Great Years of Cinema: 1982

Sylvester Stallone created an instantly iconic character in the form of First Blood’s John Rambo

List compiled by Eddie on 23/03/2018

There really must’ve been something in the creative waters of 1980’s Hollywood, as the decade proved to be one of the most inventive and memorable periods of filmmaking in the history of cinema.

Filled with genuine classics over a period of 10 years, 1982 was one of the standout years of the 80’s with a collection of ground-breaking and risky films that have become iconic members of the cinematic universe in the years on from their releases.

Featuring a group of filmmakers such as John Carpenter, Steven Spielberg, Ridley Scott and Walter Hill all directing films in the peak of their powers, below is a collection of films that speaks to 1982 being one of the great years of cinema.

Happy reading and happy watching!

Drama (best of)

Ben Kingsley deservedly won a Best Actor Oscar for his performance in Ghandi


Directed by: Richard Attenborough   Starring: Ben Kingsley, Candice Bergen

Featuring the performance of Sir Ben Kingsley’s career, Gandhi remains an epic biopic that offers the quintessential look at an iconic figures life and times.

Pink Floyd: The Wall

Directed by: Alan Parker   Starring: Bob Geldof, Bob Hoskins

A film that stands the test of time as a unique and often mesmerizing collaboration of image and music, The Wall may not be everyone’s cup of tea but it’s an important piece of 80’s cinematic history and a beloved piece of Pink Floyd infused art.

See also – An Officer and a Gentleman, Diner, Fitzcarraldo

Action/Thriller (best of)

Schwarzenegger in peak buff form made Conan the Barbarian an entertaining action romp

Conan the Barbarian

Directed by: John Milius   Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, James Earl Jones

While far from reaching grand heights of cinematic quality, there’s a huge amount of fun to be had with this cheesy 80’s actioner that made its lead actor a star and created a mythic universe that has been copied countless times in its wake.

Rambo: First Blood

Directed by: Ted Kotcheff   Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Brian Dennehy

First Blood is the type of film that reminds you that Sylvester Stallone deserved his crown as one of the heroes of late 1970’s and 80’s cinema. Forgetting the over the top and misguided sequels, First Blood holds up today as a thrilling and likeable action film with a far deeper message than you expect from face value.

Sci-Fi/Horror (best of)

Blade Runner dazzled the senses with its depiction of mankind’s replicant infused future

Blade Runner

Directed by: Ridley Scott   Starring: Harrison Ford

Already covered extensively in a previous article, Ridley Scott’s film has a well-earned reputation and acts as a genuinely ground-breaking production. A masterclass in sci-fi filmmaking that was a bomb upon release, Blade Runner is deserving of its beloved status.

The Thing

Directed by: John Carpenter   Starring: Kurt Russell

John Carpenter directing at the peak of his powers, The Thing is a brilliant and ageless horror experience that’s fantastic practical effects and stunning Antarctic surrounds make for a unique and captivating journey. Easily one of the best horror films ever made.

Not the type of TV channel you want your kids tuning into


Directed by: Tobe Hooper   Starring: Craig T. Nelson, JoBeth Williams

A horror that stands that test of time and remains a key piece of work from Texas Chainsaw Massacre director Tobe Hooper (or perhaps Steven Spielberg?), Poltergeist may have some aged moments but there’s little denying this horror hit is one of the all-time great scare flicks.

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

Directed by: Nicholas Meyer   Starring: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy

The Wrath of Khan is often spoken about as the best of the Star Trek feature films and it’s hard to argue against that sentiment thanks to Khan’s ability to be both a thrilling and emotionally engaging journey amongst the stars.


Directed by: Steven Lisberger   Starring: Jeff Bridges

A ground-breaking piece of filmmaking when it comes to CGI animation, Steven Lisberger’s film may not be a high-class narrative driven sci-fi but this Jeff Bridge’s classic was ahead of its time in many ways and has deservedly become a cult sensation in the years following its initial release and is responsible for spawning the far better than you’d think Tron: Legacy.

See also – Basket Case

Comedy (best of)

Fast Times provided the 80’s teenage generation with a collection of relatable and loveable characters

Fast Times at Ridgemont High

Directed by: Amy Heckerling   Starring: Jennifer Jason Leigh, Judge Reinhold

Filled with iconic moments and memorable early career turns from the likes of Sean Penn, Jenifer Jason Leigh, Phoebe Cates and Forest Whitaker, Fast Times isn’t high-class cinema but it’s the granddaddy of the high school slacker/coming of age comedy and a nostalgic favourite to many that watched it growing up.

48 Hrs.

Directed by: Walter Hill   Starring: Eddie Murphy, Nick Nolte

Who would’ve thought the teaming up of comedy star Eddie Murphy and the gruff Nick Nolte was the recipe for a laugh out loud buddy comedy? 48 Hrs remains to this day one of, if not the very best, buddy comedies thanks to Murphy’s manic presence and Nolte’s stoic persona.

See also – Tootsie, Dead Man Don’t Wear Plaid

Family/Animation (best of)

With this single shot, E.T created one of cinemas most memorable and lasting images

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial

Directed by: Steven Spielberg   Starring: Henry Thomas, Drew Barrymore

A film that can be enjoyed by the whole family, Steven Spielberg’s magical box-office smash is a loveable and unforgettable experience that remains one of the famed director’s greatest works and one of the most watched and well-liked family films ever made.

The Dark Crystal

Directed by: Jim Henson & Frank Oz   Starring: Jim Henson, Frank Oz

Another Jim Henson and Frank Oz puppet infused classic, The Dark Crystal is a brilliant and bonkers adventure that played a key part in many children’s childhood during the 1980’s.

See also – Annie

See our other Great Year’s of Cinema list’s below –


What are your favourite year’s of cinema? Let me know in the comments below!

20 responses to “Great Years of Cinema: 1982

  1. I saw all of those movies at the cinema, which makes me feel even older than I am. At the time, I’d have said “Tron” and “Fast Times” were the ones I enjoyed most as I felt “Gandhi” was great, but way too long. Looking back, “Blade Runner” is the one I watch again and again. I thought it was too dark and annoying, when I first saw it. Thanks for a set of great reminders!

  2. That was a good one alright. It would be a tough choice between that and 1987 which had Robocop, Predator, Lost Boys, Prince of Darkness, Hellraiser, The Running Man, Angel Heart, and so many more…

  3. With the recent spate of films and TV shows like Ready Player One, Stranger Things, Pixels etc. coming out filled with 80s nostalgia it’s pretty obvious everyone loved the 80s. I was born in ’82 so it was a great year for me!

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  5. I think the two best films of 1982 are the under-rated ‘The King of Comedy’ by Scorsese and ‘One from the Heart’ by Coppola. Yet to see ‘Fanny and Alexander’ and ‘Fitzcarraldo’ though.

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