Some of the best movies are timeless. They delighted us when we were children, and they evoke a sense of nostalgia when we watch them with our own children. Many movies deserve honorable mention and become classic family movies, including The Sound of Music, Pete’s Dragon, Escape to Witch Mountain, Pollyanna, and Bedknobs and Broomsticks. The following are a few of my childhood favorites that get the most play time in our house these days, at the request of my two daughters.
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Classic Family Movies
Mary Poppins – We own the soundtrack in addition to the 1964 movie. It’s common to hear strains of A Spoonful of Sugar drifting from my oldest daughter’s bedroom while she plays with a plush Mary Poppins doll she received last Christmas. My oldest daughter also marvels at Mary Poppins’ special effects created in an era before computer-generated effects. (Yes, that’s a robotic bird on Julie Andrews’ hand.) It’s an opportunity to explain green screens, along with the old practice of using wires or strings to make things “fly.”
The Wizard of Oz – My mom tells me this was one of my first favorite movies as a young child. Both of my girls love this Judy Garland film as well, and again it is an opportunity to talk about how movie makers in the 1930s created magic, like when the Wicked Witch of the West “melts” through the use of a hidden trap door.
Annie – Made in 1982, this movie is on the younger side but still a classic and a great introduction to musical theatre and dance. It’s also introduced my daughters to the talented Carol Burnett, whose character is both villainous and comic. We have to overlook some of Daddy Warbucks’ occasional colorful language, but so far my girls haven’t seemed to notice.
I’ll throw in one bonus movie I didn’t discover until I was an adult: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. My girls and I watched this 1968 movie about a magical car for the first time a few years ago, and now they frequently request to watch it. It’s longer and not as popular as some other family-oriented musicals – probably because it wasn’t produced by Disney – but it’s plenty likeable and stars Dick Van Dyke. My oldest loves seeing how actors can appear in multiple movies, such as Van Dyke’s roles in both Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Mary Poppins. Also, whenever we talk about Chitty Chitty Bang Bang with friends young and old, they usually say something like, “That child catcher. He’s so creepy.” Yes, indeed.
What are your favorite classic family movies? Do your kids now enjoy those same movies?
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