Top 20 Movies Of 1981 (Nos. 6-10)

For this week's Ranked!, we compiled the twenty greatest movies from 1981. Tell us what you think when you get down to #1. And let us know if you would've ordered them differently.

Here are numbers 6-10:

10. Arthur

A happy go-lucky drunk Dudley Moore is a thing of giggles and delight. This was a screwball comedy that I watched often as a kid. I may not have totally understood it, but I knew that Dudley Moore would be really fun to go to Central Park with. --Archphoenix

9. Heavy Metal

This science fiction-fantasy animated film is a cult classic, which probably grew in demand thanks to the fact that it was largely unavailable on home video release for 15 years. Heavy Metal combines a loaded rock musical score, sci-fantasy goodness, and extreme violence and sex. Yeah, the movie is pretty juvenile, but so cool. The film is made up nine separate stories (a few of them were inspired by fantasy art) all connected by some weird green sphere called the Loc-Nar. This green orb actually talks and shows us how it has influenced all kinds of otherworldy events through mutating creatures, killing others, and raising the dead to become zombies. It's an edgy movie, and not for everybody, but one that has its roots in fantasy comic books and took a successful leap into cinema history.--Jay

8. The Cannonball Run

The Cannonball Run seemed little more than an excuse to amass some of the brightest stars of the late '70s and early '80s. But what a cast is was: Burt Reynolds, Roger Moore, Farrah Fawcett, Dom DeLuise, Adrienne Barbeau, Terry Bradshaw, and Jamie Farr! Also along for the ride were Jackie Chan and Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr.

The film was about a cross-country road race. And that's it. Sure, there was a bit of character development and secondary plotlines (Captain Chaos! DA-DA-DAH!) here and there, but for the most part, it was all about the cast: watching them laugh at each other and themselves. They could've released a 90-minute blooper roll and I would've watched the whole thing.--Chris

7. An American Werewolf In London

There was always something about An American Werewolf In London that was just inherently cool. Directed by John Landis (director of The Blues Brothers, Trading Places, and Michael Jackson's "Thriller" video) it was the movie that made werewolves rad. It was funny, creepy, and a little camp, definitely the best of the three lycanthrope-themed movies to come out that year (Wolfen and The Howling were the other two, both lame by comparison). Griffin Dunne and David Naughton played Jack and David, two young American dudes backpacking through Europe. Non-spoiler alert: one night out on the English moors, they're attacked by a big-ass wolfman that kills one, and infects the other. David (Naughton), the wolfenized survivor of the two, starts having crazy-ass dreams of his dead buddy as he recovers from the attack. In his vision, his pal tells him that unless he kills himself before the next full moon, he's in for a major personality change... and unwanted hair growth.

The money scene was the one that showed Naughton's wolf transformation. At the time, the effect looked startlingly real, even a little terrifying: the slow elongation of his hands, feet and snout, the sound of his bones stretching and cracking, his tortured screams. It all seemed startlingly real, painful, and terrifying. Still does.

And the movie's abrupt ending? Distinctly not a happy one. Which somehow made the movie that much cooler.--Didactic Pirate

6. Time Bandits

I wonder what the studio pitch for Time Bandits was like. "I've got a great idea for a film! It's about a boy who accidentally hooks up with some thieving dwarves who are traveling through time looking for treasure. And we can have the guy who made all the Monty Python cartoons direct it!" Sounds crazy, but thank god they did it. Time Bandits was right up my alley: subversive and absurd, restlessly over-the-top, and wildly imaginative. It careens madly from place to place (time to time, more accurately), its plot held tenuously together by our own willingness to suspend our incredulity and embrace the chaos and the glee. Who wouldn't love to learn that Robin Hood was a dandy who looked remarkably like John Cleese, or that Sean Connery would make an awesome dad and king, or that what makes ogres grumpy are their bad backs. I wish more movies could walk the tightrope between silliness and darkness the way Time Bandits does, but then again not every movie has the balls to tamper with pure, concentrated evil. Stand by for mind control!--CroutonBoy

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