The Five Best Film Noir Movies of the 80s

Each and every decade is quite simply fit for film noir since no matter what people want to say, there is always a dark part to any decade that people either don’t want to acknowledge or revel in without making it too obvious. The 80s was a decade in which the bright lights and gaudy fashions, as well as the music, tended to lay down a convenient cover that hid away a lot of the darker aspects of several movies that gained a cult following or were openly loved by many. But beneath that glaring facade was something that thrilled people on a more basic and visceral level that demanded nothing and gave the guilty pleasures that some people simply can’t do without. To say that people are drawn in by darkness and the kind of fatalistic attitudes such movies deliver on is accurate, but it’s not enough really since there is something in everyone that seems to love the dark and twisted stories even if they can’t admit as much.

With that said, here are some of the best film noir movies from the 80s.

5. Blue Velvet

There are still plenty of people alive today that remember this disturbing movie but not a lot that seem inclined to talk about it all that much. There’s probably a reason for that and it could have something to do with the fact that the late, great Dennis Hopper acted like a total creep throughout the film. Between beating on a woman, dry-humping her, and talking to her in a most degrading manner it’s far to say that he was without a doubt one of the most compelling antagonists of his time. But there was a bright spot of hope in this movie, despite the fact that much of it seemed rather bent on remind people how bad life could get.

4. Bad Boys

Nope, this isn’t the movie featuring Will Smith and Martin Lawrence as you’ve already guessed, but Sean Penn still did a stellar job in this movie. He plays the part of Mick, a small-time Irish hood that is attempting to work his way up to something bigger but unfortunately gets himself caught and sentenced to a juvenile correctional facility. While inside he has to find a way to keep himself intact and eventually he gains the respect of his fellow inmates. The trouble really starts to mount however when a rival from the streets is placed inside with him with a score to settle. In the end he keeps from killing anyone, but comes to realize that respect is a very mercurial thing.

3. Thief

Professional thieves don’t normally like to be stiffed when it comes to collecting their due for a job, and Frank is no different. He has a life plan that involves starting a family with the woman he’s come to care about and when the mob decides to butt in and mess that up he takes it quite personally. Before going after the men that wronged him though Frank decides to take drastic measures and sends his girlfriend and their child away, stating that he wants a divorce but that he’ll keep them financially secure. From there he arms himself and goes hunting for the mobster that decided to try and ruin his life.

2. The Untouchables

Some might wonder why this would be classified as film noir since in the end Capone goes down and there’s a ray of hope that finally shines on the protagonist. It could be due to the fact that so much had to be lost in order to get to that kind of ending that the ends didn’t really justify the means. When you think about it, losing two of your own small crew while taking on a seemingly endless criminal enterprise that can throw people at you seems a bit hopeless. But one thing interesting about this movie that anyone could find out is that it barely clings to reality at all since a few of these guys never even met each other, and one of them is completely fictitious.

1. Blade Runner

This movie had people debating for years whether the main character was a replicant or not. It does seem kind of morbid to send someone after people that are just like him at a fundamental level, but then he seemed to have no idea in the first place just what he was. Maybe that was why the sequel finally just seemed to say ‘heck with it’ and made it very clear what the protagonist was. This movie was just dark enough to be entertaining but it did get borderline depressing in some spots as it was designed to do. The future as seen by filmmakers is sometimes a rather scary place when you look at it.

But it still pulls in a crowd.

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