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

Updated January 9, 2021 1.3m votes 31.1k voters 332.1k views372 items

List RulesVote up the best "old" movies that came out in the '80s and '90s - the ones you think everyone simply 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. 

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  • Forrest Gump1
    9,682
    1,260

    Forrest Gump

    Tom Hanks, Sally Field

    Released1994

    Directed byRobert Zemeckis

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  • Back To The Future2
    20,856
    3,373

    Back To The Future

    Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd

    Released1985

    Directed byRobert Zemeckis

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  • Ghostbusters3
    16,318
    3,087

    Ghostbusters

    Bill Murray, Sigourney Weaver

    Released1984

    Directed byIvan Reitman

    Ghostbusters is a 1984 American sci-fi-fantasy comedy film, directed and produced by Ivan...  more
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  • Jurassic Park4
    11,958
    2,429

    Jurassic Park

    Samuel L. Jackson, Jeff Goldblum

    Released1993

    Directed bySteven Spielberg

    Jurassic Park is a 1993 American science fiction adventure film directed by Steven Spielberg....  more
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  • Home Alone5
    17,002
    3,489

    Home Alone

    Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci

    Released1990

    Directed byChris Columbus

    Home Alone is a 1990 American Christmas family comedy film written and produced by John Hughes...  more
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  • Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark6
    15,729
    3,223

    Released1981

    Directed bySteven Spielberg

    Raiders of the Lost Ark is a 1981 American adventure film directed by Steven Spielberg. The...  more
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  • Star Wars7
    15,552
    3,197

    Star Wars

    Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher

    Released1977

    Directed byGeorge Lucas

    Star Wars is a 1977 American epic space opera film written and directed by George Lucas. The...  more
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  • The Goonies8
    16,644
    3,466

    The Goonies

    Corey Feldman, Josh Brolin

    Released1985

    Directed byRichard Donner

    The Goonies is a 1985 American adventure comedy film directed by Richard Donner. The...  more
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  • Beetlejuice9
    14,348
    2,978

    Beetlejuice

    Alec Baldwin, Winona Ryder

    Released1988

    Directed byTim Burton

    Beetlejuice is a 1988 American fantasy-comedy-horror film directed by Tim Burton. The spirits...  more
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  • Ferris Bueller's Day Off10
    16,142
    3,363

    Ferris Bueller's Day Off

    Charlie Sheen, Matthew Broderick

    Released1986

    Directed byJohn Hughes

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  • The Shawshank Redemption11
    15,999
    3,340

    The Shawshank Redemption

    Morgan Freeman, Rita Hayworth

    Released1994

    Directed byFrank Darabont

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  • The Wizard of Oz12
    13,435
    2,795

    The Wizard of Oz

    Judy Garland, Margaret Hamilton

    Released1939

    Directed byMervyn LeRoy, Norman Taurog, King Vidor, George Cukor, Victor Fleming

    The Wizard of Oz is a 1939 American musical fantasy film produced by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, and...  more
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  • The Breakfast Club13
    16,095
    3,379

    The Breakfast Club

    Judd Nelson, Molly Ringwald

    Released1985

    Directed byJohn Hughes

    The Breakfast Club is a 1985 American coming-of-age comedy-drama film written, produced, and...  more
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  • E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial14
    15,041
    3,180

    E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial

    Drew Barrymore, Erika Eleniak

    Released1982

    Directed bySteven Spielberg

    E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial is a 1982 American science fiction-family film co-produced and...  more
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  • Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back15
    11,891
    2,529

    Released1980

    Directed byIrvin Kershner

    The Empire Strikes Back is a 1980 American epic space opera film directed by Irvin Kershner....  more
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  • The Terminator16
    7,019
    1,471

    The Terminator

    Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bill Paxton

    Released1984

    Directed byJames Cameron

    The Terminator is a 1984 American science fiction/horror action film directed by James...  more
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  • Jaws17
    11,998
    2,590

    Jaws

    Steven Spielberg, Richard Dreyfuss

    Released1975

    Directed bySteven Spielberg

    Jaws is a 1975 American thriller film directed by Steven Spielberg and based on Peter...  more
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  • Die Hard18
    12,025
    2,608

    Die Hard

    Bruce Willis, Alan Rickman

    Released1988

    Directed byJohn McTiernan

    Die Hard is a 1988 American action film directed by John McTiernan and written by Steven E. de...  more
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  • Aladdin19
    8,060
    1,776

    Aladdin

    Robin Williams, Gilbert Gottfried

    Released1992

    Directed byRon Clements, John Musker

    Aladdin is a 1992 American animated musical fantasy film produced by Walt Disney Feature...  more
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  • The Karate Kid20
    4,090
    867

    The Karate Kid

    Elisabeth Shue, Ralph Macchio

    Released1984

    Directed byJohn G. Avildsen

    The Karate Kid is a 1984 American martial arts romantic drama film directed by John G....  more
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  • Batman21
    3,033
    634

    Batman

    Jack Nicholson, Kim Basinger

    Released1989

    Directed byTim Burton

    Batman is a 1989 American superhero film directed by Tim Burton, based on the DC Comics...  more
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  • Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi22
    11,017
    2,493

    Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi

    Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher

    Released1983

    Directed byRichard Marquand

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  • Mrs Doubtfire23
    13,967
    3,293

    Mrs Doubtfire

    Robin Williams, Pierce Brosnan

    Released1993

    Directed byChris Columbus, Chuck Jones

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  • The Silence of the Lambs24
    9,110
    2,201

    The Silence of the Lambs

    Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins

    Released1991

    Directed byJonathan Demme

    The Silence of the Lambs is a 1991 American thriller film that blends elements of the crime...  more
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  • The Green Mile25
    8,741
    2,144

    The Green Mile

    Tom Hanks, Gary Sinise

    Released1999

    Directed byFrank Darabont

    The Green Mile is a 1999 American fantasy drama film directed by Frank Darabont and adapted...  more
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