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Great '80s Movies Modern Kids Will Love

Updated April 23, 2020 1.3k votes 131 voters 3.9k views20 items

List RulesVote up the classic films appropriate for kids and teens that will teach them to love and respect '80s movies.

It can be difficult to get your children to watch a movie that was released before they were born. It's natural to want to show your children the movies you remember fondly, but kids might bulk at the idea of watching something Mom or Dad think is cool. If you want your kids to love '80s movies, you have to pick out some kid-friendly masterpieces of the era that will wipe away preconceived notions. Choosing the best of the best during a decade which provided hits like The Empire Strikes BackBeetlejuice, and Ghostbusters can be difficult, but this list is here to help!

Remember, you want to pick classic '80s movies appropriate for kids. This means nothing too raunchy or violent, but also be aware anything too kid friendly or corny may elicit an eye roll from teens or tweens. The films listed here are perfect to get kids into '80s movies. They have a certain timelessness that extends across generations. There may be some confusion. Kids may wonder, for example, why none of the kids in The Goonies are carrying cellphones. But once they got lost in the surreal tale of scouring the sewers, they'll forget all about the absence of iPhones and tablets. While Back to the Future may give off a campy vibe that seems odd outside of the '80s, kids will still love the story. 

Read this list of '80s movies for beginners below. Then, vote up your favorites. 

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  • Back to the Future
    Video: YouTube
    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 the past in a time-traveling DeLorean invented by his close friend, the maverick scientist Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd)....  more
    • Actors: Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson, Crispin Glover, Billy Zane
    • Released: 1985
    • Directed by: Robert Zemeckis
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  • The Princess Bride
    Video: YouTube
    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 story is presented in the film as a book being read by a grandfather to his sick grandson, thus effectively preserving the novel's narrative style. This film is number 50 on Bravo's "100 Funniest Movies", number 88 on The American Film Institute's "AFI's 100 Years...100 Passions" list of the 100 greatest film love stories, and 46 in Channel 4's 50 Greatest Comedy Films list. In the United Kingdom as well as the United States, The Princess Bride has developed into a cult film....  more
    • Actors: Billy Crystal, Robin Wright, André the Giant, Fred Savage, Mark Knopfler
    • Released: 1987
    • Directed by: Rob Reiner
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  • The Karate Kid
    Video: YouTube
    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 photography, Noriyuki "Pat" Morita and Elisabeth Shue. It is an underdog story in the mold of a previous success, Avildsen's 1976 film Rocky. It was a commercial success upon release, and garnered favorable critical acclaim, earning Morita an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor....  more
    • Actors: Elisabeth Shue, Ralph Macchio, Pat Morita, Andrew Shue, Frances Bay
    • Released: 1984
    • Directed by: John G. Avildsen
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  • E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
    Video: YouTube
    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 Rambaldi and Dennis Muren, and starring Henry Thomas, Dee Wallace, Robert MacNaughton, Drew Barrymore and Peter Coyote. It tells the story of Elliott, a lonely boy who befriends an extraterrestrial, dubbed "E.T.", who is stranded on Earth. He and his siblings help it return home while attempting to keep it hidden from their mother and the government. The concept for the film was based on an imaginary friend Spielberg created after his parents' divorce in 1960. In 1980, Spielberg met Mathison and developed a...  more
    • Actors: Drew Barrymore, Erika Eleniak, Debra Winger, Robert MacNaughton, C. Thomas Howell
    • Released: 1982
    • Directed by: Steven Spielberg
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