75+ 80s movies you need to watch with your kids


80s movies to watch with your kids - ultimate list of over 75 80s movies that will take you back in time.Like many people in their 40s I love returning to the era of my teenage years, enjoying 80s movies, music and TV shows.  I grew up in NYC and live in Australia, but nothing can take me back in time and place like returning to my favourite 80s movies.  

My kids are now teenagers, but their 1980s education began years ago and thankfully they love the era. Playlists from the 80s are our family’s neutral territory for music selection battles. And beginning with a DVD of The Goonies years ago (a huge hit), we have been hunting down more 80s movies to share with them.  Some are painfully hard to source, so creativity and perseverance is necessary. 

This year I finally sat down and made a list of all the 80s movies I wanted to share with them.  These are movies I thought they would like, or that I loved so much I wanted to share with them, even if they turned out to be incredibly dated (The Lost Boys was surprisingly “slow”).

Between streaming services, DVD purchases and iTunes rentals, we have been making huge progress and love sharing our past with our kids. It makes me so happy when one of the films is loved by the teens and I excitedly wait for their reviews.

Adventures in Babysitting, Some Kind of Wonderful and The Legend of Billie Jean thankfully got the tick of approval. Billie Jean inspired my 15-year-old to create her own 80s music playlist, starting with the Pat Benatar anthem “Invincible” that runs through the movie. 

That’s the power of the music and movies – they instantly connect you to an era.

If you want to head back there and share it with your kids, here is my list of must-see 80s movies for your teen’s 80s education. I focused mainly on comedies and key dramatic films, but there’s a goldmine of serious drama and Freddie Kruger-style horror to dig through, too.  Add your own choices and share so we can all add to our lists.  

Awesome 80s movies to watch with your teens

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9 to 5 –  PG (on Netflix)

A Fish Called Wanda – MA 15+

Adventures in Babysitting – M

Roads? Where we going we don’t need roads. – Back to the Future 

Aliens – MA 15+

Back to the Future (series) – PG

The best 80s movies to watch with your kids #80s #movies #teens #80smoviesBeetlejuice – MA 15+

Better Off Dead – PG

Big – PG

Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure – PG (on Netflix)

The Breakfast Club – M (on Netflix)

“We’re all pretty bizarre. Some of us are just better at hiding it, that’s all.” – The Breakfast Club

Can’t Buy Me Love – MA 15+

Class – MA 15+ (on iTunes)

Coming to America – M (on Netflix)

Dead Poet’s Society – PG

Desperately Seeking Susan – M (on Stan)

Die Hard (series) – M

Dirty Dancing – M

ET – PG (on Netflix)

Fast Times at Ridgemount High – M

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off – PG (on Netflix)

“A person should not believe in an ism, he should believe in himself.” – Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

Flash Gordon – PG

Flashdance – M 

Footloose – M 

80s movies to watch with your kids - ultimate list of over 75 80s movies that will take you back in time.Ghostbusters – PG

Gremlins – PG (on Netflix)

Heathers – M 

Just One of the Guys – M

Karate Kid – PG

“Wax on, wax off” – Karate Kid

Lucas – PG

Mystic Pizza – M (on Stan)

Overboard – PG

Parenthood – PG

Planes, Trains and Automobiles – M

Pretty in Pink – M

The Princess Bride – PG

Private Benjamin – MA 15+

Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark (series) – M

Risky Business – MA 15+

“Sometimes you gotta say, ‘What the f*ck.'” – Risky Business

Say Anything – M

Sixteen Candles – PG

Solarbabies – PG

Some Kind of Wonderful – M

Space Camp – PG

Spaceballs – PG

Spies Like Us – PG

80s movies that will take you back to your teen years #80s #moviesSt Elmo’s Fire – MA 15+

Stand by Me – MA 15+

“I never had any friends later on like the ones I had when I was twelve. Jesus, does anyone?” – Stand By Me

Star Wars (series) – PG

Steel Magnolias – MA 15+

Stripes – M

Terminator (series) – R

Teen Wolf – (on Stan)

The Goonies – PG

The Legend of Billie Jean – PG

The Lost Boys – M

The Outsiders – PG

“Get smart and nothing can touch you.” – The Outsiders

Top Gun – PG (on Stan)

Uncle Buck – PG

Valley Girl – M

War Games – PG

Weekend at Bernie’s – M

Weird Science – M (on Netflix)

When Harry Met Sally – M (on Stan)

Ed’s note – Such a great list! As Deb is from the USA, we’ve added some Australian 80s movies to look out for too:

Australian 80s movies to watch with the kids #80smovies #AustralianmoviesGallipoli – M

Puberty Blues – M

The Year of Living Dangeously – M

Crocodile Dundee – M (on Stan)

“I am a rocker, I am a roller, I am an out-of-controller!” – Mad Max

Mad Max (series) – R

The Man From Snowy River – PG

The Year My Voice Broke – M

BMX Bandits – G

Quick note on ratings

Australian classifications and ratings have been used. These have changed since the 80s and we’ve updated to reflect the new ratings where we can. For example, M 15+ is now MA 15+.  Remember: previewing and the fast forward button are your friends. Also check out Common Sense Media for real-life reviews and advice on ratings.

Did we miss your top pick? What are your favourite 80s movies?

The best 80s movies to watch with the kids - awesome way to spend time together #80smovies #teens #movies

Written by Deb Dane

Deb Dane is a writer, silversmith and artist at Inner Compass Designs. She writes about following your own path in life, taking care of your own needs and living an authentic life. These messages are carried through to her handmade jewelry, wall hangings and art. You can find Deb at Inner Compass Designs and on Instagram.

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