10 ’80s Movies That Your Kids Need to See

Ahhhh, the classics

In order to help you set up quality at-home screen time, we got Common Sense Media to curate a list of the top ‘80s movies perfect for family movie nights. Kids are sure to fall for these timeless classics, which include everything from underground comedies to groundbreaking action franchises, and we’re pretty sure you’ll enjoy reminiscing about (or reveling in!) the pre-cell phone era. And when you’re done with these, check out our favorite ‘90s TV shows that kids will still love. 

The Secret of Nimh is one of the best 80s movies for kids

The Secret of Nimh (1982)
This classic ’80s animated film about a group of intelligent rats who escape from an animal laboratory is suspenseful and rather dark. Several scenes include animal children in peril and a sword fight between rats ending in one death with a little blood. The worst part for sensitive viewers is a flashback shows the animated animals being imprisoned and injected with a needle.

Recommended for ages 8 & up.

Rated G.


best 80s movies ghostbusters

Ghostbusters (1984)

Parents need to know that Ghostbusters is an iconic ’80s movie that mixes a ton of humor (some of it fairly racy) with the plotline about catching scary ghosts (a few are skeletal and scary) and the possible end of the world. The scariest part is probably the large dogs with glowing eyes that attack and possess two characters, though the now-dated special effects may not faze older kids. 

Recommended for ages 11 & up

Rated PG

E.T. is one of the best 80s movies to watch with kids

E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
E.T. is an outstanding family movie—one of the all-time best. Its themes of loyalty, trust, and caring are both affecting and easy to understand, and Elliott and E.T.’s extraordinary friendship is one of cinema’s most enduring. After more than 25 years, E.T. continues to tug at heartstrings and prove Spielberg is a master storyteller.

Recommended for ages 7 & up.

Rated PG

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