. And no matter how much you love the Kubricks, the Andersons and the Hanekes, the truth is, we all consider movies as a form of escapism on some level. We all love getting lost in fantasy worlds, and a number of filmmakers across the world have managed to take us into the world of our imaginations using the power of cinema.

When you think of fantasy movies, ‘E.T’, ‘Back to the Future’ and ‘The Princess Bride’ are a few that instantly come to mind. But there have been a number of fantasy movies in the 80s that have, over the years, faded out of our memories. This article takes a look at some of the most important movies that changed the landscapes of the fantasy genre. Here is a list of the top fantasy movies from the 80s. You can watch several of these best 80s fantasy movies on Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime.

14.Hellraiser (1987)

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This movie tells a tale of a man and wife who move into an old house and discover a hideous creature – the man’s half-brother, who is also the woman’s former lover. Some demonic creatures (cenobites) are pursuing him after he escaped their horrifying underworld. “Hellraiser” stands out among other horror films because of its themes. This tale of demons with a shade of love, eroticism, and pain is refreshing and surprising. Written and directed by Clive Barker, this movie is an absolute classic despite being unknown for many cinema lovers.

Read More:Best Movies of the 1960s

13. Ladyhawke (1985)

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Richard Donner’s wildly intriguing, bizarrely funny fantasy drama depicts the story of a thief named Philippe Gaston who breaks free from the dungeon of Aquila, which infuriates the Bishop. Gaston soon teams up with Captain Navarre who also intends to subdue the Bishop. The stylistic aspects of the film deserve high praise, as Donner infuses the film with a kind of authenticity that makes for a compelling watch. Matthew Broderick and Michelle Pfeiffer deliver outstanding performances that further elevate the experience, and, it’s their performances that give the film its unique flavor, without which it could have ended up being just another banal 80s fantasy flick.

Read More:Best Movies of the 1970s

12. Highlander (1986)

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A Sean Connery classic that has sadly slipped slipped into obscurity, ‘Highlander’ is one of the most important fantasy movies made in the 80s. It follows Conor MacLeod, played by Christopher Lambert, who’s an extremely powerful warrior and needs to subdue his arch rival, Kurgan. Kurgan desperately tries to bring down Conor in order to gain his special power that would help him subdue the human race. The film was a box office failure at the time of its release, but has gained a dedicated following among cinephiles other experts. Over the years, the film’s catchy dialogues, memorable soundtrack and breathtaking action sequences have been frequently referenced and parodied over the years, turning it into one of the biggest cult flicks of all time.

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11. Labyrinth (1986)

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Arguably one of the more underrated fantasy movies of the 80s, ‘Labyrinth’ is a film that was initially met with lukewarm response but would later go on to develop a strong cult following among staunch fans of the genre. The film depicts a 15 year old’s struggles to rescue her little brother from a big maze. While one could argue that the writing lacked depth and inventiveness, Henson’s command over the visuals is unquestionable, which is what turns the film into an enthralling spectacle. Post Henson’s death, the film was rediscovered by cinephiles and critics who, since then, have gone onto rate it as one of the finest fantasy movies ever made.

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10. The Princess Bride (1987)

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Rob Reiner’s delectable rom-com centers around Westley, a farmhand who sets out to rescue his lover from an evil Prince. Adapted from the novel of the same name by William Goldman, the film retains its vision and yet manages to craft something with a distinctive cinematic vision. The story here isn’t particularly original, but it’s the treatment that Reiner gives it that makes for such a memorable experience. 31 years since its release, ‘The Princess Bride’ continues to be rated by critics and other experts as one of the finest comedies ever made.

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9. The NeverEnding Story (1984)

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Wolfgang Petersen’s epic fantasy drama tells the heart-warming story of a lonely boy who finds solace in a storybook and is transported into its fantasy world. Adapted from the novel of the same name by Michael Ende, the film has an entirely different vision of the story and does complete justice to its thematic and aesthetic ambitions. With gorgeously constructed visuals and an intriguing story-line, Petersen takes us to the world of our imaginations. It’s a nostalgic trip back to the days when the makers knew how to employ visual effects to craft memorable cinematic experiences for the viewers, and didn’t really have to force these trite CGI tricks on them.

Read More:Best Movies of the 21st Century

8. Big (1988)

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One of the more overlooked fantasy films from the 80s, ‘Big’ tells the story of a boy who is miraculously transformed into 3 year old one fine day, after trying to impress a girl. Director Penny Marshall doesn’t really break new grounds here, but this is a film that gets most of its elements right. With an absurdly entertaining story-line and the youthful charm of the great Tom Hanks, Marshall crafted a film that looks every bit as fresh and inventive as it did 30 years back. Though Hanks would later go on to do more challenging roles in his career, Josh Baskin is a role that he’d surely hold closer to his heart.

Read More:Best Movies of the 21st Century

7. The Dark Crystal (1982)

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When talking about fantasy films, ‘The Dark Crystal’ is seldom given the credit it deserves. Directed by Jim Henson and Frank Oz, the film depicts the efforts of a Gelfling to mend the Dark Crystal, failing which will result in the destruction of the world he inhabits. The film was noted for its inventive use of animatronics and received high praise for its visual aesthetics. A number of detractors, however, pointed out that the film doesn’t really break new grounds on a narrative level. Nevertheless, upon frequent reevaluation over the years, the film has come to be regarded as a landmark in the fantasy genre.

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6. Excalibur (1981)

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‘Excalibur’, like ‘The Dark Crystal’, came out at a time when the world was still reveling in the frenzy of ‘Star Wars’. It’s one of those rare fantasy flicks with such remarkable depth on a thematic and philosophical level. The story revolves around King Arthur who, with the help of a wizard named Merlin, needs to subdue his wicked half-sister Morgana. Though a number of critics found the film pretentious and criticized the narrative for lack of clarity and precision, it received almost unanimous praise for its evocative visuals and gripping action sequences. The film also helped propel the careers of several Irish actors including Liam Neeson and Patrick Stewart.

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5. Dragonslayer (1981)

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Arguably one of the greatest fantasy films of the 80s, ‘Dragonslayer’ was a film that sadly got buried under the gargantuan shadows of Steven Spielberg’s ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’. The film received particular praise for its depiction of Vermithrax, the dragon, and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects. The action sequences are tightly constructed and the effects have, surprisingly, aged well over the years unlike some of the other popular films that came out at the time. While ‘Star Wars’ and ‘Indiana Jones’ may have lost their charm, Matthew Robbins’ stone cold classic remains every bit as fresh and exciting now as it did back in 1981, and has begun to enjoy a special cult following in the recent years.

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4. Back to the Future (1985)

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Robert Zemeckis’ enthralling sci-fi fantasy-high school drama tells the story of a teenager who’s thrown back in time because of an experiment that went awry. Marty travels back to the 50s when his mother and father were high school kids. He observes their lives, but things take a turn when his teenage mother gets attracted to him and he is forced with the responsibility of making her fall for his father. Zemeckis’ film might look a bit dated now, but it’s a fun ride; an exhilarating trip to a romanticized era. And one needs to leave logic at the doorstep to fully experience this blissful cinematic ride.

Read More:Best Movies of 1980

3. My Neighbor Totoro (1988)

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The great Japanese auteur Hayao Miyazaki has crafted some of the most revered anime fantasies in cinema. But perhaps none would top ‘My Neighbor Totoro’; a film so rich in humor, philosophy and adventure. It tells the tale of two sisters who move to a village near a forest in order to be with their mother who is sick. Their life changes when they come across bizarre creatures in the forest called Totoro. Like most of Miyzaki’s movies, ‘My Neighbor Totoro’ has an accessible story-line, but he ensures that the thematic depths and ambitions of the film aren’t really compromised for the sake of simplicity and a wider, universal audience. The film received instant praise from critics and it continues to be rated by fans as one of the greatest movies ever made.

Read More:Best Movies of 1982

2. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

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No list of fantasy movies is ever complete without this Steven Spielberg classic. A product of loneliness that Spielberg experienced as a child after his parents’ divorce, ‘ET’ is a film that still strikes a chord in you with its endearing simplicity and warmth. The film tells the story of a boy who develops a bond with an alien he found in his backyard at his home. With a simple story-line, Spielberg captures the imagination of a child longing for care and attention. The sheer universality of its themes, coupled with the gorgeously crafted visuals, makes for an evocative cinematic experience. Hundreds of fantasy flicks may have been churned out over the past few decades, but none of them comes within breathing distance of this genre-defining masterpiece.

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1. Blade Runner(1982)

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Ridley Scott’s direction is as always flawed and sometimes nonsensical but with ‘Blade Runner’ (in its many, I’m sure, hugely lucrative forms) he sometimes achieves a visual poetry who’s grace has to be seen to be believed. The opening cuts between and eye and the haunting hellworld of Los Angeles circa 2019 (give Trump time); spilling into noir-esque interrogations, stunning chases through neon-drenched streets and a beautiful, genuinely frightening finale that sees rouge replicants Roy Beatty cement himself among the highest criterion of cinematic villains.

Choosing not to end on his dying words but instead an un-even promise of things to come, we’ve finally got the promise Scott’s sequel-hook being rewarded with Denis Villeneuve’s upcoming ‘Blade Runner 2049’ (2017). Whilst it looks like it lacks the vision and org*smic aesthetic of the original (look at any frame of ‘Blade Runner’. Wow.) – perhaps such a confident and proven artist will give us a work to eclipse even Scott’s piece. One can only hope!

Read More:Best Movies of 1984

14 Best Fantasy Movies From the 80s (2024)


What is the quintessential 80s movie? ›

Best '80s movies
  • Blue Velvet (1986) ...
  • Blade Runner (1982) ...
  • E.T. ...
  • The Shining (1980) ...
  • Ghostbusters (1984) ...
  • Aliens (1986) ...
  • Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) ...
  • Raging Bull (1980)
31 Oct 2022

Are there any good fantasy films? ›

Best Fantasy Movies of All Time
  • The Fall (2006) 62% 85% #84. ...
  • #83. Solomon Kane (2009) 67% 49% ...
  • #82. Conan the Barbarian (1982) 65% 74% ...
  • #81. The Forbidden Kingdom (2008) 63% 60% ...
  • #80. Ladyhawke (1985) 65% 74% ...
  • #79. The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (2009) 64% 60% ...
  • #78. Clash of the Titans (1981) 63% 70% ...
  • #77. Godmothered (2020)

What was the first ever fantasy movie? ›

The earliest fantasy movie is likely Alice Guy's “The Cabbage Fairy,” filmed in 1896. In it, a fairy strolls through a garden and plucks infant babies from cabbages, and presents them to the camera. However, it wasn't until the 1960s that fantasy films became more frequent staples.

What are the top 5 movies of 1980? ›

The Best Movies of 1980
  1. Raging Bull (Martin Scorsese)
  2. The Empire Strikes Back (Irvin Kershner) ...
  3. The Shining (Stanley Kubrick) ...
  4. Kagemusha (Akira Kurosawa) ...
  5. Heaven's Gate (Michael Cimino) ...
  6. Airplane! ( ...
  7. The Elephant Man (David Lynch) ...
  8. Ordinary People (Robert Redford) ...
20 Jul 2020

What was the most viewed movie in 1986? ›

In-Year Release
  • Top Gun. Paramount. $176,781,728.
  • Crocodile Dundee. $174,803,506.
  • Platoon. Orion. $138,530,565.
  • The Karate Kid Part II. Columbia. $115,103,979.
  • Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. Paramount. $109,713,132.
  • Back to School. Orion. $91,258,000.
  • Aliens. 20th Century Fox. $85,160,248.
  • The Golden Child. Paramount. $79,817,937.

What is the best looking movie of all time? ›

The Most Beautiful Movies Ever Made
  • By Peter Martin. ...
  • The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) ...
  • The Wizard of Oz (1939) ...
  • Lawrence of Arabia (1962) ...
  • The Searchers (1956) ...
  • 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) ...
  • Days of Heaven (1978) ...
  • The Natural (1984)

What is the greatest movie line of all time? ›

A jury consisting of 1,500 film artists, critics, and historians selected "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn", spoken by Clark Gable as Rhett Butler in the 1939 American Civil War epic Gone with the Wind, as the most memorable American movie quotation of all time.

What is the best Disney movie to fall asleep to? ›

Fantasia – a symphony of sight and sound - is a classic Disney film produced by Walt Disney in 1940. It is heavily instrumental with shadowed animations. It is over two hours long, and if you grew up watching Disney, it will provide you with plenty of feel-good vibes to help you sleep.

What is the most popular fantasy book right now? ›

#1) The Harry Potter Series

A book that most millennials grew up with, The Harry Potter books are coming of age tales wrapped in delicious dark fantasy. The tale of a boy chosen by an eerie prophecy to vanquish a dark lord is age-old lore.

Who is the father of fantasy? ›

J. R. R. Tolkien, born 130 years ago, gained global fame with "The Hobbit" and "The Lord of the Rings." Life events inspired his stories from the fictional Middle-earth.

How many Final Fantasy movies are there? ›

The very first game to film adaption was the OVA, Final Fantasy: Legend of the Crystals, which first launched in 1994. Since then there have been nine total adaptations.

Which is an example of fantasy movie? ›

Some examples: How to Train Your Dragon, Toy Story, The Witches, Jumanji, Mary Poppins, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Matilda, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Lego Movie, The Princess Bride, Monsters Inc.

What was the top 10 in 1980? ›

Top 100 Hits of 1980/Top 100 Songs of 1980
  • Call Me - Blondie.
  • Another Brick In the Wall - Pink Floyd.
  • Magic - Olivia Newton-John.
  • Rock With You - Michael Jackson.
  • Do That to Me One More Time - The Captain and Tennille.
  • Crazy Little Thing Called Love - Queen.
  • Coming Up - Paul McCartney.
  • Funkytown - Lipps, Inc.

What was the number one movie in 1983? ›

1. Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983)

What was the number 1 movie of 1980? ›

Domestic Box Office For 1980
RankReleaseTotal Gross
1Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back$209,398,025
29 to 5$103,290,500
3Stir Crazy$101,300,000
4Kramer vs. Kramer$106,260,000
38 more rows

What were the top 5 movies in 1985? ›

Highest-grossing films
  • Beverly Hills Cop. ...
  • Rambo: First Blood Part II. ...
  • Rocky IV. ...
  • Cocoon. ...
  • Witness. ...
  • The Goonies. ...
  • Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment. ...
  • Fletch. Universal Pictures.

What is the number one movie in 1985? ›

Back to the Future

What was the number one movie in 1987? ›

Domestic Box Office For 1987
1Beverly Hills Cop II2,326
3Fatal Attraction1,401
4The Untouchables1,501
39 more rows

What is a movie that every should see? ›

1. "The Godfather" (1972) "The Godfather" (and its sequel) is just one of those perfect movies. The story, casting, and direction all work together to create onscreen magic.

What is the best movie ever according to Rotten Tomatoes? ›

A number of these films also appear on the AFI's 100 Years... 100 Movies lists, but there are many others and several entries with dozens of positive reviews, which are considered surprising to some experts. To date, Leave No Trace holds the site's record, with a rating of 100% and 251 positive reviews.

What are the most famous quotes of all time? ›

Quotes by Famous People
  • The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall. - ...
  • The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing. - ...
  • Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. ...
  • If life were predictable it would cease to be life, and be without flavor. -
2 Nov 2022

What movie puts you to sleep? ›

Relaxing Movies to Fall Asleep To
  • The Lord of the Rings Trilogy. ...
  • Monty Python and the Holy Grail. ...
  • The Hundred-Foot Journey. ...
  • Castaway. ...
  • Amelie. ...
  • The Biggest Little Farm. ...
  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. ...
  • White Christmas.
12 Oct 2022

What is the number 1 Disney movie? ›

Avengers: Endgame

What is Disney's most liked movie? ›

Ranked: The best Disney movies of all time (for kids of all ages)
  • Sleeping Beauty (1959) Trailer. 85 % ...
  • Coco (2017) 81 % 8.4/10. ...
  • Hercules (1997) 74 % 7.3/10. ...
  • Beauty and the Beast (1991) Trailer. 95 % ...
  • The Lion King (1994) 88 % 8.5/10. ...
  • Mulan (1998) 71 % 7.6/10. g 88m. ...
  • Tarzan (1999) 79 % 7.3/10. g 88m. ...
  • Aladdin (1992) 86 % 8/10. g 90m.
13 Oct 2022

Why didn't Paul Walker Do Tokyo Drift? ›

Paul Walker wasn't asked to return because the studio felt he was too old. The first draft of the script featured the return of Diesel's character, Dominic Toretto.

Will there be a FF 10 movie? ›

In July 2020, Universal Pictures announced that Fast and Furious 10 will be released in theaters on April 7, 2023. However, in December 2021, the date was pushed to May 19, 2023.

Will there be another FF movie? ›

Yes, and it will be called Fast X. The good news is that not one but two more Fast movies have been confirmed. The bad news is that these will be the final entries in the main series – though the door remains open for more spin-offs and continuations in the vein of 2019's Hobbs & Shaw.

What is the #1 sold book of all time? ›

According to Guinness World Records as of 1995, the Bible is the best-selling book of all time with an estimated 5 billion copies sold and distributed.

What is the number 1 book series of all time? ›

The Harry Potter series is far and away the highest-selling series of novels ever. Written by British author J.K. Rowling, the series has sold at least 500 million copies, 150 million more than the next-highest selling series.

Who invented fantasy? ›

The history of modern fantasy literature begins with George MacDonald, the Scottish author of such novels as The Princess and the Goblin and Phantastes the latter of which is widely considered to be the first fantasy novel ever written for adults.

Who created the first fantasy world? ›

Building upon the legacies of MacDonald and Morris, J. R. R. Tolkien penned the first high fantasy, The Lord of the Rings (1954-1955). Both creatively and commercially successful, the epic ushered the genre into the mainstream and influenced countless writers, making Tolkien the undisputed father of modern fantasy.

What is classic fantasy? ›

Classical fantasy is a subgenre fantasy based on the Greek and Roman myths. Symbolism from classical mythology is enormously influential on Western culture, but it was not until the 19th century that it was used in the context of literary fantasy.

What are all the Final Fantasy movies in order? ›

Final fantasy movie list
  • Final fantasy: legend of the crystals (1994)
  • Final fantasy: the spirits within (2001)
  • Final fantasy: unlimited (2001)
  • Final fantasy VII: Advent children (2005)
  • Final fantasy VII: Last order (2005)
13 Sept 2021

What was the original Final Fantasy called? ›

Final Fantasy was originally conceived under the working title Fighting Fantasy, but trademark issues and dire circ*mstances surrounding Square as well as Sakaguchi himself prompted the name to be changed.

Is Final Fantasy discontinued? ›

Square Enix's aggressive expansion of Final Fantasy VII has taken a sudden blow, as the company has announced that the mobile battle royale Final Fantasy VII The First Soldier will be discontinued in early 2023. The game will shut down on January 11, which is 14 months after the game's November 17, 2021 launch.

What is the most famous fantasy story? ›

The 100 Best Fantasy Books of All Time
  • The Arabian Nights.
  • Le Morte d'Arthur by Thomas Malory.
  • Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll.
  • Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll.
  • Five Children and It by E. Nesbit.
  • Ozma of Oz by L. ...
  • Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers.
  • The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis.

What are the 4 types of fantasy? ›

Mendlesohn posits four categories of fantasy—portal-quest, immersive, intrusion, and liminal—that arise out of the relationship of the protagonist to the fantasy world.

What is considered greatest movie of all time? ›

1. Citizen Kane (1941)

What is considered the greatest action movie of all time? ›

The 101 best action movies ever made
  • Die Hard (1988) Director: John McTiernan. ...
  • Aliens (1986) Film. ...
  • Seven Samurai (1954) Director: Akira Kurosawa. ...
  • The Wild Bunch (1969) Director: Sam Peckinpah. ...
  • Police Story (1985) Director: Jackie Chan. ...
  • Enter the Dragon (1973) ...
  • Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981) ...
  • Hard Boiled (1992)
27 Oct 2022

Which film won the most Oscars in the 1980s? ›

The Last Emperor (1987) - 7.7

However, it is the most awarded film of the 1980s, taking home nine Oscars at the 60th Academy Awards.

What movie has the highest Rotten Tomatoes Ever? ›

To date, Leave No Trace holds the site's record, with a rating of 100% and 251 positive reviews.

Which movie has 10 10 rating? ›

IMDb Rating: 9.0 - 9.9
109.6Band of Brothers (2001)
109.3The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
109.2The Godfather (1972)
109.1The Godfather: Part II (1974)
5 more rows

What is the best film according to Rotten Tomatoes? ›

30 Most Popular Movies Right Now
  • #1. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (2022) 84% 85% #1. ...
  • #2. The Menu (2022) 89% 78% #2. ...
  • #3. The Wonder (2022) 87% 71% #3. ...
  • #4. Stutz (2022) 100% 97% #4. ...
  • #5. Disenchanted (2022) 39% 59% #5. ...
  • #6. Spirited (2022) 68% 82% #6. ...
  • #7. Black Adam (2022) 39% 90% #7. ...
  • #8. The Fabelmans (2022) 94% 82% #8.

What are the 5 perfect movies? ›

Five perfect movies - A roundup of some of the best, according to...
  • Amelie.
  • Control (Ian Curtis biopic)
  • Free Solo.
  • The wind that shakes the barley.
  • Dead mans shoes.
22 Apr 2020

What are the 4 perfect movies? ›

David Mamet (playwright, film director, and screenwriter) wrote that there are only four perfect movies: The Godfather, A Place in the Sun, Dodsworth, and Galaxy Quest.

Which film has won 9 Oscars in 1987? ›

The 1987 Best Picture winner was Italian director/co-screenwriter Bernardo Bertolucci's Oscar-sweeping, big-budget, technically-brilliant film The Last Emperor (with nine nominations and nine wins!), filmed both in Italy and China with a cast of thousands.

What film won Best Picture 1981? ›

Ordinary People

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