Top 5 Greatest Kids Movies from the 80s

The 80s was a decade defined by big hair, shoulder pads, neon colors, lace gloves, ONE glove, and popped collars. Few generations are as nostalgic as those who grew up during the 80s, and we all hold a unique appreciation as we look back at the decade with fondness.

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Although a LOT of kids headed into the ‘80’s and mid-80’s wanting to be Hans Solo or Indiana Jones, there are 5 kids movies that have managed to stand the test of time and are still very entertaining – sometimes in a seriously 80s way – to modern-day audiences both young and old!

The Karate Kid (1984) The Karate Kid was undoubtedly responsible for a few (dozen) accidental injuries during the 80s as kids everywhere tried to emulate “Daniel-san’s” finishing, awesome crane kick move.  It retains its popularity as a well-told story about a young Ralph Macchio transforming from bullied outsider to ass-kicking Karate Kid. Beating the bully, scoring the cheerleader girlfriend, and rising above the odds is classic 80s material, but the Karate Kid is still a genuinely well-crafted movie that still feels fresh and inspirational.

Big (1988) The 80s saw a spate of age-reversal movies which featured fathers and sons changing roles (think “Vice Versa” and “Like Father, Like Son”) but Big stands tall over these other stories, which is why it is in our Top 5 List. Big is the perfect fantasy for every kid who can’t wait to break free of their parents (i.e.- about 98%) – an apartment stuffed with toys and full size video games, eating what-we-want, when-we-want AND however much we want (ice cream for dinner and cake for dessert!).  The heartwarming story is much more multifaceted than one would think – with emotion for a variety of characters “stuck” as both kids and adults. Big is a must-see – assuming there are people on the planet who still have yet to see it! 

ET (1982)  After seeing the movie ‘Alien’ in 1979 (being dragged by older cousins who told me NOT to tell my mom…) I was none too excited to see another movie about an alien.  However E.T. is a sweet tale about two very different life-forms creating a brother-like bond. The gentle alien gets stranded on Earth and is discovered and befriended by a young boy named Elliott (Henry Thomas). Elliott brings the extraterrestrial (E.T.) into his suburban California house and is a quick hit with his little brother and sister, Gertie (played by a very young and very adorable, Drew Barrymore).  Like most kids doing something their parents would find ‘unacceptable’, they children keep E.T. ‘s existence a secret – however, E.T. falls ill, resulting in government intervention and fast-paced adventure for both Elliott and the alien.

The Goonies (1985)  What kid doesn’t love a good old-fashioned treasure hunt!?  An ancient map, a secret passage to “the caves” through the restaurant of the neighborhood “scary lady” – on to a heart racing adventure to see who can find the treasure first!  An exciting classic for the whole family.

Back to the Future (1985)  Although Back to the Future went on to become a trilogy zipping through both the past and the future – the first and original movie in the franchise is still my favorite.  Sure, time travel has been done in a ton of great movies, but Back to the Future ties a story within a story (within a story).  The lead, 18-year-old Marty McFly (Michael J Fox), is accidentally sent back in time from October 21st, 1985 to November 5th, 1955  in a time machine built from a DeLorean by his friend, a kookie scientist named Emmett “Doc” Brown. As time runs out for him to get back to his life as he knew it in 1985 – Marty must use anything he can find to get enough power to restart the time machine.  I internally left out the story within the story – hoping you’ll sit down with your kids as you relive this exciting adventure and introduce a classic tale to those born long (long) after 1985 😉

What was your favorite 80’s movie?  There are so many – this list only scratches the surface!  Please post your fav in the comments so all of us mommas can relive our big hair, blue eyeshadow, ruffle skirts and frosted pink lip gloss.  YES.  PLEASE!!!

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3 responses to “Top 5 Greatest Kids Movies from the 80s”

  1. […] great movies and stars back in that decade. It should not take much for you to come up with some 80s kids’ movies. Such movies can take you back to what hopefully was a fun period of your life. Whether you were in […]

  2. […] some of the best decades for entertainment were. So, consider showing them via DVD or online some great 80s kids movies. One of the better decades for movies, there are some real classics available. You might even find […]

  3. […] may want to share some entertainment from that decade with them. Having the ability to catch some top 80s kids movies can put a smile on their face. If you have another decade or two you also want to show them, by all […]

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