Throwback Movies Your Kids Will Love
Show your family the films that were all the rage in the '80s and '90s
We’re in the middle of a pop-culture revival that is looking back on some of the popular shows and movies from 20 or 30 years ago for modern reboots.
Every time a classic movie remake is announced, there’s always someone who proclaims, “They’re going to ruin it!” or “It won’t be as good as the original!”
Still, movie remakes often add a new spin to some of our favorite flicks and should be embraced rather than discouraged. After all, the originals from the ’80s and ’90s are still available, and that’s why you should be taking the time to watch them as a family. These classics haven’t changed and still offer a good time for all. It’s time to dust off the VCR you have in storage.
Legwarmers, parachute pants, and big hair optional.
Gremlins (PG – 1984) — The Mogwai is the cutest little fuzzball you’ve ever seen. He’s got a great temperament, he’s cuddly, and there’s not an evil thought in his head. Unless you break one of the three rules necessary to caring for them. While it can be a bit scary or violent once the gremlins get free, most children have seen worse thanks to today’s entertainment anyway. And because it’s set around Christmas, now is the perfect time to sit down with your kids and enjoy it together.
The Goonies (PG – 1985) — There’s nothing more compelling than hunting for pirate’s treasure, but mix in a group of rag-tag juveniles running from a trio of bumbling criminals and you’ve got the setting for a great movie to share with your family. Aside from answering questions like, “Why is that hobbit in the movie?” odds are, your children will watch quietly as Corey Feldman cracks wise as “Mouth,” or while Chunk does his Truffle Shuffle. Be prepared to watch your kids entertain you with their version of the dance for weeks after viewing.
The NeverEnding Story (PG – 1984) — A fantasy tale come to life, “The NeverEnding Story” is a brilliant mix of action, drama, and comedy. It encourages reading, albeit subtly, but your children will love it for the adventure it represents. The cast of characters is Henson-esque, making them lovable and unforgettable, while the plot is deeper than you may have realized when you first watched it as a child. The movie delves into some deeper emotions, including death of a beloved companion, so be sensitive to your children’s responses.
Labyrinth (PG – 1986) — If you can get past David Bowie in tights, this is another great fantasy for the whole family. Anybody who has a younger sibling has undoubtedly wished the Goblin King would come take them away at some point. In “Labyrinth,” it really happens. Whether Jennifer Connelly truly regrets the wish or just doesn’t want to get grounded isn’t clear, but her quest to get her little brother back is wrought with suspense. Directed by Jim Henson, the creatures she meets on her journey are silly, scary, and cute, and the humor is just juvenile enough to get laughs all around.
Honey, I Shrunk the Kids (PG – 1989) — Rick Moranis plays the perfect bumbling father and inventor, and the movie itself – aside from the “accident” – gives a realistic look at the struggles that parents sometimes have with their children. The idea of being shrunk down to the size of a bug adds some a lot of tension, but also will help spark your child’s imagination. If they’ve ever wondered what it would be like to be a bug, they will know now.
The Mighty Ducks (PG – 1992) — Who doesn’t love an underdog story? In the vein of “The Bad News Bears,” a team of bumbling peewee hockey players is against all odds until they meet a new coach. It’s great for the family because the movie teeter-totters between the “kids being kids,” while the grown-ups make mistakes and overreact — the way children see the world currently. It helps teach us all a lesson though as the kids and the coach start to understand and respect each other just in time to overcome adversity.
The Little Giants (PG – 1994) – Another tale about underdogs overcoming adversity, this one takes place on the gridiron and sprinkles in some cultural issues still relevant today. After his talented daughter doesn’t make the peewee football team because she’s a girl, Rick Moranis decides to coach his own team made up entirely of kids who weren’t considered “good enough” for various reasons. It deals with problems that we still face today, but does it in a way that your children will relate to an understand. The humor is thick and the characters have personalities that we can all recognize, making it a good movie to view if you need to address similar issues with your own kids.
Home Alone (PG – 1990) — If you or your kids are sensitive to violence, skip this one, because it makes violence funny. Another classic Christmas movie, your kids will love watching a child outsmart a couple of adults using common household items and toys. Throw in the idea of being on your own, with no rules, and watch as they stare wide-eyed at the possibilities. You might want to make sure they don’t try to re-enact any scenes, though.
The ’80s and ’90s covers two decades of great movies that are perfect for sharing with your children and, as you read, there was undoubtedly one of your favorites that wasn’t included. All movies listed are rated PG, meaning it’s ultimately up to you to decide what your children see. Adding your own personal favorites will make for a fun holiday season together as a family.