The ’90s was a time of high fashion; bandanas, scrunchies and body piercings. But it was also a decade that saw HEAPS of fab family movies hit the big screen. Some of them, like Little Bigfoot and Baby’s Day Out deserve to be forgotten, but plenty of others have stood the test of time and definitely deserve another viewing.
Here are 10 of our favourites:
NB Ratings are attributed by the author and are subject to change. Find more information on ratings and classifications. Parental discretion is always advised.
1. The Lion King
Powerful, heart-warming and a little bit scary. All these elements combine to make this musical animation from 1994 one of the most-loved family flicks of all time. Young lion cub, Simba, grows up before our very eyes as he deals with the death of his father, King Mufasa, at the hands of his power-hungry uncle, Scar. When Simba eventually decides to fight for his rightful position in the pride, he must overthrow Scar and save the land from a terrible fate. Hakuna matata!
Adult compatibility: The cast of characters in this film promises unlimited entertainment, from Simba and Mufasa to Zazu (voiced by Rowan Atkinson) and Shenzi (voiced by Whoopi Goldberg), you will laugh, cry and be utterly consumed.
Ages: Scar and his band of crazed hyenas can put little ones on edge. Best suited to kids aged five and up.
2. Home Alone
Child-star Macaulay Culkin bursts onto the screen in this highly watchable slapstick comedy from 1990. When eight-year-old Kevin is accidentally left at home, while the rest of his family go to Paris for their Christmas holiday, all hell breaks loose. Kevin’s mum struggles to get on a return flight home and in the meantime young Kev has to protect his family home from a pair of silly would-be burglars. This riotous comedy is definitely worth a second viewing – and possibly even a third!
Adult compatibility: The idiotic antics of burglars Harry and Marv (played by Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern) are guaranteed to give you a chuckle.
Ages: Youngsters aged six and up will love this film and will be particularly fascinated by Kevin’s ability to think up a myriad of hilarious booby traps to halt Harry and Marv.
Robin Williams shines in this fantasy adventure film about a magical board game, where wild jungle animals come to life as each player takes their turn. When siblings Judy and Peter roll the dice they unintentionally release Alan Parish, who as a 12-year-old boy, himself became trapped inside the game. Now the adult Alan, along with his new found friends, Judy and Peter and old friend Sarah, must finish what he started in order to reverse all of the destruction the game caused.
Adult compatibility: The original storyline and special effects make this film compelling viewing.
Ages: The computer-generated creatures in this movie are VERY intense. Best suited to brave kids seven and up.
4. Homeward Bound: The incredible journey
Don’t panic! This talking animal tale has a lot more depth than you might think. When two dogs, Chance (Michael J. Fox) and Shadow (Don Ameche) and a cat named Sassy (Sally Field) find themselves ‘abandoned’ on a ranch far from home, they set out on a perilous journey across America in the hope of reuniting with their loved ones. Full of heart, this movie just seems to put kids in a wondrous trance.
Adult compatibility: Incredible cinematography and a powerful message about the strength of family, this movie gets TWO thumbs up for mums and dads.
Ages: Recommended for kids aged five and up. Note: There are some scenes that could cause younger viewers to worry about the animals’ safety.
5. Mrs Doubtfire
Once again, Robin Williams takes centre stage in this hilarious family comedy from 1993. Daniel Hillard disguises himself as a nanny and applies for a job to look after his estranged kids after his bitter divorce from Miranda (Sally Field). Daniel gets the job and fools everybody – but his disguise only lasts so long. When his real identity is revealed Daniel’s entire plan backfires. This film will tickle your funny bone and tug on your heartstrings all at the same time.
Adult compatibility: Great performances by the entire cast makes this a must-see movie for everyone.
Ages: Kids sensitive to the issues of divorce and separation might feel overwhelmed by this film. Best suited to kids upwards of 10 years.
6. A Goofy Movie
It’s not hard to fall in love with a movie that stars Disney’s resident klutz Goofy as the central character. In this animated musical comedy, Goofy drags his unappreciative son Max on a fishing trip in an effort to reach out to his troubled kid. Max is resentful because all he wants to do is spend time with his new-found love, Roxanne. But good old Goofy, despite his best intentions, always manages to goof things up!
Adult compatibility: We’re not sure who will love this film more; you or the kids! Lots of gags, accompanied by some great music.
Ages: This full-length animated funny will be a huge hit with kids aged five and up.
Based on Roald Dahl’s story of the same name, this is a delightful film about a bright little girl with telekinetic powers. Born to cruel parents and subjected to an equally cruel school principal who loathes children, Matilda, with the help of her lovely teacher Miss Honey, uses her special talents to change her world for the better.
Adult compatibility: This classic tale is made even better, thanks to a stellar performance by Danny DeVito (as Matilda’s scumbag dad). Entertaining viewing for all grown-ups.
Ages: The school principal is likely to scare the pants off little ones so best suited to kids aged seven and up.
8. The Sandlot (aka The Sandlot Kids)
This highly watchable coming-of-age film has a valuable message about the power of friendship. When Scotty Smalls moves to a new neighbourhood, he joins the local baseball team and learns the ins and outs of the game from Benny ‘The Jet’ Rodriquez. The group has a fantastic summer together, until something happens that only courage and team spirit can help them overcome.
Adult compatibility: Baseball fans of ALL ages will truly enjoy this well-told story.
Ages: This movie is particularly suited to sports-mad kids aged seven and above.
9. Free Willy
A gripping movie about the special bond between a delinquent boy and a killer whale, this film is the perfect family flick. When troubled street kid Jesse begins spending time with Willy – an orca whale held in captivity at a marine park – Jesse’s life seems to get back on track. But when he learns that the owners of the park have some ghastly plans in store for his beloved orca, Jesse does everything in his power to free Willy before it is too late.
Adult compatibility: A bit schmaltzy in places but definitely worth sitting through.
Ages: Great for animals lovers aged five and up.
This box office hit was nominated for seven Academy Awards, and has been popular family viewing since its release in 1995. When a down-and-out runt piglet named Babe comes to live on Farmer Hoggett’s farm he makes a rather drastic decision to become a sheepdog. Under the watchful eye of new found doggie friend, Fly, Babe manages to achieve something quite spectacular and in the process surprises everyone.
Adult compatibility: The special effects in the film are outstanding. A heartwarming story even adults will enjoy.
Ages: Recommended for viewers aged five and up, but be mindful that there are some wild dogs in this film that are quite aggressive.
This article was written by Kidspot Australia and is republished here with permission.
What’s your favourite 90s movie? Have you shared any of these classics with your own kids?