The Best Family Films of the 80's

by jwoehr | created - 06 Sep 2013 | updated - 06 Sep 2013 | Public
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1. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

PG | 115 min | Family, Sci-Fi

91 Metascore

A troubled child summons the courage to help a friendly alien escape Earth and return to his home world.

Director: Steven Spielberg | Stars: Henry Thomas, Drew Barrymore, Peter Coyote, Dee Wallace

Votes: 316,902 | Gross: $435.11M

2. Back to the Future (1985)

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

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: 856,970 | Gross: $210.61M

3. Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988)

PG | 104 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy

83 Metascore

A toon-hating detective is a cartoon rabbit's only hope to prove his innocence when he is accused of murder.

Director: Robert Zemeckis | Stars: Bob Hoskins, Christopher Lloyd, Joanna Cassidy, Charles Fleischer

Votes: 158,526 | Gross: $156.45M

4. Big (1988)

PG | 104 min | Comedy, Drama, Family

73 Metascore

After wishing to be made big, a teenage boy wakes the next morning to find himself mysteriously in the body of an adult.

Director: Penny Marshall | Stars: Tom Hanks, Elizabeth Perkins, Robert Loggia, John Heard

Votes: 168,740 | Gross: $114.97M

5. Ghostbusters (1984)

PG | 105 min | Action, Comedy, Fantasy

71 Metascore

Three former parapsychology professors set up shop as a unique ghost removal service.

Director: Ivan Reitman | Stars: Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Sigourney Weaver, Harold Ramis

Votes: 305,398 | Gross: $238.63M

6. The Goonies (1985)

PG | 114 min | Adventure, Comedy, Family

60 Metascore

In order to save their home from foreclosure, a group of misfits set out to find a pirate's ancient valuable treasure.

Director: Richard Donner | Stars: Sean Astin, Josh Brolin, Jeff Cohen, Corey Feldman

Votes: 201,810 | Gross: $61.50M

7. Flight of the Navigator (1986)

PG | 90 min | Adventure, Family, Sci-Fi

64 Metascore

In 1978, a boy travels 8 years into the future and has an adventure with an intelligent, wisecracking alien ship.

Director: Randal Kleiser | Stars: Joey Cramer, Paul Reubens, Cliff De Young, Veronica Cartwright

Votes: 37,790 | Gross: $18.56M

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

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

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: 68,539 | Gross: $109.71M

9. The Little Mermaid (1989)

G | 83 min | Animation, Family, Fantasy

A mermaid princess makes a Faustian bargain with an unscrupulous sea-witch in order to meet a human prince on land.

Directors: Ron Clements, John Musker | Stars: Jodi Benson, Samuel E. Wright, Rene Auberjonois, Christopher Daniel Barnes

Votes: 196,200 | Gross: $111.54M

10. Oliver & Company (1988)

G | 74 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy

A lost and alone kitten joins a gang of dogs engaged in petty larceny in New York City.

Director: George Scribner | Stars: Joey Lawrence, Billy Joel, Cheech Marin, Richard Mulligan

Votes: 36,822 | Gross: $74.15M

11. Young Sherlock Holmes (1985)

PG-13 | 109 min | Adventure, Fantasy, Mystery

When assorted people start having inexplicable delusions that lead to their deaths, a teenage Sherlock Holmes decides to investigate.

Director: Barry Levinson | Stars: Nicholas Rowe, Alan Cox, Sophie Ward, Anthony Higgins

Votes: 16,446 | Gross: $19.74M

12. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

PG | 115 min | Action, Adventure

85 Metascore

Archaeologist and adventurer Indiana Jones is hired by the U.S. government to find the Ark of the Covenant before the Nazis.

Director: Steven Spielberg | Stars: Harrison Ford, Karen Allen, Paul Freeman, John Rhys-Davies

Votes: 754,315 | Gross: $248.16M

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

PG | 124 min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy

82 Metascore

After the rebels are brutally overpowered by the Empire on the ice planet Hoth, Luke Skywalker begins Jedi training with Yoda, while his friends are pursued by Darth Vader.

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

Votes: 977,115 | Gross: $290.48M

14. Superman II (1980)

PG | 127 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

87 Metascore

Superman agrees to sacrifice his powers to start a relationship with Lois Lane, unaware that three Kryptonian criminals he inadvertently released are conquering Earth.

Directors: Richard Lester, Richard Donner | Stars: Gene Hackman, Christopher Reeve, Margot Kidder, Ned Beatty

Votes: 85,524 | Gross: $108.19M

15. The Secret of NIMH (1982)

G | 82 min | Animation, Adventure, Drama

76 Metascore

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: 30,918 | Gross: $10.14M

16. An American Tail (1986)

G | 80 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy

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: 42,293 | Gross: $47.48M

17. A Christmas Story (1983)

PG | 94 min | Comedy, Family

77 Metascore

In the 1940s, a young boy named Ralphie attempts to convince his parents, his teacher and Santa that a Red Ryder BB gun really is the perfect Christmas gift.

Director: Bob Clark | Stars: Peter Billingsley, Melinda Dillon, Darren McGavin, Scott Schwartz

Votes: 115,893 | Gross: $19.29M

18. The Dark Crystal (1982)

PG | 93 min | Adventure, Family, Fantasy

On another planet in the distant past, a Gelfling embarks on a quest to find the missing shard of a magical crystal, and so restore order to his world.

Directors: Jim Henson, Frank Oz | Stars: Jim Henson, Kathryn Mullen, Frank Oz, Dave Goelz

Votes: 46,930 | Gross: $40.58M

19. WarGames (1983)

PG | 114 min | Sci-Fi, Thriller

77 Metascore

A young man finds a back door into a military central computer in which reality is confused with game-playing, possibly starting World War III.

Director: John Badham | Stars: Matthew Broderick, Ally Sheedy, John Wood, Dabney Coleman

Votes: 78,994 | Gross: $79.57M

20. Honey, I Shrunk the Kids (1989)

PG | 93 min | Adventure, Comedy, Family

63 Metascore

The scientist father of a teenage girl and boy accidentally shrinks his and two other neighborhood teens to the size of insects. Now the teens must fight diminutive dangers as the father searches for them.

Director: Joe Johnston | Stars: Rick Moranis, Matt Frewer, Marcia Strassman, Kristine Sutherland

Votes: 121,192 | Gross: $130.72M

21. Gremlins (1984)

PG | 106 min | Comedy, Fantasy, Horror

70 Metascore

A boy inadvertently breaks three important rules concerning his new pet and unleashes a horde of malevolently mischievous monsters on a small town.

Director: Joe Dante | Stars: Zach Galligan, Phoebe Cates, Hoyt Axton, John Louie

Votes: 164,636 | Gross: $148.17M

Just remembered it some how, maybe because it's a little violent and scary for kids.

22. The Karate Kid (1984)

PG | 126 min | Action, Drama, Family

59 Metascore

A martial arts master agrees to teach karate to a bullied teenager.

Director: John G. Avildsen | Stars: Ralph Macchio, Pat Morita, Elisabeth Shue, Martin Kove

Votes: 147,143 | Gross: $90.82M

23. The Last Starfighter (1984)

PG | 101 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

67 Metascore

Video game expert Alex Rogan finds himself transported to another planet after conquering The Last Starfighter video game only to find out it was just a test. He was recruited to join the team of best starfighters to defend their world from the attack.

Director: Nick Castle | Stars: Lance Guest, Robert Preston, Kay E. Kuter, Dan Mason

Votes: 32,676 | Gross: $28.73M

24. The NeverEnding Story (1984)

PG | 102 min | Adventure, Drama, Family

46 Metascore

A troubled boy dives into a wondrous fantasy world through the pages of a mysterious book.

Director: Wolfgang Petersen | Stars: Noah Hathaway, Barret Oliver, Tami Stronach, Gerald McRaney

Votes: 111,917 | Gross: $20.16M

25. Explorers (1985)

PG | 109 min | Adventure, Comedy, Family

A boy obsessed with 50s sci-fi movies about aliens has a recurring dream about a blueprint of some kind, which he draws for his inventor friend. With the help of a third kid, they follow it and build themselves a spaceship. Now what?

Director: Joe Dante | Stars: Ethan Hawke, River Phoenix, Jason Presson, Bradley Gregg

Votes: 16,616 | Gross: $9.87M

26. Return to Oz (1985)

PG | 113 min | Adventure, Family, Fantasy

42 Metascore

Dorothy, saved from a psychiatric experiment by a mysterious girl, is somehow called back to Oz when a vain witch and the Nome King destroy everything that makes the magical land beautiful.

Director: Walter Murch | Stars: Fairuza Balk, Nicol Williamson, Jean Marsh, Piper Laurie

Votes: 21,273

Disturbing for kids some-what but so was Gremlins and critics didn't hate it like they hated this.

27. The Great Muppet Caper (1981)

G | 97 min | Adventure, Comedy, Crime

Kermit, Gonzo, and Fozzie are reporters who travel to Britain to interview a rich victim of jewel thieves and help her along with her secretary, Miss Piggy.

Director: Jim Henson | Stars: Jim Henson, Frank Oz, Dave Goelz, Jerry Nelson

Votes: 11,306 | Gross: $31.21M

28. The Muppets Take Manhattan (1984)

G | 94 min | Adventure, Comedy, Drama

64 Metascore

Kermit and his friends go to New York City to get their musical on Broadway only to find it's a more difficult task than they anticipated.

Director: Frank Oz | Stars: Jim Henson, Frank Oz, Dave Goelz, Steve Whitmire

Votes: 16,810 | Gross: $25.53M

29. Pee-wee's Big Adventure (1985)

PG | 91 min | Adventure, Comedy, Family

47 Metascore

When eccentric man-child Pee-Wee Herman gets his beloved bike stolen in broad daylight, he sets out across the U.S. on the adventure of his life.

Director: Tim Burton | Stars: Paul Reubens, Elizabeth Daily, Mark Holton, Diane Salinger

Votes: 44,618 | Gross: $40.90M

30. The Journey of Natty Gann (1985)

PG | 101 min | Family, Adventure

In the 1930s, a tomboyish girl runs away from her guardian to join her single father who is 2,000 miles away, because there was work there.

Director: Jeremy Kagan | Stars: Meredith Salenger, John Cusack, Ray Wise, Lainie Kazan

Votes: 4,283 | Gross: $2.14M

31. Labyrinth (1986)

PG | 101 min | Adventure, Family, Fantasy

50 Metascore

A 16-year-old girl is given 13 hours to solve a labyrinth and rescue her baby brother when her wish for him to be taken away is granted by the Goblin King.

Director: Jim Henson | Stars: David Bowie, Jennifer Connelly, Toby Froud, Shelley Thompson

Votes: 106,218 | Gross: $12.73M

32. Short Circuit (1986)

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

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: 48,686 | Gross: $40.70M

33. Adventures in Babysitting (1987)

PG-13 | 102 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy

45 Metascore

A babysitter must battle her way through the big city after being stranded there with the kids she's looking after.

Director: Chris Columbus | Stars: Elisabeth Shue, Maia Brewton, Keith Coogan, Anthony Rapp

Votes: 31,949 | Gross: $34.37M

34. The Princess Bride (1987)

PG | 98 min | Adventure, Family, Fantasy

77 Metascore

While home sick in bed, a young boy's grandfather reads him a story called The Princess Bride.

Director: Rob Reiner | Stars: Cary Elwes, Mandy Patinkin, Robin Wright, Chris Sarandon

Votes: 335,740 | Gross: $30.86M

35. Willow (1988)

PG | 126 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

47 Metascore

A reluctant dwarf must play a critical role in protecting a special baby from an evil queen.

Director: Ron Howard | Stars: Val Kilmer, Joanne Whalley, Warwick Davis, Jean Marsh

Votes: 88,287 | Gross: $57.27M

36. Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure (1989)

PG | 90 min | Adventure, Comedy, Music

44 Metascore

Two seemingly dumb teens set off on a quest to prepare the ultimate historical presentation with the help of a time machine.

Director: Stephen Herek | Stars: Keanu Reeves, Alex Winter, George Carlin, Terry Camilleri

Votes: 93,338 | Gross: $40.49M