Was 1982 the ultimate year for sci-fi films?

1982 Sci-Fi Films

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.

The Beastmaster

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.

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