Old Movies Your Kids Should See

Looking for some good movies to watch with your kids?  Here’s a list of our favorite old movies.  There’s something about sharing the old classics that we grew up watching, that makes them even more enjoyable seeing them again through the eyes of our children.

The Wizard of Oz (1939)

–  The Wizard of Oz is definitely one of our favorites.  It’s full of amazing characters, has an exciting story, and the songs are wonderfully catchy.  The Wizard of Oz is about a young girl, named Dorothy, who gets caught in a tornado with her dog , Toto.  They end up landing in the magical land of Oz.  While she’s there, she meets some friends who help her in her quest to find the Wizard of Oz.  The Wizard is supposed to be able to get her back home and grant her friends the gifts that they desire.  After defeating a pretty scary wicked witch, they find out The Wizard is a fraud.  Dorothy eventually makes it back home learning that the power to get what she wanted was with her all along, and that there’s no place like home.

Dumbo (1941)

–  Dumbo is an adorable story that your kids will love.  It has some pretty sad parts in it, but also some silly ones.  Your little kids probably wont notice this, but my older kids thought it was weird that Dumbo gets drunk.  Oh, well, Dumbo is about a cute little circus elephant who is constantly ridiculed because of his huge ears.  When his mother tries to stick up for him, she is locked up and considered dangerous.  Dumbo is all alone until he meets Timothy Q. Mouse who quickly becomes his friend.  The mouse feels sorry for Dumbo and convinces him that his ears are a blessing.  Dumbo has to truly believe in himself to triumph in the end.  “The very things that hold you down are going to lift you up.“- Walt Disney

It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)

–  It’s a Wonderful Life is an uplifting movie that your older kids will like.  The younger kids might not understand what’s going on, and there’s not many attention-grabbing events in it to keep them entertained.  But, it’s a great movie to watch with the family, especially at Christmas time.  George Bailey is a nice guy who has always put others needs before his own.  When everything in his life seems to be going wrong, and he thinks he’s a failure, he contemplates suicide.  He decideds that everyone he loves would be better off if he had never been alive.  But the prayers of his loved ones result in an angel named Clarence coming to earth to help George, with the promise of earning his wings.  He shows George what things would have been like if he had never been born.  The town is horrible and the ones George loves are either dead, ruined, or miserable.  He realizes that he has touched many people in a positive way and that life is wonderful.

 Old Yeller (1954)

–  This movie brings me to tears every time we watch it.  It’s about two boys and their mother, who live on a farm (the father leaves to go on a cattle drive).  The older brother, Travis, is trying his best to do everything his father would want him to do, and the younger brother, Arliss, is busy playing in the mud and capturing little creatures.  When a big yellow lab shows up on their land, little Arliss is ecstatic, and wants to keep him.  Travis thinks the dog is trouble, and tries to get rid of him.  After Old Yeller proves himself worthy, Travis and he become good friends.  Old Yeller saves their lives more than once, and then tragically becomes infected with rabies.  The ending is sad, but after their father comes home, he helps Travis put things in perspective, and Travis learns that he should remember the good times he had with Old Yeller, and that his life is better off having known him.

Pollyanna (1960)

– This movie was one of my daughter, Gabby’s, favorites when she was only 3 years old.  Having watched it again, recently, I think it’s kind of weird for a 3 year old to like it so much.  It starts out kind of slow, with subtle changes in the attitudes of the people Pollyanna comes in contact with.  Pollyanna is a little girl who’s parents have died, and she comes to live with her rich Aunt Polly.  Pollyanna is super nice to everyone and soon the whole town loves her.  She plays the glad game, and teaches it to all her friends.  The movie picks up at the end with the excitement of the town fair. After the fair, Pollyanna gets hurt pretty badly and loses her positive attitude.  Aunt Polly, who was kind of mean to her in the beginning,  realizes how precious Pollyanna really is and gets everyone help to cheer her up again.  I like it, because it teaches about the power of kindness and positive thinking.

Mary Poppins (1964)

–  Mary Poppins is a fun movie with great songs and dance numbers.  Mary Poppins is a nanny with magic powers who comes to the Bank’s residence at the request of the children, Jane and Michael, who really just want someone to love and care for them.  While she’s there, they have fun adventures, but the whole time she’s teaching them all these lessons.  The parents, who were too busy with their own lives before, learn that their children are growing up fast, and they should be spending more time with them before it’s too late.  It all works out in the end, and they all go fly kites.  This movie is really full of all kinds of important life lessons that both kids and parents will pick up on.

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971)

–  The original movie is much better than the newer one called Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in my opinion.  It’s about a poor little boy named Charlie Bucket who wins a golden ticket to go to Willy Wonka’s Chocolate factory.  There, Charlie meets the other winners who are all spoiled little brats.  They all go through the crazy factory guided by the strange Willy Wonka.  Each child is disposed of according to their misconducts except Charlie.  Charlie has the chance to sabotage Mr. Wonka, and get some much needed money for his family, but he decides to do the right thing.  In the end, Charlie is rewarded for all his good deeds, and his family never needs to worry about money again.

E.T. The Extra Terrestrial (1982)

E.T. is a story about an alien who gets left behind on Earth, and the little boy who finds him.  The little boy, Elliot, becomes friends with the alien and they start to communicate.  His brother and sister help him hide E.T. and keep him a secret.  E.T. makes a device to contact his alien friends, but soon he gets very sick.  Because of the connection Elliot shares with E.T., Elliot becomes sick too.  All the kids help E.T. escape the task force that is out searching for him, and help him return to his home planet.  The lesson here is that we should help each other, no matter how different we are.

The Goonies (1985)

–  The Goonies is a great adventure story about a group of kids who go hunting for lost pirate treasure.  It’s one the whole family will love although, it does have a few swear words in it.  I actually caught my little boy quoting the movie and had to explain why he can’t say certain words.  No big deal though, this movie is worth it.  So, the Goonies (Mikey, Brand, Mouth, Data, Andy, Steph, and Chunk) find this secret treasure map, and decide to find the treasure and use it to save their homes from being demolished.  They enter this hidden cave, and follow the map, past booby traps left by One-Eyed Willy the pirate.  The whole time they are being chased by a creepy family of criminals called the Fratellis.  One of the Fratelli brothers is Sloth, a huge, disfigured, scary looking guy who was kept as a prisoner in the Fratelli’s basement.  Sloth is cool though, and becomes friends with Chunk.  He decides to help the Goonies at the end, and they are able to save their homes.  The Goonies never give up, and never say die.

What’s your family’s favorite old movie?