Readers offer suggestions of films to watch with older kids

06/04/2014 12:00 AM

06/05/2014 6:14 AM

Pass the popcorn, indeed.

Last week I wrote about several films I can’t wait to share with my teenage children, noting that as kids get older, families can experience a wider array of meaningful movies without fretting so much about bad words or mature themes. It’s a glorious thing.

I asked for more suggestions of good films teens and parents could watch together. And boy, did you respond.

Several readers suggested “To Kill a Mockingbird,” the 1962 movie based on Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book and starring Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch, a Southern lawyer who agrees to defend a young black man accused of rape.

Others, noting my family’s interest in “Schindler’s List” and similar Holocaust-themed films, suggested “The Boy in the Striped Pajamas,” “The Book Thief,” “Conspiracy” (the 2001 HBO movie), “The Pianist,” “Sophie’s Choice” and “Life Is Beautiful.”

That was just the beginning. People offered dozens of wonderful suggestions for movies that teach history, impart lessons and inspire conversation – terrific byproducts of family movie nights once kids get past the G-rated, Disney-movie stage.

(Not that Disney movies don’t inspire conversation. For example: “The Lion King” is Shakespeare’s “Hamlet.” Discuss.)

“I, too, could not wait for my children to be mature enough to watch some of my favorite movies with me,” Laurie Broadfoot of Wichita said in an e-mail. Her list included “The Man Who Would Be King” and “Being There.”

“Now they love them as much as I do.”

Rather than keep this extensive list of movie suggestions to myself, I thought I’d share it so other families could bookmark it, clip it out or add these films to their Netflix queue. They are listed chronologically by release date, with MPAA ratings if available:

•  “Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ” (Unrated, 1925)
•  “Gone With the Wind” (PG, 1939)
•  “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” (Unrated, 1939)
•  “The Pride of the Yankees” (Unrated, 1942)
•  “Spartacus” (PG-13, 1960)
•  “A Raisin in the Sun” (Unrated, 1961)
•  “Lawrence of Arabia” (PG, 1962)
•  “A Patch of Blue” (Unrated, 1965)
•  “A Man For All Seasons” (Unrated, 1966)
•  “The Reivers” (PG-13, 1969)
•  “Roots” (Unrated, 1977)
•  “Chariots of Fire” (PG, 1981)
•  “Gandhi” (PG, 1982)
•  “The Color Purple” (PG-13, 1985)
•  “84 Charing Cross Road” (PG, 1987)
•  “Cinema Paradiso” (R, 1988)
•  “Rain Man” (R, 1988)
•  “Born on the Fourth of July” (R, 1989)
•  “Dead Poets Society” (PG, 1989)
•  “Glory” (R, 1989)
•  “Dances With Wolves” (PG-13, 1990)
•  “Fried Green Tomatoes” (PG-13, 1991)
•  “A River Runs Through It” (PG, 1992)
•  “City of Joy,” (PG-13, 1992)
•  “In the Name of the Father” (R, 1993)
•  “Philadelphia” (PG-13, 1993)
•  “Rudy” (PG, 1993)
•  “This Boy’s Life” (R, 1993)
•  “Forrest Gump” (PG-13, 1994)
•  “The War” (PG-13, 1994)
•  “Mr. Holland’s Opus” (PG, 1995)
•  “Good Will Hunting” (R, 1997)
•  “Kundun” (PG-13, 1997)
•  “Inherit the Wind” (PG, 1999)
•  “October Sky” (PG, 1999)
•  “Finding Forrester” (PG-13, 2000)
•  “The Patriot” (R, 2000)
•  “I Am Sam” (PG-13, 2001)
•  “Tuck Everlasting” (PG, 2002)
•  “Veronica Guerin” (R, 2003)
•  “Iron Jawed Angels” (Unrated, 2004)
•  “Les Choristes (The Chorus)” (PG-13, 2004)
•  “Joyeux Noel” (PG-13, 2005)
•  “March of the Penguins” (G, 2005)
•  “The Squid and the Whale” (R, 2005)
•  “Amazing Grace” (PG, 2006)
•  “Lars and the Real Girl” (PG-13, 2007)
•  “Hunger” (Unrated, 2008)
•  “Get Low” (PG-13, 2009)
•  “Secretariat” (PG, 2010)
•  “Temple Grandin” (PG, 2010)
•  “42” (PG-13, 2013)
•  “12 Years a Slave” (R, 2013)
•  “The Butler” (PG-13, 2013)

About Suzanne Tobias

Suzanne writes about family life on Thursdays. She has covered local news for The Eagle since 1990. Suzanne is a native of North Carolina and earned an English degree from North Carolina State University.

Find her on Twitter: @suzannetobias

Contact Suzanne at 316-268-6567 or by emailing her at

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