Don’t you just love to snuggle up with the family under a warm quilt and watch a good movie? Next to reading aloud, classic movies can be a great bonding time and the discussions afterwards are pretty neat, too.
As a mother of young children, my goal in finding great movies was that they impart valuable knowledge and set before us some ideal of beauty, strength, or nobility of character. If they lead to discussions from a Christian worldview, that was icing on the cake.
30 Classic Movies
1.) The Fighting Sullivans (1944)
You won’t be sorry you watched this movie. The Fighting Sullivans is based on a TRUE story and the acting in superb. Saving Private Ryan is based on this movie, but it is not gory as the more recent movie (parents use discretion on age). The armed services do not send siblings to the same place anymore because of what happened to the Sullivan brothers. If you enjoy vintage movies you won’t be disappointed.
Our older children need to know what some families went through to fight for our freedom. This movie says it all.
I found it full length on YouTube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rrMGco9TySs
2.) Little House on the Prairie – The Complete Season 1 (1974)
If you have read even one book from the Little House on the Prairie book series, you will likely love these episodes. This series paints a memorable picture of the difficulties of American pioneer life and the courage, faith, and resilience of pioneer men, women, and children. It’s also a powerful portrait of a close-knit, giving family and the life-affirming lessons they learn and share each day.
These episodes work well as an engaging family movie-night reward and can reinforcing good character values and Christian principles when discussed. With 7 features, there are enough to spread over many months of family nights. I cannot speak for the rest of the later seasons, but we loved season 1.
3.) Night Crossing (Disney, 1982)
I found a good trailer on Night Crossing here.
One reviewer writes:
“Tired of superheroes and special effects? Weary of ear-damaging noise levels and gore-fests? Had it with bumbling parents and their smart mouth kids? Rent “Night Crossing,” the 1982 Disney release based on the true story of two families who escaped from East Germany in 1979 in a homemade hot air balloon.
Night Crossing opens with three families — the Kellers, the Strelzyks and the Wetzels — all of whom are close friends. When the Keller’s oldest son, Lukas, is killed trying to escape to the west, his family is destroyed by his death and the cruel treatment of the survivors by the secret police, or Stasi. (The violence here is brief, but disturbing. We see and hear as Lukas is torn apart by automatic machine gun fire from weapons imbedded in the border fence. Be prepared. This is the only such scene.) The other two families realize that they can no longer live as prisoners in their own land. They resolve to escape.
Inspiring Theme: Holding out hope for freedom for your family, going against the odds to secure liberty for your posterity. This true story is incredibly inspiring and one that should be watched and discussed with older children. Truly remarkable.
WORTH WATCHING AND DISCUSSING in light of many of the things that are currently happening in America.
I found it available on Amazon for as low as $4.39 (used) or ask your local library to put it on their shelf.
22 More Classic Movies For the Family
Our family has warm memories watching these together (and there are more I’ll share another day).
We can use the elements in these movies as jumping off points to talk about values that don’t match ours in a non-judgemental way. It helps our older children gain discernment when approaching film and other viewpoints.
5. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
6. The Agony & the Ecstasy (Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel)
8. Madame Curie
10. Gifted Hands (2009) Ben Carson, famous neurosurgeon
11. The Great Escape
12. Old Yeller
14. The Miracle of the White Stallions
17. Captains Courageous (with Spencer Tracy) The book is daunting; the movie amazing!
18. Sergeant York (my mother’s all time favorite)
19. Ben Hur
20. Boy’s Town
21. Chariots of Fire
22. Bright Eyes (Shirley Temple)
No need to go all out for movies – all a family really needs is love, snuggled close side-by-side, and quality time. If you have tickets, pizza, popcorn, and hot chocolate to make it memorable, great, but enjoy these years, for they fly by way too fast!
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Wow! Came across this site looking for “wholesome family movies” and wondered how leading with this: “threatened by devastating bombing raids and indifferent Nazi commanders…” could possibly be considered wholesome. In what twisted world would this level of negativity be considered a good thing? How can exposing children’s formative minds to the worst examples of violence not be considered abuse let alone passed as entertainment? And encouraged viewing at that.
Wow! Please ask Jesus if he would recommend God’s children be introduced to the fear of bombing raids and war, and then ask if it might not be a service to young parents to remove these recommendations in favor of something that will bring them peace instead of bad dreams.
The recommendation did come with a caveat. Obviously, you will want to consider age appropriateness before watching many films. At some point, children will learn that there is evil in the world. It is up to the parents to ascertain what their individual children are able to watch and understand. It’s always a good idea to discuss what happens in a film with the children and monitor their reactions throughout. They will be exposed, at some Point to the existence of evil – context is everything.
Yes, Elizabeth, I couldn’t agree more and thank you for giving more context to my caveat! We are the gatekeepers of our children and it is best to be very incremental in that slow exposure!
Bless you, friend!
I agree with this entire list. Just need more- we’ve seen all of them except Captains Courageous. His Word is filled with violence, we read that to them- we don’t shelter our children from the reality of man’s nature-only then can you fully grasp the depth of God’s.
Tara, I will check that movie out… “His Word is Filled With Violence” is that the title?
Any more titles you’d like to recommend?
I believe “His Word is Filled With Violence” was referring to the Bible, and all of the violence throughout history (His-story).
Thank you for the movie list Jacque.
Great movie suggestions! We have seen most of them and Night Crossing sounds great…I have added it to our list for next week!
Thank you Jacque–we’ve seen most of them and I would agree they are excellent choices. I will be looking up the one on the Sullivan brothers and the West Point Academy movie. Thanks for sharing.
Hi, Rhonda! Glad you “see” you are taking the time to watch some of these! I wish you were close enough to watch one together! Hugs! ~J
Thank you very much for this list! It was just what I was looking for and we have already enjoyed a film you recommended!–Captains Courageous. God bless you! Jessie