14 Underrated Animated Movies of the 1980s Worth Revisiting
The technology may not be as evolved as in 2020s, but the heart is all there.
Here are some of the lesser-known animated movies released in the 1980s that totally deserve a watch.
1. The Flight of Dragons (1982)
In a magical world where dragons soar, the battle between science and magic is brewing. Enter Peter, a scientist from the modern world, who's whisked away to this fantastical realm. He finds himself transformed into a dragon and joins a quest to defeat the evil sorcerer Ommadon. With a band of misfit companions including a knight, a wolf, an archer, and a dragon, Peter must navigate this mystical world, combining his scientific knowhow with newfound magical abilities.
2. Rock & Rule (1983)
Imagine a post-apocalyptic world where rock music is king, and anthropomorphic animals rule. Angel, a talented singer, and her band are catapulted into an adventure when the malevolent rock star Mok kidnaps her to unleash a demon with her voice. It's a wild ride through fantastical cities, underground clubs, and flashy concerts. The band, including Angel's boyfriend Omar, embark on a rescue mission, diving into a world of bizarre sci-fi elements and pulsating rock music.
3. The Black Cauldron (1985)
In this dark fantasy tale, young pig-keeper Taran dreams of being a great warrior. But instead, he's thrust into a quest to stop the evil Horned King from getting his hands on the Black Cauldron, an object of unimaginable power. Joined by a motley crew including Princess Eilonwy, a minstrel, and a furry creature named Gurgi, Taran faces undead warriors and learns the values of heroism and friendship.
4. The Great Mouse Detective (1986)
In the rodent world of Victorian London, Basil, the mouse detective, is on the case of a toy-maker's disappearance. It's a mouse-sized mirror of Sherlock Holmes' world, complete with a Dr. Watson-like sidekick, Dawson. The trail leads them to Ratigan, the rat equivalent of Moriarty. There's a thrilling adventure through toy stores, pubs, and the queen's palace, with danger and deductions at every turn.
5. The Adventures of Mark Twain (1985)
Imagine Mark Twain in a flying airship, eager to meet Halley's Comet. Three kids, Tom Sawyer, Huck Finn, and Becky Thatcher, sneak aboard for the ride. They jump through different stories written by Twain, like dealing with a mysterious stranger who creates mini worlds, and visiting a medieval kingdom.
6. The Brave Little Toaster (1987)
A toaster, a blanket, a lamp, a radio, and a vacuum cleaner – all alive and missing their owner. They set out from an abandoned cabin on a big city adventure to find him. It's a journey filled with funny and scary moments. They cross forests, rivers, and even face a scary junkyard.
7. The Secret of NIMH (1982)
Mrs. Brisby, a field mouse, needs to move her family before the farmer plows their field, but her son is sick and can't be moved. She discovers her late husband was part of a secret experiment that made him super smart. Seeking help, she finds a society of intelligent rats, also part of the experiment, living under a rose bush.
8. The Plague Dogs (1982)
Two dogs, Snitter and Rowf, escape from a research lab in the Lake District. They're on the run, trying to survive in the wild. They're hunted as they're believed to carry the bubonic plague. The dogs make friends with a clever fox who helps them look for their original owners and avoid the humans chasing them. Their adventure is full of close calls and tough situations. I
9. An American Tail (1986)
Fievel Mousekewitz, a young Russian mouse, gets separated from his family while emigrating to America. He lands in New York, believing his family is there too. The big city is full of dangers and challenges. He meets friendly and not-so-friendly characters, including a cat who pretends to be a rat and a friendly pigeon.
10. The Last Unicorn (1982)
A lone unicorn, hearing she's the last of her kind, sets out to find what happened to the others. She gets tangled up with a bumbling magician and a tough-talking woman. The journey's full of danger, like a harpy and a wicked king who's been trapping unicorns. It turns a bit wild when the unicorn becomes a human woman, experiencing love and loss. The big showdown? It's against the Red Bull, the creature that herded the unicorns away.
11. The Land Before Time (1988)
Littlefoot, a young dinosaur, is on a journey to find the legendary Great Valley after his mother's death. He meets other young dinosaurs along the way, like Cera, a triceratops, and Ducky, a swimmer. They deal with scary predators and the world's dangers, growing closer as they search for this paradise, crossing deep chasms and even escaping a fierce T-Rex.
12. Fire and Ice (1983)
In a world of fire and ice, a muscle-bound hero, Larn, is out for revenge against the evil ice lord, Nekron. He joins forces with Princess Teegra, who's been kidnapped by Nekron's goons. It's a non-stop action-packed adventure, with battles against sub-humans, giant creatures, and Nekron's magic as they journey through dangerous landscapes, from fiery pits to icy mountains.
13. The Chipmunk Adventure (1987)
The Chipmunks and The Chipettes get tricked into a round-the-world hot air balloon race by a couple of smugglers. It starts as a fun adventure, but they don't know they're actually smuggling diamonds! They zip around exotic locations, from deep jungles to ancient temples, singing and getting into all sorts of scrapes. They slowly figure out the smugglers' plan and work to stop them.
14. The Care Bears Movie (1985)
The Care Bears live in a cloud-filled land, spreading care and joy. They come across an orphanage with some lonely kids and decide to help. Meanwhile, an evil spirit from a book tries to spread uncaring by tricking a young boy, Nicholas. The bears, along with their new human friends, face off against dark magic, trying to save Nicholas and stop the spirit.