What Happened in 1983 – Trivia, Movies, Songs, TV Shows, Born In

Trivia, Movies, Songs, Sports, Celebrities Born In 1983, News, Fun Facts and more.

Ever wonder, “What Happened in 1983?”

Well if you if you are planning a birthday party for friends or family, 1980s trivia game night, wedding anniversary event, class reunion or just interested in 1983 movies, music, tv, famous people born, trivia and fun facts; well you are in luck. Party Game Ideas has pulled together a list of news and interesting facts that happened in 1983, so you can create trivia games or activities based on 1983 facts. If you are looking to create a trivia game for a birthday event, let us save you time with our Born in 1983 Birthday Game Pack with 3 printable games.

1983 Items – Page Topics Listed in Order
1983 History & News, 1983 Fun Facts
1983 Top Movies, Notable Quotes, Top 40 Songs of 1983, Sports
Celebrities Born in 1983, Top TV Shows of 1983, Saturday Morning Cartoons
What Did Things Cost in 1983, and a handy Calendar at the bottom of the page.

1983 History & News

  • In June 1983, Sally Ride becomes the first American woman in space.
  • In September 1983, Guion Bluford becomes the first African-American to fly in space.
  • The US invades Grenada after the Govt. was overthrown by a Cuban trained military force.
  • Space Shuttle Challenger blasts off on its maiden voyage.
  • U.S. Embassy in Beirut is attacked by a suicide bomber killing 63 people.
  • In November, he Brink-Mat warehouse near Heathrow Airport was robbed by six individuals of over (L25 million) around $40 million dollars in gold, cash, and jewelry.
  • Margaret Thatcher wins landslide victory in the UK.
  • Time Person of the Year: Ronald Reagan and Yuri Andropov

Interesting Trivia & Fun Facts about 1983

  • Michael Jackson Thriller album is released November 30th, 1982. It finally hit No. 1 on the US charts on February 26th and remained the No. 1 album for 37 weeks. Seven songs from the album would become Top 10 hits.
  • M*A*S*H becomes the most watched TV show finale ever with 105.9 million viewers tuning in to watch. (Feb.)
  • Mario Bros. game debuts featuring brothers Mario and Luigi.
  • McDonald’s releases the chicken McNugget and demand for chicken soars.
  • Vanessa Williams is crowned Miss America. She is the first African-American to win the crown. Then in the summer of 1984, she gave up her crown when nudes photos of her surfaced.
  • Fraggle Rock premieres on HBO. It is one of the networks first original programs and produced by Jim Henson.
  • Swatch releases its first watches and becomes a fashion craze.
  • Lowest temperature ever record on earth -128.6 F (-89.2C) occurs July 21st, 1983 at the Soviet Vostok Station in Antarctica.
  • New land speed record of 633.468 mph set by Richard Noble in the Thrust 2 in the Nevada desert.
  • For the first time, rock band KISS appears on MTV without their make up.
  • Chrysler introduces the Minivan to the US market and it is an instant sales success. The minivan concept would then be copied by almost every major car manufacturer.
  • Chuck Hull invents 3D printing and calls it stereolithography. The patent is filed in 1984.
  • First mobile phones introduced by Motorola.
  • German magazine Stern announces the discovery of 25 Hitler dairies. Later it is determined that the dairies were a hoax.
  • The movie Flashdance inspires the off the shoulder sweatshirt fashion trend.
  • Wacky WallWalkers are introduced in the US and became a fun, novelty toys in the early-mid 80s.
  • The first version of Microsoft Word, Word 1.0, was released, however it was not very successful.
  • Verizon Communications was founded.
  • Michael Jackson does the moonwalk for the first time while singing Billie Jean for the Motown 25 TV special. It then became a must learn dance move for kids and young adults and a signature move at his concerts.
  • President Ronald Reagan announces that GPS, (which was crated solely for military use) would be made available to the public.
  • Michael Jackson’s Thriller 13 minute and 42 second, $800,000 video airs Dec. 2nd on MTV.
  • The TV show Dynasty surges in popularity and shoulder pads in women’s dresses and shirts become a fashion statement.
  • Romantic 10-hour TV Mini-Series Thorn Birds airs featuring Richard Chamberlain and Rachel Ward.
  • Animal slippers became a fun fad with cozy bunnies, puppies, kittens and other furry friends on the feet of kids and adults.
  • Friendship pins with colored beads were a short term fad in 1983. 

World Population – 4,674,000,000

Top Movies 1983 – US Box Office in millions

This list represents the earnings of movies that were released in 1983. We feature the top grossing movies of 1983 and other movies that were very memorable or are now notable decades after they first hit the big screen.

1. Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi $252.6
2. Terms of Endearment $108.4
3. Flashdance $92.9
4. Trading Places $90.4
5. War Games $79.6
6. Octopussy $67.9
7. Sudden Impact $67.6
8. Staying Alive $64.9
9. Mr. Mom $64.8
10. Ricky Business $63.5
11. National Lampoon’s Vacation $61.4
12. Superman III $60
13. The Big Chill $56.3
14. Never Say Never Again $55.4
15. Jaws 3-D $45.5
16. Scarface $44.7

Other notable 1983 movies:
Uncommon Valor, The Outsiders, A Christmas Story, & Cujo

  • 1983 Academy Award for Best Picture – Gandhi
  • 1983 Best Actor – Ben Kingsley for Gandhi
  • 1983 Best Actress – Meryl Streep for Sophie’s Choice

Since the Academy Awards honors films from the past year, rather than the current year we include who won the Oscars in 1983 on our 1982 trivia page as well. This way you know if any of the big movies of 83 won any awards.

  • 1984 Academy Award for Best Picture – Terms of Endearment
  • 1984 Best Actor – Robert Duvall for Tender Mercies
  • 1984 Best Actress – Shirley MacLaine for Terms of Endearment

A Christmas Story wasn’t a hit when it was released in 1983, it only earned $19.3 million dollars at the box office and came in as the 39th highest grossing release in the US. The film started to get a cult like following in the late 80s and then in the early 1990s it started to be featured on or just after Thanksgiving on Superstation TBS and so began its steady rise in popularity and Christmas classic.

Risky Business was Tom Cruise’s first big lead and the movie made him an 80s movie icon. Little did we know at the time, he would continue drive box office success for decades to come.

Notable Quotes from 1983

“Say hello to my little friend!”
– Tony Montana, in Scarface

“You’ll shoot your eye out.”
– Used various times in A Christmas Story

“I wish developing great products was as easy as writing a check. If that was the case, Microsoft would have great products.”
– Steve Jobs

“Go ahead, make my day”
– Harry Callahan, in Sudden Impact

Born in 1983 Birthday Party Games Trivia Activity
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Top Songs of 1983

Ratings are based on Hot 100 Charts from 1983 rankings by Billboard

No. 1. Song of 1983 – “Every Breath You Take” The Police
2. “Billie Jean” Michael Jackson
3. “Flashdance… What a Feeling” Irene Cara
4. “Down Under” Men at Work
5. “Beat It” Michael Jackson
6. “Total Eclipse of the Heart” Bonnie Tyler
7. “Maneater” Hall & Oates
8. “Baby, Come to Me” Patti Austin and James Ingram
9. “Maniac” Michael Sembello
10. “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” Eurythmics
11. “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me” Culture Club
12. “You and I” Eddie Rabbitt and Crystal Gayle
13. “Come On Eileen” Dexys Midnight Runners
14. “Shame on the Moon” Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band
15. “She Works Hard for the Money” Donna Summer
16. “Never Gonna Let You Go” Sérgio Mendes
17. “Hungry Like the Wolf” Duran Duran
18. “Let’s Dance” David Bowie
19. “Twilight Zone” Golden Earring
20. “I Know There’s Something Going On” Frida
21. “Jeopardy” The Greg Kihn Band
22. “Electric Avenue” Eddy Grant
23. “She Blinded Me with Science” Thomas Dolby
24. “Africa” Toto
25. “Little Red Corvette” Prince
26. “Back on the Chain Gang” The Pretenders
27. “Up Where We Belong” Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes
28. “Mr. Roboto” Styx
29. “You Are” Lionel Richie
30. “Der Kommissar” After the Fire
31. “Puttin’ on the Ritz” Taco
32. “Sexual Healing” Marvin Gaye
33. “(Keep Feeling) Fascination” The Human League
34. “Time (Clock of the Heart)” Culture Club
35. “The Safety Dance” Men Without Hats
36. “Mickey” Toni Basil
37. “You Can’t Hurry Love” Phil Collins
38. “Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)” Journey
39. “One on One” Hall & Oates
40. “We’ve Got Tonight” Kenny Rogers and Sheena Easton

Interesting Facts:
Prince’s 1999 was first released in 1982 and peaked at No. 44, however after the success of Prince’s next release “Little Red Corvette” the song 1999 was re-released and went as high as No. 12. In the 1983 year end charts it came in at No. 41, but has since to go on to be one of the most popular songs to come out of the 1980s.

MTV and One Hit Wonders – With the rise of MTV came an increasing number of one hit wonders that benefitted from unique music videos that were often on med to high rotation on the music network. Some songs that fall into this category include “Come on Eileen” by Dexys Midnight Runners, “Twilight Zone” by Golden Earring, “Electric Avenue” by Eddy Grant, “Puttin on the Ritz” by Taco, The SAfety Dance” by Men Without Hats, and “Too Shy” by Kajagoogoo.

Madonna released her self titles album in the summer of 1983 and her third release from the album “Holiday” became her first Hot 100 Single. This began a career that has spanned decades, provide us with untold water cooler moment, fresh looks, a variety of music styles and some of the most memorable music videos of all time.

Toni Basil’s “Mickey” single was released in the fall of 1982, but didn’t do that much until her music video started playing on MTV. The video of the energetic cheerleader singing “Mickey” helped propel the song up the charts and it hit #1 in December of 1982 and came in at #36 on Billboard’s 1983 Top 100.

Michael Jackson’s Thriller album was releases November 30th, 1982. Videos and songs from the album would dominate the charts for all of 1983 and part of 1984.

Other notable songs that came out in 1983 include:
“Stray Cat Strut” #42 by Stray Cats, “Too Shy” #50 by one hit wonder Kajagoogoo, “Rock the Casbah” #52 by The Clash, “How Am I Supposed to Live Without You” #61 by Laura Branigan.

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1983 – What Happened in Sports

  • Football – Super Bowl XVII – Washington Redskins defeated Miami Dolphins 27-17
  • The first ever NFL game is played in Europe. The Miami Dolphins defeated the New York Giants 13-10 in a pre-season match at Wembley stadium.
  • On Jan. 3rd, 1983, Tony Dorsett sets the record for the longest run from scrimmage to score a touchdown at 99 yards. Derrick Henry would match that feat on Dec. 6th, 2018.
  • Horse Racing – Kentucky Derby – Sunny’s Halo
  • Ice Hockey – Stanley Cup – New York Islanders defeated Edmonton Oilers 4 games to 1
  • NBA Finals – Philadelphia 76ers defeated the Los Angeles Lakers 4 games to 0
  • Dec. 13, 1983 The Denver Nuggets and Detroit Pistons score 370 points in the NBA’s highest scoring game ever. Detroit won the game 186 to 184 in three overtimes.
  • Golf – U.S. Open – Larry Nelson
  • Tennis
    Wimbledon Championships – Men’s John McEnroe, Women’s Martina Navratilova
    US Open – Men’s Jimmy Connors, Women’s Martina Navratilova
  • Baseball – World Series – Baltimore Orioles defeated Philadelphia Phillies 4 games to 1 games.
  • World Cup – Italy wins the 1982 World Cup in Spain
  • America’s Cup is won by Australia II of the Royal Perth Yacht Club over New York Yacht Club’s Liberty 4 races to 3. The win breaks 132 year win streak by NYYC.


  • Football
    Orange Bowl: January 1, 1983 – Nebraska defeated LSU
    Rose Bowl: January 1, 1983 – UCLA defeated Michigan
    Sugar Bowl : January 1, 1983 – Penn State defeated Georgia (27 – 23)
    Cotton Bowl : January 1, 1983 – SMU defeated Pittsburgh
  • Men’s Division 1 Basketball – North Carolina State defeats Houston 54 – 52

Celebrities Born in 1983

What happened in 1983? These celebrities and famous people were born! you’ll be surprised at how many household names were born at the beginning of the 80s.

Mila Kunis Born 1983 How Old
Mila Kunis

Donald Glover when was he born 1983
Donald Glover

Chris Hemsworth Born 1983
Chris Hemsworth

Carrie Underwood year born in 1983
Carrie Underwood

Lupita Nyongo How Old and When Born
Lupita Nyong’o

Aziz Ansari born in 1983
Aziz Ansari

More Celebrities and Famous People Born in 1983

  • Nikki Bella (Wrestler)
  • Emily Blunt
  • Henry Cavill
  • Joey Chestnut (Competitive Eater)
  • Adam Driver
  • Jesse Eisenberg
  • Future (Rapper)
  • Andrew Garfield
  • Jonah Hill
  • Miranda Kerr
  • Miranda Lambert
  • Dan Levy
  • Macklemore (Rapper)
  • Aaron Rogers (Football Player)
  • Amber Rose
  • Gabourey Sidibe
  • Tessa Thompson
  • Amy Winehouse 1983 – 2011
  • Steven Yeun

Top Baby Names of 1983

  • Girls Names – Jennifer, Jessica, Amanda, Ashley, Sarah
  • Boys Names – Michael, Christopher, Matthew, David, Joshua

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Most Popular US TV Shows of 1983

We include the US Top 20 TV shows for two seasons, since they are different. Interesting to see the shows shift in popularity over the course of one year. The number after the show is the number of average viewers per week in millions. Numbers based on Neilson Media.

Top TV Shows of 1982 – 1983 Season
1. 60 Minutes CBS 25.5
2. Dallas CBS 24.6
T3. M*A*S*H CBS 22.6
T3. Magnum, P.I. CBS
5. Dynasty ABC 22.4
6. Three’s Company ABC 21.2
7. Simon & Simon CBS 21.0
8. Falcon Crest CBS 20.7
9. The Love Boat ABC 20.3
T10. The A-Team NBC 20.1
T10. Monday Night Football ABC
T12. The Jeffersons CBS 20.0
T12. Newhart CBS
14. The Fall Guy ABC 19.4
15. 9 to 5 ABC 19.3
16. One Day at a Time CBS 19.1
17. Hart to Hart ABC 18.9
T18. Gloria CBS 18.7
T18. Trapper John, M.D. CBS
20. Knots Landing CBS 18.6

The A-Team premiered in January of 1983 and became an instant hit with George Peppard, Dirk Benedict and the over the top Mr. T who who was known for his chains and his catch phrases.

Top TV Shows of 1983 – 1984 Season
1. Dallas CBS 25.7
2. 60 Minutes CBS 24.2
3. Dynasty ABC 24.1
4. The A-Team NBC 24.0
5. Simon & Simon CBS 23.8
6. Magnum, P.I. CBS 22.4
7. Falcon Crest CBS 22.0
8. Kate & Allie CBS 21.9
9. Hotel ABC 21.1
10. Cagney & Lacey CBS 20.9
11. Knots Landing CBS 20.8
12T. ABC Sunday Night Movie ABC 20.4
12T. ABC Monday Night Movie
14. TV’s Bloopers & Practical Jokes NBC 20.3
15. AfterMASH CBS 20.1
16. The Fall Guy ABC 19.9
17. The Love Boat ABC 19.0
18. Riptide NBC 18.8
19. The Jeffersons CBS 18.6
20. Scarecrow & Mrs. King CBS 18.3

Popular Saturday Morning Cartoons in 1983

  • Super Friends
  • The Smurfs
  • Scooby and Scrappy Doo
  • Dungeons & Dragons
  • Bugs Bunny & Road Runner
  • Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends
  • Flintstone Funnies
  • Pac-Man
  • Shirt Tales
  • Mr. T

While not on Saturday mornings, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe cartoon first aired in September of 1983 and created a devoted following and spawned some of the most creative kids toys ever. The toys are quite collectible and the show is still enjoyed today.

Notable Arcade Video Games of 1983

The video arcade was a hang out spot for kids in the 80s, but 1983 was known as the video game arcade crash as home systems became more commonplace and there were less inventive new games that drove kids to the arcades. Here is a list of new and notable video arcade games gobbling up quarters in 1983.

  • Dragon’s Lair – (Never got very far on this one!)
  • Punch-Out! Boxing Game
  • Pole Position II
  • Spy Hunter
  • Star Wars
  • Track & Field
  • Donkey Kong 3
  • Mario Bros.

The highest grossing video arcade games were Pole Position, Dragon’s Lair, and  Ms. Pac-Man.  The best selling home game system of 1983, looks to be the Atari 2600.

Notable New Toys & Games of 1983

  • Care Bears Stuffed Animals
  • Jenga

What did things cost in 1983

Check out this 1983 prices for food, gas, and even gold. Keep in mind that these tend to be average prices for an item in the US during the year. Things like bacon, gas, eggs and milk often fluctuate during the year by as much as 10-20%, so we average out the price. For gold we use the end of year price. When possible we used US Govt. Economic data.

  • Stamp $0.20
  • Loaf of bread $0.65
  • Dozen Eggs $0.89
  • Sliced Bacon 1 lb. $1.95
  • Gallon of Milk $2.24
  • Gallon of Gas $1.22
  • Movie Ticket $3.15
  • Minimum Wage $3.35
  • Plush Care Bear $14.99
  • Ounce of Gold $380
  • New Car $10,607
  • Cost of a 30 second Super Bowl ad in 1983 $400,000
  • Cost of a gigabyte of data storage $238,000

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1983 Calendar

Want to know on what day of the week someone was born, an anniversary or just need to check out a specific date from 1983? Then check out our 12 month 1983 calendar.

1983 Calendar Month Days 83

Thanks for visiting our What Happened in 1983 Trivia page. We hope you had fun reliving the movies, top songs & music, tv shows, actors born in 1983, fun facts and other items from 1983. We created a graphic so you can save this page on Pinterest.

What Happened in 1983 History Trivia Prices Cartoons Movies Song 1983