One of the best ways of spending quality time with family is to take in a good movie over a languid Sunday afternoon. Film industries across the world have made some fabulous contributions to the ‘PG’ (parental guidance) grade of cinema, which can be watched and enjoyed equally by adults and kids alike. Stories about love, friendship, loyalty, morality, allegorical, mythical and metaphorical stories that appeal to the sensibilities of children and mums and dads everywhere make for excellent family bonding. Here we list, in no particular order, and by no means exhaustively, some of the most exquisite offerings in this section that qualify as must-watch movies.
1. Life is Beautiful or La Vita e Bella (1997)
Set in Nazi Germany, this is a story of a Jewish family’s survival in a concentration camp. This is achieved by Guido Orefice through a wonderful sense of humor and pure optimism, which is what won him his wife initially and which keeps his son’s psychology unharmed throughout captivity.
2. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001)
Based on J K Rowling’s epic series, this movie is the first of seven gripping episodes in the young wizard Harry Potter’s life, his entry into the magical world of Hogwarts. Friendship, loyalty, kindness, courage are as valued here as they are in the ‘Muggle’ world.
3. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005)
Based on Roald Dahl’s famous novel, this is the story of a young boy who wins the chance to see for himself the world’s greatest chocolate factory, owned by the eccentric and weird Willy Wonka. In the strange world of this chocolate factory, Charlie learns to love his family again.
4. Dr Seuss’ Horton Hears A Who (2008)
The story of an elephant, Horton, who struggles to protect a microscopic species living on a tiny flower, that he can somehow hear, is one of Dr Seuss’ most famous children’s stories. For beautiful animation and a lovely story on standing up for those weaker than yourself, this one is sure to tickle your bones.
5. Stuart Little (1999)
The Littles, a family on the lookout to adopt a child, end up adopting abandoned Stuart, a mouse. The movie is a story of the trials and travails that Stuart faces while adjusting in a human family.
6. Nanny McPhee (2005)
Emma Thompson’s wonderful portrayal as the strict governess who is actually a witch, using her magic as a powerful weapon to bring seven misbehaved children to toe the line of discipline is not to be missed.
7. Wall E (2008)
In a futuristic universe, where man has reduced Earth into a huge garbage dump, and the remaining of the species have moved into a spaceship being run by a capitalist doyen, a tiny garbage compressing robot finds love, follows her into space and unwittingly changes the fate of mankind.
8. The Lion King (1994)
Simba, the young lion cub, is duped into believing that he killed his father by Scar the evil hyena, and thus quit his inheritance of kingship and flees. This is a story of finding friendship, loyalty, re-finding loved ones and the triumph of good over evil.
9. Ice Age (2002)
Back in the ages when the Earth was getting covered in ice, a sloth, a woolly mammoth and a saber-toothed tiger chance upon a human baby and come together to fight against all odds and ensure its safe return to its parents.
10. Home Alone (1990)
An immensely cute eight-year old Macaulay Culkin, accidentally left behind by his family off on a trip during Christmas vacation, uses all his creative powers to defend his house from being burgled.
11. The Parent Trap (1998)
This is the story of how a pair of identical twin sisters, double-played by Lindsay Lohan, separated at birth due to their parents’ divorce, meet at a camp and use all their devious innocent brains to bring the estranged couple back together.
12. Finding Neverland (2004)
This is the true story of J M Barrie, the creator of Peter Pan, and his friendship with the Davies family that inspired the character. Beautiful roles essayed by Johnny Depp, Kate Winslet and Freddie Highmore, this movie takes one back to the Victorian era.
13. 101 Dalmatians (1996)
Cruella de Vil wants the fur of 100 Dalmatians for a fashionable fur coat, but the animals gang up against her to avenge themselves of her cruelty.
14. Free Willy (1993)
This movie shows a deep relationship between man and beast, between a young boy and a killer whale that he does everything to set free once he learns of the evil aquarium’s plans to kill it.
15. Shark Tale (2004)
Oscar, a tiny fish in a big ocean, becomes a big hero when the rumor of him being a shark slayer spreads. Only, he hasn’t killed the big mafia shark Don Lino’s son but is now on his hitlist. Don Lino’s vegetarian brother, too, is caught up in this huge underwater mess.
16. Cars (2006)
Lightning McQueen, a top-rung fast race car, finds meaning beyond accolade and applause when he is sentenced to repair the damage he has caused in the small town of Radiator Springs. This is where he learns the meaning of friendship and family.
17. Toy Story (1995)
This is the story of the rivalry between a cowboy toy and a spacema
n toy in a boy’s bedroom. It is also the story of the two competing figures coming together to find their way back to their owner, who might move away for good without them.
18. Ratatouille (2007)
A countryside rat with special culinary powers arrives in Paris, the heart of gastronomic delight, and finds his way into master chef Gusteau’s kitchen. He works from inside the chef cap of a young clumsy boy to whip up cuisine that baffles his skeptical family and even the sore critic Linguini. Until, i.e., everybody finds out his true identity.
19. Flubber (1997)
Robin Williams, as the absent-minded scientist who forgets to attend his own wedding, discovers flubber, an extremely bouncy rubber-like substance with a life and energy of its own. Flubber then helps the school team win basketball matches and such stuff.
20. Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron (2002)
This is the inspiring story of a wild horse that rebels against the chains put on him by man trying to industrialize remote areas of native-occupied America. He finds both love and true friendship in the preserves of nature and tribal living, as opposed to the modernizing forces of capitalism.