Films for families: The top 50 movies to watch as a family
From the high-flying Mary Poppins to an animated singing mermaid, Time Out Kids ranks the 50 best films for families.
Mon Aug 13 2012
Alice in Wonderland (1951)
Disney's adaptation of Lewis Carroll's fantasy takes you down the rabbit hole with a whirligig of dazzling color, delightful wordplay (a very merry unbirthday to you, Mad Hatter) and visual absurdities around every corner. Looking for a way to introduce kids to a great work of literature? Go ask Alice. Rated G.
A Bug's Life (1998)
Pixar dives into the world of all creatures great and small—specifically, an ant hill under siege by outlaw grasshoppers. Only the meek Flik and a Magnificent Seven--like band of circus bugs can protect the colony, proving that a community united can never be divided. Just don't call that ladybug a "lady." Rated G.
Roald Dahl's pint-size heroine comes to life courtesy of Mara Wilson, who plays the telekinetic moppet with just the right amount of braininess and brashness. Director Danny DeVito goes broad with the vulgarian caricatures but, wisely, never forgets the story's message: Kids need both books and encouragement to develop a smart mind. Rated PG.
Old Yeller (1957)
No offense, Lassie, but when it comes to screen dogs, we'll always have a soft spot for that golden Lab so beloved by Tommy Kirk and his family. Those weren't tears, by the way; we just got, er, something in our eyes toward the end of the film. Rated G.
Pee-Wee's Big Adventure (1985)
Paul Reubens's squeaky-voiced manchild embarks on a road trip to find his one true love: a stolen pimped-out bicycle. The big-screen debut for both Pee-Wee and director Tim Burton is one wild ride, with everything from ghost truckers to dance-loving bikers helping the iconic character retrieve his wheels. "I know you are, but what am I?" Rated PG.
Meet Me in St. Louis (1944)
A nostalgic look back at "the good old days," Vincente Minnelli's Americana musical doubles as a stirring tribute to family ties; you won't finder a sweeter, more touching scene of sibling affection than Judy Garland singing "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" to Margaret O'Brien and comforting her sister as she cries over her snowmen. Not rated.
A family movie from the man who made Trainspotting? Indeed, and Danny Boyle's tale of a boy who talks to saints—and finds a bag of loot—handles the material with just the right amount of gentleness, humor and whimsy. Rated PG.
Freaky Friday (1976)
The first let's-switch-places comedy remains one of the funniest, with daughter Jodie Foster and mom Barbara Harris magically trading bodies (don't ask) and learning firsthand how the other lives. The 2003 remake starring a prescandal Lindsay Lohan is good too, but we prefer the original. Rated G.
The Princess Bride (1987)
Could Rob Reiner's simultaneous send-up and celebration of fairy tales have better captured the imagination of all who live for the phrase "Once upon a time..."? In-con-ceiv-able, we say! You won't find a sweeter love letter to the glories of cross-generational storytelling. Rated PG.
Beauty and the Beast (1991)
Be Disney's guest and dive into its Broadway-ish take on this folkloric staple, complete with singing cutlery, a take-no-guff bookworm heroine and the world's most soulful monster. Like Jean Cocteau's dreamy 1946 version, the it's-what's-inside-that-matters message comes through loud and clear. Rated G.