While many parents bemoan the movie tastes of their kids, exposing your kids to classic films that were ground breakers for their time is a great way to stretch your kid’s boundaries and keep your movie night family friendly.
1. Back to the Future
This 80’s classic will give your kids insight into what the world was like before computers, cell phones and the Internet while introducing them to some original sci-fi comedy. The movie follows the story of Marty McFly, a teenager who accidently goes back in time to when his parents are in high school. McFly realizes he has to help his parents fall in love all while looking for a way to return to back to the future.
2. Star Wars (originals)
Although the series was recently purchased by Disney, who has promised to add another film to the series, most likely the Star Wars era has passed. To make sure your kids appreciate the work George Lucas did on advancing special effects in film, make sure your kids are able to see the original Star Wars, not the recent ones edited with computers.
A romantic drama filmed in the 40’s, Casablanca is about a man’s internal conflicts during World War II. Rick Blaine, an exiled American, must choose between his love for a woman and helping her Czech Resistance leader husband escape from the Vichy-controlled Moroccan city of Casablanca to continue his fight against the Nazis. The movie went on to win three academy awards and is considered one of the iconic love films of all time.
4. It’s a Wonderful Life
This film helped brink director Frank Capra to fame. The movie tells the story of George Bailey, a businessman who never makes it out into the world because he is left to take care of the people in his town. When Bailey starts to contemplate suicide, an angel shows up to show Bailey what the town would be like if he had never been born. The movie was nominated for five Oscars and provides a great message for kids around Christmas time.
5. Gone with the Wind
Give your kids a dose of history combined with the intricacies of human motivation and emotion. While the film is probably more appropriate for older children since it is long and centered on adult themes, the movie provides a deep insight into our own history. The film is about a Southern Belle who finds her world torn apart at the end of the Civil War and during the Reconstruction period.
6. The Wizard of Oz
One of the first films to include color, the Wizard of Oz takes you to a world of fantasy. Dorothy, a young girl from Kansas, is taken to Oz in a tornado where she finds a world of talking scarecrows, munchkins and witches. In order to get home, Dorothy must set out on a journey to find the great Wizard of Oz, learning valuable life lessons along the way.
7. E.T. The Extra Terrestrial
Another sci-fi from the time we were starting to explore space, E.T. tells the story of a boy who discovers and befriends an extraterrestrial. With the help of his siblings, the boy must help E.T. escape his parents and probing scientists in order to return home.
8. 2001: A Space Odyssey
A late 60’s sci-fi, the story deals with a series of encounters between humans and mysterious black monoliths that are apparently affecting human evolution. A group of astronauts set of on a space voyage to Jupiter tracing a signal emitted by a monolith found on the moon. The ship is controlled by a computer named HAL who turns on the astronauts in the middle of the mission. The film is frequently described as an “epic film”, both for its length and scope, and for its affinity with classical epics.
9. King Kong
With countless versions to choose from, King Kong was first introduced in 1933. In the movie a film crew goes to an exotic island to film a movie and discover a giant gorilla that happens to like the lead blonde actress of the film. Various versions of the film portray the gorilla character differently. In some he is a rampaging monster, in others a tragic hero. The character has become one of the world’s most famous movie icons and, as such, has transcended the medium, to be included in comics, books and plays.
One of the original animated Disney films created in 1940, Fantasia consists of eight animated segments set to classical music. The film was designed as a comeback for the character Mickey Mouse that had declined in popularity. When the film was first released, it received mixed reviews and was unable to make a profit. However, over time the film has grossed $76.4 million in domestic revenue and is the 22nd highest grossing film of all time in the U.S.
Have you seen any of these? What would you add to this list?
Christina Sanders writes for several blogs nationwide. For more info on films, visit clearplay.