Top 10 Family Movies from the 80’s

I’m going to put it out there and say one of the best things about having kids is reliving some of the best parts of your childhood. When I was a kid movie nights were up there as a favourite family activity to do together. Going to the video shop, borrowing a bunch of movies, grabbing a bag of coloured popcorn for my mum and brother and the caramel popcorn for my dad and I. Sometimes they would surprise us with a block of Cadbury chocolate as well. It was awesome.

Anyway, lately I have been burning the candle at both ends and got to a point where I just needed to call a timeout on all these crazy projects and ‘to do’ lists. I just needed to step away from it all and take a breath and what better way than with a Friday night movie night.

The thing was, I honestly didn’t think it would be so hard to pick a movie to watch! As we wandered up and down the movie isle looking for an all time classic, I realised there were so many to choose from.

I opened it up to my Facebook page and there were even more suggestions that I hadn’t even considered. I had honestly forgotten how good the 80’s were and how good we had it growing up.

So, to save you time when you have your 80’s movie night or movie marathon, I’ve compiled a must see list of 80’s family movies you have to watch with the kids. This is bound to send you down memory lane.


1986. Fantasy 8+ yrs. PG. Starring: David Bowie, Jennifer Connelly

Let’s start off with an undeniable classic. Labyrinth was a popular choice in our Facebook chat and it seemed there wasn’t an 80’s baby who hadn’t seen it. In case you were under a rock in the 80’s, Labyrinth is about a 16 year old girl, Sarah, who is given 13 hours to journey through a maze to rescue her baby brother from a goblin king. Directed by Jim Hensen (Muppets fame) and produced by George Lucas, it was bound to feature puppets and adventure.

Classic line from the movie: “You remind me of the babe”.

The Neverending Story

1984. Fantasy. 8+ yrs. PG. Starring: Noah Hathaway, Barret Oliver, Tami Stronach

One of the cover movies of the 80’s, The Neverending Story was probably a staple in nearly every video cupboard around Australia. Bastian, a young boy bullied at school, hides in a library and comes across an intriguing book. Swept up by the fantasy, Bastian is thrown into the land of Fantasia that is under threat of being taken over by “The Nothing”. Central character Atreyu is tasked with saving the land.

A classic quote from the movie:

Falkor: Never give up and good luck will find you.

Princess Bride

1987. Comedy, romantic, fantasy 8+ Yrs. PG. Starring: Cary Elwes, Robin Wright, Fred Savage

The Princess Bride is a classic if ever there was one. A love story between a Princess and a ‘commoner’ who go through excessive lengths to be together. Read as a narrative by a Grandfather to his sick Grandson, The Princess Bride is a definite must watch classic.

A classic quote from the movie: “When I was your age, television was called books.”

Honey I shrunk the Kids

1989. Comedy. 6+ yrs. PG. Starring: Rick Moranis, Marcia Strassman, Amy O’Neill

The start of a run of mishap comedies of the 80’s and 90’s, Honey I shrunk the Kids follows inventor Wayne Szalinksi as he… well… shrinks the kids. Very well done and the hit spawned 2 sequels, it’s a movie that is safe for the whole family. Well, unless you have a shrinking machine that is!

A classic quote from the movie: “Honey, I shrunk the kids!”


1988. Fantasy 8+ yrs. PG. Starring: Val Kilmer, Joanne Whalley, Warwick Davis

I have to admit, this is a favourite of mine. Dwarf Willow and his family discover a baby floating on the stream who is destined to rid the kingdom of evil. The evil Queen stops at nothing to capture the baby and kill her, but Willow and his friends have other plans. Directed by Ron Howard and another one produced by George Lucas, it has some dark moments, but the good conquering evil always renders a classic.

A classic snippet from the movie:

Willow: “Blackroot? I’m the father of two children, and you never, ever give a baby blackroot.”

Madmartigan: “Well my mother raised us on it. It’s good for you! It puts hair on your chest, right, Sticks?”

Willow: “Her name is not Sticks! She’s Elora Dannen, the future empress of Tir Asleen and the last thing she’s gonna want is a hairy chest!”


1982. Family 6+ yrs. PG. Starring: Aileen Quinn, Albert Finney, Carol Burnett

An adaptation of the popular stage musical of an orphan girl looking for a new family. She is subsequently adopted by the richest man in America who was just looking to improve his image, but found much more. It’s a feel good story that has even been readapted since.

Classic quote from the movie: “The sun’ll come out tomorrow, so you gotta hang on ’til tomorrow. Come what may. Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love ya, Tomorrow. You’re only a day away.”

The Goonies

1985. Adventure. 10+ yrs. PG. Starring: Sean Astin, Josh Brolin

In order to save their homes from foreclosure, a group of misfit pre-teen kids from the “Goon Docks” set out to find a pirate’s ancient valuable treasure. All the while, ‘The Goonies’ are being chased by a family of criminals. This movie is a good family movie and was a hit when it was released over 30 years ago!

Classic line from the movie:

Andy: I can’t tell… if it’s an “A sharp” or if it’s a “B flat”!

Mikey: Heh, if you hit the wrong note, we’ll all “B flat!”

ET – The Extra-Terrestrial

1982. Sci-Fiction. 7+ yrs. PG. Starring: Henry Thomas, Dee Wallace, Peter Coyote, Drew Barrymore

E.T. was certainly ahead of it’s time and the ultimate cult film that has stood the test of time and is still a favourite today. ET follows the journey of an alien, who has become stranded on earth, and his friend and rescuer Elliott. Directed by Steven Spielberg (who else), it stars a very young and very cute Drew Barrymore and is the epitome of feel good friendship movies.

Classic Line from the movie: “ET phone home”

Karate Kid

1984. Drama. 11+ yrs. PG. Starring: Ralph Macchio, Pat Morita, Elisabeth Shue

The first in a line of successful sequels, The Karate Kid follows the story of Daniel, a young boy who takes up karate to prove himself against his nemesis and win over a girl. He enlists the help of Mr Miyagi who teaches him more than just karate.

Classic line from the movie: “Wax on… wax off. Wax on… wax off.”

Caravan of Courage

1984. Fantasy Adventure. 8+ yrs. PG. Starring: Eric Waller, Warwick Davis.

An ewok film following on from the Star Wars hit Return of the Jedi, Caravan of Courage centres around a family who crash land on the moon of Endor. The children, with the help of the cute little ewoks, have to locate their parents who have been captured by Gorax. The scene with the huge spider is one that might scare younger viewers. I can still remember it vividly all these years later!

Classic lines from the movie:

Mace: “Listen, as soon as I get my gun, we’re history, we’re outta this place.”

Cindel: “Why can’t we stay here with them?”

Mace: “Stay here with these walking hairbrushes? Come on Cindel, they’re animals.”

As I was writing this, I realised there could easily be another ten 80’s family movies thrown in here. It really was the era for great family classics.

What are your favourite movies from the 80’s and have you introduced your kids to any of them yet? We’d love to hear your reviews.

Prefer the 90’s more? Why not check out our Top 10 Classic Family Movies from the 90’s 


9 thoughts on “Top 10 Family Movies from the 80’s

  1. Nita says:

    I dig out The Neverending Story every few years and it just reminds me of good magical times. I love it and your list just reminded me that the 80s movie scene was awesome! I need to re-watch a few of those on your list! #ThatFridayLinky

  2. nightwisprav3n says:

    I have seen every single movie and have introduced The Princess Bride and The Neverending Story to my boys. They loved them! I am still working on introducing them to several more but Back to the Future, while I don’t know if that was considered a family movie or not, is another movie my boys love from the 80’s. Also, their dad introduced them to The Little Monsters, starring Fred Savage. Oh, and Flight of the Navigator is another introduced in our house. Love all these great movies. You have a great list! #anythinggoes

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