back to top

21 Movies From The '80s You Need To Show Your Kids

These are treasures everybody should have on their must-see list.

Posted on

1. The Fox and the Hound

Disney

Why your kid should see it: This pre–Disney Renaissance film is an absolute classic that has as much heart and story as anything to come out before or after it.

Advertisement

2. Who Framed Roger Rabbit

Disney

Why your kid should see it: While the film does have a few scenes that could scare really young kids — that shoe scene with Judge Doom, yikes! — it is an overall delightful movie that is a feast for the eyes and the imagination. Every kid, at some point, imagines themselves interacting with cartoon characters, and Who Framed Roger Rabbit brings that to life. Plus, it's the only time you ever see almost every classic cartoon character interact with one another.

3. Back to the Future

Universal Pictures

Why your kid should see it: The time-traveling classic is the perfect blend of action, comedy, and sci-fi. And not only does it hold up to repeat viewings, but it has aged well by maintaining a certain timelessness.

5. The Great Mouse Detective

Disney

Why your kid should watch it: This wonderful adaptation of the Basil of Baker Street series is equal parts adventure and intrigue. Plus, Professor Ratigan (voiced by none other than Vincent Price) might be one of the best and funnest villains Disney has ever created.

6. Explorers

Paramount Pictures

Why your kid should watch it: The movie perfectly captures the spirit of being a kid, when there are no limits to your imagination and you feel like you can do and create just about anything.

Advertisement

7. The Goonies

Warner Bros.

Why your kid should watch it: OK, let's be honest, when it comes to action-adventure kids' films, there is probably no better movie than this classic. It has everything from pirate ships and treasure maps to over-the-top villains and, of course, Cyndi Lauper singing the theme song.

8. The Princess Bride

20th Century Fox

Why your kid should watch it: It's probably the most quotable movie ever (sorry, Mean Girls). Plus its play on classic fairy tales, mixed in with sharp humor, will instantly appeal to kids both young and old (and the kid in you!).

9. The Land Before Time

Universal Pictures

Why your kid should watch it: Sure, there are like 100 sequels to this imaginative dinosaur film, but it's the original that your kid(s) NEED to see. But, warning: The highly emotional scene where Littlefoot sees his mother dying might leave you both wrecked.

10. Ghostbusters

Columbia Pictures

Why your kid should watch it: Because it's an iconic and perfect film that effortlessly blends humor with just a bit of fright. This one might be best for kids 7 and older.

11. Labyrinth

Henson Studios

Why your kid should watch it: It's a slightly dark fantasy film where the lead character, Sarah (Jennifer Connelly), anything but a damsel in distress, strives to correct the error she made in wishing for her baby brother to be taken away. And Jareth, the Goblin King (played oh-so-perfectly by David Bowie), is a likable villain you can't help but root for.

Advertisement

12. Honey, I Shrunk the Kids

Disney

Why your kid should see it: It takes the classic kid idea of imagining being able to magically shrink and turns it upside down by showing that it would actually be really terrifying. Being shrunk all of sudden makes a small suburban backyard into a expansive wild jungle that the characters have to survive.

13. The Karate Kid

Columbia Pictures

Why your kid should see it: For the important lesson Daniel learns from Mr. Miyagi about never giving up and being able to triumph through adversity.

14. An American Tail

Universal Pictures

Why your kid should see it: Because this enchanting story about love, family, and facing your fears rivals anything Disney has ever created.

15. Pee-wee's Big Adventure

Warner Bros.

Why your kid should see it: Because this isn't another cookie-cutter kids' film — it's a weird, imaginative, and extremely charming movie. Plus, Pee-wee is the ultimate kid every child wishes they could be and we wish we could be, even as adults.

16. Annie

Columbia Pictures

Why your kid should see it: It's fun! And the film's musical numbers will definitely have your kid(s) singing and dancing along. And, of course, the great Carol Burnett steals the show as Miss Agatha Hannigan.

Advertisement

17. Stand by Me

Columbia Pictures

Why your kid should see it: It's a classic heartwarming coming-of-age film about the deep bonds of friendship and the painful burdens that we all carry in our lives.

FYI: The movie is rated R, so it might be best for kids 9 years and older.

18. The Little Mermaid

Disney

Why your kid should see it: Because this is one of the greatest animated Disney films ever. Ariel's quest to be human is a wonderful metaphor for following your dreams no matter what everyone else says you should do.

19. The Adventures of Milo and Otis

Columbia Pictures

Why your kid should see it: It's a buddy movie...well, a super-adorable buddy movie about a kitten and a puppy. A KITTEN and a PUPPY!!!

20. My Neighbor Totoro

Studio Ghibli

Why your kid should see it: This animated masterpiece is absolutely magical. While it's a rather simple story, writer-director Hayao Miyazaki paints a rich world that feels like it could only exist within the imagination of children.

21. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial

Universal Pictures

Why your kid should see it: This film is not just one of the greatest films of the '80s, but one of the greatest films of ALL time. The timeless Steven Spielberg classic is a film full of heart and also manages to capture childhood innocence like no other film. Perfectly written, acted, and directed, the film is one that your kid(s) will want to share with their kids one day.

Every. Tasty. Video. EVER. The new Tasty app is here!

Dismiss