Best Children’s Classic Movies for Family Movie Night
Enjoy a classic movie with your children. Watching classics can open their eyes to a new world of imagination. Don’t be tempted to introduce these in the car DVD player. Watch these movies with them. Movies you saw as a child will seem different from an adult and parent perspective. And you’ll enjoy being there when your child tells you which parts they liked the best.
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory: Charlie wanted more than anything to visit the great chocolate factory. All he needed was to buy a Wonka Bar with one of the five golden tickets hidden inside. We are so disappointed when the fifth ticket is found; we wonder what Charlie will do.
Mary Poppins: Jane and Michael Banks want a new nanny. They promise they won’t put toads in her bed or pepper in her tea if she is sweet and witty. When Mary Poppins shows up they get an adventure way beyond their imagination.
Cinderella: Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella is the ultimate fairy tale. Cinderella must get to the ball if she wants to meet the prince. Her stepmother will not let her go. Then her fairy godmother comes to help.
Wizard of Oz: Dorothy meets a scarecrow, a tin man and a lion on the yellow brick road. The travel to find the Wizard of Oz so Dorothy can return to her home in Kansas but they must elude the Wicked Witch of the West.
Sound of Music: A young nun cannot conform to the rules of the convent and is sent to care for Captain Von Trapp’s children. She teaches them to sing and how to play. The Captain, who hasn’t heard music since his wife died, does not like the change.
Old Yeller: A coming of age story about a boy and his dog. While he first rejects the dog, he comes to love it. Then he must make a difficult choice. This choice will determine the boy’s character.
Anne of Green Gables: A red-headed orphan is a spirited change for a brother and sister who live on a farm on Prince Edward Island.
Chitty Bang Bang: Take an exciting and musical ride in the magical but clunker jalopy. One close call after another, the car barely makes it.
Dr. Dolittle: Do you wish you could talk to the animals? You’ll love this delightful story of Dr. Dolittle and his talking animals.
Swiss Family Robinson: Shipwrecked on a deserted island. Watch the family adapt to a new life on this island.
These are wonderful movies the whole family will enjoy. Plan a special time to watch these.
Top Children’s Movies of All-Time
I recently began doing research on a list of the top children’s movies ever made. I’d hoped to be able to compile a list of 100 great movies you can watch with any age child and not have to explain anything to do with sex, cover their eyes during graphic violence or explain ideas that are well over their heads. The first thing I discovered is that there really aren’t that many resources for this type of list and no one seems to ever have been able to come up with 100 movies that you could watch with both a 4-year-old and a nine-year-old. I fairly quickly assessed that my list would have to be considerably shorter. Perhaps 50 films. In reality, fewer films
Many lists included films that I believe everyone should see at some point in their lives but I didn’t feel were even remotely appropriate for or interesting to children. Some of the truly wonderful animated films that were included in other lists I simply have found too complicated for younger children to understand and, in some cases, too frightening. Many included movies that would be terrific for your pre-teen and teenaged children, but not for younger children. What I was looking for were those films that your family could pop into the DVD player on Friday evening and watch as a family. Eventually, I put together a list of 45 films that you can all watch together. Disney is, of course, heavily represented, mostly because they are the only studio that has been putting out movies for children for as long as they have. Many are classics, some are new, some are foreign (but no subtitles are needed), many are animated, and some are part of a series. I have not attempted to rank the movies; I’ll let you do that on your own.
1. The Wizard of Oz
2. National Velvet
3. The Yearling
4. Old Yeller
5. Black Stallion
6. E.T., the Extra-Terrestrial
7. The Princess Bride
8. Fantasia (the original)
9. The Red Balloon
10. Babe, the Gallant Pig
11. Toy Story (both)
12. Beauty and the Beast
13. Finding Nemo
14. Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs
15. The Music Man
16. The Sound of Music
18. The Little Mermaid
19. Mary Poppins
20. The King And I
21. Peter Pan
23. James and The Giant Peach
24. The Secret Garden
25. The Rookie
28. The Incredibles
29. The Princess Diaries
30. Fly Away Home
31. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe
32. Cinderella (animated)
33. Sleeping Beauty
34. Wallace & Gromit (the trilogy of shorts as well as the full-length feature)
35. Oliver (1968)
36. Whale Rider
37. Jungle Book
38. The Bear
39. The Incredible Journey (original)
40. Chitty, Chitty, Bang, Bang
41. The Lion King
42. The Iron Giant
43. The Secret of Roan Inish
45. Lassie Come Home
Movie Subgenre: Children with Magic
Walt Disney Productions has produced many different films that give a sense of outer realm for children in their minds. Anything is possible in a Disney movie, where taking things in everyday life that maybe stand still and breathe life in them to become an entity in the movie whether it be an animal, a piece of furniture, automobiles, or anything of that nature. In 1975 Disney Productions made the movie Escape to Witch Mountain. Basically giving us real life people with extra ordinary abilities as the two children did in this movie. Taking events such as being able to think about something like picking up a pencil with your mind and drawing on the wall, or playing a harmonica to produce dancing puppets with no one playing with their strings were all early evidence that children who were given the chance to see this type of film, would spark an imagination of doing it themselves. It was an evident starting point to bring children and their imaginations together as one. As this movie was a great classic, it was evident that soon many were to follow.
At such a young age and a sense of complete innocence is one of the many enjoyments of seeing children grow. Playing with friends and being able to imagine that they are a powerful, helpful, or make a difference in the world type of character whether climbing trees staving off wolves, or using magical powers to become everything that they hope to be is nothing short of the best stimulation a child’s mind can have. Which brings us to the area of animated movies with different types of characters that do many different things good and bad. You can pick a movie on a more recent scale such as “Cars” where they are in a world of their own without human life, but automobiles interacting just as people do in the real world. Movies of this magnitude that don’t necessarily have magic in the movie, it creates a magical feeling for the children to experience cars talking to each other as you and I do.
However, children grow up and as they do they find that entertaining themselves in an independent state is much less as time goes by. Many start becoming friends with classmates, and other children in their neighborhood being able to create less time occupying their minds and doing other things such as video games. When this happens the movie industry still understands the time or era some grow up in and want to attract those type of children, adolescents or teenagers, even adults in many different stages. A great example of this is the Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling that turned into millions and millions of dollars for the movie industry. Where as normally you will see one movie and understand the character, in this particular instance you get to see a boy with a troubled home life become the center of attention in a magical place. Where either they love him or hate him, his popularity is huge and creates animosity at the school (Hog wart’s) where they learn to control their magical powers. As Harry gets older kids watching the films become accustomed to wanting more. Wanting find out what new powers Potter and his counterparts will have that will leave them yearning for the next installment. This translate into more revenue not only for the movie industry, but also the the video game world, clothing lines and more. Not only are children as young as five and six years old able to take something from …