1989 is a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar.
- March 1 - The Berne Convention is ratified and enters into force with regard to the United States
- March 1 - A curfew is imposed in Kosovo where protests continue at the alleged intimidation of the Serb minority
- March 1 - Louis Wade Sullivan starts his term of office as U.S. Secretary of Commerce, serving under President George Herbert Walker Bush
- March 1 - James D. Watkins starts his term of office as U.S. Secretary of Energy, serving under President George Herbert Walker Bush
- March 1 - The Politieke Partij Radicalen , Pacifistisch Socialistische Partij, Communistische Partij Nederland and the Evangelische Volks Partij amalgamate to form Netherlands political party the GroenLinks (GL, GreenLeft)
- March 2 - 12 European Community nations agree to ban the production of all chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) by the end century
- March 4 - Time, Inc. and Warner Communications announce plans for a merger, forming Time-Warner
- March 4 - The Purley rail crash - 5 dead, 94 injured
- March 4 - First ACT (Australian Capital Territory) elections held
- [March 6] - Fmr National Safety Council boss John Fredrich Areested In W.A over defrauding the company of $237 Million
- March 7 - Iran breaks off diplomatic relations with United Kingdom over Salman Rushdie's "The Satanic Verses"
- March 9 - A strike forces financially-troubled Eastern Airlines into bankruptcy
- March 14 - Gun control: President George Herbert Walker Bush bans the importation of assault rifles into the United States
- March 18 - In Egypt, a 4,400-year-old mummy is found in the Great Pyramid of Giza
- March 20 - Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke weeps on national television as he admits martial infidelity.
- March 23 - Stanley Pons and Martin Fleischmann announce cold fusion at the University of Utah
- March 23 - A 1,000-foot diameter Near-Earth asteroid misses the Earth by 400,000 miles
- March 24 - Exxon Valdez oil spill: In Alaska's Prince William Sound the Exxon Valdez spills 240,000 barrels (11 million gallons) of oil after running aground
- March 27 - The first free elections for the Soviet parliament go against the communist party
The Unknown Rebel
holds up a column of Chinese tanks sent to crush the student rebellion in Tiananmen Square
- The asteroid 4769 Castalia is the first asteroid directly imaged, by radar from Arecibo
- August 6 - The comic strip Bloom County ends.
- August 7 - US Congressman Mickey Leland (D-TX), and 15 others die in a plane crash in Ethiopia
- August 8 - STS-28: The Space Shuttle Columbia takes off on a secret five-day military mission.
- August 18 - Leading presidential hopeful Luis Carlos Galán is assassinated near Bogotá in Colombia.
- August 19 - Polish president Wojciech Jaruzelski nominates Solidarity activist Tadeusz Mazowiecki to be Prime Minister, thus becoming the first non-communist in power in 42 years.
- August 20 - In Beverly Hills, California, Lyle and Erik Menendez shoot their wealthy parents to death in their family's den.
- August 20 - 51 people die when the Marchioness pleasure boat collides with a barge on the River Thames.
- August 23 - Baltic Way, uninterrupted 600 kilometre human chain, in which two million indigenous people of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, then still occupied by the Soviet Union, joined hands to demand freedom and independence
- August 23 - Hungary removes border restrictions with Austria
- August 23 - All of Australia's 1,645 domestic airline pilots resign over an airline's move to sack and sue them over a dispute
- November 4 - Typhoon Gay devastates the Thai province of Chumphon.
- November 7 - Douglas Wilder wins the governor's seat in Virginia and becomes the first elected African American governor in the United States.
- November 7 - David Dinkins becomes the first African American mayor of New York City.
- November 7 - In California, convicted murderer Richard Ramirez (the "Night Stalker") is sentenced to death.
- November 9 - Cold War: Communist-controlled East Germany opens checkpoints in the Berlin Wall, allowing its citizens to freely travel to West Germany for the first time in decades (the next day celebrating Germans began to tear the wall down).
- November 10 - After 45 years of communist rule in Bulgaria, Bulgarian Communist Party leader Todor Zhivkov is replaced by Prime Minister Petar Mladenov , who changes the party's name to the Bulgarian Socialist Party.
- November 12 - Brazil holds its first free presidential election since 1960
- November 16 - Six Jesuit priests, their housekeeper and her teenage daughter are shot in San Salvador, El Salvador
- November 16 - South African President FW de Klerk announces scrapping of Separate Amenities Act
- November 17 - Cold War: Velvet Revolution begins - In Czechoslovakia a peaceful student demonstration in Prague is severely beaten back by the communist riot police. This sparks a revolution aimed at overthrowing the communist government (it succeeded on December 29)
- November 20 - Cold War: Velvet Revolution - The number of peaceful protesters assembled in Prague, Czechoslovakia swells from 200,000 the day before to an estimated half-million.
- Tuesday, November 21, 1989 - North Carolina celebrates its bicentennial statehood.
- November 22 - In west Beirut, a bomb explodes near the motorcade of Lebanese President Rene Moawad and kills him.
- November 28 - Cold War: Velvet Revolution - With other communist regimes falling all around it and with growing street protests, the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia announces they will give up their monopoly on political power (elections held in December brought the first non-communist government to Czechoslovakia in more than 40 years)
- November 30 - Deutsche Bank board member Alfred Herrhausen is killed by a terrorist's bomb (the Red Army Faction claimed responsibility of the murder)
- November 30 - A storeowner in Palm Harbor, Florida named Richard Mallory takes a ride with Aileen Wuornos and is seen for the last time. Mallory became the first of seven people killed by the female serial killer over the next year.
- December 1 - Cold War: East Germany's parliament abolishes the constitutional provision granting the communist party the leading role in the state (Egon Krenz, the Politburo and the Central Committee resigned two days later).
- December 3 - Cold War: In a meeting off the coast of Malta, US President George Herbert Walker Bush and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev release statements indicating that the cold war between their nations may be coming to an end (some commentators from both nations exaggerated the wording and independently declared the Cold War over).
- December 6 - The École Polytechnique Massacre (or Montreal Massacre): Marc Lépine, an anti-feminist gunman, murders fourteen young women at the École Polytechnique in Montreal.
- December 14 - Chile holds its first free election in 16 years.
- December 17 - Brazil holds its first free election in 29 years. Fernando Collor de Mello wins the election.
- December 20 - United States invades Panama (Operation Just Cause) to overthrow Manuel Noriega - he takes refuge in the Vatican mission until January 3 1990
- December 22 - After a week of bloody demonstrations, Ion Iliescu takes over as president of Romania, ending Nicolae Ceauşescu's communist dictatorship.
- [December 22] Two tourist coaches collide on the Pacific highway north of Kempsey, Australia, 35 killed + 39 injured
- December 25 - Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife Elena are executed.
- December 25 - Bank of Japan governors announce a major interest rate hike, eventually leading to the peak and fall of the "bubble economy."
- December 28 - A magnitude 5.6 earthquake hits Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia, killing 13 people.
- December 29 - Václav Havel elected the president of Czechoslovakia - a big victory of the Velvet Revolution.
- December 29 - Riots break-out after Hong Kong decides to forcibly repatriate Vietnamese refugees.
1989 in film
Main article: 1989 in film
1989 in literature
- Hussam Abdo, Palestinian newsmaker
- Marina Golbahari, Afghani actress
- January 3 - Alex D. Linz, American actor
- January 29 - Charlotte and Margaret Baughman, American twin actresses
- February 2 - Anna Sundstrand, Swedish singer
- February 4 - Nkosi Johnson, South African HIV-AIDS icon (d. 2001)
- February 5 - Jeremy Sumpter
- March 5 - Jake Lloyd, American actor
- March 15 - Caitlin Wachs, American actress
- March 17 - Spot Fetcher, presidential pet of George H.W. Bush (d. 2004)
- March 25 - Alyson Michalka, American actress
- April 18 - Alia Shawkat, American actress
- April 20 - Alex Black, American actor
- April 23 - Nicole Vaidisova, Czech tennis player
- May 29 - Riley Keough, American model, daughter of Lisa Marie Presley
- June 2 - Freddy Adu, Ghanaian-American soccer prodigy
- June 13 - Sayumi Michishige, Japanese singer
- June 18 - Renee Olstead, American actress
- June 23 - Anton Yelchin, Russian actor
- June 27 - Matthew Lewis, British actor
- June 27 - Madeline Mann, famous premature infant
- July 23 - Daniel Radcliffe, British actor
- August 15 - Belinda Peregrin, Mexican entertainer
- August 19 - Percy Romeo Miller ("Lil' Romeo"), American entertainer
- August 21 - Hayden Panettiere, American actress
- September 1 - Katie Lai, Canadian actress
- October 1 - Brie Larson, American actress
- October 11 - Michelle Wie, American golf prodigy
- October 23 - Trevor and Travis Gruhot, twin actors
- November 11 - Reina Tanaka, Japanses singer
- December 2 - Cassie Steele, Canadian actress
- December 7 - Basia A'Hern, Anglo-Australian actress
- December 7 - Damilola Taylor, Nigerian cause célèbre (d. 2000)
- December 27 - Kateryna Lahno, Ukrainian chess player
- December 28 - Mackenzie Rosman, American actress
- January 3 - Robert Banks, American chemist (b. 1921)
- January 6 - Chris Gueffroy, last person killed crossing the Berlin Wall from East Germany (b. 1968)
- January 7 - Frank Adams, British mathematician (b. 1930)
- January 7 - Hirohito, Japanese emperor
- January 21 - Billy Tipton, jazz musician (b. 1914)
- January 23 - Salvador Dalí, Spanish artist
- January 24 - Ted Bundy, serial killer (electrocuted)
- February 3 - John Cassavetes, actor, director, and writer
- February 6 - Roy Eldridge, jazz musician (b. 1911)
- February 6 - Barbara W. Tuchman, historian
- February 9 - Osamu Tezuka Japanese artist
- February 11 - George O'Hanlon , actor and director
- February 24 - Sparky Adams, American baseball player (b. 1894)
- February 27 - Paul Oswald Ahnert, German astronomer (b. 1897)
- February 27 - Konrad Lorenz, behavioral scientist
- March 6 - Harry Andrews, British actor (b. 1911)
- March 9 - Robert Mapplethorpe, artist
- March 14 - Edward Abbey, American author, enviromentalist, and rural issues champion (b. 1927)
- March 14 - Stephen D. Bechtel, Sr., American businessman (b. 1900)
- March 19 - Alan Civil, English French horn player (b. 1929)
- April 1 - Ace Bailey, Canadian hockey player (b. 1903)
- April 26 - Lucille Ball, American entertainer (b. 1911)
- April 30 - Sergio Leone, film director
- May 14 - E.P. Taylor, Canadian business tycoon
- May 19 - C.L.R. James, English writer, journalist, and socialist (b. 1901)
- May 20 - Gilda Radner, American comedian and actress (b. 1946)
- June 3 - Ruhollah Khomeini, Iranian ayatollah and political figure (b. 1900)
- June 4 - Dik Browne, American cartoonist
- June 7 - Don the Beachcomber, restaurateur (b. 1907)
- June 9 - George Wells Beadle, American geneticist (b. 1903)
- June 15 - Victor French, actor, director (b. 1934)
- June 20 - Hilmar Baunsgaard, Danish politician (b. 1920)
- June 27 - Alfred Ayer, British philosopher (b. 1910)
- June 28 - Joris Ivens, Dutch filmmaker and communist (b. 1898)
- July 3 - Jim Backus, American actor (b. 1913)
- July 10 - Mel Blanc, American voice actor (b. 1908)
- July 11 - Laurence Olivier, English actor and director (b. 1907)
- July 16 - Herbert von Karajan, Austrian conductor (b. 1908)
- July 20 - Forrest H. Anderson, American politician (b. 1913)
- July 22 - Martti Talvela, Finnish bass (b. 1935)
- July 23 - Donald Barthelme, American writer (b. 1931)
- August 1 - John Ogdon, English pianist (b. 1937)
- August 13 - Tim Richmond, American race car driver (b. 1955)
- August 14 - Robert Bernard Anderson, American political figure (b. 1910)
- August 16 - Jean-Hilaire Aubame, French-Gabonese politician (b. 1912)
- August 16 - Amanda Blake, American actress (b. 1929)
- August 20 - George Adamson, Indian-Kenyan conservationist (assassinated) (b. 1906)
- August 22 - Diana Vreeland, American fashion editor (b. 1929)
- August 29 - Peter Scott, English naturalist, artist, and explorer (b. 1909)
- September 1 - A. Bartlett Giamatti, president of Yale University and Major League Baseball commissioner (b. 1938)
- September 4 - Ronald Syme, classicist and historian
- September 14 - Dámaso Pérez Prado, Cuban musician (b. 1916)
- September 17 - Hugh Quincy Alexander, American politician (b. 1911)
- September 22 - Irving Berlin, American composer (b. 1888)
- September 28 - Ferdinand Marcos, President of the Philippines
- September 30 - Horace Alexander, English teacher, writer, pacifist, and ornithologist (b. 1889)
- October 4 - Secretariat, thoroughbred racehorse (b. 1970)
- October 4 - Graham Chapman, comedian
- October 6 - Bette Davis, actress (b. 1908)
- October 11 - M. King Hubbert, geophysicist
- November 1 - Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander, Black-American pioneer (b. 1898)
- November 3 - Timoci Bavadra, Fijian physician and politician (b. 1934)
- November 5 - Vladimir Horowitz, Russian pianist
- November 11 - Kenneth MacLean Glazier, Sr., minister and librarian
- November 22 - C.C. Beck, American cartoonist (b. 1910)
- November 26 - Ahmed Abdallah, Comoran politician (b. 1919)
- November 29 - Gubby Allen, English cricketer (b. 1902)
- November 30 - Ahmadou Ahidjo, Cameroonian politician (b. 1924)
- December 1 - Alvin Ailey, American dancer and choreographer (b. 1931)
- December 5 - John Pritchard, English conductor (b. 1921)
- December 6 - Frances Bavier, American actress (b. 1902)
- December 6 - Marc Lépine, serial killer
- December 16 - Silvana Mangano, actress
- December 20 - Kurt Böhme, German bass (b. 1908)
- December 22 - Samuel Beckett, Irish writer (b. 1906)
- December 25 - Nicolae Ceausescu, ruler of Romania (executed)
- The Seikatsu Club Consumers' Cooperative , Melaku Worede , Aklilu Lemma / Legesse Wolde-Yohannes and Survival International