Playlists > The Best Movies of 1981

The Best Movies of 1981
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As with most of my lists, some of the movies show a different year, but they were all released in 1981.


Creator: melissa1983
Posted: 4 months ago
 
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Movie: Raiders of the Lost Ark ( 1981 )
In 1936, archaeologist and adventurer Indiana Jones is hired by the U.S. government to find the Ark of the Covenant before Adolf Hitler's Nazis can obtain its awesome powers.
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Movie: Porky's ( 1982 )
In 1954, a group of Florida high school students try to help their buddy lose his virginity, which leads them to seeking revenge on a sleazy nightclub owner and his redneck sheriff brother for harassing them.
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Movie: Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior ( 1981 )
In the post-apocalyptic Australian wasteland, a cynical drifter agrees to help a small, gasoline rich community escape a horde of bandits.
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Movie: Escape from New York ( 1981 )
In 1997, when the U.S. president crashes into Manhattan, now a giant maximum security prison, a convicted bank robber is sent in to rescue him.
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Movie: Excalibur ( 1981 )
Merlin the magician helps Arthur Pendragon unite the Britons around the Round Table of Camelot, even as dark forces conspire to tear it apart.
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Movie: The Evil Dead ( 1983 )
Five friends travel to a cabin in the woods, where they unknowingly release flesh-possessing demons.
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Movie: Das Boot ( 1981 )
The claustrophobic world of a WWII German U-boat; boredom, filth and sheer terror.
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Movie: An American Werewolf in London ( 1981 )
Two American college students on a walking tour of Britain are attacked by a werewolf that none of the locals will admit exists.
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Movie: History of the World: Part I ( 1981 )
Mel Brooks brings his one-of-a-kind comic touch to the history of mankind covering events from the Old Testament to the French Revolution in a series of episodic comedy vignettes.
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Movie: The Cannonball Run ( 1981 )
A wide variety of eccentric competitors participate in a wild and illegal cross-country road race. However, the eccentric entrants will do anything to win the road race, including low-down, dirty tricks.
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Movie: Possession ( 1981 )
A woman starts exhibiting increasingly disturbing behavior after asking her husband for a divorce. Suspicions of infidelity soon give way to something much more sinister.
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Movie: For Your Eyes Only ( 1981 )
Agent 007 is assigned to hunt for a lost British encryption device and prevent it from falling into enemy hands.
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Movie: Endless Love ( 1981 )
A high school student's love for a 15-year-old girl is thwarted by parental disapproval, circumstance and accident.
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Movie: Time Bandits ( 1981 )
A young boy accidentally joins a band of time travelling dwarves, as they jump from era to era looking for treasure to steal.
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Movie: Bustin' Loose ( 1981 )
Joe Braxton is an ex-con who has been given a second chance to freedom after violating his probation. He has been hired by a school teacher named Vivian Perry to repair and drive an old school bus and drive a group of Special kids to Ms. Perry's Washington Farm from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to give them a new home after The Clarmont Center for Children is shut down by the city. The kids have severe mental problems and Joe is not looking forward to the trip at all, but Joe later bonds with Vivian and the children, offering his support and love and changes his outlook on life. But Donald, the social worker and Vivian's lover who gave Joe his break is hot on their tail and wants Joe back in prison. Joe and Vivian must now prevent Donald from sending the children back to Philadelphia, where they'll have no future.
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Movie: Stripes ( 1981 )
Two friends who are dissatisfied with their jobs decide to join the army for a bit of fun.
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Movie: Body Heat ( 1981 )
In the midst of a searing Florida heat wave, a woman persuades her lover, a small-town lawyer, to murder her rich husband.
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Movie: Chariots of Fire ( 1981 )
Two British track athletes, one a determined Jew, and the other a devout Christian, compete in the 1924 Olympics.
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Movie: Clash of the Titans ( 1981 )
Perseus must battle Medusa and the Kraken to save the Princess Andromeda.
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Movie: Scanners ( 1981 )
A scientist sends a man with extraordinary psychic powers to hunt others like him.
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Movie: Heavy Metal ( 1981 )
A glowing green orb - which embodies ultimate evil - terrorizes a young girl with an anthology of bizarre and fantastic stories of dark fantasy, eroticism and horror.
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Movie: Blow Out ( 1981 )
A movie sound recordist accidentally records the evidence that proves that a car accident was actually murder and consequently finds himself in danger.
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Movie: Thief ( 1981 )
Coming closer to his dream of leading a normal life, a professional safecracker agrees to do a job for the Mafia, who has other plans for him.
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Movie: The Fox and the Hound ( 1981 )
Two childhood friends find themselves forced to become enemies.
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Movie: Mommie Dearest ( 1981 )
The abusive and traumatic adoptive upbringing of Christina Crawford at the hands of her mother, screen queen Joan Crawford, is depicted.
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Movie: Taps ( 1981 )
Military cadets take extreme measures to insure the future of their academy when its existence is threatened by local condo developers.
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Movie: Galaxy of Terror ( 1982 )
Science fiction suspense thriller, in which a rescue space ship crew meets up with horrors projected by their own imaginations.
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Movie: Friday the 13th Part 2 ( 1981 )
Mrs. Voorhees is dead, and Camp Crystal Lake is shut down, but a camp next to the infamous place is stalked by an unknown assailant.
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Movie: Quest for Fire ( 1981 )
This story takes place in prehistoric time when three tribesmen search for a new fire source.
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Movie: On Golden Pond ( 1982 )
Norman is a curmudgeon with an estranged relationship with his daughter Chelsea. At Golden Pond, he and his wife nevertheless agree to care for Billy, the son of Chelsea's new boyfriend, and a most unexpected relationship blooms.
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Movie: Deadly Blessing ( 1981 )
After her husband dies under mysterious circumstances, a widow becomes increasingly paranoid of the neighboring religious community that may have diabolical plans for her.
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Movie: Dragonslayer ( 1981 )
A young wizarding apprentice is sent to kill a dragon which has been devouring girls from a nearby kingdom.
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Movie: Halloween II ( 1981 )
While Sheriff Brackett and Dr. Loomis hunt for Michael Myers, a traumatized Laurie is rushed to hospital, and the serial killer is not far behind her.
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Movie: The Howling ( 1981 )
After a bizarre and near deadly encounter with a serial killer, a television newswoman is sent to a remote mountain resort whose residents may not be what they seem.
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Movie: Lady Chatterley's Lover ( 1981 )
A film adaptation of D.H. Lawrence's novel. After a crippling injury leaves her husband impotent, Lady Chatterly is torn between her love for her husband and her physical desires. With her husband's consent, she seeks out other means of fulfilling her needs.
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Movie: My Dinner with Andre ( 1981 )
Two old friends meet for dinner; as one tells anecdotes detailing his experiences, the other notices their differing worldviews.
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Movie: The Burning ( 1981 )
A former summer camp caretaker, horribly burned from a prank gone wrong, lurks around an upstate New York summer camp bent on killing the teenagers responsible for his disfigurement.
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Movie: Arthur ( 1981 )
Arthur spends his time with booze and whores. His dad has a wife lined up for him that he keeps rejecting - until it's her or being cut off from $750,000,000. Then he goes shopping where he falls in love with a shoplifter.
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Movie: Prince of the City ( 1981 )
A New York City narcotics detective reluctantly agrees to cooperate with a special commission investigating police corruption. However, he soon discovers that he's in over his head, and nobody can be trusted.
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Movie: Reds ( 1981 )
A radical American journalist becomes involved with the Communist revolution in Russia, and hopes to bring its spirit and idealism to the United States.
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Movie: Outland ( 1981 )
A federal marshal stationed at a mining colony on the Jupiter moon of Io, uncovers a drug-smuggling conspiracy. He gets no help from the workers or authorities when he finds himself marked for murder.
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Movie: The Postman Always Rings Twice ( 1981 )
The sensuous wife of a lunch wagon proprietor and a rootless drifter begin a sordidly steamy affair and conspire to murder her Greek husband.
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Movie: X-Ray ( 1981 )
While receiving a routine check-up, a woman finds herself stranded on the hospital's eighth floor, while someone dressed as a doctor is intent on her never leaving, even if it means killing any staff member who comes into contact with her.
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Movie: Cannibal Ferox ( 1981 )
Three friends out to disprove cannibalism meet two men on the run who tortured and enslaved a cannibal tribe to find emeralds, and now the tribe is out for revenge.
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Movie: Tarzan the Ape Man ( 1981 )
While on an African expedition with her father, Jane Parker meets Tarzan, and the two become fascinated by each other.
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Movie: Victory ( 1981 )
As allied P.O.W.s prepare for a soccer game against the German National Team to be played in Nazi-occupied Paris, the French Resistance and British officers are making plans for the team's escape.
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Movie: Private Lessons ( 1981 )
An immigrant housemaid seduces a 15-year-old boy and later fakes her own death as part of his chauffeur's blackmail plot. Troubles arise when the two start to fall in love.
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Movie: The House by the Cemetery ( 1981 )
A New England home is terrorized by a series of murders, unbeknownst to the guests that a gruesome secret is hiding in the basement.
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Movie: My Bloody Valentine ( 1981 )
A decades-old folk tale surrounding a deranged murderer killing those who celebrate Valentine's Day turns out to be true to legend when a group defies the killer's order and people start turning up dead.
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Movie: Caveman ( 1981 )
A cave-man seeks revenge on a much larger competitor for the hand of a beautiful cave-woman.
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Movie: Gallipoli ( 1981 )
Two Australian sprinters face the brutal realities of war when they are sent to fight in the Gallipoli campaign in Turkey during World War I.
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TV Show: Brideshead Revisited ( 1981 )
Based on the novel by Evelyn Waugh, two years in the making, and the equivalent of seven feature films back-to-back, this epic drama tells a story of romantic yearning and loss in the glittering but fading world of the British aristocracy between the wars.
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Movie: Hell Night ( 1981 )
Four college pledges are forced to spend the night in a deserted old mansion, where they are stalked by the monstrous survivor of a family massacre years earlier.
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Movie: Horrorplanet ( 1981 )
A crew of interplanetary archaeologists is threatened when an alien creature impregnates one of their members, causing her to turn homicidal and murder them one by one.
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Movie: Ragtime ( 1981 )
A young black pianist becomes embroiled in the lives of an upper-class white family set among the racial tensions, infidelity, violence, and other nostalgic events in early 1900s New York City.
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Movie: Neighbors ( 1981 )
A quiet man's peaceful suburban lifestyle is threatened by the new, obnoxious couple that moves in next door.
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Movie: The French Lieutenant's Woman ( 1981 )
Wife and husband, both actors, play a couple in love from the Victorian era. Soon they begin to feel that fiction interweaves into reality.
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Movie: Southern Comfort ( 1981 )
During a routine exercise, a team of National Guards are threatened by angry and violent locals.
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Movie: Eyewitness ( 1981 )
Eccentric Vietnam War vet turned janitor claims to have witnessed a murder of a man tied to international political underground in order to get the attention of a TV reporter he has a huge crush on. The cops suspect his loser best friend.
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Movie: Ghost Story ( 1981 )
Two generations of men find themselves haunted by the presence of a spectral woman. When the son of one of the elderly men returns to his hometown after his brother's mysterious death, they attempt to unravel her story.
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Movie: The Beyond ( 1981 )
A young woman inherits an old hotel in Louisiana where, following a series of supernatural "accidents", she learns that the building was built over one of the entrances to Hell.
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Movie: The Great Muppet Caper ( 1981 )
Kermit the Frog, The Great Gonzo, and Fozzie Bear are reporters who travel to Britain to interview a rich victim of jewel thieves and help her along with her secretary, Miss Piggy.
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Movie: Nighthawks ( 1981 )
Conservative street cop DaSilva reluctantly agrees to terminate an international terrorist who has demanded media attention. But DaSilva's "at-home" tactics are very much put to the challenge.
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Movie: One from the Heart ( 1982 )
A couple has a fight after living together 5 years in Las Vegas. They go out and celebrate 4th of July, each with a new partner. Breakup?
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Movie: The Funhouse ( 1981 )
Four teenage friends spend the night in a carnival funhouse and are stalked by a deformed man in a Frankenstein mask.
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Movie: S.O.B. ( 1981 )
A movie producer who made a huge flop tries to salvage his career by revamping his film as an erotic production, where its family-friendly star takes her top off.
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Movie: Just Before Dawn ( 1981 )
Five campers arrive in the mountains to examine some property they have bought, but are warned by Forest Ranger Roy McLean that a huge machete-wielding maniac has been terrorising the area. Ignoring the warnings, they set up camp, and start disappearing one by one.
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Movie: Piranha II: The Spawning ( 1982 )
A scuba diving instructor, her biochemist boyfriend, and her police chief ex-husband try to link a series of bizarre deaths to a mutant strain of piranha fish whose lair is a sunken freighter ship off a Caribbean island resort.
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Movie: True Confessions ( 1981 )
A worldly ambitious monsignor clashes with his older brother, a cynical Los Angeles homicide detective who is investigating the brutal murder of a young prostitute.
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Movie: Carbon Copy ( 1981 )
When a rich white corporate executive finds out that he has an illegitimate black son, things start falling apart for him at home, at work and in his social circles.
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Movie: Butterfly ( 1982 )
In 1937 Nevada, silver mine caretaker Jess Tyler is reunited with his teenage daughter Kady who will do anything to persuade Jess to let her have claim to the mine.
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Movie: The Final Conflict ( 1981 )
The now adult Antichrist plots to eliminate his future divine opponent while a cabal of monks plot to stop him.
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Movie: The Prowler ( 1981 )
An unknown killer, clad in World War II U.S. Army fatigues, stalks a small New Jersey town bent on reliving a 35 year-old double murder by focusing on a group of college kids holding an annual Spring Dance.
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Movie: The Pit ( 1981 )
A solitary and strange preteen boy wreaks revenge on his harassers when he makes a disturbing discovery in the depth of a forest.
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Movie: Happy Birthday to Me ( 1981 )
At the snobby Crawford Academy, Virginia's group of friends start to go missing years after horrible events that happened to her as a child around her birthday.
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Movie: Harry's War ( 1981 )
Harry Johnson's aunt is a rich eccentric with an extensive collection of military memorabilia, who also happens to be in a fight with the IRS. When she dies of a heart attack, Harry blames her death on the IRS and takes up the fight himself. As Harry's cause gains attention and supporters, the 'war' soon escalates into a full-scale seige with Harry right in the center.
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Movie: The Legend of the Lone Ranger ( 1981 )
The sole surviving Texas Ranger of an ambush arranged by the outlaw leader Butch Cavandish returns to fight back as a great masked western hero - The Lone Ranger.
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Movie: Road Games ( 1981 )
A truck driver plays a cat-and-mouse game with a mysterious serial killer on a desolate Australian highway.
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Movie: Roar ( 1981 )
A family goes to Africa to meet their father who lives with wild lions.
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Movie: Dead & Buried ( 1981 )
A suspense horror film set in a small coastal town where, after a series of gory murders commited by mobs of townspeople against visiting tourists, the corpses begin to come back to life.
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Movie: Absence of Malice ( 1981 )
When a prosecutor leaks a false story that a liquor warehouse owner is involved in the murder of a union head, the man's life begins to unravel.
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Movie: Sharky's Machine ( 1981 )
Tom Sharky is demoted to vice after a bust goes terribly wrong. He and his team stumble across a mob murder tied to prostitution and government.
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Movie: Knightriders ( 1981 )
A medieval reenactment troupe find it increasingly difficult to keep their family-like group together, with pressure from local law enforcement, interest from entertainment agents and a growing sense of delusion from their leader.
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Movie: Eye of the Needle ( 1981 )
A ruthless German spy, trying to get out of Britain with vital information about D-Day, must spend time with a young woman and her crippled husband.
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Movie: Polyester ( 1981 )
A suburban housewife's world falls apart when she finds that her pornographer husband is serially unfaithful to her, her daughter is pregnant, and her son is suspected of being the foot-fetishist who's been breaking local women's feet.
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Movie: They All Laughed ( 1982 )
A mad cap private-eye caper about a team of detectives who are following, and are being followed by, a group of beautiful women.
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Movie: ...All the Marbles ( 1981 )
Harry Sears manages The California Dolls, a female wrestling tag team who tour America, hoping for a chance at winning big time. Harry's also romantically involved with one of them. Their fortunes seem osecondary to him (particularly when Harry accepts an engagement involving mud wrestling!) but then a chance at the big ring match beckons, in Reno, Nevada
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Movie: Looker ( 1981 )
Plastic surgeon Larry Roberts performs a series of minor alterations on a group of models who are seeking perfection. The operations are a resounding success. But when someone starts killing his beautiful patients, Dr. Roberts becomes suspicious and starts investigating. What he uncovers are the mysterious - and perhaps murderous - activities of a high-tech computer company called Digital Matrix.
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Movie: Fort Apache the Bronx ( 1981 )
In New York, South Bronx's main police precinct is nicknamed Fort Apache by its employees who feel like troopers surrounded by hostiles in a wild west isolated outpost.
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Movie: Continental Divide ( 1981 )
A hard-nosed Chicago journalist has an unlikely love affair with an eagle researcher.
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Movie: The Last Shark ( 1981 )
James Franciscus tries to save hundreds of swimmers in a coastal resort after a Great White Shark starts terrorizing the area.
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Movie: Wolfen ( 1981 )
A New York cop investigates a series of brutal deaths that resemble animal attacks.
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Movie: Bloody Birthday ( 1981 )
Three children are born at the height of an eclipse of the sun. Ten years later, they begin to murder the people around them - even their family members.
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Movie: Death Hunt ( 1981 )
In 1931 Canada, Yukon trapper Johnson has a feud with a dog owner who later retaliates by publicly accusing Johnson of murder and thus triggering a police manhunt in the wilderness.
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Movie: Cutter's Way ( 1982 )
Richard spots a man dumping a body, and decides to expose the man he thinks is the culprit with his friend Alex Cutter.
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Movie: The Four Seasons ( 1981 )
Three middle-aged wealthy couples take vacations together in Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. Along the way we are treated to mid-life, marital, parental and other crises.
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Movie: Shock Treatment ( 1981 )
Janet and Brad become contestants on a game show... but wind up as captives instead.
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Movie: Nice Dreams ( 1981 )
Disguised as ice cream vendors, Cheech and Chong make--and subsequently lose--millions of dollars selling a batch of marijuana with an unusual side effect.
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Movie: Condorman ( 1981 )
Cartoonist Woody becomes the superhero he draws. Using his gadgets he helps a Soviet spy defect to the West.
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Movie: The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia ( 1981 )
A small town stud wants to go to Nashville and be a big country star. His ambitious kid sister works as his manager. When they cross paths with a small town sheriff, their dream comes in jeopardy.
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