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More Must-See Movies for Kids

Readers offer their suggestions for movies with great messages.

There are some movies my family is so drawn to that when they come on television we watch them, commercials and all, even though we OWN them.

How goofy is that? All we have to do is slip in the DVD and we can view them commercial-free, but no. They’re the celluloid equivalent of catnip or comfort food.

In last week’s column about memorable movies, I gave short shrift to comedies because I wanted to zero in on films with good messages for kids. I’m not sure what the message is in the classic “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” unless it’s “Your mother is a hamster and your father smells of elderberry!”

There were a few old movies on my list. A friend tells me that when she watches the old Spencer Tracy/ Katharine Hepburn black-and-white classics, her husband will look up at the screen and say wryly, “TV broken again, Hon?”

Here’s a few suggestions from readers offering recommendations for some mostly newer movies for kids:

  • Lord of the Rings trilogy, recommended by Elyssia Mathias on Nazareth Patch, for teens ages 13 and up. She praised the “simple themes: good vs. evil; the right thing to do is hard, but the characters overcome tremendous hardships to persevere… Expertly acted, excellent storytelling, gorgeous scenery and seamless effects.”
  • The Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’hoole: “Think Lord of the Rings but with owls,” Mathias wrote.
  • All three Toy Story movies “should be mandatory for everyone,” according to Walt, writing on the Easton Patch. Walt also suggested that old episodes of The Little Rascals, which you can now get on DVD, are a hoot.
  • The Red Balloon was suggested by Pamela Porter on the Easton Patch. She said the movie teaches that “even though dreams can sometimes be temporarily waylaid, hope can keep them afloat.”
  • The Black Stallion recommended by Jonathan Gerard on Easton Patch, who called it a “moving portrait of the relationship between a boy and a horse who have survived a shipwreck and are at first wary of each other.” He also suggested "The Magic Flute" as “a great opera shown with puppets,” plus "The Wizard of Oz," "Peter Pan," "The Sound of Music" and "West Side Story."
  • The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, recommended by a friend who asked not to be named (he could be on the lam, for all I know). He said the Clint Eastwood movie “is timeless” and would work for young people ages 13 and up. He also recommended "Once Upon a Time in the West" with Henry Fonda and Jason Robards.

I can’t resist offering up a couple of my favorite comedies:

  • The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming is good for ages 7 and up, with priceless performances by Jonathan Winters and Alan Arkin.
  • Arthur, the original version with Dudley Moore and the marvelous John Gielgud as his butler who is the Shakespeare of sarcasm.

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