Some of my earliest and best memories are of the many children’s films my parents used to stick on to get me out of their hair for an hour or two. I could get in to a real nostalgic mess and make a list of fifty, but to save my sanity and your patience, here are ten of my favourites.
1. The Land Before Time (1988)
Steven Spielberg likes nothing more than to make children cry, and as an executive producer on The Land Before Time he is really at his best. Just the score alone can get me going if I’m feeling particularly delicate. The film has that perfect mixture of morality and entertainment, but unfortunately is even sadder in hindsight when you think about what happened to one of it’s child stars Judith Barsi.
2. Hook (1991)
Be honest, every single one of you wanted to be a Lost Boy and live in a tree house in Neverland. Hook was the version of Peter Pan that all the cooler kids watched, all the girls had a crush on Rufio and all the boys had a crush on Julia Roberts as Tinkerbell. You will not be surprised to hear that this is not the only mention of Robin Williams you will see on this list.
3. Casper (1995)
When analysed, Casper is an incredibly melancholy film to have been such a hit in the nineties, though I think that aspect of it has grown in to my consciousness as I’ve grown up, at the time I was mostly concerned with Casper’s hilarious uncles!
4. Hocus Pocus (1993)
Witches. Bette Midler. Singing. ‘Nuff said.
5. An American Tail (1986)
If you say that your heart didn’t melt watching An American Tail then you’re a liar. This film’s cute levels are off the chart, and with music composed by James Horner you really can’t lose. In fact one thing I’ve noticed about the majority of my choices is the brilliance of their scores. I guess I’m a sucker for a swelling orchestra.
6. Mary Poppins (1964)
What can I possibly say about Mary Poppins that hasn’t already been said? Perhaps the fact that I used to tell my primary school friends that Julie Andrews was my great aunt (same surname), or perhaps the fact that I have a full size replica of her parrot umbrella? … No? Okay, I’ll move on.
7. Aladdin (1992)
Appearance number two for Robin Williams in what is probably my favourite Disney film of all time. Watch it again tomorrow and I guarantee you will understand jokes you didn’t understand the last time saw it, it’s perfect for kids and for adults and that is mainly thanks to good old Genie.
8. Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey (1993)
This one used to make me sob. The ugy kind of sobbing that comes out of your nose as well as your eyes, my ears may even have leaked too. Just watch the clip, you’ll see what I mean.
9. Jumanji (1995)
Admit it, you saw all the hell and chaos come out of that crazy customised backgammon board, but you still wanted to play, didn’t you? I’ll go first…
10. Mrs. Doubtfire (1993)
Last on my list and an amazing fourth mention for the one and only Robin Williams. He basically only the children’s film scene in the 1990s, I’m pretty sure I spent more time with him than I did with my own father.
So what have we learnt from this list? If you’re a dinosaur, a witch, a ghost, a talking animal or a transvestite, I love you.