The summer months are heating up and so are the movies. June 1982 was a great month for movies. There are three movies that break the top 10 for highest grossing movies of the year.
Movies released in June 1982 are some of the most popular and beloved movies of all time. Including a multi Oscar winning movie that increased candy sales all
summer year long.
Let’s jump into the movies of June 1982.
Movies from June 1982
The first of two movies for Steven Spielberg this month. Spielberg wrote Poltergeist as a sequel to Close Encounters of the Third Kind. He intending on directing Poltergeist but his contract with Universal Pictures for another film this month wouldn’t allow him to direct anything. Instead he was a producer on Poltergeist.
Spielberg was constantly on set and had a lot of creative control over Poltergeist. It’s rumored he was the actual director but gave the credit to Tobe Hooper so he wouldn’t break his Universal Pictures contract. Both Spielberg and Hooper deny the claim. However it worked out it’s a great collaboration.
Poltergeist stars Craig T. Nelson, JoBeth Williams, Heather O’Rourke and Zelda Rubinstein. Steve (Nelson) and Diane (Williams) live in a new planned community in California. After they move in strange things start to happen around the house; furniture moving, silverware bending.
Their youngest daughter (O’Rourke) is sucked through an inter-dimensional portal inside a closet and communicates through the TV. They hire a medium (Rubinstein) to get their daughter back and clear the house of evil forces.
As the story unfolds Steve discovers they housing development was built on an old cemetery. They were ensured the bodies were relocated but it was a lie, only the headstones were moved. The house sits on sacred ground and the spirits are getting their revenge.
I saw poltergeist at a friends house. As we were watching, my mom stopped by to pick me up and saw what we were watching. She wasn’t happy. She gathered me up and we headed home. I knew what was coming…
We got home, I got a lecture, took my licks and wished I could have seen the whole movie before I was caught. I wasn’t able to finish the movie and was determined to see the entire movie. I saw the entire movie a few weeks later and loved it. Still do. It’s a great horror movie.
Heather O’Rourke was a rising star in 1982. She starred in all three Poltergeist movies and a dozen TV shows. O’Rourke died in 1988 at the age of 12 of a ruptured intestine and septic shock.
Poltergeist was a box office smash earning over $121 million, it was the highest grossing horror movie of the year and the eighth highest grossing movie overall in 1982.
You can watch Poltergeist on HBO Max.
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
This is one of my favorite Star Trek movies. It has good action and a great villain. This was the first Star Trek movie or series which Gene Roddenberry, the series creator, didn’t have any involvement. He was removed from the film due to the poor critical response to the first movie.
That’ seems strange to me, usually money talks in Hollywood. Star Trek: The Motion Picture was a box office success but received mixed reviews. Paramount wanted change.
Wrath of Khan brings back Khan Noonien Singh played by Ricardo Montalban, first seen in season one of The Original Series.
Khan returns from exile to get his revenge on Kirk. Kirk and the crew of the Enterprise must stop Khan before he can acquire the Genesis machine.
The biggest surprise in the movie is the death of Spock. Leonard Nimoy agreed to come back on the condition Spock would have a dramatic death scene. Due to script rewrites the scene wasn’t as dramatic as hoped. But Spock died nonetheless. It setup the third movie Search For Spock.
Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan was the first movie in a three movie story arc. It ended with an unfinished story that would be (mostly) resolved in Star Trek III and ultimately resolved in Star Trek IV. The success of Star Wars may have something to do with the three movie story arc.
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan is a great movie on it’s own. Watching the sequels will give you closure but isn’t necessary.
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan earned over $79 million making it the sixth highest grossing movie of 1982. The movie also received praise from the critics. Roddenberry wouldn’t return to the Star Trek film universe until Star Trek V in 1989.
You can Watch Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan on Paramount+.
Firefox is a great Cold War movie. Firefox is based on a 1977 novel of the same name. Clint Eastwood plays Major Gant an Air Force pilot sent on a deadly mission.
Gant must infiltrate Russia and steal a MiG-31 code named “Firefox.” Firefox has stealth capabilities, can fly MACH 6 and a weapons system controlled by the pilots thoughts. Leaving the plane with the Russians will change the tide of the old War.
Firefox is a great action, spy thriller that pits two superpowers against each other. I’m a big fan of spy thrillers and Firefox is a worthy entry.
Reviews were mixed buy mostly negative. Roger Ebert gave it three and a half stars saying it was “a slick, muscular thriller that combines espionage with science fiction. The movie works like a well-crafted machine.” Gene Siskel gave it two and a half stars saying it was “generally entertaining.”
You can rent Firefox but it’s not streaming on any services.
I didn’t see this in the theater. My horror-loving sister rented it one weekend so I watched it with her. It terrified me.
An Antarctica research station discovers a buried alien spacecraft and an deadly life form thing. The Thing starts to infect the sled dogs and then the researchers. Kurt Russell plays a helicopter pilot that is hellbent on destroying The Thing before it kills everyone.
The special effects are what makes this movie. Watching the dogs transform into a grotesque creature and then incinerated with a flamethrower was intense. When the people start to transform it’s even gorier.
I enjoyed The Thing as much as it scared me, which was a lot. Critics panned the movie. One critic called it “cold and sterile,” yeah it takes place in Antarctica , of course it’s cold.
Critics were split on the special effects. They agreed the effects were technically advanced, but then blasted them for being excessive and repulsive. Isn’t the point of horror movie special effects to be excessive and repulsive?
Despite the negative reviews The Thing wasn’t a box office failure. It wasn’t a smash either. It was right in the middle. Director John Carpenter views the movie as a failure. He stated in an interview he believes his career would have been different if The Thing was a success.
I’m a big fan of John Carpenter’s career. I’m not sure I’d want to see the ‘different’ career path.
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
We go from one alien life form to another. This one is a lot cuter and friendlier than the last. E. T. the Extra-Terrestrial is the other movie Steven Spielberg was working on in June 1982. It was the reason he was unable to direct Poltergeist.
I discussed watching E. T. in my Greatest Summer of Movies series. It was a fantastic experience. Back when movie theaters had character and balconies. I watched E. T. in the balcony with my sister and her friends. The best part about the old theater was the bats. Whenever the movie was playing the bats would swoop and dive through the light and then disappear into the dark corners only to return later.
E. T. is stranded on earth, chased by the government and discovered by a young boy, Elliott. I’d imagine the majority of Gen-X’ers have seen E. T. multiple times. I know one kid who never saw it, my friend Erik. He wasn’t allowed to go to movies. Any movie. He saw his first movie in the theater in 1987, when he was visiting me in Colorado. We’ll talk more about that experience in a few months though.
For the rest of us the story is familiar, Elliott and E. T. form a strong bond and Elliott tries to get him back home. Elliott flying on his bike with E. T. in the front basket with a giant full moon behind them is one of the most iconic images in movie history.
Spielberg asked the Mars company if they could use M&M’s in the movie. Mars refused thinking the movie would scare children. Spielberg then asked Hershey if they could use Reese’s Pieces and Hershey agreed. The movie popularized Reese’s Pieces and sales tripled in the first two weeks of the movies release.
I saw E. T. the Extra-Terrestrial in the theater three times in the summer of 1982. I wasn’t the only one, it was a box office smash making over $359 million. E. T. was the highest grossing movie in 1982. It grossed over double the amount from the number two movie on the list. In 1983 E. T. passed Star Wars as the highest grossing movie of all time.
Critics loved the movie too. Roger Ebert gave it four out of four stars saying “”This is not simply a good movie. It is one of those movies that brush away our cautions and win our hearts.” E. T. is regarded as one of the greatest movies of all time.
It was nominated for nine Academy Awards winning four for Best Original Score, Best Visual Effects (beating The Thing), Best Sound and Best Sound Editing. It lost the Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Cinematography and Best Film Editing Oscar to Ghandi.
Princess Diana cried after seeing E. T. and after it was screened at the U.N. Spielberg was awarded a UN Peace Medal. E. T. was added to the National Film Registry in the Library of Congress in 1994.
If you haven’t seen E. T. the Extra-Terrestrial you need too. It’s one of those movies that should be on everyone’s list of great movies.
You can watch E. T. the Extra-Terrestrial on FuboTV.
Other movies released in June 1982
Here are the rest of the movies released in June 1982. I’ve seen parts of Grease 2 but never the entire movie. I couldn’t tell you what it’s even about.
The artwork on Megaforce makes me want to see the movie. I doubt it’s good but I’m intrigued.
The big movie or at least a well known movie on this is list Blade Runner. I’ve never seen it, never even seen a clip. It was a decent success at the box office and won a few awards. Maybe I’ll watch it this year.
If you’ve seen any of them let me know in the comments below.
That ends the first official summer movie month, June 1982, and it was a great one! Not one, but two movies from Steven Spielberg. Both movies were blockbusters and sit in the top 10 highest grossing movies of the year.
With the mega movies released in June is there anything left for July? We’ll find out next month.
Next week we’ll look at June 1987.