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

Published 5 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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  1. Little monsters terrifiied me as a kid.

    Flight Of The Navigator is one of my all time favourite, they don’t make flicks like that anymore.

    Watching Gremlins now, it’s hard to believe it was ever meant to be for kids.

    • what about Never Ending Story?

    • The Gate.Horror movie where the kids open up a gate to hell.If i remember correctly a young Brad Douriff was in it.

      • OMG Dude I have been scouring the internet for OVER A YEAR looking for that movie ! I had no idea what it was called. I googled a million things, and tried every few months. Thank you so very much !!!

        The Gate FTW !

  2. No “Weird Science”?

  3. The Goonies were my favorite movies since I was a kid ? I remember watching this movie in theatres back when I was growing up ? I did remember Sean Astin played Mike Walsh and he is a great guy who ever played this Goon Squad Leader searching for One-Eyed Willie out on a Pirate quest.

  4. What about The Lost Boys? Stephen King’s Silver Bullet has to be one of my favorite kis/horror blending movies.

    The original The Shining was also mad scary to watch as a kid. Imagine being chased with an ax by your crazy father who killed your mom?

    • Have you ever even seen The Shining? The mother and son escape.


  5. Yeah, Lost Boys! The Frog Brothers and a young(ish) Kiefer Sutherland! But all the choices are good ones…

    • I think Lost Boys and Red Dawn count as TEENAGERS and not KIDS.

  6. Not a kids movie, but Aliens had some SERIOUS kid in danger. And you left out Red Dawn! Or were they too old (supposed to be in high school)

  7. All I have to say is I freakin’ love The Last Starfighter.

    • man, i really need to buy all these on dvd, or blu-ray if availible lol

  8. Exactly my thoughts Kofi. But i will add, that the list is not complete without “Time Bandits”. Shame on you Screenrant. :P
    Ah man, “Goonies”, gotta see that one again soon.

  9. Time Bandits. Concentrated Evil can turn you into a hermit crab in the fantasy world, according to the Supreme Being, but not even Sean Connery will be much help when it gets into the real world…

    • Nice one, kryptowus! Hadn’t renewed the page before I posted mine.

      • Yes, Time Bandits should be on this list before several of these others – shame on you indeed! Redo, I say!!!

  10. What about “Stand By Me”? And “Making Contact” has a pretty crazy ending too, dont you think?

    • Stand By Me and Time Bandits are both Dramas – not “Kids movies”, i.e., movies aimed at kids.

      • I’d question Adventures In Babysitting being on that list then, Kofi. Gremlins too – I’d say that was more of a comedy horror movie than something aimed specifically at kids.

      • I didnt mention Time Bandits and I think in this article “Kids Movies” means movies in which the main characters are kids. Kids that deal with great dangers. Most of the time movies with kids are aimed at kids anyway, right?

  11. Gremlins is my favorite one on that list. How about “The Princess Bride”, yet another Fred Savage movie?

    • Ah, but Fred was in danger of only one thing: His grandpa grabbing his cheek and asking, “How’s the sickie?”

  12. You missed out Explorers. Three kids convert a dodgem car into a spacecraft and go and visit some ailens don’t get much crazier than that.

    • that was a good movie lol…im still searching for the rare rolls canardly

  13. Where’s Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome?

    I remember the sand monster got one of those kids. ;-)

    • thunderdome was more of an adult movie, hello?

  14. I’m joking around Anthony. ;-)

    • oh ok lol

  15. @Reddust Damn you beat me to Explorers Everytime I watch that movie I find myself counting how many different ways those three kids would have died.

    I can not believe “Honey I shrunk the kids” wasn’t on this list… CLASSIC!

    • HISTK should’ve probably been on there, I have to agree. They almost got lawn mowered!

  16. Does Red Dawn count? After all it was a movie about a group of teenagers who form a squad of resistance fighters after the Russians and Cubans invade their hometown. Now that I think about it…Iron Eagle didn’t make it on the list. What could be more dangerous than a seventeen year old kid flying an F-16 and getting shot at by missiles, anti aircraft guns etc? Man, I got to find that movie on DVD.

  17. Jonn Holland, “Iron Eagle” is pretty easy to find on Dvd. Unfortunately its only availible in full screen.


  18. How about Wolfgang Petersen’s The Neverending Story? Aside from a nice fantasy story, it had a catchy theme song? :D

  19. It’s been a while since I’ve seen it, but does anyone remember Cloak and Dagger? That kid got into some sticky situations.

  20. How about Rescue? Several teens infiltrate north korea to save their parents? Pretty crazy to me. And what about Cloak and Dagger? Two kids chased by spies who are trying to kill them for what they might know.

  21. You forgot Never ending story :(

  22. Was the guy in “The Last Starfighter” like 2 or so? Does that movie really qualify?

    • I meant 20 or so.

  23. Red Dawn?

    Who can forget the “Wolverines!”

  24. Think the kids film The Explorers (1985) should make the list. Especially for the singing alien that learnt earth ways from MTV!

    Another kids film worth a mention… The Cat from Outer Space!

  25. I think you should have included War Games! “How about Global Thermonuclear War? “

  26. Most of these aren’t actually kids’ movies. Some of them (The Last Starfighter, especially) don’t even really have kids in the central roles.

  27. Cloak and Dagger!

  28. “Space Camp”

    Exceedingly Poor timing for it’s release, perhaps, but when you have a robot called Jinx saying ‘Must Put Max in Space’, there’s no way they’re getting off that launch stack the planned way.

  29. Mac and Me.

    ‘Nuff said.