The silver screen has been pumping out kid-friendly fare long enough that you have plenty of options when it comes to securing movies that are suitable for the younger set. But if you have to sit through High School Musical one more time you might just put your head through the television set! So here are a few of the best movies to entertain the entire family.
- Mary Poppins (1964). This bit of nostalgia from your own parents’ generation is no worse the wear for being nearly 50 years old. Julie Andrews is practically perfect in every way as the magical titular character who responds to an ad for a nanny. With a colorful cast of characters that includes a suffragette mother, a warm-hearted chimney-sweep, and an admiral who insists on firing a cannon from his widow’s watch each day there is plenty to keep the kids laughing. But parents who have seen it before will find that the movie has a whole other dimension that appeals to adults, with a story that’s really about bringing a family together, even if it takes a little magic to do so.
- The Princess Bride (1987). Will Buttercup and her sweet Westley ever be together or will she end up marrying evil Prince Humperdinck? Will she die at the hands of her kidnappers or meet with a worse fate if she’s rescued by the dread pirate Roberts? This love story gone awry may sound like a strange addition to an otherwise kid-friendly list of films, but with plenty of crazy characters (a rhyming giant and a six-fingered man, just to name a couple) and non-stop action driving the narrative forward, kids will love this movie just as much as their parents (although it may not be suitable for young children).
- Toy Story (1995). At this point, pretty much everyone has a favorite Pixar film, and all are truly fantastic; but you really can’t go wrong with the one that started it all: Toy Story. When a new toy (Buzz Lightyear) threatens to replace Woody as Andy’s favorite toy, the cowboy is more than a little jealous. But when he tries to get rid of the competition, they both end up lost in the process; and in order to get home they’ll have to work together. Like all Pixar movies, this one delivers fun, fantasy, and a lesson for kids both young and old.
- Despicable Me (2010). Every once in a while you stumble across an incredible movie that by all rights should never have made it through the Hollywood grinder. And yet, somehow these wonderful, magical mysteries continue to be made, much to the delight of consumers. Despicable Me is one of those movies, full of oddball antics and edgy dialogue that will amuse adults as much as (or even more than) their children. Funnyman Steve Carrell charms as Gru, the disaffected mad scientist intent on stealing the moon (literally) who takes in three young orphans as a front. His army of slug-like minions and three lovable little girls will prove to him that even an evil mastermind can find love in the unlikeliest of places. If you’re looking for a break from the sugary confections created by Disney, this one is a must-see.
- Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971). Roald Dahl is one of those writers that appeals to kids of all ages with his boundless imagination. And if you want to sample some of his work on film, then this early classic starring Gene Wilder as the whimsical chocolatier is a good place to start. With girls that turn into blueberries, singing Oompa Loompas, and lickable wallpaper (the snozzberries taste like real snozzberries!), watching this fantastical film will make you feel like you’ve gotten your very own golden ticket. And it’s now available on Blu-ray (thanks to services like www.dvdduplication.net).
Author: Sarah Danielson is a freelance writer and part time student. In her spare time she likes to go hiking and help with an animal rescue out of Los Angeles, California.