Living The Greatest Kids Movies of the 1980s  

Ranker Film
Originally by
18k votes 1.7k voters 89.9k views 71 items

List Rules Vote up your favorite children films that were released in the 1980s

This list of the top ‘80s kids movies is chock-full of genre classics. Is the best ‘80s kids movie E.T. the Extra Terrestrial, the highest-grossing film of the 1980s? What about The Karate Kid, a classic that is constantly referenced, parodied, and quoted, its mark on popular culture indelible? Or how about The Princess Bride? The list goes on and on.

Let’s not forget about animated films, either. The Little Mermaid is one of the most popular animated children’s movies ever. You can find plenty of Miyazaki on this list, as well, including My Neighbor Totoro, one of the legendary Japanese director’s finest efforts. Vote up the best '80s kid movies below, and be sure to let us know what you think in the comment section. 

list ordered by
1
571 107
The Goonies is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Kids Movies of the 1980s
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
2
398 116
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Kids Movies of the 1980s
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
3
471 82
Back to the Future is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Kids Movies of the 1980s
EricWeatherford added 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
4
400 84
Ghostbusters is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Kids Movies of the 1980s
EricWeatherford 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
5
351 97
The Karate Kid is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Kids Movies of the 1980s
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
6
399 164
The NeverEnding Story is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Kids Movies of the 1980s
Gerald McRaney, Limahl, Moses Gunn
Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial The NeverEnding Story is a 1984 West German epic fantasy film based on the novel of the same name by Michael Ende, about a boy who reads a magical library book that tells a story of a young ...more
7
248 123
A Christmas Story is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Kids Movies of the 1980s
EricWeatherford added Darren McGavin, Melinda Dillon, Zack Ward
A Christmas Story is a 1983 American Christmas comedy film based on the short stories and semi-fictional anecdotes of author and raconteur Jean Shepherd, based on his book In God We Trust: All ...more
8
341 113
The Princess Bride is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Kids Movies of the 1980s
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
9
291 99
Gremlins is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Kids Movies of the 1980s
EricWeatherford 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
10
286 100
Big is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Kids Movies of the 1980s
EricWeatherford added 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
11
227 104
Flight of the Navigator is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Kids Movies of the 1980s
Sarah Jessica Parker, Paul Reubens, Veronica Cartwright
Flight of the Navigator is a 1986 comic science fiction film directed by Randal Kleiser and written by Mark H. Baker and Michael Burton, about David Freeman, a 12-year-old boy who is taken by an ...more
12
290 93
The Little Mermaid is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Kids Movies of the 1980s
Jodi Benson, Christopher Daniel Barnes, Pat Carroll
The Little Mermaid is a 1989 American animated musical fantasy film produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation and released by Walt Disney Pictures. Based on the Danish fairy tale by Hans ...more
13
231 101
The Fox and the Hound is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Kids Movies of the 1980s
Kurt Russell, Mickey Rooney, Corey Feldman
he Fox and the Hound is a 1981 American animated drama film based on the Daniel P. Mannix novel of the same name, produced by Walt Disney Productions and released in the United States on July ...more
14
243 108
The Land Before Time is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Kids Movies of the 1980s
Diana Ross, Frank Welker, Judith Barsi
The Land Before Time is a 1988 American-Irish animated adventure drama film directed and co-produced by Don Bluth and executive produced by Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Kathleen Kennedy, and ...more
15
223 98
An American Tail is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Kids Movies of the 1980s
Christopher Plummer, Madeline Kahn, Dom DeLuise
An American Tail is a 1986 American animated musical adventure film directed by Don Bluth and produced by Sullivan Bluth Studios and Amblin Entertainment. The film tells the story of Fievel ...more
16
236 115
The Dark Crystal is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Kids Movies of the 1980s
Jim Henson, Frank Oz, Lisa Maxwell
The Dark Crystal is a 1982 American–British fantasy film directed by Jim Henson and Frank Oz. The plot revolves around Jen, an elflike 'Gelfling' on a quest to restore balance to his alien world ...more
17
184 109
The Secret of NIMH is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Kids Movies of the 1980s
Shannen Doherty, Wil Wheaton, Derek Jacobi
The Secret of NIMH is a 1982 American animated fantasy adventure drama film directed by Don Bluth in his directorial debut. It is an adaptation of Robert C. O'Brien's 1971 children's novel Mrs. ...more
18
228 89
Who Framed Roger Rabbit is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Kids Movies of the 1980s
Tom Islava added 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
19
213 92
Harry and the Hendersons is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Kids Movies of the 1980s
John Lithgow, Don Ameche, David Suchet
Harry and the Hendersons is a 1987 American fantasy comedy film directed and produced by William Dear, and starring John Lithgow, Melinda Dillon, Don Ameche, David Suchet, Margaret Langrick, ...more
20
298 159
Labyrinth is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Kids Movies of the 1980s
Jennifer Connelly, David Bowie, Frank Oz
Labyrinth is a 1986 British-American musical adventure fantasy film directed by Jim Henson, executive produced by George Lucas and based upon conceptual designs by Brian Froud. The film stars ...more
21
208 120
Pee-wee's Big Adventure is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Kids Movies of the 1980s
Phil Hartman, Morgan Fairchild, Tim Burton
Pee-Wee's Big Adventure is a 1985 American adventure comedy film directed by Tim Burton in his full-length film directing debut and starring Paul Reubens as Pee-wee Herman. Reubens also co-wrote ...more
22
184 103
The Karate Kid, Part II is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Kids Movies of the 1980s
Ralph Macchio, Pat Morita, Tamlyn Tomita
The Karate Kid, Part II is a 1986 American martial arts film. A sequel to 1984's The Karate Kid, Ralph Macchio and Pat Morita reprise their respective roles as young karate student Daniel ...more
23
196 97
All Dogs Go to Heaven is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Kids Movies of the 1980s
Loni Anderson, Dom DeLuise, Vic Tayback
All Dogs Go to Heaven is a 1989 American–Irish animated musical adventure comedy film directed and produced by Don Bluth and released by United Artists and Goldcrest Films. The film tells the ...more
24
174 89
The Last Starfighter is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Kids Movies of the 1980s
EricWeatherford added Wil Wheaton, Robert Preston, Catherine Mary Stewart
The Last Starfighter is a 1984 American space opera film directed by Nick Castle. The film tells the story of Alex Rogan, an average teenage boy recruited by an alien defense force to fight in ...more
25
162 87
Explorers is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Kids Movies of the 1980s
Ethan Hawke, River Phoenix, James Cromwell
Explorers is a 1985 family-oriented science-fiction fantasy film written by Eric Luke and directed by Joe Dante. The film stars Ethan Hawke and River Phoenix as teenage schoolboys who build a ...more