The 30 Movies That Kids Must See

One of the first things that my wife and I figured out we had in common, is that were that we we are serious movie buffs.  I mean honestly… the truth is that between the collection she has, mated with the collection I have… we are the real reason Blockbuster went out of business.

There used to be a time where I could tell you the director, the stars, and the plot, of pretty much anything out.  I’d watch anything just to say I’ve seen it.  I’d seen all the originals, the remakes, the sequels, and even the unnecessary sequels to the sequels… for instance The Sandlot 3.  One of the more unnecessary movies I’ve seen… but… I’ve seen it.

So naturally I’ve created a list of my favorite childhood movies, that I will force my baby boy to watch… no matter how inappropriate they may be.

Inappropriate child movies?

Judge for yourself…


Back to the Future


Back to the Future was the perfect childhood movie.  So much so that my wife is pretty much over my references of jumping into my Delorian and traveling 88 mph.  Who hates a movie about time traveling back to the past and giving a family bully a taste of their own medicine… HELLO McFLY!

If you didn’t like this movie, you can “make like a tree and get out of here.”

P.S… Part 2 is another must see… but like the Godfather series… don’t ruin it by watching part 3.




Beetlejuice“Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice!”

Well, here’s the first inappropriate movie I’ll reference.  Don’t believe me?  Watch it as an adult.

This movie is so awesome, for so many reasons.  It has monsters, ghost, sandworms, and Michael Keaton with green hair and herpes around his mouth.  Plus Beetlejuice is so influential, even Robin Thicke felt the need to steal his style for the 2013 VMA Awards.














pee wees big adventure

Go figure… Two Tim Burton movies in a row…

Um… who can make a list of must see kids movies without including Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure.  And what kid never wanted to be a part of this journey?

Plot:  Pee-Wee’s old and strange child-minded rival/spoiled-brat neighbor, wants Pee-Wee’s bike.  I mean… who wouldn’t… it’s got a horn.  The bike gets stolen and then Pee-Wee leaves his talking chair, and Cowboy Curtis to get it back.  (Did you know that Cowboy Curtis is Morpheus in the Matrix… I only speak the truth)

With Pee-Wee’s charisma, weird child-innocence, awkward voice(s), tight suit and bow tie, and Large Marge.. this movie is wonderful to watch as a kid… disturbing to watch as an adult.

Honorable mention: Big Top Pee-Wee… Pee-Wee Herman is awesome.





The ONLY reason I know the piano tune Chopsticks, and also another reason I refuse to put quarters into carnival gypsy machines.

This movie made Tom Hanks every kid’s hero.  He is a kid that turns adult through a wishing machine… and to top it off… he gets a job at a toy company, testing toys… as an adult… (but really as a kid)

He takes the If I was a grown up” fairytale every kid dreams of, and does everything awesome we wish we could do as children…

Even as an adult… I wish I could grow up to be that guy…






So many cool E.T moments.  So many that Universal Studios had an E.T ride up until JUST last year.  That’s generations of families enjoying a story of a lost Extra Terrestrial.  They play dress up, they have flying bikes, and they even had a once innocent Drew Barrymore before she turned into an international train wreck.

They also filmed the frog part at my school… which is kinda awesome.

This movie was probably a lot of our first adventures with the third kind, and it got our imaginative juices flowing with what could possibly be “out there.”  E.T made us fall in love with aliens, and made us want to punch anyone who used their annoying E.T voice  to say “E.T Phone home,” over and over and over again.




Flash Gordon

Flash! ah-ahh! Savior of the Universe. Flash! ah-ahh! He’ll save everyone of us!”

Spoiler Alert:  He does.

Flash Gordon is a Football hero turned hero of the universe.  The movie is way too long, the special effects suck, but dammit if this wasn’t a staple of my youth.

It’s really only a “must see” because it’s a classic… other than that it could probably die the minute Ming does.

What a minute… there was an ambiguous ending… Hello Hollywood!!!!  I see a chance to make a REBOOT!!!!!




Flight of the Navigator

Plot:  Kid goes missing, eight years later pops up un-aged, and has a spaceship!  How much more awesome is that???  But just like your own personal lives, the government wants to get all up in the kid’s face, and take his toys for “the safety of the nation,” and thats when this kid goes fugitive… With his UFO.

I haven’t re-watched it as an adult, but I bet it’s still freaking awesome.






Follow That Bird

Big Bird feels unloved… so that big dodo (bird) runs-away!

Exactly the message we want to send to our kids right?

Actually, he’s told that he belongs with his own kind, and so the bird goes on a mission to find his “peeps.”

Get it?

But it just so happens, all his friends miss him and think that he’s making a bad life decision, so they go out to find him.  The weird thing is, it takes them forever  to find him.  He’s a 9 foot bird, bright yellow…. and he walks at a whopping 1 mph…

Either way, it’s got all of our childhood friends from Sesame Street in it, and it can still hold up to be a family favorite in every household.





“I ain’t fraid of no ghost”

Ghostbusters was ONE THOUSAND PERCENT awesome.  Also a movie that falls in the inappropriate categories, from the tons of sexual innuendo, and probably the only movie Sigourney Weaver looks like a sexy woman in.

Ghostbusters introduced Bill Murray to children all over the world, and made us all afraid of rabid dogs and Marshmallows.

Part 2 was also awesome, and there are talks of part 3… YEY!!!!






I mean seriously… the man gave you simple instructions to not feed him after midnight and never get him wet… TWO SIMPLE RULES!!!!

The third rule helps in the long run, so 2 out of 3 ain’t bad huh…

For some reason, TBS forgets to play this ultimate Christmas movie every year… maybe its cause parents are over explaining that Toys R’ Us doesn’t sell Mogwai’s anymore… or maybe its cause they just don’t know a good thing from bad…

Gremlins is freaking awesome.




Honey I Shrunk the Kids

OH, Rick Moronis…

See what I did there?

This movie is a family favorite.  I mean, quirky scientist shrinks a bunch of kids, sweeps them up, tosses them in the trash, and doesn’t get arrested by Child Protective Services!  Isn’t this every parent’s dream???

The kids run around as ant-sized humans trying to figure out how to return to normal size again, and magic is born!  Only Disney can make a movie where a lawnmower, a sprinkler system, and bees can be a humans worst nightmares

(He even blows up the baby in part 2)




Howard the Duck

I mean seriously… What is this movie even about?  I mean I know, but seriously???

A duck from outer-space is a mack-daddy of sorts, and  something else happens that I don’t remember, and then the principal from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off turned into a monster in a diner… and the movie ends.

This didn’t stop me from watching it forty-two-hundred times as a kid.

If I remember right… this movie ALSO falls in the inappropriate category.





Jim Henson brought us tons and tons of childhood memories.  Especially this gem… Labyrinth.

Set in every sister/babysitters nightmare, the baby brother is taken by puppeteers to the scariest freaking place in the world.  The sister goes to save her brother, and has to deal with goblins… and David Bowie, who is the self-proclaimed Goblin King.

This movie also falls in the inappropriate category, because thank you to the internet, every time I think about this movie, all I can think of is David Bowie’s bulge…

Oh David Bowie








You’re Welcome




Little Shop of Horrors


Besides the Wizard of Oz, I’m pretty sure that this was my favorite musical as a child.

Yeah… I’m pretty sure.

Little Shop of Horrors was a story of Seymour, a loner, who raises a carnivorous plant, and it all starts out with a drop of blood… then turns murderous… *enter maniacal mystery music here.*

If you want your kid to open their little tiny minds to enjoy musicals… this may be the gateway drug!




Masters of the Universe

He-man turned live action. Need I say more?

But seriously… Dolph Lundgren gets beat up by Rocky Balboa, and then becomes He-man (not in the movie, but in real life). Classic B movie. It was SOOO bad… but so awesome… cause it’s ya know… its He-man.







Meet the Applegates

One of my favorite movies as a kid and NOBODY freaking remembers it. Seriously… not one person I talk to has ever seen it. They “may have seen it,” or “may have heard of it,” but nobody had the vivid images of a wholesome family that turns into PRAYING FREAKING MANTISIS… or is it Manti?

Yeah… so basically long story short, Sally Applegate eats her sexual partners cause, well… thats what praying manti do after making love.

Another (inappropriate) B movie classic in my opinion. And it really sucks that nobody else remembers it.





Can I get a HELLO!!!

Moonwalker was such a HUGE player in my childhood, I have made everyone who has said they’ve never seen it, sit down and watch it. And I won’t let them miss a minute of it.

It’s so good, and yet so bad. There is no single story line. It’s kinda like Michael Jackson asked 4 different writers to create 4 different scripts and just make it happen.

HOWEVER… If you just watch the movie for the recreation of Smooth Criminal and then to see Michael Jackson turn into a cartoon rabbit, a bad ass car, and then a Mechanical God in order to destroy Joe Pesci and save the kiddies… then you’ve done yourself the ultimate favor of a life time.

This will be my shrine to MJ for my child(ren) to honor.





I mean really? Overboard is on my list?


Not only was Goldie Hawn one of my childhood crushes, but this movie is just funny… to this day.

Goldie Hawn blows off a carpenter, she goes overboard her boat (hence the name) gets amnesia, her boyfriend doesn’t want to claim her because she’s a piece of work, so Kurt Russell (the carpenter) claims her to take care of his bad ass kids.

This guy is a genius.




Police Academy

This movie was so funny, they made five of them…

Although I don’t remember any of them except #1, I remember that if one of them were on, I was pretty much lost in the tv.

Police Academy 1 specifically takes this group of odd people and makes them work together to become police officers. And it’s FUUUUNNNY!

If you didn’t try a little ventriliquism because of Sgt. Jones, then you didn’t live a happy childhood. You heard it here.






Robin Williams plays a live action Popeye.

Disastrous genius.

Was this just a ploy to get kids to eat spinach from a familiar face?

Who knows.

Did I say every movie on this list was good?







Rookie of the Year

“Funky Buttlovin! Did he just say funky butt lovin’?”

I sure did!

This movie took our heart with a kid who breaks his arm, gets a super arm, and becomes Gary Busey’s love interest…. or pain in his ass… same thing right?

Either way, he “gave him the stinky cheese”






Short Circuit


I mean, how awesome would it have been to be part of this movie? An experimental robot gets electrocuted and then becomes kinda-human. In turn he develops feelings and wants to stay alive… while singing staying alive (AH… I JUST put that together).

Of course… once again… the government wants him, and send the army to come to get him… But Johnny-5 ain’t no punk bot…

(Pass on the sequel… you’re welcome)





Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

I used every cent of my allowance to watch this movie over and over and over again when it was in the theaters. I’ve seen this movie SOOO many times.

Something about this movie was perfect. The acting was (kid) perfect. The storyline was perfect. The costumes, and bad-assery…. perfect. I CANNOT WAIT to see the new one (even though it’s no old one)…





The Goonies


Everyone remembers The Goonies. It was the ultimate treasure hunting story, with a little love sprinkled in. Curiosity took a group of friends from doing the Truffle Shuffle out side of a diner, to an underground pirate ship protected by Sloth’s mommy…

Sloth loves Baby RUTH.





The Karate Kid


Not much needs to be said about The Karate Kid, except, they didn’t need to remake it. I mean… who does Hollywood think he is to recreate a movie so the newest generation of child is confused as to which the most awesome version of this movie is?  If Hollywood had a leg, I’d sweep it… get it?

R.I.P Mr. Miyagi and thanks for teaching me how to wax a car!






The Last Dragon

I mean… how do you follow up one of the greatest Karate movies?

With another one duh…


I’m sure a lot of people that read this will not have seen this. This is because it is a “blacksploitation” film, and not many people outside of the black communities watch those types of movies… back in the day.

Basically this is the black Bruce lee and he is “The Last Dragon” and he has the power of the gloooowwwwww.

Everyone should watch it once.




The Sandlot

“You’re killing me smalls!”


This is seriously the all-American movie.


I mean it has, Baseball, Treehouse Horror Stories, Summertime, City pools, 4th of July BBQ’s, Darth Vader’s Dog…


This is one of the greatest stories told on film no matter if your are a kid or an adult.





Little monsters

Fred Savage is befriended by Howie Mandel and brought into the monster world under the bed. It’s basically Monster’s Inc. a decade or two before Pixar thought of it.

When you watch it, you figure that this would be kinda cool to be a part of, but then you realize, Monsters are dicks.







Who Framed Roger Rabbit

Who didn’t like Who Framed Roger Rabbit? You have to be soul-less not to.

I have to admit… every time my mom drove through a tunnel, I prayed we would end up in Toon Town.

…never happened.







The Wiz

And to save to best for last….


The Wiz

Another blacksploitation movie, not many people outside of that culture as well as Broadway enthusiast know about.

You can probably guess, this is the black Wizard of Oz… and it’s AWESOME.

Diana Ross plays Dorothy, Michael Jackson play the Scarecrow, Nipsey Russell is the tin man, and Richard Pryor is the Almighty OZ.

Yea I can see how it could be scary to kids, but it is such a staple in my childhood, and may very well be in my top 10 all time favorites.




This list of movies is in no specific order, and by no means are they they greatest movies in the world. But sometimes our parents make us sit through crap that we didn’t like that they loved, and so it will continue in our home.

What are some of your recommendations?

Post to your own Blog here

Posted in Parenthoodwith 6 comments.


  • Silva says:

    A bunch of those I know are great movies, but you may be missing some modern ones; also, get your kids to watch Avatar: The Last Airbender (the cartoon, only). And … can you get some *good* (read: not the commonly done) ones with female protagonists, say, Matilda?

  • Great well rounded list of awesome 80’s movies!! Much respect for including some under appreciated classics like The Last Dragon! Shared this on Twitter (@thelastglow) & Faceback (Fan Tribute to The Last Dragon)

  • Notorious ARG says:

    -my stepmother is an alien

  • Notorious ARG says:

    In no particular order (and in addition to most of the titles you have)

    -The Wizard
    -The Wizard of Oz
    -Homeward Bound: the incredible journey
    -The Parent Trap (the original)
    -Mary Poppins
    -Assorted Disney cartoons/all of them (lion king, Aladdin, jungle book, little mermaid… The list goes on)
    -Adventures in Babysitting
    -My Father the Hero
    -She’s Out of Control
    -never ending story (part 2… But you kinda have to watch the first I guess for reference)
    -the princess bride

    That’s all I can think of at the moment

    • There are obvious movies on here, such as the Wizard of Oz. I tried to keep the list to less obvious movies…. unless I thought kids should actually ONLY watch these 30 movies…

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