10 movies your kids need to watch

10 movies your kids need to watch

It doesn’t matter how old a film is, whether they’re “real”, animated, or an amalgamation of the two, I love watching movies.  

Gning and Donut are the same.  When lock-down first went in to effect, they decided that they wanted to start on the Harry Potter collection.  I was rather hesitant at first, simply because, the further the franchise went on, the darker the movies became.  I was worried that Donut would be too scared…  My worries came in to affect during The Prisoner of Azkaban.  He was not impressed with the Dementors, and pushed his face behind my arm.  He wanted to watch the Goblet of Fire, but I thought he needed some time to “recover” first of all.  So we’ve managed three of the eight.  Not bad for a 5 year old (and he is a very young 5 year old, bless him).  We still have the rest of the summer to finish off the collection before they return to school

We’ve also watched several Disney movies (thanks Disney+!) and many more on Prime and Netflix (UK).

The films that I’m going to recommend may be a little odd for a kids list, but let’s take a look at what I think are 10 movies that your kids NEED to watch, in no particular order…  

Look! It's me in a popcorn box!

10 Movies Your Kids Need To Watch

The Wizard of Oz (1939) | Directed by Victor Fleming | AllStar/MGM

“There’s no place like home…”

Let’s start the list with a classic.  

My dad recorded this film on to a VHS when I was very little, and apparently, I made him play it EVERY DAY for over 6 months…  I reckon I was obsessed, ha ha.

Dorothy’s little dog, Toto, escaped from the garden again and get in to one of the neighbours yards.  Shortly afterwards, Miss Gulch (the aforementioned neighbour) visits the Gale household to make a complaint against Toto; whom retaliates and tries to bite her.  Miss Gulch immediately states that he should be destroyed.  Dorothy had no choice but to hand the dog over, placed in a basket, and secured on the back of the neighbours bicycle, and it was there and then that she made the decision to run away from home.  She didn’t make it very far when Toto came running up behind her…  Dorothy was thrilled that he had managed to escape Miss Gulch, but for his own safety, they should continue running away.  Shortly afterwards, she is forced to return home when a “twister” starts forming, and looks to be heading straight for her aunt’s farm.  Dorothy’s aunt, uncle and farm hands are all hidden safely, in the storm bunker, but Dorothy doesn’t know this, so decides to check the house for them.  It’s at this point when one of the windows implodes and hits her on the back of her head…  When she awakes, she realises that the house is flying, inside the twister, with her inside it!  When it eventually lands, she soon discovers that she’s flown over the rainbow, and is now in the land of Oz.  Whilst trying to find her way home, she meets some colourful characters – the Scarecrow, who doesn’t have a brain; the Tin Man, who doesn’t have a heart; and the Lion, who doesn’t have any courage.  The four follow the Yellow Brick Road to try to find the Wizard, who will surely help Dorothy return to Kansas, but along the way, they meet the Wicked Witch of the West…  Will Dorothy make it home safely..?  Watch to find out.

Yellow Submarine (1968) | Directed by George Dunning

All together now…  “In the town where I was born, lived a man who sailed to sea.  And he told us of his life, in the land of submarines…”

Hubby’s going to slate me for this one , as he doesn’t like the Beatles in general, let alone this film… 😂

Honestly?  This fully animated film is WEIRD!!  You can tell it was the late 60’s, when the Beatles were going through their “fun” (HA!) stage, but this can certainly be a little too much for most people.  It’s great for kids of all ages though…  The whole thing is SO colourful, and Gning couldn’t take his eyes off it!

The story follows Captain Fred, who has been sent on a journey to find Paul, John, George and Ringo to take them to Pepperland to try to save it from the Blue Meanies.  Full of silliness and lots of sing-a-long Beatles songs from both the Yellow Submarine and Sergeant Pepper’s albums, I do, honestly, recommend this film – even if you only ever watch it once in your life  😂

Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (1988) |Directed by Robert Zemeckis | Disney/Touchstone

“You don’t understand.  Those people needed to laugh…”

One of my favourites growing up, that I’m actually ashamed to admit that neither Gning or Donut have yet seen.  That statement will be changing in the next week or so, ha ha.  I remember my dad taking me to watch this on the cinema, when it first came out, and I honestly thought that cartoon characters were REAL and not just drawings!  Where could I meet a cartoon?  Dad, please take me to Disney World…  (That never happened – my first trip to meet Mickey Mouse was in 2017)

Who Framed Roger Rabbit? follows two main characters – Eddie, a toon-hating private hire detective, and Roger, a cartoon rabbit who suddenly finds himself “on the run”, accused of a murder that he didn’t commit.  The two make a very unlikely couple, who try to right the wrongs of the cartoon-human world, and get in to plenty of mishaps along the way.  With plenty of twists and turns, this is a pretty great film.

Oh, watch out for the “dip” scene with the shoe…  I honestly cried the first time I seen it 😭

Annie (1982) | Directed by John Huston | Columbia Pictures

“The sun’ll come out tomorrow, bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow, there’ll be sun…”

I’m talking the original Annie, not the 2014 remake (although I can’t comment on that, as I’ve never seen the remake).  It’s always worth a giggle seeing Tim Curry in this film too – I think his portrayal as Miss Hannigan’s brother, Rooster, is just perfect.

It’s been suggested to Mr Warbucks, a self-made millionaire, that fostering an orphan would give him a more, approachable and positive vibe, so he agrees to the idea.  He was incredibly surprised when his assistant, Grace, brings home a curly, red-haired, little girl, named Annie… 

As far as Mr Warbucks was aware, orphans were little boys.  He instructed Grace to send Annie back to the orphanage.  His mind is changed, however, when little Annie thanks him for his time, and says that she thinks he’s doing a wonderful thing by taking in an orphan, even if she wasn’t the one for him.  He decides to take her on for a “trial”.

There’s lots of fun and adventure in this heart-warming tale, and a wicked twist towards the end, where Annie’s “parents” come to collect her…  But are they really her parents?  Does everything work out in the end..?  Does Annie get to stay with her “Daddy Warbucks”?  Hmm…  Guess you’ll have to watch it to find out.

E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial (1982) | Directed by Steven Spielberg | Amblin

“E.T. phone home…”

I think E.T. is likely to have been every child’s first Steven Spielberg film (unless you lived with someone who loved Star Wars, then that would have been likely to have been your first).  It’s like the “Spielberg Starter”…  But it’s a good one, and it’s full of adventure, mystery, thriller (for kids) and is very emotional (all kinds of emotions).

The story follows a young boy who discovers a lost “alien” in his shed…  Elliot (the boy) tries his best to hide the extra terrestrial, but is soon “outed” by his younger sister (an incredibly young Drew Barrymore!!) and older brother.   Together, they try to help E.T. remain anonymous on Earth, and attempt to help him make contact with his own species to come and get him with the aid of a “Speak and Spell”! 

This may not really be a film for very young children (hubby disagrees, he thinks it’s suitable for very young children), so if you do decide to let your little ones watch it, take caution, as there may be a few tears shed (and from you too if you’ve never seen the film…)

Flight of the Navigator (1986) | Directed by Randal Kleiser | Disney

“I do not leak.  You leak!”

I love, love, love this film!  I honestly don’t know what it is about it, but I love it!  

In 1978, a boy falls down a gully and bangs his head, knocking him unconscious.  When he awakes, he makes his way home, but when he knocks on the door, it wasn’t his parents who opened it…  Panicking, the couple who live in the house call the police, and David is taken to the police station.  The police question him, and he keeps saying he wants to go home, and giving the same address…  He answers all of the police’s questions, and they were amazed when he said that the year was 1978.  The police manage to locate David’s parents, and try to explain to him that it’s not 1978, but 1986!  A short while later, they all decide that David should go and stay at a special facility, to try to discover what happened to him – why he hasn’t aged, etc.  This is where all the fun begins (and where you meet a VERY young Sarah Jessica Parker!).  

David starts “hearing” things, and decides to escape his room.  He wanders the facility and stumbles upon what looks like a UFO. 

Hey David, meet Max!  Max is from another world, and unfortunately, has lost all of his “Star Maps”, and needs to download them from your brain…  

This is when the scientists realise that David isn’t in his room, and that the door is open on the UFO.  To prevent the scientist from being able to nab either of them, they take to the skies…

It’s a great film all around, and very typically 80’s.  I do definitely recommend it.  Oh, and look out for the little “souvenir” that David has at the very end of the film…  I want one!

The Goonies (1985) | Directed by Richard Donner | Warner Brothers

“Hey, you guys..!!”

Another classic from my childhood.  The Goonies has it all…  Good guys, bad guys, pirates, treasure, sword fights and romance.  It’s a film for everyone – boys and girls of all ages, and certainly not just for kids!  Did I mention it also has the Truffle Shuffle?!

A group of kids find an old pirate treasure map in the attic, and decide to try to find the mysterious hidden treasure to stop developers from taking over their neighbourhood.  They bump in to the infamous Fratelli’s along the way (the notorious “bad guy family”) and have to run from being caught…  Not only that, but they have to avoid boobie traps set up by the pirate, “One Eyed Willie” too!  Who will find the treasure first?  Will the Fratelli’s capture the group?  Will the kids save the neighbourhood..?

West Side Story (1961) | Directed by Jerome Robbins and Robert Wise | United Artists Films

“I feel pretty…”

Now I have thrown a spanner in the works here, because it does seem completely out of place – especially as I’m recommending films for kids!  There are reasons behind it…

A modern day “Romeo and Juliet” (well, there have been more modern versions of R&J, but this has singing and dancing…), set in 1950’s New York, and features two rival gangs – the Jets from New York (Montagues) and the Sharks from Puerto Rico (Capulets).  I’m pretty sure that I don’t need to explain the whole play of R&J to you…

The movie has some great music scores, and my favourite has to be the rooftop dance – “America”.

By today’s standards, West Side Story can be seen as racist, however, the film itself does teach about racial divide, and I do believe that it is a must see – especially with what’s going on in the world at the moment… 

Jurassic Park (1993) | Directed by Steven Spielberg | Universal Pictures

“Welcome…  To Jurassic Park.”

I have one word for you – DINOSAURS!

I think for those of you who have read some of my other posts, and for those who are following me on Instagram then you’ll know that I like dino’s!

The second Spielberg movie on my list, Jurassic Park is the first of the collection and is probably the best (besides Jurassic World, but I’m recommending the original).  It was also pretty terrifying for its’ time too…  The scene where the T-Rex escaped its’ enclosure (pictured) had me on edge when I first watched it…  I think this is a great way to introduce your child to the horror genre without diving in head first with the likes of freaky clowns, hiding in sewers…  (I do NOT recommend IT for kids, btw)

Quick blurb:  Multi-millionaire, John Hammond has been working really hard to bring back dinosaurs on a deserted island, and invites an animal expert and a paleontologist to consult on his endeavours.  Everything seems to be running smoothly, but quickly turns sour when a hurricane hits…

What will happen if all the dinosaurs escape?  Will there be casualties?  Will there be any survivors?  So many questions… 

Coco (2017) | Directed by Lee Unkrich | Disney

“One cannot deny who one is meant to be.” 

The only film on my list from the past 27 years, but I feel that I have to include this film as a must watch because it’s also able to teach something to the kids.  Sorry for the darkening of the whole post here, but I honestly think this film helps to teach about death.

Miguel’s family has banned music due to a mystery that happened a long time ago…  

It’s Dia De Los Muertos, and Miguel crosses the bridge to the Land of the Dead to try to discover what happened, all those years ago.  When he gets there, he meets some fun and friendly characters, but some who he feels he needs to run from.  What was the mystery, and can Miguel solve it before it’s too late?  Make sure you watch to find out.

So, over to you.  Have you watched any of the recommended films with your little ones?  Are there any films that you wouldn’t watch with your little ones?  What other obscure movies would you recommend for kids?

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11 thoughts on “10 movies your kids need to watch

  1. Interesting list mostly good films and good reasons, but yes I will slate you for torturing my son with that LSD inspired film by, people who thought they were walrus’s that didn’t even bother to lend their voices to their own characters.

  2. I personally as an adult haven’t watched most of these to be honest. ET always creeped me out. Long time Jurassic Park fan and still am though! Even though that scared me as a kid too haha

  3. E.T has been my favorite and I have watched it several times. And I do agree with you about Harry Potter movies getting darker and darker as they progress.

    I think Narnia is a better series for kids than Harry Potter.

  4. I was delighted by your post on title alone! I could not wait to see what you considered must-see movies for children, not because I have any, but because I wanted to see if I missed any. I missed quite a few, it turns out, movies I have heard of but never watched or never paid attention to the plot (such as Who Framed Roger Rabbit and Goonies). I know, gasp!, right?! I am not sure about Jurassic Park, though; I saw that in my 20s and it gave me nightmares. But, I understand why you have included it. Good list and fun read! 🙂

  5. Absolutely agree with your choice of films. The only film I would add is Singing In The Rain. I’ve forgotten how many times in years gone by, that my three kids & I would sing this all the way home from school, in the rain. Only down side, is my son always wanted to have a go at running up a wall & doing a back flip!

  6. My family has family movie day on Sundays and we’ve been running low on ideas. Thank you for reminding me of E.T. and Jurassic Park.

  7. I’ve watched most of these, they are classics! I’ve only seen one of these with my son but it would be fun to explore this list with him.

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