Watching movies is one of the greatest pastimes that entire families can do together especially if they are going to watch really child-friendly films or movies that are now considered classics. Of course, we cannot tell you to watch the very first animated film produced in 1899 by Arthur Melbourne-Cooper, a 30-second stop-motion animation. For sure your kids will be laughing at how primitive early movies were.
But this is in fact a very great opportunity to introduce them to the idea that film-making has grown leaps and bounds through the more than a century of development. Today’s movies filled with action-packed and ultra-realistic CGI effects are many light-years ahead of the very first films. But this is not to say that the classics are not useful in teaching kids certain values in life. In fact, these classics were defined as such simply because they remain to this very day important tools for learning valuable life lessons not only by those who grew up with them but also by today’s children who happen to get the opportunity to watch them.
It’s not too late to watch these classic masterpieces with your kids. And while the list can reach up to a few hundreds, we have selected only 10 classic movies that every kid must watch.
Because toys are very important for kids’ development, we decided to include Toy Story in our list. But it’s more than just talking toys. It also presents a social phenomenon called sibling rivalry although Woody and Buzz are not really siblings. The point is your kid has all the attention. And when a new baby comes along, the attention gets split in half, maybe even more. But the movie also talks about the realization that kids can always share the affection and attention from their parents. If you watch the rest of the Toy Story franchise, then your kid will simply realize that toys they outgrow can eventually end up as another kid’s precious items. It’s the value of sharing and friendship that is strong in Toy Story.
Considered as one of the greatest family films ever since man started to learn how to make movies, Babe is a timeless classic that speaks of friendship and perseverance. Perhaps, the most important message is making your dreams a reality. Just imagine yourself a piglet in a farm with everyone telling you that the purpose of a pig is to get slaughtered to become food for humans. Maybe Babe felt something is not right. Maybe he was born to be something a bit different. Babe’s perseverance to become a herder paid off eventually. Babe shows kids that one can always strive to be the best that he can be.
While not many actually understand the reason why Mary Poppins was adapted for the big screen, its outcome was nonetheless very positive as this classic charmer truly transcends across generations. It’s the message of a child desperately trying, wanting the attention of parents who are simply too busy to even recognize the needs of their child. For many of us, the message cuts through the core of our existence as we tend to be so engrossed with our careers that we simply forget the simple needs of our kids. Children, too, will be able to relate with the main character and will hopefully find more meaningful ways in which children today can obtain the attention they seek from their parents.
Beauty and the Beast
One of our absolute favorites, especially with Chip and Mrs. Potts, Lumiere, and Cogsworth supporting Belle and Vincent (Beast). The movie is an excellent tool to help children learn to value reading books. It may not be readily apparent though because Belle’s love for books and passion for reading are presented through a song in the opening scenes of the movie. Beauty and the Beast also teaches kids to be fully independent while still retaining their love and loyalty for their parents. It talks about speaking your own mind and standing firm on what you believe in. It’s also the first-ever fully animated film to have an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture. Kids will never stop singing to the Be Our Guest and of course the film’s theme song Beauty and the Beast.
You may think that Finding Nemo is nothing more than a big cinematic undertaking featuring a watery environment. The movie is all about teamwork, loyalty, determination, and, most of all, a father’s dedication and never-ending love for his child. Children can relate well with Nemo, always struggling to gain a little bit of space from his overprotective father. Kids want to explore their world. They would like to know what they can and cannot do. But the main issue is that, how is this even possible if you have a dad who is stopping you from everything you do? For parents, Marlin epitomizes their concern for their kid’s safety. Sure, we want our kids to explore their world, but if the world has never been friendly to you, is it even possible to have peace of mind while your kid is swimming in unknown territory? Finding Nemo may actually be the key to help you reestablish your trust in your kid’s abilities.
There’s one very important message in Pinocchio – always tell the truth, lest your nose will also grow as long as the branch of a tree. This should be a very valuable lesson to kids to strive for honesty in all the things they do. The movie is not only about honesty, though. It is also an excellent film to introduce kids of today to the full use of their imagination. They will be stimulated to imagine the possibility of a wooden puppet turning into a real boy or even having plenty of adventures inside the belly of a whale. And who can ever forget Jiminy Cricket especially when he starts singing When You Wish Upon a Star? We’re pretty sure your kid will instantly forget Let it Go.
Despite being the lead character in the movie, Wall-E only manages 2 words from its speech synthesizer – Wall-E and Eve. A movie that banks more on movements rather than on speech to convey a message. We don’t recommend this for young children though, as the lack of dialogue especially in the first 30 minutes of the film may be so boring for them they will eventually be forced to look for something else to watch. However, towards the middle of the movie, things can get really fantastic as your kid now realizes the value of Wall-E’s existence. It also has a very important message for all of us – we need to reduce, reuse, and recycle our waste if ever we want our planet to remain as green as it is a million years from now.
The Wizard of Oz
Many consider The Wizard of Oz as the Citizen Kane of children’s films. It was a magnificent movie in its time because it signaled the move from a grainy gray-on-gray film to something very splashy Technicolor format. It clearly defined how children actually feel like the first time they flip and use their imagination. What the movie tells kids is that it is perfectly okay to dream. It’s always reassuring to know that no matter how distant dreams are, there is always a home that they can go back to. This reassurance is something that children today need to have as it allows them to use their imagination and dream big of a brighter future. It also teaches them that should their dreams fail to materialize, they can always go back home.
E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial
We all know this Steven Spielberg classic. What you may not know is that it is considered a rite-of-passage film, something that all kids have to watch before they reach 12 years old. Children of divorced parents can relate well to the adventures of Elliott and how the divorce has affected his childhood. He finds a meaningful relationship with a left-behind alien. And while CGI were not really mainstream yet in 1982, just watching Elliott and ET fly in a bike can help remind you what movies are for.
The Sound of Music
Very rich in character, story, and music, The Sound of Music deserves to be a part of our list although there may be some scenes that are quite suspenseful for some children. Aside from its many positive messages, the movie is best remembered for the many songs that, to this day, are still hummed and sung by anyone who has ever seen the film more than 50 years ago. From Do-Re-Mi to My Favorite Things and to Edelweiss, the movie is nothing less than a classic.
The list of classic movies that children really need to watch can go on forever. However, with these 10 classic movies, we hope to give you and your kid a headstart.
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