Another To-Do list! A tricky one, because of course Kids are also People and therefore have very different tastes. But generally speaking, here are the movies I would suggest you start with. And then move on once you have identified the real winners for your particular kids.
This is so HARD! I keep picturing different kids in my head, like “oh this one would be good for Rachel’s sensitive little boy! But this one would be good for Genevieve’s active kids. And this one is good for Angie and Emily’s really little boys.” Obviously, everything on the “light rom-com list” I already put up is my first choice for Procrastinatrix’s teenage daughter. Also, I am not a creepy stalker person, I just want you all to be happy! In case that wasn’t clear.
Do your kids like fairy tale movies? And do they have a tolerance for older films, at least if they are in color? This is a good option. Swords and horses and princesses and evil kingdoms and noble rebels. Think Princess Bride.
If your kids are okay with complicated plots, and like over the top fake fight scenes (throwing people through brick walls kind of thing), this might be good. It’s long, and it’s complicated, it’s brightly colored with a bunch of songs. Be ready to explain a lot of stuff, I’m an adult and I can barely follow the plot.
This more kind of Pixar level in emotions. Nothing bad happens in the end, but there are scary moments along the way (little girl is separated from her mother and occasionally briefly separated from her new guardian who is bringing her back to her mother). It has a lovely message, about everyone loving the little girl and wanting to take care of her and make sure she is safe, and a more generalized message about being honest and doing the right thing no matter the difficulty.
This is a movie that kids love and adults (or at least, me) find kind of boring. Our little boy hero and his Mom Juhi movie into a haunted house. The old man ghost Amitabh Bachchan tries to scare the little boy, but they end up being best friends instead. He helps him fight off bullies and plays with him and everything is happy. And then there is kind of a hurried resolution, but mostly it is about a little boy who makes best friends with an old man ghost and they have adventures.
Do your kids like Sports? This is the movie for them. A group of female players practice and practice and get better and play in the big tournament thing and dig deep and learn about sportsmanship and WIN!!!! And for you, watching with them, Shahrukh as the hot coach.
All the Dhooms are good for kids, obviously, but this is the best one. Big and ridiculous and over the top and colorful. And with a completely happy ending! And moral ending too, crime doesn’t pay really.
I honestly don’t know why, but I have heard of so many small children who love this movie. It’s very slow, nothing super bad happens, there are a lot of dance numbers with a whole bunch of dancers and costumes and stuff, and there are balloons!
Very fun silly spy movie. Salman, Super Spy, falls in love for the first time and then his life gets complicated. Lots of big action sequences of the “running across a speeding train” variety, no guns (I think. At least no gunfights), and a message about love conquering all. If your kids like action scenes but not violence, this is it.
Ghost comedy. The scenery alone will let your kids like it, big colorful wooden flowers scattered around, crazy murals, just fun. It’s set in an orphanage and the set designer really ran with the idea of a kids paradise for the look. No scary ghosts, a little bit of sad (because death before ghost), but just a little bit, and good triumphs in the end.
A fairy tale! Our cheerful village performer is brought in to pretend to be a lookalike Prince, and then falls in love with the Princess who is engaged to the Prince, and makes friends with the Prince’s estranged little sisters (the youngest loves to play soccer!), and so on. There’s horse chases and sword fights, but nothing really scary, and a lot of brightly colored songs.
I wouldn’t think to recommend this to kids except that, like Dil To Pagal Hai, I’ve heard of numorous kids who LOVE it. Something about Hema being so confident and rude to her guardians, and learning to rollar skate, and the fight scene at the end, it’s just fun. Also long and confusing, maybe not one to watch in a straight shot.
Do your kids like Archie Comics? This is one of them come to life. A rich school and a poor school, a hero torn between two girls, a big sporting meet at the end, bright colors and romances that are about handholding and kisses, it’s sweet and happy and young.
Do your kids like big adventure movies with boats and magic hawks and stuff? This might be a good option. It’s long, and there are some kind of slow parts, but I think it will keep their attention all right straight through thanks to the sword fights and fun bits.
Do your kids like dance movies? This is the perfect one for them. Young fresh dancing leads, lots of spectacular performances, a romance that is barely there (no yucky kissing scenes), and a plot that is really straightforward. Plus a message about trying your best and keeping going no matter what.
This is a fantasy film, think Lord of the Rings. And also think the depth and darkness of Lord of the Rings. So, if your kids are disturbed by Evil people and darkness and stuff, maybe not this. But if they enjoy those kinds of movies, definitely this one! Our noble hero has to regain his kingdom and so on and so forth, and the visuals are just AMAZING.
The sequel! Watch out, the first one ends on a cliffhanger so you will definitely want to see the second one right away. Maybe even have it ready to go so you can tell your kids it will be okay, there’s a second half.
A very silly movie. Shahrukh mugging his way through things, Deepika being clever back at him, over the top Rohit Shetty unrealistic fight scenes and car chases and stuff. And in the end the couple gets together, everyone is happy, happy happy. No deaths, no really scary parts, just silly and a little bit of chaste romance.
Another sports movie! This time female wrestlers. But the important part is that they start as little kids, so your kids have someone they can enjoy watching for the first half of the film as they complain about their parents, and work hard, and win medals and stuff.
This is maybe my first choice of ALL of them! A silly silly superhero movie, that knows it is silly. Our hero can fly, but he is afraid of heights so he only flies a little above the ground. And his Mom calls him while he is off on missions and makes him stop by the vegetable market to pick up her Okra. It gets scary and dark right at the end, so maybe fastforward that part, but otherwise it is a lovely dream of what it would be like to be a superhero with your Mom nagging around after you.
Main Hoon Na
A little bit sad in the beginning, but then it comes around and is happy. Also a little big of scary with the villain. The rest of it is just fun though! More Archie comics style college hijinks, a cowardly smart aleck brother and a noble brave brother who have to make friends, a tomboy style girl with a secret crush, lots of fun everywhere. And happy ending!
Every kid loves this movie. Every one! Our hero dies (sad!) but then is reincarnated as a fly and does really cool fly heroic stuff. So you are only sad for like 5 minutes and then it is okay. The bad guy is silly more than scary, the heroine is perfectly happy with her fly lover, everything’s fine.
Okay, that’s it! All the very best kids movies! Your kids won’t like every one of them, but they should like most of them. And the full Netflix list (here) and Prime list (here) have even more on them.