Greatest Movies Through 1960

Best Movies Compiled From Many Sources

Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

The Court Jester (1956)

Posted by Technoheaven on January 1, 1956

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101 min – view video clip (no trailer found)

Director: Melvin Frank, Norman Panama
Starring: Danny Kaye, Glynis Johns, Basil Rathbone, Angela Lansbury

Genres: Adventure, Comedy, Family

IMDB 7.7 / Amazon 4.8/ Decent Films A+

Oscars: none

Ranked #70 Greatest Movies Through 1960

A hapless carnival performer masquerades as the court jester as part of a plot against an evil ruler who has overthrown the rightful king. IMDB 7.7 rating from over 6,475 users

Danny Kaye spoofs Robin Hood and Scaramouche in this inventive slapstick swashbuckler. Portraying the clownish but good-hearted entertainer Hawkins, he infiltrates the court of the corrupt Basil Rathbone (up to his usual brand of cruel villainy) disguised as the legendary king of jesters, Giacomo… this is Danny Kaye at his comic best. Amazon 4.8 stars from over 214 users

See Errol Flynn in The Adventures of Robin Hood — and then see Danny Kaye in The Court Jester. As the former is the ultimate Hollywood swashbuckler classic, the latter is the ultimate swashbuckler spoof, and one of Kaye’s finest, funniest hours. Not only does it terrifically succeed where movies like Mel Brooks’s Robin Hood: Men in Tights miserably fail, The Court Jester also as merry, high-spirited, and wholesome as the adventures it parodies, with none of the cynical, anarchic spirit (or content issues) of the likes of Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Decent Films A+ with superior artistic/entertainment value

MRQE over 16 reviews linked

Madison Public Library – my grade: A

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It’s A Wonderful Life (1947)

Posted by Technoheaven on January 1, 1947

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130 min – view video trailer

Director: Frank Capra
Starring: James Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore

Genres: Drama, Family, Fantasy

IMDB 8.7 / Amazon 4.7 / MRQE 89 / Decent Films A+

Oscars: 5 nominations, 0 wins (Best Picture, Actor, Director, Sound, Editing)

Ranked #4 Greatest Movies Through 1960, in 30 of 41 best movies lists, a Zagat Top Movie

An angel helps a compassionate but despairingly frustrated businessman by showing what life would have been like if he never existed. IMDB 8.7 rating from over 143,048 users

Heartwarming and reaffirming, It’s A Wonderful Life is on many lists of the greatest films ever made. Amazon 4.7 stars from over 757 users

“No one is born to be a failure. No one is poor who has friends.” These platitudes, plastered across the packaging of home-video editions of Frank Capra’s evergreen Christmas classic It’s a Wonderful Life, embody the film’s popular but misleading image as sentimental, schmaltzy “Capra-corn.” Yet the film itself is leavened by darker themes and more rigorous morals about self-sacrifice, disappointment, and the fragility of happiness and the American dream. Read full Decent Films review (rated A+, Superior artistic-entertainment for Kids & Up)

MRQE 89% rating with links to over 105 reviews

Madison Public Library

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Road to Utopia (1946)

Posted by Technoheaven on January 1, 1946

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90 min – view video trailer

Director: Hal Walker
StarringBing CrosbyBob HopeDorothy Lamour

IMDB 7.6 / Amazon 4.6 / Tomatometer 100%

Genre: Adventure, Comedy, Family

Oscars: nominated for 1, won 0

At the turn of the century, Duke and Chester, two vaudeville performers, go to Alaska to make their fortune. On the ship to Skagway, they find a map to a secret gold mine, which had been stolen by McGurk and Sperry, a couple of thugs. They disguise themselves as McGurk and Sperry to get off the ship. Meanwhile, Sal Van Hoyden is in Alaska to try and recover the map; it had been her father’s. She falls in with Ace Larson, who wants to steal the gold mine for himself. Duke and Chester, McGurk and Sperry, Ace and his henchmen, and Sal, chase each other all over the countryside, trying to get the map. IMDB 7.6 rating from over 2,287 users

Bob Hope, Bing Crosby and Dorothy Lamour made seven “Road” films in total and all were great entertainment and worth seeing. However, “Road to Utopia” was one of the best and has not become dated over the years. The film is very fast moving with gag following gag, talking animals, Bob Hope’s remarks to the camera, and even has comedian Robert Benchley interrupting proceedings to give a running commentary on the film as it progresses! Dorothy Lamour provides the glamour and adds a song or two. Amazon 4.6 stars from over 16 users

The first “Road” picture in three years (the last was The Road to Morocco), Road to Utopia is set during the Alaskan gold rush. Bob Hope and Bing Crosby play a pair of third-rate San Francisco entertainers, Chester Hooton and Duke Johnson, who are obliged to skip town in a hurry. They book passage on a ship to Alaska, where they run afoul of escaped murderers Sperry (Robert H. Barrat) and McGurk (Nestor Paiva). Through a fluke, Chester and Duke overpower the killers, then get off the ship in Skagway disguised as Sperry and McGurk so that they themselves can evade the authorities. Rotten Tomatoes tomatometer 100% Audience 76%

MRQE 16 reviews – Madison Public Library

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8-ON1Y_-uck]

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Bambi (1942) Disney

Posted by Technoheaven on January 1, 1942

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70 min – view video trailer

Genres: Animation, Drama, Family

IMDB 7.5 / Amazon 4.6 / MRQE 88% / Decent Films A+

Oscars: nominated for 3, won 0

Ranked #52 Greatest Movies Through 1960

Animated film about a young deer, Bambi, growing up in the wild after his mother is shot by hunters. IMDB 7.5 rating from over 42,703 users

It always comes up when people are comparing their most traumatic movie experiences: “the death of Bambi’s mother,” a recollection that can bring a shudder to even the most jaded filmgoer. Amazon 4.6 stars from over 384 users

One of the most timeless and universal coming-of-age films ever, Bambi ranks with the very greatest of Disney’s classic masterpieces, along with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,Pinocchio, and Fantasia. Loosely based on the unsentimental novel by Austrian Jewish writer Felix Salten, Bambi regrettably reflects none of the source material’s religious themes, but it resonates with the same sense of reverence and wonder at the splendor and cruelty of nature and life itself, and likewise reflects darkly on the sometimes destructive relationship between man and nature. Read full Decent Films review (rated A+ , Superior artistic-entertainment for Kids & Up)

MRQE 88% from over 72 reviews

Madison Public Library

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Fantasia (1940) Disney

Posted by Technoheaven on January 1, 1940

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124 min – rated G – view video trailer

Genres: Animation, Family, Fantasy

IMDB 7.8 / Amazon 4.5 / MRQE 83% / Decent Films A+

Oscars: won 2 honary awards (visualized music, sound in motion pictures)

Ranked #45 Greatest Movies Through 1960, a Zagat Top Movie

A collection of animated interpretations of great works of Western classical music. IMDB 7.8 from over 42,374 users

Groundbreaking on several counts, not the least of which was an innovative use of animation and stereophonic sound, this ambitious Disney feature has lost nothing to time since its release in 1940. Classical music was interpreted by Disney animators, resulting in surreal fantasy and playful escapism. Amazon 4.5 stars from over 299 users

Released in 1940, Fantasia was a critical and popular failure in its own day (Roger Ebert blames a war-related shortage of whimsical spirit); but with the passage of time it has gradually been completely vindicated. Endorsed in the 1950s by high-minded educators and culture critics for its popularization of classical music… then embraced by the 1960s counterculture for its dreamlike, nonlinear imagery; and ultimately hailed by virtually all film critics for its undeniably glorious, groundbreaking, visionary animation, Fantasiahas taken its place as one of the unquestioned all-time great animated films. Read full Decent Films review (rated A+, Superior artistic-entertainment for Kids & Up)

MRQE 83% from over 50 reviews

Madison Public Library

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Wizard of Oz (1939)

Posted by Technoheaven on January 1, 1939

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101 min – G – view video trailer

Director: Victor Fleming
Starring: Judy Garland, Margaret Hamilton, Frank Morgan, Ray Bolger, Bert Lahr, Jack Haley

Genres: Adventure, Family, Fantasy

IMDB 8.2 / Amazon 4.6 / MRQE 93 / Decent Films A+

Oscars: nominated for 6, won 2 (Best Music Score, Music Song)

Ranked #5 Greatest Movies Through 1960, in 32 of 41 best movies lists, a Zagat Top Movie

Dorothy Gale is swept away to a magical land in a tornado and embarks on a quest to see the Wizard who can help her return home. IMDB 8.2 rating from over 147,725 users

When it was released during Hollywood’s golden year of 1939, The Wizard of Oz didn’t start out as the perennial classic it has since become. The film did respectable business, but it wasn’t until its debut on television that this family favorite saw its popularity soar. Amazon 4.6 stars from over 1,293 users

The Wizard of Oz is one of a very few shared experiences that unite Americans as a culture, transcending barriers of age, locale, politics, religion, and so on. We all see it when we are young, and it leaves an indelible mark on our imaginations. We can hardly imagine not knowing it. It ranks among our earliest and most defining experiences of wonder and of fear, of fairy-tale joys and terrors, of the lure of the exotic and the comfort of home. Read full Decent Films review (rated A+, Superior artistic-entertainment and for kids & up)

MRQE 93% rating with links to over 121 reviews

Madison Public Library

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Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)

Posted by Technoheaven on January 1, 1938

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102 min – view video trailer

Starring: Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, Basil Rathbone

Genres: Action, Adventure, Family

IMDB 8.0 / Amazon 4.8 / MRQE 93% / Decent Films A+

Oscars: nominated for 4, won 3 (Best Art, Editing, Music)

Ranked #34 Greatest Movies Through 1960

When Prince John and the Norman Lords begin oppressing the Saxon masses in King Richard’s absence, a Saxon lord fights back as the outlaw leader of a rebel guerrilla army. IMDB 8.0 rating from over 28,291 users

Dashing Errol Flynn is the definitive Robin Hood in the most gloriously swashbuckling version of the legendary story. Warner Brothers reunited Michael Curtiz, their top-action director, with the winning team of Flynn and Olivia de Havilland (Maid Marian) and perennial villain Basil Rathbone as the aristocratic Sir Guy of Gisbourne, and pulled out all stops for the production. It became their costliest film to date, a grandly handsome, glowing Technicolor adventure set to a stirring, Oscar-winning score. Amazon 4.8 stars from over 346 users

The archetypal Hollywood swashbuckler, The Adventures of Robin Hood is everything big-screen derring-do should be: rousing, lighthearted, witty, romantic, colorful, moralistic, and richly satisfying. In his defining role, Errol Flynn establishes himself as the quintessential Robin Hood, jaunty, dashing, and fearless, while Olivia de Havilland (Maid Marian), Basil Rathbone (Sir Guy of Gisbourne), and Claude Rains (Prince John) shine in supporting roles. Read full Decent Films review (rated A+, Superior artistic-entertainment for Kids & Up)

MRQE 93% from over 56 reviews

Madison Public Library

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Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) Disney

Posted by Technoheaven on January 1, 1937

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83 min – rated G – view video trailer

Genres: Animation, Family, Fantasy

IMDB 7.8 / Amazon 4.5 / MRQE 90% / Decent Films A+

Oscars: nominated for 2, won 1 (Honorary Award for significant screen inovation)

Ranked #20 Greatest Movies Through 1960, a Zagat Top Movie

Snow White, pursued by a jealous queen, hides with the Dwarfs; the queen feeds her a poison apple, but Prince Charming awakens her with a kiss. IMDB 7.8 rating from over 64,432 users

Based on the Grimm fairy tale, Snow White is probably the best family film ever to deal, in mythic terms, with the psychological foundation for growing up. It’s a crowning achievement and should not be missed. Amazon 4.5 stars from over 731 users

Walt Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is widely celebrated as a beginning, the first feature-length animated film in Hollywood history. It’s just as correct, though, and perhaps more illuminating, to hail it as a culimination — as the crowning achievement of years of experimentation, discovery, growth and achievement by Disney’s animation team. Read full Decent Films review (rated A+, Superior artistic-entertainment for Kids & Up)

MRQE 90% from over 69 reviews

Madison Public Library

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The Kid Brother (1927)

Posted by Technoheaven on January 1, 1927

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82 mins – view video clips (no trailer found)

Director: Ted Wilde, J.A. Howe
Starring: Harold Lloyd, Jobyna Ralston, Walter James

Genres: Comedy, Drama, Family, Romance, Silent

IMDB 7.8 / Amazon 5.0 / Decent Films A+

Oscars: none

Ranked #87 Greatest Movies Through 1960

When the town’s money is stolen by thugs from the medicine show, Harold’s father is accused, and with encouragement from Mary, Harold sets out to find the real crooks. IMDB 7.8 rating from over 1,842 users

THE KID BROTHER, another geek vs. bullies tale distiguished by some really heartwarming moments and a hilarious scene with a monkey. Amazon 5.0 stars from over 4 users

Not only was Lloyd as gifted a comic actor as either Chaplin or Keaton, his films hold up at least as well — for casual viewers unfamiliar with silent film, probably better. As a first introduction to silent film, I would pick The Kid Brother over the best of Chaplin (Modern TimesCity Lights) or Keaton (The General, Steamboat Bill, Jr.) every time. Decent Films A+ with Superior artistic/entertainment value

MRQE links to over 11 reviews

Madison Public Library

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Gold Rush (1925) Rereleased (1942)

Posted by Technoheaven on January 1, 1925

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Rereleased with sound (1942)

95 min – view video trailer

Director: Charles Chaplin
Writer: Charles Chaplin
Starring: Charles Chaplin, Mack Swain, Tom Murray

Genres: Adventure, Comedy, Family

Oscars: pre-Oscars – rerelease nominated for 2, won 0

IMDB 8.3 / Amazon 4.3 / MRQE 93% / Decent Films A

Ranked #39 Greatest Movies Through 1960, a Zagat Top Movie

The Tramp goes the Klondike in search of gold and finds it and more. IMDB 8.3 rating from over 31,710 users

eorgia Hale), but it seems impossible that she could ever notice him. The Gold Rush is one of Chaplin’s simplest, loveliest features; and despite its high comedy, it never strays far from Chaplin’s keen grasp of loneliness. In 1942, Chaplin reedited the film and added music and his own narration for a successful rerelease. Amazon 4.3 stars from over 69 users

City Lights might be Chaplin’s most exquisite achievement, but he never made a funnier or more beloved film than his own personal favorite, The Gold Rush. Read full Decent Films review (rated A, Superior artistic-entertainment for Kids & Up)

MRQE 93% from over 39 reviews

Notes: originally released before the Oscars – the sound version was nominated for 2 Oscars

Madison Public Library

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