Top Movie Stars of the 1980s

Who were the Top Movie Stars of the 1980s statistically?  This page will attempt to answer that question.  Our main source of information was our Ultimate Movie Ranking (UMR) pages that covered movie stars that made movies in the 1980s. So far we have box office grosses on 4,678 movies made between 1980 and 1989.  Granted this is far from all the movies made during that time frame….but it does cover most of the major movie releases in that decade.

We have included four lists of information.  List one looks at the Top 15 stars by adjusted domestic box office.  List two looks at the Top 15 stars by highest average rating per movie according to critics and audiences.   List three looks at the Top 15 Stars by highest average UMR score per movie.  List four shows our entire table of all the stars we looked at while complying these lists.

How good are you?  Ten of our favorite movie quotes from the 1980s….can you name them all?  (1) “As you wish”. (2) “I don’t know, I’m making this up as I go!” (3)  “Are you telling me that you built a time machine… out of a DeLorean?” (4) “Welcome to the party, pal!” (5) “Chew, if only you could see what I’ve seen with your eyes!” (6) “You can be my wingman any time.” (7) “I’ll be back.” (8) “If you build it, he will come.” (9) “I gave her my heart, and she gave me a pen.” (10) “You ever dance with the devil in the pale moonlight?”

Top 15 Adjusted Domestic Box Office Leaders 1980 – 1989

  1. Harrison Ford $3,738.70 million in adjusted domestic gross
  2. Carrie Fisher $2,290.10 million in adjusted domestic gross
  3. Eddie Murphy $2,119.00 million in adjusted domestic gross
  4. Dan Aykroyd $2,031.00 million in adjusted domestic gross
  5. Bill Murray $1,954.80 million in adjusted domestic gross
  6. Sylvester Stallone $1,895.60 million in adjusted domestic gross
  7. Judge Reinhold $1,870.50 million in adjusted domestic gross
  8. Tom Cruise $1,728.10 million in adjusted domestic gross
  9. Christopher Lloyd $1,701.70 million in adjusted domestic gross
  10. John Candy $1,686.70 million in adjusted domestic gross
  11. Rick Moranis $1,677.80 million in adjusted domestic gross
  12. Jack Nicholson $1,538.20 million in adjusted domestic gross
  13. Danny DeVito $1,519.40 million in adjusted domestic gross
  14. Richard Pryor $1,444.40 million in adjusted domestic gross
  15. Chevy Chase $1,436.60 million in adjusted domestic gross

Top 15 Average Critic/Audience Rating Leaders 1980 – 1989 (minimum 9 movies)

  1. Harrison Ford 83.6 % critic and audience voting
  2. Jack Nicholson 77.2 % critic and audience voting
  3. Robert DeNiro 75.5 % critic and audience voting
  4. William Hurt 75.0 % critic and audience voting
  5. Tom Berenger 72.60 % critic and audience voting
  6. John Cusack 71.0 % critic and audience voting
  7. Steve Martin 70.6 % critic and audience voting
  8. Matthew Broderick 70.5 % critic and audience voting
  9. Christopher Lloyd 70.4 % critic and audience voting
  10. Nicolas Cage 70.2 % critic and audience voting
  11. Glenn Close 70.0 % critic and audience voting
  12. James Woods 70.0 % critic and audience voting
  13. Bill Murray 69.9 % critic and audience voting
  14. Kathleen Turner 69.0 % critic and audience voting
  15. Sigourney Weaver 68.9 % critic and audience voting

Top 15 Average UMR Score (combo of box office, reviews & awards) Per Movie 1980-1989

  1. Harrison Ford 64.85
  2. Jack Nicholson 57.37
  3. Bill Murray 54.58
  4. Eddie Murphy 54.17
  5. Michael Douglas 51.13
  6. Sigourney Weaver 51.00
  7. William Hurt 49.34
  8. Tom Cruise 49.14
  9. Glenn Close 48.99
  10. Tom Berenger 47.88
  11. Christopher Lloyd 47.60
  12. Kathleen Turner 47.04
  13. Meryl Streep 46.23
  14. Danny DeVito 46.05
  15. Dan Aykroyd 45.55

 

Top Movie Stars 1980-1989 Main Table

The really cool thing about this table is that it is “user-sortable”. Rank the movies anyway you want.

  • Sort by actor or actress
  • Sort by movies made between 1970 and 1979
  • Sort by average adjusted domestic box office per movie
  • Sort by total adjusted domestic box office from 1970 to 1979
  • Sort by how many Oscar® nominations and how many Oscar® wins each performers’ movies earned
  • Sort by average Ultimate Movie Rankings (UMR) Score.  UMR puts box office, reviews and awards into a mathematical equation and gives each movie a score.
RankUMR Co-Star LinkMoviesAVG B.O. (mil)Total 1980s B.O. (mil)AVG ReviewOscar Noms / WinsAVG UMR Score
Harrison Ford10$ 373.9$3738.783.6 %036 / 1164.85
Carrie Fisher14$ 163.6$2290.167.5 %015 / 0542.05
Eddie Murphy9$ 235.4$2119.060.1 %006 / 0054.17
Dan Aykroyd14$ 145.1$2031.058.5 %012 / 0445.55
Bill Murray9$ 217.2$1954.869.9 %015 / 0154.58
Sylvester Stallone13$ 145.8$1895.648.6 %002 / 0039.63
Judge Reinhold11$ 170.0$1870.564.7 %002 / 0044.53
Tom Cruise12$ 144.0$1728.161.2 %026 / 0849.14
Christopher Lloyd12$ 141.8$1701.770.4 %012 / 0447.60
John Candy18$ 93.7$1686.762.7 %003 / 0043.47
Rick Moranis12$ 139.8$1677.862.3 %006 / 0044.51
Jack Nicholson11$ 139.8$1538.277.2 %043 / 1057.37
Danny DeVito13$ 116.9$1519.463.5 %013 / 0546.05
Richard Pryor15$ 96.3$1444.456.9 %001 / 0040.26
Chevy Chase16$ 89.8$1436.656.0 %000 / 0040.66
Drew Barrymore7$ 204.3$1430.260.5 %011 / 0438.63
Sigourney Weaver9$ 154.8$1393.268.9 %021 / 0451.00
Burt Reynolds20$ 66.3$1325.343.6 %003 / 0030.79
Steve Guttenberg16$ 81.0$1295.747.5 %002 / 0232.32
Harold Ramis7$ 181.6$1271.463.0 %002 / 0047.42
Kathleen Turner13$ 94.7$1230.869.0 %022 / 0547.04
Michael J. Fox9$ 131.3$1181.565.3 %005 / 0144.35
Michael Douglas9$ 131.1$1180.065.6 %013 / 0151.13
Clint Eastwood11$ 104.7$1151.655.9 %001 / 0042.21
Tom Hanks13$ 87.9$1143.055.9 %003 / 0040.69
Michael Keaton10$ 113.1$1131.459.4 %002 / 0240.59
Debra Winger9$ 121.9$1096.767.9 %017 / 0747.37
Danny Glover8$ 132.9$1062.977.6 %030 / 0456.67
Sean Connery11$ 92.8$1020.864.0 %008 / 0242.29
Arnold Schwarzenegger10$ 100.9$1008.560.1 %001 / 0043.20
Kim Basinger11$ 91.2$1003.654.1 %005 / 0135.46
Jane Fonda6$ 167.0$1001.760.7 %015 / 0347.97
Glenn Close11$ 90.6$996.670.0 %026 / 0348.99
Bill Paxton13$ 74.2$964.363.7 %007 / 0239.68
John Lithgow13$ 72.8$946.766.1 %021 / 0641.27
Charlie Sheen12$ 77.0$924.563.5 %009 / 0541.35
Oliver Stone10$ 91.5$915.066.4 %019 / 0748.91
Steve Martin12$ 76.0$912.170.6 %007 / 0045.38
Dustin Hoffman4$ 227.2$908.859.9 %018 / 0554.90
Gene Hackman19$ 47.7$906.763.7 %022 / 0437.61
Tom Berenger10$ 89.9$899.172.6 %019 / 0647.88
Robin Williams9$ 97.9$880.861.3 %011 / 0145.10
Dolly Parton4$ 219.3$877.253.6 %003 / 0049.92
Mel Gibson12$ 72.8$873.668.1 %008 / 0242.39
Sally Field9$ 93.7$842.959.9 %013 / 0245.00
Meg Ryan9$ 92.1$829.256.2 %006 / 0237.85
Daryl Hannah12$ 66.9$802.265.6 %007 / 0140.90
Teri Garr13$ 61.4$797.657.5 %012 / 0133.96
Don Ameche6$ 132.6$795.765.7 %006 / 0351.51
Jack Palance5$ 153.9$769.454.8 %002 / 0139.48
John Travolta7$ 107.7$754.145.5 %000 / 0035.94
Robert Redford5$ 147.7$738.471.2 %022 / 1162.82
Kurt Russell13$ 56.8$738.364.9 %007 / 0039.51
Richard Dreyfuss 11$ 66.8$734.864.8 %003 / 0040.97
Bette Midler7$ 105.0$734.861.4 %001 / 0044.55
Ralph Macchio8$ 91.5$731.657.5 %002 / 0039.73
Michelle Pfeiffer12$ 60.5$726.167.1 %013 / 0342.05
Jessica Lange9$ 79.9$719.467.7 %018 / 0143.26
Dudley Moore11$ 64.1$705.649.5 %004 / 0232.09
Roger Moore8$ 87.6$701.151.4 %001 / 0037.04
James Earl Jones10$ 69.2$691.563.1 %006 / 0039.06
Matthew Broderick9$ 76.1$684.770.5 %010 / 0345.46
Richard Gere9$ 75.1$676.357.3 %008 / 0235.70
Michael Caine20$ 33.8$675.258.8 %011 / 0333.64
Goldie Hawn7$ 96.3$674.456.7 %005 / 0042.08
William Hurt10$ 67.3$672.675.0 %025 / 0349.34
Jamie Lee Curtis12$ 55.3$663.957.4 %004 / 0135.72
Samuel L. Jackson6$ 110.4$662.375.5 %012 / 0051.45
Kelly McGillis7$ 93.6$655.069.5 %015 / 0443.94
Meryl Streep11$ 59.0$649.567.6 %029 / 0846.23
Paul Newman9$ 72.1$648.964.9 %014 / 0144.87
Michael Biehn6$ 108.0$648.272.9 %011 / 0348.08
Morgan Freeman12$ 52.9$634.964.6 %016 / 0740.63
Willem Dafoe7$ 89.7$627.978.1 %025 / 0746.87
Dennis Quaid16$ 39.1$625.058.2 %009 / 0534.06
Paul Hogan2$ 310.7$621.456.0 %000 / 0057.32
Nick Nolte12$ 51.7$619.861.3 %000 / 0035.64
Ted Danson7$ 88.1$617.066.0 %001 / 0039.88
Shirley MacLaine6$ 102.0$611.960.8 %012 / 0545.21
Ally Sheedy10$ 61.0$610.261.8 %004 / 0038.33
John Heard13$ 46.4$602.665.3 %006 / 0236.52
Val Kilmer5$ 120.4$601.963.1 %006 / 0143.07
John Goodman15$ 39.9$599.260.1 %001 / 0034.50
Jeff Bridges15$ 39.3$590.162.9 %010 / 0036.29
Tom Selleck6$ 96.8$581.060.0 %000 / 0038.56
Emilio Estevez10$ 57.4$574.062.8 %000 / 0038.37
Kevin Bacon11$ 52.0$571.556.0 %005 / 0030.10
Bruce Willis5$ 113.9$569.556.9 %004 / 0042.00
Cher6$ 94.0$564.175.0 %014 / 0454.39
Kevin Costner7$ 80.3$562.275.8 %010 / 0148.95
Robert DeNiro12$ 45.3$543.875.5 %021 / 0444.99
Chuck Norris13$ 41.5$540.052.3 %000 / 0031.00
Gene Wilder6$ 90.0$540.055.5 %001 / 0137.00
Patrick Swayze10$ 53.0$530.355.3 %000 / 0031.70
Billy Crystal6$ 82.6$495.477.0 %002 / 0047.34
Anthony Michael Hall7$ 70.7$494.865.3 %000 / 0041.77
Kevin Kline8$ 59.6$476.770.3 %016 / 0244.11
Robert Downey Jr.10$ 45.9$458.855.8 %001 / 0033.35
Martin Sheen14$ 32.6$456.456.4 %012 / 0932.37
Nicolas Cage10$ 45.6$456.470.2 %011 / 0340.93
Andrew McCarthy9$ 50.6$455.859.2 %001 / 0036.03
Sissy Spacek9$ 50.2$451.763.5 %018 / 0339.31
Rob Lowe10$ 43.8$437.564.3%000 / 0033.15
Sean Penn12$ 36.3$435.965.4 %000 / 0035.76
Sidney Poitier5$ 85.4$426.958.6 %000 / 0036.79
Rodney Dangerfield3$ 140.5$421.570.4 %000 / 0053.27
Daniel Stern12$ 34.9$419.262.4 %009 / 0432.97
Al Pacino5$ 83.5$417.760.3 %000 / 0042.01
Liam Neeson13$ 31.6$410.558.9 %008 / 0133.55
Christopher Plummer10$ 40.0$400.257.7 %001 / 0033.40
Molly Ringwald8$ 49.6$397.060.4 %000 / 0037.04
Warren Oates4$ 99.0$395.969.8 %001 / 0046.02
Alec Baldwin7$ 56.5$395.465.3 %008 / 0240.28
Timothy Hutton10$ 39.4$394.263.4 %006 / 0437.64
Tommy Lee Jones8$ 49.1$393.061.3 %007 / 0135.37
George Segal4$ 97.1$388.348.0 %000 / 0034.06
Christopher Walken11$ 35.0$384.864.3 %005 / 0135.98
Matt Dillon12$ 32.0$384.065.2 %000 / 0035.30
Keanu Reeves6$ 63.9$383.371.3 %009 / 0344.37
Susan Sarandon11$ 34.7$382.262.6 %009 / 0035.59
Donald Sutherland15$ 24.9$373.553.5 %007 / 0429.41
John Cusack11$ 33.9$372.671.0 %002 / 0038.89
Albert Finney8$ 46.4$371.362.4 %009 / 0037.12
Demi Moore8$ 46.3$370.349.1 %000 / 0031.40
Katharine Hepburn2$ 183.7$367.460.5 %010 / 0353.40
Whoopi Goldberg7$ 52.0$363.956.8 %011 / 0034.31
Henry Fonda1$ 361.7$361.779.5 %010 / 0387.66
Liza Minnelli3$ 119.1$357.349.2 %004 / 0234.32
Kevin Spacey5$ 67.0$335.263.8 %007 / 0141.44
Ed Harris 8$ 41.8$334.675.6 %021 / 0743.69
Diane Keaton8$ 41.4$330.869.9 %017 / 0342.01
John Malkovich9$ 34.0$306.469.9 %027 / 0840.81
Mickey Rourke14$ 21.9$306.164.0 %002 / 0031.22
Robert Duvall8$ 36.2$289.762.6 %009 / 0237.02
Dean Martin2$ 144.7$289.338.0 %000 / 0038.81
Daniel Day-Lewis6$ 46.3$277.981.8 %027 / 1351.33
Judd Nelson8$ 34.3$274.760.3 %000 / 0033.41
Holly Hunter7$ 39.1$273.769.5 %008 / 0038.12
Peter O'Toole7$ 38.5$269.655.5 %012 / 0935.70
Anne Bancroft9$ 29.4$264.370.1 %012 / 0037.13
Burt Lancaster7$ 37.1$259.468.7 %008 / 0039.96
Roy Scheider8$ 32.4$259.256.6 %006 / 0031.89
Andie MacDowell3$85.8$257.461.0 %004 / 0043.30
Anjelica Huston11$ 23.1$253.669.9 %014 / 0135.03
Jeff Goldblum4$ 63.4$253.567.0 %005 / 0041.11
Raul Julia7$ 36.0$251.762.6 %007 / 0135.85
Laurence Olivier5$ 49.8$249.248.7 %000 / 0030.66
Sharon Stone8$ 30.5$243.744.2 %000 / 0024.90
Woody Allen6$ 40.5$243.084.2 %016 / 0350.58
Charles Bronson12$ 20.2$242.944.4 %000 / 0024.01
Alan Alda4$ 60.0$239.862.8 %003 / 0040.61
Dennis Hopper12$ 19.6$235.561.2 %003 / 0032.08
Barbra Streisand3$ 76.9$230.754.2 %005 / 0139.52
James Mason5$ 45.7$228.564.4 %005 / 0039.35
George C. Scott4$ 56.1$224.256.1 %000 / 0036.10
Marsha Mason3$ 73.9$221.670.7 %004 / 0045.97
Walter Matthau9$ 24.6$221.653.3 %001 / 0029.61
Julia Roberts3$ 73.7$221.057.7 %001 / 0042.05
Winona Ryder6$ 35.7$214.265.7 %001 / 0136.72
Mel Brooks3$ 71.0$213.165.7 %001 / 0042.01
James Woods13$ 16.0$207.470.0 %003 / 0034.89
James Garner6$ 34.4$206.657.9 %009 / 0133.61
Melanie Griffith6$ 34.0$204.164.4 %007 / 0232.00
Jim Carrey4$ 50.9$203.756.0 %003 / 0035.03
Kirk Douglas6$ 33.2$199.053.7 %000 / 0030.37
Prince2$ 97.3$194.533.0 %000 / 0022.82
Bo Derek3$ 62.7$188.134.2 %000 / 0025.85
Ben Kingsley7$ 26.6$186.170.1 %013 / 0839.66
Julie Andrews6$ 30.9$185.164.9 %008 / 0136.69
Mickey Rooney3$ 59.9$179.660.5 %000 / 0037.72
Harvey Keitel10$ 17.9$179.351.1 %002 / 0025.38
Maureen O'Sullivan2$ 87.2$174.482.4 %010 / 0356.57
Denzel Washington7$ 24.6$172.167.4 %011 / 0339.03
Anthony Hopkins6$ 28.5$170.770.8 %008 / 0038.06
Gabriel Byrne6$ 27.8$166.656.0 %001 / 0030.65
Wesley Snipes2$ 82.7$165.455.8 %000 / 0039.36
James Caan 6$ 26.5$158.863.3 %000 / 0034.03
Jack Lemmon7$ 22.1$154.566.8 %007 / 0136.15
Warren Beatty2$ 76.8$153.567.7 %012 / 0344.20
Sylvia Sidney2$ 75.7$151.370.0 %001 / 0145.25
Bruce Dern7$ 21.4$149.656.4 %000 / 0029.59
Jeremy Irons7$ 20.8$145.469.2 %013 / 0136.97
Macaulay Culkin1$ 141.8$141.866.5 %000 / 0053.53
Robert Mitchum4$ 34.7$138.755.3 %001 / 0031.54
Frances McDormand5$ 27.4$137.270.1 %007 / 0139.30
Anthony Perkins4$ 33.3$133.351.8 %000 / 0029.48
Tim Conway3$ 43.1$129.448.8 %000 / 0032.46
Jodie Foster7$ 18.2$127.660.4 %001 / 0132.90
Ernest Borgnine6$ 20.6$123.851.1 %001 / 0026.18
Lee Marvin4$ 30.4$121.469.4 %000 / 0037.31
Faye Dunaway7$ 16.7$116.750.0 %000 / 0026.26
Ann-Margret6$ 19.3$115.555.2 %001 / 0029.22
Richard Widmark4$ 28.7$114.748.0 %001 / 0027.13
Orson Welles10$ 11.2$111.960.7 %000 / 0030.26
Ben Stiller4$ 26.1$104.554.3 %006 / 0030.41
Christian Slater6$ 17.1$102.668.4 %003 / 0033.74

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14 thoughts on “Top Movie Stars of the 1980s

  1. Rob Lowe, Andie McDowell and Ally Sheedy? I see some St. Elmo’s Fire stars but not these or Andrew McCarthy.

    1. Hey Trina…all 4 were added to the table….only Ally Sheedy was able to crack the Top 100. Thanks for the suggestions.

  2. HI BRUCE

    1 Your pages have well demonstrated that in the first couple of decades of the Classic Era a select group of male stars such as Gable Tracy, Hope, Crosby and Cooper dominated at the box office.

    2 My personal recollection of the 1990s was that the counterparts of the above-mentioned performers as box office champions were the likes of Harrison Ford, Mel Gibson, Cruise, Hanks, Stallone and Arnie who dominated into the next century. Your further reviews of the decades will demonstrate no doubt the extent of their domination in the years after the 1990s

    3 However whilst Stallone did well in the 1970s and for example Hanks was a greater force in the 1990s than in the 1980s your 80s chart shows the pack that would dominate in the future starting to take shape as a group. Nicholson of course was in the 1980s continuing with his good work as a box office force AND a perceived great actor and Clint – who amazingly is STILL around – continued to churn out a consistent stream of respectable hits. . Sadly though the Duke had passed on when that decade arrived and other old friends such as Mr Mumbles and Chuck Heston were no longer a cinematic force.

    4 Anyway you have given us another comprehensively informative document as an excellent source of future reference and that is appreciated.

    1. Hey Bob
      1. Thanks for checking out my latest decade page…at least two more to go….with a possibility of doing a 2010 one too….which of course will not be complete.
      2. Of the ones you mentioned…I think only Gibson does not have the stats to back up that personal memory….but he will be much stronger in the 1990s.
      3. I agree it is sad to see thespians that had been in the pages dropping off….but like life with death goes life…as in this guess….many current stars made their debuts….Willis, Cruise, Murphy, Costner and Gibson just to name a few.
      4. Thanks for the kind words. 🙂

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