50 films children should see before they turn 11

by Lauren Abbott

First came 50 things the National Trust said children should try before they are 11 and 3/4.

And now we have 50 films they should see before turning 11. 

Film correspondent Mike Shaw fast forwards through the list and picks out a few notables he thinks maybe should have made the final cut...

A list of 50 films children should see before they turn 11 has been published

A list of 50 films children should see before they turn 11 has been published

A film education charity called Into Film has published a list of the 50 films children should see before they turn 11.

The films were chosen by a panel of leading film experts and are said to aid a child’s intellectual, emotional and educational development.

Now you’ll find stands in most supermarkets selling DVDs of many of the 50 films. But is the list right? What was missed? And what shouldn’t have made the cut?

To be frank there are a few which fall into that last category. And a lot of them are the more modern films.

Recent cinema blockbusters feature in the list alongside older classics

Recent cinema blockbusters feature in the list alongside older classics

Some of these I like but they don’t deserve “must see” status. And I appreciate a list like this is subjective but come on now, The Gruffalo?

At least 15 of the 50 listed I think, shouldn’t be there, but the most egregious examples are: 

* Space Jam. It was a big deal in the 90s, but today, it means nothing. Looney Tunes characters have never been less popular and Michael Jordan means as much to kids today as Geoff Capes. Add the fact it’s just not very good makes it a weird inclusion. 

Should FROZEN have made the final list Picture courtesy of Disney.

Should FROZEN have made the final list? Picture courtesy of Disney.

* Frozen. It is a perfect example of how box office success doesn’t always mean a good film. Two good songs aren’t enough, I think, to cover up the huge boring icy wastelands in the plot.

* Trolls. It has to be a mistake? No one will remember Trolls. The same goes for Home and The Lorax. They’re likeable enough films, but not things our children *should* sit through before they turn 11.

Trolls has been exceptionally popular but should it be in the top 50 Picture PA Fox

Trolls has been exceptionally popular but should it be in the top 50? Picture: PA/ Fox

* Hotel Transylvania. This is another one like that. It’s pretty funny and horror fans get a lot out of the old movie references littered throughout, but there are better ways to give your kids a cinematic education.

So, if I’m removing six films, what could replace them?

The most glaring omission for me has to be My Neighbour Totoro. The list includes Studio Ghibli’s Spirited Away, but that’s more suitable for slightly older children. Totoro is probably the quintessential Ghibli movie, and it’s bizarre that it’s been overlooked.

Cruella de Vill from 101 DalmationsPicture Walt Disney Production, Buena Vista Distribution

Cruella de Vill from 101 Dalmations Picture: Walt Disney Production, Buena Vista Distribution

And where’s The Wizard of Oz? The story still grips youngsters, the film industry still uses its characters as a template for team-based stories, and the 75-year-old effects still impress.

Many of the arguments for why Oz should be there also apply to Labyrinth. Even kids that find Labyrinth a bit scary want to go back to it, because it’s full of the kind of weird creativity that gets under their skin.

David Bowie in Labyrinth (1986). Picture Moviestore Collection Ltd

David Bowie in Labyrinth (1986). Picture: Moviestore Collection Ltd

1990 film Home Alone, starring Macaulay Culkin

1990 film Home Alone, starring Macaulay Culkin

Replace the 1996 film Space Jam with 1993’s The Sandlot - a very funny and very sweet coming-of-age story. It’s set in the early 1960s, so is far enough removed to not seem kitsch or embarrassing. 

I’ll contradict myself immediately now, by bemoaning the lack of Flight of the Navigator, despite that film being deeply rooted in the 1980s thanks to unnecessary robots, Twisted Sister and dogs playing frisbee. But it remains a great story and the central themes still touch kids.

Finally… no Home Alone?

Have you met an under-11 who doesn’t love Home Alone and wants to watch it all year round, not just at Christmas? I didn’t think so.

 

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