There are so many new kids’ movies that come out regularly these days, and with the recent emphasis on 3D movies and special effects, I find myself waxing nostalgic and reminiscing the days of my youth where watching a movie, especially at home on TV, was a special treat. As much as we all may enjoy the incredible special effects that the newer films offer, many of the classic children’s movies of a bygone era are irreplaceable.
Many of us have “Movie Nights” in our homes. Watching the daily fare on the tube doesn’t hold a candle to getting a prime spot on the couch with your kids, some popcorn and your favorite children’s film to make it an evening to remember. That being said, I will go out on a limb and admit that I personally dig the classic kids’ movies more so than the more recent offerings. I don’t know what it is but I find them much more magical and thought-provoking. Sure, I’ve enjoyed some of the neat effects and futuristic story lines of the past few years but nothing can hold a candle to Judy Garland chanting “There’s no place like home,” and other goodies.To that end, here are my picks for the top 10 classic children’s movies of all time (in my humble opinion).
1) The Sound of Music (1965) – The hills truly were alive when Julie Andrews created the character of Maria in this timeless and beautiful film about the Von Trapp family. From the breathtaking scenery to the unforgettable music to the touching storyline about the Von Trapp family children, this film has it all.
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2) The Wizard of Oz (1939)- Who could forget Dorothy’s ruby slippers and her determined quest to make her way back to Kansas? How about the Wicked Witch of the West? The Tin Man, the Scarecrow and the Cowardly Lion round out a cast of characters that make this gem from 1939 a must-see classic.
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3) E.T. (1982) – This heartwarming story of a stranded alien who forms a close relationship with a little boy is one that the whole family will enjoy. An early front-runner of the then-emerging computer graphics-based movie (CG) genre made this movie particularly compelling. Enjoyable for both the kids and the parents.
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4) Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971) – No explanation necessary for this one. I mean, mounds of candy in every shot, the fantasy of access to every treat that your heart desires, oh, yeah, and the plot. Your kids will love it.
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5) Charlotte’s Web (1973) – A doomed pig and his true arachnid friend. Sounds like a bizarre basis for a movie, but it works. Despite the sad reality that is at the core of the story, this animated musical has all of the elements that make a movie memorable: solid plot, well-developed characters and entertainment value, among others. Warning: it’s a tearjerker.
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6) Pinocchio (1940) – The story of a hopeful wooden puppet who longs to become a “real boy” touches the hearts of young and old alike. I still remember being a child and the feelings evoked when Jiminie Cricket sang “When You Wish Upon a Star” to Pinocchio. This story is timeless and the film stands up to many modern children’s movies that are not half as imaginative.
7) The Red Balloon (1956) – This film made a lasting impression on me when I saw it as a young girl. I can still remember the myriad of feelings and emotions that it evoked, in spite of the movie’s simple premise. One of the best movies for kids ever (video below).
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8) The Parent Trap (1961) – Hayley Mills stars as herself – times two – as identical twin girls who are dealing with their divorced parents. Touching and entertaining, this film is so much better than the 1998 Lindsay Lohan version.
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9)Mary Poppins (1964) – When Mary Poppins sings “A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down,” you actually believe her. Who wouldn’t want a nanny like this one, sugar, umbrella, flying abilities and all? This is one great family flick that will remain a classic for years to come.
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10) Miracle on 34th Street (1947) – Okay, it’s a holiday flick, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that a young Natalie Wood steals the show in this wonderfully touching movie. It makes you believe in Santa Claus all over again.
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So there you have it – some great movies to watch, curled up on the couch with the kids. Stay tuned for The Top 10 Modern Children’s Movies of All Time coming soon!
Wondering about the Top 10 Classic Children’s TV Shows of all time? Click here for details!
What are your picks for the best classic family movies?
VIDEO: The Red Balloon
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