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'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime  

Ranker Film
913.8k votes 25.4k voters 259.1k views 334 items

List Rules Vote up the best "old" movies that came out in the '80s and '90s - the ones you think all the kids these days MUST watch.

If you're a younger millennial, you've probably heard your older friends and coworkers say things like "Hey, you guys!" or "Bueller? Bueller? Bueller?" or "He can't see without his glasses!" and knew that they were quoting some old movie that you've never seen (something like The Goonies, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, or My Girl). These films may have been released before you were born, but to be culturally literate, you should probably go back and watch them. This classics list is not about old old black and white movies, it's about '80s and '90s beloved masterpieces. They're the cinematic treasures that made the careers of your favorite current day actors.

You can see some of your favorite actors when they were just starting in these old movies that young people should watch. Love Christian Bale, but you've never seen Newsies? Go watch it! (fun Christian Bale fact: he hates this movie). Admire Meryl Streep? Make sure you check out Death Becomes Her. She looks so youthful!

If you ever find yourself asking, "What old movies should I watch?" just work your way down this list and knock them out, one at a time. 

list ordered by
1
Back to the Future is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime
Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson
Back to the Future is a 1985 American science fiction film directed by Robert Zemeckis. Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox), a 17-year-old high school student, is accidentally sent thirty years into ...more
2
Ghostbusters is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime
4:3Land added Bill Murray, Sigourney Weaver, Dan Aykroyd
Ghostbusters is a 1984 American sci-fi-fantasy comedy film, directed and produced by Ivan Reitman and written by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis. The film stars Bill Murray, Aykroyd, and Ramis as ...more
3
Forrest Gump is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime
againsthetide17 added Tom Hanks, Kurt Russell, Sally Field
Forrest Gump is a 1994 American epic romantic-comedy-drama film based on the 1986 novel of the same name by Winston Groom. The film was directed by Robert Zemeckis and stars Tom Hanks, Robin ...more
4
Jurassic Park is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime
Lucy Speed added Samuel L. Jackson, Jeff Goldblum, Richard Attenborough
Jurassic Park is a 1993 American science fiction adventure film directed by Steven Spielberg. It is the first installment of the Jurassic Park franchise. It is based on the 1990 novel of the ...more
5
Home Alone is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime
Phil Bulfamante added Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci, John Candy
Home Alone is a 1990 American Christmas family comedy film written and produced by John Hughes and directed by Chris Columbus. The film stars Macaulay Culkin as Kevin McCallister, a boy who is ...more
6
Indiana Jones and the Raiders ... is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime
Sybrand Brink added Harrison Ford, Alfred Molina, Karen Allen
Raiders of the Lost Ark is a 1981 American adventure film directed by Steven Spielberg. The screenplay by Lawrence Kasdan was from a story by George Lucas and Philip Kaufman. It was produced by ...more
7
Star Wars is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime
Preston Rohrick added Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill
Star Wars is a 1977 American epic space opera film written and directed by George Lucas. The first release in the Star Wars franchise, it stars Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Peter ...more
8
Beetlejuice is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime
4:3Land added Alec Baldwin, Winona Ryder, Geena Davis
Beetlejuice is a 1988 American fantasy-comedy-horror film directed by Tim Burton. The spirits of a deceased couple (Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis) are harassed by an unbearable family that has ...more
9
The Goonies is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime
Corey Feldman, Josh Brolin, Sean Astin
The Goonies is a 1985 American adventure comedy film directed by Richard Donner. The screenplay was written by Chris Columbus from a story by executive producer Steven Spielberg. The film's ...more
10
Ferris Bueller's Day Off is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime
Charlie Sheen, Matthew Broderick, Jeffrey Jones
Ferris Bueller's Day Off is a 1986 American comedy film written, produced and directed by John Hughes. The film follows high school senior Ferris Bueller, who skips school and spends the day in ...more
11
The Wizard of Oz is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime
roxdsgn added Judy Garland, Margaret Hamilton, Frank Morgan
The Wizard of Oz is a 1939 American musical fantasy film produced by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, and the most well-known and commercially successful adaptation based on the 1900 novel The Wonderful ...more
12
The Shawshank Redemption is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime
Morgan Freeman, Rita Hayworth, Tim Robbins
The Shawshank Redemption is a 1994 American drama film written and directed by Frank Darabont and starring Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman. Adapted from the Stephen King novella Rita Hayworth and ...more
13
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime
Drew Barrymore, Erika Eleniak, Debra Winger
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial is a 1982 American science fiction-family film co-produced and directed by Steven Spielberg and written by Melissa Mathison, featuring special effects by Carlo ...more
14
The Breakfast Club is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime
Judd Nelson, Molly Ringwald, Anthony Michael Hall
The Breakfast Club is a 1985 American coming-of-age comedy-drama film written, produced, and directed by John Hughes and starring Emilio Estevez, Paul Gleason, Anthony Michael Hall, John ...more
15
Jaws is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime
Lo Olsen added Steven Spielberg, Richard Dreyfuss, Roy Scheider
Jaws is a 1975 American thriller film directed by Steven Spielberg and based on Peter Benchley's novel of the same name. The prototypical summer blockbuster, its release is regarded as a ...more
16
The Terminator is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime
Tito Monge Sol added Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bill Paxton, Linda Hamilton
The Terminator is a 1984 American science fiction/horror action film directed by James Cameron, written by Cameron and the film's producer Gale Anne Hurd. Schwarzenegger plays the Terminator, a ...more
17
Aladdin is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime
Tito Monge Sol added Robin Williams, Gilbert Gottfried, Frank Welker
Aladdin is a 1992 American animated musical fantasy film produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation and released by Walt Disney Pictures. Aladdin is the 31st animated feature in the Walt Disney ...more
18
Die Hard is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime
Ben Murray added Bruce Willis, Alan Rickman, Bonnie Bedelia
Die Hard is a 1988 American action film directed by John McTiernan and written by Steven E. de Souza and Jeb Stuart. It is based on the 1979 novel Nothing Lasts Forever, by Roderick Thorp. Die ...more
19
Star Wars Episode V: The Empir... is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime
4:3Land added Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill
The Empire Strikes Back is a 1980 American epic space opera film directed by Irvin Kershner. Leigh Brackett and Lawrence Kasdan wrote the screenplay, with George Lucas writing the film's story ...more
20
Mrs. Doubtfire is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime
Tiffany Meek added Robin Williams, Pierce Brosnan, Sally Field
Mrs. Doubtfire is a 1993 American comedy-drama film directed by Chris Columbus, based on the novel Alias Madame Doubtfire by Anne Fine. A recently divorced actor (Robin Williams) decides to ...more
21
Star Wars: Episode VI –Return ... is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime
4:3Land added Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill
Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi is a 1983 American epic space opera film directed by Richard Marquand, and the third and final film in the original Star Wars trilogy. After a daring ...more
22
The Karate Kid is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime
steve003 added Elisabeth Shue, Ralph Macchio, Pat Morita
The Karate Kid is a 1984 American martial arts romantic drama film directed by John G. Avildsen and written by Robert Mark Kamen, starring Ralph Macchio, who was 22 years old during principal ...more
23
Beauty and the Beast is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime
Greg Kootstra added Angela Lansbury, Frank Welker, Jerry Orbach
Beauty and the Beast is a 1991 American animated musical romantic fantasy film produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation and released by Walt Disney Pictures. The 30th film in the Walt Disney ...more
24
Gremlins is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime
againsthetide17 added Steven Spielberg, Corey Feldman, Phoebe Cates
Gremlins is a 1984 American horror comedy film directed by Joe Dante, released by Warner Bros. The film is about a young man who receives a strange creature called a mogwai as a pet, which then ...more
25
The Silence of the Lambs is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime
Lovi420 added Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, Chris Isaak
The Silence of the Lambs is a 1991 American thriller film that blends elements of the crime and horror genres. Directed by Jonathan Demme and starring Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, and Scott ...more