Ronald Reagan became the fortieth president of the United States in 1981. The great communicator as he was known projected an air of confidence through most of this presidency. As a student of history, I would like to compare Ronald Reagan's presidency to president Ulysses Grant. They were both honest sincere men and were elected on a tide of public enthusiasm for new ideas and desperation of the old regime. Remember that Carter as a president was a failure. He had not even been able to pull off a successful rescue of the hostages in Iran. However, greed and corruption soon followed the new establishment.
Suddenly, the sky was the limit. People were getting rich speculating in real estate or the stock market and huge deals were made in buying and dismantling established industries. Corporate raiders such as Carl Icahn and other made a name for themselves. There was even a movie loosely based on the life of Ivan Boesky called Wall Street. Although it was a mediocre film, it earned Michael Douglas an academy award.
A more realistic movie made in the eighties was Raging Bull with Robert De Niro based on the life story of middleweight boxer Jake La Motta. It is interesting to note that not many people had heard of La Motta before this movie was made.
Some good dramas were made during that period. Out of Africa (1985) with Meryl Streep was highly acclaimed. Then, of course, Meryl is supposed to be the greatest living actor. Body Heat (1981) with Kathleen Turner and William Hurt was a haunting melodrama. William Hurt was so good that it was easy to relate to him through his rise and fall. I still feel claustrophobic every time, I see the end of movie when he is in prison and receives the yearbook from Kathleen Turner's school. Another comedy with real serious undertones was Prizzi's Honor (1985) directed by John Houston. It was his second to last film and yet one of his best. He was almost 80 years old when he made this movie. The real star of the show was William Hickey who played Don Corrado Prizzi. He should have won the Oscar that year.
Another good thriller/drama was Fatal Attraction (1987) with Michael Douglas, Glenn Close and Ann Archer. I thought it was a taut tale. However, I felt sad about a pregnant woman being shot to death.
Michael Douglas made two comedies with Kathleen Turner. Romancing the Stone was released in 1984 and the sequel Jewel of the Nile in 1985. Their next movie, War of the Roses (1989) directed by Danny De Vito was supposed to be a comedy, but turned out to be extremely depressing.
The fantasy and supernatural genre continued with Raiders of the Lost Arc (1981) and ET (1982). In comedies, Tootsie comes to mind and as for Amadeus, I am not sure how I would categorize it. F. Murray Abraham won an Academy Award narrowly beating Tom Hulce. Whatever, happened to Tom Hulce, one wonders.
Overall, not much happened in the movies that were memorable except as noted above.