While HD graphics and CGI can make for truly mesmerizing and photo-realistic movies, we miss the charm and inventiveness of the family films we grew up watching, the beautifully-crafted sets, and costumes (which have been replaced by green screens and motion-capture), the epic stories and great scores. Thankfully, many of these films have been digitally-remastered and preserved for the benefit of our children and grandchildren, and it’s our sincere belief they are truly timeless classics people of all ages can enjoy together.
1. The Land Before Time (1988)
Created by Don Bluth, perhaps the greatest rival to Disney’s animation empire, and aided by two of modern cinema’s greatest masterminds, George Lucas and Steven Spielberg, this beautiful and touching film follows an unlikely band of dinosaur friends as they try to reunite with their families.
2. The Last Unicorn (1982)
This gorgeous animation is a Japanese-American collaboration with voices by Mia Farrow, Jeff Bridges, and the late and great Christopher Lee. It follows a lone female unicorn, the last of her kind, as she attempts to find what happened to the rest of her kind and is helped along the way by friends in what is a truly epic journey.
3. Mary Poppins (1964)
Widely considered Walt Disney's magnum opus and the only Disney-produced film to be nominated an Oscar in Walt's lifetime, this feel-good film starring Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke has left such a powerful mark that in 2018, Disney released a sequel with Emily Blunt stepping into the colossal shoes of Andrews.
4. Bambi (1942)
The gorgeous trademark artwork of Disney Studios remains as fresh and beautiful in the age of CGI graphics as it had been when it was first released. The touching story of Bambi and his coming-of-age journey will be sure to move children now as it did back then.
5. The Wizard of Oz (1939)
One of the only motion pictures registered in UNESCO's Memory of the World, a treasury for the preservation of humanity's crowning cultural accomplishments, this legendary Technicolor masterpiece starring the beautiful Judy Garland as Dorothy remains one of the greatest films ever produced, and the best interpretation of L. Frank Baum's books by which all others are judged.
6. Peter Pan (1953)
How could we make a list of children's movies that refuse to age without listing Peter Pan? The fantastic adventure to Neverland is another Disney tour de force that follows the eponymous Peter Pan as he leads Wendy and her brothers on an unforgettable journey to the place where no one ever needs to grow up.
7. The Princess Bride (1987)
Lauded by many as the perfect family film, this famous adventure starring Cary Elwes, Robin Wright, Mandy Patinkin and the incomparable Andre the Giant has ignited the imagination of an entire generation. Follow Westley, a farmhand-turned-pirate, as he attempts to rescue his erstwhile love from the clutches of outlaws and a sadistic prince.
8. Labyrinth (1986)
The imaginative and beautifully-crafted world of Labyrinth was the brainchild of Muppets creator Jim Henson and is the last film directed by Henson before his tragic death in 1990. Sarah (Jennifer Connelly) is a teen who is captivated by tall tales of monsters and princesses and wishes on a whim that goblins steal her baby half-brother. When her wish comes true, she goes into the strange land of the goblins to rectify her mistake.
9. Karate Kid (1984)
There's something about this coming-of-age story that transcends time and genre. This isn't just a story about fighting, it's about courage, hard work, tolerance, and love. It is no surprise then that Karate Kid has inspired countless sequels, adaptations, and reboots.
10. Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971)
Johnny Depp is a fine actor, really, but trying to put him in the shoes of the genius Gene Wilder was a mistake, as no one can compare to Wilder's performance as the eccentric Willy Wonka. Based on a novel by Roald Dahl that tells the story a hopeful child that is taken on a trip of a lifetime, the movie endures as one of the greatest family films ever screened.