In anticipation of International Family Day this weekend, we're bringing you our picks for the best family movies decade by decade.

At times like these, family movies provide great comfort, as well as entertainment. And it rarely gets more feel-good than the offerings of the 1980s.

We've picked a selection of live-action as well as animated movies for you to enjoy from home.

We're even sussed out exactly where you can find them on demand.



Released back in 1986, 'Labyrinth' has become a cult favourite despite its poor showing at the box office. Its story relates how a teenage girl (Jennifer Connelly) goes in search of her little brother Toby after he is kidnapped by the Goblin King (David Bowie). It was the last film to be directed by 'Muppets' creator Jim Henson and has become even more popular following the unfortunate passing of Bowie. He wrote all its songs and it is one catchy soundtrack.

Watch on Netflix.


The Neverending Story

This 80s fantasy flick follows Bastian, a shy, bullied boy, who finds comfort when he discovers a book titled 'The Neverending Story'. It introduces him to Atreyu the brave, Falkor the joyful Luckdragon, and the Child Empress, among other fascinating characters and creatures. Little does Bastian know that he isn't just an observer of the book's events. He's a part of the story itself.

Watch on Netflix.


The Land Before Time

Ok, we know Disney deaths are sad and Pixar makes us cry. But that early scene in 'The Land Before Time'... our poor little hearts! The charming Don Bluth feature (the animation studio had a premises here in Ireland, did you know?) follows a group of young dinosaurs separated from their parents, and the journey they go on to find home.

Watch on Netflix.


The Little Mermaid

Released in 1989, 'The Little Mermaid' just about squeezes onto our picks of the decade. Of course it's a big favourite for many from the Disney library, even if its 16 year old protagonist can be a bit of a brat. The songs from Alan Menken (he'd also compose the scores for 'Beauty and the Beast' and 'Aladdin') and Howard Ashman are delightful, and the underwater animation is gorgeous.

Watch on Disney+.


The Fox and the Hound

'The Fox and the Hound' is a somewhat more mature venture of Disney's but still one the whole family is going to love. It follows the friendship between a red fox named Tod and a hound dog named Copper from their childhood through to adulthood. The fact that Copper is being trained to become a hunting dog complicates their relationship.

Watch on Disney+.


Honey, I Shrunk the Kids

80s star Rick Moranis (who also starred in the likes of 'Ghostbusters' and 'Little Shop of Horrors' that decade) plays scientist, inventor and dad Wayne Szalinski. He accidentally shrinks his teenage daughter and son, as well as the next door neighbour's kids, to the size of insects. The teens go on a perilous journey across the garden to get back home and return to their normal size.

Watch on Disney+.



Released in 1984, 'Ghostbusters' was an instant commercial hit, amassing a sequel, several videogames, an all-female reboot and, now, a threequel with the original cast returning. It went went on to become a pop culture phenomenon and made household names out of Bill Murray and Sigourney Weaver, and gave Ray Parker Jr. his one and only hit.

Watch on Now TV/Sky Cinema.


E.T. The Extra Terrestrial

Not only does E.T. have one of the greatest endings of the '80s, it's probably one of the greatest endings of any decade. John Williams' score, E.T. and the ship arriving, little Elliott learning to move on from his grief... It still gets you right in the chest after thirty plus years. Also, how about that Drew Barrymore girl? Where'd she end up after this?

Watch on Now TV/Sky Cinema.


The Goonies

'The Goonies' hit cinemas in 1985 and remains a classic and widely beloved family adventure comedy to this day. In fact just recently the main cast including Sean AstinJosh Brolin, Corey Feldman, Jeff Cohen, Ke Huy Quan, Martha Plimpton, Kerri Green, Robert Davi and Joe Pantoliano all got back together on screen (even if it was via zoom).

Watch on Now TV/Sky Cinema.


The Karate Kid

It would set off a franchise that included three sequels, a remake with Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan, and a hit sequel series on Youtube named 'Cobra Kai'. But nothing quite beats the original 1984 movie 'The Karate Kid'. It follows Daniel LaRusso, as he is taught Gōjū-ryū karate by Mr. Miyagi in order defend himself and to compete in a tournament against his bullies.

Watch on Now TV/Sky Cinema.