First published on 13 Apr 2010. Updated on 28 May 2010.
The Snowman (1982)
Forget Frosty. Instead, checkout this 30-minute wordless animated fantasy about a boy whose frozen friend comes to life. After touring the kid’s house, the snowman takes him flying to the North Pole to meet Santa Claus. “It’s a very beautiful, quiet and sweet celebration of childhood secrets and imagination,” says Allison Prete. “It’s magical.”
The Adventures of Milo and Otis (1989)
This live-action cute-fest is Japanese in origin but was reworked for Western audiences. Milo the kitten and Otis the pug have grown up on a farm together. When Milo climbs into a box with the intention of taking a trip down a river, Otis follows. Many high jinks ensue. Dudley Moore’s voiceover is the cherry on top.
Toy Story (1995)
An envious cowboy doll named Woody becomes profoundly threatened when Buzz Lightyear, a deluded spaceman toy, supplants him as the preferred plaything in a kid’s room. “Pixar has an amazing track record,” says David Schwartz. “It could be easy for them to dominate this whole list, and rightly so.”
Stuart Little (1999)
In this film version of E.B. White’s tale, a mouse (voiced by Michael J. Fox) is adopted by a human family—much to the chagrin of their cat. Combining animation with live action, the movie “drifts dramatically from the original book but still tells a good story,” Ranny Levy says. There’s mild profanity.
Curious George (2006)
With his monkey friend, the Man with the Yellow Hat (voiced by Will Ferrell) sets out through the big city to try to save the museum where he works. “This is truly a film that even your youngest kids can enjoy,” says Levy. “It lacks the scary scenes and adult humor that are often included in current kids’ films.