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The 5 Best 80's Movies Your Kids Have to See

Updated on May 9, 2015

As a child of the 80's, I would like to consider myself an expert on the greatest movies from that decade that are geared towards kids. They are the flicks that I see and instantly lose my breath, totally filled with nostalgia. Somehow, even in the 30 years that have passed, the special effects still are impressive and the plots are so classic that they can't possibly be matched - kids traveling to space, being shrunk and forced to battle larger than life creatures, and single-handedly finding a way to return aliens to outer space. And a couple animated classics whose success can only be proven by the production of their various sequels. Whether you purchase these movies for your children, or just for yourself, they will surely add some warmth to the home!

image © gardenharbor

Honey, I Shrunk the Kids

Honey, I Shrunk the Kids
Honey, I Shrunk the Kids

In "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids", inventor Dad Wayne accidentally shrinks his kids, sending them on an adventure through their backyard to make it home and hopefully regain their normal size.I don't know why, but the idea of battling the creatures of the backyard is a dream of most kids. And when it's because of your parent's own mistake? Even better! This is a great movie for kids, but also enjoyable for adults, so it is a perfect choice for a family movie night.


"Honey, I Shrunk the Kids" was a huge success in it's time, and was thus followed by two sequels - "Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves" and "Honey, I Blew Up the Kid." If your family enjoyed the first, then they certainly will get a kick out of the second and third.


E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial Anniversary Edition
E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial Anniversary Edition

E.T. tells the story of an alien lost on Earth who is befriended and hidden from his parents by 10-year old Elliot. Together, the two embark on a journey to get the alien (E.T.) back home.It is rare to find a child that doesn't believe (even if it's just a little bit!) that aliens exist, so this movie will really hit home for them.This is a true classic that will be loved by parents and kids, so it is another great choice for a family movie night.


The Land Before Time

The Land Before Time (Anniversary Edition)
The Land Before Time (Anniversary Edition)

"The Land Before Time" is one of those amazing classics that tells an unbelievable story, while also teaching your kids some history without them even knowing it.After a meteor hits Earth, a group of young dinosaurs are separated from their parents and go on a journey to find their family and the Fertile Valley.This is a very touching and funny story and your children are guaranteed to get attached to the characters. As an adult, you will also fall in love with the plot line, so this is definitely a good family night movie choice.


The success of "The Land Before Time" led to not only 2 or 3 sequels - but 13! So if your family has fallen in love with Little Foot and Cera, then you will be set for the next few years.

Space Camp

Space Camp
Space Camp

In Space Camp, a group of campers are accidentally sent into space when their flight simulation actually takes off. The movie follows the harrowing journey of trying to get back to Earth.You don't have to love space to be a kid and love this movie. It is a classic kid-saves-the-day scenario that everyone dreams of in their early years.This is another great classic that kids and adults will love - perfect for a fun family movie night.


An American Tail

An American Tail
An American Tail

"An American Tail" is an animated classic that often gets overlooked by competing Disney flicks, but tells an amazing story that is heart-wrenching, funny, and suspenseful.Mouse Fievel embarks on a journey with his family from Russia to New York to find a better life for themselves. Amidst the travels, Fievel is separated from his family, which is when the true journey to find them begins.For me, there is no movie that triggers as much nostalgia as "An American Tail." If your kids love animated films, this is one they must see.


As with most animated classics, once there's a hit, there will certainly be sequels to follow. "An American Tail" is no exception and is followed by three more films that document Fievel's adventures.

What are your favorite 80's movies for kids?

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    • asereht1970 profile image


      4 years ago

      An American Tail and The Land Before Time are some of my favorites

    • asereht1970 profile image


      4 years ago

      An American Tail and The Land Before Time are some of my favorites

    • Charito1962 profile image

      Charito Maranan-Montecillo 

      4 years ago from Manila, Philippines

      I like "E.T." and the "shrinking" trilogy!

    • josietook profile image


      5 years ago

      ET was the first movie I ever saw in the cinema, great film.

    • Kaylab123 LM profile image

      Kaylab123 LM 

      5 years ago

      This list is so amazing! I watched pretty much all of these when I was a kid. An American Tail, and Fievel Goes West were two of my favorites! Honey, I shrunk the Kids was also one of my favorites. Oh, and the Land Before Time was hands down my most favorite when I was really young! Thanks for sharing! So much nostalgia happening right now! :)

    • chrisilouwho profile image


      5 years ago

      This is great list!

    • zentao profile image


      5 years ago

      Great collection of oldies but goodies. These were all good kids movies when I was younger, and that hasn't changed. Still great options for the little ones, plus some nostalgia for us.

    • TJHousel profile image


      5 years ago from NE Ohio

      Great list as a little kid in the 80s and a teen in the 90s, I LOVE, LOVE this list. I've pinned it to my boards on Pinterest to make sure I remember what they are!

    • boneworld profile image

      Jackson Thom 

      5 years ago from West of Left South Lucky

      My son loves The land Before Time. We've seen them all like 20-times. He might go for An American Tail. Not sure about the rest, though. What about Goonies?

    • snakey74 profile image


      5 years ago

      My kids would have to watch any and all of the John Hughes films when they are old enough to "get" it. Ghostbusters, Top Gun, The Lost Boys, Dirty Dancing, The Princess Bride...the list could go on and on.

    • Coffee-Break profile image

      Dorian Bodnariuc 

      5 years ago from Ottawa, Ontario Canada

      From your list ET is my favorite. I watched it a few times.


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