57. The Abyss (1989)
Influential, how? Computers can do characters now...
It lasts just 75 seconds, but needed eight months of work. The 'Pseudopod', which snakes out of the ocean to explore an underwater oil platform was the first ever example of digitally animated CG water.
This being James Cameron, that wasn’t enough. He had the gliding alien water-tentacle replicate Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio’s face, making it also the first ever realistic CG character.
“That's the movie,” says Cameron. “You go down to confront the aliens and all they do is hold up a mirror and show you how fucked up you are.”
Money shot: Cameron thinks the giant wave is even more amazing than his CG tentacle. He’s right.
58. Do The Right Thing (1989)
Influential, how? Fighting the power.
No fake uplift, no clean-cut message, heaps of style: Spike Lee slammed home his take on racism with Public Enemy-enhanced pizazz, granting every character their reason to exist and liberating black cinema as he went.
Money shot: Mookie and Pino debate race. Direct-to-camera racial slurs follow, capped by Samuel L Jackson’s generation-defining slap-down.
59. Sex, Lies And Videotape (1989)
Influential, how? Here come the Sundance kids.
Miramax paid $2 million for Steven Soderberg's Sundance-pleasing voyeurs-and-video debut. They made back over 20 times their investment, in the process setting the blueprint for a new wave of US independent cinema.
Money shot: Ann (MacDowell) turns the camera on perpetual peeper Graham (Spader). And Graham... turns it off.
60. Batman (1989)
Influential, how? The cinema of synergy.
Tim Burton’s Batman was no mere movie. It was a lunchbox, a book, a comic book, two soundtracks, a toy town…
The multinationals of the ’80s created a climate in which movies could be sold through multiple media, thus recouping the costs and then some.
“Cereal manufacturers and fast-food companies were looking over my shoulder the whole time,” Burton fretted. “It was quite horrifying.”
Money shot: The Bat-plane pauses in silhouette over the Moon. Would make a great badge...