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Our favorite films...for the children!

Once upon a time, the British Film Institute compiled a list of 50 films for children up to the age of 14. We posted it in our Kids section and often refer to it when parents ask for recommendations beyond the realm of Dora The Explorer. You can't argue with any of the BFI's fine choices, but it did get us to thinking what a list of our own would look like. So we all thought back to the tastes of our youth and the youth we know now and selected 15 films we would consider required viewing for those 14 and under. The valiant crew in the inventory office tallied the lists and made a new special rental section that's up now in the front of our store. The list isn't definitive or perfect; there could easily be 50 more after this. Every Miyazaki film and the vast majority of Pixar & classic Disney movies would take up this list on their own. Many of us tried to limit our choices in those filmographies to one or two (or five) to get some other movies in the mix. We of course chose films based on what we loved as kids, so you can tell right away the general age range most of us fall in to. Please let us know what you think and your choices in the comments and here in the store. And now... The TOP 5: 5) WILLY WONKA AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY--"Hold your breath. Make a wish. Count to three." 4) E.T.--A lot of people only know E.T. from the failed Atari video game but it's actually a pretty decent film. 3) STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK--Because when it snows you want the first words out of your child's mouth to be, "Let's go play Hoth!" 2) STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE--Oh, to be able to go back and watch this for the first time... 1) MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO--If only Metro would invest in a fleet of catbuses... And the rest in alphabetical order: BABE--Baa Ram Ewe! It will be out on Blu-ray April 5th.
BABE: PIG IN THE CITY--This one's much darker than the original but kids can take it (even if you can't). BACK TO THE FUTURE--"That is your name, isn't it? Calvin Klein? It's written all over your underwear."
BAD NEWS BEARS--The original, naturally. It's good to watch in the week before Spring Training.
BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (Disney)--I chose this solely because Belle loves books.
BEETLEJUICE--"Live people tend to ignore the strange and unusual. I myself am strange and unusual."
A BOY NAMED CHARLIE BROWN--"He's every kid, in every town." THE BRAVE LITTLE TOASTER--So great kids won't notice the lack of IPads.
CHARLOTTE'S WEB (1973)--"Some Pig," indeed. The spider's pretty cool too.
A CHRISTMAS STORY--"We plunged into the cornucopia quivering with desire and the ecstasy of unbridled avarice."
THE DARK CRYSTAL--At the intersection of interest in sci-fi/fantasy stories and all things Jim Henson is this fine film.
FANTASIA--An important introduction to both the wonders of hand-drawn animation and classical music.
THE FANTASTIC MR. FOX--Wes Anderson took Roald Dahl's story and made an instant classic.
GHOSTBUSTERS---Crude humor, slime, and a 50ft marshmallow man. What more do you need?
THE GOONIES--It always made me mad that Steph (Martha Plimpton) was at the tail end of this Goonies chain. She's way cooler than the cheerleader.
THE GREAT MUPPET CAPER--"What color are their hands now?" GREMLINS--By now you can tell most of us grew up in the 1980s.
THE HOBBIT--Before Peter Jackson wowed us with The Lord of The Rings trilogy, we had this Rankin & Bass classic.
HONEY I SHRUNK THE KIDS--Ok, it would be pretty cool to be the size of a Cheerio for a couple hours.
IRON GIANT--"I am not a gun."
THE KARATE KID--In addition to the inherent moral lessons, The Karate Kid also opened our eyes to the magic of the movie montage. LABYRINTH--I've always thought Jennifer Connolly's Oscar win for A Beautiful Mind was helped by the fact that many of the voters developed a huge crush on her while watching this movie.
MARY POPPINS--Like the lady herself, this movie is practically perfect in every way.
MONSTER SQUAD--Never underestimate the power of a small, ragtag group of pre-teen friends to save the world from evil. In fact, it's the only thing that ever does (in 80s movies, anyway).
THE MUPPET MOVIE--"Prepare the standard rich and famous contract."
THE NEVERENDING STORY--If you love books and dream big, you might just get a ride on a luck dragon.
THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS--We're not thrilled that Hot Topic is filled with Jack Skellington merch, but it must mean kids still like it...
PEE-WEE'S BIG ADVENTURE--I was well past 14 before I summoned the courage to keep my eyes open for the entire Large Marge scene.
PINOCCHIO (Disney)--Always let your conscious be your guide... THE PRINCESS BRIDE--If only because kids should learn the proper use of "inconceivable."
RETURN TO OZ--Again, we show our true 80s colors here...
THE SECRET OF NIMH--Yay Mrs. Brisby!
SLEEPING BEAUTY (Disney)--" I know you, I walked with you once upon a dream..."
SNOW WHITE AND THE 7 DWARFS (Disney)--Disney's first animated feature, and one of the first movies to give the false impression that if you're a nice enough person, woodland creatures will assist you with your chores.
SPIRITED AWAY--Again, we could have put every Hayao Miyazaki film on this list and been happy. But this one gets us every time.
STAR WARS EPISODE VI: RETURN OF THE JEDI--In hindsight, maybe we should have counted the original trilogy as one entry. This was kept out of the top five due to a small but vocal anti-Ewok coalition that the rest of us are plotting to take down with sticks and rocks. TIME BANDITS--From here you watch more Terry Gilliam movies and discover Monty Python and enter your teens well educated.
TOY STORY--Here we go with the one-two-three Pixar punch. I wouldn't be surprised if this was the #6 vote getter.
UP--After you get over the first 15 minutes sobbing fit, sit back and enjoy. Squirrel!
WALL-E--Also good as a gateway film to introduce kids to silent films.
WATERSHIP DOWN--"All the world will be your enemy, Prince with a Thousand Enemies. And whenever they catch you, they will kill you. But first, they must catch you: digger, listener, runner, prince with the swift warning. Be cunning and full of tricks, and your people will never be destroyed."
WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT?--Some of our resident animation fans credit this film with helping to spur their interest in the genre.
YELLOW SUBMARINE--"Once upon a time, or maybe twice, there was an unearthly paradise called Pepperland. 80,000 leagues beneath the sea it lay, or lie. I'm not too sure." I know Help! and A Hard Days' Night were close to making the Top 50 as well.
THE WIZARD OF OZ--Not technically alphabetical order, but I wanted to save the best for last...