Wholesome Family Fun: The Top 10 Best Family Movies Ever

Sep 25, 2009 (Updated Sep 28, 2009)

The Bottom Line Movies the whole family can love! That's what this TEN BEST FAMILY MOVIES list is all about. Family values. Family fun. Great movies!

Family movie night is quality time with family togetherness --- and it doesn't need to be an expensive or elaborate event. Pick a great movie that's enjoyable for all ages, pop a batch of homemade popcorn topped off with real melted butter, and gather the clan in the living room with some blankets and pillows. The trick to making this work is to pick a movie that little kids will enjoy just as much as teens and adults do. With that in mind, here are ten movies that my kids love just as much as my wife and I do!

These ten movies make up my favorite "best family movies" list. Hope you enjoy 'em too!

********** TOP 10 BEST FAMILY MOVIES ***********

Other people count down to their favorite, I count UP starting with my favorite. So, without further ado, my very favorite family movies of all time are....

1. Matilda (1996)
Director, Narrator, and Harry Wormwood: Danny DeVito
Quote my kids hate most: "My school is a model of discipline! Use the rod, beat the child, that's my motto."

Harry and Zinnia Wormwood live in a nice house, in a nice neighborhood. But they are not very nice people. Somehow, they manage to have and neglect a brilliant, beautiful little girl with powers and abilities far beyond those of normal kids. Matilda eventually gets sent to the most terrifying school a child could ever imagine, where she's placed in a class with a hot looking teacher (Embeth Davidtz) who is a friend to all children and whom all the kids adore. Will the evil Principle Trunchbull crush Matilda like an iron cannonball, or will fate play a hand before the FBI agents can sell a speedboat to Dad?


2. Secondhand Lions (2003)
The uncles: Michael Caine and Robert Duvall
Quote that makes dads laugh: "Did you call for a hooker?"

When you're a young kid growing up with a tramp of a mother, you bounce around a lot and don't get too settled in one place. That's how it was for Walter, until one summer when his hot-looking mother (Kyra Sedgwick) brings him to stay with her very eccentric uncles, who spend their time loafing on the porch, hoarding their fortunes in a secret stash, and shooting at traveling salesmen. Along the way, they teach Walter how to LIVE life on his own terms --- even when it sometimes involves buying a lion, teaching young punks how to be real men, or building an airplane in the garage.  


3. The Princess Bride (1987)
Fezzik: Andre the Giant
Most frequently uttered quote: "Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die."

What's worth living for? True love, perhaps, but not to blave. Poor farm boy, Westley finds true love in the embrace of a hot-looking farm woman (Robin Wright Penn). When the cat's away, the mice will play --- and so when Westley leaves the farm to find fame and fortune, Prince Humperdinck gets the hots for Westley's true love. Kidnapping, rodents of unusual size, dread pirates, swordplay, miracles, and a six-fingered evil count all commence --- not necessarily in that order. Peter Falk is delightful as the doting grandfather. The dialog is absolutely brilliant --- easily accessible to the youngest kids in the family, yet oddly stilted and quirky enough to entrance the adult mind. An outstanding movie that's been delighting families for a generation!


4. The Wizard of Oz (1939)
Memorable song: "Ding Dong the Witch is Dead"
Scarecrow's observation on modern conservative radio: "Some people without brains do an awful lot of talking... don't they?"

I think everybody in the world has seen this movie --- often many times. Oft imitated and badly remade, but never equalled. This is a wholesome movie that values human traits like courage, intellect, and loyalty. It's also a movie full of fast-paced adventure, great storytelling and brilliant acting. The story is utterly classic: Dorothy's house is picked up by a tornado and lifted to the land of Oz, where she encounters singing midgets, a hot-looking good witch (Billie Burke), an ugly bad witch, a brainless scarecrow, a heartless tin man and a cowardly lion. Hi jinx ensue. There's no place like home...


5. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968)
Dad's fave quote: "You'll find a slight squeeze on the hooter an excellent safety precaution, Miss Scrumptious."
Dad's fave song: "Me Ole Bam Boo"

Ian Fleming writes a story of international intrigue featuring a fantastic car that can motor across the water and fly like an airplane. Produced by Albert Broccoli and featuring Desmond Llewelyn as the man with all the coolest junk while Gert Frobe turns in a standout performance as the rotund vaguely Germanic villain with a hot-looking female cohort (Anna Quayle in lingerie).

Dick van Dyke is the eccentric inventor and dad to two rambunctious by golden-hearted children who inadevertently hook him up with a hot-looking and rich candy heiress (Sally Ann Howes). Hi jinx ensue. Great fun for the whole family --- utter escapism for the kids while Dad can occupy himself picking up on the parallels to his favorite spy franchise.


6. A Christmas Story (1983)
Ralph's fave quote: "Only one thing in the world could've dragged me away from the soft glow of electric sex gleaming in the window."
Favorite song: "Deck the Harrs with Boughs of Horry"

Every kid loves Christmas above every other holiday ever invented. Couple Christmas with a nostalgic view of small town America, and you've got the whimsically heart-warming classic, "A Christmas Story". Gruff dad has a thing for Oldsmobiles and hot-looking major awards while mom seems to be perpetually a veggie short of a glass of V8. Ralph writes his A+++++ essays while dreaming of Red Ryder BB guns, escaping nightmares of pink bunny costumes. The film is funny, yet subtle and sly, with warmth enough to thaw any Scrooge's cold-as-a-flagpole heart.


7. Shrek (2001)
Best voice castng: John Lithgow as Lord Farquaad
Fave quote: "Don't mess wit' me. I'm the Stair Master. I've mastered the stairs. I wish I had a step right here, right now, I'd step all over it."

I love the irreverant spoofs that strike at the heart of this movie. It pokes good-natured fun at just about every classic childrens tale ever told, from Cinderella to the Brothers Grimm. Eddie Murphy is one of the best voice castings I've heard in animation --- his interpretation of Donkey containing throwbacks to his best early comedy bits. It's a kid-oriented film with sass and the occasional joke that plays much more to an adult audience than a kid, making it a great piece of family entertainment as well. The original Shrek movie was great, though sequels would be plagued by mediocrity. Princess Fiona looks pretty hot by daytime, and her voice is done by the very hot-looking Cameron Diaz.


8. Up (2009)
Absurd quote: "Scream all you want small mailman."
Couldn't be a Pixar film without John Ratzenberger's voice: Construction Foreman Tom

What a GREAT movie!! This not only appeals to both kids and parents, but to GRANDparents too! In fact, the hero is an unlikely 78-year old widower with a broken 8-year old heart. The movie is magnificently escapist and fresh feeling with a sly sense of humor and good-natured wholesome values. I laughed. I cried. I wanted to pet Dug the Dog. One of the best Pixar movies ever. No hotties apparent.


9. Enchanted (2007)
Absurd quote redux: "Thank you for taking care of my bride, peasants."
Funnest song performed on film in decades: "That's How You Know"

Can fairy tale romance bloom in New York City? It does in this brilliantly entertaining family film! The story is simple: a hot-looking princess (Amy Adams) gets shoved out of her fairy tale wonderland only to find herself lost in the hustle and bustle of New York City. An apple a day puts the princess away!


10. Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971)
Actor NOT playing an Oompa Loompa: Sylvester Stallone (Thank God!)
Nugget of wisdom: "A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men."

Gene Wilder is brilliant as the odd chocalatier, Willy Wonka, who will host a few lucky winners on a tour of his very unique candy factory. Greed, gluttony and TV are but a few of the hazardous sins of a modern childhood that only a good deed and a pure heart can avoid. There were four old folks in the bed and the little one sang, "Roll over, roll over..." No real hotties, though....what a shame!

********** TOP 10 BEST FAMILY FILMS ***********

There you have it! My ten favorite family movies of all time! Got a few in mind that you think are better than these? Chime in and let's hear 'em!  I always LOVE chatting movies!

Until next time, see you at the cinema!

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