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50 Essential Movies For Kids

Looking to enrich your kid’s viewing habits? Or if you’re under 13 yourself, love movies, and you want to watch some of the best ever made, take it from us when we list 50 Essential Movies For Kids!

These are not just great children’s movies, but movies that play well for the curious and growing mind. While all these movies are classics and can be seen at any age, some have stronger themes than others that would play better during upper years. So, we separated the movies in suggested age categories:

Ages 1-5: Kids may not actively recall everything from this age, but a good baseline is fundamental in developing a healthy appetite for movies. Here we feature colorful classics (The Wizard of Oz), fun adventures (Chicken Run), and tales as old as time (Beauty and the Beast).

Ages 6-9: As more time is devoted to school and outside life, movies become more of an escape, and their power to transport starts to become apparent. Don’t miss out on epic quests (Star Wars), wish fulfillment (Home Alone), and dazzling fantasies (Spirited Away).

Ages 10-12: The magic window, the time in life when movies can move and change tweens, and stick for the rest of time. A good era for the classic portrayals of youth (The 400 Blows), face-melting action (Raiders of the Lost Ark), and romance (Romeo & Juliet).

Whether you’re a parent looking for a moral, entertaining movie night with your kids, or you’re a young student of movies making the leap on your own, check out these 50 Essential Movies For Kids!


Ages 1-5

#50
#50
Adjusted Score: 103577%
Critics Consensus: Enchanting, sweepingly romantic, and featuring plenty of wonderful musical numbers, Beauty and the Beast is one of Disney's most elegant animated offerings.
Synopsis: An arrogant young prince (Robby Benson) and his castle's servants fall under the spell of a wicked enchantress, who turns... [More]
Directed By: Gary Trousdale, Kirk Wise

#49

Chicken Run (2000)
97%

#49
Adjusted Score: 103668%
Critics Consensus: Chicken Run has all the charm of Nick Park's Wallace & Gromit, and something for everybody. The voice acting is fabulous, the slapstick is brilliant, and the action sequences are spectacular.
Synopsis: This engaging stop-motion, claymation adventure tells the story of an American rooster who falls in love with a gorgeous hen... [More]
Directed By: Peter Lord, Nick Park

#48

Frozen (2013)
90%

#48
Adjusted Score: 100194%
Critics Consensus: Beautifully animated, smartly written, and stocked with singalong songs, Frozen adds another worthy entry to the Disney canon.
Synopsis: When their kingdom becomes trapped in perpetual winter, fearless Anna (Kristen Bell) joins forces with mountaineer Kristoff (Jonathan Groff) and... [More]
Directed By: Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee

#47
#47
Adjusted Score: 98717%
Critics Consensus: Kiki's Delivery Service is a heartwarming, gorgeously-rendered tale of a young witch discovering her place in the world.
Synopsis: In this anime feature, 13-year-old Kiki moves to a seaside town with her talking cat, Jiji, to spend a year... [More]
Directed By: Hayao Miyazaki

#46
#46
Adjusted Score: 98719%
Critics Consensus: Alfonso Cuarón adapts Frances Hodgson Burnett's novel with a keen sense of magic realism, vividly recreating the world of childhood as seen through the characters.
Synopsis: When young Sara (Liesel Matthews) is sent to a boarding school by her well-meaning World War I-bound father (Liam Cunningham),... [More]
Directed By: Alfonso Cuarón

#45

The Muppet Movie (1979)
88%

#45
Adjusted Score: 92295%
Critics Consensus: The Muppet Movie, the big-screen debut of Jim Henson's plush creations, is smart, lighthearted, and fun for all ages.
Synopsis: After Kermit the Frog decides to pursue a movie career, he starts his cross-country trip from Florida to California. Along... [More]
Directed By: James Frawley

#44
#44
Adjusted Score: 95572%
Critics Consensus: My Neighbor Totoro is a heartwarming, sentimental masterpiece that captures the simple grace of childhood.
Synopsis: This acclaimed animated tale by director Hayao Miyazaki follows schoolgirl Satsuke and her younger sister, Mei, as they settle into... [More]
Directed By: Hayao Miyazaki

#43

The Red Balloon (1956)
95%

#43
Adjusted Score: 96991%
Critics Consensus: The Red Balloon invests the simplest of narratives with spectacular visual inventiveness, making for a singularly wondrous portrait of innocence.
Synopsis: A red balloon with a life of its own follows a boy around Paris.... [More]
Directed By: Albert Lamorisse

#42
Adjusted Score: 99231%
Critics Consensus: With its involving story and characters, vibrant art, and memorable songs, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs set the animation standard for decades to come.
Synopsis: The Grimm fairy tale gets a Technicolor treatment in Disney's first animated feature. Jealous of Snow White's beauty, the wicked... [More]
Directed By: David Hand

#41

Toy Story (1995)
100%

#41
Adjusted Score: 106146%
Critics Consensus: Entertaining as it is innovative, Toy Story reinvigorated animation while heralding the arrival of Pixar as a family-friendly force to be reckoned with.
Synopsis: Woody (Tom Hanks), a good-hearted cowboy doll who belongs to a young boy named Andy (John Morris), sees his position... [More]
Directed By: John Lasseter

#40

WALL-E (2008)
95%

#40
Adjusted Score: 105654%
Critics Consensus: Wall-E's stellar visuals testify once again to Pixar's ingenuity, while its charming star will captivate younger viewers -- and its timely story offers thought-provoking subtext.
Synopsis: WALL-E, short for Waste Allocation Load Lifter Earth-class, is the last robot left on Earth. He spends his days tidying... [More]
Directed By: Andrew Stanton

#39

The Wizard of Oz (1939)
98%

#39
Adjusted Score: 115182%
Critics Consensus: An absolute masterpiece whose groundbreaking visuals and deft storytelling are still every bit as resonant, The Wizard of Oz is a must-see film for young and old.
Synopsis: When a tornado rips through Kansas, Dorothy (Judy Garland) and her dog, Toto, are whisked away in their house to... [More]
Directed By: Victor Fleming


Ages 6-9

#38

Babe (1995)
97%

#38
Adjusted Score: 101437%
Critics Consensus: The rare family-friendly feature with a heart as big as its special effects budget, Babe offers timeless entertainment for viewers of all ages.
Synopsis: Gentle farmer Arthur Hoggett (James Cromwell) wins a piglet named Babe (Christine Cavanaugh) at a county fair. Narrowly escaping his... [More]
Directed By: Chris Noonan

#37
#37
Adjusted Score: 103093%
Critics Consensus: Inventive, funny, and breathlessly constructed, Back to the Future is a rousing time-travel adventure with an unforgettable spirit.
Synopsis: In this 1980s sci-fi classic, small-town California teen Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) is thrown back into the '50s when... [More]
Directed By: Robert Zemeckis

#36

Coco (2017)
97%

#36
Adjusted Score: 123816%
Critics Consensus: Coco's rich visual pleasures are matched by a thoughtful narrative that takes a family-friendly -- and deeply affecting -- approach to questions of culture, family, life, and death.
Synopsis: Despite his family's generations-old ban on music, young Miguel dreams of becoming an accomplished musician like his idol Ernesto de... [More]
Directed By: Lee Unkrich

#35
Adjusted Score: 110804%
Critics Consensus: Playing as both an exciting sci-fi adventure and a remarkable portrait of childhood, Steven Spielberg's touching tale of a homesick alien remains a piece of movie magic for young and old.
Synopsis: After a gentle alien becomes stranded on Earth, the being is discovered and befriended by a young boy named Elliott... [More]
Directed By: Steven Spielberg

#34

Elf (2003)
85%

#34
Adjusted Score: 90697%
Critics Consensus: A movie full of Yuletide cheer, Elf is a spirited, good-natured family comedy, and it benefits greatly from Will Ferrell's funny and charming performance as one of Santa's biggest helpers.
Synopsis: Buddy (Will Ferrell) was accidentally transported to the North Pole as a toddler and raised to adulthood among Santa's elves.... [More]
Directed By: Jon Favreau

#33
#33
Adjusted Score: 102147%
Critics Consensus: Fantastic Mr. Fox is a delightfully funny feast for the eyes with multi-generational appeal -- and it shows Wes Anderson has a knack for animation.
Synopsis: After 12 years of bucolic bliss, Mr. Fox (George Clooney) breaks a promise to his wife (Meryl Streep) and raids... [More]
Directed By: Wes Anderson

#32

The Goonies (1985)
77%

#32
Adjusted Score: 80852%
Critics Consensus: The Goonies is an energetic, sometimes noisy mix of Spielbergian sentiment and funhouse tricks that will appeal to kids and nostalgic adults alike.
Synopsis: When two brothers find out they might lose their house they are desperate to find a way to keep their... [More]
Directed By: Richard Donner

#31
Adjusted Score: 89062%
Critics Consensus: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone adapts its source material faithfully while condensing the novel's overstuffed narrative into an involving -- and often downright exciting -- big-screen magical caper.
Synopsis: Adaptation of the first of J.K. Rowling's popular children's novels about Harry Potter, a boy who learns on his eleventh... [More]
Directed By: Chris Columbus

#30

Home Alone (1990)
68%

#30
Adjusted Score: 71396%
Critics Consensus: Home Alone uneven but frequently funny premise stretched unreasonably thin is buoyed by Macaulay Culkin's cute performance and strong supporting stars.
Synopsis: When bratty 8-year-old Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) acts out the night before a family trip to Paris, his mother (Catherine... [More]
Directed By: Chris Columbus

#29
#29
Adjusted Score: 105966%
Critics Consensus: Boasting dazzling animation, a script with surprising dramatic depth, and thrilling 3-D sequences, How to Train Your Dragon soars.
Synopsis: Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) is a Norse teenager from the island of Berk, where fighting dragons is a way of life.... [More]

#28

Inside Out (2015)
98%

#28
Adjusted Score: 113968%
Critics Consensus: Inventive, gorgeously animated, and powerfully moving, Inside Out is another outstanding addition to the Pixar library of modern animated classics.
Synopsis: Riley (Kaitlyn Dias) is a happy, hockey-loving 11-year-old Midwestern girl, but her world turns upside-down when she and her parents... [More]
Directed By: Pete Docter

#27

The Karate Kid (1984)
89%

#27
Adjusted Score: 91186%
Critics Consensus: Utterly predictable and wholly of its time, but warm, sincere, and difficult to resist, due in large part to Pat Morita and Ralph Macchio's relaxed chemistry.
Synopsis: Daniel (Ralph Macchio) moves to Southern California with his mother, Lucille (Randee Heller), but quickly finds himself the target of... [More]
Directed By: John G. Avildsen

#26

The Iron Giant (1999)
96%

#26
Adjusted Score: 101302%
Critics Consensus: The endearing Iron Giant tackles ambitious topics and complex human relationships with a steady hand and beautifully animated direction from Brad Bird.
Synopsis: In this animated adaptation of Ted Hughes' Cold War fable, a giant alien robot (Vin Diesel) crash-lands near the small... [More]
Directed By: Brad Bird

#25

The LEGO Movie (2014)
96%

#25
Adjusted Score: 105889%
Critics Consensus: Boasting beautiful animation, a charming voice cast, laugh-a-minute gags, and a surprisingly thoughtful story, The Lego Movie is colorful fun for all ages.
Synopsis: Emmet (Chris Pratt), an ordinary LEGO figurine who always follows the rules, is mistakenly identified as the Special -- an... [More]

#24

Little Manhattan (2005)
77%

#24
Adjusted Score: 77385%
Critics Consensus: Little Manhattan is a sweet story of young love that provides an enlightening if pragmatic view on love and courtship.
Synopsis: Gabe (Josh Hutcherson), a sixth grader, is partnered with Rosemary (Charlie Ray) in his karate class. Though he's known her... [More]
Directed By: Mark Levin

#23

Matilda (1996)
90%

#23
Adjusted Score: 90504%
Critics Consensus: Danny DeVito-directed version of Matilda is odd, charming, and while the movie diverges from Roald Dahl, it nonetheless captures the book's spirit.
Synopsis: This film adaptation of a Roald Dahl work tells the story of Matilda Wormwood (Mara Wilson), a gifted girl forced... [More]
Directed By: Danny DeVito

#22
#22
Adjusted Score: 82899%
Critics Consensus: A magical journey about the power of a young boy's imagination to save a dying fantasy land, The NeverEnding Story remains a much-loved kids adventure.
Synopsis: On his way to school, Bastian (Barret Oliver) ducks into a bookstore to avoid bullies. Sneaking away with a book... [More]
Directed By: Wolfgang Petersen

#21

Paddington 2 (2017)
99%

#21
Adjusted Score: 113869%
Critics Consensus: Paddington 2 honors its star's rich legacy with a sweet-natured sequel whose adorable visuals are matched by a story perfectly balanced between heartwarming family fare and purely enjoyable all-ages adventure.
Synopsis: Settled in with the Brown family, Paddington the bear is a popular member of the community who spreads joy and... [More]
Directed By: Paul King

#20
#20
Adjusted Score: 103682%
Critics Consensus: A delightfully postmodern fairy tale, The Princess Bride is a deft, intelligent mix of swashbuckling, romance, and comedy that takes an age-old damsel-in-distress story and makes it fresh.
Synopsis: A fairy tale adventure about a beautiful young woman and her one true love. He must find her after a... [More]
Directed By: Rob Reiner

#19

The Sandlot (1993)
64%

#19
Adjusted Score: 68721%
Critics Consensus: It may be shamelessly derivative and overly nostalgic, but The Sandlot is nevertheless a genuinely sweet and funny coming-of-age adventure.
Synopsis: When Scottie Smalls (Thomas Guiry) moves to a new neighborhood, he manages to make friends with a group of kids... [More]
Directed By: David Mickey Evans

#18

Spirited Away (2001)
97%

#18
Adjusted Score: 103385%
Critics Consensus: Spirited Away is a dazzling, enchanting, and gorgeously drawn fairy tale that will leave viewers a little more curious and fascinated by the world around them.
Synopsis: 10-year-old Chihiro (Daveigh Chase) moves with her parents to a new home in the Japanese countryside. After taking a wrong... [More]
Directed By: Hayao Miyazaki, Kirk Wise

#17

Spy Kids (2001)
93%

#17
Adjusted Score: 97795%
Critics Consensus: A kinetic and fun movie that's sure to thrill children of all ages.
Synopsis: Two young kids become spies in attempt to save their parents, who are ex-spies, from an evil mastermind. Armed with... [More]
Directed By: Robert Rodriguez

#16
Adjusted Score: 105700%
Critics Consensus: A legendarily expansive and ambitious start to the sci-fi saga, George Lucas opened our eyes to the possibilities of blockbuster filmmaking and things have never been the same.
Synopsis: The Imperial Forces -- under orders from cruel Darth Vader (David Prowse) -- hold Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) hostage, in... [More]
Directed By: George Lucas

#15
Adjusted Score: 95387%
Critics Consensus: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory is strange yet comforting, full of narrative detours that don't always work but express the film's uniqueness.
Synopsis: The last of five coveted "golden tickets" falls into the hands of a sweet but very poor boy. He and... [More]
Directed By: Mel Stuart


Ages 10-12

#14

The 400 Blows (1959)
98%

#14
Adjusted Score: 104417%
Critics Consensus: A seminal French New Wave film that offers an honest, sympathetic, and wholly heartbreaking observation of adolescence without trite nostalgia.
Synopsis: For young Parisian boy Antoine Doinel (Jean-Pierre Léaud), life is one difficult situation after another. Surrounded by inconsiderate adults, including... [More]
Directed By: François Truffaut

#13
#13
Adjusted Score: 90717%
Critics Consensus: A warm, family-friendly underdog story, featuring terrific supporting performances from Keke Palmer, Laurence Fishburne, and Angela Bassett.
Synopsis: Akeelah, an 11-year-old girl living in South Los Angeles, discovers she has a talent for spelling, which she hopes will... [More]
Directed By: Doug Atchison

#12
#12
Adjusted Score: 99266%
Critics Consensus: Louis Malle's autobiographical tale of a childhood spent in a WWII boarding school is a beautifully realized portrait of friendship and youth.
Synopsis: In 1943, Julien (Gaspard Manesse) is a student at a French boarding school. When three new students arrive, including Jean... [More]
Directed By: Louis Malle

#11

Hugo (2011)
93%

#11
Adjusted Score: 100995%
Critics Consensus: Hugo is an extravagant, elegant fantasy with an innocence lacking in many modern kids' movies, and one that emanates an unabashed love for the magic of cinema.
Synopsis: Orphaned and alone except for an uncle, Hugo Cabret (Asa Butterfield) lives in the walls of a train station in... [More]
Directed By: Martin Scorsese

#10
#10
Adjusted Score: 78235%
Critics Consensus: A charming, quirky, and often funny comedy.
Synopsis: In small-town Preston, Idaho, awkward teen Napoleon Dynamite (Jon Heder) has trouble fitting in. After his grandmother is injured in... [More]
Directed By: Jared Hess

#9
#9
Adjusted Score: 89485%
Critics Consensus: Pee-Wee's Big Adventure brings Paul Reubens' famous character to the big screen intact, along with enough inspired silliness to dazzle children of all ages.
Synopsis: Pee-wee Herman (Paul Reubens), an eccentric child-like man, loves his red bicycle and will not sell it to his envious... [More]
Directed By: Tim Burton

#8

Queen of Katwe (2016)
94%

#8
Adjusted Score: 104629%
Critics Consensus: Queen of Katwe is a feel-good movie of uncommon smarts and passion, and outstanding performances by Lupita Nyong'o and David Oyelowo help to elevate the film past its cliches.
Synopsis: Living in the slum of Katwe in Kampala, Uganda, is a constant struggle for 10-year-old Phiona (Madina Nalwanga) and her... [More]
Directed By: Mira Nair

#7
#7
Adjusted Score: 102224%
Critics Consensus: Featuring bravura set pieces, sly humor, and white-knuckle action, Raiders of the Lost Ark is one of the most consummately entertaining adventure pictures of all time.
Synopsis: Dr. Indiana Jones, a renowned archeologist and expert in the occult, is hired by the U.S. Government to find the... [More]
Directed By: Steven Spielberg

#6

Romeo and Juliet (1968)
95%

#6
Adjusted Score: 98016%
Critics Consensus: The solid leads and arresting visuals make a case for Zeffirelli's Romeo and Juliet as the definitive cinematic adaptation of the play.
Synopsis: In the Italian city of Verona, the Montague and the Capulet families are perpetually feuding. When Romeo (Leonard Whiting), a... [More]
Directed By: Franco Zeffirelli

#5

Rudy (1993)
78%

#5
Adjusted Score: 81459%
Critics Consensus: Though undeniably sentimental and predictable, Rudy succeeds with an uplifting spirit and determination.
Synopsis: Rudy Ruettiger (Sean Astin) wants to play football at the University of Notre Dame, but has neither the money for... [More]
Directed By: David Anspaugh

#4
Adjusted Score: 121255%
Critics Consensus: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse matches bold storytelling with striking animation for a purely enjoyable adventure with heart, humor, and plenty of superhero action.
Synopsis: Bitten by a radioactive spider in the subway, Brooklyn teenager Miles Morales suddenly develops mysterious powers that transform him into... [More]

#3

Time Bandits (1981)
90%

#3
Adjusted Score: 92689%
Critics Consensus: Time Bandits is a remarkable time-travel fantasy from Terry Gilliam, who utilizes fantastic set design and homemade special effects to create a vivid, original universe.
Synopsis: Young history buff Kevin (Craig Warnock) can scarcely believe it when six dwarfs emerge from his closet one night. Former... [More]
Directed By: Terry Gilliam

#2

West Side Story (1961)
93%

#2
Adjusted Score: 103980%
Critics Consensus: Buoyed by Robert Wise's dazzling direction, Leonard Bernstein's score, and Stephen Sondheim's lyrics, West Side Story remains perhaps the most iconic of all the Shakespeare adaptations to visit the big screen.
Synopsis: A musical in which a modern day Romeo and Juliet are involved in New York street gangs. On the harsh... [More]

#1

The Witches (1990)
93%

#1
Adjusted Score: 95742%
Critics Consensus: With a deliciously wicked performance from Angelica Huston and imaginative puppetry by Jim Henson's creature shop, Nicolas Roeg's dark and witty movie captures the spirit of Roald Dahl's writing like few other adaptations.
Synopsis: While staying at a hotel in England with his grandmother, Helga (Mai Zetterling), young Luke (Jasen Fisher) inadvertently spies on... [More]
Directed By: Nicolas Roeg

Ernest Cline‘s book Ready Player One is like one giant easter egg, filled with ever-smaller easter eggs — like a pop-culture nerd’s own little Russian nesting doll. The plot is about the search for an Easter Egg, and each stage of that search is an easter egg unto itself. And then, every paragraph is laden with easter eggs of its own, references to video games and anime films and, more than anything else, the ’80s.

Steven Spielberg‘s adaptation of Ready Player One, which hits theaters March 30, makes a lot of changes to Cline’s book — author-approved changes, mind you, as Cline co-wrote the screenplay — but the spirit of the novel remains intact. In particular, the film, like the book, includes a ton of easter eggs and references. So many, in fact, we think it would require Cline himself multiple viewings to pick them all up. (Spielberg admitted recently that the special effects artists were adding things even he didn’t even pick up on until he was making very final shot approvals).

We don’t want to spoil the movie for you — half the fun of Ready Player One is in its surprise pop-culture references. But we do want to help you get the most out of your viewing experience — so you’re ready to catch every little easter egg on offer. With that in mind, we’ve put together a spoiler-free guide to what you should watch before you join Parzival, Art3mis, and a whole bunch of ’80s-flavored easter eggs in the OASIS.


Spielberg’s Entire Oeuvre (OK, maybe not Schindler’s List)

(Photo by ©Universal)

And maybe not Munich, or Amistad or The Post. And definitely not War Horse. But there are tons of nods to and cameos from Spielberg’s big blockbuster hits, especially the one about the dinos. The Spielberg gems come thick and fast and pretty early in the pic — so eyes out. It all makes a bunch of sense, given that the filmmakers had to secure the rights for every easter egg they use here. And it has us imagining a Spielberg-directed Ready Player One sequel, full of easter eggs referencing the original Spielberg-directed Ready Player One: Our pop-culture–loving minds were just blown.


Child's Play (1988) 71%

Famous ’80s slashers abound in Ready Player One — if you’ve seen the trailer, you know Freddy and Jason are back for their first reunion since carving up a member of Destiny’s Child in Freddy vs. Jason. But it’s scene-stealing killer doll Chucky who gets the most love, and screen time, from Spielberg. We weren’t able to spot his Bride or his Seed anywhere, but maybe you will.


Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) 93%

Arnold Schwarzenegger in 1984 film The Terminator (Orion Pictures Corporation)

(Photo by © TriStar)

As if you needed a reason to revisit James Cameron’s genre-defining sci-fi action classic. We won’t say when, what or how T2 is referenced, but Steven Spielberg said during a South By Southwest Q&A that this is his favorite easter egg in the movie.


Back to the Future (1985) 96%

(Photo by (c)Universal)

There are blink-and-you’ll miss them references to Robert Zemeckis’s 1980s favorite throughout, and the director himself is called out by name. In fact, the whole movie feels undergirded by the spirit of Marty McFly and his journeys back and forth through time. So, it’s worth watching Back to the Future just to prep for the vibes. The most obvious allusion to the movie, though — and we’re not spoiling anything here if you’ve seen the trailers — is the DeLorean that Parzival drives when he is inside the OASIS.


The Iron Giant (1999) 96%

(Photo by ©Warner Bros. Pictures)

One of the most beloved animated movies of the 1990s — and one of the most critically adored, with 96% on the Tomatometer — is used to great effect in Ready Player One. The giant robot’s role has been amped up considerably in the transition from book to film, a decision that seems to have paid off. When Spielberg first revealed the big guy in footage shown at Comic-Con last year, fans went wild; expect similar reactions in your theater when the Giant gets his big moments.


Saturday Night Fever (1977) 82%

Fans of the book will be excited to hear that Parzival and Art3mis make it to virtual nightclub, the Distracted Globe. And once there, well, it’s Dance Dance Revolution by way of John Travolta.


Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971) 91%

(Photo by Courtesy the Everett Collection)

Don’t expect to spot rogue Oompa Loompas in Ready Player One, or to spy a long-lost Augustus Gloop shooting through a random chocolatey tube somewhere in the background. Watch this wonderfully bizarre family classic to get a sense of the story beats. Wonka’s mysterious chocolate factory is a world of pure imagination, just like the OASIS, and danger lurks in both.


Street Fighter (1994) 12%

(Photo by ©Universal)

OK, maybe skip the movie and bring a bucket full of coins to an arcade that still has Street Fighter 2. If you’ve seen the trailer, you know the battle scenes feature a cavalcade of your favorite kicking, punching and hadouken-ing SF2 fighters. And there is a moment near the end of the movie that will blow… no, nope, we’re not saying anything else. But while you’re in video game mode, do brush up on Halo, Overwatch, and all your N64 classics.


King Kong (1933) 98%

King Kong, 1933

New York City’s favorite furry menace is central to one of Parzival’s key challenges, and that’s all we will say. You could dangle us from the top of the Empire State Building and we still wouldn’t tell you which one.


Akira (1988) 90%

(Photo by Courtesy the Everett Collection)

Like Ernest Cline’s book, Steven Spielberg’s film is littered with anime references. The most-front-and-center anime easter egg, though, comes in the form of the bike Art3mis (Olivia Cooke) rides. Yes, that’s Kaneda’s famous red motorbike from Akira.


Say Anything... (1989) 98%

The references in Ready Player One the book are broad. It wasn’t just about Spielberg movies and comics and Atari and anime; there were dramas and interesting novels and, yes, romcoms. And so it is with the film. You probably don’t need to rewatch the whole movie to get the key reference — just do a Google images search of the title — but there are worse ways to spend your time than enjoying a 98% Fresh classic.


Mad Max (1979) 90%

(Photo by ©Warner Bros)

Spielberg told Rotten Tomatoes that there are strong narrative parallels between Parzival’s journey and Max Rockatansky’s. “It’s a journey, it’s a chase, it’s a race,” said Spielberg. “There’s a goal in all of them… Mad Max is evocative of what we did here.” (Also, look around in Halliday’s office.)


Check out Movieclips’ Reference Guide for Ready Player One:

When the first of January hits, chances are you’ll be stuffed with holiday goodies, full of various meats and/or cheeses, and all partied out. You’ll also probably be looking for something to watch as you recover from all the festivities. Luckily, Netflix is releasing a ton of new stuff, particularly on January 1, that should keep you entertained. See below for the full list of new movies, TV shows, and originals coming to Netflix in January.


January 1 – January 7

 

The Age of Shadows (2016) 100%

Song Kang-ho (The Host) and Gong Yoo (Train to Busan) star in South Korean director Kim Jee-woon’s (I Saw the Devil; The Good, the Bad, the Weird) period thriller about two men on opposite sides of Korea’s fight for independence from Japan.

Available 1/1 on: Netflix


AlphaGo (2017) 100%

This documentary chronicles the drama leading up to the historic match-up between a human and an artificial intelligence playing against each other in the ancient Chinese strategy game of “Go.”

Available 1/1 on: Netflix


The Godfather (1972) 97%

Al Pacino and Marlon Brando lead an ensemble cast in Francis Ford Coppola’s adaptation of Mario Puzo’s mob family epic, widely considered one of the greatest films ever made. All three chapters of the Godfather saga will be available to stream on January 1.

Available 1/1: The Godfather, The Godfather Part II, The Godfather Part III


Apollo 13 (1995) 96%

Tom Hanks and Kevin Bacon star in Ron Howard’s Oscar-winning historical drama about the ill-fated titular space mission, during which an on-board explosion forced three astronauts to abort a trip to the moon.

Available 1/1 on: Netflix


Strictly Ballroom (1992) 91%

Baz Luhrmann’s debut feature is an adaptation of his own stage production about a ballroom dancer with a unique vision and his struggle to compete and win a prestigious competition.

Available 1/1 on: Netflix


The Truman Show (1998) 95%

Jim Carrey and Ed Harris star in this dramedy about a man who understandably freaks out when he discovers his entire life has been the center of a television production.

Available 1/1 on: Netflix


Midnight in Paris (2011) 93%

Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams, and a slew of stars breathe life into Woody Allen’s dreamy romantic comedy about an aspiring novelist who, on a trip to Paris with his fiancée, is transported back to an idealized version of the city in the 1920s.

Available 1/1 on: Netflix


The Shawshank Redemption (1994) 91%

Frank Darabont’s adaptation of the Stephen King novella stars Tim Robbins as a wrongly convicted accountant who befriends another inmate (Morgan Freeman) while serving his sentence.

Available 1/1 on: Netflix


Like Water for Chocolate (1992) 87%

Based on the novel of the same name by Laura Esquival, Alfonso Arau’s magical romantic tale centers on the forbidden love between a man and a young woman who can make others feel what she feels through the food that she cooks.

Available 1/1 on: Netflix


Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971) 91%

Gene Wilder offers an iconic performance as Roald Dahl’s slightly nutty candy mogul, who welcomes a handful of children to his sweets factory with the intention of bequeathing his company to one of them.

Available 1/1 on: Netflix


Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961) 89%

Arguably the most celebrated — surely the most widely recognized — Audrey Hepburn film. We just prefer to pretend all the Mickey Rooney stuff doesn’t exist.

Available 1/1 on: Netflix


Batman Begins (2005) 84%

Christian Bale and Michael Caine star in Christopher Nolan’s beloved reboot of the Batman mythology, a supremely effective but dark and brooding affair that set an ill-advised precedent for DC superhero movies to come.

Available 1/1 on: Netflix


King Kong (2005) 84%

Naomi Watts and Jack Black star in Peter Jackson’s update on the original monster movie, about a giant ape on a remote island who is captured and brought back to civilization for the amusement of humans.

Available 1/1 on: Netflix


The Italian Job (1969) 81%

Michael Caine stars in the original 1969 heist flick about a career criminal who takes on an eccentric team of accomplices for an elaborate robbery.

Available 1/1 on: Netflix


Lethal Weapon (1987) 80%

Mel Gibson and Danny Glover star as mismatched partners in this comedy about a pair of cops trying to take down a dangerous drug dealer. Its sequel will also be available to stream.

Available 1/1: Lethal Weapon, Lethal Weapon 2


Batman Returns (1992) 80%

For his cold, dark sequel to Batman, Tim Burton gave audiences not one, but two empathetic, pitiable villains: The Penguin (Danny DeVito) and the Catwoman (Michelle Pfeiffer).

Available 1/1 on: Netflix


Stardust (2007) 77%

Based upon Neil Gaiman’s fantasy novel and featuring an all-star cast, this fantasy follows a young man who embarks on a journey through a forbidden kingdom to prove his love to the girl of his dreams by presenting her with a fallen star.

Available 1/1 on: Netflix


Caddyshack (1980) 73%

Chevy Chase, Rodney Dangerfield, and Bill Murray star in Harold Ramis’s directorial debut, a beloved comedy about the unruly, unusual new members of an exclusive country club.

Available 1/1 on: Netflix


Wedding Crashers (2005) 76%

Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn star in this romantic comedy about a pair of cynical divorce attorneys who spend their time crashing weddings until they both meet their match in two very different women.

Available 1/1 on: Netflix


Monsters vs. Aliens (2009) 73%

Reese Witherspoon, Seth Rogen, and Hugh Laurie lend their voices to this DreamWorks animated film about a group of abnormal creatures who come to the aid of humanity when Earth is invaded by an alien robot.

Available 1/1 on: Netflix


Batman (1989) 71%

One of the most hyped movies in Hollywood history, Batman found director Tim Burton jettisoning the plots (if not the dark tone) of Bob Kane’s original comics, and utilizing set designs reminiscent of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis and freakish, brooding characters similar to… well, a Tim Burton movie.

Available 1/1 on: Netflix


Training Day (2001) 73%

Denzel Washington and Ethan Hawke star in Antoine Fuqua’s gritty crime thriller about a rookie cop learning the ropes from a veteran narcotics detective with a decidedly questionable moral compass.

Available 1/1 on: Netflix


Definitely, Maybe (2008) 70%

In this romantic comedy that essentially inspired How I Met Your Mother, Ryan Reynolds stars as a man who recounts his past conquests (played by Elizabeth Banks, Isla Fisher, and Rachel Weisz) to his daughter when his impending divorce makes her insufferably inquisitive.

Available 1/1 on: Netflix


Justin Bieber: Never Say Never (2011) 65%

Remember how innocent the Biebz was back in 2011, before all the tattoos and poopy-diaper pants? Watch this naively optimistic documentary about Ju-Bieb’s improbable rise to stardom from the gritty streets of Ontario to the echo chamber of YouTube and beyond.

Available 1/1 on: Netflix


Bring It On (2000) 64%

Kirsten Dunst and Eliza Dushku star in this tongue-in-cheek look at the competitive high school cheerleading scene that was so acceptable it lead directly to an MCU gig for director Peyton Reed (Ant-Man).

Available 1/1 on: Netflix


Love Actually (2003) 64%

Thanks in part to its luminous cast, which includes Bill Nighy, Hugh Grant, Liam Neeson, Emma Thompson, Colin Firth, Alan Rickman, Laura Linney, Keira Knightley, Billy Bob Thornton, Rowan Atkinson, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Andrew “CORRRRALL” Lincoln, Richard Curtis’ yuletide romantic comedy has become a seasonal cult favorite.

Available 1/1 on: Netflix


Rotten: Season 1 (2018) 86%

This Netflix original series examines the global scope and impact of some common food items, starting from the plate and following the trail of money and politics.

Available 1/5 on: Netflix


Episodes 80%

Showtime’s show business satire stars Matt LeBlanc as an exaggerated version of himself, tapped to play the lead in a new sitcom imported from the UK, and Tamsin Greig and Stephen Mangan as the put-upon husband-wife creators of said sitcom.

Available 1/6 on: Netflix


January 8 – January 14

 

The Conjuring (2013) 86%

Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga star in this supernatural horror story based on true events about a family experiencing unexplained disturbances in their new home who call upon paranormal investigators for help.

Available 1/8 on: Netflix


Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie (2017) 87%

Kevin Hart and Ed Helms lend their voices to this animated adaptation of the popular children’s books about a couple of young pranksters who hypnotize their principal into believing he is a superhero.

Available 1/10 on: Netflix


Colony: Season 2 (2017) 100%

Josh Holloway and Sarah Wayne Callies star in this sci-fi drama about a family struggling to survive during an alien invasion.

Available 1/10 on: Netflix


January 15 – January 21

Dallas Buyers Club (2013) 92%

Matthew McConnaughey won an Oscar for his portrayal of unlikely AIDS activist Ron Woodroof in Jean-Marc Vallée’s drama about the Texas man who was diagnosed with HIV and took matters into his own hands to find treatments wherever he could.

Available 1/16 on: Netflix


Bad Day for the Cut (2017) 92%

This indie thriller centers on a farmer who embarks on a campaign for vengeance through the Irish criminal underworld after his mother is murdered.

Available 1/18 on: Netflix


Grace and Frankie: Season 4 (2018) 100%

Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin star in this Netflix original series about two women who are forced to move in together when their husbands come out as gay and leave them for one another.

Available 1/19 on: Netflix


January 22 – January 28

A Futile and Stupid Gesture (2018) 67%

Will Forte and Domhnall Gleeson star in David Wain’s Netflix original film chronicling the rise and fall of humor magazine National Lampoon.

Available 1/26 on: Netflix


Dirty Money: Season 1 (2018) 100%

This Netflix original series from acclaimed documentarian Alex Gibney takes an episode-by-episode look at various acts of corporate greed and misconduct.

Available 1/26 on: Netflix


One Day at a Time: Season 2 (2018) 100%

This Netflix original series remakes and recontextualizes a popular 1970s-1980s sitcom about a divorced mother raising two teenage daughters: this time, they’re Cuban.

Available 1/26 on: Netflix


January 29 – January 31

The Force (2017) 87%

This acclaimed documentary takes a look at the men and women who make up the Oakland Police Department, and the department’s effort to reform itself over a period of two years.

Available 1/29 on: Netflix


Cars 3 (2017) 69%

Owen Wilson returns to voice Lightning McQueen in the third installment of Pixar’s Cars franchise, in which Lightning struggles to stave off retirement and makes one last go at winning the Piston Cup.

Available 1/31 on: Netflix

(Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for DGA)

Garth Davis is only getting started. With just a few credits to his name (including some TV work on Top of the Lake and Love My Way, as well as a documentary called P.I.N.S.), Davis directed Lion, a drama based on a true story about an adopted Indian man living in Australia who uses Google Earth to track down the small village where he grew up. The film has become a critical darling and an awards favorite, earning six Academy Awards nominations, and it has launched Davis into the big time. With the Oscars arriving shortly, we took the opportunity to speak with him and find out what movies make him tick. Here are Garth Davis’ Five Favorite Films:

A Woman Under the Influence (1974) 90%

This is my favorite. It’s A Woman Under the Influence by John Cassavetes. What I love about his movies — especially this film too — is just the performances are so brave. The characters are so unpredictable. They’re so full of life. Also, there’s such a social commentary in this movie about how society doesn’t allow people to be who they really are, and I just find that a great metaphor for so many things in one’s life. I thought, “Through this one relationship, I’m moved in such a deep way.”

I also love how Cassavetes pushes the performances so far that it finds this kind of amazing poetry at a certain point. I particularly remember this scene where Gena Rowlands is basically just so misunderstood and so cut down and beaten down that she finds this physicality. It was almost like a moment of ballet. I just think there’s something very genius going on in that film and very brave and I love it. It’s a beautiful film.

The Lovers on the Pont-Neuf (1991) 85%

Actually, I just thought of another one which really affected me. I don’t know if I’m going to pronounce it correctly. It’s Les Amants du Pont-Neuf — Lovers on the Pont-Neuf [aka Lovers on the Bridge]. It has Juliette Binoche in it and Denis Lavant. He’s very good. I was a university student when this came out. It’s kind of a love story of a privileged girl who’s going blind and she kind of runs away from her privileged life to live on the streets. And she falls in love eventually or creates this friendship with this homeless man. It’s an extraordinary film. It just blew my mind. Again, the filmmaking was incredibly brave and just committed and front-foot and so unique. Again, a film that looks at relationships and has a life in the characters — very alive. I don’t know. It was just an experience to watch that film. I just love it.

Seems you’re into deep character studies and human drama.

Yup. The human condition. Otherwise I’m not watching it [laughing].

The 400 Blows (1959) 98%

I love 400 Blows. [François] Truffaut is just a genius and, again, just there’s a total Cassavetian quality in his performances as well. I know that story was close to his own story, so that was very moving and just a totally immersive experience. I like him and a lot of the French filmmakers, obviously, for the exact reason we’re talking about. That last scene in 400 Blows where he escapes the children’s home in that really, really long tracking shot was just astonishing, just such an astonishing end to that film. That and when the kids steal a typewriter too, and they’re struggling with the weight of it; that was great. It’s just great, great fun.

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971) 91%

Okay. I’m going to say a weird one here — but what an amazing performance in that film. When I was a kid I just loved these kind of movies that just took me to another world. I still like watching it today. I watch it with my kids. Gene Wilder. What a performance. It’s just extraordinary. It’s just a film that’s always stayed with me and I still love it today. It’s still fascinating to look at. Gene Wilder is just wild and kind of lonely and mad and so unhinged. It’s a fantastic film.

My Name Is Joe (1998) 89%

Maybe My Name Is Joe, to mix it up a bit. At the time when I saw this, I was just wanting to get into filmmaking and I was really fascinated by Ken Loach — and Mike Leigh — because, again, they were social realist films. Loach is more politically based. My Name Is Joe was just such a moving film and it basically portrayed a portrait of a man that basically didn’t have a choice in the choices he made because of his political situation, and then, just how that wasn’t really enough. It was a really tragic, moving film. I just love that film.


Lion is now open in limited release.

AAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH!!!!


In The Boss, a titan of industry is sent to jail for insider trading and, upon release, discovers not all her peers are keen on welcoming her back. The Melissa McCarthy comedy inspires this week’s 24 Frames gallery, the best and worst bosses from movie history.

Greg Kinnear

How do you describe the career of a guy who started as the host of Talk Soup on E! and within five years was Oscar nominated for a role opposite Jack Nicholson? Greg Kinnear certainly hasn’t taken the usual career path. He may have starred opposite Tom Hanks in You’ve Got Mail, but he was also conjoined with Matt Damon, played a sex addict and a meat inspector, guest starred on Friends and voiced a character in the Beavis and Butthead movie. Not to mention leading the SAG-winning ensemble in one of the best indie comedies of recent years in Little Miss Sunshine.

Now he’s on screen as the inventor Bob Kearns in Flash of Genius, and he was happy to be playing a real-life character no one’s ever heard of. “Well, it’s not like everybody comes in with a preconceived idea of who Bob Kearns is,” he says. “So it was kind of loose as to how I could portray him. You know, nobody’s ever going to stand up in the theatre and say, ‘Hey, that’s not what I remember the intermittent windshield wiper guy to be like!’ It’s not like with Clinton or Nixon or some sort of galvanising figure that everyone’s familiar with. At the same time, as an actor I felt absolutely obligated to try to, as best I could, make him real.”

Later this year he’ll be sees in Paul Greengrass‘ new film Green Zone, about the hunt for WMDs in Baghdad after the American invasion. “Paul is a remarkable director,” he says. “He just has an immediacy on the set. He doesn’t come in with a prearranged agenda of how things are going to go, and he’s always chasing something that’s not easily found. It’s his own journey as a filmmaker, but I think everybody feels like you want to give him everything you’ve got, because the thing that he’s searching for always translates to the screen, always creates these pictures that feel very vibrant. He has a way of making even smallest moments really big and lifelike on screen. It was wonderful.”

When asked about his five favourite films, he looks to the ceiling and comments that he’s going through his mental Rolodex…


Greg Kinnear

Something Wild

Something Wild

“Great performances from a great ensemble of actors. Jonathan Demme did such a great job of making that look so real, creating an atmosphere that felt very immediate. It’s a funny film, but it’s scary as hell in parts. And it’s a completely unpredictable movie, I think. There’s no expectation, as you go into that film, what to expect or where it’s going.”

Click on a thumbnail below.

Something Wild
Something Wild

The Godfather
The Godfather

Chinatown
Chinatown

North by Northwest
North by Northwest

Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory
Willy Wonka


Greg Kinnear

The Godfather

The Godfather

“For obvious reasons. It’s just painted on a giant canvas – it’s larger than life. There’s a reason it’s a classic, and I don’t know what else to say about it that hasn’t already been said. It’s just one of the greats. There’s not a character in it that I don’t like, and there’s not a performance in it that’s flawed. It’s incredible.”

Click on a thumbnail below.

Something Wild
Something Wild

The Godfather
The Godfather

Chinatown
Chinatown

North by Northwest
North by Northwest

Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory
Willy Wonka


Greg Kinnear

Chinatown

Chinatown

“I had a chance to work with Jack Nicholson, which was a real thrill. You can scoop out a lot of performances from Jack, and consider them as possible films you could add to this list, but that was a great performance. Roman Polanski‘s direction is incredible too. It’s a movie where, the first time you see it, it’s kind of shocking because you don’t know where it’s going and how big the story actually is that’s being told.”


Greg Kinnear

North by Northwest

North by Northwest

“I like the classics! I like a pretty eclectic mix actually. But if you want a great old movie, this is it. It’s in colour but it always feels like a black and white movie to me. It feels like a film with great history in it, and it’s got great style.”

Click on a thumbnail below.

Something Wild
Something Wild

The Godfather
The Godfather

Chinatown
Chinatown

North by Northwest
North by Northwest

Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory
Willy Wonka


Greg Kinnear

Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory

Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory

“It’s one of the great endings to a movie ever when Willy asks Charlie what happened to the little boy who got everything he ever wanted. “You don’t know? He lived happily ever after!” And then the glass elevator breaks through the glass roof. It’s incredible. I worked briefly on a television show with Mel Stuart, the director, and heard all sorts of fantastic stories about that remarkable film. And of course I knew all the songs – I still do. I have a 5-year-old, but I haven’t shown it to her yet. It’s kind of scary – that guy who shows up with the little shopping carriage and makes that little speech about how nobody who goes in ever comes out. And the Oompa Loompas. And that boat ride – woo, acid trip!”

Click on a thumbnail below.

Something Wild
Something Wild

The Godfather
The Godfather

Chinatown
Chinatown

North by Northwest
North by Northwest

Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory
Willy Wonka


Flash of Genius opens in UK cinemas this week. It is on DVD in the US and in cinemas in Australia.

Two of Mexico’s most excellent filmmakers, Alfonso Cuaron and Guillermo del Toro, are planning to get together and mount a new cinematic adaptation of Roald Dahl‘s "The Witches," which was last made into a movie by Nicolas Roeg in 1989. (The one with Anjelica Huston!)

Says Variety: "Del Toro is set to direct from his screenplay; Cuaron … will produce through his New York-based shingle Esperanto. Del Toro said his "Witches" adaptation would be "quite smaller but most likely very much designed," alluding to the eye-popping look of the previous pics. He has written 70-plus of what he expects will be a 100-page screenplay. For Del Toro, "The Roeg film is a brilliant movie but certain aspects are a departure from Dahl’s original … Dahl had the brilliance of writing children’s stories which shocked adults."

Films based on Dahl’s works include "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory," "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," "Matilda," and "James and the Giant Peach."

The Hollywood Reporter indicates that Val Kilmer, Meryl Streep, and Liu Ye will star in a dark drama about a Chinese exchange student who reacts dangerously after being screwed out of the chance to win a Nobel Prize.

"Val Kilmer has joined the cast of Myriad Pictures’ drama "Dark Matter," alongside Meryl Streep and Chinese actress Liu Ye ("The Promise"), Myriad announced Wednesday ahead of Berlin’s European Film Market. Produced by Myriad and New York-based Saltmill, "Dark Matter" is the story of a Chinese exchange student who takes revenge after her hopes for a Nobel Prize are wrecked by internal school politics. Australian cinematographer Christopher Doyle ("Hero," "2046") is in negotiations to lens the film, which opera director Chen Shi-Zheng will helm in his feature film debut."

This week’s wide releases blend the sweet and the sour. Sweet, like the taste of chocolate or true love; sour, like unabashed excess or scoundrel-like behavior. Will critics develop a taste for "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" or "Wedding Crashers?"

"Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" is one of the most beloved children’s films of all time, so naturally there was some trepidation when it was announced that Tim Burton would be remaking it. Well, it appears those concerns were as misplaced as Veruca Salt’s self-regard. Critics are biting into this eye-catching confection, which tells the surreal tale of five lucky kids who win a trip inside the world of the eccentric candy magnate Wonka (played by Johnny Depp). At 88 percent on the Tomatometer, the reviewers say it’s a visual treat, wondrous and demented in equal measure. Nonetheless, it’s still a bit short of the original "Willy Wonka," which notched a 96 percent on the Tomatometer.

Frat-packers Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson are two very funny guys, and much of their appeal revolves around the fact that they are each in a state of arrested development, with a hint of desperation. In "Wedding Crashers," they play two thirtysomething dudes on the make who have found the perfect racket: the wedding scene, where women are in the mood for love. The critics are feeling the love as well; at 84 percent on the Tomatometer, the scribes have found this comedy to be a near perfect union of raunch and sentiment. And it’s a high point in the careers of its two stars; only "Rushmore" (for Wilson, at 85 percent) and "Return to Paradise" (for Vaughn, at 87 percent) have scored higher on the Tomatometer.

Other Vince Vaughn/ Wilson Brothers Collaborations
—————————————————————-
61% – Starsky and Hutch (2004)
59% – Old School (2003)
62% – Zoolander (2001)

Other Tim Burton/ Johnny Depp Collaborations:
———————————————————-
NA – The Corpse Bride (2005)
73% – Sleepy Hollow (1999)
89% – Ed Wood (1994)
91% – Edward Scissorhands (1990)

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