If you and your kids are planning a movie night together curled up on the sofa with tasty treats or if you’re babysitting the little ones in your life this weekend, why not take a trip down memory lane and introduce them to the ultimate Disney classics that have stood the test of time. Not only will these wonderful adventures keep them on the edge of their seats, but their underlying messages still have relevance in today’s modern era.
Here are six Disney classics that should be at the top of your movie-night agenda, the only problem is the kids might have them on repeat for the rest of the summer.
Based on the Italian children's novel The Adventures of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi, Jiminy Cricket narrates the story of Pinocchio. The wooden puppet is created by carpenter Geppetto who makes a wish upon a star that Pinocchio would become a real boy. A blue fairy brings Pinocchio to life but he is still a puppet, the fairy tells Pinocchio that he must be brave, truthful and unselfish to become a real boy. However Pinocchio is led astray and with every lie he tells his nose gets bigger and bigger. A great film to teach children the importance of truth and honesty.
One Hundred and One Dalmatians (1961)
Songwriter Roger Radcliffe lives in London with his Dalmatian dog Pongo who finds him a wife, and she too has a Dalmatian dog called Perdita. Pongo and Perdita have a litter of puppies but one night they are stolen by two men who work for Cruella De Vil, and the expedition begins to find the missing puppies. This is a tale of love, team-work and unshakable belief as these dogs with the help of their animal friends and their owners, do not give up until their puppies (plus 99 others) are back home safe and sound. This animated film is based on Dodie Smith’s novel and would make a great bedtime story.
Fox and the Hound (1981)
A young red fox becomes orphaned but with the help of Big Mama Owl and friends, he becomes adopted by a farmer, Widow Weed, and she names him Todd. A hound puppy called Copper falls into Todd’s company and they become best friends but they are from different sides of the track and their friendship is put into jeopardy. Loosely based on the Daniel P. Mannix’s novel, the Fox and the Hound remains relevant in today’s day and age, and teaches us that true friendship can overcome the boundaries of our society.
The Lion King (1994)
The Lion King broke hearts all over the world when viewers witnessed Simba losing his father Mufasa when he was a young lion cub. I cried my eyes out at this part (and I still do), but don’t let that put you off showing it to your little ones because it is an epic adventure that highlights the unbreakable bond between great friends and the unconditional love of family as Simba returns to Pride Rock to claim the kingdom that his father left behind.
If you want to highlight girl power then Pocahontas is a must-see (Mulan is another great one). I grew up idolising the Indian Princess who was a consistent rule breaker but her heart was always in the right place. Inspired by the true story, Pocahontas falls in love with English man John Smith which adds fuel to the fire between the Native Americans and the English settlers in Jamestown Virgina. As war looms between the two parties Pocahontas becomes the hero who saves her lover and prevents many more lives being lost. The soundtrack for this film, Colours of the Wind, also teaches great life lessons.
When baby Tarzan and his parents escape a shipwreck they find themselves in a rainforest on the coast of Africa. They hideout in a tree-house but are killed by a leopardess and Tarzan becomes an orphan alone in the jungle. A motherless ape finds Tarzan and she adopts him as her own. As Tarzan grows up within the family of apes the physical differences are apparent and when he meets Jane, Tarzan realises the truth about his identity. The life lesson in this one is that family is not determined by appearance but by love.
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