This was a tough list, because there are some great children’s movies that didn’t make the list, like “The Neverending Story” “The Little Mermaid” and “Labyrinth” and “E.T.” We also should mention that movies like “The Breakfast Club” were not included because those are more targeted to teens. These are movies targeted at kids and families. There was a great selection of kids flicks in the 80s, and these are the ones we hold closest to our hearts.
5. The Goonies: This movie would be higher on the list if it weren’t for a couple corny monologues about “Our time down here” and wishes not coming true at the bottom of a well. But all things considered, this is a classic that’s withstood time. This movie doesn’t feel super 80s, either. Sure, the fashion is a little lame, but this movie could be made now and be a success. Chester Copperpot would be proud.
4. Stand by Me: This was a very sentimental film, but it knew when to pull back and lighten the moment with humor, fantasy and suspense. While the storyline may seem bleak for children — a group of boys goes on the search for the body of a missing boy — the fibers of this film are strong because it’s really about a universal subject all children face: the loss of innocence. All of these characters are someone we knew as children, the abused, the insecure, the weak, the arrogant, the dreamer. It’s not about the goal, it’s about the bonds between friends and the challenges in life they’re trying to escape.
3. The Princess Bride: This film has it all — adventure, romance, hilarious characters, delightful villains, an enchanting world and a classic story with a fresh voice. Rob Reiner did a stupendous job of bringing a romance/fantasy movie that didn’t take itself too seriously. There are elements to this story that can be enjoyed by all ages.
2. Back to the Future: Don’t need money, don’t need fame, don’t need no credit card to ride this train…. But you do need plutonium. I ❤ back to the future. I love Doc Brown, Einstein the dog, Marty, the McFly family, the mean principal, the DeLorean, Biff, and even the soundtrack. Academy Award-winning director Robert Zemeckis (Forest Gump) brings us a fun, adventurous film that bridged the gap between 80s kids and their parents who grew up in the 50s and 60s. I even love the sequels. If you don’t like this movie, you can make like a tree and get outta here.
1. Karate Kid: I must have seen this movie six times in the theater when I was a kid. I adored it. My brother and I karate chopped each other into oblivion — crane kicks and all. This is one of the best coming-of-age movies ever, with a wonderful combination of a come-from-behind tale, action, comedy, and drama. Pat Morita was flawless in his delivery of Mr. Kesuke Miyagi, the teacher, the father figure, the wise man with a broken heart and no family. But he finds those parts of himself again in Daniel Larusso (Ralph Macchio), a Jersey kid new to California that gets picked on by a group of local karate bullies. The two bond, Daniel grows into a man, and becomes stronger while Miyagi grows softer, less rigid. This is a movie that will always live on — even if there’s remakes. Sweep the leg.