It’s been a while since my last year-by-year look at the movies of the 1980s. Several months ago I looked at 5 phenomenal movies from 1980 and shortly after that it was five from 1981. Now its time to look at the movies from 1982. To be honest I never considered 1982 to be a very good movie year. But with that being said, there are definitely some movies from that year that I absolutely love. So without further delay here they are. Now obviously since we are dealing with a full year of movies I wouldn’t call this the definitive list. But for me there’s no doubting that these five movies are most certainly phenomenal.
#5 – 48 HOURS
There are a lot of notable firsts attached to “48 Hrs.”. It’s considered by many to be the very first ‘buddy cop’ movie which opened the door for many other similar films throughout the 80s and 90s. It was also Eddie Murphy’s big screen debut. Now keep in mind this was back when Murphy actually made good movies. He plays a wisecracking, smart-alecky convict who joins forces with Nick Nolte, a San Francisco police officer, to catch a couple of killers. Nolte and Murphy play off of each other perfectly giving the audience tons of good laughs as well as some good action. “48 Hrs.” is a lot of fun and it hearkens back to a day when Murphy did what he does best.
#4 – “E.T.”
I saw “E.T.” three times in the theater when I was a kid and it never connected with me. Everyone loved it. Everyone talked about it. There were stuffed animals, toys, lunch boxes, and video games. Still I just couldn’t say that I liked the movie. Well over time my opinion of Steven Spielberg’s box office blockbuster has changed. There is a sweetness and warmth to the film that mixes perfectly with its many laughs. This is something I didn’t appreciate at first but certainly do now. There are also so many memorable images and unforgettable scenes that will live on throughout cinema history. I may not be ready to call it a timeless classic, but boy it’s a good movie!
#3 – “THE THING”
While at the time of its release it may not have been recognized as a classic, “The Thing” has become one in my book. This science-fiction, horror picture was based on yet another classic, 1951’s “The Thing from Another Planet” from Howard Hawks. Kurt Russell stars in this tale of an Arctic research team that comes face-to-face with an alien creature that begins killing them off one by one. John Carpenter directs “The Thing” which falls just under “Halloween” as my favorite picture of his. Some could argue that the movie is dated and the creature effects look silly today. But I remember my reaction to them in the 80s which helps me still love them today.
#2 – “THE VERDICT”
I was really late catching up to Sydney Lumet’s brilliant film “The Verdict”. I’m glad I did or I would have missed one of Paul Newman’s greatest performances. He plays a boozing lawyer whose life has completely fallen apart. A buddy gives him what should be an easy case to help him get back on track. He ends up in a high-stakes medical malpractice suit with big ramifications. It’s mostly recognized for its great courtroom scenes and I agree, they are great. But for me the true joy of this film is watching Newman and his character struggling to get his life together. It’s riveting stuff made all the better thanks to Lumet’s direction and Newman’s performance. I love “The Verdict”
#1 – “BLADE RUNNER”
Ridley Scott knows how to do science-fiction and here’s a great example of that. In “Blade Runner” Harrison Ford plays a burnt out cop who is convinced to take one last job – hunt down a vicious group of replicants hiding in Los Angeles. Ford wasn’t Scott and company’s first choice. They looked at many different actors with Dustin Hoffman being at the top of their list. Thankfully they went with Ford. “Blade Runner” was Scott’s third film and followed the great “Alien”. These two pictures cemented his science-fiction credentials for me. “Blade Runner” is a film that still holds up very well for me today and it stands as a classic example of what good sci-i should be.
So there they are, five phenomenal movies from 1982. There are a handful of good movies that didn’t make this list. So I want to hear from you. Where did I get it wrong? What did I miss? Please take time and add you two cents.