Family Fun: 6 Classic Flicks

  • [pinit]

Since we don’t watch TV, except for football and Food Network, a main form of entertainment at our house is movie-watching. It’s rare that we go to the cinema, but we love videos. We usually check them out for free from the library, pop a few bowls of popcorn, and snuggle up on the couches for movie night.

Recently, we saw Mary Poppins for the first time in quite awhile. Some of my younger kids had no recollection of the movie, so it was fun to see their eyes light up at her amazing feats. I remember the first time I saw it, back in the pre-video days when Disney would rerelease films at the theatre. Auntie Mary and Auntie Suzy took us three girls to the show, a rare event, while my mom packed our stuff for our first airplane vacation. I was seven. (And, no, it was not the movie’s first release, thank you very much! I’m not that “classic.”)

Generally, classic movies have proved to be a great diversion for our family. They are usually “clean” films that we can all enjoy. They may be a little corny or feature primitive special effects, but I think that’s part of their charm. They have staying power so that they’re still made available on DVD, but you can also pick up older, used video editions for a small price.

Here are six of our favorites:

To read the novel would take a year, so you’re much better off with Disney’s version of Swiss Family Robinson. Yes, they took some creative license, but that’s okay. This is a detailed story to say the least. All the essentials are there, though, from the shipwreck to the deluxe treehouse to the cave hideaway to the defeat of the pirates. There’s a lovestory thrown in for the benefit of the ladies and plenty of ammunition to get the guys’ blood racing.

My boys have loved the Davy Crockett movies since they were “knee high to a grasshopper.” A complete sensation in the 50s, Fess Parker made the character (and the coonskin hat) famous, though his acting is pretty corny to say the least. My oldest two constantly reenacted Davy and Georgie when they were younger, complete with racoon caps and muskets; one was even called, “Old Betsy.” These films hold a special place in our hearts. And the young adventurers in your family will enjoy them as well.

As I mentioned earlier, Mary Poppins is a delight to the young child. If only we really could clean up our toys with a snap of the fingers. The music is wonderful, the dance routines so fun to watch, and the animation segment was considered unsurpassed for its time. And of course, Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke are just superb.

The slapstick in the Ed McMurray classic, The Absent-Minded Professor and its subsequent sequel, Son of Flubber, is just too funny. I love watching my kids’ faces when they watch this. They practically roll on the floor with laughter. Don’t be fooled; the more recent remake is just a ripoff version. I vote for the old school anyday.

Though not as good as the book itself (what film ever was?), the film version of Old Yeller makes for a great family night. You will recognize the actors as “regulars” with Disney Studios back in the day. And you may just want to serve cornbread and milk to make it a Wild West theme night.

I confess, my boys have never seen Summer Magic. But my sisters and I watched this hundreds of times when we were growing up. It’s definitely falls into the “chick flick” category. This is a fun, musical story, starring Haley Mills. (I always wanted to be Haley Mills.) Anyway, it’s a great tale of a family that hits on hard times after Father dies, but finds a way to make the most of their situation. Plus, there’s one or two love stories thrown in for good measure. The book, Mother Carey’s Chickens is even better, though.

What’s your favorite family-friendly, classic film?

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Comments

  1. I don’t know if this is a “classic” yet, but it’s definitely family-friendly and one of our favorites – Anne of Green Gables. We also enjoy watching Sound of Music. There are a couple of your favorites that we haven’t seen, so I’ll add them to our “must-watch” list! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Wow, what a fun post. I’m just beginning to share the classics with my kids. So far Pollyanna was well recieved as was The Sound Of Music. My Fair Lady was over my eight year old’s head still. Oh, it’s not a movie but we borrowed I Love Lucy and Gunsmoke (both the TV and Radio shows) from out library and everyone loved them. I can’t wait to get Davy Crocket for my boys!!

  3. Garden Gal says:

    Every St. Patrick's Day my mom would make the traditional corned beef & cabbage meal with Irish soda bread & after dinner we would watch Darby O'Gill & the Little People (with Sean Connery in his younger years). I really, REALLY miss that tradition in particular for some reason – probably because it was a non-stressful, fun thing to do as a family with a holiday mixed in there! I hope to carry on that tradition once my kids get a little older…& I learn how to make the beef & cabbage properly!

  4. The 3D Momma says:

    I have to recommend The Apple Dumpling Gang & the original Herbie – both are favorites of my 3 guys!

  5. couponhigh says:

    My kids love Wizard of Oz. It is a great movie to watch on car trips, because it last a long time. Recently we watched Anne of Green Gables and they liked that too. I’m waiting to get Anne of Avonlea from the library.

  6. Hey Rachie Kae says:

    Wow, some of those really took me back!!! lol I love ‘em. Its good to be reminded they are out there for when my kids are a little older. Blessings!

  7. We love Mary Poppins, especially the tea party scene and the Absent Minded Professor always makes my son laugh so hard he nearly falls on the floor.

    I have used the Swiss Family Robinson as a homeschooling lesson. Another great movie also

    I never seen Summer Magic, I will have to see if our library has it

    Thanks for another great post

  8. retrodeb says:

    I fist saw Mary Poppins a the drive-in movies….I AM that classic! LOL! Another movie from roughly the same era is The Sound of Music. I had kids later in life, and they enjoy both movies.

  9. Sound of Music and Mary Poppins are some of our faves! :D

  10. My Front Porch says:

    You just listed some of my favorite classics ever! I, too, wanted to be Hayley Mills and the original Parent Trap is a movie I could watch endlessly.

    Snowball Express was also a well-watched movie in my house growing up!

    I’m going to find these movies somewhere and watch them with my sons SOON!

  11. This was a great post! I haven’t seen Summer Magic – I’ll have to check it out! Swiss Family Robinson was one of my childhood favorites, though! I’m going to link to your post in my “Heart This” post tomorrow!

  12. I have to “second” the Parent Trap. I loved that one – so many funny scenes for boys and girls – especially when they go camping with Aunt Vicki!

  13. I’m with Garden Gal – my mom and I used to watch Darby O’Gill too! I need to find a copy of that on DVD.

    I remember watching Old Yeller in my Vet Assistant class in high school. I was the only girl in class, along with about 18 boys I’d taken ag science classes with for almost 3 years running. Some of them were real down-home strong and silent types, even at the age of 17, and I was soooo worried that I’d make a fool of myself bawling my eyes out (I had already read the book, as had my tough as nails cowboy teacher, Mr. Hibbs). He hit ‘em with a one-two punch that day. First we practiced giving immunizations to his dogs, which actually made a couple of boys flinch when the dogs did – then he showed that movie. Well, needless to say I wasn’t the only one whose eyes were “leaking” at the end of school. I just kept my mouth shut and shared my tissues, since I was the lucky one who knew to bring a box in from the car. ;-) I learned a lot more about those young men that day though and gained a new respect for the most “manly” of them. Not one of them teased another, which for high school boys was also a surprise – and the only thing they picked on me for was not WARNING them. lol

    I’ll have to put these on the library list for weekends with my daughter. I think she’d really enjoy some of them and it’d make a nice treat once little brother is in bed. Thanks for the inspiration and the trip down memory lane!!!

  14. topaztook says:

    For the little-little’s “The Aristocats” is a good movie (according to my almost-three-year-old). I appreciate all the French references, and Eva Gabor is great as the voice of Duchess.

  15. FishMama says:

    Aristocats is a great one! The soundtrack is so fun.

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