Ok, I’ll admi it. I’m using the term “classic movies” pretty broadly here, but sharing an age-appropriate film with your little one can be a really fun bonding experience.
Here are some suggestions that you might want to consider as you plan your next movie night:
10 – The Goonies (1985)
For many, The Goonies is one of the most iconic family-friendly films of the 80s. Based on a story penned by Steven Spielberg, The Goonies is the quintessential adventure film for kids – and the best part is that adults can certainly join in on the fun!
The film follows the misadventures of a group of kids living in the Goon Docks of Astoria, Oregon. In a last-ditch effort to save their homes from foreclosure, the “Goonies” come across a treasure map that they believe might be the answer to their pleas. What follows is an exciting adventure teeming with memorable moments and outlandish setpieces that have become a landmark of 80s cinema.
9 – Mousehunt (1997)
While critics weren’t too kind to this 1997 slapstick comedy, there are still some significant redeeming qualities to be found in Mousehunt.
For starters, the movie might be the closest we’ll ever get to a real-life version of the Looney Tunes, not to mention how easily it manages to balance dark comedy with outright silliness to achieve a comedic tone that both kids and grown-ups can enjoy.
8 – Hugo (2011)
If you’re a film lover and want your kids to share your passion for all things cinema with you, there might not be a better way to do that than by showing them 2011’s Hugo. In short, Hugo is a celebration of the art of filmmaking, and its colorful presentation and dreamlike visuals almost make you forget you’re watching a Martin Scorsese film.
Hugo won five Academy Awards for its outstanding cinematography and art direction and has become a veritable modern classic in the eyes of many critics. For adults, the film also serves as a crash course on the early days of cinema, specifically on the works of Georges Méliès.
7 – Where the Wild Things Are (2009)
One of the most celebrated pieces of American literature for children got a live-action movie adaptation in 2009, and it’s every bit as magical as the original book ever was. Where the Wild Things Are is a magical experience capable of uniting the generations that grew up reading this book – and the touch of whimsy that director Spike Jonze injected into this live-action adaptation translates well for audiences of any age.
While the colors might look a bit drab for younger kids, Where the Wild Things Are remains a fantastic coming-of-age story that will resonate with both kids and parents alike.
6 – Home Alone (1990)
The holiday season might be over, but the magic of Home Alone never subsides. Starring Macaulay Culkin as Kevin McCallister, this is the first entry into what would eventually become a long-running series. However, only the first film can be called truly timeless, as it perfectly captures that feeling of wonder that only the holidays can awaken in a kid’s mind.
In this film, we follow Kevin after his parents leave him home alone during Christmastime. Eventually, Kevin is forced to defend his house against a duo of dim-witted robbers – and he does this by turning every square inch of his opulent residence into a death trap.
The outrageously funny bits of slapstick comedy contrast pretty well with some of the movie’s more heartfelt moments, making Home Alone a classic that everyone should watch at least once during the holidays.
5 – The Iron Giant (1999)
When we think of animated films, the mind almost instinctively assumes “Disney.” However, in the late 1990s, a traditionally-animated film came out of nowhere – at a time when CG movies were increasingly becoming the norm. The Iron Giant has become a veritable hidden gem for animation fans, and it’s easy to see why it’s so beloved to this day.
Starring Vin Diesel as a giant robot of unknown origin, the movie follows this lovable colossus and his new human friend as they hide the presence of the Iron Giant from their small town in the middle of the Cold War.
4 – Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988)
Featuring some of the most iconic cartoon characters of all time, Who Framed Roger Rabbit is a wonderful amalgamation of live-action scenes and animated characters that looks great even by today’s standards.
While some of the scenes in the movie could be considered a bit too intense for younger kids, there’s no denying that the movie comes packed with a certain charm that’s tough to replicate. It also boggles the mind to see Bugs Bunny and Mickey Mouse together in the same film.
3 – The Lego Movie (2014)
Everyone has played with Lego at least once in their lifetimes. The building toy has become a true cultural landmark since its release in 1958, so it’s genuinely impressive that it took until 2014 until the first The Lego Movie was released. It was well worth the wait.
Out of all the films on our list, The Lego Movie is the only one that truly deals with the relationship between a parent and their kids – and how hobbies can act as a medium for the two to relate. The film might be an absurd comedy at times, but there are surprisingly heartfelt moments of drama hidden beneath the surface that work to elevate The Lego Movie beyond the realms of a mere tie-in movie for a toy brand.
2 – Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001)
When it comes to fantasy classics, few films come close to the cultural impact that the Harry Potter saga has to this very day. From theme parks to video games and entire sub-cultures, Harry Potter is a name that’s present in almost every aspect of modern pop culture.
Every film in the Harry Potter saga is a great pick to watch with your kids, but the first two movies are exceptionally great for their tone and the age of the characters. It also helps that these were the only two films in the series directed by Home Alone‘s Chris Columbus, and as we’ve already established, Columbus really knows what mesmerizes everyone’s inner child.
1 – Toy Story (1995)
Toys are a universal concept that unites both children and adults throughout time, and the same could be said about Toy Story. Ever since the first movie was released back in 1995, audiences everywhere fell in love with Woody, Buzz, and the rest of Andy’s toys.
Watching Toy Story together with your kid is certainly a bonding experience that’s tough to match. From the timeless narrative of the film to its central message about friendship, every moment of Toy Story seems to be specially designed to appeal to nostalgia, making it the perfect movie to watch as a family.