Another 10 Marvelous Musicals for Families

Another 10 Marvelous Musicals for Families

This third and final list of family-friendly musicals is exactly what you need to make movie nights easy. Some of the 10 films reference or are set during specific eras of history or based off famous pieces of literature. This can spark some interesting and different discussions, especially when your kids are learning about that same time period, reading that book, or learning that economics lesson.

Gene Kelly & Leslie Caron in An American In Paris still.

1. Rogers and Hammerstein Cinderella (1957) G

Walt Disney’s 1950s cartoon of the classic fairy tale is beloved across the world. However, in 1956, Broadway musical duo Rogers and Hammerstein turned their incredible talents away from shows such as Oklahoma! or The Sound of Music and began working on a Broadway-worthy version of Cinderella. Starring Julie Andrews, this spectacular version was first viewed live on television to the delight of every watcher. It is one of the most original and lovely of the many versions of the story.

You can watch the film on Youtube.

Overall we enjoyed Modernity and I am seeing improvement in my teen’s discussion and critical thinking skills. ~ Alex

2. Annie (1982) PG-13

Originally a 1970s Broadway show, Annie is an incredibly unique musical. The cast touches every genre of film in the 1980s: Albert Finney as one of the best dramatic actors, Carol Burnett as a leading comedian, Bernadette Peters as a dancer and Broadway actress, and Aileen Quinn as an unbelievably talented child Broadway star. I grew up watching this musical over and over again and can still sing almost every song perfectly.

This is definitely a film that should be watched with adults if your child is under twelve. There is one use of g**d*** and a few scenes that can be skipped without disrupting the flow of the plot: “Little Girls” and “Sign”. The climax of the film could be slightly intense for younger children but isn’t graphic at all.

You can rent the film on Amazon.

If your students are interested, Dave Raymond’s Modernity series and Economics for Everybody address the historic and economic significance of the Great Depression within America and the world. 

3. An American In Paris (1951) PG

Gene Kelly is one of the most renowned dancers of the screen in the 20th century. His pet film was An American in Paris, inspired by George Gershwin’s 1928 composition of the same name. More of a ballet than a film, this musical is incredibly unique and so lovely to watch (even as a non-dancer). If any of your students love dance, they will greatly enjoy this beautiful film.

You can rent the film on Amazon.

The musical takes place in Paris after World War 2, depicting the different struggles of veterans and civilians trying to make a life in this new world. Check out Dave Raymond’s Modernity course to understand the complications of this era of world history.

4. Funny Girl (1961) PG

Loosely based on the life of Broadway legend, film star, and comedian Fanny Brice, Funny Girl stars Barbara Streisand in her film debut after portraying the role on Broadway. It was the highest grossing film in the United States at the time, tying Streisand and Katherine Hepburn for Best Actress Academy Award. Barbara Streisand shines in the role of Fanny Brice and her performance of “Don’t Rain On My Parade” is breathtaking.

You can rent the film on Amazon.

Set before and after World War 1, the film shows how the world changed drastically. Dave Raymond’s Modernity course explains the many layers of this time period from a solidly Christian perspective.

5. The Court Jester (1955) G

Starring the hilarious Danny Kaye, this is an underrated film from the Golden Age of Musicals. The incredibly talented Glynis Johns and Angela Lansbury co-star which make the musical that much more delightful. It is a genuinely funny and sweet film that everyone in your family will really enjoy.

“Grammar for Writers is a fantastic course. Style and content of teaching have helped at every level.”~ Tom

6. Going My Way (1944) G

Known for his crooning singing voice, Bing Crosby was at the top of his fame in the 1940s. Most singers at that time were also movie stars and Crosby was consistently cast in musicals throughout his early career. The films were typically a vehicle for his voice, but some, including Going My Way, were surprisingly well-made. This specific musical was the highest grossing film of 1944, cementing Crosby’s box-office draw throughout the decade. A relatively low-budget film, the musical is very sweet and a great choice for a low-key, family movie night.

You can rent the film on Amazon.

7. Viva Las Vegas (1964) PG

Elvis Presley and Ann-Margaret were possibly the most popular teen co-stars in the 1960s. Elvis needs no introduction as a pop star; however, most people do not know he made over 48 films during his lifetime. Ann-Margaret is darling as Rusty Martin, a swim instructor who rejects the advances of Presley’s Lucky Jackson. The film is sweet and funny without becoming a cliche or satire.

You can rent the film on Amazon.

After World War 2 ended, the 1950s ushered in a new era for the United States: the era of the teenager. A new concept where adults realized how much young people had given up during the past forty years and kids started pushing for freedoms within the comfortable boundaries of their home lives. To learn more about the invention of the teenager, try Dave Raymond’s Modernity series.

8. Easter Parade (1948) G

Fred Astaire is arguably the greatest on-screen dancer of the twentieth century. Judy Garland is arguably the greatest on-screen singer of the twentieth century. Interestingly, Gene Kelly was supposed to co-star instead of Astaire but broke his ankle playing volleyball. Astaire had retired two years before but was more than happy to work with Kelly in this role which ultimately saved his Hollywood career. The film follows Astaire and Garland’s characters trying to work together as new dance partners. It is lovely little film that everyone in your family will enjoy.

You can rent the film on Amazon.

9. Top Hat (1935) G

Another Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers collaboration, this is possibly their most famous film. Irving Berlin (known for his White Christmas soundtrack) wrote the music and lyrics which include classics such as “Cheek to Cheek” and “The Piccolino.” The plot is relatively the same, following similar actions and characters as the duo’s other films. However, if you look closely, you might see Lucille Ball in one of the scenes.

You can rent the film on Amazon.

My students like that Dave Raymond details the ‘why’ and not just the ‘when’ of historical events. ~ Judy

10. The Wizard of Oz (1939) G

The film that simultaneously made and ended Judy Garland’s career was a nightmare from the very beginning. Two different directors, script changes, costume malfunctions, and actor abuse are just a handful of the crazy events behind the scenes of this classic musical. Despite all this, The Wizard of Oz has become a pop culture icon for generations. Based on L. Frank Baum’s novel of the same name, it is one of the best film adaptations of a written work. If you and your family have not seen this musical, it should go to the top of your list of movies.

You can rent the film on Amazon.

The Wizard of Oz is actually a series of books that have sparked many different retellings from film to stage to Broadway. If your students liked the movie they may enjoy the books. Baum has a very distinctive writing style which might spark your student’s imagination and writing capabilities. Jonathan Roger’s Creative Writing series will teach your students how to write well and understand what they are writing.

Some movie links are from Amazon and as an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.

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