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

Ranker Film
229.8k votes 8.8k voters 101.3k views 170 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.

We hope you love the products we recommend! Just so you know, Ranker may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. Oh, and FYI — prices are accurate and items in stock as of time of publication.

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
4,671 611
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 comic science fiction film. It was directed by Robert Zemeckis, written by Zemeckis and Bob Gale, produced by Steven Spielberg, and stars Michael J. Fox, ...more

2
1,602 167
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
4,098 660
The Shawshank Redemption is listed (or ranked) 3 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

4
2,521 406
Indiana Jones and the Raiders ... is listed (or ranked) 4 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

5
3,833 718
The Goonies is listed (or ranked) 5 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

6
3,806 714
Ferris Bueller's Day Off is listed (or ranked) 6 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

7
1,416 189
Beetlejuice is listed (or ranked) 7 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 comedy fantasy film directed by Tim Burton, produced by The Geffen Film Company and distributed by Warner Bros. The plot revolves around a recently deceased young ...more

8
3,912 746
The Breakfast Club is listed (or ranked) 8 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

9
2,863 521
Home Alone is listed (or ranked) 9 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

10
1,591 237
Star Wars is listed (or ranked) 10 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

11
3,398 691
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial is listed (or ranked) 11 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

12
3,435 762
Wayne's World is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime
Alice Cooper, Mike Myers, Rob Lowe Wayne's World is a 1992 American comedy film directed by Penelope Spheeris and starring Mike Myers as Wayne Campbell and Dana Carvey as Garth Algar, hosts of the Aurora, Illinois-based ...more

13
1,345 230
The Wizard of Oz is listed (or ranked) 13 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

14
1,482 278
Die Hard is listed (or ranked) 14 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

15
1,238 216
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
3,193 770
Mrs. Doubtfire is listed (or ranked) 16 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 film, starring Robin Williams and Sally Field and based on the novel Alias Madame Doubtfire by Anne Fine. It was directed by Chris Columbus and ...more

17
3,018 722
Big is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime
Tom Hanks, Jon Lovitz, Elizabeth Perkins Big is a 1988 American fantasy comedy film directed by Penny Marshall, and stars Tom Hanks as Josh Baskin, a young boy who makes a wish "to be big" and is then aged to adulthood ...more

18
3,326 866
The Princess Bride is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime
Seth Fieldhouse added Billy Crystal, Robin Wright, André the Giant The Princess Bride is a 1987 American romantic comedy fantasy adventure film directed and co-produced by Rob Reiner. It was adapted by William Goldman from his 1973 novel of the same name. The ...more

19
3,113 817
The Sandlot is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime
James Earl Jones, Denis Leary, Karen Allen The Sandlot, also known as The Sandlot Kids, is a 1993 American coming-of-age film Comedy directed by David M. Evans, which tells the story of a group of young baseball players during the summer ...more

20
3,051 810
Who Framed Roger Rabbit is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime
Kathleen Turner, Christopher Lloyd, Bob Hoskins Who Framed Roger Rabbit is a 1988 American live-action/animated fantasy-comedy film directed by Robert Zemeckis. The screenplay by Jeffrey Price and Peter S. Seaman is based on Gary K. Wolf's ...more

21
1,134 238
Star Wars Episode V: The Empir... 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 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

22
2,761 781
Honey, I Shrunk the Kids is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime
Keri Russell, Allison Mack, Rick Moranis Honey, I Shrunk the Kids is a 1989 soft science fiction-family film. The directorial debut of Joe Johnston and produced by Walt Disney Pictures, it tells the story of an inventor who ...more

23
1,026 228
Star Wars: Episode VI – Return... is listed (or ranked) 23 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

24
1,968 582
The Godfather is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime
Phil Bulfamante added Al Pacino, Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall The Godfather is a 1972 American crime film directed by Francis Ford Coppola and produced by Albert S. Ruddy from a screenplay by Mario Puzo and Coppola. Starring Marlon Brando and Al Pacino as ...more

25
2,611 885
Top Gun is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime
Tom Cruise, Meg Ryan, Val Kilmer Top Gun is a 1986 American action drama film directed by Tony Scott, and produced by Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer, in association with Paramount Pictures. The screenplay was written by Jim ...more