- January 1 – New ITV franchises, Central, TVS and TSW, are launched.
- January 7 – The Commodore 64 8-bit home computer is launched by Commodore International in Las Vegas (released in August); it becomes the all-time best-selling single personal computer model.
- January 8 – AT&T Corporation agrees to break up and divest itself of 22 subdivisions.
- January 11 – Mark Thatcher, son of British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, disappears in the Sahara during the Dakar Rally; he is rescued January 14.
- January 11 – January 17 – A brutal cold snap sends temperatures to all-time record lows in dozens of cities throughout the Midwestern United States.
- January 13 – Shortly after takeoff, Air Florida Flight 90 crashes into Washington, D.C.'s 14th Street Bridge and falls into the Potomac River, killing 78. On the same day, a Washington Metro train derails to the north, killing 3 people in the system's first fatal accident.
- January 17 – Cold Sunday sweeps over the northern United States.
- January 18 – 1982 Thunderbirds Indian Springs Diamond Crash: Four Northrop T-38 aircraft of the United States Air Force Thunderbirds Demonstration Squadron crash at Indian Springs Air Force Auxiliary Field, Nevada, killing all 4 pilots.
- January 24 – Super Bowl XVI saw the San Francisco 49ers and their game's MVP Joe Montana finally captured their first NFL championship by beating the Cincinnati Bengals 26-21 at Detroit's Pontiac Silverdome.
- January 26
- January 27 – The Garret FitzGerald government of the Republic of Ireland is defeated 82–81 on its budget; the 22nd Dáil Éireann is dissolved.
- January 28 – United States Army Brigadier General James L. Dozier is rescued by the Italian anti-terrorism Nucleo Operativo Centrale di Sicurezza (NOCS) force after being held captive for 42 days by the Red Brigades.
- January 30 – The first computer virus, the Elk Cloner, written by 15-year old Rich Skrenta, is found. It infects Apple II computers via floppy disk.
- April 2 – The Falklands War begins: Argentina invades and occupies the Falkland Islands.
- April 6 – A blizzard unprecedented in size for April dumps 1–2 feet of snow on the northeastern United States, closing schools and businesses, snarling traffic, and canceling several major league baseball games.
- April 17 – By Proclamation of the Queen of Canada on Parliament Hill, Canada patriates its constitution, gaining full political independence from the United Kingdom; included is the country's first entrenched bill of rights.
- April 20 – Pitfall! is released for the Atari 2600, which is genera, becomes the dominate genera in the gaming industry, until Nintendo 64's release of Banjo-Tooie, on November 20 2000.
- April 23 – Dennis Wardlow, mayor of Key West, Florida, declares the independent "Conch Republic" for a day.
- April 24 – German singer Nicole wins the Eurovision Song Contest 1982 for Germany, with the song "Ein Bisschen Frieden".
- April 25 – Israel completes its withdrawal from the Sinai Peninsula in accordance with the Egypt–Israel Peace Treaty of 1979.
- April 26 – Falklands War: British troops retake South Georgia during Operation Paraquet.
- April 30 – The Bijon Setu massacre takes place in India.
sinks the Argentine cruiser General Belgrano, killing 323 sailors. Operation Algeciras, an attempt to destroy a Royal Navy warship in Gibraltar, fails.
is hit by an Exocet missile, and burns out of control; 20 sailors are killed. The ship sinks on May 10.
is sunk by Argentine aircraft, killing 22 sailors.
and SS Atlantic Conveyor
are sunk during the Falklands War; Coventry by two A-4C Skyhawks and the latter sunk by an Exocet.
- June 6
- June 8
- June 11 – is released in the United States, which would become the biggest box-office hit for the rest of the decade.
- June 12 – The Nuclear Disarmament Rally, an event against nuclear weapon proliferation, draws 750,000 to New York City's Central Park. Jackson Browne, James Taylor, Bruce Springsteen, and Linda Ronstadt attend. An international convocation at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine features prominent peace activists from around the world and afterward participants march on Fifth Avenue to Central Park for the rally.
- June 13
- June 14 – Falklands War: Argentine forces in the capital, Stanley, conditionally surrender to British forces.
- June 18 – Argentine military dictator Leopoldo Galtieri resigns, in the wake of his country's defeat in the Falklands War.
- June 19 – The body of "God's Banker", Roberto Calvi, chairman of Banco Ambrosiano, is found hanging beneath Blackfriars Bridge in London.
- June 21 – Prince William is born at St Mary's Hospital in Paddington, West London.
- June 24 – British Airways Flight 9 suffers a temporary four-engine flameout and damage to the exterior of the plane, after flying through the otherwise undetected ash plume from Indonesia's Mount Galunggung.
- June 25 – The Institute for Puerto Rican Policy is founded in New York City to research and advocate for Puerto Rican and Latino community issues. In 2006, it changes its name to the National Institute for Latino Policy.
- June 30 – The Equal Rights Amendment falls short of the 38 states needed to pass.
- July 2
- July 3 – ASLEF train drivers in the United Kingdom go on strike over hours of work; they return to work on July 18.
- July 4 – Four Iranian diplomats are kidnapped upon Israel's invasion of Lebanon.
- July 6 – A lunar eclipse (umbral duration 236 min and total duration 106 min, the longest of the 20th century) occurs.
- July 9
- July 11 – beats 3–1 to win the 1982 FIFA World Cup in Spain.
- July 12 – Checker Motors Corporation ceases production of automobiles.
- July 15 – Geoffrey Prime, a GCHQ civil servant, is remanded in custody on charges under the Official Secrets Act 1911.
- July 16 – In New York City, the Reverend Sun Myung Moon is sentenced to 18 months in prison and fined $25,000 for tax fraud and conspiracy to obstruct justice.
- July 19 – William Whitelaw, Home Secretary, announces that Michael Trestrail (the Queen's bodyguard) has resigned from the Metropolitan Police Service over a relationship with a male prostitute.
- July 20 – Hyde Park and Regent's Park bombings: the Provisional IRA detonates 2 bombs in central London, killing 8 soldiers, wounding 47 people, and leading to the deaths of 7 horses.
- July 21 – HMS Hermes
, the Royal Navy flagship during the Falklands War, returns home to Portsmouth to a hero's welcome.
- November 2 – Channel 4, a British public-service television broadcaster, is launched, with Richard Whiteley's Countdown being the first program to be broadcast.
- November 3
- A gasoline or petrol tanker explodes in the Salang Tunnel in Afghanistan, killing at least 176 people.
- The Dow Jones Industrial Average surges 43.41 points, or 4.25%, to close at 1,065.49, its first all-time high in more than 9 years. It last hit a record on January 11, 1973, when the average closed at 1,051.70. The points gain is the biggest ever up to this point.
- November 6 – Cameroon president Ahmadou Ahidjo resigns, replaced by Paul Biya.
- November 7 – The Thames Barrier is first publicly demonstrated.
- November 8 – Kenan Evren becomes the seventh president of Turkey as a result of constitution referendum. His former title was head of state.
- November 11 – In Lebanon, the first Tyre headquarters bombing kills between 89 and 102 people.
- November 12 – In the Soviet Union, former KGB head Yuri Andropov is selected to become the general secretary of the Soviet Communist Party's Central Committee, succeeding the late Leonid I. Brezhnev.
- November 13 – The Vietnam Veterans Memorial is dedicated in Washington, D.C., after a march to its site by thousands of Vietnam War veterans.
- November 14 – The leader of Poland's outlawed Solidarity movement, Lech Wałęsa, is released from 11 months of internment near the Soviet border.
- November 20
- November 25 – The Minneapolis Thanksgiving Day fire destroys an entire city block of downtown Minneapolis, including the headquarters of Northwestern National Bank.
- November 27 – Yasuhiro Nakasone becomes Prime Minister of Japan.
- November 28
- December 1 – Miguel de la Madrid takes office as President of Mexico.
- December 2 – At the University of Utah, 61-year-old retired dentist Barney Clark becomes the first person to receive a permanent artificial heart (he lives for 112 days with the device).
- December 3 – A final soil sample is taken from the site of Times Beach, Missouri. It is found to contain 300 times the safe level of dioxin.
- December 4 – The People's Republic of China adopts its current constitution.
- December 7 – The first U.S. execution by lethal injection is carried out in Texas.
- December 8 – The December murders occur in Suriname.
- December 11 – Pop group ABBA make their final public performance on the British TV programme The Late, Late Breakfast Show.
- December 12 – Women's peace protest at RAF Greenham Common: 30,000 women hold hands and form a human chain around the 14.5 km (9 mi) perimeter fence.
- December 13 – The 6.2 Mw North Yemen earthquake shakes southwestern Yemen with a maximum Mercalli intensity of VIII (Severe), killing 2,800.
- December 16 – The United Freedom Front bombs an office of South African Airways in Elmont, NY and an IBM office in Harrison, NY. Two police officers suffer hearing damage. The UFF claimed responsibility for the IBM building bombing in March 1984, stating that the company was targeted because of its business in South Africa under Apartheid.
- December 22 – The Indian Ocean Commission (Commission de l'Océan Indien) (COI) is created by Port Louis Agreement.
- December 23 – The United States Environmental Protection Agency recommends the evacuation of Times Beach, Missouri, due to dangerous levels of dioxin contamination.
- December 24 – The "Christmas Eve Blizzard of '82" hits Denver.
- December 26 – Time magazine's Man of the Year is given for the first time to a non-human, the computer.
- December 29 – Paul "Bear" Bryant coaches his final game, leading to a 21–15 victory over in the Liberty Bowl at Memphis, Tennessee. Bryant dies of a massive heart attack four weeks later at age 69.