Best Family Movies - Part 1

Posted on 20 Nov 00:00

Watching a good movie with your family is one of the best forms of entertainment. Not all movies are meant for family viewing. Some have intimate scenes, some show violence, and graphic content, and some have a story that might not be fit for every member of the family to watch. That’s why we have compiled a list of family movies that you can watch with your family and enjoy. These movies are sort of a must-watch for any family. Some of these movies are from recent times and some are from the Golden Age of cinema.  

1.  Children of Heaven (1997)

The 1997 'Children of Heaven' is an Iranian family drama. This is a family movie whose storyline focuses on a brother (Ali) and a sister (Zahra) and the adventures they go through over a lost pair of shoes. Ali goes to fetch Zahra's pink shoes from the cobbler but leaves them attended. A homeless man comes by and assumes the bag containing the shoes is garbage and carries away the shoes. Ali is afraid to tell the parents, seeing the impoverished life they live. The landlord picks a fight with Ali’s mother for being five months behind on rent. In trying to make up for the lost shoes, Ali and Zahra agree to share one pair of Converse sneakers. Zahra wears them in the morning to school and returns them to Ali later for his afternoon classes, making Ali run late three times in a row. Zahra realizes that a classmate, Roya, has her lost pink shoes, and alongside Ali, they go to confront her at her home. From hiding, they get to know that Roya's father is blind and decide to leave the shoes. As the movie ends, Ali’s father brings home two pairs of shoes, Zahra finally finding her own.

Director: Majid Majidi.

Cast: Amir Farrokh Hashemian (Ali) and Bahare Seddiqi (Zahra) are the movie’s starring actors.

Awards and Nominations: the movie received nominations primarily for Majid’s directional work. For instance, he was nominated by the Awards Circuit Community Assembly Award (1998 & 1999) and the Argentinean Film Critics Association Awards in 2000. The film was also nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award in 1998.

2.  The Kid (1921)

'The Kid' is a 1921 silent comedy-drama that features a father (The Tramp) and his adopted son/ foundling baby/sidekick (John). At the beginning of the movie, a woman leaves a charity hospital with a baby boy. The husband is no longer interested in her, so she abandons the child with the note, 'Love and care for this orphan child.' A man 'The Tramp' (Charlie Chaplin) picks the child and tries to reach for passers-by for help. No one assists, and then he sees the note left by the mother. The Tramp takes the baby, names him John and stays with him. Five years pass, and the Mother, who is now an actress, gets reunited with the  John. Eventually, The Tramp also joins the two when the Mother sends for the Tramp. It's a happy reunion, and the Kid embraces The Tramp.

Director: The Kid was directed by Charlie Chaplin from a script he penned down.

Cast: Charlie Chaplin (The Tramp) and Jackie Coogan (John the ‘Kid’) take prominent roles in the film. Edna Purviance and Carl Miller play the roles of John’s mother and father.

Awards and Nominations: in 2019, the film won the Online Film & Television Association (OFTA) Award for Motion Picture. The U.S. Library of Congress found The Kid aesthetically and historically significant and chose it for preservation in the National Film Registry in 2011.

3.  E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

The movie’s plot revolves around a boy named Elliott (Henry Thomas) and the stranded-on-earth extra-terrestrial, dubbed E.T., with whom Elliott forms a friendship. Secretly-visiting-earth aliens see government agents and flee, but one accidentally remains behind. While returning from getting pizza, ten-year-old Elliott senses the alien’s presence and leaves a candy trace that the alien follows to Elliott's home. The alien demonstrates its powers by reviving dead flowers and healing a minor cut on Elliott’s fingert. At school the next day, Elliott shares a connection with the alienThe alien (dubbed E.T.) drinks beer, and Elliott becomes intoxicated while in school. When E.T. watches a program on T.V. and sees a girl and a boy kiss, Elliott kisses a girl he likes in school. Soon, E.T.'s health begins deteriorating. On Halloween night, Michael and Elliott dress E.T. as a ghost and sneak to the forest where E.T. goes missing and is later found almost dying. Michael takes E.T. home and finds Elliott also sick. At the same time, government agents led by government agent, Keys(Peter Coyote) arrive. They set a lab in the house and start treating Elliott and E.T. Elliott recovers, and Keys departs when E.T. and the flower he revived die.  The seemingly dead E.T. re-animates when his heartlight glows. The other aliens come down, and E.T. boards the spaceship. The spaceship leaves, leaving behind a rainbow in the sky.

Director: Steven Spielberg.

Cast: Henry Thomas (Elliott Thompson), Dee Wallace (Mary Thompson, Elliott’s mother), and Peter Coyote (Keys).

Awards and Nominations: Many critics widely cheered 'E.T.', making it one of the greatest films ever made. It won many awards, including the four Academy Awards for Best Original Score, Best Visual Effects, Best Sound and Best Sound Editing.

4.  Modern Times (1936)

This is a family movie that follows the iconic 'Little Tramp' that struggles to survive in the modern, industrialized world. The Tramp is a factory employee who works at the assembly line. He is subjected to indignities. He finally suffers a nervous breakdown and runs amok, getting stuck in a machine and throwing the factory into chaos. The Tramp takes part in a communist demonstration as an instigator and is thrown to jail. While in jail, he accidentally smuggles cocaine which he mistakes for salt. He is released from prison for heroic actions, although he claims that he prefers life in jail. The Tramp feigns being a thief to save a barefoot girl from going to jail for stealing bread. However, his deception is exposed, and he is released. He tries to go to jail again by eating in a cafeteria and failing to pay. However, he is released after two weeks. He lands a job at an old factory re-opening. Still, during the workers' strike, he accidentally launches a brick at the police, who arrest him again. He is released after two weeks, and Ellen helps him find a job as a waiter and a singer. While on stage, the police arrive to arrest Ellen over her earlier bread-stealing saga, but Ellen escapes. As the movie ends, the two walk together towards an uncertain but hopeful future.

Director: Charlie Chaplin worked on the film’s direction

Cast: Charlie Chaplin (Factory worker, The Tramp), Paulette Goddard (Ellen Peterson "The Gamin"), and Henry Bergman (the Café proprietor).

Awards and Nominations: Modern Times was one of the twenty-five films that the U.S. Library of Congress took to the National Film registration to be preserved for being culturally and historically significant. In 2003, the movie was nominated at Cannes Film Festival, but it was screened out of competition.

5.  Hugo (2011)

The 2011 American adventure drama film called 'Hugo' is one of the best family movie ever produced. The film was adapted from Brian Selznick’s 2007 book 'The Invention of Hugo Cabret'. The movie’s storyline revolves around a boy in Paris in the 1930s who lives alone in the Gare Montparnasse railway station. The boy becomes involved in a mystery surrounding his late father's automaton, and the pioneering filmmaker Georges Méliès (Ben Kingsley).

Hugo (Asa Butterfield) lives with his father in Paris, where they find a broken automaton and tries fixing it. However, the father dies; Hugo goes to Gare railway station to live with the uncle who suddenly goes missing, leaving Hugo by himself. Hugo tries repairing the automaton, but it fails, requiring a heart-shaped key. Isabelle, George's goddaughter (Chloë Grace Moretz), has such a key which Hugo and Isabelle use to activate the automaton and watch a scene from the film, 'Trip to the Moon'. Isabelle and Hugo meet Rene, a film expert who worked with George during World War I. The trio proceeds to George's home, where George narrates how bankruptcy forced him to close his shop and sell the films. Hugo's uncle dies, and Hugo joins George's family. George is recognized for his works in filmmaking. Isabelle writes Hugo's story.

Director: Martin Scorsese is Hugo’s director.

Cast: Asa Butterfield (Hugo Cabret), Chloë Grace Moretz (Isabelle), and Ben Kingsley (Georges Méliès / Papa Georges) are among the film’s starring actors.

Awards and Nominations: Hugo was nominated for eleven Academy Awards in 2011, out of which it won the following five awards: Best Art Direction, Best Sound Mixing, Best Sound Editing, Best Cinematography, and Best Visual Effects.

6.  Home Alone (1990)

This comedy film's is about an eight-year-old boy, Kevin, who safeguards his home and protects it from thieves when his family accidentally leaves him behind on vacation.

Kevin (Macaulay Culkin) ruins the family's dinner and flight tickets, causing him be sent to the house's attic. In the morning, the family rushes to the airport, accidentally leaving him behind. Kevin wakes up in an empty house and is happy. However, his happiness is short-lived when he remembers that Harry (Joe Pesci) and Marv (Daniel Stern), a pair of burglars, have been breaking into the neighbor's houses and are now targeting Kevin's house. When the thieves come, Kevin tricks them into believing that his family is still around, making them put their plans on hold. When the duo realize the Kevin is actually alone, they make plans to rob the house. Kevin overhears the conversation and rigs the house with booby traps, causing Harry and Marv to suffer injuries when they break in. On Christmas, Kevin returns from church and feels disappointed that the family is still away. His mother ( Catherine O'Hara) enters the house and reconciles with Kevin. Kevin's father (John Heard) and the rest of the family get a direct flight to Chicago, and eventually, the whole family reunites. Kevin tries to keep the burglar's encounter a secret, but the father finds Harry's knocked out tooth. 

Director: John Hughes.

Cast: the movie has the following as the starring actors; Macaulay Culkin (Kevin), Joe Pesci (Harry), and Daniel Stern (Marv).

Awards and Nominations: during the 12th Youth in Film Awards, Macaulay Culkin was nominated for and won the Best Young Actor Starring in a Motion Picture. The film also got two other Academy Award nominations for Best Original Score and Best Original Song.

7.  The Sound of Music (1965)

The 1965  comedy-drama 'The Sound of Music' is adapted from the 1959 stage musical called 'The Sound of Music', and is one of the best family movies ever made. The setting is 1938 in Salzburg, Austria and a young postulant called Maria (Julie Andrews) is sent by Mother Abbess to the villa of a former naval officer (Captain George von Trapp) and a widower with seven children. Maria is supposed to be the children’s governess. She brings love and music to the family, marries the retired naval officer, and alongside the children, overcome their homeland's loss to the Nazis.

Initially, Maria is studying to become a nun, but Her youthful enthusiasm causes her to be undisciplined, causing the mother to send her to George von Trapp and his family. At the beginning, the children misbehave, but Maria is kind ad patient, ultimately winning the children's trust. Maria teaches the children to sing. George, who is from Vienna, also joins in the singing and is impressed, finally marrying her. The Germans soon strongly oppose the von Trapp's and they are pursued by the Brown Shirts, but they successfully make it to Switzerland, a free and safe place.

Director: Robert Wise was responsible for producing and directing the film

Cast: Julie Andrew (Maria) and Christopher Plummer (Captain von Trapp) team with the supporting cast to develop the movie’s storyline.

Awards and Nominations: the film received five Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director, two Golden Globe Awards for Best Motion Picture and Best Actress, the Writers Guild of America Award for Best Written American Musical, and the Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement. In 1998, the movie was listed among the greatest movies by American Film Institute, and it ranked fifty-fifth. Later in 2001, the U.S. Library of Congress took the film and preserved it in the National Film Registry. It was deemed culturally and historically significant.


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