A merry and blessed Christmas to you and your family! If your kids are like ours, they’ll probably be begging to watch a movie or two over the Christmas break. Lately, however, we’ve been having a hard time finding good, clean movies that appeal to a wide spectrum of ages. Sometimes it takes us a full hour of searching before we settle on one.
The problem is that we’re about as strict as your Great-Aunt Prudence. Where most reviewers liberally dish out five stars, my husband and I a lot more picky. We are not fans of the formulaic main characters commonly found in modern movies, for example: rebellious daughters who disobey dumb dad (ie. Little Mermaid), or precocious, self-serving but sweet baby-faced villians who are morally confusing for young children (Boss Baby or Secret Life of Pets), or tough, sassy women who fall in love with timid men (Ratatouille and Lego Movie). While we can tolerate some of that (our boys did enjoy the Lego Movie, which had its redeeming qualities), what we really don’t like is having to scramble for the fast-forward button to avoid an explicit or disturbing scene.
And then there’s the issue of scariness. It’s hard to find a movie that is not too scary for the younger kids but not boring for the older ones.
So, for Christmas, I thought I’d share with you a list of movies that we have watched as a family and have made it through our stringent family filter. Not all of these movies are perfect. Some are really old; some have second-class acting. But we try really hard to avoid profanity, excessive violence, and explicit scenes. Sometimes the overall value or moral lesson in the movie outweighs a negative aspect of the movie. For most of these movies, if you click on the icon, you will be directed to a review on Common Sense Media, which can help you decide if the movie is right for your family.
But without further ado, here are 25 movies that we recommend for kids and adults age 5 and up:
- The Pirates who Don’t do Anything
Our kids found this a little slow at times, but overall it was cute and interesting.
3. The Jungle Book (1967 version)
4. Fantasia 2000
5. How to Train Your Dragon
Of course, the boys loved this one. The main characters do kiss briefly twice… check the review for details.
Oldies but Goodies
6. The Bells of St. Mary’s
7. Boys Town
Based on the true story of Fr. Flanagan who founded a home for troubled boys.
8. The Best of Little Rascals (the original 1931 version)
Yes, this one’s really old (1936) and quaint. But it works for little kids who get scared easily. If your kids are used to fast-paced action packed animation with brilliant effects, they’ll scoff at this one. But, if your kids don’t get much screen time, they’ll probably appreciate this.
9. The Reluctant Saint
Beautiful story of the simple and humble St. Joseph of Cupertino.
10. The Miracle of Marcelino
Moving story of an orphan boy abandoned at a monastery. There are a few scary scenes after Marcelino is bitten by a scorpion.
11. The War of the Vendee
Here’s a film produced by homeschoolers based on a true story that takes place during the French Revolution.
12. Beyond the Mask
One of the better Christian films out there. This one full of action and excitement.
13. Mom’s Night Out
Okay, so this one’s more for the moms than the kids, but it is so funny.
14. The Perfect Game
Your baseball players will enjoy this true story of a Catholic little league team from Mexico. Watch out for the scene where the coach gets drunk, but other than that the movie is clean.
15. Anne of Green Gables (1986 Version, NOT the new movie)
LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this movie!
16. The Sound of Music
17. Toby Tyler
18. Little Women
Great story especially for girls. Better if your girls read the book first. Make sure you watch the 1994 version.
Beautiful story about cheerfulness and optimism.
20. Second Hand Lions
Finally, a movie with strong, albeit eccentric, male characters.
22. The Black Stallion
The beginning is dark and scary, but the rest of the movie is excellent.
23. Mr. Bean’s Holiday
Mr. Bean is NOT a good role model. But he is really funny. Sometimes you just need a good laugh.
24. Old Yeller
And here’s one bonus that will keep your family entertained for several movie nights:
26. Planet Earth
It’s not a movie; it’s a series of documentaries. Our children really enjoyed this series, especially the “diaries” which show how the photographers captured exciting and breath-taking scenes on film.
I hope you find this list handy. When doing your own search for good movies, take a look at Kids in Mind, Plugged In and Common Sense Media. The best site to navigate through is Common Sense Media , but we we have found Plugged In to be more aligned with our values.
Seen all these movies? I wouldn’t be surprised… when it comes to good clean movies for the whole family, the pickings are slim. One of these days (or months or years) I’ll share a list of movies appropriate for the 12 and up crowd.
Finally, I highly recommend getting a subscription to Formed, which has a great selection of Catholic videos. Many parishes offer it to their parishioners for free. The saint movies are wonderful; many are great for teens but too mature for children. However, there is a growing selection of videos for litte kids.
What clean movies would you recommend for family viewing?
Picture from www.personalcreations.com