Good-Quality Age-Appropriate Films and DVDs for Young Viewers

Author Comments: 

Let me start by saying that I welcome your suggestions for this list.

The purpose of this list is to come up with good-quality films that are appropriate for a given age group in it's MPAA rating, sophistication level and subject matter. I think this topic is woefully under addressed by the film community.

Right now I'm planning on titles, years and ratings for movies as I come across them. Later on I'll try to add an age range if I'm familiar with the film and I'll also note the suggestions of others.

As a rule of thumb I'm leaning towards recommending the G rated films for ages 3 and up, the PG rated films for ages 8 and up and the PG-13 films for ages 13 and up. This is just a general rule. I will not recommend films for a certain age group that are inappropriate based on it's rating, e.g. PG-13 films will only be recommended for kids 13 years or older. If you feel a certain G-rated film plays for a little order crowd then say so. I'll note that on the list.

For the time being I have all of the movies on one list but if I get enough entries I will break them out into separate lists for different age groups or years.

Every age appropriate film is fare game. I'm not trying to limit this to recent stuff or animation or anything else. I'd especially like to see a lot of stuff by older filmmakers like George Pal, Ray Harryhausen, etc. show up on this list.

Also, if the movie is age appropriate I'd like to try and line up the protagonists age with the appropriate age group. If a movie is about a 12 year old kid and the film is age appropriate for 12 year old then I would like to drop it into the 12 year olds group. A good example of this is John Sayles' Secret of Roan Inish.

I'd also like to get anecdotal evidence from Listologists and their families. If you really liked a certain movie at a certain age tell me about it. If your kids like or liked a certain movie at a certain age tell me about it. I'll do my best to incorporate it into the list. If you recommend a movie please make sure to recommend an age as well!

Does this sound great or what? I'm so excited to flesh this list out and I'm hoping this will stir up a lot of discussion. Again, please participate!!!

Plundering: New York International Children's Film Festival, Top fifty films for children up to the age of 14, The 50 films you should see by the age of 14, Top 100 Movies for Children

Woo-hoo! The prospects for this list are very exciting! I think you should put up what you have rather than start with a blank slate, but until then I'll start off with my daughter's favorites (she's currently 4-and-a-half):

Mary Poppins (3 years to present)
Elmo in Grouchland (3 years to present)

She also really liked Shrek, both Toy Story movies, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and The Little Mermaid. Unfortunately, she had a hitting problem so all movies with even a shred of violence are banned until she's five. Seems to be working. Too bad, since I'd much rather watch Shrek a million times rather than the Barney tapes we've been renting.

Oh, The Tigger Movie is another good one for the 3-and-up crowd, as are most of the Pooh "movies" (which might be too short to qualify).

Let me see what you have up your sleeve.

As an adult I applaud you for making an age appropriate list for children under the age of 16.

As that same adult I must say I would Monsters Inc. would not be something I would show to the younger age 7 and 40 I was very frightened by the chameleon bad guy in that film...then again maybe 7 year olds are not as fragile as I am.

My experience is that the young uns tend to enjoy Fantasia 2000 at least as much, if not more, than the original. Not me, but the newer ain't too shabby.

When I get a bit more time, I'll try to post some suggestions to this admirable list.

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

Believe it or not, when I was 9 or 10, my favorite movies were "Space Jam" [PG], "My Fellow Americans" [PG-13], and the SECOND "Ace Ventura" movie [PG-13]. Jeez, I was complaining about R-rated movies, but I can see how fast my parents were to jump on the PG-13 bandwagon. On second thought, you may want to not put those choices on the list, heh heh.

Some other suggestions, though, would be the recent "Lilo and Stitch" [PG], which even I enjoyed; all the "Star Wars" movies [PG]; "A Christmas Story" [PG]; and "Ferris Bueller's Day Off [PG-13].

Also, last summer I worked as a counselor at a camp for younger kids. One day, during some free time, I decided to show the kids Chaplin's "Modern Times", and they loved it. You could include that one, along with other silent slapstick movies, like "The Circus", "The General", "Steamboat Bill, Jr.", "Safety Last", "The Gold Rush", etc.

Also, I see you have an edited version of "Billy Elliott." If you can do that, maybe you can find an edited version of "Waiting For Guffman" - in my opinion, the movie that holds the title of "Least Deserving of an R-Rating." There are 2 or 3 f-words in one scene, and then that's it.

How 'bout The Dark Crystal?

I'm 14, and I would say that many of the movies I have watched are not things that most ypung people would watch at all. But I am really glad that ever since I was 9, I was passionate about finding out everything I could about movies, because it helped me get a really good backround on film. Seeing these types of movies has led me to totally decide at around age 10 (I was obsessesd with Buster Keaton at the time) that the only thing I ever wanted to do was direct movies. The movies my parents threw at me didn't make me feel this way, because after watching psycho-dramas and gangster flicks, I saw right through stuff that most of the kids my age were watching. So I think giving your kids movies that aren't neccisarily meant for children is a good idea. I'm not saying you go off the deep end and show your kid Requiem For A Dream at age 5, I'm saying that I think many 5 year olds would love Laurel and Hardy, or A Hard Day's Night, or even something like Walkabout (though I'm not so sure about that one, because its about 3 hours long and my attention span was about 30 seconds when I was 5). They might not understand all of it, but it will teach them to love good movies at a young age, and not get into this slump where many kids I know won't watch black and white or silent films.

Oh, and another movie that I would recomend is "The City of Lost Children". There is no reason why that movie should have been reated R. There is no sex, nudity, violence, or anything. The MPPA is just stupid, that's all.

This is a great list! I'm glad to see you're still working on it! I'm putting together a list of films to submit. :)

Here's the link to City of Lost Children in IMDb.