Beloved Family Films

Posted on 3 Jan 16:00



We all have a favorite movie we want to watch time and time again since we feel comfortable and get what we expect. Here are some of the best Beloved family films.

1)  The Wizard of Oz (1939)

Dorothy Gales (Judy Garland) lives with her dog Toto (Terry) on a farm belonging to her Aunt Em (Clara Blandick) and Uncle Henry (Charley Grapewin). Toto bites a neighbor Miss Almira Gulch (Margaret Hamilton) on the leg, so she obtains an order from the sheriff to euthanize Toto. Dorothy and Aunt Em pleads with Miss Gulch, but she takes, Toto, away in a basket. Toto later escapes and returns to Dorothy. Dorothy decides to run away with Toto to prevent Toto from being euthanized. Professor Marvel (Frank Morgan), a fortune-teller uses his crystal and makes Dorothy believe that Aunt Em may be dying of a broken heart. Therefore, Dorothy rushes back home. There is a storm and Dorothy seeks shelter in her bedroom. The window frame is blown off by the wind and it hits Dorothy on the head. She becomes unconscious and the house is sent spinning.

The house lands in Munchkinland in the land of Oz. Glinda (Billie Burke) the Good Witch of the North and the Munchkins welcome her as a heroine because the falling house has killed the wicked witch of the East. But, the Wicked Witch of the West arrives to claim her ruby slippers, but Glinda transfers them onto Dorothy`s feet. As a result, the Witch swears revenge on Dorothy and vanishes. Dorothy returns home, but on the journey, she meets the scarecrow (Ray Bolger) who wants a brain, the Tin Woodman, who desires a heart, and the Cowardly Lion, who needs courage. They all accompany Dorothy to the Emerald City, where they ask the Wizard for help. The Wizard agrees to grant them their wishes if they bring him the witch’s broomstick.

They make their way into the witch`s castle, including Toto, but the Witch catches Dorothy and plots to kill her to retrieve the slippers. Toto escapes and leads the other three into the castle where they ambush three guards and don their uniforms to free Dorothy. The Witch sets fire to the scarecrow, but Dorothy tosses a bucket of water splashing the Witch. The Witch melts away, the guards rejoice and Dorothy gets her broomstick.

The Wizard offers to take Dorothy and Toto home in his hot air balloon, but as they prepare to depart, Toto is distracted by a cat and leaps from Dorothy`s arms. Dorothy pursues Toto, the balloon disembarks with the wizard leaving Dorothy behind. Glinda tells Dorothy that her slippers can return her to Kansas. They share a tearful farewell with the Scarecrow, Tin Man (Jack Haley), and the Cowardly Lion (Bert Lahr), Dorothy closes her eyes, taps her heels together three times and states repeatedly “There is no place like home”. Next, she wakes up in her bedroom where she is surrounded by her family and friends including Toto. She promises to never again to run away from home.

Director: Victor Fleming

Awards and Nominations
The movie was nominated for six Academy Awards including the Best picture. It won in two categories, Best Original Song and Best Original Score.

2)  ET. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

It is an American science fiction movie cast in 1982. It is a story about a boy, Elliot (Thomas) who befriends an extraterrestrial dubbed “E.T.” (Welsh) who is stranded on Earth. However, Elliot and his siblings help him to return to his home planet and they keep him hidden from the government.

A group of alien botanists visits the Earth undercover to gather plant specimens in the California forest. The aliens flee when the government agents appear on the scene, but in their haste, one of them is left behind. The alien (Pat Welsh) hides in a tool shed where Elliot (Henry Thomas) discovers him. Elliot leaves Reese`s Pieces to lure the alien into his house. Elliot realizes that the alien is imitating his movements. The following day, Elliot feigns illness, so he stays at home to play with the alien. After school, Michael (Robert McNaughton) and their five-year-old sister, Gertie (Drew Barrymore), meet the alien where they ask him about his background as he demonstrates his powers.

The next day at school, Elliot experience a telegraphic connection with the alien, which was at home.  He begins to flee all frogs in his biology class as the alien watches from the television at home. John Wayne kisses Maureen O`Hara on the television and Elliot does the same to a pretty girl (Erika Eleniak) he likes, but he is sent to the principal’s office

The alien learns to speak English and dubs himself as E.T. On Halloween, Michael and Elliot dress E.T. as a ghost and they sneak him out of the house. Elliot and E.T head through the forest at night and they make a call home. In the morning, Elliot wakes up to find E.T gone, therefore, he returns home to his distressed family. Michael searches for E.T and finds him dying in the culvert and he takes him home to Elliot who is also dying. Mary is worried about his son`s illness and immediately the government agents invade the house.

A hospital is set up in the house by the scientists to treat Elliot and the alien. Mary, Michael, and Gertie are questioned. Elliot and the aliens’ mental connections disappear and E.T. appears to die while Elliot recovers. A dead chrysanthemum plant that E.T had revived starts to come back to life. E.T reanimates and prepares to return home. Mary, Gertie, and Keys (Peter Coyote), a friendly government agent show up to bid E.T goodbye. E.T. embraces Elliot and tells him “I will be right here” pointing at his forehead. E.T boards a spaceship and takes off, leaving a rainbow in the sky.

Director: Steven Spielberg

Awards and Nominations
The movie has no awards, but it was selected for preservation in the US National Film Registry.

3)  The Muppet Movie (1979)

The Muppet Movie is a musical road comedy cast in 1979.  The movie is about Kermit the Frog who embarks on a cross-country trip to Hollywood. Along the way, he encounters several Muppets who share a common goal of finding success in professional show business. Nevertheless, they are being pursued by Doc Hopper, an evil restaurateur who has intentions of employing Kermit as a spokesperson for his frog legs business.

Kermit the frog (Jim Henson) lives a simple life in a Florida swamp. Bernie approaches him one afternoon and encourages him to pursue a career in show business. Inspired by the idea of making people happy, Kermit sets off on a cross-country trip to L.A. but, an entrepreneur, Doc Hopper (Charles Durning), pursues him together with his assistant Max (Austin Pendleton) to try and convince him to be their new spokesman of Hopper`s struggling French-fried frog legs restaurant franchise. Hopper uses insane means to persuade Kermit.

Later, Kermit meets Fozzie Bear (Frank Oz) who was working as a hapless stand-up comedian and he invites him on his journey. They meet the rock band Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem and their manager Scooter in an old church. Scooter receives a copy of their film script. They also meet Miss Piggy (Frank Oz) who becomes love-stricken with Kermit. The two form a relationship over dinner, but Hopper and Max kidnap Miss Piggy as a bait to lure Kermit. A scientist professor Krassman tries to brainwash Kermit using an electronic “cerebrectomy” into performing in Hoppers advertisements. However, Miss Piggy knocks out Hopper`s henchmen causing Krassman to brainwash himself with his own device. Later, Miss Piggy gets a job offer and she abandons Kermit.

Rowlf the Dog and Miss Piggy reunite with the Muppets and they continue with their journey to Hollywood. Their car breakdown and they sit at a campfire. Meanwhile, they realize they will miss the auditions the next day, luckily the Electric Mayhem finds them stranded and offer to take them the rest of the journey on their bus. Max warns the group that Hopper has hired an assassin to kill Kermit. Hopper orders his henchmen to kill Kermit and his friends, but they are saved when DR. Bunsen`s inventions turn Mayhem drummer Animal into a giant frightening away Hopper and his henchmen for good.

The Muppets finally reach Hollywood and they meet studio executive Lew Lord, who signs the Muppets to a standard ‘rich and famous ‘contract and they try to make their first movie which they perform and at the end congratulate each other for their performances.

Director: James Frawley

Awards and Nominations
The movie had two Academy Award nominations and it was deemed culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant. In addition, it was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry.

4)  A Christmas Story (1983)

The nine-year-old Ralphie Parker (Peter Billingsley) wants a Red Ryder Carbine-Action 200-shot Range Model air rifle for a Christmas gift. His mother (Melinda Dillion), his teacher Miss Shields (Tedde Moore), and a Santa Claus (Jeff Gillen) all reject his desires. On Christmas morning, Ralphie receives presents, some of which he enjoys, but unfortunately he does not find the Red Ryder he wants. It appears he has opened all his presents, but Ralphie`s father “The Old Man” (Darren McGavin) tells him to open one last present he had hidden. On opening, he finds the Red Ryder he had always wanted.

Ralphie tries the gun by firing at a target that is perched on a metal sign in the backyard, however, the BB ricochets back and knocks Ralphie`s glasses off and he accidentally steps on them. Ralphie tells his mother that it was a falling icicle that broke his glasses. At night, Ralphie (Jean Shepherd) sleeps with the gun by his side and as an adult, he says it is the best gift he has ever received.

Director: Bob Clark

Awards and Nominations
The movie received two Canadian Genie Awards and it was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry.

5)  Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971)

This is an American musical fantasy family film cast in 1971. The movies is about a poor child Charlie Bucket who receives a Golden Ticket in a chocolate bar. He later visits the Willy Wonka`s chocolate factory accompanied by his four friends

Charlie Bucket (Peter Ostrum), a poor boy from a small town, watch as kids visit a candy shop. As he walks home, he passes past Willy Wonka’s (Gene Wilder) chocolate factory, but some tinker recites the first line of a poem and tells Charlie that “nobody goes in there, and nobody ever comes out”. So he hurriedly goes back to his mother who is a widow and bedridden grandparents. He narrates to his Grandpa Joe (Jack Albertson) what had transpired during the day and his grandpa told him Wonka locked the company to prevent spies from stealing his recipes.

Wonka has five Golden tickets hidden in chocolate Wonka bars they are giving out. Those that find the tickets, receive a factory tour and a lifetime supply of chocolate. Charlie finds money in the gutter and he buys a Wonka scrumdiddlyumptious bar and, with the change, he buys a Wonka bar for Joe. In the Wonka Bar, Charlie finds the fifth ticket. As he rushes home, he encounters Slugworth (Gunter Meisner) who offers a reward for a sample of Wonka`s latest creation. At home, Joe is excited that he rises out of bed for the first time in 20 years since Charlie has chosen him as his chaperone. The next day they go for the factory tour that includes a candy land with a river of chocolates and other sweets. They meet the labor force, the Oompa-Loompas. August (Michael Bollner) falls into a chocolate river and is sucked up in a pipe to the fudge room. The rest receive an Everlasting Gobstopper in the inventing room. Violet (Denise Nickerson) becomes a large blueberry after chewing an experimental gum. The remaining group sample some lickable wallpaper and Charlie and Joe sample drinks in the Fizzy Lifting Drinks Room. They almost have a fatal encounter with the exhaust fan before burping back to the ground. Veruca falls into the garbage that leads to the furnace and her father falls in as he tries to rescue her. Mike teleports himself and becomes a few inches taller.

The tour comes to an end, Charlie and Joe are the only remaining, but Wonka assures them the others will be restored to normal. They did not receive the lifetime supply of chocolate since they violated the contract by stealing Fizzy Lifting Drinks. Charlie returns the candy to Wonka who declares Charlie the winner and that the offer to buy the Gobstopper was a morality test that only Charlie passed. The three enter the “Wonkavator” a multi-directional glass elevator that flies out of the factory. Wonka reveals to them that the aim of the contest was to find a worthy person to assume control of the factory, and he gives it to Charlie and his family. 

Director: Mel Stuart

Awards and Nominations
The movie received an Academy Award and was nominated for Best Original Score.

6)  Bambi (1942)

Bambi (Bobby Stewart) a young, curious, inquisitive doe will one day take over the position of the Great Prince of the forest from his father who guards the woodland creatures against hunters. The eager, energetic rabbit named Thumper (Peter Behn) befriends the fawn. He teaches him to walk and speak. Bambi is fond of his mother (Paula Winslowe), but makes other friends, including a young skunk called Flower (Stan Alexander) and a female fawn called Faline (Cammie King). One day Bambi sees The Great Prince without knowing it is his father wandering uphill. The great Prince discovers a human hunter “Man” so he rushes down to get everyone to safety. This time, Bambi is briefly separated from his mother, but is escorted back to her by the Great Prince and they make their way back in the forest just as the Man fires his gun.

Bambi and Thumper play in the snow during winter. One day as his mother takes him along to find food, they see a Man. As they escape, the Man shoots and kills his mother. The little fawn begins to mourn and is left lonely. The Great Prince takes Bambi home and he reveals to him that he is his father. The following year, Bambi is a mature ‘young stag and his childhood friends are now young adults. Sooner, Thumper (Sam Edwards) and Flower (Sterling Holloway) realize their beautiful romantic counterparts and abandon their former thoughts of love. Bambi falls in love with Faline, but their courtship is interrupted by an older stag called Rono, who forces Faline away from Bambi, however, Bambi successfully defeats Rono and earns Doe`s affection.

The Man returns with more hunters, so Bambi and his father flee for safety. Bambi is separated from Faline, but soon finds her cornered by a Man`s hunting dog. Bambi manages to free her up. Fire spreads into the forest from Man`s camp, resulting in a wild fire, therefore, the residents free in fear. Bambi, his father, Faline, and the forest animals shelter on a river bank. Later, Faline gives birth to twins under the watchful eyes of Bambi, now the Great Prince of the Forest.

Director: David Hand

Awards and Nominations
The movie received three Academy Awards and was nominated for Best Sound, Best Song and Original Music Score.

7)  101 Dalmatians (1996)

One hundred and one Dalmatians is an American animated movie cast in 1961. The movie tells a story of a litter of Dalmatians puppies kidnapped by Cruella de Vil, who wants to use their fur to make coats, but their parents save them and they recruit more puppies to their pet shop for a total of Dalmatians 101

Roger Radcliffe is a songwriter who lives in London. He is a bachelor and lives with his pet Dalmatian, Pongo. Pongo decides to find a wife for Roger and a mate for himself. Pongo sees a perfect pair a woman, Anita and her daughter Dalmatian, Perdita. He drags Roger outside and introduces him to Anita, who eventually falls in love.

Later, Perdita gives birth to a litter of 15 puppies. Cruella De Vil visits them at night, he was a former schoolmate to Anita. She wants to buy the entire litter, but Rogers refuses. Nevertheless, Cruella De Vil, hires her henchmen, Jasper and Horace, to steal the litter, but Pongo and Perdita seek help from other dogs in London.

Colonel, his compatriots, Captain, and a tabby cat, Sergeant Tibbs find the puppies in Hell Hall along with 84 other Dalmatians puppies, she bought from various stores. Tibbs learns that they are going to be made into dog-skin fur coats and Colonel sends back a word to London. After they get the message, Pongo and Perdita leave town to retrieve their puppies. Later, Tibbs hears Cruella ordering Jasper and Horace to kill the puppies. Tibbs attempts to rescue them when Jasper and Horace are watching the Television, but they catch him before he is able to rescue them. Just as Horace and Jasper are about to kill the puppies, Pongo and Perdita break-in. The adult dog attacks and Tibbs and Colonel guide the puppies from the house.

There is a happy reunion. Pongo and Perdita realize there are 99 of the other puppies with them. Pongo and Perdita adopt 84 other puppies, certain that Roger and Anita cannot reject them. The Dalmatians make their way back to London and other animals help them along the way when Cruella, Jasper, and Horace were chasing them. Back in London, Roger and Anita are trying to celebrate Christmas. Their companions arrive barking and the house is filled with dogs. Roger and Anita decide to keep all the puppies and use the money from Roger’s song to buy a larger house.

 Director: Clyde Geronimi


Beloved family movies are best for family entertainment and they appeal to everyone of all ages. 

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