Entertainment

The Greatest Kids Movies of the 1980s 

Ranker Film
Originally by
Updated February 1, 2020 22.8k votes 2k voters 111.6k views 100 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
The Goonies is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Kids Movies of the 1980s
Corey Feldman, Josh Brolin, Sean Astin

Released: 1985

Directed by: Richard Donner

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
Back to the Future is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Kids Movies of the 1980s
EricWeatherford added Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson

Released: 1985

Directed by: Robert Zemeckis

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
3
E.T. the Extra-Terrestri... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Kids Movies of the 1980s
Drew Barrymore, Erika Eleniak, Debra Winger

Released: 1982

Directed by: Steven Spielberg

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
4
Ghostbusters is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Kids Movies of the 1980s
EricWeatherford added Bill Murray, Sigourney Weaver, Dan Aykroyd

Released: 1984

Directed by: Ivan Reitman

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
The Karate Kid is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Kids Movies of the 1980s
Elisabeth Shue, Ralph Macchio, Pat Morita

Released: 1984

Directed by: John G. Avildsen

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
The Princess Bride is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Kids Movies of the 1980s
Billy Crystal, Robin Wright, André the Giant

Released: 1987

Directed by: Rob Reiner

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
7
The NeverEnding Story is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Kids Movies of the 1980s
Gerald McRaney, Limahl, Moses Gunn

Released: 1984

Directed by: Wolfgang Petersen

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
8
Gremlins is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Kids Movies of the 1980s
EricWeatherford added Steven Spielberg, Corey Feldman, Phoebe Cates

Released: 1984

Directed by: Joe Dante

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
9
Big is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Kids Movies of the 1980s
EricWeatherford added Tom Hanks, Jon Lovitz, Elizabeth Perkins

Released: 1988

Directed by: Penny Marshall

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
10
The Little Mermaid is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Kids Movies of the 1980s
Jodi Benson, Christopher Daniel Barnes, Pat Carroll

Released: 1989

Directed by: Ron Clements, John Musker

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
11
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

Released: 1986

Directed by: Randal Kleiser

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
Labyrinth is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Kids Movies of the 1980s
Jennifer Connelly, David Bowie, Frank Oz

Released: 1986

Directed by: Jim Henson

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
13
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

Released: 1981

Directed by: Richard Rich, Art Stevens, Ted Berman

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
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

Released: 1988

Directed by: Don Bluth

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
A Christmas Story is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Kids Movies of the 1980s
EricWeatherford added Darren McGavin, Melinda Dillon, Zack Ward

Released: 1983

Directed by: Bob Clark

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
16
An American Tail is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Kids Movies of the 1980s
Christopher Plummer, Madeline Kahn, Dom DeLuise

Released: 1986

Directed by: Don Bluth

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
17
The Dark Crystal is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Kids Movies of the 1980s
Jim Henson, Frank Oz, Lisa Maxwell

Released: 1982

Directed by: Frank Oz, Jim Henson

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
18
Harry and the Hendersons... is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Kids Movies of the 1980s
John Lithgow, Don Ameche, David Suchet

Released: 1987

Directed by: William Dear

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
19
Short Circuit is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Kids Movies of the 1980s
NicholasAlt added Steve Guttenberg, Ally Sheedy, Austin Pendleton

Released: 1986

Directed by: John Badham

Short Circuit is a 1986 American comic science fiction film directed by John Badham, and written by S. S. Wilson and Brent Maddock. The film's plot centers upon an experimental military robot ...more
20
Who Framed Roger Rabbit ... is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Kids Movies of the 1980s
Tom Islava added Kathleen Turner, Christopher Lloyd, Bob Hoskins

Released: 1988

Directed by: Robert Zemeckis

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
All Dogs Go to Heaven is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Kids Movies of the 1980s
Loni Anderson, Dom DeLuise, Vic Tayback

Released: 1989

Directed by: Don Bluth, Gary Goldman, Dan Kuenster

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
22
Stand by Me is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Kids Movies of the 1980s
MuhamadHafiziRamli added Kiefer Sutherland, Corey Feldman, John Cusack

Released: 1986

Directed by: Rob Reiner

Stand by Me is a 1986 American coming of age comedy-drama adventure film directed by Rob Reiner and starring Wil Wheaton, River Phoenix, Corey Feldman and Jerry O'Connell. Based on the novella ...more
23
The Karate Kid, Part II ... is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Kids Movies of the 1980s
Ralph Macchio, Pat Morita, Tamlyn Tomita

Released: 1986

Directed by: John G. Avildsen

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
24
Honey, I Shrunk the Kids... is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Kids Movies of the 1980s
Speirthine added Keri Russell, Allison Mack, Rick Moranis

Released: 1989

Directed by: Joe Johnston

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
25
The Last Starfighter is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Kids Movies of the 1980s
EricWeatherford added Wil Wheaton, Robert Preston, Catherine Mary Stewart

Released: 1984

Directed by: Nick Castle

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