HomeAll ListsStaff Profiles

Top 10 Classic Children & Family Movies


Television and cinema can be a great way to introduce and teach children great life
lessons and good behavior.  Selecting the correct movies for your children to view
can be extremely important.  In the modern generation, computer animation has
dominated the children’s movie market.  Some of the animated blockbusters today
are truly remarkable, but I strongly feel that some of the older children’s films
portrayed more life lessons and goals along with the fun characters and story.

I have decided to make a collection of 10 of the best children’s movies that you
might not have noticed for a while.  Don’t be afraid to bust out the old VHS player
for your child, make a trip to the local library, and check out some classic kids
movies.  Trust me, you will find your child playing the films over and over, being
sure to take in every scene and mannerism. 

10. All Dogs Go to Heaven (1989)


All Dogs Go to Heaven is a 1989 animated film released by United Artists.  The
film tells the story of two dogs, Charlie B. Barkin and his loyal best friend Itchy
Itchiford.  In the beginning of the film Charlie is killed, but he returns to earth at
first for revenge, but soon meets an orphaned girl named Anne-Marie and turns
his attention to caring for her.  The movie is a tale of friendship and teaches
important lessons like forgiveness and love.  It shows children that people can
make mistakes in life, but ultimately correct themselves by changing their lifestyle.

The film has been rated for children aged 5+.  It has scenes of lying and stealing,
but the sins are redeemed by the end of the feature.  After viewing this film you
can discuss ideals such as gaining trust and forgiveness with your child.  The film
has good parallels on how important it is to keep you word with others.  The
musical score and soundtrack to the film is great.  All Dogs Go to Heaven was
extremely successful on home video, but did not fair well at the box office.  It is a
must watch for all families.

9. Homeward Bound - The Incredible Journey (1993)


Homeward Bound is a feature film that tells the story of a group of dogs, one cat,
and their incredible journey across the Sierra Nevadas to find their lost family.
The film stars a Golden Retriever named Shadow, voiced by Don Ameche, a
Himalayan cat named Sassy voiced by Sally Field, and an American Bulldog
named Chance voiced by Michael J. Fox.  It is a great family film for children of
all ages and has been rated for kids 5+.  Children under the age of five might have
problems following the story, but will enjoy the animals.

Children aged 5-8 will love the interactive and talking animals.  It is a funny
story, as each individual animal has a distinct personality.  It is an exciting movie
for kids and can be a great initiator for parents to discuss what to do when children
get separated from their parents.  The movie was a commercial success and
spawned a less impressive sequel titled Homeward Bound - Lost in San Francisco.

8. The Hobbit (1977)


The Hobbit is an animated television movie that was based around J. R. R.
Tolkien's novel.  The film was first broadcast on NBC in the United States on
November 27, 1977
.  This television special manages to retell most of Tolkien’s
story in a 78-minute cartoon.  The film is presented in a heart-warming style, but
also includes fantasy, adventure, and much excitement.

I feel the best aspect of this movie is the music.  Children will love the original
songs that are featured throughout the story.  The music was written specifically
for the program and is widely based on poems and lyrics from the book.  It is a
wonderful children’s adaptation to the novel.  The film has been released on DVD
and is readily available at most rental stores.

7. Escape to Witch Mountain (1975)


Escape to Witch Mountain is a Disney film based on the novel by Alexander
Key.  It tells the story of two troubled orphaned children who discover that they
have strange psychic powers.  Ultimately, the pair decides to go on an adventure to
witch mountain in order to discover their true identities.  The journey is not easy
and they encounter many obstacles along the way.  This is one of the most
entertaining Disney films ever created with a mixture of mystery, fantasy, and

It will help your child build their imagination and teach them about science fiction,
which is important for normal development.  It has been rated for children aged 7+
and is a great family film.  Escape to Witch Mountain helped pave the way for
many live-action predecessors.  If your kids like this film, they will equally enjoy
the sequel Return from Witch Mountain.

6. The Secret Garden (1993)


The Secret Garden is 1993 film that is adapted from the 1909 book by Frances
Hodgson Burnett.  It tells a story surrounding the recently-orphaned Mary Lennox,
who travels from her home in India to her Uncle Archibald Craven's hundred-room
house, Misselthwaite Manor, in Yorkshire, England.  Initially rather unpleasant and
unhappy, Mary meets two friends and discovers her aunts long lost secret garden.
She immediately gives herself the task of bringing the garden to life.
This film is an enchanting and mysterious adventure.  It also gives some beautiful
views of nature and flower life.  This film is rated for children ages 8+.  It is a
great family film with no inappropriate content.  A great idea for parents would be
to read the novel with your children, then view the film, and discuss the small
differences.  The Secret Garden is one of the best reviewed films and books of all
time and comes highly recommended in school curriculum.

5. The Bear (1988)


The Bear, known as L'Ours in its original release, is a feature film that tells the
story of an orphaned bear cub befriended and protected by an adult male grizzly as
hunters pursue them through the wild.  It is set in late 19th century British
Columbia, Canada.  It is a great story and really helps give children a view of
nature, wildlife, and also teaches many goals of protection and reality.  As a child,
it was the first film I ever viewed that had a story surrounding living creatures and
it had a lasting impact.

The Bear was an international success and received many awards, especially in
France.  It was filmed in the Dolomites, which is a section of the Alps.  The film is
recommended for children 8+ as one short scene depicts a couple of bears mating.
It is a great family film that will give your child a new perspective on parenthood
and the environment.

4. Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971)


Bedknobs and Broomsticks is a 1971 musical film produced by Walt Disney.  It
is one of the first films to combine live action and animation.  The film has
similarities to the 1964 release Mary Poppins.  It is partly set in the streets of
London and shares some of the same cast and crew.  The history and education
this film offers children is great.  The film includes an apprentice witch, three
Cockney war evacuees, and an illusionist conman who travel on a magic bed
across war-torn England and beyond, encountering various inhabitants of London,
football-playing cartoon animals, and Nazi invaders.

Angela Lansbury is great as Miss Price and she provides incredible musical talent.
The film was not one of the most commercially successful Disney movies, but the
soundtrack is one of the best ever created.  In 1971, Bedknobs and Broomsticks
won the Academy Award for Special Visual Effects and it was nominated for
Original Music Score and Best Song.  It has been rated for children ages 6+ and is
a true children’s classic.

3. Swiss Family Robinson (1960)


This classic Walt Disney picture tells the tale of a shipwrecked family who build
an island home.  It is a fun movie full of adventure, discovery, pirates, shipwreck,
family, and fun.  Swiss Family Robinson was one of the rare widescreen Disney
films shot with Panavision lenses.  The film is full of exotic locations and animals,
desert-island scenery, excitement, and a good subplot involving the rivalry of the
two elder sons.

It was filmed in Tobago, which is located in the southern Caribbean Sea.  The film
was a commercial success and made an astounding $40 million in 1960.  It has
been rated for children ages 8+, as it contains pirates and some action scenes.
Disney has announced that they will be remaking Swiss Family Robinson and the
new film will be released in 2012.

2. Charlotte's Web (1973)


Charlotte’s Web is an animated feature film based on the E.B. White book of the
same name.  The film tells the heartwarming story of a pig who is saved from
being slaughtered by an intelligent spider name Charlotte.  The animated
special has an amazing original score and music, which was written by the
Sherman Brothers, who had previously worked on films such as The Jungle Book
and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

Charlotte's Web was released by Paramount Pictures.  It is a touching story that
teaches children about life, death, and society.  It is one of the best tales of true
friendship ever written.  It shows that two separate people, as different as a spider
and pig, can become great friends.  The movie teachers children about the natural
life cycle, as Charlotte is old, has her children, and passes away after a full life.
This film is great for children of all ages.

1. The Wizard of Oz (1939)


The best children’s film ever created has to be The Wizard of Oz.  It was released
in 1939 and still entertains millions of children every year.  The film follows a
farm girl Dorothy Gale (Judy Garland) who lives in Kansas,
after being struck
unconscious during a tornado, Dorothy is transported to the magical Land of Oz.
The character development, fantasy, and adventure in this film are truly astounding.
The music is great and children can identify with the individual character traits of
Scarecrow, Tin Man, the Cowardly Lion, Dorothy, Toto, and the various witches in
the film.

The Wizard of Oz continues to be one of the most recognizable and purchased
films today.  Every child should have the opportunity to preview this classic.  The
soundtrack is considered to be one of the best of all time and the film won
numerous Academy Awards, but lost Best Picture to Gone with the Wind.  This
film will continue to stand the test of time and live in children’s hearts forever.


Inge - December 5, 2010


Copyright The List Blog - Top 10, All Rights Reserved, Posted August 7, 2009