My top 10 Children’s movies that both children and adults can enjoy.

Apr 27, 2006 (Updated Jun 15, 2009)

The Bottom Line Some of my favorite children's movies.

The list is not necessarily based on what the best movies for children are but more on what my son and I both enjoy watching together. You will not see baby Einstein, Thomas the train, or Sesame Street.
One of the biggest factors in picking these movies were that they captured my imagination, gave me a sense of freedom, had a good flow throughout the movie, and gave me the desire that I wanted to be a part of the movie. The other requirement is these movies have to be liked by my son as well as myself. These are the top ten movies we would both enjoy watching together.

10) A Bug’s Life
Director: John Lasseter
Original Story by: John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton, and JoeRanpt
Screenplay by: Andrew Stanton, Donald McEnery, and Bob Shaw
Music: Randy Newman
Rating: G
This is a movie about teamwork, not about the individual. In this small world is a bunch of ants that are just trying to survive on their little island. They also have to pay off the grasshoppers with “protection seeds” (their form of protection money), otherwise the grasshoppers will have to hurt the poor ants instead of protecting them. Flick is the lead character that the story follows. He is a smart and inventive ant, which means he is a bit of an anomaly. The other ants just want him to be like everybody else. He is also a bit of a klutz. After he did something stupid in the beginning of the movie he is sent on a quest to find warrior bugs to fight off the grasshopper. It is a beautiful movie all done in CG. 

9) Finding Nemo
Director: Andrew Stanton
Screenplay: Andrew Stanton, Bob Peterson, and David Reynolds
Music: Thomas Newman
Rating: G
I feel this movie has the best flow of all of the movies on this list. From the get go you are immersed in this underwater world and are taken from scene to scene fairly quickly. You are never bored with the story telling. I think it is just beautifully written with children in mind. It is also another beautiful movie by Pixar, one full of emotion and life.
Other than Willow, I feel this movie has the best soundtrack out of these 10 movies. The music really makes an impact and is intertwined with the story and action. The music is an intrical part to the story telling bringing out emotions. The story itself is full of emotion and heartache, much like the real world, but it does turnout all right in the end. One of the other cool things about the movie is the lead characters grow and mature throughout the movie, much like your typical coming of age movie.

8) Toy Story I & II
Director: John Lasseter
Screenplay: Andrew Stanton, Alec Sokolow, Joel Cohen, and Joss Whedon.
Music: Randy Newman
Rating: G
If I give the nod to one of these movies it would have to be the first movie. But I think both of these movies are very well done and enjoyable to watch. In these movies you enter the world of the toys. If toys could walk and talk this is what you would see…when no human is looking of course. In each movie the toys have a self-assigned mission. You as an audience member get taken for the ride and you get to see life through the eyes of toys. It is so well done and this movie really solidified Pixar on the map of great movie studios.

7) Willow
Director: Ron Howard
Story by: George Lucas
Screenplay by: Bob Dolman
Music by: James Horner
Produced by: George Lucas, Joe Johnston, & Nigel Wooll.
This is another fantasy story about good vs. evil. The evil is trying to conquer the world and the good is trying to save it. The movie follows a Nelwyn called Willow. He is small in stature but strong in heart and certainly not your typical hero. He teams up with several different individuals with the hopes that they can destroy the evil queen. It is full of magic, sword fighting, mythological creatures, and fantastic chases. Definitely one of the better fantasy movies made with children in mind.
This can be a scary movie so I only recommend it for older children.

6) Castle in the Sky
Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Screenplay: Hayao Miyazaki
Music: Joe Hisaishi
Rating: NR
This is a fun children’s movie. I can guarantee you that adults will love this movie as much as their kids. Both the music and the animation are very childlike and fun. The music definitely compliments the actions on the screen. I think this is one of the fine examples of why music is so important to movies.
This is the story of two children that are on a journey to find Laputa, the castle in the sky. For one child it is a life long dream, for the other child it is the answer to her burning question of “Who am I?” Throughout the movie these two heroes discover more about themselves as well as the world around them. It is a neat movie, just don’t hold the animation quality to the same level as some of Studio Ghibli’s other works.

5) The Secret of Nimh
Director: Don Bluth
Producer: Don Bluth
Rating: G
This is one of my favorite movies from my childhood. This is the story of Mrs. Frisbie, a field mouse. She has just recently been widowed and is forced to care for her 4 children by herself. One of her son’s, Timothy, has come down with pneumonia and must stay in bed. This is a problem because moving day is at hand and she must move her family out of the field before the farmer begins to plow his field. This leads Mrs. Frisbie on a marvelous journey to find help in moving her home so that it is safe from the plow.
It is a cartoon and the animation is impressive. It is colorful, enchanting and at times mesmerizing. The characters are well developed and unique. Unique both in their looks, actions, and dialogue.

4) Shrek
Director: Andrew Adamson, Vicky Jenson
Writer: Ted Elliott, Terry Rossio, Joe Stillman, and Roger Schulman
Based up the book by: William Steig
Music: Harry Gregson-Williams
Rating: PG
I am very pleased with how these movies came out but my preference is for Shrek 1. They are both entertaining movies for children and adults with several types of humor, both for a mature and immature audience. This is a computer-generated movie by Dreamworks about an ogre. His name is Shrek and all he wants is to be left alone. Well when the forest creatures set up tent in his swamp he gets a bit cranky and decides to go on his own quest to get rid of these creatures. This leads him on a series of events to not only find a princess but to find himself.
One of the delightful aspects of this film is it makes fun of fairytales. There are several cameos and many elements of our fantasy literature put in. They did a good job with this film.

3) Nausica
Director: Yoshiaki Kawajiri
Writer: Hayao Miyazaki
Music: Joe Hisaidhi
Languages: English and Japanese
Subtitles: English for hearing impaired and a literal translation English version.
Rating: PG
This is another post-apocalypse movie. We are about 1000 years in the future and mankind is living like they did during the Middle Ages with a few differences. They have guns and big planes. Oh ya, there is also lots of menacing and beautifully drawn insects.
The story centers around a young princess called Nausica. She not only loves her people but she cares about nature also. Many times she acts as the mediator in the conflict between insect and human, almost like she was born for that purpose.
This is a great anime for the whole family. But my biggest complaint is the movie is very predictable and not that original. But what it does do it does very well.

2) The Dark Crystal
Director: Jim Henson & Frank Oz
Story by: Jim Henson
Screenplay by: David Odell
Music: Trevor Jones
Produced by: Jim Henson & Gary Kurtz
Director of Photography: Oswald Morris
Rating: PG
This movie is definitely high on my list because it has many of the aspects I want out of my children’s movies. All of the characters are puppets of some sort and therefore controlled by one or more puppeteers. The attention to detail on this film is impressive and in a pre-CG world they made characters come alive like no other. And it even has a good storyline to boot. This is one children’s film you can’t miss.
The story is about a Gelfling that is asked to fulfill a prophecy to heal the dark crystal. During his travels he does meet up with others and learns more about himself. It is a typical coming of age movie but one that is done very well.

1) Spirited Away
Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Writer: Hayao Miyazaki
Music: Joe Hisaishi
Languages: English, French, and Japanese
Subtitles: English for hearing impaired and a literal translation English version.
Rating: PG
I was blown away by this movie the first time I saw it. It threw me for several loops both in its story and animation. The story also flows very well and it doesn’t slow down. The story just keeps your eyes glued to the screen the whole time. The animation is absolutely beautiful. I was also impressed with the story telling. This is not your typical story line, it is unique.
It is basically a story about a girl that gets trapped in the spirit world and she is trying to find a way to free herself from this world. During this process she discovers what it means to grow up. This movie is definitely a coming of age movie. So far it is my personal favorite of Miyazaki’s films.

There is a little violence but not much. I have no problem letting my young children watch it.

Other top 10 lists.
My 10 favorite Anime.
My 10 favorite Sci-fi.
My 10 favorite comedies.
My top 50 movies reviewed

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