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Movies & Videos for Kids

Berkeley Parents Network > Reviews > The Arts, Books, Entertainment, & Media > Movies & Videos for Kids


Movies for Kids Under 5 Movies for 5 - 10 Year Olds Movies for Tweens & Teens Related Pages

Old tv shows/movies for 7 yr old

Jan 2010

I recently stumbled across an I Love Lucy episode and watched part of it with my 7y.o. daughter and she loved it. It doesn't seem to play on any of our channels at the moment (according to my Tivo)-- does anyone have recommendations of other good sit-coms that a child might enjoy along the same lines? She watches Fetch with Ruff Ruffman and likes it, but has expressed interest in switching her daily show for a sit-com on occasion. We watched a couple of Disney kids' shows on a plane recently and she loved them, but I thought they were awful, so I'd rather find something else she likes better!

Also, I'd love suggestions for old movies that would be fun for the whole family-- with nothing remotely scary to them (My kids scare way too easily for almost any animated movies). There have been some good suggestions in the past, but I was hoping I might get some new ideas. -Thanks for the help!


When my kids want to watch something, we watch Mary Poppins, That's Entertainment, ballet videos (Nutcracker, Swan Lake, Creole Giselle), or old Muppets videos (especially Brooke Shields as Alice in Wonderland). My kids don't like scary (or cartoony) stuff either. Remember that kids love repetition so showing them the same stuff over and over is generally OK with them. The library is a good resource for ballet videos. selective screen time
My daughter is 8, she loves i love lucy, too! Maybe try the Cosby Show, Little House on the Prairie, even The Monkeys, if you can find it. I think CW plays them on Friday night? As for movies, my girl LOVES The Absent Minded Professor! Loves it. Another great one, Summer of the Monkeys, there's a few minutes of suspense, but not the awful Disney, wicked step mother type. The Black Stallion is another good one. If you check your local library, they often have some really good, old fashioned movies from before kids needed adult themes to keep their attention! Good luck.
Along those lines...as a kid, I loved: Walt Disney's animal stories ( otters, bear cubs, etc) Flipper Beverly Hillbillies Green Acres Born Free ( if you skip the first 6 minutes) Anything with Charlie Chaplin ( except the Great Dictator) JM
I have been TiVO'ing old shows for my nephews when they come. I mostly default to programs I loved as a kid: Brady Bunch, Andy Griffith Show, Partridge Family, I Love Jeannie, Happy Days, etc. At different times these are more or less available, so I search through to see what is available to tape.

In terms of old movies, I would look for something with Doris Day as a starter. Cute with nothing scary. Many Audrey Hepburn movies would be great, too. Maybe Rock Hudson? Nikki


I Love Lucy episodes are on Sundays, around 11:00ish- 2:00ish. We have extremely basic cable, so I'm sure you can find it. I think it's on KOFY (13).

as far as old movies and tv, we've been enjoying them with our child since he was little. We establishe ''movie night'' on Fridays, where we all watch a movie together. It's been great, and a fun way to expose our child to TV/movie history. Here are some movie choices we've done.

The Incredible Mr. Limpett
The Trouble With Angels-(he was laughing out loud) The Computer Wore Tennis 
Shoes-Walt disney The Nutty Professor The Love Bug Herbie Goes Bananas 
Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo
Many of these we were able to find at our local library. Hope that helps anon
Our daughter, and the whole family, love to watch the ''Bewitched'' episodes, ''I Dream of Jeannie'' and the ''Beverly Hillbillies.''

We do not like ''I love Lucy'' because of the constant yelling/arguing between the spouses, but we all enjoyed the ''Lucy Show'' where Lucy is working in an office. My daughter, now 12 years old, also enjoyed ''Mork and Mindy'' but definitey prefers ''The Vicar of Dibley'' and ''Fawlty Towers'' over that. For some reason she is more drawn to British comedy. She also enjoys movies like ''Aquamarine'', ''Daddy Daycare'', ''The Pacifier'' and ''Blast from the Past'' - but that's too young for a 7- year old. She also loves the episodes of the ''Adams Family.''

Netflix is great for renting these shows. Before we joined Netflix a year ago, I bought ''Bewitched'' ''Jeannie'' and ''Lucy'' volumes on Amazon. My daughter still watches them on occasion. Anonymous


I recommend buying the DVD set of the first season of ''Leave it to Beaver.'' I had very fond memories of watching this show with my mom, and wanted to watch it with my son even though I thought it would be really sexist and dated. Of course, in some ways it is, but not nearly as much as a lot of stuff on TV today (commercials today are far worse IMO, actually). Anyway, the shows make us both laugh, as well as prompt some good conversations on issues both big and small. The plots all revolve around Beaver getting into trouble because he isn't honest with his parents and doesn't trust them to help him out; when he finally does, things end up OK. As TV messages go, I think that's a good one. Fran

Good dancing movies for 7 yr old girl

Nov 2009

I'd love recommendations for movie musicals with great dancing for my 7yr old to watch (and dance along with!) She's been totally inspired by ''Hairspray'' (the remake) and is currently going through the probably inevitable ''High School Musical'' phase. Any good films to recommend with age-appropriate story lines? Thanks! mom of a dancing queen


My 6 year old daughter was also crazy about ''Hairspray'' and all the ''High School Musical'' movies. Have you tried ''Mad Hot Ballroom''? It's actually a documentary about a ballroom dancing competition in the NYC public schools. Great dancing, music and plot! We both loved it! If you want to go the Disney route, you should check out ''Jump In'' which stars ''Chad'' of ''HSM'' fame and has lots of dancing, boxing and double dutch jumprope. Happy to find alternatives to ''HSM''
Mary Poppins! West Side Story, if you don't mind explaining some things (my daughter LOVED it from the time she was about 5) --muscial mama
My 7-year-old LOVES pretty much any old musical--Singing in the Rain, The Pirate, Meet me in St. Louie, High Society, etc. etc.. They have great singing and dancing and the content is always fine. Jenny
Go Bollywood!

I Have Found It (Kandukondain Kandukondain)has some charming dance sequences and is a lovely re-telling of Sense & Sensibility in Tamil! caution: fast-forward the 1st 5 minutes which is a battle sequence explaining past history of one of the characters. Subtitled.

Kuch Kuch Hota Hai is charming fun as well - good for any age. Subtitled, but you find you won't even need to read them because the story is so obvious. Om Shanti Om!


I love the movie ''Annie'' (1982)--great song and dance movie. Mad Hot Ballroom-- excellent, Grease, Footloose (those may be a bit too mature, depending on your daughter). And many Shirley Temple movies have terrific dance scenes in them, and Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers, and Gene Kelly movies. heidi
My 11 y.o. daughter who LOVES musicals says she thinks the following are appropriate for a 7 y.o.: =Singin' in the Rain =if you don't mind Disney, then of course the HSM movies and something called Another Cinderella Story =she also records Dancing With The Stars and then skips all the commercials and blah blah between hosts and constestants --from one dancing girl to another
My daughter recommends Fred Astaire (we like the earliest ones best); and Singing in the Rain. anon
how funny. my kid loves dance movies too! we watch west side story on youtube. the finale from 'strictly ballroom' has inspired him to do a run-and- slide-onto-your-knees entrance across our hardwood floors (look, i'm just like scott!!). that movie is cheesy but fun. we also watch the dance sequences from the carlos saura movie 'flamenco'. chitty chitty bang bang has good dancing and songs. he was pretty impressed w/ fred astaire dancing on the ceiling, but hasn't tried it yet.

Movies with slapstick & physical humor - 5 & 7 yo

Oct 2009

They love this stuff but it's hard to find. We're not interested in the cruel stuff like Three Stooges where they are always poking each other in the eye and calling each other names. But there must be others from that era. Remember the "Make Them Laugh" skit from Singing in the Rain? Our boys - age 5 and 7 - are in hysterics but the end of that begging to play it again. And I've seen short clips by actors like Buster Keeton and Charlie Chaplin but don't know there to start looking for a good move our whole family might enjoy. Suzie


When my kids were a little older (8 and 5) they enjoyed ''Dirty Rotten Scoundrels'' with Michael Caine and Steve Martin. Not exactly in the same vein, but still deeply silly. Looking forward to the other recommendations
I grew up watching ''Laurel and Hardy'', great movies from that era--they are ''talking'' pictures, meaning not silent films, but have slapstick humor. However, I ordered a Buster Keaton set of DVDs online, he is a silent film actor, director and writer from the 20's, and I think your boys might enjoy these movies. They are silent, so they are set to music, but many of them I think are very entertaining and slapstick and would work for children.
Definitely the Our Gang movies with Spanky, Alfalfa, Darla, Buckwheat, et al. We just re-watched them this summer and our 8-year-old thought they were hilarious. They are also funny for adults. You can get them from Netflix. Ginger

Movies for a 4 year old - No Violence

June 2008

I'm seeking movie ideas for a 4 year old (as a more focused take on the recommendations at http://parents.berkeley.edu/recommend/arts/movies.html ). Our 4 year old's first movies were Microcosmos, My Neighbor Totoro, Winged Migration, and Kiki's Delivery Service. All those were great, but we're having struggles find more good titles.

The MPAA ''G'' rating is useless for our needs. And so many movies have unadvertised gun violence (Ratatouille), cranky adults (every Disney animation movie), large and small scale violence (Ants, Wallace and Gromit), killing (Wizard of OZ), divorced parents (Parent Trap), Barney (Barney), or other themes we just don't see need to introduce just yet. But what can we show?

What's good at age 4, for a boy who has not yet been exposed to commercial television, has a tremendously good memory, does not like guns, and will get most of the classic books in book form? Where can we find more positive stories like that in My Neighbor Totoro (without resorting to Christian Broadcasting :-)?

I can recommend, for older kids, http://www.commonsensemedia.org/ as a review source. Bryce


We also have trouble finding movies for our son, at that age he really liked the heffalump movie, the tigger movie, and curious george was also really nice (though it does have tension). i think cars might be good also. there are full length little einstein movies which kids love but adults wonder why as the pace for an adult is so slow. he also liked high school musical but i'm not sure he followed it. and the first half of the sound of music (depends how well your son follows as to whether this will work for you, if he notices you are cutting it in the middle that isn't going to work!). also, more generally, yahoo used to have something called ''movie mom's reviews'' which were good, spoilers for the parents, but otherwise useful (ie what were the scary, violent, perhaps offensive bits so you could decide for yourself). but that seems to be gone and looking on google there is some religious site with the same name but i don't know if it is the same. seems like it might be, though i didn't notice the undertones when i read the earlier reviews. that was at www.moviemom.com. but she doesn't seem to mind disney, while i often do. good luck! anon
Pixar's Cars worked for our 3-year old, now 4. Full disclosure: It's 116 minutes long, and in that time, there is about forty seconds of violence (one dream sequence where the car is shooting at aliens, one chase scene where backfires are mistaken for shots). My child did not fixate on that brief amount of violence, nor did he fixate on the occasional car crashes (no one gets hurt). He liked all the characters, the music, the theme about friendship, and the cars. (This did not translate to fixation with actual cars, in case you are worried, but we do avoid the toy aisle at Target now since the merchandising is heavy).

Also, I know Barney makes many parents cringe, but content-wise, Barney videos are terrific for 4-year olds. No violence. No cranky adults. The music? Yes, the music can be like fingernails on a blackboard to adults, but kids like it. I watch these videos along with my kids (it's like a train wreck-- I can't look away).

Also: films like That's Entertainment and That's Dancing were fascinating for my kids at ages 3 and 4 (more so than an entire musical was). Tim


Have you tried classic musicals? Our almost 4 year old loves ''Jumbo'' and another friend is obsessed with ''Singing in the Rain''. My nephew loves 7 Brides for 7 Brothers. I love musicals too!
Good on you for asking the question. We too struggle are always looking for some interesting tv entertainment for our children for the bits of the day that we allow it. Some stuff that my girls (3 & 5) have enjoyed -- March of the Penguins, animated and live versions of 'Anne of Green Gables,' Sunrise Earth (it is on tv, though I can't remember the channel), Annie (the '81 version), Sound of Music, All of the Schoolhouse Rock videos...

Also, I am not sure whether 'commercial television' to you means 'television with commercials' or 'commercialized television programs.' Some more 'commercialized' movies/shows that my girls enjoy are, The Land Before Time, all of the Muppet Movies, Dora (coolest four-year-old on the planet) and yes, we love Barney. Barney is annoying for anyone over six, but the values presented are really the same things that you are probably doing in your own home (kindness, friendship, caring, etc). It helps your child to hear them from a different medium (other than you).

I don't understand your dislike of 'Parent Trap' other than I think it is just a little too mature for a four-year-old. Divorce is not violent. It is an everyday reality. My good friend (mother of three -- 5,3 & 1) is going through one right now. I am struggling to find a good way to introduce the topic to my girls so that they will understand the issues facing their friends. anon


I would recommend Kirikou and the Sorceress. It's our son's favorite movie and we don't have any televison and are careful about violence. The sorceress does at one point say ''fetishes, get ready for attack'' and there are other points of implied violence I suppose . . . Now that I think of it. From your post, it sounds like you may not like ANYthing negative. I would stick to Mr. Roger's neighborhood if I were you. careful mom
We have a four year old son who is also really sensitive to violence in TV and movies--we've tried lots of G rated movies that were way too scary such as CARS and other G Disney movies. However, we've had lots of success with the Disney movie ''Homeward Bound''--two dogs and a cat having adventures in the Sierra Nevadas (remake of the old movie The Incredible Journey). He also likes ''Mary Poppins,'' and ''The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.'' Though it is commerical TV, he also likes all the Bob the Builder and DORA DVDs--no violence in these and very mild, benign plot lines. We just purchased a whole bunch of Sesame Street 'Old School'--the ones from the 70s and 80s and he likes these too. The new Curious George series is also really fun. We'd be interested in hearing other recommendations as we're getting a little bored of watching Homeward Bound every weekend.... Allison
Milo & Otis - beautifully photographed story of a warm friendship between a mischievous cat and his buddy dog. No humans! Rebecca
Boy, it's hard to find movies and shows without violence. I am appalled at some of the violence found in G movies. (Disney movies are really bad. The Lion King has pre-meditated murders!)

We like the movie 'Curious George' (2006) with Will Ferrell doing the voice of the man with the yellow hat. A cute story and no violence. We usually end up renting DVDs of TV shows (cartoons). The British cartoon show 'Charlie and Lola' is very good. The 'Arthur' TV shows have great character development and help kids find ways to work out problems, etc. They are well done. All the PBS shows are pretty good: Sagwa, Zula Patrol, Buster, Curious George, etc. Looking forward to other movie recs


We have a similar media strategy and preferences and also have a 4 year old. The few movies she has seen are all musicals; Mary Poppins and Sound of Music to name a few, as well as some music 'videos' made for kids in the 1980's that we found in the library. We actually fast forward through some parts, but both of our kids seem to enjoy the singing and dancing. Mary Poppins has this whole fantasy sequence with cartoons that my kids love. We completely skip the second half of Sound of Music, which has to do with the family's escape and has guns and scary stuff going on, but they love the first half with the kids and Maria running all around Salzburg. I haven't looked for a lot in this genre, but I am thinking there must be more kid movies and musicals from the 1940's and 50's that are pretty clean. I look forward to seeing other suggestions! also amazed at the lack of options for kids!
We have a TV-free 4-year-old boy as well. His first films were the Miyazaki classics you mentioned. Here's a short list of his other favorites. I have to say, however, every child is different and every family has different things they are offended by, so my advice is to preview anything on this list first.
Babe
The Point
Yellow Submarine
Spirited Away
Any of the David Attenborough nature programs (Netflix has a 
lot of these seriebsmammals, birds, etc.)
The Secret of Roan Inish
The Sound of Music
Good luck. Hope something on this list works for you and for him. S Swift
Go to www.kids-in-mind.com it is movie ''ratings,'' but really very detailed descriptions. It will list all the insults used, describe every act of violence, etc. I like it for exactly what you said--I took my 3 year old to see Ratatouille based on previews and other Pixar films and never expected opening gunplay! After you read the description you can decide for yourself whether you think a movie is appropriate to try.

My 2 boys really like Mary Poppins, Disney animated Jungle Book (great soundtrack!) and BBC Prehistoric Park (like a G rated Jurassic Park where they go back in time and capture dinosaurs and bring them back to the present using movie-quality animation).

And we only buy movies if mom can stand to memorize the lines! movie fan


I have 2 boys, 6&4, who are sensitive and here are our faves: Popular Mechanics for Kids (rockets/cars/submarines; slither & slime;sports; lightning--I think that firefighters includes a scary swat team and some of the animal ones are of predators) (Canadian series)
Clifford the Big Red Dog
Super Why
Curious George(the PBS series, movie was too scary)
Word World
DragonTales
Fireman Sam (Welsh series)
The Music Man
Mary Poppins (skip the chase scene with the dog when they run away from the 
bank)
Some old Electric Company (they're bringing out an update, apparently)
Be the Creature (some of the episodes--have to preview or be alert with the 
fast forward for the meat eaters)
Harold and the Purple Crayon
Max and Ruby
Little Bill (great but hard to find, by Bill Cosby, have to get it in 
anthology of Nickelodeon stuff or on VHS)
Hi5! (dippy, but good if your kid likes singing and dancing)
Magic School Bus
Reading Rainbow
Caillou
Between the Lions
(hooray for PBS!)
Good Luck! dulcy

Movies/videos that model good 7-y-o behavior

April 2008

Our 7 year old is still acting like a younger kid and though we are looking into social skills classes, we also wondered if there were dvd's/movies/shows that model age appropriate behavior for kids that age. E.g. DragonTales and Sesame Street are for slightly younger--shows for older kids often have the kids being extra loud, dramatic and showy (which is not what needs to be learned here!). Shows that aren't violent are crucial, ideally shows/stories with interpersonal dynamics where a kid can see how things are done in some examples that would actually be healthy to imitate....! Our child reads at a high level but is missing the cues in the stories, so that doesn't work as well as it could. anon


''Whale Rider'' (2002) might be a good movie for you. It's been awhile since I saw it so you should probably preview it to make sure there isn't something inappropriate - not sure how you feel about strong language, but I remember it as very gentle, uplifting, hopeful, and... educational. Monika
TV shows: We like ''Lazytown'' - Fun to watch and very positive, even if most of the cast are puppets, but that's part of the charm. Lead character named Sportacus (a live actor) is a great role model on the show. Also ''Go Diego Go'' is a good step up from the Dragon Tales set. Movies: Not sure, maybe ''E.T.'' or would some parts be too scary for a young 7 y.o.? CC
Perhaps something like the Magic School Bus series? It involves a set of kids, in a school classroom, who go on all sorts of ''field trips'' in (you guessed it) a magic school bus. It is primarily science based (i.e. teaches a lot of facts about different situations) but it might be good in your case because all of the kids have different, clearly understandable personalities, and they all interact with each other and the teacher during the course of the shows. Karen
I am pretty interested in this topic, and am always interested in hearing what others suggest. I think the TV programs with elementary-aged kids and their schools are generally very useful. My child likes Arthur (which I also enjoy) and Berenstain Bears (although it is not playing currently on a local PBS station that I know of). A new show called Wordgirl is also pretty good for this age. These are all PBS, but we watch some other shows occasionally on other channels. Anon

Funny movies to watch with 11 and 13 year olds

April 2008

Nacho Libre. CC


I've found some of the lists posted at commonsensemedia.org to be helpful when trying to find appropriate movies for my kids. It also helps remind me of ones from my youth - and at what age my kids can see them (e.g. is 8 too young for Indiana Jones? how traumatic is Old Yeller?). And then there's the slew of those released when I didn't pay attention to kid-appropriate movies (when I was in my teens to early 30s!). http://www.commonsensemedia.org/movie-lists/ And, if you're a Netflix member, their lists and recommendations based on your preferences helps. But one can scroll through their site without being a member.

Specific recommendations: Monty Python (almost all) This is Spinal Tap Blazing Saddles Young Frankenstein, High Anxiety (but need to watch original genres to appreciate the references) Caddyshack, Groundhog Day, Ghostbusters Pink Panther movies Manhattan Murder Mystery (and a few other Woody Allen comedies) Marx Brothers My Favorite Year The Man with Two Brains (and other Steve Martin films) What's Up Doc? (great SF scenery, car chases, character performances) My Cousin Vinny The King of Kong Some John Waters films (depends on your taste) Wordplay Mom of Two


Rat Race - *very* funny! Rebecca

Movie for 6yr old boy's party

Nov 2007

We're having a movie party for our soon-to-be 6 year old boy. He wanted Jurassic Park or Star Wars but we are concerned that these are too old for his age group (Jurassic park is pg-13!). I want to give them the exciting experience they're looking for but without the potential trauma of watching inappropriate content. Would love your movie recommendations...particularly dinosaurs! sk


My six year old LOVES Prehistoric Park. It's really a series for kids (it was shown on Animal Planet) made by the Walking with Dinosaurs folks, about a naturalist who has invented a time portal and goes back in time to save dinosaur species and bring them back to a modern refuge called Prehistoric Park. Plenty of action and suspense and GREAT dinosaurs, without the carnage and extreme fear factor of Jurassic Park. There's even some painless animal biology thrown in, as the modern scientists have to figure out how best to house and feed the dinosaurs, using contemporary animals as a starting point (e.g., do wooly mammoths need the same social environment as elephants?) There are six episodes, each about 45 min long, so you could show one or two as a ''Movie'' and enjoy the others later. It's available through Amazon or The Discovery Store, and if you call around you might even find a place to rent it. Plus, you will have the added advantage that many of your guests will ! not have seen it before. Dinosaur Mama
It's not about dinosaurs, but THE INDIAN IN THE CUPBOARD would be a great movie for a boys movie night. movie mom
I agree with you that Star Wars and Jurassic Park can be a little scary for kids this age, although our 6-year-old boy has enjoyed both. But they do have scary parts and some kids will be distressed by them. Here are some nice unscary movies that he really likes:
- Cars: not scary, exciting and very cool and kept him riveted even after 10 viewings
- Astro Boy: very hokey 50's era Japanese cartoon but he LOVES it and it's a surprisingly but hit with his friends too
- My Neighbor Totoro, or Kiki's Delivery Service - classic Japanese anime, so therefore cool, but also really sweet and enchanting Have fun! G

Comedies good for children ages 9 and 12 and me

Oct 2006

I really want to laugh with my kids and am really tired of all the serious and violent stuff. I would love recommendations for comedies that my kids and I will enjoy. Some we liked were ''What about Bob?'' , ''Rat Race'' and ''Father of the Bride'' one and two with Steve Martin anon


For comedies, try Wallace and Grommitt, Princess Bride, or old Pink Panthers. Good luck! want to laugh too
''The Princess Bride'' Erin
I think the Mr. Bean videos are great for all ages. I don't mean the Mr. Bean feature film--that was awful! I mean the original Mr. Bean shorts, I found a few on eBay pretty cheap, and my son loves them! I've also been thinking that I Love Lucy reruns would be a great thing to introduce to kids these days--the current sitcoms are so terrible and most are inappropriate for kids anyway. Maybe the old Carol Burnett Show too. Tracy
Here are some comedies we have enjoyed:
Mrs. Doubtfire
Bowfinger
Groundhog Day
Splash
Roxanne
Daddy Day Care
Best In Show
About a Boy (not really a comedy, but has a happy ending)
Hope that helps m
As for comedies we can watch and enjoy together: My kids (9 and 11) love Waiting for Guffman. My 11-year-old does community theater, so he really gets it. I introduced them to the DVDs of the Muppet Show this past summer and that was a huge hit. They also like Monty Python and the Holy Grail, although depending on your family standards, you might want to fast forward over the Castle Anthrax scene (sexually repressed virgins all wanting spankings).

Other sure-fire hits at our house: School of Rock, The Three Amigos (extremely dumb and silly but fun), and The Court Jester (an oldie with Danny Kaye). Blazing Saddles is another favorite, but your kids have to be sophisticated enough to understand the lampooning of the racists (and their use of the N-word). And you have to like fart jokes. So, you have to be both sophisticated and unsophisticated, which describes us well. Like to Laugh, Too


Two that come immediately to mind that are a little off the beaten path -- The Inlaws (the original with Peter Falk) is a multigenerational hit in my house and Galaxy Quest (with Tim Allen and Sigourney Weaver), a sweet and funny send-up of the sci-fi genre in the same boat
There's a great website you can check out for movie recommendations. It's run by a non-profit and doesn't have commercial/religous/political/etc. ties. It's: www.CommonSenseMedia.org, and there you can see their ratings as well as ratings that parents have submitted with regards to what the age appropriateness of a movie may really be, and a frank discussion on any violence, sex, language, etc. that may be in the movie and that you don't want to expose your kid to. You can look up specific movies or do a search by age and genre. - another parent concerned about what their kids watch

Movies to watch with kids, ages 10 and 12

April 2007

I'd love to have some movie recommendations. Funny movies, and not very heavy is what I am looking for. Interesting is good too, if not heavy. For example, we loved Father of the Bride, but did not like Parenthood. Thanks for any ideas.


October Sky - ''The true story of Homer Hickam, a coal miner's son who was inspired by the first Sputnik launch to take up rocketry against his father's wishes.'' (IMDB) ramisima
I was disappointed not to see more responses to this. My experience with my 11 year old's friends is that they watch all kinds of movies that my son doesn't even understand. Last night we watched Big, which my son was not too eager to see because none of his friends talk about it or, of course, have even heard of it. But he really enjoyed it, except for the kissing part! anon for my son's sake
OK, here are some more ideas of good movies for the tween-aged. While some of these may be PG-13, as far as I can remember, I'm not listing anything here with violence or with sexual content past kissing (which my son closes his eyes for, too):
White Fang
The Pursuit of Happyness
Shiloh
Iron Will
Tucker: The Man and His Dream
Groundhog Day
Saint Ralph
A Far Off Place
Akeelah and the Bee
Wild Hearts Can't Be Broken
Her Majesty
Monster House
The Perfect Storm
The Snow Walker
The Greatest Game Ever Played
Waking Ned Devine
The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio
The World's Fastest Indian
Duma
The Great Train Robbery
Innerspace
Zathura
Sky High
Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
Millions
Have Fun!

Good movies for tweens, about tweens

Sept 2005

I will be teaching a course to middle school students (grades 6- 8) where we will be viewing tv shows and movies that depict kids their age, and then discussing how the media portrays tweens, and how the issues depicted play out in their real lives. I am looking for suggestions of movies (rated no higher than PG13 but preferably PG) and tv shows that touch on relevant issues for these kids such as peer relations, bullying, puberty, emerging sexuality, family relationships, etc. Thanks! martha


It's from the early 80s, but I LOVED Gregory's Girl in my early teens. Not sure if it's good for a tween but a great coming of age story that can't be rated any more than PG. Another one is A Little Romance with a 13-year old diane lane Old Tweener
All of Degrassi Junior High is availble on dvd at netflix. If you aren't familiar with it, it was a landmark Canadian show. I think they have a new version now. Also I remember the Cosby Show having lots of interesting and relevant pre-teen stuff, plus, it's so FUNNY. Also now on DVD. With th retro 80s trend, the kids might enjoy these shows. nostalgic
A Tween movie that captures how mean girls can be to each other, jealousy, cliques, girl-girl and girl-boy-girl relationships, and name-calling and labelling and gay kids: MEAN GIRLS! Mom

Movies for Family Movie night 7 & 10 yo

Oct 2002

We have a Family Movie night most weeks, but we're running out of ideas for movies that will please the 7 and 10 year old daughters, as well as the jaundiced parents. We are kneejerk anti-Disney types; the alltime favorite of both parents and kids is the Marx Brother's ''Duck Soup''. Next would be Miyazaki's ''Totoro''. I'd love to know your favorites. (The website only has movies for younger kids.) In exchange, here is a partial list of some we've enjoyed:

Duck Soup (and almost everything by the Marx Brothers)
My Neighbor Totoro
Galileo (and the others from the Devine Science Series)
Cassatt (and others from the Devine Artists Series
The General (Keaton)
The Yearling
Three Musketeers
Captains Courageous
Captain Blood
Princess Bride
Shrek
Ice Age
Ever After
The Secret Garden (1993)
A Little Princess
The Railway Children
Wallace & Gromit
Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle
Bugs Bunny's What's Opera, Doc, etc.
Beethoven Lives Upstairs (and others in the series)
Fly Away Home James & The Giant Peach
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Honey I Blew Up (etc)...the Kid
Lassie Come Home
National Velvet
Beauty and the Beast (Cocteau. Disney tolerable too)
Peter Pan (Mary Martin version) Some of the Veggie Tales
Mary Poppins
Wizard of Oz
Brave Little Toaster
Wind in the Willows
Secret of Roan Inish
Yellow Submarine
A Christmas Story
Sound of Music (boy, it's long)
The Music Man (sort of)
Bringing Up Baby
(Extra points if you can come up with something in color, but classics are fine too!) Thanks, Natasha
If your girls were fans of The Secret Garden and A Little Princess, they might like Jane Eyre. The '90s version with William Hurt is especially good. Ellen
We know the feeling! We are the parents of a very precocious 5 year old who has thorougly enjoyed many on the list you describe, so thanks for the list which suggests others to us. We are EXTREME movie fanatics and too are anti-disney, however, I must confess that we have thoroughly enjoyed the Haley Mills Collection--
''That Darn Cat,'' ''The Parent Trap,''
and ''Pollyanna.''  (Over & over again.)
We've also enjoyed:
''Kirikou'' French West African cartoon(sp? I believe there are
subtitles or it may also be in English), Fly Away Home, My Dog
Skip, Shiloh, The Adventures of Otis & Milo (Milo & Otis?), The
Black Stallion, Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, All the
Peanuts Movies, Dunston Checks In, Little Women, Black Beauty,
ET, many Charlie Chaplin movies, The Neverending Story, and the
countless Ramona videos.
Hope this is helpful. Enjoy! Sharron
I think that it's great that you have a family movie night with your girls. My family did something similar and it left a big impression on me. I don't know if you're anti-Disney all together, or maybe it's just their animated films since you mentioned Disney movies like ''James and the Giant Peach'' and ''Honey I Shrunk the Kids.'' Growing up I absolutely loved many of the old Disney films like ''The Parent Trap'' or ''Freaky Friday.'' Maybe back then Disney was the company that made most of the family-friendly movies. Take it how you want to, but here's my list of old Disney movies that I remember watching and enjoying with my family.
any Haley Mills movie: Parent Trap, The Moon-Spinners, Summer
Magic, Castaways, Pollyanna, That Darn Cat
Escape to Witch Mountain
Return to Witch Mountain
The Gnome-mobile (has the Mary Poppins kids in it)
Son of Flubber
The Absent-Minded Professor
Freaky Friday
Shaggy Dog
Swiss Family Robinson
Mary Poppins
Bedknobs and Broomsticks
Old Yeller
Newsies
Heidi
Journey of Natty Gann
Candleshoe (another with Jodie Foster when she was young)
Wild Hearts Can't Be Broken
The Happiest Millionaire
Herbie Goes Banannas
Herbie goes to Monte Carlo
Herbie Rides Again
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Amy
Anne of Green Gables (trilogy)
Apple Dumpling Gang
Johnny Tremain
No Deposit No Return
Pete's Dragon
Shipwrecked
The Snowball Express
Three Lives of Thomasina
Annie
Man From Snowy River
Return to Snowy River
Now You See Him, Now You Don't
One and Only Original Family Band

We also really liked many of the Rogers and Hammerstein musicals like Seven Brides for Seven Brothers or Carousel. One of the biggest family favorites was The Court Jester with Danny Kaye. There are also some Roald Dahl adaptations of Matilda and The Witches that I think are good. I hope this helps. Happy Watching. Jennette


My kids, ages 5-10, and I have enjoyed the foreign film ''Children of Heaven''. Despite the title, it is not a religious movie. The movie is in Farsi with English subtitles. It is a wonderful movie about the struggles of a little boy and his sister when he loses her shoes after picking them up for repair. They protect and help each other while sharing his old sneakers. It's a movie for everyone. There is no sex or violence. My brother-in-law had rented it at a Blockbuster in San Diego. I don't know if it is difficult to get a hold of. Susan
You may have already seen it - but I would recommend ''Iron Giant'' - it is a wonderful award-winning animated film that came out a few years ago. The DVD is due out soon but you can rent it now. It is by t he same director who did Brave Little Toaster which is on your list. Also, have you seen the Pixar films??? Toy Story, Bug's Life, Monsters Inc? patricia
Two titles to keep an eye out for:
Never Cry Wolf (based on the Farley Mowat book)
The Education of Little Tree
Thanks for your list!! Jennifer
some of our favorites:
Nightmare Before Christmas
Harvey
Miracle on 34th Street
Anything with the 3 Stooges
Monsters, Inc.
Pippi Longstocking
The Black Stallion
The Black Stallion Returns
Stuart Little
Ghostbusters
Man of the House (Chevy Chase)
Mouse Hunt
Iron Giant (one of the best!)
The Secret of Nimh
The King and I (Yul Brynner)
My Fair Lady
Toy Story
Toy Story 2 (amazing, a good sequel)
The Quiet Man
I could go on all day... nancy
Thanks for your family movies list Natasha! We rent a TV/VCR every December for the month, just to catch up with movies. With 2 girls you must see Kiki's Delivery Service (also by Studio Gibli, as is Totoro). Other movies we have enjoyed, or considered:
Baraka
Microcosmos
Pippi Longstocking films
older silent films, like Wind, with Mary Pickford
Panther Pachali, by S. Ray (This is a trilogy, the first part is about an 
Indian boy's childhood)
Egg (beautiful Dutch film about a small town baker--has subtitles, but very 
minimal dialogue)
My Life as a Dog (many Scandinavian-made films are appropriate for kids-- 
subtitles are the problem)
National Geography documentaries (BPL has several, including a beautiful 
one on Nepal)
Prince Achmed (experimental shadow puppet film c1920s Germany)
Swiss Family Robinson
Doctor Doolittle
Around the World in 80 Days (also very long)
Looking forward to seeing more suggestions-- Claire D.
Some family movie recommendations:
The Trouble with Angels (in color, w/ Haley Mills, very funny)
other Marx Bros. movies such as A Night at the Opera
and Horsefeathers.
Some of the Abbot & Costello movies, such as the Frankenstein
one.
Dianna
I have these additions to your family movie nights. Unfortunately some of them are in black and white.
Flubber (original and remake)
Nutty Professor (original)
The Love Bug
Herbie Rides Again
What's up Doc (Ryan O'Neal, Madeleine Kahn)
Help
A Hard Day's Night
Dr. Doolitte (original)
Roman Holiday
Ghostbusters
The Man From Snowy River
Galaxy Quest
Sabrina (original)
Bedknobs and Broomsticks
That Darn Cat (original)
Parent Trap (both versions)
Pollyanna
Hope that helps! Mollie
Thank you for all the movie recommendations! Here's one that is not on your list, a little off-beat, but really worth looking for. Jacques Tati made some wonderful movies from the mid 40s to the mid 70s. I think some of the later ones are in color. I guess technically they are in French, but I don't recall that there is much dialogue -- it's mostly just very funny, charming slapstick comedy. Some of our favorites are
Mr. Hulot's Holiday, Mon Oncle, Jour de Fete, and Traffic.  
Enjoy!
--Dana


A couple of years ago I watched October sky A coming of age movie. Here is a link to a description. http://www.cnn.com/SHOWBIZ/Movies/9902/18/review.octobersky/ I watched it with a 4 year old and a 7 year old. It was over the 4 year olds head but the 7 year old enjoyed it. Melinda
It is too addictive making this list. I must stop and get the house cleaned up. Thank you for the fun question, I have enjoyed reliving my childhood by making this list. I too am looking forward to everyone else's recommendations, here are some of mine:
A Little Romance, Searching for Bobby Fisher, The Little
Princess, Harvey, Max Dugan Returns, The Rescuers, Chitty Chitty
Bang Bang, Willie Wonka and The Chocolate Factory, The
Neverending Story, The Sound of Music, The Music Man, The Muppet
Movie, The Man from Snowy River, The Parent Trap, Swiss Family
Robinson, Pee Wee's Big Adventure, The Journey of Natty Gann,
The Goonies, Popeye (w/ Robin Williams), Heidi, My Fair Lady,
GiGi, ET, Pete's Dragon, Old Yeller, Little Women, The Red
Balloon, Babe, Where the Red Fern Grows, Bedknobs and
Broomsticks, National Velvet, Treasure Island, Charlotte's Web,
Tom Sawyer, The Black Stallion, Fly Away Home, The Little Rascals
Movie and Book Lover
Here are a few suggestions:
- Little Women (the Susan Sarandon one is only about 8yrs old)
- Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Avonlea (with Megan Fallowes
from about 15yrs ago)
- the David MacCauley movies that go with his books (''Pyramid'',
''Roman City'', ''Cathedral'' and ''Castle'') are pretty good too
- flipping through the channels one day I saw a newer version of
Treasure Island with Jack Pallance as Long John Silver the part
I saw was pretty good
- do they like musicals? ''The Sound of Music'', ''Singing in the
Rain'', ''West Side Story''

I hope some of those work out for you. Rose


How about Shirley Temple movies? I enjoy these even now! Vivienne
My kids (boys 11 and 7) love Monty Python. Also ''O Brother Where Art Thou'' (though we skip the cross-burning scene). Leslie
That's a terrific list you have there, but I detect a serious lack of musicals! Here are some of our family's favorites (I have daughters too):

in color and no particular order:

Meet Me in Saint Louis, Singing in the Rain, Seven Brides for
Seven Brothers, Help!, Funny Face, E.T., Fairy Tale, Easter
Parade, the King and I, Pleasantville (not for the 7-year-old)
in black and white:
Bringing Up Baby, Sabrina, the Thin Man series, Chaplin shorts...
Laura
Good family movies:
  The Navigator, The Labyrinthe, and there is
one that I can never remember the name of ...
, it is sort of science fiction, about people living in an apartment bldg that is in the path of a developer who wants to tear it down. The tenants are a quirky bunch, Jessica Tandy is one, Rosie Perez another. They are ''invaded'' by small creatures who ''fix'' things. The folks at the video store will have to help you out with the title, but it is a sweet movie.
I found the best family movies were made in the 50s. Often corny and overdonen but, thanks to censorship, they are almost always family fare. Two of my favorites are Trapeze with Burt Lancaster and the Pink Submarine with Tony Curtis. Janet
purplenini described a movie about a group of people living in an apartment building, which is supposed to be torn down for development, who are helped by miniscule sentient UFOs- it is called ''Batteries Not Included.''
I did not see these ones already listed so here they are:

The live action version of Cinderalla, yes it's Disney, but it is the Roger's & Hammerstein's songs, AND the racial make up of the cast is superb. Cinderalla is African American, the Prince is Fillipino, his mother is played by Whoppi Goldberg and his father is a white man, and there are no explinations offered. Definitely worth seeing.

The entire collection of Farie Tale Theatre movies, produced by Shelly Duval. I have still seen them at the video stores. The 10 year old might be a little on the older side for them.

Some one described a great movie about an apartment building slated for demolition, but she couldn't remember the name, it is Batteries Not Included.

Thanks for everyone's list. I will have lots of good stuff to watch for quite some time. -Shastine


Movies for 2-y-o with mothers & fathers

Feb 2002

My 2 year-old daughter has become really interested in Disney movies. While watching Tarzan she asked, ''where is Jane's mama?'' and I honestly didn't have an answer for her. I've noticed that most Disney movies do not have mother figures or positive mother figures (Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, Snow White, etc). I was hoping to get some advice about how to explain this to my child, and even more helpful would be to read suggestions of other Disney movies or other well-done animations which have 1) a positive mother figure for the main female character in the film, or 2) do not have the mother clearly missing from the daughter's life (A Bug's Life is a good one because it doesn't have a father/daugher only relationship). I would like to have a more diverse selection of movies for my children to watch. Thank you!


I kept my 5 yr old daughter AWAY from the Disney movies as long as I could. It's frustrating that they dominate so much of the media available for kids, because even the stronger women characters have exagerated female figures and send all kinds of messages to little girls that I don't think are healthy at this point (think of Pocahontas batting those big eyelashes as she tries to learn English). You can do much better. If it's a warm & fuzzy nuclear family you want, try Little Bear. They are collections of short stories, just long enough for a little one's attention span. For a two year old, I would stay away from real feature films and go for the Richard Scary's Busytown, Sesame Street kind of stuff. Toddlers don't need a full length movie to be entertained! kristin
In my humble opinion, your two year old should not be watching Disney movies, etc. The frame changes are too frequent and are not good for a two year olds developing brain. I recommend that you do some research on this, then go on to the role model issue, which I also feel is important, but secondary to the brain development issue. Remember the kid that went into convulsions from watching a fast framed video game? Anonymous
My 3.5 yr old son says the exact same thing in every Disney movie. ''Where's so and so's Mama?'' Interestingly, I just finished watching his brand new Peter Pan video with him, and can say that that Disney movie has two loving parents, and a kind of homage to mothers that runs all the way through the movie. Of course, it's still a product of its time and presents a fairly stereotypical 50's type view of family with the father a blustering buffoon and the mother the patient placater. Nonetheless, it is nice to see intact families in it. Other than that, I have to agree that a big drawback to the Disney movies is one parents is always either absent from the beginning or drops dead somewhere in the movie. Of course, Dumbo is reunited with his mother in the end, but where's the dad? Anonymous
Of the fairly traditional movies: Anastasia - she doesn't have a mother or father, but she is searching for and finds her loving grandmother. The life action version of Cinderalla that has Brandy and Whoopi Goldberg - we have the evil stepmother (again) but we also get to see the prince's parents who are both loving and concerned, and we have the fairy godmother(plus it is extremely multicultural). Mulan has a mother and a father though we don't see much of either of them, but she does kick some butt :-).

The other thing I did was just talk to my daughter: ''Isn't it interesting that the bad characters are always dark, I wonder how people with dark skin feel when they see that.'' ''Isn't it interesting that the bad woman is fat and the good woman is skinny.'' etc. She certainly got sick of the ''consciousness raising'' but she is also very savvy of media messages now that she is a young woman. Good Luck!! -Shastine


Engaging videos for 5 and 8 year old

March 2001

Our family has made the decision to limit TV. A little public television, an occasional Doug or Recess (I like them) and some videos. We do not have cable and I don't plan on getting it . I fear I am stunting my 8 year old daughter's development by subjecting her to our extensive library of Barney. Does anyone have any recommendations for videos that are engaging, educational, girl empowering, etc. for our 5 and 8 year old daughters? I am especially interested in the shorter ones (30 mins. to 1 hour) but a few feature length are fine. Toturro is a big hit but I would like some with a little more educational content - nature, history, science, etc.


To the woman who "actually wanted videos"--You have my sympathies for the pile of Barney videos. We survived for our first year of video watching with one old ratty Barney tape. I've found the best, cheapest and easiest way to have a good selection of videos on hand is to tape the shows my kid loves on PBS. My daughter (5 yrs) loves Zaboomafoo, Mister Rogers, and Zoom. We have 2-3 full tapes (2hrs each) for each show and she rewatches them again and again. Every month or so we retire a tape and use it to retape fresh stuff. It does mean that you need to learn how to use the recording feature of your VCR, but it's well worth it! Diane
  • Kiki's Delivery Service (made by same person as Totoro)
  • A Little Princess
  • Matilda
  • The Borrowers
  • Fly Away Home
  • Charlotte's Web
  • Wallace and Grommit (both male characters, sorry)
  • Muppet Christmas Carol (again, mostly male)

    as far as "non-fiction," the Magic School Bus videos are great, but more for the five yr old. The 8 yr old might like "The Private Life of Plants," a series of 6 videos narrated by David Attenborough. They're for adults, but my son loved them around 8. They're made by the BBC and Turner Home Entertainment--not sure if you can find them to rent, but you could buy them through Amazon, etc. Deborah


    Our kids (ages 6 1/2, 5, and 2 1/2) LOVE the Magic School Bus videos. They are funny, feature a diverse cast of kids -- including some very bright and able girls -- and teach lots of fun stuff about science, music, dinosaurs and the like. The videos are all 30 mins long and can be bought at Target for about $10. You can check them out of local libraries, rent them at Reel, or can order them in packages of 3 for $27 (or something close to that) also through Reel. My niece who is a very bright 8 1/2 year old loves this series also -- I think they appeal to a wide range of ages. Dana
    Yes, Barney is not enough for an 8 year old. Try Kiki's Delivery Service, Linnea in Monet's Garden, Magic Schoolbus series (science/schoolish cartoons), Wallace and Gromit, and Babe for starters. Frieda
    We also do not watch TV in our household, and my girls are generally adverse to the Disney movies because they are too violent (except the older one is starting to watch Aladdin). Besides Barney, we have a few Cirque Du Soleil videos which are enjoyable for all ages and some National Geographic kid videos which they like, but not every day. There are also the classics, such as The Sound of Music, My Fair Lady, etc. Tom

    Taking a 3-year-old to the Movies

    July 1998

    My experience is that taking a 3-year-old to the movies is fine, but that most "childrens" movies are too scary and/or violent for the very young.

    A movie like "Babe" is fine. Classics like "Sleeping Beauty", "Muppets Treasure Island" and "Bambi" are way too scary, unless the child has already been acclimated by watching similar movies at home.

    If you go to a matinee (early afternoon) showing of a childrens movie, then the audience generally won't mind if your child remarks on the happenings on the screen, within reason. Of course, you'll want to explain to her in advance that she can't wander around, and that she should try not to speak loudly.

    For any movie that adults take seriously, you'll be expected to take your child out of the theater if she talks loudly a lot, or if she cries for any length of time. Beverly


    I have taken my almost-3 years son to PFA (Pacific Film Archive) for movies and it is always a real treat. None of the films are standard commercial variety; in fact, the closest we've seen to commercial cinema was England's public TV series of Beatrix Potter stories that included both animation and live action. They were very sweet. Mostly the programs include 3-4 very short (like 20 minutes or less) animation or dramatic narrative. I don't know what the summer schedule is, but you can call PFA at 642-1412 to find out.

    Basically, I am not interested in Disney/commercial cinema at all, and we haven't taken Simon to see ANY films in a theater since he was teeny tiny and we sat (he slept) through several films in a Sayatjit Ray festival! We have rented 3 videos (Around the World in 80 Days, Babe, and the original Thief of Baghdad) with success. By success, I mean that Simon is thoughtfully engaged but not overwhelmed or scared, and the parents are not cringing. Buster Keaton and Chaplin shorts are readily available at most video stores, and there are other really beautiful "nature" films (like National Geo series at Berkeley Public Library) to name a few. Since we don't have a TV at all, seeing a video at a friend's house is a big treat, going out to the movies is an event of galactic proportions. From: Claire


    I want to reiterate the last advice on movies for 3-year olds -- take them to the Pacific Film Archives! My daughter goes there with her day care once a month and the movies are very appropriate for her age (now 4).

    I got sucked into the Disney commercialism once and thought that it might be fun to take her to see the Little Mermaid (at 3.5 yrs). We went and it was not a good thing. First, the sound in the theatre was too loud and it scared her. And then, as with almost EVERY Disney or commercial movie there is a scary character (the Sea Witch in this case), and that scared her so much that she had to view the entire movie on my lap. At the end of the movie she said that she had not enjoyed the movie. I also have a small collection of Disney videos (from Grandma!), and I find something objectionable in each one. Either there are no girl characters, or the girl characters are not strong, brave, etc. and they need to be rescued, or the girl/woman in the film is only interested in love or romance, or there are negative or poor ethnic/cultural stereotypes, or there is an element of violence and antagonism.

    So, am I being too critical?? Are these movies really that bad? And, I am thinking of taking her to go see the new Madeline movie (she is crazy about Madeline, which I approve of since Madeline is "bravest of all!!") This movie comes out next week, if anyone sees it, can you tell me if it is appropriate for a 4.5 yr old?? From: Linda


    When my daughter was almost, we saw two movies that she really liked that we borrowed from the San Francisco Public Library's holdings. The first was Jean Cocteau's Beauty and the Beast. Although it was in French, in black and white, and with subtitles that she couldn't read, the visual imagery was surreal and stunning, and she talked about it afterwards for days, about the "Beast's dream." The other was the Sydney Opera Company's rendition of "Where the Wild Things Are." We borrowed both more than once, and they were a treat for us both. In addition, whenever I needed to get her to do anything, clean up after herself, finish her meal, all I had to do was threaten, in a very bad operatice voice, "WILD THING . . . I'LL EAT YOU UP." She always quickly complied, giggling. I recommend them both as refreshing alternatives to commerical movies. From: Diana (5/98)
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