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20 Movies That Defined Our Childhood

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    The Goonies was released 30 years ago this month, which comes as something of a surprise. Because of the way it was present in our childhoods, thanks to perpetual runs on TV, it feels even older: the kind of tale that's been around since before anyone can remember. Not to mention, we can't be that old, can we?

    Whether it's the inspiring story of how little Mikey (Sean Astin) leads his ragtag group of friends on an elaborate treasure hunt the day before their neighborhood is set to be turned over to greedy developers, or just the sound of Sloth calling, "Hey, you guys!" so much about The Goonies was in our consciousness in one way or another. It's part of two decades of kids' movies that shaped us.

    Even if you weren't born when Back to the Future or Stand By Me hit theaters, they were beloved classics you could settle into on a Saturday-night sleepover or watch in your PJs on Sunday morning, when they'd randomly appear on cable. Sometimes, we recorded them on our VCRs, commercials and all, so they'd be on hand at any time. (Nope, not nostalgic at all for those warped old tapes with the handwritten labels.)

    Were these movies just numbing our tiny brains for a couple hours at a time? No way. We learned important lessons from The Little Mermaid and The Sandlot; looked at our friendships differently after watching Now and Then and My Girl; made use of our mom's tweezers after seeing The Princess Diaries; and contemplated the uses of Wite-Out when we saw Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Unlike anything we'll ever watch in adulthood, these movies shaped our lives.


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    The Goonies (1985)

    What we learned: Everyone in our group of misfit friends would be important to have around, should we ever embark on an epic adventure. From the quiet, asthmatic dreamer and the snarky loudmouth to the genius inventor, the compulsive eater, the body-building-obsessed older brother, the cool-nerd girl, the pretty girl everyone wants to kiss, and even the abused giant son of a criminal counterfeiting gang.

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    Back To The Future (1985)

    What we learned: If you're going to travel back in time, try not to do so in your own hometown, where you might run into your future parents and ruin your chance of existing. If you're going to build a time machine, don't steal plutonium from terrorists.

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    Stand By Me (1986)

    What we learned: The boys from bad families could turn out to look like River Phoenix and have really sensitive souls. Stay away from train-track bridges, pie-eating contests, and leech-filled swamps at all costs.

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    Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986)

    What we learned: Skipping school requires a whole lot of genius-level planning, but if done exactly right, it can result in the most amazing day ever. That school secretaries may or may not get high on Wite-Out. And if you have a sibling who's possibly a criminal mastermind in training, you won't get anywhere by ratting on him.

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    The Princess Bride (1987)

    What we learned: Never go in against a Sicilian when death is on the line...unless you happen to be the Dread Pirate Roberts. That true love can conquer almost anything (even death). And that if we were Princess Buttercup, we probably would have worked a little harder — learned a little swordplay, bought off a few guards — not to be forced into mawiage against our will. What's with all this waiting around for Wesley?