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)
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)
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)
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.
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.
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 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.
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)
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 –