Some nostalgic inspiration for your next family movie night.
It’s fair to say 2020 hasn’t gone to plan! This summer you might find yourself indoors with the kids, taking in a little more TV time than would typically be the norm. If your Netflix selections are getting a bit repetitive and you need a little inspiration for your next movie night (or day!), try out these childhood classics. Hand-picked by the Sassy Mama team, these nostalgic films are great to share with your little ones, and so you can take a walk down memory lane as well!
The Sound Of Music (1965) – Anita
I love musicals and this is one of my favourites. As a kid, I knew every word of every song and sang it with great emotion (and not much tunefulness!) on every occasion. My kids learnt “Do Re Mi” and “My Favourite Things” before they saw the movie and now they know almost all the words of the other songs as well. They LOVE it! Without getting into too much detail, I have even talked to them about World War II and squeezed in a history and morality lesson there. My husband has also shown the kids Star Trek. They didn’t follow anything at all, but they both believe they are Vulcan and related to Spock!
Mary Poppins (1964) – Alex
Although it’s an oldie it’s definitely a goodie and has strong positive messages for kids; not only for them to tidy their rooms but also the importance of family and friendship. I also love that it speaks to children’s imagination as well (not to mention the women’s suffragettes!). It’s probably best for kids aged 8 and up I think (or as long as they have the attention span to watch!). While the songs are great for younger children, and my 10-month-old certainly loves me singing “Feed The Birds” after bath time, the positive messages will be better understood by older children.
The Lion King (1994)- Jess
This was the first film I saw multiple times at the cinema and I have so many fond memories! It could even be this film that inspired my early love of travel as I was desperate to see the African wildlife for myself. My husband loves that the father-son relationship forms the basis of the storyline (I’m sure it’s not just me who was shedding a tear!) and there are some great themes of friendship and taking responsibility in there too. From a young age, my two-year-old has loved animals, particularly roaring like a lion. He’s now watched both the cartoon and the live-action (which I thought would be a bit too scary, but left him unphased) and he took great delight in naming all the animals as they appeared during the opening “Circle Of Life”.
Matilda (1996) – Sam
Based on Roald Dahl’s classic children’s book, Matilda is the story of an extraordinary young girl surrounded by ghastly adults. Packed with hilarious physical comedy, magic happenings, and starring the fantastic Pam Ferris and Danny DeVito, this is a perfect Sunday afternoon film for the whole family. As a devoted bookworm, Matilda was my childhood heroine and I love the film just as much as the book! I recently rewatched it on a socially-distanced Sunday afternoon and found myself wishing for Matilda’s magic powers just as much as I did when I was a kid!
The Princess Bride (1987) – Marie
What’s not to love about this 1980s classic! It’s full of hidden innuendos and funny puns so the overall story is super amusing for kids, but also entertaining for adults. The amazing actors are a huge bonus (a very young Robin Wright, Cary Elwes, Mandy Patinkin and Billy Crystal to name a few) and you’ll instantly recognise the catchphrases like “My name is Inigo Montoya, you killed my father, prepare to die!”.
Fantasia (1940) – Daisy
This animated Disney classic follows Mickey and friends as they travel through surreal worlds and adventures all set to classical music. I love it because I have dreamy, early memories of watching it on the sofa as a child. Some of the storylines are a little bit dark or surreal but I think that’s why it made such an impression on me. There’s no dialogue throughout but it’s a great introduction to children of the power of music and visuals and how impactful and entertaining they can be when brought together thoughtfully.
Labyrinth (1986) – Nicole
Looking for a classic to share with your teenager? Look no further than Labyrinth. The story revolves around a 16-year-old girl who has to solve a mind-bending labyrinth to rescue her baby brother after her wish for her brother to be taken away by the Goblin King comes true. It’s a whimsical adventure and unconventional coming-of-age story that will challenge the way you think and look at life. I also love that it teaches you not to take things at face value or take things for granted — and, of course, who wouldn’t love the infectious David Bowie soundtrack! I remember first watching Labyrinth with my dad when I was quite young, and while I did enjoy the cuter puppets and music, I’m pretty sure I found a few parts scary, so I wouldn’t recommend watching it with very young children.
More Classic Childhood Movies
All of our team struggled to pinpoint an absolute favourite! So here are a few extra nostalgic kids movies you might like to revisit.
For Animal Lovers
Start with Homeward Bound – Michael J Fox and Sally Field voice two of our heroes in this heartwarming tale of three family pets making their way home to through the wilderness. Then press play on Free Willy, The Adventures Of Milo And Otis or Beethoven.
Favourite Teen Movies
It’d be a crime not to at least bring out one Molly Ringwald film. This Mama’s favourite was The Breakfast Club, but you could also continue on with Sixteen Candles and Pretty In Pink. Need something a bit more modern… cheerleading flick Bring It On is bound to be a hit with teenage girls, while comedy Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is full of laughs for the whole family. Throw in Clueless for good measure (plus, it’s based on Jane Austen so it’s educational, right?)!
Kids Action And Adventure Films
Before watching the modern sequels, take your kids back to the original Robin Williams version of Jumanji! While Home Alone is synonymous with Christmas time, the shenanigans and mischief are fun all year around. Then, take a trip down memory lane as you watch E.T, the story of Elliot helping a friendly alien return home. Plus, a very young Drew Barrymore is too cute for words!
Coming Of Age Films
“I am a princess! All girls are!” You’ll be fighting back the tears reliving A Little Princess, the story of Sarah, who heads off to a posh boarding school while her father goes to fight in the war. Before there was Sisterhood Of The Travelling Pants (another great one to watch with tweens and teens) the 90s brought us Now And Then, a tale of teen friendships and coming of age.
Movie Series To Watch With Kids
Classic Films Your Kids Will Enjoy
The Judy Garland classic Wizard Of Oz should be mandatory viewing during every childhood and you’ll be hard-pressed not to be singing and tapping along to the tunes of Grease. This is another great one to watch with older kids and tweens.