Our Favourite Kids’ Movies
The monsoon blows in a peculiar nostalgia — for fresh pakora, paper boats, wet clothes and skipped school. You can still do all of that, but wet clothes hold less appeal when you’re the one who has to scrape them off a squirming child and wash them. So, we’ve been binge-watching kids’ movies instead.
Forget Frozen (if only we could). We’re talking about a cinematic time when Disney was a wee little behemoth, when DreamWorks was just a wink in its founders’ eyes, when movies for kids were mostly just movies in which there was at least one child actor and the jokes went over the heads of anyone younger than 15. Grab a quilt, curl up with the kids, rediscover an old favourite and introduce the kids to a timeless classic from this list of The Swaddle Team’s favourite children’s movies.
KB’s favourite kids’ movies
The Princess Bride
This one’s a classic, and one of those movies you can watch a hundred times without losing your mind. It has adventure, forbidden love, tests of strength, and magic — all ingredients for a timeless plot. But it also has humor and wit that most kids’ movies don’t.
Ok, this isn’t really a kids movie, but I watched it 700 times as a kid. There was a great female role model (we can ignore the part about how she risks her career to make out with a younger bad boy) — she’s smart, successful, and had a few great power suits. And it takes us back to a simpler time when kids’ exposure to sex was two half-clothed people kissing in front of billowing curtains.
Also not a kids’ movie officially, but it was in my house! Tons of awesome music, great dance scenes, and any dark subplots are too difficult for even a precocious kid to understand. This is 80’s cinema at its best.
MM’s favourite kids’ movies
Baby’s Day Out
This movie sowed the seeds of wanderlust in me before I’d ever read a travel blog. Nothing teaches you how to make the best of a sucky situation like a kidnapped baby. OK, maybe he didn’t know he’d been kidnapped but you see my point. The humour is cheesy and exaggerated, physical pain has no real consequences and the rest of the world seems oblivious to a baby flying solo. But all that aside, it’s still one of my favourites.
The Wizard of Oz
Any list of kids’ movies is incomplete without this classic. Judy Garland’s wistful rendition of somewhere over the rainbow, ruby slippers that carry you home and a witch who can be overpowered with a splash of water — what’s not to love? Dorothy’s adventures spoke to my deepest fears of being thrown into unfamiliar situations, but the characters reassured me that everything works out, and even wizards are just humans with megaphones.
The Indian in The Cupboard
The unlikely friendship between a young boy and an Indian figurine who comes to life in his magical cupboard took me on an emotional journey with large doses of fantasy. The only fallout is that your kid might become obsessed (like I was) with trying to bring her toys to life after this one….
SB’s favourite kids’ movies
I LOVED The Princess Bride! What a classic! I still watch it, although now I have a hard time reconciling Princess Buttercup with Claire from House of Cards. So, I second that one, but these are also some of the best children’s movies:
I was and am all about that strong non-white female role model who doesn’t let gender roles or family expectations/superstition hold her back in the battle to be accepted for who she is. Also, let’s not forget her charming companion, little MooShoo, in what is probably Eddie Murphy’s best role.
It has lessons in culture shock and perseverance. As far as family movies go, who wouldn’t fall for a band of scrappy misfits with accents, who become the first Jamaican bobsled team!?
THE best Halloween movie ever. I have nothing more to say.
This movie’s glorification of kids, summer fun, and sports is quintessential childhood. And it always brings back my first crush on the dreamy, age-appropriate (unlike my crush on Uncle Jesse) main guy.
RK’s favourite kids’ movies
Ah, sweet childhood. I barely remember it now with all those hangovers clouding my memory. But, kids are important to me and they need entertainment to guide their thoughts. So, here we go…
Because, stranger danger?! Listen, every kid needs to know how to defend himself against bad guys and to also not be afraid of being different. Plus, physical comedy is totally hilarious.
Sure, this is not a typical kids movie but it is — legendary. I mean, shouldn’t your little Ankita know that she should chase a career and not a man? She should also know that if you work hard enough, you, too, can get into Harvard Law School. Plus, the wardrobe in that movies was (and maybe still is) #goals.
A talking dog, a flying house and an adorable bond. Need I say more? This movie is about a grumpy man who lost the love of his life and now wants to do right by her with cute companions. Sign your kid up for some real world sappiness with streaks of delightful fantasy.
LG’s favourite kids’ movies
Oh my god, so many of my favourite kids’ movies have been mentioned already. The Princess Bride was my staying-home-from-school-sick go-to movie. Cool Runnings was one of the best family movies ever. Home Alone is a Christmas miracle in itself. And ‘I’ll Make A Man Out of You’ from Mulan might still be on my running playlist. But let me think of my other favourite children’s movies….
10 Things I Hate About You
One of the best, for the older set. This was my teenage feminist awakening. Watch it now, and relive your crush on a grungy Heath Ledger — his rendition of “Can’t Take My Eyes off of You” still has me in sighs, God rest his luscious and talented soul — while your preteen (of whatever gender, and assuming you can get them to chill with you) learns how not to be a jerk.
Best animated movies for kids of all time, hands down, don’t even try to convince me otherwise (sorry, Mulan! I love you! Just not as much!), from an era when Disney was about entertaining kids, not making money off of them at every turn of a toy store aisle. Come for Robin Hood and Little John running through the forest, stay for Sir Hisssssssss getting drunk in a barrel.
The Parent Trap
Yes, LiLo was talented, wasn’t she? But I’m not talking about the 1998 remake. (Although it was surprisingly good!) I’m talking about Hayley Mills’ original in 1961, introduced to me by my grandparents. It holds up, even after all this time, as the ultimate caper for kids.
Not, technically, a movie from my childhood. But we all know how much I loved it…. I couldn’t resist including it!