A Non-Political Post! Your Essential Movie Library

So it occurred to me that my wee children had never seen a John Wayne movie, or for that matter a western at all. In fact, there’s a whole host of genres they’ve never seen at all. They’ve seen some of the classic actors spoofed in Looney Tunes of course, but they have no context for the satire.  I saw one where Veronica Lake was getting spoofed, had to stop the cartoon to explain who she was, then made them watch Sullivan’s Travels  (apparently I Married A Witch is out of print…

  1. Amy Schley

    Missing some Mel Brooks … The Producers, Young Frankenstein, Blazing Saddles, Space Balls, and History of the World.

    Obviously, to understand those movies, they also need in addition to your list: 2001, Star Wars, Song of the South (may have to import this one), and undoubtably more that I simply haven’t seen and so didn’t catch the references myself. 

    Also, everyone needs to know that there is a book called Metamorphosis by Kafka that features a man turning into a giant cockroach.  I swear, this is the go-go joke when you want slightly more high-brow humor … it’s in The Producers, Space Balls*, and Flushed Away, and that’s just what I remember off the top of my head.

    *On his director’s commentary, Mel hears that joke (“Ready for metamorphosis?” “Ready Kafka!”) and says “Why did I put that joke in there? Intellectuals don’t watch my movies!”

  2. DrewInWisconsin

    The trick is to introduce old movies to kids before they get too old and jaded for that sort of thing. Start giving them an appreciation of the “old stuff” so they don’t automatically dismiss it when they become sulky teens.

    I showed my kids (7 and 8) “Bringing up Baby” and they thought it was hilarious. A screwball comedy works well for young kids. They’ve shown some interest in Marx Brothers movies, too.

  3. Mr. Dart

    You did well to show them Sullivan’s Travels IMHO.  I made my kids watch every Preston Sturges comedy– they loved them.  To this day they still quote whole sections of Hail The Conquering Hero.

    By the way, I Married A Witch is available on Youtube.  At least it was recently when I watched it while trying to avoid work.

  4. Goldgeller

    I don’t have any type of list of movies I would show my kids. I don’t have kids. I’m only 26. It’s hard to do these lists. It’s hard to seperate “what’s important or historical” vs “what’s good to watch.” 

    What to watch? 

    Apocalypse Now, Leone/Eastwood “Man with No Name” movies, Black Hawk Down, Saving Private Ryan, Akira, Princess Mononokee, Castle of Cagliostro, Ghost in the Shell, Batman (Burton), Nightmare Before Christmas, Nolan Batman Trilogy, Matrix Trilogy, Samurai Fiction, 7 Samurai, Drunken Master, Ninja Scroll, Escaflowne

    No movie was listed for any reason other than that I liked it. There is no Star Wars on here because I didn’t like it that much. I’m not writing this for movie historians. These are excellent movies that you can watch. There are a lot of great, and awesome movies that didn’t make the cut. Some movies aren’t on this because they may require you to have seen the TV series (Evangelion) or because the movies only make sense if you watch them all. 

  5. PJS

    Ahem.  The Princess Bride.

  6. David Nordmark

    My top 3 movies of all time 1) Star Wars (the original, of course) 2)The Bridge Over The River Kwai 3) Excalibur (an odd choice, I know, but I just love that movie)

  7. Illiniguy

    Red River and The Fountainhead

  8. Schrodinger

    The Best Years of Our Lives

    Winner of seven Academy Awards, including best picture, director, actor, and screenplay, William Wyler’s brilliant drama about domestic life after World War II remains one of the all-time classics of American cinema. Inspired by a pictorial article about returning soldiers in Life magazine, the story focuses on three war veterans (Fredric March, Dana Andrews, and Harold Russell in unforgettable roles) and their rocky readjustment to civilian life in their Midwestern town of Boone City.

    You Can’t Take it with You

    Lionel Barrymore, who played such a bad guy eight years later in Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life, is the wonderful Grandpa Vanderhof, who addresses God during the dinner prayer as “sir” and speaks plainly and beautifully of why it’s good to be alive.

  9. Edward Smith

    We can’t watch them every night, but I can watch the Indiana Jones movies in repeat, as well as LOTR.  I am also a sucker for Independence Day.

    I may have watched the better Eastwood movies a little too often, but I could go back for more.

  10. Keith

    Definitely The Princess Bride. Also, The Goonies. Cocoon. Splash. Big. The Gods Must Be Crazy. Quigley, Down Under. The Man From Snowy River.

    By your list, you are not asking for “wholesome” entertainment, but Feature Films For Families has a nice collection of films that our kids enjoyed.

    Newer films would include Up, Despicable Me, The Blind Side, Here Comes The Boom.

  11. skipsul
    Goldgeller: I don’t have any type of list of movies I would show my kids. I don’t have kids. I’m only 26. It’s hard to do these lists. It’s hard to seperate “what’s important or historical” vs “what’s good to watch.” 

    All comers are welcome.  ”Good to Watch” need be the only criteria.

  12. RightinChicago
    Illiniguy: Red River and The Fountainhead · 51 minutes ago

    “The men were sullen and morose”

  13. AUMom

    It’s a Wonderful Life needs to be seen every Christmas season. We also watch The Quiet Man on St. Patrick’s Day. 

    Eventually, The Matrix and The Dark Knight Rises are terrific depictions of control and evil. 

  14. Valiuth

    A Man for All Seasons

    Miracle on 34th Street

    Singing in the Rain

    Sanjuro and Yojimbo

    True Grit (The new one)

    The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. 

    Patton

    Conan the Barbarian (With Arnold)

    Zombie Land

    North By North West.

    Rear Window.

  15. Foxman

    Some of these do not look like movies for young ‘uns

  16. DrewInWisconsin
    Foxman: Some of these do not look like movies for young ‘uns · 1 minute ago

    I would agree.

  17. skipsul

    Foxman and Drew,

    My eldest is now 12.  I’m not necessarily looking for movies that all the family can sit down and watch, but also films that they should know as they get older.  Sort of a required viewing list of good films.

  18. RightinChicago

    Life With Father

    Psycho  (I’d show it to a kid under 16 because it loses effect with a jaded older kid)

    Lion in Winter

    Holiday Inn

    The Searchers

    The Alamo

    Gettysburg

    The Longest Day

    The Great Escape

    Moby Dick   (Gregory Peck version)

    Journey to the Center of the Earth (original)

    War of the Worlds (original)

    The Canterville Ghost

    Beau Geste (Gary Cooper version)

    Sgt. York

    High Noon

    always close with Cooper

  19. DrewInWisconsin

    I found This Book at our local library, and thought it was an excellent starting place for introducing “the classics” to kids. It has great lists for young children, the “tween” years, and teenagers.

  20. skipsul
    DrewInWisconsin: I found This Book at our local library, and thought it was an excellent starting place for introducing “the classics” to kids. It has great lists for young children, the “tween” years, and teenagers. · 0 minutes ago

    Thanks, I’ll see if I can peruse a copy.

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