Top 10 Children’s Movies

Being a parent of both a six year old boy and a two year old girl, I get to see a great variety of children’s programing and movies. I also have come to the realization that not all programs that claim to be child friendly, really are. So I decided to compile a list of the best children’s movies.

My selection followed three basic criteria. 1) Parent approved. Being a conservative Christian, it is important to me that the right values and teachings are being portrayed on the screen. Anything that contains undue vulgarity, innuendos, and crudeness is not approved. Sorry Shrek. 2) Kid approved. Though it may be cool for the parents to show films like The Sound of Music, the truth is the kids don’t like it. Time to get with the times. 3) Mass market theatrical release. As much as I want to wade through the infinite sludge of straight-to-video children’s movies, not gonna do it. Besides, are they really that good anyway? What are we on now, Land Before Time 30?

Now to the List.

Honorable Mentions. Narrowing down to a top ten was tough, so I thought I’d mention some of the “losers” in this little competition.

Herbie Fully Loaded – Great family fun and keeps the kids well entertained. But this Herbie suffers from what I call “the Lindsey Lohan” factor. Do you really want to explain to your children why that cool girl in Herbie is on those magazines in the checkout line? And let us not forget, Herbie is really a comedy version of Christine. Don’t make the bug mad.

Toy Story 2 – This is a great story about not giving up on your friends. The kids love it, but still I was reluctant to put it on the final list. Why? This story is one step away from Chucky. Don’t believe me? See Toy Story 1, where Woody does a great Exorcist imitation.

Mary Poppins – Good singing and dancing, keeps the kids into it for a while but loses them. You know where. The chimney sweep song. Loses me too, frankly.

101 Dalmatians – Guess it doesn’t matter if it’s the movie or the cartoon. The kids don’t really dig the scary witch lady. Puppies are cute though. But we all know how this story really ends… 101 DOGS.

The Parent Trap – The new one. It’s fun, it’s entertaining. We get to overlook “the Lindsey Lohan” factor because it’s hard to recognize her prepubescent. But eventually you’ll get the question: Why didn’t their parents let them talk or visit each other? To which you’ll answer, “Because their parents are selfish, masochistic, psychos.”

An American Tail – This is the only Don Bluth film that even came close. Great family values, but a little scary at times.

The Prince of Egypt – Likewise, the only Dreamworks film that came close. This is probably one of the best tellings of the Exodus story to have been made in quite some time. So if you think your child is ready to learn about Moses, start with Veggie Tales Moe and the Big Exit. And when they grow out of that, watch this. And for the love of all that is good and holy, you may think it’s awesome to see Charlton Heston hold the Ten Commandments in his hands, but your children DO NOT!


10. The Polar Express

This Christmas movie is a huge hit at my house all year, if we’d allow it. Great messages about friendship, responsibility, and faith. The only thing to watch out for here is the angel/ghost character and the inevitable Santa Claus debate. But if you had to pick a Santa, this is much better than Tim Allen.

9. Meet the Robinsons

Ok, so this pick is a little parent weighted. The kids don’t like the beginning so much, but they’ll sit down in the middle. The positives of this movie are the messages of family, and never giving up. This movie is geared just to deliver those messages. The only draw back I see, is the psychopathic Frannie who seems to have infected her illness to her entire family. Really, she talks to frogs, another is married to a wooden puppet, and they have a giant squid butler. Oh, and watch out for the post-apocalyptic Skynet/Matrix moment.

8. Wall-E

Simple, sweet, and fun. The kids would watch it more if it contained more music, I suppose. And they’re not old enough to catch the subtle “save-the-environment” and micro-evolution hints. If it wasn’t for those, this might be higher on the list. And before this movie, I didn’t realize girl robots could get pms.

7. Finding Nemo

Pixar makes the list again with this fishy tale. Messages include: never giving up, hope, and respect. For the parents, we have a message of not being unreasonably overprotective of our children. And for the more critically astute, there’s a message of dealing and overcoming social and physical obstacles in regards to mental and physical disabilities. (Missed that one, did ya?)

6. The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything

You may have missed this if you don’t keep up with Veggie Tales. Yes, it was in the theater so it qualifies for my list. This Veggie Tales movie gives us a story of perseverance and becoming all that God wants you to be. With solid Christian values you can’t go wrong. More on Veggie Tales later.

5. Winnie-the-Pooh

I don’t know why, but when it comes to old Disney films there’s usually something to not like about them in our politically correct anti-violence society. But Pooh seems to be set apart. Originally released in the late 60’s as three theatrical short featurettes, this is the last project that Walt Disney himself had involvement in. With positive messages and good clean entertainment, it’s no wonder Pooh still has popularity with now it’s 3rd generation of viewers.

4. Beauty and the Beast

So I have this two year old girl who wants to be a princess. I don’t mind her watching the princess movies, but Belle seems to be the only one who isn’t suffering from some form of freudian complex. All the princesses have severe “daddy” issues: Snow White moves in with seven men, Briar Rose is banished as a baby, Cinderella’s dad is dead and now she thinks mice can talk, Jasmine has the whole arranged marriage problem, Ariel… well, Ariel’s issues are too numerous to expound upon. All this to say, Belle has a loving caring, albeit a little loony, father. I can just hear her telling the other princesses “my daddy loves me more than yours does”. And honestly, that’s what I want my daughter to tell other little girls.

3. Up

Once again, Pixar makes the list with their latest film. Up is brimming with positive family messages. A few of these are: living life to its fullest, keeping your word, honesty, perseverance, and (for the grownups) the importance of a little boy to have a male role model. Plus we get an all-access pass into the minds of dogs, which is great. Who doesn’t want that? The only thing that offends me is that they named the goofy bird Kevin.

2. Jonah

And now we come back to Veggie Tales. The company behind Veggie Tales, Big Idea, is a Christian company that has built itself on telling bible stories with talking vegetables. I know that’s what I used to do at dinner time, didn’t you? Jonah is a fun and clean Veggie Tale movie based directly on the Biblical account of Jonah. Your kids are sure to be singing the songs… you probably will too. This film also features the afore mentioned Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything. Wish I had their job.

1. Curious George

Curious George? Really? Yup. At first I thought that Will Ferrell and Drew Barrymore couldn’t possibly make a children’s movie that didn’t result in screaming, crying, and did-that-obscene-word-just-come-out-of-my-toddler’s-mouth? But this movie is clean, simple, and fun. The animation is minimalistic and beautiful. The only thing negative I can honestly say your child may take away from this, is a desire to run out and eat a firefly. And if they did… well, you’d probably laugh. Oh, and it’s fun to paint on walls… to which you probably won’t laugh.

Well, that’s it for my meager opinion anyway. If I left your favorite out, it’s probably because it isn’t any good and you don’t have children. Or else you want to raise little hooligans. But if you work your way through my list, I’m sure you’ll come to at least partially agree. Hey, that’s the beauty of living in America… you can like it or lump, so long as you get to express your opinion.

About Keven Newsome

Keven Newsome is an musician, theologian, and a bit of a nerd. He enjoys a variety of musical genres, from Christian rock to movie soundtracks to KPop. A former band director, he plays about a dozen instruments, given a couple of weeks to practice up. His theological work has included a book on multi-generational ministry and a thesis on the theology of communicating with the dead. As for his nerd-card, he enjoys the fandoms of The Legend of Zelda, Doctor Who, Avatar: The Last Airbender, and Lord of the Rings. With a music degree from William Carey University and a theology degree from the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, Keven actively serves in ministry as both pastor and worship leader.

3 comments on “Top 10 Children’s Movies


  2. lol, I do like your list and have seen all of your top ten – except, as luck would have it, Curious George, but maybe I’ll check it out. I will say though that my kids actually do like Sound of Music. However, I steered away from Beauty and the Beast shortly after my eldest started whimpering “Please, please, I’ll do anything!” Took me a while to connect it Gaston begging for his life at the end, and then it doesn’t help to consider that after they let him live he double crosses them and stabs the hero in the back – literally. Oh well. As a writer, I know the value of tension but sometimes I wonder if it can be too much for the kids. My kids are all 2 years apart so it’s tough to decide what to put on. My 2 year old freaks out over Swiper from Dora, let alone the sharks of Nemo, the cheese curls of the pirates, etc.

  3. Your list pretty much reflects the favorites in my family too. My kids are 16 and 18 and we watched “Curious George” again just a few weeks ago, and loved it. We’re big fans of Veggietales and “Up” is our current SQUIRREL! all time favorite.

    When deciding on a film we usually ignore the normal rating system and use the kidsinmind site instead. They have a much higher standard and they list everything in the film that might cause offence.

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