We all have those films that we go back to every once in a while, don’t we? Whether that be the enchanting world of the Harry Potter films, the magical escapades of The Chronicles of Narnia, or the timeless charm of a childhood Disney movie, you can’t deny the incredible power nostalgia holds. I must sheepishly confess that I am one of those people who would prefer to revisit a classic for the 1000th time rather than watch something new at the cinema. Here are some of the childhood classics that have ensnared me under the spell of nostalgia.
Cheaper by the Dozen (2003)
Family films always give you that cosy, warm feeling inside and this is the one that does it for me. Every time I watch this film, I find myself battling between two thoughts: does this film make me want 12 kids or no kids at all? I still haven’t decided.
Exploring themes of family, love, and parenthood, the film follows the chaotic Baker family, Tom (Steve Martin), Kate (Bonnie Hunt) and their twelve kids. When Tom is offered his dream job as a football coach and Kate is whisked away to New York to publish her book, the family becomes uprooted. Balancing his life as both a father and a coach, Tom struggles to handle his increasingly rebellious children in the absence of his wife.
Though a fairly simple film to follow, I love its exploration of some profound and thought-provoking themes. The film deals with the neglect and loneliness that children feel when parents start to prioritise their careers over their family, and I love that the film makes it both a fun and emotional ride for the viewer.
The Mighty Ducks (1992)
Whenever I get to the end of this film, I am always utterly convinced that I could ice-skate without practice; it just gives me that type of motivation. Everyone loves a good underdog film and, while being very funny and comical, it is one that is truly inspiring.
After being arrested for drunk driving, Gordon Bombay (Emilio Estevez) is forced to become the coach of District 5’s Pee-Wee Ice Hockey team (The Ducks) as an act of community service. Having an unfortunate history with ice hockey, he at first finds it extremely frustrating to coach the rather useless team of young children. Eventually growing to appreciate them, Bombay trains and prepares his Ducks to play against the toughest team in the state, ‘The Hawks.’
Even without being an ice hockey fan, I always come back to this film to watch the Ducks triumph. From starting as hopeless hockey players to becoming an accomplished team, this film truly makes me believe I could achieve anything. Sometimes we all just need a little motivation.
Meet the Robinsons (2007)
I remember watching this film as a kid and buying a notebook to scribble down all my inventions in, just like Lewis. None of them were very successful of course but it’s the thought that counts, right?
Lewis, an orphaned 12-year-old boy desperate to be adopted, meets Wilbur Robinson, a time-traveller who begs Lewis to help him save the future. With Lewis being a kid genius and Wilbur being a rebellious boy, the two form an unlikely pair and set out in a time machine on an adventure to stop an evil villain. With time running short, the boys must stop this man from changing both Lewis’ fate and the fate of the entire world.
This film taught me so much. Lewis’ motto “Keep Moving Forward” highlights the fact that failures and setbacks are just a normal part of life and are essential in helping us improve and grow. Being a story about time travel, it is one that teaches you to never dwell on the past or worry about the future and to instead live in the moment.
Stand By Me (1986)
“I never had any friends later on like the ones I had when I was 12 – Jesus, did you?” I couldn’t agree more. This film always takes me back to the days of my childhood friendships, the innocent, easy-going and unprejudiced ones. Makes me miss the good old days.
After hearing about the death of a local boy near the train tracks, four boys, Gordie, Chris, Teddy, and Vern set out on an adventure to go and find the body. Based on Stephen King’s novella, the film follows a defining event of the boys’ lives as their journey teaches them important and valuable life lessons.
I can’t even begin to describe how this film makes me feel. Though it’s only an hour and a half long, there is so much to take in. Fitting into the coming-of-age genre, the film perfectly captures the experience of transitioning from the innocence of childhood to the harsh realities of adult life – it makes me so happy and sad at the same time.
Back to the Future (1985)
I feel like most people were introduced to this film by their dad (along with Star Wars)…at least I was anyway (thanks Dad). Though the trilogy as a whole is pretty good, you just can’t beat the first one.
Set in the 1980s, Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) and his mad scientist friend, Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd), accidentally get stuck in the 1950s after a time-travelling experiment goes wrong. After meeting the younger versions of his parents, Marty must make sure that they fall in love to determine his existence in the future.
Though I was never really a fan of Marty’s mother falling in love with him, I always come back to this film for the thrills. It is structurally flawless, and the screenwriting is incredibly clever. Along with that, I always enjoy seeing Michael J. Fox stumble around like a headless chicken and Christopher Lloyd being the chaotic character that he is. If they ever try to remake and re-cast this movie, I will be very angry indeed.
The list could go on, but those are some of my favourites. So, if you’re feeling down and want to feel like a kid again, don’t be ashamed to re-watch High School Musical or some Tom and Jerry episodes for that wonderful, nostalgic feeling.