The 10 Best 80s Movies For Kids – Classics They Should Watch

Whilst we sometimes like to impress on today’s young people how difficult it was for us growing up during the 1980s, we have to admit to being completely spoiled when it came to the massive selection of classic movies that our childhood offered us. There’s no doubt the modern Marvel movies would have blown our minds had they been released three decades ago, but we were still thoroughly entertained by some of the greatest family film releases of all time. We believe that kids should be encouraged to broaden their horizons beyond Spider-Man and his Avenger friends, so below are the 10 best 80s movies that you simply have to show your kids.


10. Back to the Future

If we were forced to choose one film to define the whole of the 1980s then it would simply have to be Robert Zemeckis’ time-traveling masterpiece Back to the Future.

Parts 2 and 3 of Marty and Docs trilogy continued to provide us with an impressive number of thrills and spills, but in our view the original 1985 film is the one that holds up the best.

9. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial

Steven Spielberg provided us with many of our favorite childhood movie watching experiences, but his film about an ugly, finger pointing alien can surely never, ever be bettered.

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial soared higher than all of the other 80s family films by taking us on a one and three quarter hour adventure that took us through the full gamut of human emotions.

8. Ghostbusters

It may have been nearly four decades since we watched this fun, fantasy classic, but if someone were to ask us “who you gonna call?” then there’s still only one answer that we would give.

Ghostbusters was followed by the vastly inferior Ghostbusters II in 1989, and whilst the 2016 female centric reboot was met with less than stellar reviews, the recently released Ghostbusters: Afterlife is a surprisingly satisfying, spooky throwback.

7. The Goonies

When it comes to adventure films for young people, surely there can be no better example than 1985’s The Goonies, which saw a bunch of kids discovering a map that sends them on a thrilling Pirate treasure hunt.

For many years we have waited patiently for as long mooted Goonies sequel, but until it arrives we’ll have to make do with watching the classic original for the around the one hundredth time!

6. Raiders Of The Lost Ark

Steven Spielberg is back with another film that, despite having one or two scary moments, should definitely be watched by every single kid as part of our 80s movie curriculum.

Raiders of the Lost Ark is the first, and arguably the best, in the series of four films that featured everyone’s favourite globe-trotting archaeologist, Indiana Jones.

5. The Karate Kid

Another example of the first film in a cinematic franchise being the best is The Karate Kid, who fought his way into our hearts in this 1984 martial arts masterpiece of a movie.

Everyone on our school playground wanted to be Daniel LaRusso, but none of us were ever able to master the film’s ‘Crane Technique,’ which we later discovered was unfortunately a completely made up move.

4. Gremlins

We’re not sure if every parent would be happy for their kids to watch the next entry on our list, but we’re confident that seeing a Gremlin come to a sticky end in a microwave hasn’t caused us any lasting psychological damage.

Gremlins and its 1990 sequel Gremlins 2: The New Batch inspired a number of similarly themed but inferior films, including Troll, Critters and Ghoulies.

3. Willow

Based on a story by Star Wars creator George Lucas, Willow saw Warwick Davis play a farmer who is tasked with protecting a special baby from the evil queen Bavmorda.

The Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings franchises may have sent the popularity of such films through the stratosphere in subsequent years, but Willow remains one of our very favourite fantasy viewing pleasures.

2. Labyrinth

Another family fantasy film that we believe shouldn’t be allowed to escape the attention of today’s superhero obsessed children is Labyrinth.

Starring the late music legend David Bowie as Jareth the Goblin King – a role that Michael Jackson was said to be interested in – Labyrinth started out as a box office failure but has since become a cult classic.

1. Honey, I Shrunk The Kids

The tragic ant death it contains may have once caused us to cry our eyes out, but Honey, I Shrunk the Kids is still one of the most fantastic family films that we’ve ever seen.

The film made over $200 million at the global box office, which at the time made it the highest grossing live action Disney film of all time.