SF Weekly posted this excellent observation piece yesterday that 1982 was was one of the greatest years for sci-fi films. Looking at the list of major sci-fi films from that year, I’d have to say I agree:
- The Sword and the Sorcerer (April 23)
- Conan the Barbarian (May 14)
- Poltergeist (June 4)
- Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (June 4)
- E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (June 11)
- Blade Runner (June 25)
- The Thing (June 25)
- The Secret of NIMH (July 2)
- Tron (July 9)
- Creepshow (November 12)
- The Last Unicorn (November 19)
- The Dark Crystal (December 17)
Mind you, I was only a year old in 1982 so it wouldn’t be until much later when I came to fully appreciate many of the films on this list, but I was indoctrinated early on with E.T , The Secret of NIMH (which used to scare the hell out of me) ‚ The Last Unicorn , Poltergeist , and of course Jim Henson’s visual effects masterpiece The Dark Crystal , to which I owe some of my earliest memories of movie watching.
The SF Weekly article I linked above, which speaks of filmmakers’ big, ambitious ideas colliding with Regan values to give us one of the most memorable years of sci-fi films, is really a fantastic read and a bit of a film history lesson.
Other films from 1982 that didn’t make SF Weekly’s list that I think deserve an honorable mention:
- The Beastmaster (August 20)
- Time Masters (March 24, France)
- Flight of Dragons (August 3)
That’s right, I’m not ashamed to admit I love The Beastmaster in all its cheesy, animal-talking, oiled-chest glory. I have fond memories of watching the film with my Dad on lazy Sunday afternoons when they’d air it on TBS or some other crappy channel, and I also had (dare I say it?) a bit of a childhood crush on Marc Singer. That aside, The Beastmaster had some really unique ideas (for its time), a fantastic score by Lee Holdridge, and great-looking visuals. And for you male types, Tanya Roberts was extremely easy on the eyes. As sci-fi and fantasy films go, I think it’s sadly underrated .
I do NOT, however, ever recommend watching The Beastmaster 2: Through the Portal of Time , unless doing so is part of fulfilling your life’s goal to watch all of the worst movies ever made.