Thursday, October 14, 2010

25 Films Your Kids Should See Before They Turn 25

A few years ago, I wrote a piece for a local newspaper that attempted to be a primer for establishing the love for good film in the lives of your kids. It was a inspired by the list that the American Film Institute had come out with in 2005 listing 100 of the best films for children. Though they claimed to be the "ultimate" list, some of the selections seemed to confuse children's films with films with children in them.

And so, I created a list of my own, which I have updated for you here. It reflects what I have come to love about movies and it was screen-tested by the toughest critics I know: my kids.

The criteria for the list was simple: each film had to be artful in some way, have a strong story to convey and be able to keep kids engaged for its entire length. No small feat. A few are box office hits, others may leave you scratching your head but all are worth watching. With your kids or without.

The Essentials

1) The Triplettes of Belleville (2003)
2) E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
3) Babe (2001)
4) Babies (2010)
5) Etre et Avoir (2002)
6) The Wizard of Oz (1939)
7) My Life as a Dog (1985)
8) Kirikou and the Sorceress (1998)
9) Lord of the Rings (2001)
10) Whale Rider (2002)
11) Toy Story (1995)
12) Spirited Away (2001)
13) Star Wars (1977)
14) The Black Stallion (1979)
15) Breaking Away (1979)
16) To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
17) Paper Moon (1974)
18) Edward Scissorhands (1990)
19) The Princess Bride (1987)
20) It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
21) Sounder (1972)
22) Kes (1969)
23) A Day at the Races (1937)
24) Raiders of the Lost Ark
25) The Incredibles

Did I miss anything?


  1. I wouldn't say that you missed them, but here are three movies that I loved as a child (of the 80's, obviously!) that I know my kids will watch.

    The Neverending Story (1984)
    The Dark Crystal (1982)
    Labrynth (1986)

  2. I heartily agree with Stephanie's three suggestions. My niece Gemma in particular adores Labyrinth, which she calls "the goblin movie".

    I would also nominate a few more of the Studio Gibli titles - My Neighbour Totoro, Howl's Moving Castle, and Kiki's Delivery Service. Also some additional Pixar titles - Cars, Finding Nemo, Monsters Inc., and Wall-E in particular, all of which have kept my niece and nephews enthralled at various times.

    For children at the slightly older end of the childhood scale, Tim Burton's "James and The Giant Peach" and "Nightmare Before Christmas" are fantastic.

  3. My kids love Labyrinth. In our house it's the "David Bowie" movie. Howl's Moving Castle was added to the list this summer.

    That said, it's hard to bump a title! Up is a personal favorite, too, but something had to give. If the list goes up to 50 than these are all great additions. Thanks, guys!

  4. Have they seen A Night at the Opera? For my money, waaaaay funnier than Races...also has the classic stateroom scene. Just sayin'...

  5. "9"
    Harry Potter
    Avatar (older kids due to violence)
    The Sound of Music

    (Sandra's friend Jenn from T.O.)