Do any old -- let's say pre-1990 -- kids movies hold up for adults?

We’re watching supposedly inoffensive John Hughes and Disney movies at the seniors daytime drop in centre I go to for my physical rehab and 80s kids movies have not aged well.

Fare like Dr. DoLittle (Eddie Murphy) are full of unfunny callouts like Shrek and insulting to kids’ intelligence.

Which are those? None I can think of are kids movies and several are obviously “offensive”, in the sense of being problematic or age inappropriate.

People forget that 80s movies were less PC and more likely to offend today’s viewers.

Fun read! Thanks for sharing.

I think if someone put me on the spot, this would always be what I’d pick for my favorite movie:

The original Norwegian title is Flåklypa Grand Prix. It’s the most revered piece of Norwegian cinema, which is shown on Norwegian national television every year on christmas. It’s not a christmas movie at all, that’s just how much we love it, kids and adults alike.

It’s about a bicycle repair man, who lives on top of possibly the least bikable mountain you could ever imagine, along with his two adopted friends, an anxious hedgehog who has been run over by a lawnmower, and a scrappy blackbird who comes from a very tough bend in the creek where he grew up.

The man’s name is Reodor, and he’s also an inventor who secretly dreams about building race cars, and the movie is about his quest to challenge his former apprentice, who has stolen his plans for a super retrometric distributor that can be used to supercharge race cars, and has used it to build a thriving career as a driver for his Snakeoil Racing team.

(Which is a name I’ve since used in every racing game that’ll allow me to name a team)

I can’t know how much of it is nostalgia - I’ve worn out more VHS tapes of this movie than any other - but even watching it today, I still marvel at the animation, and I absolutely love the music, possibly even more than I did when I was a kid.

I think it played a huge part in making me enjoy music, and just as importantly, it also made me care about words, because the writing is really clever.

It’s a Norwegian movie, and it contains a bunch of Scandi cleverness that probably won’t translate neatly into English, but I can say that it’s stuff like the little hedgehog going “There’s a northern wind blowing from all sides today!” or the scrappy little blackbird going “Well pull me backwards into the bird box!” as an exclamation.

Reodor ends up naming his car Il Tempo Gigante, and at one point they run into a bodyguard by the name of Emanuel Desperados, who also happens to be a gorilla with a heart of gold. He’s a bodyguard for Sheik Ben Redik Fyfazan, whose last name sounds an awful lot like “goddamn” in nordic languages.

When I was a kid, I just loved the way those words sounded (a northern wind from all sides sounds awful chilly) but watching it now as an adult, I also appreciate how clever they are.

I don’t know if it holds up, I’m obviously badly compromised, but there is a lot of beautiful craft in it, some of which you only come to appreciate once you’ve grown up.

The music; If this doesn’t tug on your heartstrings, that means your family is 0% Norwegian:

Speaking of stuff that kids don’t understand, here’s the mayor (and member of the pit crew) helping himself to a shot of ethanol during a pit stop:

Yeah, I actually laughed out loud at multiple anecdotes and Mrs. Kub was wondering WTH I was doing!

The Neverending Story
Herbie the Love Bug

This film is hilariously bad, but too sincere to be campy. It’s another one the kids and I read together (the version with the green and red printing) and then were disappointed watching the film. We still do, sometimes, use “Artaaaaax! Artaaaax!” while sobbing as an exclamation of over-the-top mock grief though.

Fun fact: Noah Hathaway, who played Atreyu, is a hard core anti-vax/gun nut/conspiracy peddler. I just ruined your childhood.

I mean, he’s kind of a dick in the movie.

The old Ghibli movies from the 80s still are considered classics - you can argue if they are kid’s movies, but back then the prevalent opinion was “if it’s animated, it’s for kids”.

According to IMDB, those are all from 84-89.

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind
Laputa: Castle in the Sky
Grave of the Fireflies (Okay - this one’s NOT a kids movie. Great movie that everyone should have watched at least once, and no one wants to watch twice)
My Neighbour Totoro (This one is. That dude is my spirit animal.)
Kiki’s Delivery Service

Some more…troublesome animated offerings which are still great movies, but probably not all that suited for kids, would be Watership Down, Plague Dogs, and The Secret of NIMH.

We, well, ended up seeing them young, regardless.

For a special treat, I recommend Les Maîtres du temps (lit. The Masters of Time, a.k.a. Time Masters); original is French, and I know there’s a German dub, but I’m not sure if I ever saw an English version of it.

The Mighty Ducks is bad when watched today.

Not to mention one of the child stars Brock Pierce being involved in crypto scams, child sex rings and the failed videogames portal TheDen.

I had just come back to this thread to suggest Totoro. Essential.

I saw Time Bandits mentioned in this thread, which I hadn’t heard of otherwise, but it’s apparently getting it’s own TV show on AppleTV+ this summer.

A million times this. As you noted, not ALL Ghibli movies, but My Neighbor Totoro and Kiki’s Delivery Service are both unambiguously kids films and simultaneously phenomenal.

Two or three years ago, my now-five year old used to watch Totoro and Kiki many times a day if we would let him (there was a pandemic on and he had some health issues). To a lesser extent, he’d watch Ponyo too. Then he totally gave them up for the Cars movies. But in the last month he’s gone back to Totoro. I keep hoping he’ll get back into Kiki or Ponyo again. And maybe we’ll introduce him to Porco Rosso or Castle in the Sky in another few years.

Otherwise for old kids movies holding up for kids (and adults), we’ve had some success with The Wizard of Oz. He hated almost every minute of it while it was on, but then afterwards he said he was glad he saw it. So a mix of critical opinions there. He was also bored out of his mind for the first twenty minutes or so of Mary Poppins (it takes that long for Jane and Michael Banks to show up) but by the end, after the fox hunt/horse race and the chimney sweep scene, he was gasping, “how did they do that?” But the secret is to have a cast of his peers on screen for live action movies. He doesn’t much care about the problems of grownups, and I can’t blame him.

I’m following up on Tom’s post a little later than I meant to. I used to love The Cat From Outer Space as a kid. I loved cats, and I loved outer space. It was like mixing chocolate and peanut butter! But as a grown-up, I found that something terrible happened to the movie! When it wasn’t, as Tom said, slapstick or mugging or juvenile, it was filled with dull grown-up activities without a kid character to be seen. When the cat and all the “good guys” hang out, they only do boring adult stuff – the kinds of things bachelors and divorced men do. The titular alien cat mostly wants to bang Earth cats until his ship is fixed, a la Captain Kirk. His human chum likes to watch football, drink beer, and bet on sports, either in his tacky apartment or a pool hall. What kid would care about any of this? I’ve kept this away from my kid. I don’t think it would warp his moral character, but we’d both rather rewatch a Trolls or a Sing movie for the twentieth time.

That was interesting and frequently funny! Gremlins was way too scary when I was first exposed to it. If only we’d had the PG-13 rating back then. Though funnily, or ironically, they packaged some of the scariest bits in an anti-drinking and drugs PSA that ran during a ton of my favorite afterschool cartoons.

Sometimes I wouldn’t have time to run to the dial to change the channel, so I’d get constantly freaked out by that scene where Spike is burned up by sunlight. I guess it kept me away from drugs and booze, though, so thanks, Keye Luke! And it toughened me up so that by the time Gremlins 2: The New Batch came out, I was ready to laugh through it, even through the gore and jump scares.