Thursday, July 25, 2013

40 Old Movies For Family Movie Nights

We love movies here at my house. One of our weekly traditions is the Family Movie Night. Generally, we take on a new rental, but frankly sometimes there isn’t a whole lot we care to see. 

I started thinking about some of the great movies I enjoyed when I was a kid. And surprisingly, I found that a lot of them were old movies. 

I’ve told this story before. Up until I was in High School we lived the Boston Mountain range of the Ozarks (located in North Arkansas). We lived way out in the hills down a long dirt road. Not to worry. We had electricity and plumbing (most of the time). We had plenty of land to explore and books lined the walls of our family room. We also received a grand total of two television stations. NBC and PBS. The PBS station was a wealth of entertainment. That is where I first found my love of Doctor Who (Tom Baker, anyone?), saw my first ever Shakespearean play and learned about the migration of the humpback whale. 

Our PBS station was also terrific about playing old movies during their Saturday Matinees. I don’t know if any PBS stations do that anymore. I loved those old movies. 

So I’ve done a pretty good job (thank you very much) of introducing my son to the wonderful world that is Doctor Who. Shakespeare has been a little bit different. We are working on that. 

The Studly Muffin also counts a few old movies among his favorite movies of all time.
So here’s my plan. I have compiled a list of old movies favorites and we are going to add them to our movie night rotation. 

The criteria? 

The movie has to be older than the year of any of our births.  Troy was born in 1962. I was born in 1972. Josiah was born in 2001. I have to say that The Muffin’s birth year put a kink in some of my plans a bit. The man is getting old! I am going to have make a separate list made up of our favorite movies between'62 and '72. Just 'Cause.

And as much as we love an animated move, none of the movies can animated. Sorry, Dumbo. You know I love ya.

You will see that there are a disproportionate number of musicals. That’s because I’m the mama. You will also find that I have not included any of the angst ridden classics of Tennessee Williams.
They make me nervous.

And I did not include Old Yeller or Gone with the Wind. I do enjoy Gone with the Wind. However, I still have impromptu crying bouts I can attribute to seeing Old Yeller in the old theater downtown when I was in elementary school.  Don’t judge me. The Muffin and Josiah can cry on their own time.

I also didn't include some of my favorites (like Hitchcock's thriller Rear Window) simply because I know my son. He would  immediately set up a lookout station for any suspicious activity in the neighborhood.'s intense!!

We won’t watch this all this year (or probably next), but this list gives me a good starting place. 

Those marked with a * (doo hickie) are ones we own currently. We will probably start with those or those we can find on Netflix or at the Library. I am a frugal gal, after all.  

Here they are...In no particular order.
  1. The Parent Trap – Not the remake! Many enjoy the remake (with Lindsay Lohen) better. I have to say I enjoy the Hayley Mills version better. 
  2.  Adventures of Robin Hood – Nothing like an old Errol Flynn movie. 
  3.  Meet Me In St. Louis – Classic. Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas. ‘Nuff said.”
  4. Bringing Up Baby – Sigh. 
  5.   *Singin' in the Rain – One of my favorites. Ever.  
  6. The African Queen – Classic Bogart and Hepburn.
  7. The Quiet Man  - Really a special movie.
  8. The Shop Around the Corner – The original “You’ve Got Mail.” 
  9.  *The Ladies Man- Troy is a big Jerry Lewis fan. This one has him rolling on the floor.
  10.  *It’s A Wonderful Life – Sniff. Sniff. Who can resist this one? 
  11. Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House - A funny Cary Grant movie....especially if you are a remodeling your house :<)
  12. Little Women – Is it awful that I actually prefer the remake with Winona Ryder?
  13. *Mr. Smith Goes to Washington – Every young person needs to see this movie. Where is Mr. Smith when we need him?
  14.  National Velvet  - Such a treasure. 
  15.   *The Pride of the Yankees – Another of Troy’s favorites.
  16. * Pollyanna– Ever played the Glad Game? Every family needs to watch this one. 
  17. *The Ten Commandments – Is it strange that I've watched this one so much when I was little that I know every word by heart. Whenever I think of Moses I think of Charlton Heston. 
  18.   Imitation of Life – You Must Watch This (especially with your older kids)! Get the Lana Turner version.
  19. Easter Parade – Sweet Judy Garland movie
  20. Holiday Inn – Great musical with Bing and Fred.
  21. *White Christmas – Duh! Are you noticing a theme here? Musicals! This one of our family favorites.
  22.  An American in Paris – Gene Kelly. Brillant. That is all.
  23.  *Seven Brides For Seven Brothers  - Love. The. Musical.
  24. Funny Face – What? Another Musical. It’s not over yet, folk
  25.  High Noon – Stand Off. Must See.
  26.  Rio Bravo – I have to say that this John Wayne Classic is another one of my “strange childhood favorite movies. Partner. And Walter Brennan is an American Classic.
  27.  *Yankee Doodle Dandy – One of The Muffins favorites. And it’s a musical!  
  28.  The Princess Bride - What? Oops. Didn't mean to sneak that one in there. Inconceivable!
  29.  My Six Loves - I love this sweet Debbie Reynolds movie. Adoption and Preachers. That's all I'm saying. 
  30. The Little Princess – Nothing like a sweet Shirley Temple movie. I liked the remake, too.
  31.  The 7th voyage of Sinbad – Now here is some good old fashioned adventure! I can remember watching this and eating some homemade tapioca pudding. Which oddly enough has nothing to do with Sinbad or any of his voyages.
  32.  *The Wizard of Oz – If you haven’t seen this one you might just live on Mars
  33. *Cheaper by the Dozen – This is the old one my friends. The remake with Steve Martin is fun…but there is nothing like this oldie. Pass the Kleenex.
  34. The Court Jester  – Danny Kaye. Such a treasure. So funny. 
  35.  Daddy Long Legs – Love this! I love the book even more
  36. Andy Hardy Movies (any of them) – Also the favorite of The Muffin. We are currently looking for copies of any and all.
  37. *The Inn of the Sixth Happiness – This story of Missionary Gladys Aylward, has some big differences with the actual story, but I love it just the same.
  38. *Brigadoon – Another Gene Kelly. Another great musical.  
  39.   Arsenic and Old Lace - "Insanity doesn’t run in my family. It gallops!"
  40.  Auntie Mame – What? Another Musical? Couldn’t be! Cause we a need little Christmas. Right this very minute. 
  41. Swiss Family Robinson – Another childhood favorite! And guess what! Not a musical! Except for that dancing part. And maybe that singing part.
I realize my numbering is a little off. Due to that (cough, cough) technical error on number 28. As I said, this is just a list of some favorites. What are some you would add to the list? 


  1. Love the list! I actually own most of those movies. Eventually of course you will have add "Summer Stock" Judy Garland and something from Doris Day (one of the many!). I have to say though I prefer Hepburn's version of "Little Women".

  2. Summer Stock is terrific. I think one of my favorite Doris Day movies is "With Six You Get Eggroll."

  3. Great list!! We have watched a lot of these films. I would add "You Take It With You" with Jimmy Stewart. Also, if you like Jerry Lewis "The Stooge" is probably my favorite film with him in it.


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