Kids in Danger: Top 10 Craziest ’80s Kids Movies

Published 4 years ago by , Updated May 20th, 2014 at 9:00 am,

The Goonies Still Kids in Danger: Top 10 Craziest 80s Kids Movies

This past Monday was the 25th anniversary of the release of one of my all-time favorite movies: The Goonies. In reflecting on the film, I began asking myself why I like the movie so much. Obviously there’s the adventure-centric plot and the memorable characters (Will you ever forget Data’s slick shoes or Chunk’s famous “Truffle Shuffle”?), but I realized there’s something less obvious about the film that also makes me like it.

Unlike many modern day family movies, the characters in The Goonies aren’t treated like kids. Not only do they cuss and fight and swear, but they also face some ridiculously dangerous situations. How many kids movies do you know where the lead characters are chased by a criminal gang, get shot at, nearly impaled, and almost drowned? You’re definitely not going to see anything like that in Hotel for Dogs

The more I thought about it, the more I realized that The Goonies wasn’t the only kids movie with a high danger quotient. There are countless films from the 1980s where kids and teens routinely face imminent death – yet when we watch them today, nobody seems to bat an eye. How crazy is that?

So in honor of The Goonies 25th anniversary and my own personal desire to see more movies like the ones I know and love from my childhood, I’ve assembled a list of the Top Ten Craziest Kids Movies from the ’80s. An important note before I get started: I’ve only included films where the child characters would suffer real world deaths – fantasy world deaths (in a dream or imaginary world) don’t count. Obviously, there are spoilers below as well as some NSFW language based on the films being highlighted.

thegoonies1 Kids in Danger: Top 10 Craziest 80s Kids Movies

The Goonies (1985)

I already touched on some of the things that make The Goonies such a crazy movie above, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention perhaps the craziest thing of all: Sloth. Now, anyone who has watched The Goonies knows that Sloth is a good guy, but let’s take a minute to look at this objectively. Sloth is a monstrous man-child who has spent the majority of his life chained up in a basement. That’s not exactly the person you want spending time with a bunch of 13-year-olds. I’d hate to think what would have happened to Chunk if he didn’t have that Baby Ruth bar handy.

adventures in babysitting Kids in Danger: Top 10 Craziest 80s Kids Movies

Adventures in Babysitting (1987)

Adventures in Babysitting is fun for a few reasons. One, it features a young and attractive Elisabeth Shue.  Two, it features Vincent D’Onofrio 150 lbs lighter and surprisingly ripped. And three, it places two teenagers and an 8-year-old girl in countless ridiculously dangerous and life-threatening positions.

Over the film’s 102 minute running time, the characters are caught up in a shootout, hassled by a street gang, and chased by a group of murderous thieves. Of course, let’s not forget the film’s most famous scene where the 8-year-old hangs precariously from the roof of Chicago’s famous Smurfit-Stone Building. Realistically, the characters would have been killed or severely injured within the first 20 minutes. Come to think of it, one character actually is severely injured.

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TAGS: et, flight of the navigator, gremlins, the goonies 2, the monster squad

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  1. “Sloth is a monstrous man-child who has spent the majority of his life chained up in a basement.”

    Thanks Rob, that really made me laugh.

    • That comment about Sloth could ALMOST describe my sister-in-law, except for one detail: Sloth has better manners and better social skills.

      Seriously…I just found out why Sis-In-Law has basically hated me from Day One of our meeting 17 years ago [Before reading this, please be securely seated and have your mouth empty of all food/drink, as I don't want you to damage your computer]…Ready?

      It seems that I committed The Most Unpardonable Sins One Can Make:

      1. I was correct in spotting/recognizing Brent Spiner in a non-Star Trek role on Night Court; S-I-L, the self-appointed Trek Expert, said it wasn’t him.

      2. Three months into dating my future wife, I grievously offended future S-I-L by CHANGING THE TV CHANNEL!

      These are the reasons S-I-L hates me…for those who think S-I-L needs serious therapy, Jesus Christ will be starring in the next Bill & Ted movie (standing in for Keanu Reeves) before S-I-L ever goes to therapy.

      • That is one of the most awesome comments I’ve ever read in my entire comment-reading career.

        The last half was absolute comedy gold. Pitiful childish behaviour, hilariously retold. Laughed even more the second time I read it. Bonus lulz for the numbered bullet format.

        And get a load of your introduction. Pure win. On moment you’re talking about a character in one of the movies above, then with an amusingly flimsy segue you grab us by the throat and launch into this random p!ss funny rant about your sister in law.

        Bravo! Walk away from it! Now it belongs to the ages.

  2. What about The 3 Ninjas? Or their horrific sequels? :-)

    By your rules, I wouldn’t put The Labryinth on the list, since it was in a fantasy world. If it does belong there, then so should The Neverending Story.

    • I would say Kicka**. It is not an eighties movie,b ut confused me as it seemed aimed at kids, yet it was too violent. Still confused about what age group they were aiming at.
      (I did not spell the whole movie name as there is no profanity written above this comment box).
      I loved the Sister in law post. I have a brother in law who hates me. Before I married my husband brother in law, his wife, and two sons borrowed money up in the thousands from my single husband. I didn’t know all this until my husband told me in a way to say, “I am a good man, I help my family when they need it.” I took it as my husband has a good heart.

  3. what about……children of the corn, people under the stairs, lost boys ?

    • I dont think Children of the Corn is a kids movie.

  4. You forgot Coak & Dagger!! Oh and D.A.R.Y.L.

    • Cloak*

  5. never ending stories

  6. Explorers (1985)

  7. It is amazing how many had Fred Savage

  8. I would’ve put The Dark Crystal up in here…

  9. Yes lovin this list! They don’t make them like they used to! Infact taking my son today to see 30th anniversary exclusive one day one showing event of ET at the movies tonight. I’m 30 yrs old this will be both our first time to see ET on the silver screen!

  10. How is Time Bandits a drama?-its a pure family film, thats like picking on The Goonies for swearing and some slightly scary scenes! Anyhow this list is redundant without the mighty Time Bandits.

  11. The Peanut Butter Solution is hands down more bizarre and scary than anything listed above.

    • I am watching Peanut Butter Solution on YouTube right now. Strangest movie ever but I thank the YouTube gods for putting the whole movie on there for the world to see (and then to scratch their heads in confusion).

  12. Looking for the name of the movie with the two squirrels or chipmunks named no-no and clicko I think..they fly out of a building..old 1980 kids movie

  13. Not sure how you can make a list like this and NOT include the best film of that era that was made for this category: The Lost Boys

    • Absolutely agree

  14. What about Stand by me? or Liscence to drive? or The gate? or Tennage Mutant Ninja Turtles or Ghostbusters 1 & 2….So many to mention..and don’t forget it was the MTV era

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