Motherhood

What Movies Do You Watch With Kids?

What Movies Do You Watch With Kids?

On Saturday, Toby, Anton and I went to the theatre, took five escalators up, and sat down to see…

Wonder. Have you seen it? Based on the bestselling book, the film features a boy with facial differences who heads to mainstream school for the first time. The boys LOVED it — and,
now that the boys are in school (with all those ups and downs), I loved the message of how kindness prevails over bullying.

We’ve gotten into watching movies with the boys, and every Sunday, we’ll make dinner — this yummy soup yesterday — and watch one. Luckily, since they’re 4 and 7, they’re close enough in age to like the same movies.

Movies we all enjoyed:
Shrek was the first movie Toby and Anton saw, and they were fully obsessed for a year. (Evidenced here:)
Moana
Sing
Home Alone (1 and 2)
Frozen
Back to the Future (The skateboards! The guitars! The DeLorean!)
Trolls
Mary Poppins
Toy Story
Coco (Alex hadn’t cried in his entire adult life until this movie.)
Despicable Me
Hotel Transylvania (1 and 2)
The Incredibles
The Boss Baby (In Italy this past summer, Toby and Anton were chatting with their four-year-old friend, who kept calling it, “Boss BAYYYY-be” in his Italian accent. Too cute.)
Alvin and the Chipmunks
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
Star Wars
Leap!

Movies that didn’t quite work:
Inside Out and Storks were a little over their heads. The Harry Potter movies were too scary. Same with 101 Dalmations. They were TERRIFIED of Cruella de Vil. Toby spent the entire month afterward cowering under the covers at bedtime, thinking she might be approaching. (I think there’s something extra scary about being separated from your parents?) And the Sound of Music felt slow to them (heartbreak!) so I’ll try it again in a few years.

Movies we haven’t watched together yet, but I’d like to try:
ET
Enchanted
Spirited Away
Charlotte’s Web
Matilda
Finding Nemo
Elf
Lilo & Stitch
My Neighbor Totoro
Freaky Friday
How to Train Your Dragon
Goonies (I actually never saw this as a kid, did you like it?)

And, funnily enough, the boys also adore the grown-up movie God Help the Girl by the Scottish musician Stuart Murdoch (of Belle & Sebastian). They’re probably seen it 20 times and know all the song lyrics.

What about you? What movies do your family like? Which did you like growing up? I’d love to hear your recommendations…

P.S. 21 surprising parenting tips, and movie accents, rated.

(Photo by Wayne Miller.)

  1. Lisa says...

    My four year old loved:
    Coraline
    Paddington (1)
    Wall E
    Up
    Kubo
    Room on the Broom (sweetest short ever)

  2. Oh you should watch ‘Fantastic Mr Fox’ by the incredible Wes Anderson. a MUST!

  3. Sabrina says...

    *We also love School of Rock for the whole family (kids 4 & 7, grownups, ages don’t bear thinking about).

  4. Sabrina says...

    I haven’t yet but plan to try Billy Elliott out on my 4 & 7yo very soon. My 4yo boy is a keen ballerina & also likes wearing dresses so there’s lots in it for him. My 7yo girl will take any opportunity for screen time. Not movies, but we often watch Horrible Histories together as a family.

  5. Great list of movies.. my boys are the same age as your boys..
    They really enjoyed the Santa Clause movies with Tim Allen this Christmas season..
    We did the Goonies with them.. I too had never seen it before.. I think I had to talk them through parts but the latter half was a lot of fun.
    All the Robin Williams classics.. like Mrs. Doubtfire, Jumanji.
    We did Mary Poppins as well.. the first half was more fun then the second half..
    Haven’t tried Back to the Future with them yet.. and I’m waiting a few more years to read the HP books with them before watching the movies.

    http://www.henatayeb.blogspot.com

  6. Holly says...

    The Paddington Movie is on repeat (boys ages 2 and 4)…heading to the movies to see the new one soon!

  7. Michelle Carr says...

    Charlottes Web!!! ?

  8. Paula says...

    How to train your dragon is amazing. Very sweet and surprisingly good for adults too.

  9. Paula says...

    I have three teenage girls. Two favorites were Spirit (about a wild mustang) and Billy Elliot (about a coal miner’s son who wants to be a ballet dancer). Both beautiful.

  10. MM says...

    My 2-year old girl is OBSESSED with the Peanuts movie and we love watching it with her because it’s hilarious. She also loves Sing.

  11. Sarah says...

    My son is 3.5 and just now entering a great age for family movies- anything but Thomas, please! It’s been a perfect time with the polar vortex/bomb cyclone and extra time off during the holidays. So far, we’ve all enjoyed:
    -Home Alone (a bit scary when the ‘bad guys’ are first casing the house, but he LOVED the end)
    -Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (with Gene Wilder, of course)
    -Finding Dory
    And the biggest hit of all so far, Hook! It’s SO awesome, especially as it predates CGI, so the sets are amazingly creative!
    Looking forward to trying more of these recommendations!

  12. Stephanie says...

    Some “off the beaten path” animated movies my 4 year old son enjoys are: Shawn the Sheep and Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, The Bee Movie, Bolt, A Bugs Life, Meet the Robinsons, Mr. Peabody and Sherman. Some of the family movies he likes are: Homeward Bound, The Sandlot, and The Mighty Ducks. One movie on our to watch list is The Flight of the Navigator (late 70’s..Sarah Jessica Parker’s in it!), loved it when I was growing up.

    • Kk says...

      Flight of the navigator! I loved that as a kid. SJP goes to a twisted sister concert if I remember correctly!?

    • Meet the Robinsons and Mr. Peabody and Sherman are so, so great!

  13. Natalie says...

    There are some other Ghibli films that could be great too! Porco Rosso (a pig pilot! Pirates!), Kiki’s Delivery Service (a girl is a witch and learns to fly her broom!), Spirited Away/Howl’s Moving Castle (these are my faves but maybe a little dark while they’re still so young).

    Also, since they love movies, why not old musicals like Singin’ in the Rain? I watched that at about 5 years old and started tap dancing the next week! xx

    • Natalie says...

      * Since they love music – that should say.

  14. reet says...

    Hi, I never commented here before (I think), but this time… If you have access to movies made from Astrid Lindgren books, try them. I am sure some of them are translated into English and you can find them. Our youngest loved Pippi Longstocking in all forms when he was 4, but there are also Emil from Lönneberga and Tjorven from Saltkrakan (no idea how they are translated).
    Sorry about bad English, I am from Estonia and English is not my first language.

  15. Clau says...

    School of rock!!!

  16. Anneli says...

    I just watched Finding Nemo with my four year old and had forgotten (SPOILER ALERT) that the Mother dies at the start and my son was asking about it for days. He was really upset by it.

  17. Robin Hood Men In Tights, Finding Dory, Olive the Other Reindeer, Stuart Little, Spaceballs, The Incredibles,

  18. Kelsey says...

    In the first eight weeks of my daughter’s life, her father and I checked out about fifty family films from our local library with an intention for finding the ones we’d enjoy sharing with her some day. Really, I think we couldn’t wait to use this pretense of being parents to get to screen kids’ movies! We’d generally make it through a third of a film every evening before passing out from the intense newborn feeding schedule… Our favorites:
    Mary Poppins
    The Sound of Music
    The Music Man
    Bedknobs and Broomsticks
    Singin’ in the Rain
    The Parent Trap (original)
    My Neighbor Totoro
    Kiki’s Delivery Service
    Howl’s Moving Castle
    Fantasia
    Robin Hood
    Finding Nemo / Dory
    Wall-E
    Up
    Zootopia
    The Princess Bride (scary!)
    [Turns out that Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is uncomfortably sexist and Swiss Family Robinson is quite racist. Watchable, if you’re up for some tricky conversations with kids!]

    At the end of all this research, my absolute favorite is Whisper of the Heart, by Hayao Miyazaki. I’m not sure that it’s a kids’ movie though?

    • Alyssa says...

      Bedknobs and Broomsticks! Angela Lansbury, be still my heart <3

  19. Lisa Hayward says...

    Over the weekend we watched Ernest and Celestine with our 2 and 8 year old. Even with the challenge of the big age gap, this one was a winner for all. My husband actually teared up talking about it later, because Celestine reminded him of our daughter. Highly recommend! (It’s French originally but has been done in English by a surprising list of A list actors.)

  20. Laura says...

    My daughter enjoyed Dolphin Tale (based on a true story; cast includes Ashley Judd, Morgan Freeman, Harry Connick, Jr.). She does not like being scared and is overwhelmingly anti-movie, but this one was OK.

  21. Beauty & the Beast was my favorite growing up, even though it terrified me! 101 Dalmatians (with Glenn Close) was also HUGE favorite!

  22. Michele says...

    Ooh, also have you started in on any of the new live action Disneys? Maleficent, Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast? SO GOOD!!!

  23. Michele says...

    Fantastic Mr. Fox! Gotta introduce kids to Wes Anderson early!

  24. Siobhan says...

    When my nephews were 4 and 6 I said “Be Good” like ET and then asked him them if they’d ever seen it. They had never heard of it so I explained it a little and told them that ET didn’t know English and learned it one day watching TV. The 4 year old asked if ET didn’t know English did he also forget his Spanish. Love this still!

  25. After reading the comments, it jogged my memory for a few movies I loved as a kid: The Indian in the Cupboard, The Borrowers, The Little Rascals, Casper, Free Willy, It Takes Two, Dustin Checks In, The Little Princess, Beethoven, and Harriet the Spy!
    x Tali

  26. gfy says...

    When Home Alone first came out, my boyfriend ,at the time, expressed shock at the degree of violence in the film and my eyes were opened. He was right! It is too violent for children. Or anyone really.

    Compare that with one of my all time favorites, The Fall, which is an intense story but without the overt violence:
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0460791/?ref_=nv_sr_3
    I also love The Secret of Roan Inish, Spirited Away and also, Alamar, which seems slow but is actually great! Like a mini vacation:
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1502396/?ref_=nv_sr_1

  27. Kate says...

    my 4 year old got ‘inside out’ but my mum spent the whole movie confused and drove everyone mad asking questions.

    My son also enjoyed paddington and secret life of pets.
    My nephews loved all the Herbie car movies and three amigos

    • Kate says...

      Oh and my kids are obsessed with watching our wedding video!

  28. Jennifer Parker says...

    Joanna! They’ll love Finding Nemo! Have you done Cars? Toby will flip over that too I’m sure.
    We did the Goonies this summer with our 4,7 year old and they did cover their face a few times but it was a hit. Cool Runnings too for sure and they loved Harry and the Hendersons! And you did Eld this Christmas right?!!

  29. I don’t have children but I babysit a ton. A few movies that have been a success are for both kids and me are, Paddington, Zootopia, and Cars.
    x Tali

  30. Seona says...

    Big Hero 6
    Beauty and the Beast (live action)
    Jungle Book
    Lion King

  31. Britt says...

    My husband and I will STILL watch the goonies! I’ve probably seen it over 100 times in my life. It’s the absolute best! Although there are some parts that might be a little scary. Eyeball in a blender anyone? Still, it’s so great.

  32. Melissa says...

    Snow dogs. Adorable, clean, funny. My soon to be 5 year old twins first non-animated movie. A hit!

  33. Kyla says...

    I was so pleasantly surprised by Turbo, the movie from a few years ago about a snail who competes in the Indianapolis 500. My kids love it, it has shockingly excellent music, and it holds up even if you have seen it over and over and over. I have also recently discovered that Fantasia and Fantasia 2000 are fun to watch with little ones since they both bring the music to life so beautifully. Finally, we love to watch both Disney and Pixar short films when we do not know what to watch… there is an awesome collection on netflix and it always has something for everyone!

  34. Kubo and the Two Strings
    Coraline
    Wall-E
    E.T. (that was the most fun I had watching a movie with my girls, 7 and 9 – it was like watching them experience magic)
    Trolls
    Also, my 7 year old loves to watch Seinfeld reruns with me :)

  35. Vicky says...

    I wouldn’t recommend Spirited Away. I watched it with my boys when they were your boys age, and it was too confusing, and very scary for them. Otherwise good choice on the others.

    We also love The Lego Movie.

  36. e edwards says...

    The Croods!

  37. YL says...

    Kubo and the 2 strings. Might be a little scary right now for them (think harry potter level). Beautiful animation, great moral/learning, and witty for the adults.

  38. Erin says...

    Loved Coco – so amazing and we have seen SING at least 8 times. My kids are 6 1/2 boy and 8 1/2 girl…..Also liked:
    The BFG
    The Sound of Music
    Annie (old and new)
    Heidi
    Ballerina
    ET

  39. Shanna says...

    Oh no! I think I need to apologize to my husband! I caught him tearing up at Coco and poked fun at him, but if it broke Alex, no man is safe!

  40. Emma says...

    The kiddos (3, 7 and 9) and I just came back from watching Paddington 2 – LOVED it! It’s a really lovely family movie, we highly recommend it.

  41. Beth says...

    I literally rode my bike to the video store every week to rent The Goonies as a kid! I was obsessed & I still love it. Secret treasure map in my attic? Yes, please!

  42. Elise says...

    Finding Nemo was a big fail over here… kids were terrified when Nemo gets stuck the tank. Finding Dory was a hit though. We recently watched Mr. Bean’s Holiday (the movie) recently and everyone had a good time. Which means we watched it over and over and over again!

  43. I LOVED The Last Unicorn as a kid, but it also freaked me out to no end. I’m curious to rewatch it as an adult. Also adored any movie with animals where they didn’t die, like Milo & Otis, Homeward Bound, That Darn Cat, The Shaggy Dog, and many, many horse movies (The Horse in the Gray Flannel Suit was a particular favorite). Mostly we watched older kids’ movies from the sixties and seventies, probably because my parents knew they could rely on them not to be too inappropriate! (IMO, the original versions of both The Parent Trap and Freaky Friday will always be the best.)

  44. Darby says...

    Big Hero 6 is awesome. My family also loves Tangled (good for girls and boys- don’t be fooled into thinking it is just a princess movie!). Goonies might be a bit old for them yet- swearing and some scary parts. Princess Bride is awesome- also some scary parts but it is easy to speed through those and I found any of the more adult jokes went right over my kids’ heads. My family also enjoyed Rocky and the Karate Kid (the original for both)- I know those are not kids movies but my kids liked them.

    • Darby says...

      And both of the How to Train Your Dragon movies are terrific!

  45. Katherine says...

    We always watched movies at my aunt’s because she had a vcr… Lol! The best was Big with Tom hanks. Also the Goonies and the Gremlins!

  46. Pamela S says...

    My kids (4 and 8) LOVE Fantastic Mr. Fox. Everything about it. Besides Disney standards (Alice in Wonderland and Sword in the Stone are the surprise faves there), it’s the only movie we’ve watched many times.

  47. Kelly says...

    Zootopia, absolutely. It has a wonderful (and timely) message about acceptance and growth packaged in a cops-and-robbers type story (complete with chase scenes) and featuring adorable ANIMALS. Where could you possibly go wrong??

  48. I took my 6 year old to seethe Last Jedi for his birthday. His first theater experience! He loves Star Wars almost as much as I do! My 4 year old daughter loves beauty and the beast.
    There is a special kind of hoot that happens when you get to share what you loved as a kid with them. It like experiencing it for the first time all over again!

  49. Liz Pearce-Diennet says...

    I’d say definitely Finding Nemo and Finding Dory we’re big hits with my 3 year old son but also Mary Poppins, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and then on Netflix the shorter length films of Stick Man, the Gruffalo and Gruffalo’s Child. But my favorite movie as a child, that I’ve shared many times with my son during the winter months is the English classic, The Snowman. It’s beautiful and only a half hour or so. No talking just music. Very soothing. I recommend! Xxxx

  50. Charity says...

    My daughter went through a week long Moana bender, followed by a week of Frozen, followed by like a month of Boss Baby right after her baby brother was born. She’s also liked Monsters, Inc. and Inside Out. Has been completely disinterested in any of the older Disney movies (50’s through 90’s)…

  51. Madame says...

    We love Japaneseanimation films, but I would wait on spirited away! The parents are turned into pigs.. super disturbing…
    Totoro, Kiki’s delivery service, arietty, ponyo,are better for younger I think!
    Also: the snowman (at Christmas especially), Ernest and Celestine (does this exist in English version?),song of the sea and the secret of kells (fabulous animation). The paddington films are super cute,and a film called minuscule which has no dialogue and features ants waging war over a box of sugar cubes is Sure to be a hit!

  52. Karin says...

    The Jungle Book was a huge hit for years on end, too.

    Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day

    Finding Nemo—somehow kids don’t get how sad it is for parents, my hubby and I cry every time and we’ve seen it probably 87 times no lie.

    So many great ideas here!

  53. Karin says...

    Charlotte’s Web for sure, and ET.
    The original Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory with Gene Wilder
    Mary Poppins, with Julie Andrews
    Do NOT watch “Snoopy Come Home” . . . What is it about this movie? I cried for HOURS after watching it as a kid and my son did the exact same thing….

  54. Alina says...

    I’m so excited to watch old favorites with my kids (but they are too young right now- all we watch is 4min truck videos for my 2 year old =\ ). But my cool aunt and uncle always recommend Ants as a good watch- it’s an animated movie with Jerry Seinfeld as the lead voice. I’m one of those people who never watched kids movies when I didn’t have kids so there’s a whole world of movies for me to explore/remember…I can’t wait!

    • Alina says...

      Ps the first movie I remember seeing in the theatre is Jurassic Park!!!!!!! Soooooooo scary! I don’t know what my dad was thinking. We lasted about 5 min.

  55. Becca says...

    My kids are a little older and I’m loving how the movie options are opening up! They love Willy Wonka, Princess Bride, cheaper by the dozen, and wall-e!

  56. sarah ahj says...

    Some of my girls (ages 7, 5 and 1 [she doesn’t really pay attention]) favorites are Fantastic Mr. Fox, Wallace & Gromit, Shaun the Sheep, White Christmas, Up… Can’t wait for the new Wes Anderson, Isle of Dogs :)

  57. Mandi says...

    My son is 18 months. Every night for about 2 weeks now, we’ve watched the first 20 minutes of Moana. Before that it was A Muppet Christmas Carol. What’s more embarrassing than the fact that I’ve watch 2 movies daily since Thanksgiving is that I’m not sick of either one…

  58. Christine says...

    Yes, Goonies! It was my favorite movie as a kid. It made me want to go hunt for treasure and pirates :D I also loved Indiana Jones and wanted to be his side kick lol, but this might be too scary for them until their older. I also loved The Lorax (1970s version), the Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and Robin Hood. For non- animated, I loved watching the Neverending Story and Labyrinth. I also loved watching ‘I love Lucy’ and really old Sinbad the sailor movies when I was 7 or 8, but I was a bit of a weird kid lol.
    When my daughter gets old enough, I can’t wait to share all these amazing movies with her :)

  59. Kate says...

    Monsters, Inc.!!!!!

    • gfy says...

      I LOVE Monsters, Inc.

  60. Allison says...

    I have a 5 and 7 year old boys. They love the new stuff but also some older movies that surprised me. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, The African Queen and The Swiss Family Robinson all have enough comedy and adventure to keep them entertained.

  61. JenMarie says...

    We also do family movie night and recently saw The Secret Garden and Heidi (streaming now on Netflix, with totally acceptable dubbing). Both are gorgeously shot, have strong girl protagonists, and (coincidently) plots that involve sickly children who are healed by spending time in the great outdoors. Both huge hits with our 6-yr-old son — and us.

    • Alice says...

      Oh the `Secret Garden is magical! Good call, will check that out!

  62. Tracy says...

    I tried “Ratatouille” with my 4-year-old last week for movie night and it was a fail as well (which breaks my heart – it’s my favorite Pixar!). Seeing it through his eyes, I could see why it would be a little dull so I’ll try again in a few years. He did see “Elf” this past holiday and thought it was very funny. Animal movies are also a huge hit – “Milo & Otis,” “Homeward Bound,” and “Super Buddies” are faves!

    • Meghan says...

      So funny – my now 4 year old has LOVED Ratatouille since he was teeny! I remember him at 2 laughing SO hard when they are practicing the cooking in the apartment.

    • Susan Magnolia says...

      I love Milo & Otis! Thank you for the reminder.

  63. Joanna Tsay says...

    Growing up in the 80s we loved all the classic Disney animated and motion picture movies. It’s hard to name favorites but I’d recommend Robin Hood and Peter Pan for boys. We also loved musicals and we were bonkers for the 1982 film version of Annie. On a recent road trip we sang greatest hits from movies and my 2 yr old loved Tomorrow and It’s a Hard Knock Life. Singing it as a family was like a dream come true! Haha!

    • Susan Magnolia says...

      We watched Sword and the Stone last week. It was a bit hit with my daughter. I want to watch Robin Hood with her next.

  64. Anna says...

    Coco made me weep! Loved it so much and have been spreading the word! It seemed to me that it didn’t get the publicity/ praise it deserved.

  65. Jessie says...

    What is it about family movie nights that is so comforting? My family recently traveled to be together over the Holidays at my mom’s house. One night we had an impromptu movie night with my mom, all my sisters, all the brother-in-laws and all the grandchildren (ages 9 to 3). Everyone was in pajamas eating pizza and popcorn crowded on the couch and floor. For some reason I looked around at my nephew relaxing with his arms behind his head, while his cousin’ feet were on his stomach as she sat on her aunt’s lap… and I got teary eyed at how magical it all was. (My husband then nudged me and asked why I was crying during Lego Batman.. hahaha).

  66. Chui Yee says...

    Hi Joanna! I’m not a mom (yet), but I LOVE Spirited Away & My Neighbour Totoro even as an adult =) I would like to recommend:
    1. Song of the Sea (awesome animation and fantastic storyline)
    2. Coraline (kinda spooky but classic Neil Gaiman, whom I adore)
    3. The Parent Trap (the one with Lindsay Lohan)

    • The old Parent Trap is on Netflix (with Hayley Mills) I LOVED watching this again with my 5 year old. She keeps singing the songs, so cute!

    • Frejka says...

      I second Song of the Sea. My favourite movie – even as an adult!!

    • OMG yes to song of the sea, it is sooo beautiful. Spirited away is amazing but I don’t know if parts aren’t a little scary. From the same director, Kiki’s delivery service and Ponyo are also very cute and you already have it on the list but my neighbour Totoro is magical!

    • Ellen says...

      Spirited Away is a favorite of mine, but much too scary for our five year old. The only Miyazaki movies that seem truly young-kid appropriate are Totoro and Kiki’s Delivery Service.

  67. I saw Wonder the other week and LOVED IT, the book is on my to read list and I’m told it’s even better than the movie.
    I’m not a huge fan of animation movies but I really enjoyed the Despicable Me films and Minions but my all time favourite animated movie is Big Hero 6.
    Other movies I think your boys would enjoy include:
    Night At The Museum 1, 2 and 3
    Grown Ups 1 and 2 – these films make me laugh so much
    Paper Planes – it’s an Australian film with the same actor that plays Alexander in Alexander in the Terrible Horrible No Good, Very Bad Day. About a boy who enters a paper plane making competition.
    Despite being 23 I love all the Disney Channel Original Movies, Disney Descendants 1 and 2 have been favourites along with Lemonade Mouth, Camp Rock 1 and 2 and of course all the High School Musicals. Some might be a bit old for your boys but Disney Descendants is a great film and well worth watching.

    • Leah says...

      The book Wonder is amazing. My son and I hesitate to see the movie because of how much we loved the book. Also, I second your recommendation of the Night at the Museum movies.

  68. Kersten says...

    I have 3 boys ages 9, 7 and 5. We have movie night every Friday night-it is the BEST! They all LOVE My Neighbor Totoro and have watched it countless times. Other favorites have been Spirited Away, Song of the Sea, Ponyo, Kubo and the Strings, Beethoven and The Incredibles. My 5 year old cracks up especially at Paddington. Oh, and Epic! They love that one, especially the slow motion scenes with the humans. We have tried some from our childhood and the best of those for them was Ghostbusters and ET. They did enjoy both Mary Poppins and Annie (but they’d never admit it now!?) I thought they would love Honey I Shrunk the Kids but they were bored.

  69. Katie says...

    I love this list because I’ve been trying to think of good movies for my kids to watch. My husband got to pick our last movie night movie and he picked- Pee Wee’s Big Adventure. I don’t know if it’s approriate and I don’t care- my kids loved it. They loved the breakfast scene when the machine contraption made it for him. Also- it is really just about a guy (total weirdo guy) trying to find his bike. They were freaked by “Large Marge” but they have made many references to her since. “Do you think it’s as scary as seeing Large Marge”?

    • Alina says...

      Lol! Thank you for this.

  70. Casey says...

    I’m thrilled to hear that both your boys enjoyed it. I read it with my oldest (almost 7) over the past few months and have been wanting to take him and unsure what to do about my youngest (4). With this report, we may all go!!

    We have done Harry Potter with them. We are going on the one a year plan with my oldest. He gets the illustrated book for his birthday, we read it together, and then he gets to see the movie. We’ll be on book 3 this March. I know to read slowly as that’s when the movies get much darker. I’m sure my youngest won’t be up for the movie and will have to just see if my oldest will be or not!

  71. Liz says...

    E.T. scared the bah-jeezus out of me as a kid.

    • Jessica K says...

      ET scared my daughter as well. She is 25 now and still asks “why did you show me that movie.” She was 6.

    • Jenn says...

      Haha same! I had a horrible nightmare where E.T. was all pale and sick in my bathtub. I was so terrified every time I had to have a bath for months. I guess I was about 6. Eventually grew to like it though!

  72. Jen G. says...

    My daughter is 6 and some of the other movies she has enjoyed are The Iron Giant (Netflix), Paddington, Box Trolls, Monsters Inc. & Monsters University, Kiki’s Delivery Service and Babe. Movie nights are the best!

  73. Our kids are 6 and 8, one boy, one girl. E.T. was a huge hit! And we just watched the original (I think?) Charlie and the Chocolate Factory…after we read the book. It was SO fun! We do Friday movie nights and are trying to hit up all the old “classics”. Honey I Shrunk the Kids was another one…haha. It was definitely not as profound as I remember from my youth. Next on our list is Black Stallion. Have fun!

  74. Our first family movie was Cool Runnings about the Jamaican bobsled team. My kids (age 8 and 10 at the time) LOVED it and my husband and I enjoyed it too. Oldie but goodie.

    • Darby says...

      Ha! My kids LOVE Cool Runnings. We live in Calgary so it is fun to look for local things but mostly they just loved the charming characters. I thought they were the only ones.

  75. This is helpful! My 2-year-old still pretty much just watches Daniel Tiger and the occasional Sesame Street clips. I’m always curious about my friends who put up photos on Instagram of family movie nights where their toddlers sit through Moana or Frozen. Mine didn’t even want to watch Olaf’s Frozen Adventure (the intense parts were too intense for her, and she started wagging her finger and saying, “I don’t want to watch this!”) Anyone else have a more sensitive child? What kind of movies can they watch? Growing up, I loved Annie and also Muppets Take Manhattan!

    • Joanna says...

      My son didn’t watch any movies until he was 3.5 (not for lack of trying). Many “kids movies” are kind of scary and violent! My son liked Monsters Inc starting at 3.5 and it’s funny and not scary. Maybe try that? It might just be having to be patient. He’s not a big TV kid, either. I had no idea how people got their kids to sit and watch shows! He loves movies now (almost 5) but still complains that some are too scary, like Beauty and the Beast comes to mind!

    • Christi says...

      Ditto to having a “gentle soul,” as we call our daughter. She’s 4 now, but we’re honestly still caught up in PBS shows; and now they have PBS family nights on Friday nights with longer movie-ish length version of their shows. As far as movies, Winnie the Pooh (fast-forward through the Heffalumps), Wall-E, Finding Dory (Nemo was a bit too intense), the Curious George movies (especially the ever-mellow Curious George Spring), Elf (a year-round favorite! Hah.), and anything Charlie Brown.

    • Meggie says...

      Yes!! My coming up on 3 year old simply cannot do movies, the emotion is too intense. We didn’t make it ten minutes into Zootopia! He did sit with his 2 year old cousin over Christmas to watch the Curious George Christmas movie, but even for that I had to stay near and sometimes he asked me to sit with him. Sometimes Daniel Tiger even makes him cry (it’s game over when he loses tigey) Those little fragile hearts!

    • Blandine says...

      My son is 5 and still not really into movies that much. I downloaded a Christmas movie that I choose carefully (no upsetting topics) but he did not like it and asked me to stop. I think it might be because the hero was an orphan and it was very sad. He liked Ice Age a lot but cried a lot during the scene when we think the lion is dead (but reappears safe and sound at the end). Many movies for kids are actually very sad or upsetting.

    • Hannah says...

      My son turned 2.5 today, and we were in exactly this situation just about 2 months ago. Then, his dad had the great idea of just showing him highlights of Tangled (there are youtube clips of a few scenes that have more action and less song) and he loved it. Then, we went on to show him the whole movie, which was a hit. So far, he’s branched out to the Curious George movies (the Christmas one is still going strong) and Despicable Me 2 (didn’t care too much for 1 or 3, have yet to watch the minions movie). He also loves popcorn and will sit through anything as long as his daddy gives him little snippets of it from his bowl, under the watchful eye of mommy monitoring for choking hazards, lol. Our little guy couldn’t care less about Frozen in any of its versions, Moana, etc.

    • L says...

      Oh, how recently I was in your shoes! My son would only watch Daniel Tiger for what felt like forever. Then when I came home with his new baby brother we tried again with Cars (he was already obsesssed with playing with cars and trucks) and everything changed. He LOVED it! He was exactly 2.5 at the time and now wants to watch a movie every weekend, but it still super sensitive (Monsters Inc was adorable but still to much for him – Monsters!). We have had luck with Cars, Cars 3 (avoid Cars 2), Sing, Toy Story, and Ratatouille. We have tri d many more but anything with a scary plot twist he demands to be turned off! Good luck!

    • Meghan says...

      My girls are pretty sensitive too. Winnie the Pooh movies are a good place to start. Look for G movies…older Disney is rated G but more likely to be intense as current PG movies.

    • Alex says...

      The very first movie our kids actually sat through and enjoyed was Fantasia 2000. I think the shorts aspect helped.

    • These are great suggestions; thanks everyone! I’ll start hunting for some of these–I think Curious George would be a hit! Also good idea about just doing clips from movies…we are going on a Disney Cruise in a couple weeks and I wanted her to get excited about the characters we are going to meet…!

  76. Lori Leahy says...

    Does everyone know about CommonSenseMedia.org? They are super helpful when trying to decide if a movie is appropriate for a childs age.

    • Jean says...

      Totally second this!!! I use it all the time!

    • Anna Louise Cohen says...

      Yes!! It’s great! I find it errs on the conservative side which is great as allows room for you to decide depending on your own kids.

  77. Shelly says...

    The Princess Bride is great for kids! Also a warning about Goonies – I loved that movie as a child so we watched it with my kids. There is so much swearing (I didn’t remember that at all!). My kids were a slightly appalled that I recommended it . . lol. Coco was sooo good. Love it all. The music. The characters. The message. I’m so glad it won a Golden Globe:)

  78. Pins says...

    We watched “Ace Ventura” … and I forgot how naughty it is. Luckily most of it went over my 6 & 8 yrs heads and they thought all the plunger face / animal antics were hilarious.

  79. Grace says...

    I saw Spritied Away as a child and it RUINED me. I still have flashbacks a decade later. It was absolutely terrifying and I remember several children having to leave the theatre throughout.

    • Anna says...

      I saw it as an adult and found it terrifying! such a scary film.

  80. Kristen Johnson says...

    One to add to your list to watch: Megamind! Great family movie, seriously!

  81. Sarah says...

    So funny that you posted this today….our kids are 9 (just turned) and 10.5. They both saw the advertisement for Jumanji and wanted to see it. So we took them to the theater, got their popcorn and settled in to watch the movie. I should have known by the intense movie trailers preceding jumanji that the movie might be to scary. My husband and I thought this new version was hilarious (well the beginning anyway). So as you might have guessed, it was too scary and we left within the first 30 minutes:(
    You win some, you loose some.

    • Anna Louise Cohen says...

      Funny I was worried too – for my 7.5 and 10.5 boys- but it was perfect – they adored it howling with laughter. I was the only one covering my eyes in some bits!! It’s funny – we can’t predict what they will or won’t like sometimes can we??

  82. Tristen says...

    Cool Runnings. Loved it as a kid, and it still cracks me up.
    Zootopia is my husband’s new favorite movie, and I cry during Moana every damn time.

  83. carlyn greer says...

    How to Eat Fried Worms !

    We listened to this as a book on tape when I was a kid (I brother and i LOVED it) and now its a movie too!

  84. Our children are 5 and 8. They have watched ‘Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang’ at least 25 times. Emma Thompson, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Ralph Feinnes. It’s silly, funny, and best of all – I like it too.

  85. Jen Allen says...

    My Neighbor Totoro is still a fav for me and my siblings and it has been over 20 yrs since we first saw it!

    • Rikki says...

      My fave! We just showed this to our boys (7, 5, 3) and they all loved it! It’s slow, beautiful, and magical. Perfect.

  86. Effie says...

    I can’t believe Cars 1, 2 and 3 aren’t on this list!

  87. L says...

    Thank you so much for this post! With this arctic weather, I’ve been trying to find age-appropriate movies for my girls (7.5 and 3.5 twins).
    We love Robin Hood (Disney version!) and the Disney Fairies movies – The Secret of the Wings is a favorite. We don’t do any other Disney movies like Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, etc, because the villains are too scary and someone/thing always dies.
    I know Barbie is controversial but I loved Barbie dolls growing up and I was happy to find the movies with Barbie and her sisters.

  88. Amanda G says...

    What about Kung Fu Panda? I don’t watch a lot of kids’ movies, having no kiddos of my own, but I actually really loved that one!

    I also really like Big Hero 6 and Mulan (although the Huns are pretty scary!)… and ALL THE YES for The Goonies! I love that movie something fierce.

  89. Erin says...

    Up

  90. Eleonoor says...

    Pretty much all the Disney Classic animations and Pixar mobiel are a must. They’re great to watch as a family because the “grownup jokes” just fly right over the kids’ heads, but they love it just the same.
    Also, Despicable me is fantastic.

  91. Stephanie says...

    You have to add Nacho Libre to your list of movies to watch! Our 5.5 cracks up every time (and so do we!). :)

    • Alanna says...

      Yes!!! One of my boys’ (5&7) faves for years.

  92. Jeannie says...

    Ok one more, and possibly not PC in our time now, but as a kid I nearly peed laughing while watching The Gods Must Be Crazy.

  93. Jeannie says...

    Yes, yes to Ratatouille and Mrs. Doubtfire! I love My Neighbor Totoro but the boys may find it a little too slow? Spirited Away is wonderful, although there’s some spookiness! This makes me wanna watch a movie with some kiddos….

  94. Melissa says...

    As someone without any kids, I have a question for those of you who do: do your kids prefer computer-animated movies to classic flat animations? Or what about 3D/live action vs. cartoon (like The Jungle Book)? Seems like everything is computer animated these days, and some of them are very cute and well done, but I’m not wild about that style. Curious if kids really care either way!

  95. Bec says...

    MONSTERS INC.
    The doors! Scream energy! The entire thing is genius. Still a favourite of mine.

    • Eleonoor says...

      Yes! 100 times yes to Monsters Inc! I was a babysitter by the time this came around and I loved it at least just as much as the kids I was watching with.

    • Frankie says...

      Agreed! My 4YO is obsessed with the original and the University sequel.

  96. Madie says...

    E.T. was my first movie in the theater (I was 3 1/2) and I cried and my mom had to take me out!
    My little guy is now 4 1/2 and has been obsessed with Cars since he was 2 – I’m surprised it’s not on your list! Skip Cars 2 entirely, but the newest Cars 3 was pretty good :)
    Other ideas not on your list – Captain Underpants (SO many laughs!), Minions, and Finding Dory, which I think was actually better for little kids than Finding Nemo, and you don’t need to see them “in order”.

    • Robin says...

      My four year old has still only sat through one movie (Frozen – not my choice, it was on an airplane!). He always gets scared and wants to stop, usually when something terrible happens to the parents. Seriously, do all kids movies have to star orphans?! That said, I would like to try him again on Totoro, and I think he’d love the Incredibles. He always wants to run so fast we can barely see him ;)

  97. Sanja says...

    The Goonies is a must!! I watched it a thousand times! It can be scary at times so I would watch it before showing it to the kiddos.

  98. Sara says...

    My four year old sounds like she’s on the same page as your boys. I saw Totoro in your list of not seen yet’s and I would highly recommend it! It is beautiful. I have a hard time watching animated movies but I can watch that one again and again.

  99. Julia says...

    Any tips on movies to watch with a toddler? My best friend’s daughter is 2.5 and she loves the idea of watching a movie, but hates any and all “scary” parts. The only movie she has watched through (without fast-forwarding) is Sing (and even then- not always). Anyone have movies for really young kiddos without violence, parents dying, etc.?

    • Yes! I just posted a similar comment about my daughter. I need to search the comments now for “toddler” and see what I come up with! I have heard good things about Sing. But even the most “innocent” movies suddenly have pretty intense scenes, when I see them through the eyes of my 2-year-old.

    • Lila says...

      My daughter is 3.5 and all movies have totally freaked her out (traumatized by Moana!), we stick to classic Sesame Street, the older (better!) episodes. You can watch full episodes on YouTube. Nothing scary! We can watch it on our TV and it’s just like a real movie to her, lol.

    • Robin says...

      I need this addendum too!

    • Rachel R says...

      Curious George movies- you can find them on Amazon. A hit with both of my kids, ages 2.5 & 5- cute, non scary & fun!

    • Joanna says...

      Monsters Inc was my son’s first movie that he didn’t find too scary and that kept his attention, but it wasn’t until 3.5 years. I agree that many kids movies are super scary and violent!

    • ZM says...

      Netflix – All I want for Christmas, Mariah Carey as a kid wishes for a puppy, very gentle and sweet, my 2.5 year old loved watching it next to her 5-year old sister.

  100. As a teacher, I too threw movie parties occasionally. Things with music usually were hits. The biggest hits though were Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. An obscure 1970s film called Bedknobs and Broomsticks (by Disney!) was also a big hit but it was loooong. My students LOVED Big Hero Six (but I taught gifted Ed. and that film totally hits all of the common issues those kids can have!) Those old stop motion animated features were popular too. We read the book Ozma of Oz and then watched the film Return to Oz. Most of the kids liked it, but one or two definitely found parts scary (it is scary!)

    • Robin says...

      I loved the bedknobs and broomsticks book as a kid! Definitely going to have to track down the movie for my little ones.

  101. A says...

    This holiday season my two got into Nightmare Before Christmas (they love Halloween and slightly creepy things) and then A Christmas Story.

    How to Train Your Dragon
    Wizard of Oz
    Emoji Movie

  102. Meghan says...

    My boys are 8 and 5. I really want to watch ET with them, but have been worried it might be scary. I recently picked up an ET picture book at my bookstore that had beautiful retro art and, I think, will help get them comfortable that all ends well.

    • Liz says...

      My 7 year olds hate anything even remotely scary (they like Sesame Street and inane toddler shows) but one watched e.t. when she was 6 and she actually cried. It might be okay.

  103. sam says...

    Andre (1994)

    We watched it about a million times when were kids.

  104. Edith says...

    Has anyone mentioned Paddington? I usually really dislike talking animals, but Paddington rules! Really sweet and funny movie. We watched it with our 12 year old and even he still liked it! We can’t wait now to go and see Paddington 2. I think it would be perfect with younger kids. Another one of my favorite family movies of all time (I think for kids around 10 and older) is Hunt for the Wilder People (New Zealand), such a beautiful, feel good movie. Makes you think back and smile for days after you’ve seen it.

    • yes Paddington! we LOVE that movie. it’s so lovely and well done.

  105. Meghan says...

    My girls love Miss. Peregrine’s Peculiar Children, Paddington, and Fantastic Beasts.

  106. My two year old is obsessed with John Hughes’s movie “Baby’s Day Out” from the eighties- it’s so random but cute!

  107. Barbara Manthey says...

    Milo and Otis! The best narration by Dudley Moore (!?) with laughs for littles and bigs
    Wall-E
    Cars
    Planes and Planes Fire and Rescue
    ChooChoo Bob series (made in Saint Paul)
    Lion King (some rough spots will need discussion)
    Ratatouille
    Up
    Mulan (lots to talk about with gender and respect)
    Toy Story (except for scary monkey, 3 is our favorite)
    Monsters Incc
    Brave
    Nemo (1 and 2)
    Homeward Bound

    • Yes, Milo and Otis! I forgot about that one, so good!

  108. Jessica says...

    Love this! We have two girls, 6 and 2.5 years, and every Friday is pizza and a movie at home! I have enjoyed revisiting childhood Disney movies (Beauty & the Beast, Lion King, Aladdin, etc.) and most recently, Sing, Trolls, Secret Life of Pets, Leap, and more. We recently went to see Ferdinand, adorable!

  109. Jan says...

    When my oldest two boys were around that age they LOVED the Cheaper by the Dozen movies. Iron Giant was another favourite, as was Mrs. Doubtfire. My 3 year old is obsessed with Tangled, Ratatouille and Toy Story.

  110. Lily says...

    I LOVED Spirited Away–but as an adult. I think it might be a bit slow-paced and/or scary for young children! Alternatively, I think the boys might like Kiki’s Delivery Service and Princess Mononoke.

    I also remember finding Lion King 1 1/2 one of the funniest movies as a child.

  111. Celeste says...

    I wouldn’t take a kid under age 8 to some of these, like Wonder. Our family just loves Inside Out!

  112. ET IS PETRIFYING! As a human who can only fall asleep on her stomach since the day she was born, after I watched ET I was so terrified that he was going to pop up from under the bed that I forced myself to stay board straight, on my back for a very very long time. I basically was a sleep deprived grade schooler for years.

    Another friend, upon watching ET for the first time in her home went screaming for her mom in terror only to end up LITERALLY running through a plate glass window.

    You know your kids, but maybe hold off on that one. Forever.

    • I refuse to watch ET even as a 23 year old, ET is just too weird looking and when I did watch when I was 8 I couldn’t handle it.
      I tell people I don’t horror films or ET, anything else I will give a go but not those films. Sleep is just too important for me to kept awake scared or freaked out about an alien appearing from under my bed.

    • Ellen W says...

      ET terrified me as well and I have refused to ever watch it again or show it to my kids. My parents were fairly cautious about movies (they don’t watch rated R movies themselves) and never expected their 6 year old would have such a strong reaction to the movie.

  113. Finn says...

    When I was nine, I had a new friend sleep over at our house. My mother decided to let us have the cultural experience of seeing The Goonies for the first time. When my friends mother called to check on her later that night my mother watched, horrified, as she told her mother “Yeah, we’re good. Finn’s mum let us watch a slasher.“ ? With that being said, I absolutely loved it!

  114. Elizabeth says...

    My sister-in-law off the cuff mentioned the premise to Home Alone before the holidays and my five year old son is terrified of the idea behind it (and this is only the idea of him being left alone – he doesn’t even know about Marv and Harry!). Questions I was asked for the entirety of December, “But how did they forget him? How did they get on a plane without knowing he wasn’t there? How did he not hear they’d left the house? Why was he sleeping in the attic? Was he scared? How did he eat?” The list goes on. Trying to explain air travel in the 1990s to him every. single. day. was MADDENING, but still endearing.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh my gosh, that is too sweet, elizabeth!

    • Mac says...

      Haha! My daughter lost it when Kevin rides his sled down the stairs and out the front door. “Oh my gosh! That is such a bad idea! He could break a leg! I can’t watch!”

    • Joanna says...

      Mac, my son (4.5) watched it this winter while I was doing bedtime with our difficult baby and he had the same reaction! And also had nightmares that the cops were going to get him…whoops!

    • Nicki says...

      I thought this year would be the year we could all watch Home Alone at christmastime. I have a 4 and 6 yr old. 20 minutes in, my 4 year old was so upset about the mean big brother, and my 6 year old couldnt believe kevin had been left behind. Both were so upset that we turned it off and went back to the Grinch. Some kids are just more sensitive! The worst though was when we watched Tangled. At the end when rapunzel finally finds her parents, my 6 year old son burst out crying. It really is a pretty awful story if you think about it!

  115. Sue Harris says...

    Whale Rider
    Fly Away Home
    A lIttle Princess
    Indian in the Cupboard
    Anne of Green Gables series on tv from 1986
    Homeward Bound: the Incredible Journey
    Babe
    The Parent Trap (both versions)

  116. Tenley says...

    Okay, hear me out on this one…
    Diary of a Wimpy Kid!
    It’s full of slapstick humor, and has a pretty goofy premise, but it gets everyone in my family laughing, from begrudging dad to seven year old kid!

  117. Ashley says...

    Ummm….can we get an addendum to this post with an update on Alex not crying his entire adult life???

    • Jeannie says...

      YES LOL I thought, “Well that’s kinda monumental, as a long-time reader, and deserves maybe more than one line,” if he’s up for sharing. Oh, the trivia we all know about your family hahaha

    • Jillian says...

      Thank you, this is what I focused on too! Reminds me of the time Joanna randomly mentioned Alex’s love of “watch articles”, and I was so confused I no longer cared about the rest of the post!
      Also, a birth of a child maybe?! A damp eye? ;)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      hahah yes! IS ONE DAMP EYE TOO MUCH TO ASK FOR???

      reminds me of this seinfeld scene: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JLslqugYoD4

      “what is this salty discharge?!” lololol

  118. Raquel Goldman says...

    The Phantom Tollbooth!

  119. Sarah says...

    I’m 33, have lived in Japan 10 years and Spirited Away still scares the bejeezus out of ME.

    Kid friendly :
    Casper
    Fly Away Home
    Homeward Bound

  120. Olivia says...

    I loved Matilda as a child, but was TERRIFIED of the Trunchbull (sp?) and the chokey. The Princess Bride is amazing! I always loved Mulan, The Parent Trap (both of em), and any Mary Kate & Ashley movie too!

    • Joanna says...

      Some of this is helped by reading the books first, I think! My son does okay if we’ve already read the book but otherwise finds villains scary!

  121. Amy Sather says...

    My two-year-old loves The Fantastic Mr Fox. It’s one of my favorite movies, too. There are guns and a little violence and a little smoking, but it is so beautiful, too.

    • Lula says...

      This is also my 3 year old’s favourite! She does a mean impression of Mr Fox earting and can quote lines from the film verbatim! Listening to the soundtrack in the car is a welcome bonus, too :-)

  122. Jenny says...

    Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Wall-E, and A Bugs Life are all great! I was also obsessed with Newsies when I was a kid.

  123. My young kids LOVE My Neighbor Totoro. It’s a perennial favorite, though hard to come by– it’s not on streaming anywhere but they are reissuing the DVDs and I bought it. The library also had it. I think Spirited Away might be too much for little kids? Ponyo and Kiki’s Delivery Service are Studio Ghibli films that are great for little kids.
    We recently enjoyed Uncle Buck and The Parent Trap (original) with our kids. It turns out becoming a parent has vastly changed my perspective on The Parent Trap. The villain is not Vicky, it’s the parents!! Yikes.

  124. sarah says...

    The Song of the Sea and Kubo and the 2 Strings are beautiful movies that both my daughter and I enjoy watching together… they deal with a lot of sadness and struggle so they may be a bit heavy for some kids. On a lighter note, we love all the Despicable Me movies and of course Minions! She also loves Totoro but definitely not Spirited Away — she got so scared during it I had to turn it off!

    • Yes! Song of the Sea and also the Book of Kells, by the same studio in Ireland. For some reason my kids are terrified of Shrek and Moana but have been ok with these movies.

  125. jennifer says...

    Great list! My kids are 4 and 7. They loved Totoro and I HIGHLY recommend Singing in the Rain. Much faster paced than the classic The Sound of Music (which we tried watching this weekend and was too slow for them). Singing in the Rain has a plane crash, great dancing, lots of funny scenes. Lots to enjoy and we all love it!

  126. Megan says...

    …and Beauty and the Beast (New and Animated Versions)

  127. Megan says...

    Tangled and Babe

  128. Vicki says...

    ET is actually pretty scary (at the end, Elliot and ET have to escape from the POLICE! And if you don’t watch the new version, those men are chasing the little boy with GUNS. Intense.)
    I have skipped Goonies so far because the kids in the movie swear a lot, and my kids (3, 5, 8, and 10) pick up on the worst things. Example? We watched Home Alone twice this year, and they repeat the Snakes – Johnny – mafia clip (“keep the change ya filthy animal!”) and Buzz’s “I wouldnt let you sleep in my room if you were growing on my ass!” over and over again in the worst possible situations.

    • Trish O says...

      There is a new ET? That is strange. This feels like a Hon shot first moment.

      I have found many movies I saw as a kid have things I did not remember in them…Ferris Bueller, I am looking at you.

    • Chelsea says...

      Oh man, the part about them repeating it in the worst possible situations has me cracking up!! My son is 3 and picks out things from movies too that we’re just like, WHY. The line he started muttering from How To Train A Dragon was, “The gods hate me!” Again: WHY.

  129. Katie says...

    In the same vein as Spirited Away and My Neighbor Totoro, my friends and I absolutely ADORED Kiki’s Delivery Service. We’d watch every day, sometimes more than once, and our moms would always say “But you’ve seen it so many times!” I remember being entranced by the animation style.

  130. Kate says...

    My 5-year-old has loved My Neighbor Totoro for a few years now but we recently tried Spirited Away and it was the first movie we had to turn off because it was too scary for him. Seeing it through his eyes, I don’t blame him! Proceed with caution.

  131. Lauren says...

    There’s already so many comments so these are probably repeats but my 7 yo and 4 yo boys like:
    Superman movies- the old ones with Chris reeves
    Batman movies- the older ones seem less violent than the newer ones
    Indian Jones movies

  132. Nancey says...

    My Daughter fell in love with The Princess Bride when she was about 5, watched it every day for months. Also The Wizard of Oz and also loved Mr. Popper’s penguins. cute! She’s kind of an old 13 now and is on to movies I don’t even understand. She’s very grown up, sniff, sniff. But also kind of artsy and different which I embrace completely. We saw Wonder together and it was great! Her favorite is Coraline, which she loves but it freaks me out a bit

    • I hardily second The Princess Bride and the chapter book is an amazing read/read-to-littles!

  133. Tracy says...

    Lots of good ideas here. My girls also loved Emma Thompson’s Nanny McPhee movies.

  134. Illana says...

    My kids first saw School of Rock when they were probably 5 and 9. Now they have probably seen it 10 times and know most of the lines by heart, they love it so much. (Can hardly wait to take them to the musical this summer!) We also loved Big Hero 6. I wasn’t sure how it would go, there’s some loss near the beginning, but both were fine with it and it led to some great conversations – I think it’s a brilliant movie. I also took them to Ferdinand recently and they both loved it. The movie elaborates on the original story a LOT but the main theme is intact, and it’s lovely.

  135. Kim says...

    My 8 and 7 year old kids just loved the parent trap. I loved it too…the 3yo also watched.
    We watched the 90s version which is so good but haven’t seen the original.

  136. Andrea says...

    Wow what a great post! My son is 34 now but when he was little I took him to see the very first Land Before Time and he loved it! I know they came out with several after that which we didn’t bother to see because the first one is so good! He also loved ET and Honey I Shrunk The Kids. Those 3 he loved to watch over and over!

  137. Amber Grady says...

    I had recurring nightmares for YEARS as a kid in which Cruella Deville was trying to poison me with tainted celery and carrot sticks. I can still picture it clearly, haha. I feel Toby’s pain.

  138. Irene says...

    Every summer we set up an outdoor movie screen and invite tons of Kids for a movie night! It’s the highlight of my Kids summer. We try to go old school and get movies that most of the kids wouldn’t have seen. Movies we have shown in the past include Rookie of the Year, Mighty Ducks, Ella Enchanted, Princess Diaries, and Spy Kids.

  139. Judy says...

    Karate kid, Studio Ghibli movies
    and thank you for the recommendation (in a previous post) for alexander and the horrible, terrible, no good very bad day!

  140. Kristin says...

    Honey I Shrunk the Kids was fun to watch worth my 7 and 5 yr old daughters. I was surprised by how much of the dialogue I remembered even though it’s been 20+ years since I last saw it. ?

  141. Alice says...

    P.S. Go to the theatre too! It’s so enchanting and magical for kids.
    I’ve been taking them both to live performances since they were 10 months old and they both prefer that to the cinema. We’ve seen dance, circus, baby opera for 0-12 months, all sorts. I’m lucky in that Edinburgh has amazing theatre for children, I’m sure New York does too. If you find anything on near you – go!

    • Joanna says...

      Yes! This! We are lucky to live in a city with lots of arts programming. We recently saw STOMP, Peter Pan, and the “fancy” Nutcracker. My 4.5 yo son adores live performances.

    • Madame says...

      I totally second this! I bring my children (6-8) to the theater all the time. The choice in Paris is so rich, but New York has got to be comparable. We do a huge range… from very regular (like once a month) guignol (jardin de Luxembourg is by far our favorite) to special children theaters, and to the comédie française including ( first time this past year) full adult productions like Cyrano de Bergerac, and Double Inconstance, that last over two and half hours! THEY ADORE It I swear my six year old was the first person on her feet at the comédie française screaming at the top of her lungs and clapping until her hands stung after Cyrano…
      We obviously started them out young and introduced super age appropriate plays, but I am so glad we did this… they also love love love film adaptation of much ado about nothing, ( strangely don’t deal with really scary villains well in animation)
      (We are planning a theater trip to London during the winter to see Mathilda. I would love any tips for other fabulous shows to see in London with avid theater goers)

  142. Karen says...

    Our kids, aged 7 and 3, have especially loved School of Rock, Mary Poppins, Homeward Bound (a huge hit), Aladdin and Babe

    • Faith says...

      I loved “Homeward Bound” and “Babe” as a kid!

  143. Ramona says...

    We took our 7 yr old granddaughter to see Wonder also. It was a beautiful movie. Our grandson (her brother) has special needs and she has seen some of this attitude/behavior towards him. She did tear up during some parts of the movie. She is remarkable with him and loves him so much even though he sometimes lashes out at her. Siblings of special needs kids are some pretty amazing kids I tell ya. I love how the movie showed how it’s best to just show kindness to everyone you meet because they are all facing their own battles.

    • This is beautiful, thank you for sharing.

    • Rebecca says...

      Love this.

  144. Beth says...

    The first movie my mom took me to in the theaters as a 3-4 y/o was a re-release of Bambi in the late 80s. I don’t remember this but my mom says we had to be escorted out of the theater because I could not stop bawling and loudly wailing “It’s not fair! Why did Bambi’s mom have to die?”

    Disney movies are great but can be really dark!

  145. Alice says...

    Have two boys, they will be 2 and 4 next month. They LOVE:
    Mary Poppins (always)
    Charlotte’s Web
    Wallace and Gromit
    Stick Man and Room on the Broom
    WALL-E
    Finding Nemo
    The Jungle Book (both versions)
    Paddington
    Secret Life of Pets (especially the 4 yr old)
    Sing (especially the 2 yr old)
    Singin’ in the Rain
    White Christmas
    Happy Feet

    Blue Planet and a bunch of BBC nature dvds.

    My eldest is fairly sensitive, he stopped Matilda because the head teacher was too scary, and he found Brave a bit scary too, which is a shame because we live in Edinburgh and loved the fact it is set in Scotland!

    Young kids have a limited idea of what’s real and pretend, so we’re careful about what we show them in terms of violence, scare factor, and crazy editing that frazzles them. I remember when I started showing my eldest son films the impact they had was intense, he slept badly and worried about the characters, they were too fast and overwhelming. I stopped and reverted to the original Postman Pat episodes, and Ivor the Engine. I love films, studied them, am writing one, but am in no rush – they’ll still be there in 5 years!

    • Allison says...

      Yes! My 2.5-year-old twins ask to watch Stick Man, Room on the Broom, or Gruffalo (same author) EVERY SINGLE MORNING. I haven’t gotten TERRIBLY sick of them yet.

  146. katie says...

    At nearly 3.5 years, our son hasn’t seen any movies or real TV yet – we moved when he was 1 yr old and proactively put the TV in the basement guest room. It’s been amazing for imaginative family play but I am getting excited about introducing him to movies, esp musicals. (We do videos on the phone – thanks YouTube and Blippi!). Coco is up there! When he was 4 months old/first Christmas, I gifted his grandpa DVDs of Hoosiers & The Great Escape, and Dumb and Dumber to his dad. Clearly not ready for those anytime soon, but hearing them share stories/quotes from the films made me excited for the eventual moment when they can share ’em with our son.

  147. Daisy says...

    After our recent trip to London, my son is hooked on to Mr. Bean and we watched Mr. Bean’s holiday. It is so hilarious and fun movie for adults as well. Last night, we watched Baby’s day out. My son loved it. It was a huge hit in India where I grew up and when I read wiki post the movie watching session was surprised to know that it did not make money in the US when it released. I think Home alone series will also be a great watch.

  148. Liza says...

    I’m curious how people feel about showing “grown-up” movies to children? My stepmother never censored what I watched and when I asked her when I had my own and she said that as children we interact with adults all the time, so why hide their stories from them? Children only absorb snippets of the stories and it’s a great opportunity to control the conversations about issues. I distinctly remember sitting between her and my dad at Scarface. I covered my eyes a lot, but I also remember the conversation we had about drugs in the car on the way home. I think I was about 7 at the time. I watched Titanic with my little one the other day and my stepmom was right. My daughter picked up on the class issues, the pretty dresses, that Kate and Leo fell in love, and the fact that the captain gave into peer pressure. I’m not saying I would sit her in front of the TV with the entire Sopranos cannon, but I’m definitely going to encourage her to watch more complex movies than what Pixar puts out.

    • Lisa says...

      My husband didn’t really watch children’s movies growing up, instead he watched more grown up ones (but from about 10). His favourite movie was The Graduate, mostly because he has the same name as the main character. He said a lot of the sexual stuff went over his head, and he didn’t get until he was older.

  149. Rebecca Sunde says...

    Matilda and The Parent Trap were my favorites (speaking from a little girl’s perspective!). Anything that brought me to tears in front of my parents made me embarrassed, so I was always uncomfortable watching the usual Disney tear-jerkers like The Lion King and Bambi. The ones that freaked me out and nearly scarred me were ET and The Wizard of Oz (neither of which I have seen in full to this day!).

  150. Shannon says...

    I cried in Coco too.

    My little sister is kind of an eternal little kid so, Newsies is a favorite at our house and Disney’s Descendants. We love the song about how to become ruthless and rotten and mad! haha. Mostly funny because she’s not really capable of being any of those things.