The cinema has enchanted and delighted the imaginations of children since the advent of children’s movies. From fantasy lands with winding yellow brick roads to magical, flying nannies, the silver screen has inspired children with its characters, costumes, and tales of bravery for over half a century. Here is a list of some of our favorite childhood movies
Follow the Yellow Brick Road
One of the first children’s movies to use technicolor, The Wizard of Oz has captured the hearts and minds of children across the nation since its release in 1939. Judy Garland as brave Dorothy, her dog, and her band of misfits taught us all that even the most cowardly of lions can be brave, compassion can still be found in a heartless man of tin, and the most brainless of scarecrows can still help his friends out of some truly sticky situations. “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” is just one of many of the film’s enchanting songs remains popular today, 80 years after its release.
A Spoon Full of Sugar
1964 brought us Julies Andrews as the most magical of nannies, Mary Poppins. As one of the first films to combine live action and animation, the film won an Academy Award for Best Film Editing. Based on the novel by the same name written by P.L. Travers, the film was stalled from its original proposal in the 1930s, as Travers didn’t believe that a film could truly maintain the integrity of Mary Poppins. However, Walt Disney finally won her over, and we are glad he did! A nanny with a bottomless bag, endless adventures, a magical flying umbrella, and a solution for every problem would continue to spark the imaginations and affections of all who know her for decades to come.
Who’s the mysterious man with the fantastical candy factory? He’s Willie Wonka! Never has a movie instilled such desire for that golden ticket! We all hoped to be as lucky as Charlie and more fortunate than Veruca Salt, but probably few of us inherited a magic candy factory! Though Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory first graced the silver screen in 1971, we are still as entranced with Gene Wilder and his co-stars, the Oompa Loompas, as Mike Teavee was with his television set!
“E.T. Phone Home”
Who knew that E.T. would become one of the world’s most loveable extra terrestrials? This heartwarming tale of a creature from outer space and the boy who saved his life taught us that true friendship can take us over the moon (or at least across it)! Starring Henry Thomas as Elliot and a young Drew Barrymore as Gertie, the film E.T. the Extraterrestrial inspired hope in the young viewership of 1982 for scientific advancement and hope for an intergalactic future! The unforgettable phrase, “E.T. phone home” will continue as cultural inside joke for an entire nation for generations to come.
Just Can’t Wait to Be King
The fifth film produced in the period known as Disney’s Renaissance, The Lion King featured stunning animation, gorgeous colors, fantastic voiceovers, and a storyline and characters for the ages. The film starred famous actors’ voices, such as Matthew Broderick (Simba), 90s hearthrob James Taylor Thomas (young Simba), Jeremy Irons (Scar), and the always amazing James Earl Jones as Mufasa. Premiered in 1995, the magic of The Lion King held the attention and affection of parents and children alike, so much so, The Lion King became a hit Broadway musical. Disney recently released an updated version of the film using C.G.I. technology, but we’ll let you decide which version wins!
Just Keeping Swimming!
In 2003, Pixar Animation and Walt Disney Studios collaborated on the family fun crowd pleaser, Finding Nemo. “Just keep swimming,” a line made famous by the character, Dory, became an international favorite cliche for encouragement! Featuring the voices of Albert Brooks, Ellen DeGeneres, and Willem Defoe, the film chronicled the adventures of Marlin, an anxiety-ridden clownfish, his lost but intrepid son, Nemo, and forgetful but loveable Dory. If you haven’t seen the film, we won’t spoil it for you, but here’s a hint: Quit “clowning” around and sit down with the family for an excellent reminder that family always comes first and that “fish are friends, not food!”
Just Keep Sending...Your Media
We are willing to bet you had a number of these classic childhood films on VHS. And surely you've got a stack of old home movies in that pile collecting dust. If reading this list turned on the nostalgia, imagine what watching those old tapes would do! Sending us your media for digitization can bring all your best memories back to life!