In a recent quest to avoid having to watch a certain animated film featuring talking race cars for the gazillionth time, I stumbled across a wonderful resource for parents who want to expose their children to movies that are age-appropriate, culturally sensitive and (let's not forget) entertaining.
The Top 100 Kid Films list, released by the organization Kids First, features a wide range of titles – from animation, musicals and comedy to drama, action/adventure and fantasy films – spanning 70 years of filmmaking. According to Parenthood.com, the list was chosen "by the public through online voting from a list of films selected by a jury of more than 3,000 children and adults with backgrounds in education, child development and child-service professions."
The criteria for endorsement were tough but fair. All films that made the cut were deemed free of gratuitous violence or abuse, inappropriate sexual behavior, and bias in terms of race, gender, culture or religion. In addition, the films must show no condescension toward children nor could they demonstrate "replicable unsafe behavior."
Since finding the list, my almost-five-year-old, Sam, and I have watched a couple of new (to him) films together. Lady and the Tramp was a definite hit. Cinderella, on the other hand, was a bit harder to explain. (Poor Sam was really troubled by the fact that everyone in Cinderella's family was so mean to her.) Next up: Dr. Dolittle and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang!