Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Doug C

Top 50 Movies for Kids

Recommended Posts

The British Film Institute has just released a nice list of 50 films it feels every child should see before the age of 14, and while some of the films will no doubt prove controversial picks for some (even allowing for individual sensitivities, there's still a big developmental difference between a 6-year-old and a 14-year-old), I appreciate their mission:

"While most public debate about children's film viewing focuses on protection rather than entitlement, the Watch This! debate showed how passionately people care about children's film heritage. We know that the films on the list aren't just there because people think they'd be good for children: they're films that people have shown to their own families or to pupils and they know how much children have enjoyed them."

http://www.bfi.org.uk/education/events/watchthis

Thoughts?

 

[Added by SDG] Links:

Edited by SDG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Best catch: My Life as a Dog (Lasse Halstrom, 1985, Sweden) - Lasse's fallen farther and farther from great - but this one is a classic.

Worst pick: Walkabout - Holy smoke. I can't think of anything remotely kid-friendly about this movie. Serious sensual nudity/interlaced with graphic hunting scene, long (for a kid) dull sequences.

Oh and.. biggest misses: Iron Giant, Babe, and Deep Throat

Edited by DanBuck

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Ladri di biciclette was incorrectly titled in the singular in the US. Edited by Doug C

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Worst pick:  Walkabout - Holy smoke.  I can't think of anything remotely kid-friendly about this movie.  Serious sensual nudity/interlaced with graphic hunting scene, long (for a kid) dull sequences.

And yet, it has an uncommonly good eye for landscape and fauna and the theme of children overcoming adversity by working with and trusting others (particularly an ethnic minority who speaks another language). One could fast-forward through the suicide or swimming scenes if need be. (Further, the swimming scene has only recently been available on the director's cut video.) And the film may be somewhat "slow" compared to, say, Toy Story, but it's edited in very imaginative ways that I think could certainly capture the imagination of an older 12- or 13-years-old child. I definitely would've been into it at that age.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ha. Now I feel like I failed my kids by not taking them to see Playtime last night! wink.gif It did make me feel good to see a couple of young kids there.

It's quite a good list. I suppose it wouldn't be a list if I didn't have caveats. I don't think Scissorhands and Romeo + Juliet are great films per se, and I think the Scissorhands theme of an outsider learning to appreciate his distinctiveness was done better in The Nightmare Before Christmas and that the Olivia Hussey R & J is preferable to Luhrman's film.

And Walkabout and Night of the Hunter are also interesting choices, but while recognizing that kids are different, I'd probably make those films available more toward the mid to later teens. Of course, there are also several I haven't seen. It's nice to see a list recognize the best Disney films without being Disney-dominated.

And could I trade Some Like It Hot for the much better Meet Me in St. Louis?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh, I thought you had taken the kids, Russ? How do you think they would have responded?

I've increasingly heard from critics as diverse as Leonard Maltin and Jonathan Rosenbaum that Dumbo is the ultimate Disney masterpiece. It has been too long since I've seen it, though--any thoughts?

I do think the list could be pruned a bit and expanded. They've got The Red Balloon, of course, but what about other short films and non-ubercommerical animation? I would show any child the works of Yuri Norstein or Fr

Edited by Doug C

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Don't get me wrong, I quike like this film.  But I teach middle schoolers and um.... no.

And I was 12 or 13 once. wink.gif "No" as in you don't agree with what I wrote or "no" as in it doesn't overcome your objections?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dumbo is all right, but there's a trippy montage in the middle that's as long and painful as the dance sequence Oklahoma!

But bacl to the list....Billy Elliot (Stephen Daldry, 2000, UK/France)? Huh? Talk about mediocre.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
My oldest has seen fifteen of them.

Woo-hoo!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Oh, I thought you had taken the kids, Russ?  How do you think they would have responded?

No, we decided to keep them home owing to the late start time and an unfortunate tantrum thrown by one of them. I think they would have gone for it. There's some neat repetition there, especially in the bits with the chair and in the waiter with the spoiled clothes, that I know they would have loved. Once they got past the plotlessness and the fact that it's like a silent film with active ambient sounds, I think they would have been fine. I intend to Netflix the Hulot films pretty soon, and they'll get a chance to see them then..

I've increasingly heard from critics as diverse as Leonard Maltin and Jonathan Rosenbaum that Dumbo is the ultimate Disney masterpiece.  It has been too long since I've seen it, though--any thoughts?

Yeah, that is an oversight. I love it and keep watching it in the hope that someday the Pink Elephants on Parade scene will make sense to me. I think David Mamet's advice to an aspiring filmmaker was to simply watch Dumbo over and over, or something like that. And, themewise, it's another film that's similar to and superior to Scissorhands.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
But bacl to the list....Billy Elliot (Stephen Daldry, 2000, UK/France)? Huh? Talk about mediocre.

I don't know. My god-daughter (12) has been taking ballet for several years now. She and her 15- and 16-year-old brothers are all from Russia; they all loved it. They may be a bit eccentric, of course.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My 8 year old son's reaction to the ending of Romeo + Juliet: 'Why didn't she just find another husband to marry?' My wife and I were at a loss for words.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, I'm sure the recent Director's Cut has played at a few cin

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Also the world just seems more densely populated than that of Dumbo.

Interesting observation. Is that a good or a bad thing?

I just remembered that at Christmas, I visited my brother and his family, and at one point, my 8-year-old nephew, Sheldon, opened a present and it was a budget Buster Keaton DVD (I can't remember the title). I expressed a bit of surprise, and Sheldon came over to me and said, "This is Buster Keaton--he's really funny." Apparently a friend had been showing Sheldon and his little brother a lot of Keaton films recently.

So BFI take note--where are the Keatons?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, it did come out of a debate event and they do say it's a list in progress, so I'm cutting them some slack. But yeah, I agree that those four or five films seem like meditations on childhood rather than children's films, although that's not to say that the two can't overlap in some ways. (I remember being forced to read meditations on childhood like the tragic Where the Red Fern Grows and the grim and violent That Was Then, This Is Now in junior high; as well as Shakespeare.) But they really should differentiate between younger children or older children.

I do appreciate that a lot of the films on the list are much more creative and artistically ambitious and part of our cultural heritage than the standard genre of "children's movies" we often revert to, and think its good to encourage kids to watch some of them. But the list still needs work.

I just remembered, my brother also screened Lagaan for his boys when they were about 3 and 6, and his wife read the female subtitles and he read the male subtitles and it was a huge hit; everyone really got into the drama, the songs, the energy, etc. I think too often we assume kids will only like Disney or Veggie Tales and don't even consider exposing them to something else.

Edited by Doug C

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
So BFI take note--where are the Keatons?

Good point. I watched Laurel and Hardy a lot when I was a kid. Where are the American Classics?

There's no way I would ever have enjoyed Shakespeare before I was 14--Baz Luhrman update or no--Romeo + Juliet is not a kid's movie.

Also, I distinctly remember having serious nightmares for weeks after watching Raiders of the Lost Ark in kindergarten at a sleepover. The Deus ex Machina scene where the angel of death comes out of the ark and melts the Nazis. Also the mummys and corpses are not really kid material.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I saw Raiders of the Lost Ark around the time I turned 11, and it was PERFECT for my age group. Perfect for Sunday School outings, that film was.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Dersu Uzala and Weeping Camel are great suggestions. BTW, has anyone here seen The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T? I keep running across high praise for it...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×