The Little Mermaid

Photo Credit: © Disney Enterprises Inc. - All Rights Reserved 

1. The Little Mermaid
Some films are just for kids, and others are for the kids at heart. These nine movies prove you're never too old for imagination and a good old-fashioned happy ending. 

Any grown woman who says she doesn't want to be a part of Ariel's world has never dreamed of combing her hair with a dinglehopper—or she's lying. The little mermaid looked at everyday items with such wonderment—remember the banded, bulbous snarfblatt?—that it's hard not to want to see the universe through her eyes. Plus, she's got a band of underwater sea creatures setting the mood for her dates with a prince. That's the life. (And for those who don't speak Scuttle, a dinglehopper is a fork. Snarfblatt? A pipe.)
Finding Nemo

Photo Credit: © 2003 - Disney Enterprises, Inc. / Pixar Animation Studios - All Rights Reserved

2. Finding Nemo
Maybe it's something about animated underwater films...Finding Nemo nails that fine line between being fit for kids and smart enough for adults. Sure, Nemo and his father are clown fish, but the drama of being a single parent on the search for your well-meaning but hypercurious young son is universal enough. The bonus: Ellen DeGeneres nails the voice of Dory, a blue tang with short-term memory loss. As always, she's funny for all ages.
Julie Andrews as Mary Poppins

Image courtesy

3. Mary Poppins
Julie Andrews is practically perfect in every way as pop culture's first supernanny. She and Dick Van Dyke make a fantastic pair as they jump between live action and animation for the movie's anthem, "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious," but the film isn't all lighthearted. The somber note of "Feed the Birds," said to be Walt Disney's favorite song, may be lost on young viewers, but it touches the hearts of adult fans everywhere.

© 2001 - Dreamworks LLC - All Rights Reserved 

4. Shrek
Often in films, it's not the main character but his sidekick that steals our hearts. Don't get us wrong—we love Shrek and Princess Fiona. We really love the brilliant takes on fairy-tale characters and Shrek's ogre attitude problem. But the reason we watch the Dreamworks new classic again and again is for Donkey, Eddie Murphy's sassy tagalong. He may be an ass, but he delivers a one-liner with gusto.

5. Wall-E
Why were we, along with the rest of the country, rooting for our new favorite animated love story in the 2009 Oscars® race? Because while watching Wall-E, we forgot that this post-apocalyptic world was in fact animated. Because it incorporates Hello, Dolly! without getting trapped in hokey old musical territory. And because it's a beautiful, sweet, funny robot love story with a cultural and social undertone (commentary on modern-day relationships and the fate of our environment abound) that's not heavy-handed but clearly makes a point.
The Goonies

6. The Goonies
Some kids' movies stand the test of time,and others feel completely dated. The Goonies is a perfect blend of both—sweatbands and poorly executed CGI are classically '80s, while the treasure hunt plot is as old as stories themselves. There's just something lovable about Chunk, Data and the gang—perhaps because the film was written by überdirectors Steven Spielberg and Chris Columbus. Watch it in today's economy, and the "save the homes from foreclosure!" storyline takes on new relevance.
The Incredibles

© 2004 Buena Vista Pictures Distribution. All Rights Reserved.

7. The Incredibles
You know you've hit movie gold when, as a viewer, you feel you're on the right side of an inside joke. For most adults, that's the case when it comes to The Incredibles. From the opening interview sequence to the ingeniously named Nomanisan Island (get it?), it's the carefully chosen details that set this superhero cartoon apart. Plus, the action doesn't outweigh the emotional nuances, because at its core this is a film about the love of family.
E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial

© 1982 & 2002 - Universal Studios 

8. E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial
When a children's movie makes a mom cry more than her daughter, it's probably doing something right—and Steven Spielberg's lovable alien had moviegoers nationwide reaching for the hankies. His glowing finger, moonlit bike ride and longing to phone home won us over in when originally released in 1982. Decades later, the tale of out-of-this-world friendship still holds up. Plus, there's something strangely snuggly about the little guy.
Toy Story

9. Toy Story
If a movie has big names like Tom Hanks and Tim Allen, it better have the storyline to back them up—even if the movie in question is computer animated. Luckily for Disney, Toy Story— the first fully computer-generated feature film—most definitely does. When Buzz Lightyear wins Andy's heart as toy-of-the-moment, Woody's jealousy is palpable. Leave it to Tom to give an undeniably moving performance, even as a toy sheriff. The lessons of friendship are not lost on adult fans of this film, and neither are the necessary reminders of what can come to life when a child's imagination knows no bounds.

Did we miss one of your favorites? Leave a comment at the right of this page!

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