Anyone who’s ever been a kid will have fond memories around their first movie experience. Being the most naive, imaginative and creative version of ourselves, childhood is the magical time in our lives when any story can and does become real. Here are five family films to fall in love with all over again.
The ultimate classic family horror movie, The Addams Family stars Anjelica Huston as Morticia, a very young Christina Ricci as Wednesday and Christopher Lloyd as Uncle Fester. Originally a cartoon from 1938, this film adaptation was not the first attempt to bring the Addamses to the screen. It followed on from a sitcom that aired in the 60s, another series in the 70s, and a 1977 movie that featured the cast of the 60s sitcom.
The movie is perhaps the silliest of the lot, and is full of gross-out gags that kids love. It may have been released amid middling critics’ reviews, but the longevity of the movie speaks for itself.
Plus, did you know that the pinball machine based on the movie went on to be the highest-selling pinball machine of all time?
The Karate Kid (1984)
The original Karate Kid (1984) movie is no longer on Netflix, but you’ll find the 2010 reboot starring Jackie Chan and Jaden Smith!
Bonsai trees, the crane kick and unorthodox training regimes have been immortalised in The Karate Kid. It’s one of those 80s movies that ended on a high, which led to sequels, a remake and the spin-off TV series, Cobra Kai. Not surprisingly, it earned Pat Morita an Oscar nomination for his career-defining role as Mr Miyagi. Whether you wax on or off, John G. Avildsen’s stirring family sports action drama teaches self-confidence through diligence and discipline.
Taking a stand against bullying, learning valuable life lessons from a mentor and mastering a martial art form, The Karate Kid has a noble spirit, compelled by heart and courage. If Daniel-san’s coming-of-age journey inspired you to take up karate or practice the crane kick in your friend’s backyard, you’ll do well to introduce this nostalgic classic to your family. Watch The Karate Kid on Netflix.
Michael J. Fox is the charismatic Marty McFly, Christopher Lloyd is the nutty Doc Brown and Great Scott, Deloreans will always be time-travel machines. They may have gotten older, but we’ll never forget their iconic roles in the soaring Robert Zemeckis sci-fi comedy classic, Back To The Future. Brilliant casting, captivating storytelling and slick writing make this a fun-filled family classic that never gets old!
Huey Lewis & The News’s Power of Love pop tune may not have made it out of 1985 alive if it hadn’t been for Back to the Future. Introducing rock ‘n roll Chuck Berry-style to 1955, burning rubber in a time-travelling Delorean or cruising in a Toyota SR5 extra cab pickup truck… this was fun for all ages.
This one’s the most recent on our list, but since it’s based on the classic 1977 novel by Katherine Paterson, we reckon that it qualifies.
Starring AnnaSophia Robb and Josh Hutcherson (all grown up in The Hunger Games and Future Man), this stunning coming-of-age fantasy movie sees two lonely 12-year-old next-door neighbours becoming best friends and discovering a secret hidden world in the nearby woods, where they escape from reality. Their magical kingdom is called Terabithia, and though it reflects their real lives, it’s a place where they can avenge the bullies and fight the shadows that haunt them in the real world.
The New Yorker describes the award-winning family movie as “a Narnia-like romp”, but goes on to say that “the movie has a darker, more sorrowful landscape to explore and it does so brilliantly, with true nuance and heartfelt sincerity.”
Whether you read Roald Dahl’s tale as a kid, watched the movie as a teen or witnessed the stage production as an adult, Matilda is a nostalgic treat for all ages. Following the mayhem of Home Alone, this magical movie about growing up in a household of lunatics among a schoolyard of weirdos is just the ticket. Directed by Danny DeVito, Matilda could have easily been a Tim Burton film, portraying Dahl’s wildly imaginative characters in a darkly enchanting and entertaining modern fairy tale.
DeVito stars as car salesman and weasel Mr Wormwood, casting a perfectly grotesque Trunchbull in Pam Ferris, the soothing Embeth Davidtz as Miss Honey and enigmatic Mrs Doubtfire and Miracle on 34 Street child star, Mara Wilson, as Matilda. Supercharging Dahl’s dark, twisted sense of humour, Matilda is a surreal, zany and delightful family comedy fantasy adventure. Relive your own boisterous school days through Bruce Bogtrotter’s cake gobble, the dread of being locked in “Chokey” and the epic Trunchbull cat-and-mouse chase. Watch Matilda on Netflix.