Few decades can compare when it comes to family movies. Got a kid with a hankering for fantasy? ‘Neverending Story’ and ‘Princess Bride’. Struggling with the high school popularity contest? ‘The Breakfast Club’ of course.
So if you’re a mom born and raised post-’89 and not quite up to speed with this rad decade’s flicks, then pin or bookmark this totally tubular list. Trust me, they’ll love it.
E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial
“You could be happy here, I could take care of you. I wouldn’t let anybody hurt you. We could grow up together E.T.”
It’s all about: The incredible friendship between a boy and an alien.
Iconic moment: When the bikes fly!
My eldest was in tears by the time Elliott and E.T. had to say goodbye (disclosure: I was ugly-crying), and he now regularly holds up his finger, groaning, “Phone hoooome”. Hence, I consider this a massive Movie Night success.
(Warning: Watching this movie will give you weird flashbacks to ‘Stranger Things’.)
8 years +
Star Wars V: The Empire Strikes Back
“No, I am your father.”
It’s all about: Luke has to use the force to save his friends, Han, Leia and the rest, from the Galactic Empire.
Iconic moment: This is the best out of the original Star Wars movies, so take your pick – Han responding to Leia’s “I love you” with “I know” (greatest improvised line ever), Luke training with Yoda… But I’m going to go with the scene where Darth Vader reveals his true relationship with Luke. It is, after all, the line my husband uses on our kids with alarming regularity: “I am your father.”
The Neverending Story
The Princess Bride
10 years +
Back to the Future
Marty McFly: “Wait a minute, Doc. Are you telling me that you built a time machine… out of a DeLorean?
Dr Emmett Brown: “The way I see it, if you’re gonna build a time machine into a car, why not do it with some style?”
It’s all about: High school student, Marty McFly, is sent back in time to 1955 by inventor and scientist, Doc Brown, in a DeLorean. Which sounds like fun… Until Marty realises his (teen) mom has a crush on him and his timid dad is being bullied by Biff Tannen. If he doesn’t get these two kids to fall in love, Marty will no longer exist.
Iconic moment: At a (1955) school dance, Enchantment Under The Sea, Marty joins the band onstage and breaks out the classic ‘Johnny B.Goode’. Of course, no one had ever heard of it before, and though they love it at first, Marty goes a bit Eddie van Halen/Angus Young with a guitar solo, stunning everyone into mouth-gaping silence. “I guess you guys aren’t ready for that yet,” he tells the crowd. “But your kids are gonna love it.” Amen to that!
Girls Just Wanna Have Fun
11 years +
The Karate Kid
“Wax on; wax off.”
It’s all about: Daniel is the new kid in town – he’s baby-faced, scrawny and bullied by a bunch of karate jocks for dating one of their ex-girlfriends. Enter Mr. Miyagi, the martial arts master.
Iconic moment: Final scene. Daniel is down, battered, broken, and about to be taken out by Johnny (“Sweep the leg”, “No mercy”, “Finish him!” – I can recite this movie line-by-line)… But our brave hero adopts the crane stance, and… boom!
Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark
Stand By Me
12 years +
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
“Bueller? Bueller? Bueller?”
It’s all about: A slacker called Ferris decides to cut class one last time before graduation, and is joined by best friend, Cameron, and girlfriend, Sloane.
Iconic moment: Ferris and Cameron are trying to run Cameron’s father’s prized Ferrari backwards to remove the miles they’ve clocked up on it that day. Cameron kicks and leans on the car, making it fall off the jack and crash into the ravine. Destroyed.
13 years +
Pretty in Pink
“His name is Blane? Oh! That’s a major appliance, that’s not a name!”
It’s all about: Andie (aka 80s teen goddess, Molly Ringwald), a girl from the wrong side of the tracks falls for rich boy, Blane. And prom is coming (of course).
Iconic moment: Duckie flawlessly lip-syncs Otis Redding’s ‘Try A Little Tenderness’ in the record store where Andie works.
14 years +
The Breakfast Club
“Does Barry Manilow know that you raid his wardrobe?”
It’s all about: A brain, an athlete, a basketcase, a criminal and a princess are forced to spend Saturday detention together. And it. Is. Awesome.
Iconic moment: “You see us as you want to see us – in the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions. But what we found out is that each one of us is a brain…and an athlete…and a basket case…a princess…and a criminal. Does that answer your question?” Cue Simple Minds’ ‘Don’t You Forget About Me’ as John Bender punches the sky.
Some Kind of Wonderful
Stand By Me