I was born in the 80s and grew up in the 90s. These were great times for movies for kids, and as I have always loved movies, and was raised by people who love movies, I have a list of films I grew up with from many different decades that I have been happy to pass down to my own kids. I have compiled a list of tried and true movies that my husband and I have shown our kids on family movie nights, aside from the obvious like Star Wars, Home Alone, and the Disney classics.
I have also made a small list of movies that I would like to show them, but either haven’t gotten around to, or think I should wait just a little longer on for various reasons.
Honey I Shrunk the Kids – A classic movie full of excitement, science, and fun.
Harry and the Hendersons – A heartfelt film full of Bigfoot hijinx.
Little Shop of Horrors – My kids love the music (and so do we). It has a few questionable words and themes, but they mostly go over their heads and they love it.
The Wizard of Oz – A timeless classic that each of my kids have loved their whole lives. It holds up!
Singin’ In the Rain – Another classic that translates to the audience all these years later. The kids love to sing and dance along with the stars, and it’s so entertaining, they just want to watch over and over again.
E.T. – I’ve seen this movie over and over again for my whole life, and still, if I sit down and watch, the ending has me crying my eyes out. This movie has such heart, and it touches anyone who watches it.
Escape to Witch Mountain – This is such a weird movie. But I was excited to see it again after all these years. The acting and special effects aren’t great, but it’s a fun one for kids because the protagonists are kids who have special powers. My son was playing his harmonica for a week after watching this, trying to make household objects move. I did this too after watching this movie as a kid.
Gremlins – This was a fun one to show the kids. They are always saying they want to watch “scary” movies, and this was right up their alley. A little scary, but not too much for them to handle. And Gizmo is so cute!
Jurassic Park – This is also a “scary” movie my kids love! The jump scares get their hearts pumping, and they love the dinosaurs. It’s always a fun one to revisit.
The Sandlot – A total classic. My parents like this movie because it takes place when they grew up. I love it because it reminds me of being a kid. And my kids love it for the jokes and action. It just makes you want to grab a glove and go play some baseball.
Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure – This was a long-running favorite of mine as a kid. It came out in 1989, and I believe somewhere in 1990 or 1991, every Friday when my dad would take me to Super-Star Video in Chino, California, for about a six-month period, this was the movie I picked out for myself EVERY week. So I’m sorry if you tried to check it out at that video store in that time frame. It’s a hilarious movie, and my whole family is now looking forward to the third installment of the movie, Bill & Ted Face the Music, due out August 21, 2020.
The Princess Bride – This movie has everything (In the voice of Stefon from SNL). Far off places, daring sword fights, a prince in disguise! I know, I’m just quoting Belle, talking about her favorite book. But maybe she was reading The Princess Bride! Because that really does describe this movie. Rob Reiner, who directed the film said that they had a hard time marketing the movie because they didn’t know how to describe it. Comedy? Yep. Romance? Yep. Action flick? Sure is. And people who watch it, love it. Young and old, big and small. It’s sure to make you smile.
The Goonies – The Goonies is a great movie! Fun young cast that mostly went on to do other great stuff. It’s got a lot of heart, and a great theme song. Exciting and fun-filled for sure.
Flight of the Navigator – This is a great movie with a super original story. The whole family loves it, and it has a young Sarah Jessica Parker, and the voice of Paul Reubens (Pee-Wee Herman), so what else could you possibly want?
Willow – This is a fantastic movie! The acting of Warwick Davis and Val Kilmer is so dang good. It’s a fun adventure, and after over 30 years, we are getting a sequel series!
Pee Wee’s Big Adventure – “I know you are, but what am I?”, “I’m listening to reason!”, “Tell em Large Marge sent ya!”, “I’m a loner, Dottie. A Rebel.”, “There’s no basement in the Alamo!”, “Mr. Herman, Paging Mr. Herman.” I could go on, but you get the point. I love this movie.
Movies we still need to show them are:
Pippi Longstocking and The Chipmunk Adventure – These were favorites of mine that are hard to find. They are never on streaming services, and are really expensive on Amazon. I think we may have done The Chipmunk Adventure on YouTube years ago, but it deserves a re-watch.
Groundhog Day and What About Bob?– It just recently occurred to me that my bigger kids would probably like these movies. They’re fun, and my kids are already Bill Murray fans from Ghostbusters, so we should probably arrange a viewing.
Adventures in Babysitting and Big – I haven’t done these ones yet because of the adult themes. For the most part, both movies are funny and exciting and my kids would love them, but there are a couple of scenes that I want to skip. Maybe I’ll just do that.
My Girl – Same deal, kind of a heavy movie for kids. But I think my oldest would really like this movie. I’ll have to arrange it at some point. I loved this movie as a kid, as well as its sequel, and we are a pretty open family when talking about death, so I’ll keep this one in mind.
So there you have it. Let me know if I mentioned any of your favorites, and what you’d want to add to the list. There are plenty more fun ones!