Movies that Get Passed Down

The Princess Bride So many of us remember our first romance novel, and many more of us received (or stole) that novel from a relative. Passing down a much-loved book, romance or no, is something pretty common.

Last weekend, I shared The Princess Bride with my kids for the first time. It's 25 years old (gosh, I'm ancient) and it's still 90 minutes of movie awesome. I think my husband and I could quote most if not all of it, but afterward, my kids were doing it, too.

I got the idea from Stephen Thompson, part of the PCHH podcast, after he shared The Princess Bride with his children. I think there's a whole episode of 'pop culture you should hand down to your kid' in their archives.

Then a Twitter conversation with Jo Bourne, Kristen Callihan and Tien Tien after I tweeted about the movie night made me think. Bourne tweeted, “Never thought 2 pass it along. Then one day The Kid says “Mom, there's this great movie …” Later: “Re movies we can share with our kids. In the old days it was passing along a favorite book ….”

I Storified the entire Twitter conversation if you're curious to read it.

I have several books I'm holding on to so that I can share them with my children in a few years. But only recently have I looked at the DVDs I own that I've kept and not culled after many moves and a de-cluttering bonanza, and questioned WHY I'm holding onto them. Many are seasons of older tv shows like SportsNight or Northern Exposure, which someday I'll share and definitely re-watch on my own. But they're not quite ready for either (or interested, I should think). Aside from all the DVDs that are theirs, there are few films I own that are ready to share with them, except The Princess Bride


One of the reasons The Princess Bride worked so well is that my older son, known here as Freebird, said afterward, “I know you liked the romantic kissing parts, Mommy,” which, yeah, I totally did, and Fred Savage can hush up about them already. They understood what parts were the parts I liked – and I knew which parts they liked (swordfights! Giant! Actual giant!). Having books in common is much like having a favorite film in common with someone. At the least it gives you plenty to talk about. Plus, there is no shortage of reboots from my childhood for my children to watch. I'm still amazed that some things, like Care Bears, My Little Pony, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and even Scooby Doo never really went away. There are new versions every few years, a super-familiar form of recycling.

A lot of the time, I'm encountering new versions of my own childhood programs on television or in theatres. Whether I like it or not, things I watched as a child are being re-presented to all of us, and it's kind of fun to explain the differences when I notice them. It makes me wonder if there are other films from years ago that they'd enjoy (I've been haunting IMDB a LOT lately) and if other folks have noticed all the reboots. What other movies would you want to pass down or share with your kids? What shows or films from your childhood are reappearing in your life?



Random Musings

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  1. 1

    Labyrinth.  Unlikely I’ll have kids, but if I did I would look forward to watching it with them.  (And I got to show my brother The Princess Bride for the first time a few years ago…it was awesome. :))

  2. 2
    Maree says:

    Oh, Labyrinth and The Princess Bride…. classics! Can’t go wrong with either of those :)

    There was a John Hughes-fest on TV the other day. Who would have though that DD (16) AND DS (14) would both get a kick out of The Breakfast Club and Sixteen Candles? DH and I both love them, so it was a huge nostalgia trip for us, but we thought our teens wouldn’t “get” them at all. Turns out aside from the clothes and the hair (!!!), these two movies are still very relevant to teens of today. Definitely gonna need to buy those two on DVD to add to our collection *g*.

  3. 3
    Lisa says:

    Depends on the age of the kids. I know I will enjoy watching classic musicals (Singin’ in the Rain especially) and teenagers pretty much have to see Casablanca. Both of those are ones passed down by my mother to me.

  4. 4
    Virginia E says:

    The Great Race. It has an excellent cast, romance, melodrama, comedy, and a collection of great lines and scenes. Tony Curtis staying spotless white through the entire movie, even after swimming the moat and the midst of the biggest movie pie fight is priceless. Even little kids too young to catch the inside jokes can enjoy the slapstick comedy.

  5. 5
    Lisa J says:

    My love of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers knows no bounds.  My sister’s kids would come over and we would watch the old musicals, especially SBfSB.  They loved them!!

  6. 6
    Mirandaflynn says:

    We don’t have kids, but if we did, we would have to show them Star Wars (the ‘real’ versions of the movies ;)

  7. 7
    Tracy Faul says:

    My daughter is 12; my boys are 9 & 7. I’ve watched Princess Bride and Labyrinth with them, but also the Muppet Movie, The Parent Trap (Hayley Mills version please!), The Trouble with Angels, Troop Beverly Hills, and a ton of classics (Arsenic and Old Lace, Bringing up Baby, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, The Music Man, etc.) with one or more of them. Of course, it’s difficult because the 9YO, while adventurous in his reading material, is less so with movies (he’s perfectly happy to read the Percy Jackson books, but classifies the Harry Potter movies as “horror”).

  8. 8
    Stacey Freedman says:

    My daughter and I watched the Muppet Movie before the new Muppets came out.  I also made her watch the original Parent Trap to balance out the Lindsay Lohan….I need to try the Princess Bride with her again and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, too!  I think she is also old enough to give Ferris Beuller a try.  :)

  9. 9
    Jaelwye says:

    My 10 year old loooooves Ghostbusters.

  10. 10
    Cate says:

    For my lot, it’s Some Like it Hot – genius,sheer genius . Jack Lemmon in a dress with maracas – it just doesn’t get any better than that

  11. 11
    Shawny Jean says:

    I don’t have kids yet, but my 28 year old cousin and I have been working to introduce our younger cousins to movies their parents have neglected to show them. We sat down to Pride and Prejudice last week and are now planning an entire education in English period dramas – Jane Eyre, North and South et al.
    My family also watched A Christmas Story with my 7-year old nephew over the holidays. I don’t remember liking it as a kid, but he thought it was hilarious and was still quoting it the next morning. “Daddy’s going to kill Ralphie.”

  12. 12
    PamG says:

    My eldest daughter was the real cinemaphile when she was a kid.  Her dad introduced her to Roy Rogers, The Bowery Boys, and Fred & Ginger; the first movie in color that she didn’t scorn was the The Beautiful Blonde from Bashful Bend with Betty Grable. 

    I suspect that the movies my girls would share (and I would totally share with grandchildren if I had any) would include Princess Bride, Labyrinth (my younger daughter & I always thought the latter would be an awesome marching band show—sans codpieces), Dirty Dancing, Oscar (Sylvester Stallone’s campy 1920s gangster comedy), Flash Gordon (the originals but mostly the 80s movie with the soundtrack by Queen), and Strictly Ballroom. 

    Oh, and at Christmas?  For us it will always be We’re No Angels with Humphrey Bogart, Peter Ustinov, Aldo Rey, Leo G. Carroll & Basil Rathbone. 

    There isn’t one of these movies that we can’t quote extensively. Complete strangers goggle at me whenever I say “[That’s] an ox and a moron!” (Oscar).  We always called these our family’s cult classics.  Sharing—or discovering—favorite movies with kids has probably been around since old movies have been available to watch at home.  This whole subject fills me with fond nostalgia.  There may be other movies we loved as a family, but I’m going to stop now.

  13. 13
    Ann says:

    Goonies, Flight of the Navigator, That Darn Cat (original), PeeWee’s Big Adventure, The Karate Kid, The Love Bug, West Side Story…

  14. 14
    K Angel2 says:

    I, too, have shared Princess Bride with the kids.  As well as the Goonies, Footloose(Keving Bacon) and ET.  They thought they were watching something new.  And, of course, Indigo Montoya was the best.

  15. 15
    mctclover says:

    Princess Bride was the first we shared also. We’ve watched Raiders of the Lost Ark, and the original Star Wars. And Space Balls, which your kids are likely too young for still.

    And just a couple nights ago, my youngest & I came across The A Team movie, which we’d seen separately but never together. It was 90 minutes of recycled dumb mindless fun to spend together.

  16. 16
    Elizabeth Houston says:

    Any kid that can appreciate the Princess Bride would love Robin Hood Men in Tights. (“We’re men, we’re manly men…”). Mel Brooks taught me about circumcision lol.
    Abbott and Costello are also key. How can you appreciate the Yankees if you don’t know who’s on first?

  17. 17
    Liz Talley says:

    My husband and I share a lot of 80s pop culture with our kiddos. My 10 year old’s favorite singer is Billy Idol. Thought it was hilarious he put that on his music poster for school (He also did his project on Better Than Ezra…the music teacher had never heard of them! Really???) But one of our favorite TV shows came out of the late 90s – Freaks and Geeks – and our early teen kid LOVES it. Such a shame it was only on 1 season. It’s brilliant TV (Judd Apatow’s early work).

    My kids also loved flippin’ Saved By the Bell. Sigh. I can barely stand to watch it now, but I loved that Slater.

    Oh, and for movies, our favs are Planes, Trains and Automobiles, Dutch, Goonies, Sixteen Candles, and, oddly enough On Golden Pond (my kids love to say “suck face”.) We watched Princess Bride over the holiday :)

    Fun topic!

  18. 18
    Flo_over says:

    All of those plus Monty Python and the Quest for the Holy Grail.  Bring me a SHRUBBERY!

    That and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.  Faaavorite musical.  Howard Keel…. *swoons*

  19. 19

    Sound of Music and Oz. Now they finally understand when I say “Lions and Tigers and Bears, oh my” when they’re overreacting and with a litany of complaints. They sing Favorite Things in school choir, and it was nice to put the song in its context for them.

  20. 20
    Marc says:

    A really good movie never goes out of style.  We watch White Christmas every year and we have also passed down the animated Grinch Who Stole Christmas.  Footloose, Say Anything and the Princess Bride were also big hits.  I am also planning to introduce them to The Lost Boys.

  21. 21
    Teri Stanley says:

    My oldest (19)went to a ComicCon recently as the Dread Pirate Roberts, so I get it!
    The kids also love Spaceballs (“may the Schwartz be with you” is a favorite line, especially since they had a rather nasty teacher by that name).

    A couple of years ago we had a Spinal Tap viewing, so they know what I mean when I tell them to “turn it up to 11”!

    I think I need to drag out the Muppet Movie again soon, but the Rainbow Connection song always makes me cry, so maybe I’ll watch that one alone.

  22. 22
    cayenne says:

    My friends’ younger kids are all addicted to Star Wars and the Muppet Movie. Some also love Wizard of Oz, Robin Hood (Errol Flynn version) and Grease.  The older ones are getting into the satirical stuff like Airplane and Robin Hood Men in Tights; they don’t necessarily get the context, but everyone can laugh at “Don’t call me Shirley”.

  23. 23
    hapax says:

    Oh, my.  SO many movies and TV shows we share with our kids.  I think they could quote all of Monty Python, Star Trek, Buffy, Star Trek, Star Wars, The Princess Bride etc. before they ever saw them.  A favorite that hasn’t been mentioned yet:  Bringing Up Baby.  My kids still say (when I’m nagging them to do something) “I’ll be with you in a minute, Mr. Peabody!”

    But special credit has to be given to the Godzilla films, and the rest of Toho studios ouevre (you know, Mothra, Rodan, King Ghidorah, etc.)  My son and I used to snuggle up and watch one of those every Saturday afternoon.  He collected them ALL on videotape, then DVD, and is now working on a Blu-Ray collection;  he taught himself stop-motion animation and other film techniques so he could make his own. 

    I still treasure the Valentine he made for me in pre-school:  “I love my Mommy because:  she wears black, she hits me with swords, and she watches monsters with me!”  (Although I do have to wonder what his teachers thought of that…)

  24. 24
    Jenny Dolton says:

    Baby #1 is currently incubating, so we’ve got a while yet. But s/he is going to eventually get a crash course in classic musicals, Jane Austen, Star Wars, and all things Muppet.

  25. 25

    My 11yo daughter has been a fan of TPB for years, and we started reading the book last week aloud for something different and fun. When she got the flu this week, I offered to read it to her while she was stuck at home—we did a little of that, but more important to her was to drag out the DVD and watch it together.

    Meanwhile, for Christmas she got Lego LOTR on Wii, and after playing through most of it with her dad, now they’re watching the movies. It’s hard to say which cultural torch-passing is more fun.

  26. 26
    Barb Lie says:

    LOL Lisa, still watch Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.  My husband loves the old musicals and this is one of his favorites.

  27. 27
    SB Sarah says:

    Oh, gosh. I think if we show Freebird Ghostbusters, he’d never leave the couch. It would be on permanent repeat! AWESOME.

  28. 28
    Vandy Jones says:

    We just introduced our boys, 9 & 4 to The Love Bug.  There are some classis Musicals that they have seen too—The Court Jester, Donovon’s Reef, The Princess Bride, Ghostbusters, Paint Your Wagon, Cat Ballou, Hello Dolly, The Thin Man, Topper, Topper Returns, so many other oldies that are oh, so good.

  29. 29
    Julia Broadbooks says:

    What a great topic. We’ve shown the kids most of the movies listed here. Although we haven’t done Seven Brides yet!

    A small local playhouse has a summer movie festival and shows classics and older kids movies so the kids got to see Goonies and Some Like it Hot on a big screen. That’s been very fun. I was gratified how much they loved movies like Casablanca that I adore. And my husband is around to make sure they get to see all the Bond and Monty Python a kid could want.

  30. 30

    My son is only 3 so we’re just starting to watch movies.  Right now I’m enjoying introducing him to Pixar movies – not really from my childhood, but it’s still fun to watch together.  I’m looking forward to watching things like The Breakfast Club, Top Gun, musicals, and many more Disney movies with him.

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