Weren’t the 80s amazing for movies!?

I feel it is my duty as a parent to show my children the best of the family-friendly movies from the 1980s. Although animation has come a long way since then, these classics are still amazing on a Saturday afternoon!

1. Flight of the Navigator (1986)

I watched this film about a hundred times when I was little. David Freeman is a 12-year-old boy who is abducted by an alien spaceship. When he finally returns home he has arrived back years in the future, without having aged at all.

Kids will love the cute little alien who hangs upside down. You will love spotting Sarah Jessica Parker rocking some top 80s fashion.

2. The Goonies (1985)

No 80s movie list is complete without The Goonies.

In order to save their home from foreclosure, a group of misfits set out to find a pirate’s ancient valuable treasure.

Goonies never say die!

3. Back to the Future (1985)

With a soundtrack that everyone still remembers, Back to the Future was the first in a trilogy, but this is by far the best of the bunch.

Eccentric scientist Doc Brown invents a time machine – using a Delorean car. When his teenage prodigy Marty is sent back to 1985, Marty must try to get home and play matchmaker for his parents.

4. The Land Before Time (1988)

Littlefoot is orphaned when his mother is killed by a sharp tooth (T Rex). Littlefoot flees famine and upheaval to search for the Great Valley, an area spared from devastation. On his journey, he meets four young companions: Cera the  Threehorn, Ducky the Bigmouth (yep, yep, yep), Petrie the  Flyer, and Spike the  Spiketail.

5. Short Circuit (1986)

Steve Guttenberg at his best! Robot Number Five is struck by lightning and develops consciousness, and a sense of humour.

6. Willow (1988)

Willow is a reluctant farmer who dreams of being a magician. He embarks on a quest to return a baby to its family and protect her from a tyrannical queen who vows to destroy her and take over the world.

7. Dark Crystal (1982)

This isn’t one for the toddlers, as those puppets are actually pretty scary! However the puppets are really impressive.

Jen, an elf-like “Gelfling” embarks on a quest to restore balance to his alien world by returning the lost shard of a powerful but broken gem.

8. Harry and the Hendersons (1987)

The Henderson family accidentally runs over Harry, a Bigfoot-type creature. They take him home and discover he’s kind and friendly.

9. An American Tail (1986)

With a catchy soundtrack, this one definitely crosses the generations.

Fievel Mousekewitz and his family as they emigrate from the Imperial Russian territory of  Ukraine to the United States for freedom. However, he gets lost and must find a way to reunite with them.

There are noooo cats in America!

10. Look Who’s Talking (1989)

Bruce Willis as you’ve never seen, or heard, him before! Although the opening credits featuring sperm racing to an egg might raise a few questions that you didn’t want to discuss while enjoying a movie, this film is funny and sweet.

Mollie vows to raise her son Mikey all alone, but cab driver James (played by John Travolta) might just change her mind. Willis provides the voice of Mikey, whose sarcasm and funny observations make this film something special.

11. Honey, I shrunk the Kids (1989)

Wayne Szalinski is an inventor who accidentally shrinks his children. They are trapped in the back garden and must embark on a long journey, avoiding bugs and getting squashed along the way, to get home.

12. Big (1988)

Josh Baskin is a young boy who makes a wish “to be big” and is then aged to adulthood overnight. He gets an apartment and a job in the city.

The film features the famous giant piano-playing scene where Tom Hanks plays Chopsticks and Heart and Soul.

13. ET (1982)

If you haven’t seen ET, then do you even own a television?

This is 80s family entertainment at its very best. ET crash lands on earth and meets Elliott, a young boy who along with his siblings tries to help the lovable alien contact his family.

14. The Kirate Kid (1984)

Daniel moves to Southern California with his mother, Lucille, but quickly finds himself the target of a group of bullies who study karate at the Cobra Kai dojo.

Fortunately, Daniel befriends Mr. Miyagi, an unassuming repairman who just happens to be a martial arts master himself. Miyagi takes Daniel under his wing, training him in a more compassionate form of karate and preparing him to compete against the brutal Cobra Kai.

15. The Little Mermaid (1989)

A Disney classic! 16-year-old mermaid Ariel is fascinated with life on land. On one of her visits to the surface, which are forbidden by her controlling father, King Triton, she falls for a human prince.

Determined to be with her new love, Ariel makes a dangerous deal with the sea witch Ursula to become human for three days.

16. Star Wars

OK, so Star Wars the original was out in 1977, but the two sequels The Empire Strikes Back and
Return of the Jedi are both 80s movies and must be seen. Although the series has spanned many sequels and prequels, nothing can beat the original trio of movies!


Do you have any 80s movies to add?