When people think of kid’s movies, they think of wondrous, colorful, whimsical, and exuberant. Sure, there are kid’s films can even become agents of nightmare fuel in and of themselves, but most of them have some sort of happy ending involved. Usually, it’s something like animated fare like the Lion King, claymation like Wallace & Gromit, or live-action fare like the Bad News Bears or the Mighty Ducks. With that in mind, which of these films are the best movies for kids of all time? Here’s the topmost batch of the cream-of-the-crop films that, more or less, are the consensus best kid films as far as many critics and movie goers are concerned. Also, to no one’s surprise, the best kids’ films are all animated fare, whether animated by Pixar, Disney, or Studio Ghibli.
Why the Top Kids’ Films Are All Animated
It’s hard to find the best animated film in the Disney vault simply because it’s so extensive. It might not be one of those funny movies for kids, but it’s certainly a classic in and of itself. Some readers might even complain with not including Frozen or Lion King as among the best of the best Disney has to offer, but in fairness to this list, this film is as iconic as they come.
It’s no coincidence that Disney’s logo theme is an orchestral version of “When You Wish Upon a Star”, a song from Pinocchio. This movie remains a classic not only to Baby Boomers but also to their children, their children’s children, and up until the Millennials because of its colorful characters, timeless message, whimsical wonder, and important life lessons. It even has a bit of edginess to it, like the nightmarish scene where boys transform into donkeys.
Learn More: Discover the Top 10 Best Movies [ALL TIME!]
My Neighbor Totoro:
Now, this time around, straight from the Land of the Rising Sun and the originator of the “anime” style of Japanese animation (“anime” is just the Japanese word for animation, but for most foreigners, it refers to the distinct animation style of Japan) is My Neighbor Totoro. As far as good movies for kids are concerned, this one is definitely a must-watch because it’s made by Japan’s Walt Disney himself, Hayao Miyazaki.
This man has been described as someone with the soul of a poet, the heart of a child, and the eye of a painter. This can certainly be seen in this film, which is one of the most comfortable, unassuming, and subtle kids’ films ever that portrays the inquisitive nature of children as well as their imagination to its fullest potential. It’s a movie filled with sylvan creatures, magical trees, mischievous dust faeries, a huge bear-like creature with a soft pot belly, and a bus that’s actually a cat.
Indeed, the first commercially successful feature film of Pixar under the Disney banner really has gone from infinity to beyond. It’s a story of a kid named Andy moving out of their home and a cowboy doll’s jealousy over a spaceman action figure. Toy Story is one of the best kids movies of all time for the last 30 years or so, serving as the quintessential must-watch of Pixar’s golden age because it’s a relatable kind of film. What kid hasn’t imagined their toys coming to life?
This is one of the most original and influential films that goes all out in its finale, when due to shenanigans, Buzz Lightyear (the space toy) and Woody (the cowboy toy) ended up in the clutches of Sid, a neighbor of Andy’s that destroys and “tortures” his toys. The elaborate chase sequence involving a rocket-powered skateboard, a bull terrier, open traffic and a moving van is something that has left an indelible impression on everyone who has watched it.
This film tops this list for quite a lot of reasons, chief among them the fact that it epitomizes the very best elements of all the films featured in the list, but does so in a more impactful and compelling manner. If you believe “Game of Thrones” is compelling, you can consider the misadventures of ten-year-old Chihiro who has to rescue her “spirited away” parents the children’s film version of that modern-day masterpiece by George R.R. Martin.
Also made by the same studio (Studio Ghibli) and director (Hayao Miyazaki) as My Neighbor Totoro, Spirited Away is particularly memorable for its classic colorful characters and its ability to showcase Japanese mythological creatures in a way that transcends cultural boundaries, thus making this Japan’s biggest animated hit and a worldwide sensation. From dealing with the monstrous Yubaba to befriending the strange No-Face and a forgotten childhood friend, Spirited Away deserves its top spot in this short list.
Any comments on your all time favorite movie when you were a kid? Recall your childhood memories and see how many can relate with you.