Couch, Kids, Classics: Movies from your childhood to watch with your kids
Grainy picture, old school songs, kids dressed in clothes made from the drapes, flying cars and nannies – this is what summer vacations are made of! Take your pick from our list of classic non-animated films, and curl up with the family for a perfect Sunday afternoon.
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
The film was scripted by Roald Dahl and Ken Hughes, so winner all the way! Mr. Potts, an inventor, gets coaxed by his children into buying a Grand Prix racing car (one whose racing career came to an end after a tragic accident). Once he adds his magic touch, he fondly calls the revamped car Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, after the noises the engine makes. But it doesn’t stop there; the car has some amazing transformation powers that delight both him and his two little children, but we’ll leave it to you to find out what they are. Don’t be surprised if you catch yourself along for the ride – Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, we love you!
Age group: 6 to 7 years
The NeverEnding Story
12 year old Bastian Balthazar Bux steals a book that intrigues him, with a promise to return it, and hides in the school attic to read. He gets pulled into the story of Fantastica, with all its imaginative characters, including our favourite Falkor, the luck dragon. The story in his book gets to a point where the real and imaginary merge, and Bastian becomes a character in the book. Getting involved in this imaginary world teaches him some valuable lessons; it’s always interesting to see how different people have different takeaways from the film. Might we recommend a post-screening discussion with the family?
Age group: 8 to 9 years
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
Every child’s fantasy, a chocolate and sweets story owner gives 5 children the chance of a lifetime – a tour of his factory and a chance to win a lifetime supply of sweets. The character of each child and their accompanying adult is sketched out down to the last detail, and while it is amusing to watch each child’s personality bring on disaster after disaster, the film leaves the viewer with a very positive message and feeling. Younger kids will enjoy it just for the chocolate river and candy cane flowers, and the adorable Oompa Loompas (the factory helpers). If you can get your hands on the 1971 version, we recommend you start there, though Tim Burton’s 2005 version is also excellent.
Age group: 8+ years
One child genius, rather strange characters for parents, played by the super talented Rhea Perlman and Danny DeVito (who also directed the film), and one scary tyrant for a principal. Matilda is a fantasy comedy, packed with excitement, humour, and ideas to spark many an imagination, including many tricks and pranks! A perfect family film.
Age group: 8+ years
The Wizard of Oz
Now we’re going all the way back to 1939, but this film is gold, and a classic for a reason. If nothing else, watch it for its use of Technicolor and production, MGM’s most expensive production at the time. A fantastical tale about Dorothy, her dog Toto, the Wicked With of the West, Dorothy’s famous Ruby Slippers, and of course the Yellow Brick Road to Emerald City to meet the Wizard of Oz, you have to watch it to get taken into the story.
Age group: 7+ years
In our opinion – ‘Supercalifragilisticespialidocious.’ Give us a fun yet disciplined nanny with an umbrella that helps her fly, and a bottomless bag of surprises anytime! After kids Jane and Michael run away, forcing their then nanny to resign, the family advertises for a firm nanny, but the kids craft an advertisement for a kind, sweet nanny. The kids ad, though torn up by their father, magically reaches Mary Poppins, who flies in under her umbrella for an interview, and a list of magical adventures lined up Jane and Michael, and your kids as well. More than just a spoon full of sugar, this film is a treat everytime you watch it!
Age group: 7+
Sound of Music
A musical drama from 1965, the film is about Maria, a young, free-spirited Austrian girl studying to be a nun, who is sent as a governess to the home of Captain Georg von Trapp, who lost his wife, and has 7 children. Maria finds herself surrounded by young, light-hearted children trapped in a rigid discipline system, and through her love of song and dance, and embracing the wonderfulness of life, she finds balance in her own life, and a place in the hearts of the children, and their father. While the film takes a serious turn in the second half, it’s a great family watch.
Age group: 6+ years
Two words – Charles Dickens. Do you want some more? Orphan Oliver Twist is sent from his orphanage to a workhouse, where him and other children are mistreated and barely fed. Moved elsewhere, only to be ill-treated again, he runs away to london, only to get involved in a pickpocketing racket. The story comes with many life lessons, and lets just say, we were happy with Oliver’s happy ending.
Age group: 8 to 9 years
Another orphan ill-treated in an orphanage, another happy ending. Kids and adults enjoy this one for the characters and their quirks, which never fail to entertain. While there is a newer version (2014), we recommend the original 1982 version for its music and dancing, and the incredibly cast Miss Hannigan (the lady who runs the orphan age) and Oliver Warbucks (the millionaire who… well, watch to find out!) But then again, the 2014 version has Annie and her friends online on twitter, so if that’s more relatable to kids of today…
Age group: 7+ years
My Fair Lady
Professor Henry Higgins, a scholar of phonetics, takes Eliza Doolittle, a flower seller with a harsh Cockney accent, under his wing. His objective – to train her to speak with the accent of an upper class English lady, so as for no one to be able to guess where she actually comes from. After many processes and much effort, he decides to put her new accent to the test at Ascot Racecourse, amongst the who’s who of the upper class. The story takes many interesting and often amusing twists and turns, and the end leaves the viewer yearning for more. Romance, humour, and respect for all parts of society are worked into this film, and apart from a few mildly offensive words (damn), the film is all entertainment.
Age group: 9+ years
Are your children too young for these films? Read them one of the 12 wonderful stories from this list!
Image Source: oldfashionedgirl.pl