30 Classic 80s Movies for the Whole Family

Veg out with some totally rad movies from the 80s that are perfect for both kids and adults.

Published September 9, 2022
Mother and daughters eating popcorn on 80s movie night

The 1980s produced some of the most memorable and classic films ever made. Where would we be without E.T., The Princess Bride, The Karate Kid and Ghostbusters? These films not only entertained, they shaped the minds and imaginations of an entire generation, and they just might capture the heart of anyone who watches them - in any era. Take a walk down memory lane together by watching a classic 80s movie with your kids. Invite them to share in epic cinematic adventures that will leave them forever changed.

Top 80s Cartoon Movies to Watch With Kids

The cartoons of the 80s forever hold a special place in so many people's hearts. Just hearing their titles might transport you to your childhood and bring back memories of sitting around the TV to watch them and giggling with your siblings and cousins. Maybe your parents even have some of these classic cartoons from yesteryear recorded on VHS. It was a time of simplicity and fun. Reminisce by watching a few unforgettable 80s cartoons with your kids.

An American Tail

The moment when Fievel and his sister sing to the moon is probably embedded in the mind of every 80s child. Debuting in 1986, An American Tail tells the story of a Russian mouse and his family traveling to the U.S. He gets separated from his family and must survive on his own. With the help of the cat, Tiger, they find their way back to one another.

The Little Mermaid

While most 80s kids wanted to be a mermaid, Ariel was obsessed with the human world. After falling in love at first sight with Eric, a land-dwelling human, Ariel makes a deal with an evil sea witch to grow some legs. It takes a wild adventure and a squawking pigeon to find their way to love in each other's arms.

The Land Before Time

Join Littlefoot and his friends in this 1988 classic. Get taken back to the stars and friendship, and who could forget sweet little Ducky? Yep, yep, yep! Your kids are sure to enjoy the adventure of these little dinosaurs as they try to stay out of the Sharptooth's grip.

The Last Unicorn

Love, adventure, and a bit of magic make The Last Unicorn a movie you will never forget. Follow Amalthea as she tries to figure out if she truly is the last unicorn of her kind. Watch her fall in love with Prince Lir before making her way back to her forest home.

All Dogs Go to Heaven

Get the tissues ready for this one! Charlie is a bad dog, literally. But, when he escapes from heaven, he finds a little girl that captures his heart. He has to work to keep her safe before going back to heaven.

Oliver & Company

While the animation of 1988 might have your little one skeptical, the wonderful music in Oliver & Company is sure to win their heart. Follow little Oliver the cat as he tries to make a place with Dodger and his crew before finding a home in Jenny's arms. With a loan shark looking for them, it's a fun and musical adventure.

The Fox and the Hound

Who would ever think that a fox and hound could be friends? Well, Disney did. The Fox and the Hound follows the budding friendship of Copper and Tod. However, they soon learn it's hard for a dog and a fox to be friends. Have the tissues on hand for Tod's heartbreaking trip back to the forest.

Famous Family-Friendly Movies From the 80s

Dive into these classic 80s films your whole family will enjoy. Just remember, some scenes are just as hard to watch as they were when you were young. E.T. going home will always cause a few tears to fall.

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial

You couldn't have an 80s movie list without including the 1982 classic E.T. This little alien buries himself right in your heart and will have you bawling like a baby when he says, "I'll be right here." Oh, the feels. Your whole family is sure to cherish this cinematic masterpiece.


Do you need a little 80s adventure? Check out Willow. From a special baby to an evil queen, this movie has it all. Watch as Willow Ufgood does his best to protect the child that can save them all.


Labyrinth has become a cult classic. With the genius minds of Jim Henson and George Lucas behind it, it was destined to make history. Labyrinth tells the story of Sarah, who tries to save her brother from the Goblin King. Add in some fun music and zany muppets, and it's a thrilling step back in time.

The Neverending Story

Open a book and get captured by magic. It's a tale that kids need to hear. Sit with your family and watch Bastian as he falls in love with The Neverending Story. Get lost when reality and fiction merge into one as the princess waits for Bastian to call her name. Just be prepared for a few tears when Artax gets lost in the swamps of sadness.

The Princess Bride

The 80s loved to show you how books could sweep you away. The Princess Bride was no different. During a bout with illness, a grandfather reads his grandson a story that comes to life. It tells of Buttercup and her Westley. While Prince Humperdinck tries to sweep Buttercup away, Westley and his crew find their way back to her.

Harry and the Hendersons

Have you ever hit a bigfoot? Well, the Hendersons did. And Harry became a big part of their family. This fun family picture shows you the true love of family, even when an unlikely creature becomes part of it.


Many children spend hours in their treehouse imagining they are going to space. In Explorers, Ben turns his dream into reality. With the help of Wolfgang and Darren, they build a spaceship that takes them to Wak and Neek. Some of the humor might be a little old school, but you're sure to have a laugh.


Looking for a movie to tug at your family's heartstrings? Then Annie is a top choice. Whether she's cleaning in her orphanage or moving into a mansion, little orphan Annie makes every moment shine. Sure, there are some sad moments, but overall, you'll be left with feel-good memories.

A Christmas Story

The movie A Christmas Story is gaining an audience again. You'll see shirts and pajamas featuring this holiday classic at many stores during the holiday season. Get the popcorn ready and watch Ralphie as he tries to convince everyone from his parents to Santa that he needs a Red Ryder BB gun. It doesn't matter how old you are, you can't help but laugh.

The Boy Who Could Fly

Looking for a movie with a bit of a serious vibe and some fantasy? Check out The Boy Who Could Fly. Milly takes an interest in her neighbor Eric, who doesn't speak. Milly and Eric connect in a way that makes Mrs. Sherman ask her to keep an eye on him. However, Eric is truly a special human being.

Greatest 80s Movies to Watch With Older Kids

The movies of the 80s are fun. However, some aren't going to keep your tweens and teens interested. Gather them around the TV to watch some of these epic classics that have a theme older kids can appreciate.


"Goonies never say die." This line alone is part of every 80s movie lover's vernacular. Get your family ready for a fun-filled adventure as the Goonies try to find One-Eyed Willy's treasure before the town is bought out. From robbers to Sloth to walking the plank, they experience it all.

Short Circuit

Robots were an exciting thing of the future in the 80s, kind of like the internet. But who didn't love to watch a movie about them? Number 5 takes the cake in this funny little adventure. Watch as Number 5 escapes and meets Stephanie. The Three Stooges number is sure to tickle your funny bone.

Flight of the Navigator

Could you imagine going into a spaceship only to find out that you're the navigator? David goes for just that adventure. Get nostalgic and enjoy his flight into the future with the wacky spaceship. While the CG isn't going to be what your kids are used to, it will definitely make them appreciate modern technology.

Back to the Future

Who could forget Marty McFly? With the help of the eccentric scientist Doc Brown, he travels back in time to his parent's high school days. Not only does he bring them together, but he has an epic guitar scene. It's one of those movies that's unforgettable.

Stand By Me

Stand By Me is one of those 80s movies that really stays with you. It tells the story of Gordie and his friends as they search for a missing boy. Through their journey, they gain a new perspective and grow up in the process. Rather than claim fame by reporting the body, they do it anonymously. It truly makes you cherish your childhood friendships.

Adventures in Babysitting

Babysitting isn't supposed to be adventurous. You watch some kids and get paid. Well, Chris gets roped into babysitting after her date is canceled. From there, she has the adventure of a lifetime with the kids in her care while they try to track down Sarah. It's one of those wacky adventures that keeps you laughing.


This is the movie that started it all. There was definitely something strange in the neighborhood. When Peter, Ray, Winston, and Egon have a ghost encounter, they start the Ghostbusters. After an encounter with the marshmallow man and Zuul, they get things done. The computer graphics might not be the best, but the dialogue is priceless.

Ferris Bueller's Day Off

Like a lot of seniors, Ferris doesn't feel like going to school. While playing hooky, he has an epic adventure in the city. From being in a parade to dodging his sister, his parents, and the school principal who has it out for him, this is a fun classic the whole family will enjoy. And you won't be able to stop yourself from saying, "Bueller? Bueller? Anyone? Anyone?" Keep in mind this one is rated PG-13.

Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

Who Framed Roger Rabbit is an easy movie to remember. While a lot of the humor is a little crude and more geared for adult sensibilities, it's a fun watch for the family. This movie is truly one of the iconic live-action movies exploring if cartoons really existed. Find out what happens when Roger needs a toon-hating detective's help to be cleared of murder.


Your kids have probably heard Beetlejuice referenced on social media. But have they ever watched this iconic movie? Strap in together for a wild ride as Lydia discovers the ghost of Barbara and Adam in her new house. After attempting to get rid of the Deetzs, Barbara and Adam get help from Beetlejuice. It was not their best decision.

The Karate Kid

You've probably muttered, "Wax on, wax off," while cleaning your car. It's just natural. Share the joy of Mr. Miyagi and Danielson in this heartwarming classic. This is also a good one if you are watching the current series, Cobra Kai. Your kids will learn where it all started.


The phrase, "you shouldn't eat after midnight" takes on a whole new and scary level in Gremlins. This cult classic follows Billy and his new pet, Gizmo. When Gizmo eats after midnight, the Gremlins come to life, literally. These crazy little creatures cause all kinds of mayhem.


Tom Hanks was a household name in 1988. In this hit film, he plays Josh, who wants nothing more than to be bigger. Well, he gets a bit more than he bargained for when he becomes a full-blown adult. See how well he hacks it as a kid in the body of a grown-up!

Magical 80s Movies to Watch As a Family

Take a walk down memory lane by sitting down together to watch a fun, family movie from the 80s. The lingo might be a little different, but the storylines are universally appealing and stand the test of time. Some of the best cult classics came from the 80s and 90s.

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30 Classic 80s Movies for the Whole Family