I forgot to include this cute classic movie story in my last post on this subject. While in Disney, we rode the Great Movie Ride at Hollywood Studios. You sit in a kind of giant car and are driven from room to room, each one meant to immerse you in the set of a famous movie. So one room was Muchkinland from The Wizard of Oz, and another was the snake/temple room from Raiders of the Lost Ark.
One of the rooms featured the movie Alien. Our car was parked inside a metallic-looking tube, with red emergency lights and dry-ice smoke all around, and then the Alien jumps out at you from an overhead opening. During this part of the ride, the girls were plenty scared but the Captain totally FREAKED OUT.
This is going to sound rather Bad Mommy of me, but I was kind of delighted that he was freaking out so much. He’d spent the whole week declaring himself to be unscareable – Pirates of the Carribean and Haunted Mansion were “totally not scary at all, MOM,” and rides like Space Mountain and Tower of Terror were super! fun! and not remotely terrifying. So to see him completely beside himself on the movie ride, where grandmothers go to have a mid-afternoon air conditioned break, was a tiny bit satisfying.
Score one for the movies!
I found this movie list much harder to put together than my book list. I feel like everyone can agree on certain book classics but movies are more all over the place. Movies I saw as a teenager had a huge impact on me and they are possibly, just POSSIBLY, not that great of a movie. So should I put them on my movie list? Or should I keep to the established greats?
Also, I wanted to make a list of family-friendly films, since we are hoping to establish a family movie night, but also, I had a list of really classic movies that were required viewing for Their Movie Education. I also had to admit that some of the classic movies were not appropriate for group viewing. I’ll forever be scarred by the time when I was in high school, watching Dangerous Liasons over at my friend Laura’s house, and her dad walked in right in the middle of a sex scene. HORRIFYING.
So I thought I would break the list up by type of movie, like, family viewing versus classic versus Adults Only, but some fit into more than one category, like say The Wizard of Oz, and then I almost threw my hands up in despair due to my complete lack of focus and inability to whip my list into submission. GACK.
But I promised you a list, at least to get the conversation going, so here’s what I came up with. Side note: if you see something on this list you’re interested in showing to your kids, but aren’t sure if it is appropriate for their age level, I recommend checking Common Sense Media – they have an excellent ranking system, I absolutely trust their age suggestions, and they also give a great overview of discussion points that might arise from viewing so you can be prepared.
Family Viewing – The Must-Watch List
A Christmas Story
Beauty and the Beast (Disney animated version)
Back to the Future
E.T. The Extra Terrestrial
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (maybe when they are a wee bit older)
How To Train Your Dragon (a modern classic, highly recommended)
The Karate Kid (we watched this together on Family Day, after the wax-on-wax-off reference came up during our trip to Disney somehow. Now everyone around here is doing crane kicks. Hi-ya!)
The Lion King
The Muppet Movie (and I would also recommend the new one, The Muppets – it’s perfect)
Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure
The Princess Bride (our kids hate this movie. We will be forcing them to watch it over and over in A Clockwork Orange type fashion until they LOVE IT, DAMMIT)
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
Spirited Away (CONFESSION: I have never seen this one, or any others from the same makers like Howl’s Moving Castle or Ponyo. I SUCK. Will get on that promptly.)
The Sound of Music
Tangled (I know, it’s recent – but already my most favourite Disney movie evah, so it’s in)
Toy Story 2 (actually much less scary than the original Toy Story, I recommend this movie as a first full-feature length for young kids)
Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (again, maybe for a slightly older crowd)
The Wizard of Oz
Family Viewing – Entertainment for Your Dollar (this will be my ongoing Family Movie Night list)
Every other Pixar Movie: Finding Nemo, Monsters Inc., A Bug’s Life, The Incredibles, Ratatouille, Up, Cars, Toy Story 3 (if you can take the sadness)
Most every other Disney animated movie: Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Tarzan, Mulan, Pocahontas, The Princess and the Frog, Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, Fantasia, Tinker Bell, Phineas and Ferb Movie, Winnie the Pooh (the new one is so cute), Robin Hood, The AristoCats (a favourite of Little Miss Sunshine), 101 Dalmatians, The Jungle Book, Lady and the Tramp
Alvin and the Chipmunks (ANNOYING. Yet my kids ADORE.)
Bedknobs and Broomsticks
Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (I actually prefer the Johnny Depp version, I KNOW, sacrilege!)
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
Curious George (love, love, love this movie – highly recommended for your 2-4 year old)
Escape to Witch Mountain
Fantastic Mr. Fox (God, how I LOVE this movie)
Fly Away Home
Happy Feet (about a cute dancing penguin – gave all three of my kids nightmares, we had to turn it off due to their shrieking in horror. WHAT UP?)
Harry Potter movies (I guess, although I want them to read the books first)
Herbie The Love Bug
High School Musical (I KNOW. Yet I love them. I am ashamed.)
Honey I Shrunk the Kids
The Iron Giant (maaaaaaybe…I shy away from films where I am going to cry like my dog died)
James and the Giant Peach
Kung Fu Panda
The Mighty Ducks
Miracle on 34th Street
Men in Black
Monsters vs. Aliens
The Neverending Story (but first! assure your kids that THE HORSE WILL BE OKAY)
Night at the Museum
The Nightmare Before Christmas
The Parent Trap (old version or new version, both are good)
Piglet’s Big Movie
Pirates of the Carribean series
Puss in Boots
The Shaggy Dog (the original)
Shrek (I guess, although this series really bugs me)
Spy Kids (really, this series is just awful, awful, awful, but my kids ADORE it, go figure)
Superman (the Christopher Reeve ones)
Swiss Family Robinson
Wallace and Gromit
What a Girl Wants (not a good movie, but on our list for sentimental reasons)
The Classics We Can Watch Together When They Are a Little Older
All About Eve
Arsenic and Old Lace
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Easter Parade (my all-time favourite movie musical)
A Few Good Men
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (my favourite Marilyn Monroe film)
The Godfather parts I and II
Gone With the Wind
The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly
Grease (actually not one of my favourites, but it’s so famous it’s a must-watch)
The Great Escape (one of Sir Monkeypants’ favourites)
How to Marry a Millionaire (my sisters and I watched this about 1000 times as teens)
It’s a Wonderful Life
King Kong (the original 1933 version, if such a thing can be acquired)
The Lord of the Rings (Discuss: is it a requirement to read the books first?)
The Magnificent Seven (LOVE this movie)
Memento (looking forward to seeing their MINDS BLOWN)
North by Northwest
The Philadelphia Story
Raiders of the Lost Ark
Rebel Without a Cause
Saving Private Ryan (oh hell, and every other Speilberg film ever)
Some Like It Hot
Star Trek (the J.J. Adams one – not because I think it’s the best, but because it introduces all the characters)
The Sixth Sense
The Terminator (hm…does have a sex scene, may have to move to the Awkward category)
The Usual Suspects (another of Sir Monkeypants’ all-time favourites)
West Side Story
The Wrath of Khan
The Classics I Will Recommend They Watch Then Politely Find Something Else To Do
Psycho (only because I can’t survive watching it again)
The Silence of the Lambs (I am seriously weak-stomached)
When Harry Met Sally
13 thoughts on “The Movie List”
I would put My Neighbour Totoro on your list of must-sees before Spirited Away. It’s fabulous for kids, and the English dub is really good (it stars Dakota and Elle Fanning as the two main characters in the movie, who are sisters).
Also also; how old do you think your kids will be before you show them Aliens? I’m just wondering for my own case 😉
Thanks for the suggestion – we will start with that one then. I’m looking forward to it!
I’m thinking maybe 15 or 16 for Aliens? I want them to be old enough to love it, not just to be totally and completely freaked out.
I cry just thinking about the scene with the horse in Neverending Story
I know, me too. It’s the same way I could never, ever read the kids The Velveteen Rabbit or Charlotte’s Web. Way too sad. But I did love the movie of The Neverending Story as a kid so…I hope to get up the guts to try it someday. CommonSenseMedia recommends it for ages 8 and up so our older two should be able to be forever scarred by it very soon!
Eeep! They hated the Princess Bride? That would make me sooooo sad.
I wanted to like Spirited Away more than I actually liked it. I found it kinda weird and disturbing.
I thought I was the only adult woman who didn’t like Love Actually.
Seven Brides for Seven Brothers would be on my list (even though it’s so not PC and really kinda disturbing, too). But it’s so much fun! The songs! The dancing! The kidnapping! Oh well.
I prefer the Johnny Depp Chocolate Factory movie, too. I like them both, but the newer one’s just so much fun. So Depp-y!
Hmmm, I only scanned this list quickly, but I have to say I didn’t like Happy Feet nearly as much as you seemed to. It’s not in any way on par with Pixar or Dreamworks animated films. Probably outstanding technically, but I think the story and the writing are weak.
The one film on the list that I kind of have to leave the room for a while when we watch it is Up. The first 10 minutes of that film is the most brilliant marriage of music and wordless visuals, telling a beautiful but sad story. Never a dry eye (for me) when I watch that.
And I was glad to see Despicable Me on your list. I was more than a little surprised at how good that was. In the same vein I’d highly recommend Megamind.
As I mentioned above, Happy Feet absolutely TERRIFIED my children. I have no idea why. It’s the opening sequence, where the singing mom and dad unite – for some reason they were completely freaked out. After about five tries we finally made it through the whole thing with a LOT of coaching and hand-holding.
And then Happy Feet 2 came out, and they were begging to see it. WHAT? UP?
The opening part of Up is one of my most favourite sequences on film ever. I also bawl like a baby and then have to answer 100 questions about “What’s so sad, Mommy?” It’s just gorgeous filmmaking.
We will check out Megamind, thanks for the suggestion!
Lynn that is hilarious. E seems to be overly empathetic when watching movies. We haven’t watched many yet, but Happy Feet is his favourite! Funny, he hides and is shy at the moments you mention but it’s the only Disney movie he loves so far!
Ahem, Happy Feet is not a Disney film.
I just tried to rent Escape To Witch Mountain from iTunes (you can buy it, but not rent it, sadly), and iTunes recommended two other titles that should have been on this list – Free Willy and Annie. ANNIE. I can’t believe I left that off. GEEZ.
Also recommended: The Cat From Outer Space. Man I loved that movie as a kid. I’m sure it is just terrible in real life. Still…tempting!
May I humbly suggest the classic “The Sting”? Butch Cassidy and his buddy reunited in a great period piece.
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FILM. Yes. It is just a fantastic way to educate and entertain. I was just browsing various top 100 lists and realizing how many great ones we’ve seen as a family. I want to compile a list if my own so we can watch great films together. Recently we watched Ghandi, Driving Miss Daisy, To Kill a Mockingbird, Lord of the Rings, and Footloose. Miyazaki films are our absolute favourite. Kiki’s delivery Service might be perfect for your little guys. (Our kids are 10 and 12.)
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