Best Family Movies – Part 9

Posted on 15 Jan 00:00


There are tons of movies available, but finding one that qualifies for family viewing can be difficult. This article discusses films that are appropriate for the entire family.

1. The Song of the Sparrows (2008)

2008’s 'The Song of Sparrows', an Iranian movie is one of the best of all time. The film's storyline is about Karim, a man who works on an ostrich farm in Tehran. When one ostrich escapes, Karim is fired and he gets a new job. However, he faces new challenges. He lives in a small house with his wife, Narges, and his three children, Karim lives a contented life and tries to make his family happy. One day while working on the ostrich farm, Karim learns that his eldest daughter Haniyah has lost her hearing aid and he has to leave work and go back home early. Karim finds his son Hussein and the neighboring children searching for the hearing aid in their underground water cistern, he joins them, and they find the hearing aid, but it is broken. The farm fires Karim when one ostrich escapes and he finds a new job when he is mistaken for a motorcycle taxi driver, and he begins ferrying people and goods through heavy traffic. The job changes Karim’s causing him to become greedy, and he forgets about his daughter’s hearing aid until one day, his stockpile breaks his leg. While recovering events cause him to reevaluate his life.

Director: Majid Majid.

Main Cast: Reza Naji stars in the film as the character Karim.

Awards and Nominations: Reza Naji won the 2008 Best Performance by an Actor Asia Pacific Screen Award and the Best Actor Award at the Damascus International Film Festival in 2008. In the 2008 National Board of Review, the movie won a Special Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

2. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (2005)

Among classic movies, most audiences would agree that 2005's 'The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe' fantasy film is one of the best. C. S. Lewis wrote a children's epic fantasy series, The Chronicles of Narnia, and the series’ published the second novel in 1950, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe' which formed the basis for the film.

The plot focuses on four British children who are evacuated during the Blitz to the countryside. They find a wardrobe that leads to the fantasy world of Narnia. There they align with the lion, Aslan, against the forces of Jadis, the White Witch.

Director: Andrew Adamson is the film’s co-writer and director.

Main Cast: William Moseley (Peter), Anna Popplewell (Susan), Skandar Keynes (Edmund), and Georgie Henley (Lucy). Liam Neeson voices the Aslan Lion while Tilda Swinton (the White Witch).

Awards and Nominations: This movie won the Best Makeup Oscar, the 2005 Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Performance by a Youth in a Lead or Supporting Role – Female, and the Outstanding Motion Picture, Animated or Mixed Media Satellite Award. It also received numerous award nominations, including the Best Sound Editing and Best Visual Effects Academy Awards nominations.    


3.  Zathura: A Space Adventure (2005)

For any movie buffs, the 2005 American science fiction adventure Zathura: A Space Adventure film is a must-watch. The 1981 'Jumanji' children’s book’s author Chris Van Allsburg is the author of the 2002 Zathura book that forms the basis of the Zathura movie. This film tells the story of two brothers Walter and Danny who don't get along, and who while in the basement find a mysterious board game which transports their house into outer space. The two brothers work along with their older sister Lisa and an astronaut to try to survive the board game so they can get back home.

Director: Jon Favreau gave the movie its direction.

Main Cast: the film’s leading roles are taken up by Josh Hutcherson 9Walter), Jonah Bobo (Danny), Dax Shepard (Astronaut), Kristen Stewart (Lisa), and Tim Robbins (Dad). Frank Oz voices The Robot.

Awards and Nominations: It was nominated for two Saturn Awards, for Best Fantasy Film, and Best Performance by a Younger Actor (Josh Hutcherson). Avy Kaufman won the award for Casting Director of the Year at the Hollywood Films Awards for his works, including Zathura. The Young Artist Awards saw Josh Hutcherson winning the Best Performance in a Feature Film (Comedy or Drama) by a Leading Young Actor Award, and Jonah Bobo’s nomination for the Best Performance in a Feature Film by a Young Actor Age Ten or Younger Award.

Box Office: despite being a critical success, the film did not succeed commercially. It grossed $65.1 million with a $65 million budget.

4.  Foster (2011)

2011's 'Foster', a British comedy-drama is another must-see on the best family films list. Jonathan Newman’s 2005 short movie formed the bassis for the 'Foster'. The movie depicts a married couple (Zooey and Alec), whose son dies in a road accident and years later, Zooey and Alec decide to adopt a child. While thinking about the adoption, a seven-year-old boy appears on their doorstep. The boy is Eli, and he claims to come from an adoption agency. Zooey and Alec let Eli in. Eli a suit every other day. Though a child, he behaves better than the average seven-year-old child, and people praise him for his good manners. The couple's loss of their son was such a blow. It has stifled the couple's marriage and negatively affected their business. After Eli arrives, he is helpful to the couple. He helps them process their loss and embrace life again.

Director: Jonathan Newman lead the co-writing and direction of the Foster film.

Main Cast: Toni Collette (Zooey), Ioan Gruffudd (Alec), Maurice Cole (Eli), Hayley Mills (Mrs. Lange) and Richard E. Grant (Mr. Potts) are Foster’s primary actors.

Awards and Nominations: The 2013 Rhodes Island Films Festival granted Foster the Best Feature Film/ Youth Jury Award. Generally, Foster received positive critical responses as demonstrated by one film review site called Persinsala that called the film a "sweet and very moving comedy with a happy ending." The same site praised Maurice Cole’s performance, and described it as "caught in the shoes of a child – incredibly mature for his age."

5.  Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971)

1971's 'Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory' is one of the best family movies ever produced. Roald Dahl’s 1964 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory novel is the basis for its adaptation. Roald Dahl wrote the script that Stuart used to direct the movie. David took part in the movie's re-working and other editing features (his work went uncredited).

The plot is about a poor child, Charlie Bucket, who, after finding a golden ticket in a chocolate candy bar, wins a visit to Willy Wonka's chocolate factory along with four other children from around the world.

Director: Mel Stuart.

Main Cast: Gene Wilder (Willy Wonka), Jack Albertson (Grandpa Joe) and Peter Ostrum (Charlie Bucket).

Awards and Nominations: This film received an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Score, and Wilder was nominated for a Golden Globe as Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy in 2012, but the movie lost both nominations to Fiddler on the Roof. In 2014, the US Library deemed Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory as being historically, culturally, or aesthetically significant. Consequently, the congress took the film to the National Film Registry for preservation.

6.  Where the Wild Things Are (2009)

'Where the Wild Things Are' movie is based on Maurice Sendak's 1963's book 'Where the Wild Things Are'. The film is one of a kind; combining live-action, performers in costumes, animatronics, and computer-generated imagery (CGI) to create the storyline. The movie's plot focuses on Max, a lonely boy who sails away to an island inhabited by creatures known as the "Wild Things", who declare Max their king. Max has many things going wrong in his young life. Max’s sister, Claire, doesn’t do a thing when her friends crush Max’s fort in his room, his mother fails to come to see his fort, and the school teaches Max about the eventual death of the sun. All these things combined causes Max to throw tantrums at the mother, wear his wolf costume, and escape to a pond where he finds a boat at its edge and sails away. The pond turns into an ocean and the boat takes Max to an island where he meets the Wild Things. When they want to eat him, he fakes kingship and the Wild Things believe him, crowning him a king. The lead Wild Things, Carol and KW, keep things on edge because of the tantrums that Carol keeps throwing when the female KW leaves.  These events cause Max to understand the how his mother must feel in these situations, and decides to go back home. His mother is happy to see Max and lavishes him with food. Max is content.

Director: Spike Jonze and Dave Eggers wrote the screenplay which Jonze used to direct the film.

Main Cast: Max Records (Max), Catherine Keener (Connie), Mark Ruffalo (Adrian), Pepita Emmerichs (Claire), Max's sister and Steve Mouzakis (Max's teacher). 

Awards and Nominations: although the movie has not received any special award or nomination, its critical reception was generally positive. Roger Ebert awarded the film three stars out of four, saying, “All the same, the film will play better for older audiences remembering a much-loved book from childhood, and not as well with kids who have been trained on slam-bam action animation.” While Quebec granted the movie a General Audience rating, Australia and Ontario gave it a Parental Guide rating.

7.  Around the World in 80 Days (1956)

James Poe, John Farrow, and S.J. Perelman wrote the screenplay that was used to direct this epic adventure-comedy based on Jules Verne’s 1873 'Around the World in Eighty Days' classic novel. The film depicts an onscreen prologue that a broadcast journalist airs about an English gentleman, Phileas Fogg (David Niven), who claims that he can circumnavigate the world in eighty days and makes a £20,000 bet that he will collect upon coming back eighty days from the beginning of his trip around the world.

Director: Michael Anderson directed Around the World in 80 Days, while Mike Tedd produced it.

Main Cast: David Niven (Phileas Fogg), Cantinflas (Pssepartout), Shirley MacLaine (Princess Aouda), and Robert Newton (Inspector Fix).

Awards and Nominations: Around the World in 80 Days is one of the films that won the highest number of Oscars from nominations. It was nominated for eight Oscars, and it won five for Best Motion Picture, Best Film Editing, Best Cinematography- Color, Best Music Score of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture, and Best Screenplay – Adapted. It received numerous awards, including three Golden Globe Awards, in which it won two, for Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy and Best Motion Picture – Drama.                                    


For most, watching and collecting movies is their favorite  past time. This article featured seven family movies for the entire family to enjoy.  

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