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Movies of 1983

Today’s episode of Sounds of Cinema featured guest co-hosts Andy Wardinski and Ben Wardinski in a look back at movies of 1983.

Return of the Jedi

The biggest box office hit of 1983 was Return of the Jedi, the final entry in the original Star Wars trilogy. Jedi has a mixed legacy. As Andy points out in this conversation, Jedi determined where Star Wars would go from here–both for better and for worse–but it’s a mostly satisfying movie.

Battle of the Bonds

1983 saw the release of two James Bond movies: Octopussy starring Roger Moore and Never Say Never Again starring Sean Connery.

Blue Thunder

Blue Thunder is one of the underrated films of 1983. It’s an action picture about a police helicopter with enhanced weapon and surveillance capabilities. Blue Thunder is a satisfying action picture and has some prescient political themes.


In addition to Return of the Jedi, 1983 saw the release of several third chapters in popular film franchises including Jaws 3-D and Superman III. The results were not great.


1983 saw the release of several popular comedies including A Christmas Story, National Lampoon’s Vacation, and Mr. Mom.


Quite a few notable horror pictures were released in 1983 including three Stephen King adaptations as well as Psycho II and Sleepaway Camp.

The Right Stuff and Terms of Endearment

The Best Picture winner for movies of 1983 was Terms of Endearment. Also released that year was The Right Stuff, an adaptation of Tom Wolfe’s nonfiction book about experimental aircraft and NASA’s Project Mercury program.


Flashdance had one of the most popular soundtrack albums of the 1980s and songs like “Flashdance … What a Feeling” by Irene Cara and “Maniac” by Michael Sembello still get airplay. Flashdance was an early success for filmmaker Adrian Lyne, producers Jerry Bruckheimer and Don Simpson, and screenwriter Joe Eszterhas.

Tom Cruise

Tom Cruise had a big year in 1983 with the release of The Outsiders, Losin’ It, All the Right Moves, and Risky Business. The latter film was one of the defining pictures of the 1980s. We previously discussed Tom Cruise’s career. Listen to that here.


The films of 1983 include a number of thrillers including nuclear war dramas The Day After and Wargames as well as The Star Chamber, Scarface, and The King of Comedy.