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.
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.
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!