1981 in film

Highest-grossing films (U.S.)

The top ten films released in 1981 by box office gross in North America are as follows:

Highest-grossing films of 1981[1]
RankTitleDistributorDomestic gross
1. Raiders of the Lost Ark Paramount $212,222,025
2. On Golden Pond Universal $119,285,432
3. Superman II Warner Bros. $108,185,706
4. Arthur $95,461,682
5. Stripes Columbia $85,297,000
6. The Cannonball Run 20th Century Fox $72,179,579
7. Chariots of Fire Warner Bros. $58,972,904
8. For Your Eyes Only United Artists $54,812,802
9. The Four Seasons Universal $50,427,646
10. Time Bandits Embassy Pictures $42,365,581

Events

Awards

Academy Awards:

Best Picture: Chariots of Fire – Enigma, The Ladd Company/Warner Bros./20th Century Fox
Best Director: Warren BeattyReds
Best Actor: Henry FondaOn Golden Pond
Best Actress: Katharine HepburnOn Golden Pond
Best Supporting Actor: John GielgudArthur
Best Supporting Actress: Maureen StapletonReds
Best Foreign Language Film: Mephisto, directed by Istvan Szabo, Hungary

Golden Globe Awards:

Drama:
Best Picture: On Golden Pond
Best Actor: Henry FondaOn Golden Pond
Best Actress: Meryl StreepThe French Lieutenant's Woman
Comedy or Musical:
Best Picture: Arthur
Best Actor: Dudley MooreArthur
Best Actress: Bernadette PetersPennies from Heaven
Other
Best Supporting Actor: John GielgudArthur
Best Supporting Actress: Joan HackettOnly When I Laugh
Best Director: Warren BeattyReds
Best Foreign Film: Chariots of Fire, United Kingdom

Golden Raspberry Awards:

Worst Picture: Mommie Dearest
Worst Director: Michael CiminoHeaven's Gate
Worst Actor: Klinton SpilsburyThe Legend of the Lone Ranger
Worst Actress (tie): Bo DerekTarzan, the Ape Man
Worst Actress (tie): Faye DunawayMommie Dearest
Worst Supporting Actor: Steve ForrestMommie Dearest
Worst Supporting Actress: Diana ScarwidMommie Dearest
Worst Screenplay: Frank Yablans & Frank Perry and Tracy Hotchner and Robert Getchell - Mommie Dearest

Palme d'Or (Cannes Film Festival):

Man of Iron (Człowiek z żelaza), directed by Andrzej Wajda, Poland

Golden Lion (Venice Film Festival):

Marianne and Juliane (Die Bleierne Zeit), directed by Margarethe von Trotta, W. Germany

Golden Bear (Berlin Film Festival):

Faster, Faster (Deprisa, deprisa / Vivre vite), directed by Carlos Saura, Spain / France

Notable films released in 1981

United States unless stated

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1981 Wide-release movies

January–March

April–June

July–September

October–December

Births

Notable deaths

MonthDateNameAgeCountryProfessionNotable films
January 10Katharine Alexander82USActress
10Richard Boone63USActor
11Beulah Bondi91USActress
12Isobel Elsom87UKActress
16Bernard Lee73UKActor
February 1Wanda Hendrix52USActress
2Louise Lorraine76USActress
4Mario Camerini85ItalyDirector, Screenwriter
11Ketti Frings71USScreenwriter
12Jean Dixon84USActress
21Ron Grainer58AustraliaComposer
22Curtis Bernhardt81GermanyDirector
28Virginia Huston55USActress
March 4Torin Thatcher76UKActor
5Brenda de Banzie71UKActress
14Eleanor Perry66USScreenwriter
15René Clair82FranceDirector, Screenwriter
17Dorothy Dwan74USActress
April 7Norman Taurog82USDirector, Screenwriter
14Sergio Amidei76ItalyScreenwriter
26Madge Evans71USActress
26Jim Davis71USActor
26Herb Voland62USActor
May 9Margaret Lindsay70USActress
18Richard Hale88USActor
18Arthur O'Connell73USActor
22Boris Sagal57RussiaDirector
23George Jessel83USProducer, Actor
June 5Miguel Torres81MexicoDirector
9Russell Hayden68USActor
12Eleanor Hunt71USActress
12Evalyn Knapp74USActress
19Alfred Santell85USDirector
22Lola Lane75USActress
23Zarah Leander74SwedenActress
July 1George Voskovec76Czech RepublicActor
2Edward Killy78USDirector
3Ross Martin61PolandActor
27William Wyler79GermanyDirector, Producer
August 1Paddy Chayefsky58USScreenwriter
4Melvyn Douglas80USActor
12Shirley Grey79USActress
18Anita Loos93USScreenwriter
19Jessie Matthews74UKActress, Singer
30Vera-Ellen60USActress, Dancer
September 1Ann Harding79USActress
6Maria Palmer64AustriaActress
11Frank McHugh83USActor
15Sara Haden81USActress
23Chief Dan George82CanadaActor
24Patsy Kelly71USActress
27Robert Montgomery77USActor, Director
October 4Dorothy Dare70USActress
5Gloria Grahame54USActress
19Nils Asther84DenmarkActor
24Edith Head83USCostume Designer
26Glenn Anders92USActor
November 3Jean Eustache42FranceDirector
12William Holden63USActor
16Morgan Conway78USActor
21Ejner Federspiel85DenmarkActor
21Harry von Zell75USActor
25Jack Albertson74USActor
27Lotte Lenya83AustriaActress
29Natalie Wood43USActress
December 5Charles Barton79USDirector
17Ada Kramm82NorwayActress
27Hoagy Carmichael82USActor, Composer
28Allan Dwan96CanadaDirector

Film debuts

See also

References

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