As a kid, I still remember the magic of going to the movies and being transported to a fantastic story. Before you could watch just about anything on demand, the hype for these films was great; I’d watch commercial trailers for weeks on TV before it opened, see the posters going up at the theater, and maybe even get a special toy related to the new release. But what really made these movies special were the stories. The kids’ movies of the 1980s focused a lot on science fiction and fantasy, transporting us to another world through fantastic plots and ground-breaking special effects. The world of computers was becoming an exciting new frontier, and themes related to new technology and new possibilities were popping up everywhere. While times have changed drastically since these 80s family movies were made, the stories still hold up as fun adventures for all ages. These 1980s movies for kids are fun, engaging, and still deliver the magic they did when they were first made, so kids today will have just as much fun watching them as we did.
The theme of ghosts, goblins, and fighting evil are nothing new and still popping up in current films. But this movie put a special spin on fighting the supernatural that’s still fun and memorable today. And it doesn’t hurt that this 80s family movie has one of the most memorable theme songs of all time; I still remember dancing around to it at a school Halloween party way back when. Comedians Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, and Bill Murray team up in this witty and fun film about New York City exterminators called in to get rid of ghosts. The movie isn’t too scary, and kids will like effects like being “slimed” with green goo-a special effect that just never gets old. Before there were the Men in Black, the Ghostbusters rolled into town to save the day.
The Goonies (1985)
The Goonies is the original junior adventure flick, featuring a band of kids who must work together in the face of danger to save their homes. When an evil developer buys out their neighborhood and plans to flatten their homes in the name of corporate greed, these friends are devastated. However, they find a treasure map that could change the fate of everything. Armed with a little bravery and each other, these teens travel through a secret underground world, full of exciting obstacles like waterfalls, tunnels, a dusty pipe organ with a secret code, and even a pirate ship. This 80s kids’ movie will keep everyone at the edge of their seats until the end, and while other good adventure movies do exist, The Goonies is one of the best, 80s or not.
Anyone who grew up in the 1980s will remember the furry, lovable creature named Gizmo and all of the trouble he caused in this classic 1980s family film. While there are some scary and gross parts to this film (I wouldn’t show it to young children), overall it’s a fun tale of wondering just what will happen next. The hoopla starts when a boy named Zach is given an unusual creature for Christmas who comes with an even more unusual set of rules: Don’t get him wet, don’t feed him after midnight, and keep him away from direct sunlight. But as the first rule is quickly broken and the creature is dampened, he spawns more creatures like him who quickly create chaos. Zach must figure out how to stop them before they try to take over the world, or else. Despite the occasional gross-out, Gremlins continues to be an original fantasy tale that adults and kids will enjoy.
The Great Muppet Caper (1981)
Following just two years on the heels of the successful The Muppet Movie, The Great Muppet Caper is a classic all on its own, starring the witty and fun original Muppets so many grew to love over the years. Our favorite furry creatures are in London, trying to track down the jewel thief who stole Lady Holiday’s diamond necklace. Great songs, dance numbers, and even synchronized swimming with Miss Piggy make this 80s movie for kids a memorable hit. All of the one-liners, celebrity cameos, and fun plot will have kids and adults alike enjoying this film from beginning to end.
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