I was 11 in the Summer of ’82. And yet I remember that summer vividly. Rare has there been a year since that I saw so many awesome movies in the theater. Many have commented on what was the best year in movies over the years, with the classic answer from critics usually being 1939 because of stellar films like The Wizard of Oz, Gone With the Wind, Stagecoach, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Little Princess, Young Mr. Lincoln, and Drums Along the Mohawk.
So what do you think is the best year of movies? If you whittle it down to the best summer of movies, I’ve got a real contender here.
I remember standing in line at a new theater on my side of town, with my mom and sister, getting a sticker advertising a new brown and orange candy somehow tied to one of the movies. I saw an unexpectedly powerful sci-fi franchise entry with my brother at the S.E. 14th Street Drive-In Theater (pictured above before they tore it down a decade later) on a really hot day one Friday night. And he and his RadioShack computer tinkering friends took me to see a new Disney film that had its setting inside a computer at a Saturday matinée. The preview for one of the movies gave me nightmares. Two of the movies I wouldn’t truly appreciate for another 20 years. It all happened during the summer 33 years ago.
Check out this summer movie sneak preview from the YouTube archives and recall where you were during the Summer of ’82:
Hey, my brother had that same afro!
Did you catch two key plot spoilers in the preview? Way to go, news guy!
But what else premiered that year? Conan the Barbarian, Rocky III, First Blood, The Dark Crystal, Tootsie, The Secret of NIMH, The Last Unicorn, Night Shift, The Man from Snowy River, Tex. Each a great movie in its own right. And even Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid was worth watching once. (I was too young to see Fast Times at Ridgemont High in the theater, yet somehow I saw all of the above movies that year in the theater except The Last Unicorn).
So what do you think of 1982? Any other contenders?