Childhood Favourites

by Ashkevron | created - 11 Oct 2011 | updated - 16 Feb 2012 | Public

For good, bad, or ugly, these are the movies I loved as a child growing up in the 1980s. I watched these over and over and over, knew the songs, the score, the dialogue--and still have a soft spot for them in my heart, even if the Adult Version of me now recognizes that some of these are not exactly great cinema.

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1. The Secret of NIMH (1982)

G | 82 min | Animation, Adventure, Drama

7.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

To save her ill son, a field mouse must seek the aid of a colony of rats, with whom she has a deeper link than she ever suspected.

Director: Don Bluth | Stars: Elizabeth Hartman, Derek Jacobi, Dom DeLuise, Arthur Malet

Votes: 30,256 | Gross: $10.14M

To this day, my family quotes rather random things from this movie. "Tomorrow we leave for Corn Valley," "Justin! Your sword!", "The leader of the rats..." and "Reveal... my... name" are all used to signify all manner of things, from "Let's go on a holiday" to "Hello." I loved it because it was dark and--at the time--felt very adult. It's also beautifully animated.

2. The Last Unicorn (1982)

G | 92 min | Animation, Adventure, Drama

7.5
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A brave unicorn and a magician fight an evil king who is obsessed with attempting to capture the world's unicorns.

Directors: Jules Bass, Arthur Rankin Jr. | Stars: Jeff Bridges, Mia Farrow, Angela Lansbury, Alan Arkin

Votes: 20,738 | Gross: $6.46M

Often, I will see kids who will watch one movie over and over and over again, sometimes twice in a row. I find that behaviour mystifying now. But that was this movie for me. I spent one entire Summer watching this over and over again. It failed to make me an America fan, but it's one of my favourite non-Disney soundtracks for an animated movie.

3. Short Circuit (1986)

PG | 98 min | Comedy, Family, Sci-Fi

6.6
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50 Metascore

Number 5 of a group of experimental robots in a lab is electrocuted, suddenly becomes intelligent, and escapes.

Director: John Badham | Stars: Ally Sheedy, Steve Guttenberg, Fisher Stevens, Austin Pendleton

Votes: 47,606 | Gross: $40.70M

4. Back to the Future (1985)

PG | 116 min | Adventure, Comedy, Sci-Fi

8.5
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86 Metascore

Marty McFly, a 17-year-old high school student, is accidentally sent thirty years into the past in a time-traveling DeLorean invented by his close friend, the maverick scientist Doc Brown.

Director: Robert Zemeckis | Stars: Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson, Crispin Glover

Votes: 829,238 | Gross: $210.61M

A classic. Mom rented it sometime in 1986, and I was originally too scared to watch it. Thank goodness I got over that fear. The first non-animated movie I ever watched, it made me a lifelong fan of pretty much everyone involved.

5. The Chipmunk Adventure (1987)

G | 77 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy

7.2
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The Chipmunks compete with the Chipettes in a round the world race.

Director: Janice Karman | Stars: Ross Bagdasarian Jr., Janice Karman, Dody Goodman, Susan Tyrrell

Votes: 4,449 | Gross: $6.80M

This was my introduction to The Chipmunks, before I had any idea they had been around since the 1960s. I was always very mesmerized by the rubber-like movements of the characters, who gesture so wildly most of the time I'd play entire scenes in slo-mo ("Girls of Rock 'n' Roll," natch) just to catch the nuances. Loved the soundtrack. Made The Chipmunks TV series a Saturday morning ritual.

6. Legend (1985)

PG | 89 min | Adventure, Fantasy, Romance

6.5
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30 Metascore

A young man must stop the Lord of Darkness from both destroying daylight and marrying the woman he loves.

Director: Ridley Scott | Stars: Tom Cruise, Mia Sara, Tim Curry, David Bennent

Votes: 50,419 | Gross: $15.50M

Watched this in 1987, after my older sister watched it at school and came home describing an entirely different movie in which the Darkness and Lily sub-plot took up 90% of the film. Even as kids, we found some bits silly... but it had faeries, beautiful costumes, an ace soundtrack, and we all thought Darkness was much cooler than poor, nearly mute Jack. As this was my introduction to Tom Cruise, I watched it free of preconceptions of the 'Top Gun' variety.

7. The Sound of Music (1965)

G | 174 min | Biography, Drama, Family

8.0
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A woman leaves an Austrian convent to become a governess to the children of a Naval officer widower.

Director: Robert Wise | Stars: Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer, Eleanor Parker, Richard Haydn

Votes: 163,735 | Gross: $163.21M

My 5th grade teacher played this for us in preparation for a class recital that never materialized. I loved it. Came home enamoured of it. My grandmother gifted me her original, 1960's LP, and I was soon telling everyone I would grow up to be a nun. A singing nun, natch.

8. Mary Poppins (1964)

G | 139 min | Comedy, Family, Fantasy

7.8
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In turn of the century London, a magical nanny employs music and adventure to help two neglected children become closer to their father.

Director: Robert Stevenson | Stars: Julie Andrews, Dick Van Dyke, David Tomlinson, Glynis Johns

Votes: 120,624 | Gross: $102.27M

I honestly can't remember a time when my house didn't have a version of 'Mary Poppins.' This was my introduction to Julie Andrews, whom I promptly loved. People often describe her as "sweet" here--but to me she is the epitome of the kind of steely, deceptive kindness that hides a true disciplinarian, the kind you don't mess around with.

9. Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977)

PG | 121 min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy

8.7
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92 Metascore

Luke Skywalker joins forces with a Jedi Knight, a cocky pilot, a Wookiee and two droids to save the galaxy from the Empire's world-destroying battle-station while also attempting to rescue Princess Leia from the evil Darth Vader.

Director: George Lucas | Stars: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Alec Guinness

Votes: 1,016,312 | Gross: $322.74M

I was a 'Star Wars' kid. First saw it in 1987, 10 years after its release, and before Lucas started messing around with it. As a kid, I thought it had aged fantastically. It held its own up next to any 80s FX extravaganza ['Ghostbusters' et al], in addition to having Han Solo and Obi Wan Kenobi. My sisters and I promptly gathered all of our toys--from Barbie to Ken to Jem to stuffed bears and My Little Ponies--and proceeded to re-make the movie and hold massive, intergalactic battles in our backyard, lobbying My Little Ponies, Nerf pellets, and teddy bears across overturned bike barricades. The Force was with us!

10. Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

PG | 124 min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy

8.8
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81 Metascore

After the rebels are overpowered by the Empire on their newly established base, Luke Skywalker begins Jedi training with Yoda. His friends accept shelter from a questionable ally as Darth Vader hunts them in a plan to capture Luke.

Director: Irvin Kershner | Stars: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams

Votes: 944,082 | Gross: $290.48M

11. Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983)

PG | 131 min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy

8.4
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
53 Metascore

After a daring mission to rescue Han Solo from Jabba the Hutt, the rebels dispatch to Endor to destroy a more powerful Death Star. Meanwhile, Luke struggles to help Vader back from the dark side without falling into the Emperor's trap.

Director: Richard Marquand | Stars: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams

Votes: 774,570 | Gross: $309.13M

12. Scrooged (1988)

PG-13 | 101 min | Comedy, Drama, Fantasy

7.0
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38 Metascore

A selfish, cynical T.V. executive is haunted by three spirits bearing lessons on Christmas Eve.

Director: Richard Donner | Stars: Bill Murray, Karen Allen, John Forsythe, John Glover

Votes: 69,341 | Gross: $60.33M

13. Date with an Angel (1987)

PG | 105 min | Comedy, Fantasy, Romance

5.8
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Jim is soon to be married to Patty, but when he wakes up after a bachelor party thrown by his friends, he finds an injured angel in his pool. When Patty sees her, she thinks he's seeing ... See full summary »

Director: Tom McLoughlin | Stars: Michael E. Knight, Phoebe Cates, Emmanuelle Béart, David Dukes

Votes: 2,180 | Gross: $1.99M

14. Splash (1984)

PG | 111 min | Comedy, Fantasy, Romance

6.2
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71 Metascore

A young man is reunited with a mermaid who saves him from drowning as a boy and falls in love not knowing who/what she is.

Director: Ron Howard | Stars: Tom Hanks, Daryl Hannah, Eugene Levy, John Candy

Votes: 59,105 | Gross: $62.10M

15. Beetlejuice (1988)

PG | 92 min | Comedy, Fantasy

7.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
70 Metascore

When a recently-deceased ghost couple find their now-vacant home invaded by an obnoxious family, they hire a sleazy ghost who gets rid of humans to help them.

Director: Tim Burton | Stars: Alec Baldwin, Geena Davis, Michael Keaton, Annie McEnroe

Votes: 210,690 | Gross: $73.71M

16. Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986)

PG | 119 min | Adventure, Comedy, Sci-Fi

7.3
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67 Metascore

To save Earth from an alien probe, Admiral James T. Kirk and his fugitive crew go back in time to San Francisco in 1986 to retrieve the only beings who can communicate with it: humpback whales.

Director: Leonard Nimoy | Stars: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, James Doohan

Votes: 67,198 | Gross: $109.71M

17. KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park (1978 TV Movie)

PG | 96 min | Fantasy, Horror, Music

4.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.6/10 X  

The tale of rock band KISS and their efforts to thwart a diabolical plan by mad scientist Abner Devereaux. Devereaux has found a way to clone humans into robots in his laboratory at an ... See full summary »

Director: Gordon Hessler | Stars: Peter Criss, Ace Frehley, Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley

Votes: 2,411

18. Young Guns (1988)

R | 107 min | Action, Crime, Drama

6.8
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50 Metascore

A group of young gunmen, led by Billy the Kid, become deputies to avenge the murder of the rancher who became their benefactor. But when Billy takes their authority too far, they become the hunted.

Director: Christopher Cain | Stars: Emilio Estevez, Kiefer Sutherland, Lou Diamond Phillips, Charlie Sheen

Votes: 46,278 | Gross: $45.66M

19. The Beastmaster (1982)

PG | 118 min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy

6.2
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18 Metascore

A sword-and-sorcery fantasy about a young man's search for revenge. Armed with supernatural powers, the handsome hero and his animal allies wage war against marauding forces.

Director: Don Coscarelli | Stars: Marc Singer, Tanya Roberts, Rip Torn, John Amos

Votes: 16,831 | Gross: $14.06M

20. High Spirits (1988)

PG-13 | 99 min | Comedy, Fantasy

5.7
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When a hotelier attempts to fill the chronic vacancies at his castle by launching an advertising campaign that falsely portrays the property as haunted, two actual ghosts show up and end up falling for two guests.

Director: Neil Jordan | Stars: Peter O'Toole, Daryl Hannah, Steve Guttenberg, Donal McCann

Votes: 7,065 | Gross: $8.58M

21. Lady and the Tramp (1955)

Approved | 76 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy

7.3
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The romantic tale of a sheltered uptown Cocker Spaniel dog and a streetwise downtown Mutt.

Directors: Clyde Geronimi, Wilfred Jackson, Hamilton Luske | Stars: Barbara Luddy, Larry Roberts, Peggy Lee, Bill Thompson

Votes: 96,870 | Gross: $93.60M

22. Dumbo (1941)

Approved | 64 min | Animation, Drama, Family

7.3
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Ridiculed because of his enormous ears, a young circus elephant is assisted by a mouse to achieve his full potential.

Directors: Samuel Armstrong, Norman Ferguson, Wilfred Jackson, Jack Kinney, Bill Roberts, Ben Sharpsteen, John Elliotte | Stars: Sterling Holloway, Edward Brophy, James Baskett, Herman Bing

Votes: 96,349 | Gross: $1.60M

23. The Three Caballeros (1944)

Approved | 71 min | Animation, Comedy, Family

6.5
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Donald receives his birthday gifts, which include traditional gifts and information about Brazil (hosted by Zé Carioca) and Mexico (by Panchito, a Mexican Charro Rooster).

Directors: Norman Ferguson, Clyde Geronimi, Jack Kinney, Bill Roberts, Harold Young | Stars: Aurora Miranda, Carmen Molina, Dora Luz, Sterling Holloway

Votes: 9,481

24. Hansel and Gretel (1954)

Approved | 72 min | Animation, Family, Music

6.9
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An "electronic puppet" version of the Humperdinck opera, adapted for children and using spoken dialogue as well as Humperdinck's music.

Director: John Paul | Stars: Anna Russell, Mildred Dunnock, Frank Rogier, Delbert Anderson

Votes: 154

25. Here Come the Littles (1985)

G | 72 min | Animation, Adventure, Family

7.2
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Henry's parents are lost in Africa, so he must live with his greedy and heartless Uncle Augustus. In the crevices of the house live the "Littles" kind, elf-like creatures. August enslaves ... See full summary »

Director: Bernard Deyriès | Stars: Jimmy Keegan, Bettina Bush, Donavan Freberg, Hal Smith

Votes: 173 | Gross: $6.57M

26. An American Tail (1986)

G | 80 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy

6.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
38 Metascore

While emigrating to the United States, a young Russian mouse gets separated from his family and must relocate them while trying to survive in a new country.

Director: Don Bluth | Stars: Dom DeLuise, Christopher Plummer, Erica Yohn, Nehemiah Persoff

Votes: 41,419 | Gross: $47.48M

27. Faerie Tale Theatre (1982–1987)
Episode: Rapunzel (1983)

51 min | Adventure, Comedy, Family

7.3
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A sinister witch steals the baby of a simple candle-maker and his wife. Determined to keep the daughter for herself, she locks her up in a tower all alone. Wonders and dangers occur when the girl meets a handsome prince.

Director: Gilbert Cates | Stars: Jeff Bridges, Shelley Duvall, Gena Rowlands, Roddy McDowall

Votes: 145