15 Movies My Kids Are Required To Watch

15 Movies My Kids Are Required To Watch

This list is more difficult to put together than you might think. To simplify things, I decided to only include movies from my childhood. I was born in 1978, so I am limiting myself to movies made in the early 90’s or before. This keeps me from going crazy and from making a crazy long list. Also, I am sticking to movies that are more suitable for the younger kiddos. So if you’re wondering where movies like Gremlins, Indiana Jones, and Beetlejuice are… they’ll be on the next list.

I loved watching movies as a kid. Books were not my thing. I never saw reading as the best opportunity to escape into other worlds. If you wanted to make me happy, you gave me my action figures, a TV, and left me alone. Next thing you knew, I was outside building my own fort. What I got out of movies was that I identified with characters, developed my sense of adventure, and it fueled my imagination. As you can imagine, I am excited to pass that on to my kids. Here are the timeless classics that I can’t wait to watch with my children.

Also, as a side note, you should know that I owned almost all of these when I was a kid. We didn’t have cable. Maybe 5 channels if we were lucky. We watched these non-stop all year long. #countrylife

1. The Goonies

Not just a nostalgia thing for me. It’s my favorite movie… of all time… EVER!
The Goonies is one of the greatest adventures movies ever made. I watched this movie everyday for an entire summer when I was 8. Every little boy is born with an inherent desire to seek adventure. We all imagine what it would be like to live out of a back pack, find treasure, and defy danger; all without the supervision of our parents. This movie does all of that in a realistic way. Even now, 30 years later, I would still love to go down those water slides and walk the plank.
I am not sure how I feel about a sequel. Yes, I will see it. How could I not?

2. Labyrinth

This movie provided my sister and I with countless hours of conversation, fun, and entertainment. My 9-year-old daughter already loves this movie. Probably more than I do. When she was 5ish, we got to go to a sing-along showing of Labyrinth. They gave us props and had the words to the songs at the bottom of the screen. We had a blast. Such a fantastic memory to have with my baby girl. Every so often we turn off the radio in the car and just sing Dance Magic at the top of our lungs.
I think it would be awesome if Hollywood would do away with special effects and maybe try a couple movies with puppets again.

3. The Princess Bride

You know what I don’t get? People who say they don’t get this movie. Romance, adventure, and hilarity…it’s all there! There is something for everyone. Hands down, top 10. There is not much I can say that hasn’t already been said. How bout I say it with a quote from the best parts of the movie?
Vizzini: No more rhymes now, I mean it.
Fezzik: Anybody want a peanut?
Seriously, if you don’t like this movie, I have to question everything you say and all your opinions are suspect.

4. The Secret of NIMH

It might be a tad intense for some kids, but I think it’s awesome. One of my favorite animated films. The animation stands the test of time, and it actually has a great story. You really feel like Mrs. Brisby is working against all odds. She is scared, but will doing anything to save her kids. She is a fantastic hero character. You don’t have to be the smartest or strongest. Sometimes, you just have to keep moving forward.

5. The Sandlot

My favorite part of the whole movie is when they are trying to get the ball back from the grumpy neighbor and his “killer” dog. The way they let their imagination get away from them is so much fun. I also love the ingenious schemes they come up with to get in the yard. If you want to know how boys think at this age, this is the movie to watch.
Another thing to note about this movie, and I think it’s a good message for the youth of today… I love how the most popular kid in town is the one to befriend the new awkward kid on the block. Kindness counts!!

6. The Land Before Time

Even my parents would agree with me on this one. In fact, they named one of their dogs, Cera, after the triceratops. Why? Because she is a stubborn little turd. For a 1 hour movie, they sure packed in a ton of good action and story telling. I could do without the 5,348 sequels, but this movie is still a classic as far as I’m concerned.

7. The Wizard of OZ

Growing up, we didn’t have cable. We had a giant antenna. We watched this so many times, we wore out 2 VHS tapes. No childhood seems complete without at least one viewing of The Wizard of OZ. Even if the flying monkeys are more terrifying than Freddy Kruger ever hoped to be.

8. The Never Ending Story

I actually just watched this with my 9-year-old the other day. She liked it, but, she cried like a baby when the horse died. I had to spoil the movie and tell her that everyone survives and comes back at the end. Also, I had to tell her that I cried the first time I saw the movie too. What I do love about the movie is the idea that you write your own story. The reader, ultimately decides the fate of everyone involved. Very cool concept.

9. Flight of The Navigator

I mean, who doesn’t want to be kidnapped by aliens, fly around in a space ship, and hang out with really cool creatures? I guess I could do without disappearing for several years and freaking out my parents, though.

10. E.T.

Original version please. Not the one that replaces the guns with walkie talkies, or adds bad special effects to what was already a very realistic alien puppet. I’ll always love this movie. Some people hate it because it made them cry or they thought it was too scary, but that’s what I love about it. I think it’s ok for kids to experience some of these emotions through fiction. It is much easier to talk them through their feelings when they are on a screen and not part of their real life.

11. Mary Poppins

Not that I love this movie, but every kid should see it. It stands the test of time, and I think it plays right into building a child’s imagination.

12. The Hobbit (The 1977 Animated One)

To be honest, I will probably read this to them before I have them watch it. I love the style of animation used in this movie. The newer trilogy is such a disaster. I don’t think I could make the kiddos sit through that. At least not until they understand all the malarky that was added.

13. The Sword In The Stone

This is still by far my all time favorite animated Disney film. Such a fun take on the story. It’s perfect for kids. I love how he turns Arthur into a fish, a bird, and a squirrel. To this very day, I think it would be fun to jump around a tree like a squirrel. And the Wizard’s Duel? How fun was that?!?!?

14. Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer

If this movie isn’t on your list, then you must hate Christmas, family time, and your heart is as cold as the ice they float around on. We watched this along with a handful of other Christmas films all year round. My sister and I could probably kick anyone’s butt when it comes to Rudolph trivia. Just saying.

15. All Star Wars Films

Aren’t they all just one long movie broken into several 2+ hour episodes? My kids have already taken a huge interest in Star Wars. I consider that a parenting win!! I am so glad Disney is making more films. The man child in me can’t wait to take my kids to see them all the new films at the movie theater.


Alrighty, I hope you enjoyed the list. Hooray nostalgia!!




  1. Her name is Cera, not Sarah. …Because she’s a triceratops.

  2. I will accept your list wholeheartedly. We also had no cable and a fun country life. We would watch movies that we owned over and over again. The Man from Snow River will always be etched in my mind. Thanks for this!

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