10 Kids’ Movies to Watch Again as an Adult

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A new version of The Karate Kid hits theaters today, and we’re feeling ambivalent. Wasn’t the original Daniel Larusso/Mr. Miyagi combination fantastic enough? Plus, the updated edition replaces “wax on, wax off” with “jacket on, jacket off,” and it’s not even about karate. It’s about kung fu. Is nothing sacred?

Inspired by our enduring love for the original Karate Kid, we’ve compiled a list of ten films you probably watched as a kid that you should watch again as an adult — not only because we believe nostalgia is a virtue worth cultivating, but also because we believe these are simply great movies. As an adult, you may enjoy them for different reasons than you did as a wide-eyed youngster, but that just proves their timelessness. After all, aliens, princesses, and imagination don’t discriminate based on age.

1. E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

This weird-looking creature found his way onto our planet and into our hearts, and garnered Spielberg a lot of money and acclaim in the process. As kids, we liked the glowing finger and flying bike, but now we like picking out all the allusions to Christianity.

2. The NeverEnding Story (1984)

This film is a meta-tale with several layers: we witness the story of a young boy reading a story that in the end turns out to be the same story as his own when the two stories merge. Its structure is well executed. We only wish we could ride Falkor, too.

3. Gremlins (1984)

Christmas is a special time for family and friends and peace on Earth. But if they aren’t taken care of properly, these cuddly critters can put a damper on the holiday season. What originally scared us about Gremlins we now find more funny than terrifying.

4. Back to the Future (1985)

We realize the name “Steven Spielberg” has been mentioned a lot on this list already, but how can you deny Marty McFly? This film has it all: rock music, skateboards, and a hint of incest…

5. The Goonies (1985)

What looks to be a ragtag group of friends going on adventures turns out to be an assembled cast of archetypes. There’s the leader (Michael “Mikey” Walsh), the geek (Richard “Data” Wang), the cheerleader (Andrea “Andy” Carmichael), the rebel (Clarke “Mouth” Devereaux), the fat one (Lawrence “Chunk” Cohen), and so on.

6. Flight of the Navigator (1986)

Remember near the beginning of Flight of the Navigator when the protagonist, David, gets knocked unconscious in the woods then returns home only to find eight years have passed in an instant and everyone thought he was dead? That means more now than it did back then.

7. Short Circuit (1986)

Making robots that have emotions and are capable of befriending humans may have been science fiction at one time, but now it’s a serious industry. Let’s hope they’re all as lovable as Johnny 5.

8. Labyrinth (1986)

David Bowie does bring the “excitement”… and by that we mean extremely tight pants and goofy musical interludes. If this was your first impression of the androgynous musician, it was an accurate one.

9. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)

Being cool is timeless, and no one’s cooler than Ferris Bueller. The soundtrack has aged pretty well, too.

10. The Princess Bride (1987)

This film is a classic that both adults and kids can agree upon. If you’re looking for a movie that has love and friendship, valor and determination, comedy and torture, six-fingered men and revenge, sword fights and magic, then this is it. How the producers and screenwriters brought all these elements together just right is beyond us.