Ah, Memories

These Nostalgic ‘80s Family Movies Are Totally Righteous

Time to introduce your kids to the classics.

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Introducing kids to the best '80s family movies makes for great bonding.

Anyone else still yell "Sweep the leg!" at wildly inappropriate moments in your life? If you watched The Karate Kid growing up, you probably do. Nostalgic movie-speak is a fluency for those born in the '70s or '80s. But who can blame Gen X'ers and Gen Y'ers? Memorable one-liners fill the movies made during those formative decades. And isn’t it about time you share those movies with your kids? At the very least, it may help them to appreciate all of your pro-level movie references. Watching '80s family movies on movie night could even become your family's favorite new tradition. You get to relive the glory years of your youth, and your kids get a glimpse into how rad your childhood really was.

But first, a caveat — a conversation, if you will. Let's start with a question: Did you watch movies like Beaches and Grease when you were young without a second thought? You probably liked the friendships, the fantasy, and, yeah, the music. Now that you're a parent, though, you might realize upon rewatching these classics that they aren't quite as tame as you remember them. While your parents didn't flinch hearing you scream-sing “Grease Lighting” (with lines like “the chicks'll cream”), Mom-you might have a very different reaction to Danny Zuko's racy lyrics.

Of course, just like the jokes in Pixar or DreamWorks films, plenty of stuff will sail right over your kiddos' heads. A little planning can always help, too. If you're genuinely worried about inappropriate conversations or scenes, it's always a good time to send your kids for a bathroom break or bust out the "need more salt for the popcorn" excuse. And what's the point of having kids if you can make them go on refill runs to the fridge, anyway?

When you're ready for a cinematic trip down memory lane, pick one (or more) of the following movies. You no doubt watched them with your family as a kid; now go forth and watch them with your own kids. Just be ready with a solid distraction for all the dicey moments you were oblivious to in your own adolescence.

Quintessential ‘80s Family Movies to Stream

1. The NeverEnding Story (1984)

Is there a better, more brilliant movie than The NeverEnding Story? It’s full of action, adventure, strange creatures, and even a bit of romance. Plus, it’s an early Jack Black film! Your kids probably already love him from Kung Fu Panda.

2. The Muppets Take Manhattan (1984)

When you were a kid, you probably had to be in just the right mindset for Muppets movies. Too much sugar? They seemed downright boring. Enjoying a chill night at home with Mom and Dad? Nothing in the whole world could be better than spending time with Kermie and Piggy.

3. The Karate Kid (1984)

This is it. This is the “sweep the leg” moment. This is “wax on, wax off,” and gentle bows, and referring to anyone attempting to be too smart as Mr. Miyagi. If you’re currently obsessed with Cobra Kai, it’s time to introduce your kids to... the prequel. *cackles maniacally*

4. Beetlejuice (1988)

Crazy hair. Weird pants. Super easy catchphrase. Bumpin’ good music. Beetlejuice had it all. And it’s still there. So far, no one has found anything to taint the amazingness that is this Tim Burton classic.

5. Honey, I Shrunk the Kids (1989)

When was the last time you watched this? It’s probably been a few decades. And, honestly, that seems pretty wild when you consider just how often you watched it as a kid. The best part of this film is that, if your kids actually enjoy it, there are sequels! Have a movie marathon. And don’t forget to ask your kids what kind of bonkers inventions they’d like to build.

6. Pretty in Pink (1986)

Are you a huge John Hughes fan? Here's another coming-of-age classic to add to your watch list. Molly Ringwald shines as Andie, an unpopular and poor high school girl from Chicago. Sadly, she's also forgettable in her own family. But everything changes when she catches the attention of popular local boy, Blane. Pretty in Pink is definitely in the hall of fame of teen rom-coms.

7. Splash (1984)

Let's be real, mermaid movies are always a win. In Splash, a young Tom Hanks plays Allen, who is reunited with the beautiful mermaid who saved his life as a boy. Although he doesn't know how she is or that she's a mermaid, he falls in love with her. And as they adventure around New York City, the secret eventually comes out that there's a mermaid in the big apple, and the couple must figure out their relationship.

Other Excellent Family Movies From the ‘80s

  1. Ghostbusters (1984)
  2. Flight of the Navigator (1986)
  3. Big (1988)
  4. The Hugga Bunch (1985)
  5. Here Come the Littles (1985)
  6. Indiana Jones and The Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
  7. The Goonies (1985)
  8. Three Men and a Baby (1987)
  9. Ernest Goes to Camp (1987)
  10. Uncle Buck (1989)
  11. Back to the Future (1985)
  12. Spaceballs (1987)
  13. E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
  14. Harry and the Hendersons (1987)
  15. Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986)
  16. Stand By Me (1986)
  17. Labyrinth (1986)
  18. WarGames (1983)
  19. Sixteen Candles (1984)
  20. Short Circuit (1986)
  21. Overboard (1987)
  22. Willow (1988)
  23. Explorers (1985)
  24. The Great Outdoors (1988)
  25. Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (1988)
  26. An American Tail (1986)
  27. Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure (1985)
  28. The Princess Bride (1987)
  29. The Ewok Adventure (1984)
  30. The Great Muppet Caper (1981)
  31. The Dark Crystal (1982)
  32. All Dogs Go To Heaven (1989)
  33. The Great Mouse Detective (1986)
  34. Transformers: The Movie (1986)
  35. The New Adventures of Pippi Longstocking (1988)
  36. My Neighbor Totoro (1988)
  37. The Adventures of Milo and Otis (1986)
  38. The Last Unicorn (1982)
  39. Follow That Bird (1985)
  40. The Land Before Time (1988)
  41. Annie (1982)
  42. Field of Dreams (1989)
  43. The Boy Who Could Fly (1986)
  44. Three Amigos! (1986)
  45. Hoosiers (1986)
  46. Stand and Deliver (1988)
  47. Time Bandits (1981)
  48. The Secret Garden (1987)
  49. Teen Wolf (1985)
  50. The Journey of Natty Gann (1985)
  51. Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989)
  52. Adventures in Babysitting (1987)
  53. The Little Mermaid (1989)
  54. The Fox and the Hound (1981)
  55. The Black Cauldron (1985)
  56. The Secret of NIMH (1982)
  57. Big Trouble in Little China (1986)
  58. Babes in Toyland (1986)
  59. Popeye (1980)
  60. Oliver & Company (1988)
  61. The Last Starfighter (1984)
  62. Lucas (1986)
  63. Real Genius (1985)

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