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The Top 10 Best Movies of 1988

Rain Man (1988): After a selfish L.A. yuppie learns his estranged father left a fortune to an autistic-savant brother in Ohio that he didn’t know existed, he absconds with his brother and sets out across the country, hoping to gain a larger inheritance.

The 1980s was an era of groundbreaking films that pushed the boundaries of cinematic storytelling. From fantasy epics to romantic comedies, the decade saw a range of masterpieces that have since become classics. Among them, the movies released in 1988 are some of the most memorable and impactful films ever. Here is a look at the top 10 best movies from 1988 and why they remain so beloved decades later.

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  1. Rain Man: This drama starring Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman follows two estranged brothers reuniting after their father’s death. Cruise plays the shallow, materialistic Charlie Babbitt, who discovers that his father left his entire estate to his brother Raymond (Hoffman), an autistic savant. Despite their differences, the two brothers form a bond that changes their lives. Rain Man is a timeless classic with powerful performances and a poignant story.

  2. Die Hard: This action-packed thriller stars Bruce Willis as John McClane, a New York cop who visits his wife in Los Angeles only to find himself trapped in a high-rise building taken over by terrorists. With his wits and an arsenal of weapons, John is determined to save his wife and the other hostages from the ruthless criminals. Die Hard set a new standard for action films and has become a holiday classic.

  3. Who Framed Roger Rabbit: This groundbreaking mix of live-action and animation tells the story of Eddie Valiant (Bob Hoskins), a private detective hired to investigate cartoon star Roger Rabbit (Charles Fleischer). With the help of Jessica Rabbit (Kathleen Turner) and other Looney Tunes characters, Eddie must uncover the truth behind the conspiracy against Roger before it’s too late. Who Framed Roger Rabbit was a major milestone in animation and remains one of the most beloved films from 1988.

  4. Big: This heartwarming comedy stars Tom Hanks as Josh Baskin, a boy who makes a wish to be “big” and wakes up as an adult (Hanks). As he navigates life as an adult, Josh must accept his newfound responsibilities while still trying to be a kid. Big is an unforgettable comedy that celebrates childhood innocence with plenty of laughs along the way.

  5. Coming to America: This hilarious comedy follows Prince Akeem Joffer (Eddie Murphy) as he travels from his home country of Zamunda to Queens, New York, searching for true love away from an arranged marriage. As Akeem settles into life in America, he meets some colorful characters who help him find what he wants while teaching him valuable life lessons. Coming to America is one of Murphy’s funniest performances and remains one of the most beloved comedies from 1988.

  6. Beetlejuice: This dark comedy follows newly deceased couple Adam and Barbara Maitland (Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis) as they try to scare away the new family living in their home with some supernatural help from Betelgeuse (Michael Keaton). As they battle it out with their living counterparts, Adam and Barbara learn some lessons about life after death. Beetlejuice is a spooky yet funny movie that continues to delight viewers decades later.

  7. The Last Temptation of Christ: Directed by Martin Scorsese, this controversial drama follows Jesus Christ (Willem Dafoe) on his journey towards crucifixion while struggling with temptation. The Last Temptation of Christ is an ambitious film that dives deep into faith and spirituality with thoughtful performances from its cast that earned it critical acclaim upon its release in 1988.

  8. Bull Durham: This romantic comedy stars Kevin Costner as Crash Davis, an aging minor league baseball player hired to mentor rookie pitcher Nuke LaLoosh (Tim Robbins). As they embark on their season together, Crash falls for Annie Savoy (Susan Sarandon), an eccentric fan with her rituals for choosing which player she will sleep with each season. Bull Durham is funny and sweet, with memorable performances from its talented cast that make it one of 1988’s best movies.

  9. A Fish Called Wanda: This crime caper stars Jamie Lee Curtis, John Cleese, Michael Palin, and Kevin Kline as four criminals attempting to steal diamonds only to find themselves double-crossing each other. With its sharp wit and memorable characters, A Fish Called Wanda remains one of 1988’s funniest movies thanks to its perfect mix of slapstick humor and clever writing from Cleese himself!

  10. The Naked Gun: From The Files Of Police Squad!: Leslie Nielsen stars as bumbling detective Frank Drebin in this hilarious spoof on police procedurals like Dragnet or Starsky & Hutch. As Frank tries to solve a crime involving Queen Elizabeth II’s visit to Los Angeles, he finds himself in over his head but still manages to save the day with plenty of laughs along the way! The Naked Gun was Nielsen’s first foray into comedy after years of playing dramatic roles, which makes it all the more special!

From emotional dramas like Rain Man to laugh-out-loud comedies like The Naked Gun, these are just ten examples of why 1988 was such an incredible year for movies! Whether you prefer heartwarming stories or fast-paced action flicks, there’s something for everyone among these timeless classics!

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