The paramount fact about the departing moviegoing year is that it's been one of the best ever. Recently, banner years have been emerging with peculiar regularity at five-year intervals. "Bonnie & Clyde" and "The Graduate" seemed to initiate this cycle in 1967, and it's been sustained by outstanding attractions like "The Godfather" and "Cabaret" in 1972, "Star Wars" and "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" in 1977 and now "E.T." and a host of other appealing and compelling releases in 1982.

I certainly can't recall a more encouraging banner year in the 15 years I've been reviewing steadily. The quality attractions began appearing right from the start of the year, and by the end of the year a rather long, remarkable list of movies had accumulated: "The Devil's Playground," "From Mao to Mozart," "Man of Iron," "My Dinner With Andre," "Missing," "Shoot the Moon," "Das Boot," "Diner," "Quest for Fire," "Richard Pryor Live on the Sunset Strip," "Deathtrap," "Personal Best," "Montenegro," "Three Brothers," "Ticket to Heaven," "Barbarosa," "Diva," "E.T.," "An Officer and a Gentleman," "Night Shift," "Fast Times at Ridgemont High," "The Road Warrior," "The Chosen," "Don's Party," "My Favorite Year," "Tex," "Come Back to the 5 & Dime Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean," "The Escape Artist," "48 Hrs.," "Sophie's Choice," "Best Friends," "The Dark Crystal."

If the hits, curiosities, borderline cases and guilty pleasures that didn't exactly thrill me to distraction are dutifully added, the list of arguably provocative or diverting fare grows even longer: "On Golden Pond," "Porky's," "Mephisto," "Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid," "The Atomic Cafe'," "Rocky III," "Poltergeist," "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan," "Blade Runner," "The Secret of NIMH," "Young Doctors in Love," "TRON," "Gregory's Girl," "The World According to Garp," "Garde a Vue," "Le Beau Mariage," "Burden of Dreams," "On Company Business," "Gandhi," "Tootsie," "Grease 2," "Yes, Giorgio," "I, the Jury," "The Soldier."