|I grew up on classic movies and still have a fondness for those that
were my favorites a few years ago. Not all are Disney
(though I'll admit, a lot are), but all are suitable for families with youngsters, and
including those of us who no longer qualify for the children's
menu. (* denotes fully animated)
The nanny of every child's dreams (Julie
Andrews) comes to work for the Banks family, and Jane and Michael have
never known such fun-- adventures in a chalk pavement picture, a tea party
on the ceiling, a voyage with the chimney sweeps across the rooftops of
London. What could be better? Magical, memorable songs as well. I've had
this entire movie memorized since about age ten.
OF OZ (1939)
leaves Kansas via a tornado and goes over the rainbow. The friends and
enemies she makes have become legends, as have the songs of this
musical fantasy adventure. Young kids might be frightened by the
Wicked Witch of the West however, so if in doubt, watch with them.
|THE YEARLING (1946)
Kids and animals seem to go hand in hand, and this movie adaptation
of the classic Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings book has something for everyone.
Love and loss, good times and bad, the friendship between a young boy and
his pet fawn Flag. A lovely and moving film.
OLD YELLER (1957)
Another kids and animals movie, this time dealing with a frontier
family and the stray dog they come to love. Filled with light-hearted moments
as well as times for the hanky, Dorothy
McGuire, Tommy Kirk and Kevin Corcoran all make this film a must-see.
THE PARENT TRAP (1961)
Though perhaps a little dated in what would now be considered this
movie's unrealistic approach to dealing with divorce, this Hayley
Mills (times 2) comedy about two twins who meet at camp and decided
to switch places on their divorced parents is still a lot of fun. Kids
without divorced parents won't have any problems with it, and those with
such family situations can (with proper parental participation) enjoy the
film without getting any outlandish ideas about mending their broken homes.
More fun from that child star of the 1960s, Hayley
Mills, this time as an orphan who comes to live with her crabby rich
aunt (Jane Wyman) and not
only wins her heart, but charms the entire town in the process. Another
fun-for-all children's classic.
THE LITTLE MERMAID (1989)*
In my opinion, the best of the modern Disney animated features.
Ariel's adventures and her pursuit of Prince Eric have a quality some of
the others lack, and King Triton's reluctance to let his daughter go makes
this an enjoyable movie for parents as well. Fun songs and supporting characters.
SLEEPING BEAUTY (1959)*
My favorite of the older Disney animations. Princess Aurora's waistline
puts Barbie to shame, but the supporting characters in this movie are so
entertaining one hardly pays attention to the modern-day complaints that
could be made; and besides, she's sheltered and innocent-- not a dumb blonde.
Be careful of the evil Maleficent with the young ones though.
NATIONAL VELVET (1944)
A twelve-year-old Elizabeth
Taylor wins a horse in the village lottery and is determined to enter
him in the Grand National. Mickey
Rooney, Donald Crisp, Anne
Revere and other fine supporting characters also turn in great performances
in this film that's sure to remain a family favorite as long as children
continue to dream big dreams.
THE LITTLE PRINCESS (1939)
grows up past her usual dimples and curls in this film about a rich girl
who is forced to work as a maid when her soldier-father is reported killed
and she is left a pauper. Little Sarah Crew never gives up hope he'll come
back though, and despite her hardships she keeps her optimism fueled with
imagination. A charming story.
MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET (1947)
Though it's been remade, I still prefer Maureen
O'Hara, Natalie Wood and
Edmund Gwenn in this holiday classic about a little girl who doesn't believe
in Santa Claus. It's got something for everyone, from working parents to
skeptical kids, and supporting characters like Thelma
Ritter and Gene Lockhart
really fill out the cast nicely.
CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG (1968)
Dick Van Dyke doesn't achieve
quite the success of MARY POPPINS with this film, but the musical adventures
of an inventor, his kids, and their flying car-- which inadvertently brings
them to a land where having children is outlawed-- are entertaining.
BEDKNOBS AND BROOMSTICKS (1971)
The setting may be a little dated, but there's always something
appealing about finding out the lady you're living with is an amateur witch.
The mixture of live action and animation (especially the soccer game on
the isle of Namboomboo) is quite entertaining, and the special effects
help make up for a few plot weaknesses here and there which the kids probably
won't pick up on anyway.
WILLY WONKA AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY (1971)
A preachy movie whose lecturing is disguised to younger viewers
by scenes and more scenes filled with candy. Some of the songs miss the
mark, but what child can pass up a movie with so many good things to eat
- 101 DALMATIONS (1961)*
- 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA (1954)
- THE ABSENT MINDED PROFESSOR (1961)
- ALADDIN (1992)*
- ALICE IN WONDERLAND (1951)*
- AN AMERICAN TAIL (1986)*
- BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (1991)*
- CAPTAINS COURAGEOUS (1937)
- CINDERELLA (1950)*
- DUMBO (1941)*
- FEIVEL GOES WEST (1991)*
- LADY AND THE TRAMP (1955)*
- THE LION KING (1994)*
- PETE'S DRAGON (1977)
- PINOCCHIO (1940)*
- ROBIN HOOD (1973)*
- SAVANNAH SMILES (1982)
- SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS (1937)*
- SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON (1960)
- THE SWORD IN THE STONE (1963)*
- THAT DARN CAT! (1965)
- TOBY TYLER, OR TEN WEEKS WITH A CIRCUS (1960)
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