1982 Movies

The Plex database is a handy list of 1982's best cinematic releases. Here, you'll find a fantastic list of films that were released in 1982, each one waiting to be explored. Whether you're seeking a particular title or simply wishing to revisit the 80s, our resourceful database is ready to serve you. Step inside and let your journey through 1982 begin.
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The Best Movies of 1982

In 1982, film audiences were treated to a multitude of distinct movie releases. With stories ranging from historical biopics to youthful comedies and thought-provoking science fiction, this year proved to be a memorable one for film enthusiasts. Below, we explore some of the noteworthy movies from this period, each with its unique flair and remarkable storytelling.


Mahatma Gandhi stands as an iconic figure in history. His life journey is beautifully portrayed in the eponymous film, "Gandhi." The narrative unfolds his transformation from a young lawyer to a leader who initiates peaceful protests against the unjust, racist treatment of his people by the British. Ben Kingsley's outstanding performance as Gandhi won him an Oscar, while the film swept the Academy Awards, receiving eight Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director for Richard Attenborough.

First Blood

"First Blood" introduces us to John Rambo, a Vietnam War veteran portrayed by Sylvester Stallone. Despite his search for peace upon returning home, Rambo is attacked by corrupt police officers, which triggers him to utilize his war knowledge to fight back. Stallone's profound portrayal of Rambo is considered one of his finest performances.

Fast Times at Ridgemont High

This is a comedy centered on the everyday lives of American teenagers. Jennifer Jason Leigh stars as Stacy, a high schooler exploring dating for the first time. The movie's relatable nature makes it one of the standout comedies of the 1980s.

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

This film marks the return of the original Star Trek television series crew. In "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan," the crew races to stop the malevolent Khan from stealing a potent device. This film has often been hailed as the pinnacle of Star Trek movies.

Blade Runner

In a future version of Los Angeles, Harrison Ford stars as Rick Deckard in "Blade Runner." Deckard is tasked with hunting down escaped humanoid androids, which leads him to question his own identity. Despite initial dismissal from audiences, "Blade Runner" has become one of the most influential science-fiction films ever made.

Sophie's Choice

Set in 1947 Brooklyn, "Sophie's Choice" is a poignant drama that tells the story of Sophie, a Polish immigrant and Auschwitz prisoner, as told to her friend Stingo. Meryl Streep's performance in this role won her a second Oscar.

The King of Comedy

"The King of Comedy," directed by Martin Scorsese, presents the peculiar tale of Rupert Pupkin. Pupkin, a man with his own talk show that nobody watches, is determined to make it to the big time and is even willing to kidnap his idol to do so. This film stands as a unique entry in Scorsese's portfolio.

John Carpenter's The Thing

This film introduces audiences to a remote research base in Antarctica, which becomes the hunting ground for a shape-shifting alien. John Carpenter's "The Thing" is regarded as one of his best works, alongside "Halloween."


"Poltergeist" takes us to a family's dream home that soon becomes their nightmare as they are targeted by supernatural forces. The film stands as one of the most notable horror movies of the 1980s.


"E.T." tells the heartwarming story of Elliott, a young boy who befriends an alien stranded on Earth. This film, which portrays the unique bond between Elliott and E.T., remains one of the most celebrated family movies since its release.

1982 Movies & Industry Highlights

The year 1982 stands as an unforgettable mark in the history of film. A noteworthy set of events occurred during this year, shaping the industry and providing audiences with cinematic masterpieces that are still celebrated today.

The Year's Top-Grossing Films

One can't discuss 1982 without mentioning the film that towered above all others in terms of box office success. "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial" by Universal Studios garnered an impressive amount, becoming the highest-grossing film not only in North America but also in several international markets such as France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom.

Other films that performed exceptionally well in North America included "Tootsie," "An Officer and a Gentleman," "Rocky III," "Porky's," and "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan." "E.T." and "Tootsie" also marked a successful year for Columbia Pictures.

International Achievements

Internationally, "Shaolin Temple," directed by Chang Hsin Yen, set a new record in China and Hong Kong. Meanwhile, "Vidhaata," directed by Subhash Ghai, made a strong impact in India. In South Korea, "Dragon Lord" directed by Jackie Chan left a memorable mark, and in the Soviet Union, "Sportloto-82" drew considerable attention.

It is worth mentioning that "The Gods Must Be Crazy" saw exceptional success in Japan and Taiwan, despite being a production from South Africa.

Worldwide Gross Revenue

"E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial" not only dominated North American and international markets, but it also topped the chart in terms of worldwide gross revenue. Following "E.T." were films like "Gandhi," "Rocky III," "Poltergeist," "Shaolin Temple," and "Disco Dancer." "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan" also achieved notable worldwide success.

Significant Events of 1982

This year was not just about the films; it was also a year of substantial changes and events within the film industry itself.

  • Terry Semel took up the role as the president of Warner Bros., signaling a new direction for the company. On a similar note, the year marked the entry of The Coca-Cola Company into the entertainment industry as they acquired Columbia Pictures.
  • Technological advancements also left their mark in 1982. The sci-fi movie "Tron" made a significant breakthrough as it was the first feature film to utilize computer animation to a great extent. Additionally, the THX Sound System was developed for movie theaters, enhancing the audio quality and thus the cinematic experience.
  • While there were many positive events in the industry, the year also witnessed a tragic incident on the set of "Twilight Zone: The Movie." This unfortunate event led to substantial changes in safety protocols during filmmaking.