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Top Ten '86 Flashback. Plus A Room With a "Best Shot"!

We've done a terrible job of having top tens ready for you every Tuesday so here's a quickie from 1986 since it's Best Shot time again.

Top Ten Films of 1986

  1. A Room With a View (James Ivory)
  2. Aliens (James Cameron)
  3. Hannah and Her Sisters (Woody Allen)
  4. Little Shop of Horrors (Frank Oz)
  5. My Beautiful Laundrette (Stephen Frears)
  6. The Fly (David Cronenberg)
  7. Betty Blue (Jean-Jacques Beineix)
  8. Peggy Sue Got Married (Francis Ford Coppola)
  9. Parting Glances (Bill Sherwood)
  10. The Mosquito Coast (Peter Weir)

Disclaimer: I haven't seen many of these films in a very long time. I am sure there are major titles I should reconsider or see for the first time since I wasn't seeing movies as voraciously back then. 

What does your top ten from that year look like?

Basically the top three there are "all-timers" for Nathaniel, not just for an annual list. And yes yes, I'm aware that IMDb considers the James Ivory classic a 1985 movie but that's stupid because it did not open that year. It opened nowhere that year. It opened in both its home country of the UK and in the USA and then spread to other countries in the early summer of 1986. It was a big deal, crossing over from the arthouse and justly receiving a slew of Oscar and BAFTA nominations (and actual statues, too). If you've never seen it, I envy you your first time. 

Please click over to see the choices and read these articles. My choice will be up tomorrow so if you're running late you still have time! REPULSION, our finale of the season, will also be delayed two days (you have until Thursday the 29th to post your choice) because we have a sudden trip to London for The Danish Girl interviews this weekend so Tuesday will be impossible.


The film is never lacking for gorgeous imagery, with even the most perfunctory medium dialogue shots being frames you want to live inside.


The fact that it's a depiction of a literal room with a view wasn't part of my calculation


When my mind and body long for relaxation and comfort, I usually swing the ‘costume drama’ window wide open and let it soothe my soul... 


Loved every preening, posh second of Daniel Day-Lewis's performance.


Maggie Smith, she’s the ultimate symbol of the film’s humor, making (poor) Charlotte Bartlett into one of her most remarkable creations and an indispensable part of the film’s comedic construction.


If it wasn’t for the costumes and some of the dialogue, the movie could have been set in almost any time period...


Like many films chosen for this series, A Room with a View is a film I had meant to see sooner, but just never got around to it. 


Oh look!...

Exactly! Look at these movies. Pick a shot. Repulsion (1965) starring Catherine Deneuve is next on October 29th.

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Reader Comments (32)

Hmmm.... some order of

The Decline of the American Empire
The Fly
Jean de Florette/Manon of the Spring
Mona Lisa
My Beautiful Laundrette
A Room with a View
The Sacrifice
Something Wild

October 20, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterArkaan

That's Maggie Smith's best performance.

October 20, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterBVR

My top 10:

03.Blue Velvet
04.Le Rayon Vert
05.A Room with a View
06.My Beautiful Laundrette
08.Hannah and Her Sisters
09.The Fly

and my best shot entry:

October 20, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterca

hannah and her sisters
little shop of horrors*
mona lisa
my beautiful laundrette
room with a view
sid and nancy
something wild
stand by me

October 20, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterpar


October 20, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterSan FranCinema

1. My Beautiful Laundrette
2. Platoon
3. Aliens
4. Hannah and Her Sisters
5. Children of a Lesser God
6. The Money Pit
7. Peggy Sue Got Married
8. Parting Glances
9. A Room With a View
10. Stand By Me

October 20, 2015 | Unregistered Commentereurocheese

My top 10 favorites not necessarily best:

A Room with a View
Hannah and Her Sisters
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
Ruthless People
Back to School
Ferris Bueller's Day Off
Peggy Sue Got Married
Stand by Me
The Mission

October 20, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterjoel6

Joel6 - I like your list, especially the fact that you don't forget good comedies.
I haven't seen "Ruthless People" for decades, but Bette Midler and Danny Devito were brilliant, is it on Netflix?
Room with a View made a huge impression on me that year, I just remember everyone at the office sort of swooning over it. The ultimate romantic film, and also so very funny.

October 20, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterLadyEdith

I'll give another vote for Mona Lisa. I remember reading that Michael Caine said to Bob Hoskins, that there have been 3 great British crime dramas, Get Carter, The Long Good Friday, and Mona Lisa. And between them, they'd been in all 3.

I also liked Down By Law, an early film by Jim Jarmusch.
F/X, with Brian Dennehy, Bryan Brown, and Diane Venora (love her) is a fun thriller.

And Helena Bonham Carter made another film that year, Lady Jane. Patrick Stewart is her father, and Cary Elwes her love interest.

October 20, 2015 | Unregistered Commenteradri

Whoa, no Blue Velvet? I'd also add Sid & Nancy to the list, and maybe Children of a Lesser God.

October 20, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMareko

Oh, and Nine and a Half Weeks. Kthxbye.

October 20, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMareko

I'm glad I'm not too late! My entry can be found over at my journal, under the title "Propriety is Overrated."

Looking forward to seeing what other people chose!

October 21, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterAllison Tooey

Ayiyiyi, I forgot we have a HMWYBS still going on. Must, make, posts.

1. Hannah and Her Sisters
2. Castle in the Sky
3. A Room with a View
4. Down by Law
5. Little Shop of Horrors
6. Mona Lisa
7. Blue Velvet
8. Aliens
9. Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
10. The Hitcher

October 21, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterSTinG

Fuck, I forgot Matador... Put that in place of The Hitcher.

October 21, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterSTinG

My Top 10, in alphabetical order:

Aliens (James Cameron)
Betty Blue (Jean-Jacques Beineix)
The Decline of the American Empire (Denys Arcand)
Down by Law (Jim Jarmusch)
Ferris Bueller's Day Off (John Hughes)
Hannah and Her Sisters (Woody Allen)
Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (John McNaughton)
Mona Lisa (Neil Jordan)
Müllers Büro (Niki List & Hans Selikovsky)
Stand by Me (Rob Reiner)

(In case you're wondering: Müllers Büro is a very, very funny Autrian film noir-style musical comedy. Call it a cult favorite if you want.)

October 21, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMrW

1. Hannah and Her Sisters
One for the all-time lists, for sure.

2. Manon des sources
I found it much more moving than its more acclaimed prequel.

3. The Green Ray
Ah, Rohmer...

4. Blue Velvet
I maybe don't love it quite as much as other people, but I do love it. So many indelible moments and sequences.

5. Something Wild

6. Down by Law


Uh... Hm... I guess

7. Ginger and Fred

8. Little Shop of Horrors


And I have to stop there. I've seen a fair few films from '86 but very few I've loved or even liked. It's one of my least favourite years (the 80s are my least favourite decade).

If I had to finish a top 10, the remaining two titles would probably be a combination of Salvador, Ferris Bueller's Day Off and/or The Fly.

There are some films I probably need to see again like Aliens (which bored me shitless the first time around - but I'm sure that was my own fault) and The Sacrifice by Tarkovsky (ditto).

I do have a couple of blind spots, such as Mona Lisa, Tampopo, The Mosquito Coast, She's Gotta Have It and The Decline of the American Empire. But overall, I'm just not a 1986 kinda guy. (Though I'm very much enjoying reading everyone else's Top 10s).

Both Room with a View and My Beautiful Laundrette are in my 1985 Top 10.

October 21, 2015 | Unregistered Commentergoran

Blue Velvet, of course, is the best movie of that year.

But, in a very arthouse choice, the movie that touches me deeper in Andrei Tarkovski's The Sacrifice. Yeah, it's difficult and intelectual, but there are few movies that are so arresting if you give it the time it needs to conquer you. The ending had me perplexed, and then sobbing. It's a masterpiece.

October 21, 2015 | Unregistered Commentercal roth

Peggy Sue, Hannah and A Room with a View are definitively on my top three.

I also love, in no particular order, 'night, Mother, Little Shop of Horrors, Blue Velvet, The Mission, The Color of Money, Parting Glances and Le rayon vert.

October 21, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

I'm in London too! Enjoy your trip out here but try not be be passive aggressived to death on the tube....

October 21, 2015 | Unregistered Commentercatbaskets

1. „THÉRÈSE“ (France)
2. „LE RAYON VERT“ (France)
3. „A ROOM WITH A VIEW“ (Great Britain)
5. „OFFRET“ (Sweden)
6. „MATADOR“ (Spain)
7. „CARAVAGGIO“ (Great Britain)
8. „37°2 LE MATIN“ (France)
9. „O MELISSOKOMOS“ (Greece)
10. „MAUVAIS SANG“ (France)

12. „MANON DES SOURCES“ (France)
13. „ALIENS“ (USA)
17. „MÉLO“ (France)
18. „MONA LISA“ (Great Britain)
19. „SID AND NANCY“ (Great Britain
20. „JEAN DE FLORETTE“ (France)

24. „'ROUND MIDNIGHT“ (France)
25. „TENUE DE SOIRÉE“ (France)
26. „DER NAME DER ROSE“ (Germany)

34. „GOTHIC“ (Great Britain)
37. „THE MISSION“ (Great Britain)

October 21, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterThomas

I recall being obsessed with Top Gun, Blue Velvet, and Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Weird combo.

October 21, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterPam

My top ten:

1. Blue Velvet
2. Stand by Me
3. Betty Blue
4. Aliens
5. Platoon
6. Big Trouble in Little China
7. Ferris Bueller's Day Off
8. Sid and Nancy
9. The Fly
10. A Room with a View

October 21, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterVolvagia

Therese is easily my movie of the year. In no particular order My Sweet Little Village, True Stories, Tenue de Soiree, Down by Law, Ginger and Fred, My Beautiful Laundrette, The Last Resort, Mona Lisa, Platoon

Really a pretty forgettable year overall

Worst: Betty Blue/The Mission (tie)

October 21, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterken s

While I'd never have thought of it, I love that shot posted on Film Actually. Brilliant choice.

And though I'm a big fan of Aliens, Down By Law, Ferris Bueller's, and Matador, and there's a fair bit I like about Parting Glances and Crimes of the Heart, this just doesn't feel like, for me, a top 10 kind of year, since I think A Room With a View and Hannah and Her Sisters tower over the rest.

October 21, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterScottC

In alphabetical order:
Blue Velvet
The Fly
Little Shop of Horrors
My Beautiful Laundrette
Parting Glances
A Room with a View
Round Midnight
She's Gotta Have It

Honorable Mention:
Sid and Nancy

Dishonorable Mention:
Under the Cherry Moon (great soundtrack, however)

October 21, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw

My God, and where is Blue Velvet?

October 21, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterStefano

Haven't seen Room with a View or a lot of other classics from 1986. The mid-80s through the early 90s are a weird blind spot for me with more adult skewing films. I was a little kid, so I missed them all while I was growing up, and I have not been nearly rigorous enough about going back and catching up. That said, my top 10 goes something like:

Big Trouble in Little China
Blue Velvet
The Fly
Hannah and Her Sisters
Little Shop of Horrors
My Beautiful Laundrette
Peggy Sue Got Married
The Sacrifice
Shadows in Paradise

October 21, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterRoark

1. Blue Velvet
2. Hannah and Her Sisters
3. A Room With a View
4. Stand By Me
5. Aliens

October 21, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterRyan

"Little Shop" is so singular. I'm young enough that I can only imagine how unexpected and strange that must have been when it came out. That's what I miss most about less original properties these days - Hollywood doesn't surprise us anymore.

(Yes, I know it was technically a remake. Hush.)

October 21, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDave S.

Paul Outlaw - thank god you redeemed yourself by mentioning Under The Cherry Moon's sublime soundtrack! Joking aside, as a Prince-obsessed child, I watched my VHS copy of that movie much more often than Purple Rain. Maybe it was because it was black-and-white so I subliminally felt 'arty', maybe it was Kristin Scott-Thomas being amazing for all the wrong reasons, maybe it was Prince in the bath... Whatever the reason, it's one of my 'favourites' even now...

October 21, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterkermit_the_frog

1. Blue Velvet (Lynch)
2. Shadows in Paradise (Kaurismäki)
3. Landscape Suicide (Benning)
4. The Hitcher (Harmon)
5. The Human Promise (Yoshida)
6. The Green Ray (Rohmer)
7. Dust in the Wind (Hou)
8. When the Wind Blows (Murakami)
9. Mauvais sang (Carax)
10. Top Gun (Scott)

October 21, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterslayton

As a sophomore in high school, I was more interested in the same old teenager movies. But having thirty years of hindsight, and now that I teach film top films...

1. Aliens (one of the best sci-fi films, and best sequels of all time)
2. Platoon
3. Something Wild
4. Blue Velvet
5. The Fly
6. The Mosquito Coast
7. The Color Of Money
8. 37.2 Le Matin
9. Ferris Bueller's Day Off
10. Ruthless People
11. Crocodile Dundee
12. F/X
13. Hannah And Her Sisters
14. Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
15. Back To School
16. Die Name Der Rose
17. She's Gotta Have It
18. Mona Lisa
19. Stand By Me
20. About Last Night

November 1, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterthespirithunter

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