Sometimes we adults — with our pride, practicality and general lack of imagination and fear of failure — just can’t get the job done. Enter kids, who have the energy, creativity and willpower to succeed where their elders have failed … and inspire the rest of us in the process.

Here are 4 movies where kids have gone above and beyond to save the day:

 

The Goonies – When several families in the sleepy town of Astoria, Oregon, face foreclosure on their homes, a ragtag band of local kids takes off on an adventure to find a storied pirate treasure in “booty trap”-laden underground caves. Despite criminals hot on their tail, the gang still pulls it off and ultimately scores enough loot to save their neighborhood from being razed to the ground. That’s because “Goonies never say die!”

Super 8 – When aliens invade, adults in the movies tend to want to shoot first and ask questions later. That’s why sometimes the world needs children to step in and show a little empathy to our extraterrestrial visitors and figure out why they’re behaving so badly — in order to stop them from annihilating the human race. That’s exactly what happens in J.J. Abrams’ ode to the Spielberg films of his youth.

A Wrinkle in Time – What starts off as a young girl’s search for her missing father turns into a race to save the entire universe from being destroyed! Teenage Meg (Storm Reid) knows deep in her gut that her scientist dad (Chris Pine) wouldn’t have ever intentionally bailed on their family. Turns out he’s been trapped in another dimension for years, and only his daughter’s love can save him … while also holding the nefarious “It” at bay before its darkness swallows up the world.

The NeverEnding Story – This ‘80s classic (and one of my all-time favorite movies) also features a creeping darkness that threatens to obliterate everything in its path: “The Nothing.” And once again, the only ones who can save the day are kids, including the Earth-bound Bastian and the Fantasia-dwelling Atreyu (and let’s not forget the luckdragon Falkor), whose lives intersect through a magical book Bastian swipes from the library.

 

Three cheers for these fearless heroes and heroines, who make up in bravery what they don’t yet have in years. What other movies do you like where kids save the day?