So here it is, the epitome of a sad git post, as it isn’t a list of the best children films ever made, but in fact a list of my favourite films from my childhood. Maybe I am a sad git, but I don’t care, I’d happily re-watch all the films on this list now. It was pretty difficult whittling it down to a mere ten films, but I think I’m pretty happy with it. Please don’t expect any witty repartee about why I enjoyed the films, I was a child and therefore incapable of thorough film analysis:
Randal Kleiser directs this sci-fi family adventure about a 12-year-old boy called David (Joey Cramer) who goes missing in 1978 only to suddenly reappear in 1986, but he has not aged. It is not a coincidence that around the same time of David’s reappearance a strange craft is discovered tangled in power lines. Flight of the Navigator has a pretty interesting and original plot for a Disney film. I recall being fascinate by the design of the craft and I’m sure this film probably sparked my interest about space and life on other planets. I also found the Puckmaren alien adorable.
Ted Berman, Richard Rich and Art Stevens direct this Disney classic about a fox cub who is adopted by an elderly widow after his mother was killed by fox hunters. Tod the fox finds himself forming an unlikely friendship with a hound pup called Copper. Unaware of what Copper’s future holds for him, Tod becomes great friends with Copper. As they grow older they drift apart, all whilst Copper is being trained to be a fox-hunting hound. Eventually they face the day when their old friendship is put to the test. The Fox and the Hound clearly has an important lesson to teach about the horrible blood sport that is fox-hunting, but as a child I was probably less aware of this and more drawn to the relationship between the two animals. I have no doubt I would still cry now at the heartbreaking scene of Tod being abandoned in the woods.
Joe Pytka directs this entirely absurd live-action animated film about the Looney Tunes seeking aid of Michael Jordan to help them win a basketball game which will ensure their freedom. Why did I love this film so much? Because it featured probably the most well-known children’s cartoon franchise AND Bill Murray, enough said.
Agnieszka Holland directs The Secret Garden which tells the story of Mary (Kate Maberly) who becomes an orphan after her parents die in an earthquake in India, she is sent to live on her Uncle’s estate in England. Left alone in her isolated surroundings Mary adjusts to her new life by forming new friendships and discovering many secrets. My love of this film stemmed from the allure of finding secret almost magical places where you could play with your friends. As a side note, I was surprised and amused to see Heydon Prowse, who plays the spoilt and disabled Colin Craven, return to our screens in The Revolution Will Be Televised (2012 -).
Directed by Mike Gabriel and Eric Goldberg, Pocahontas depicts the turbulent and forbidden love story between a Native American woman and an English colonist. Although it was criticized for its historical inaccuracies, I felt the film was very thoughtful and tried to teach important morals. I loved this film so much as a child that I had the soundtrack on CD (which is still a great soundtrack) and a Pocahontas suitcase, because I’m cool like that.
Jim Henson‘s cult classic tells the story of Sarah (Jennifer Connelly), a spoilt 16-year-old girl who is fed up of babysitting for her baby brother, she makes a wish to the Goblin King (David Bowie) to take her baby brother away. On realising her mistake, Sarah must find her way through a complicated labyrinth before the time runs out, in order to save her brother. What can one say about this film? Plenty, but not much is needed. It is loved my many, includes fascinating set pieces, awesome Henson puppets and great cheesy music from Bowie himself.
Don Bluth and Gary Goldman direct this rags to riches film of orphan girl Anastasia (Meg Ryan) who gets roped into a con to trick the Empress Dowager that she is her long-lost grand-daughter, on their journey to see the Empress, con men Dimitri (John Cusack) and Vladamir (Kelsey Grammer) discover that she truly is the missing Anastasia Romanov. Meanwhile, the undead Rasputin (Christopher Lloyd) is committed to ending the Romanov line, when he also discovers the existence of Anastasia, he vows to end her life. My love for this film came mostly from the animation and the music (Once Upon a December is a lovely song), later on I became very interested in the true story of Anastasia Nikolaevna Romanov.
3. Hook (1991)
Shock horror! I’m not the biggest Steven Spielberg fan, his films are good, but I don’t think he is the best film director out there (maybe this is one for Unpopular Opinions), but I think I could quite confidently say this is one of his best films. Hook tells the story of an adult Peter Pan (Robin Williams) who has forgotten his past, has to go back to Neverland to save his children. Why this film is rated so poorly on IMDb I do not know, as from my experience, it is well-loved by many and the whole point of the film is to not take life so seriously.
FernGully is directed by Bill Kroyer. The film revolves around a group of faeries and creatures who come together to try to protect their home from deforestation and pollution. I adored both Tim Curry‘s and Robin Williams roles in this film, it’s funny, beautifully animated, charming and has an important message to convey.
I was probably a bit too young the first time I watched The Princess Bride, but as the years passed I grew to appreciate it more and more. Directed by Rob Reiner, The Princess Bride is a storybook read to a sick boy by his grandfather. It tells of a girl (Robin Wright), who after losing the love of her life is to be married to Prince Humperdinck, before the wedding she is kidnapped and then rescued by an anonymous masked man who turns out to be her lost love Wesley (Cary Elwes). When Humperdinck discovers them fleeing together, the bride-to-be begs him to have mercy on Wesley if she agrees to marry him. As a child I was probably more drawn to the romance of the film, but as I grew older it was the humour that kept me watching. I have so much love for this film and could happily keep watching this film whenever I need a good laugh.
Here are some more of my favourite films from my childhood that didn’t quite make it onto the list; The Wizard of Oz (1939), Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971), Matilda (1996), Mrs. Doubtfire (1993), Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988), and The Black Cauldron (1985).