Loved the book? Wait till you see the movie! Few things are more exciting for kids than a movie that successfully brings a much-loved book to life. Here are five of the best.
Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971)
True, the slightly sinister remake in 2005 (starring Johnny Depp) was probably closer in tone to Roald Dahl’s book, which has reliably spooked young children for generations now. But nothing beats the nutso, technicolor magic of the original movie. And Gene Wilder, whose crazy was colored with a little kindness, was the perfect Wonka. An indulgent treat.
Harriet the Spy (1996)
Based on the spiky 1964 children’s classic, which was banned from some schools and libraries for ‘setting a bad example for children’. Although the movie version smoothes away some of the book’s rougher edges, its mischievous young star keeps the naughty spirit alive. And the villains are a blast.
Harry Potter series
…where the combination of a great story, fabulous special effects and a young cast that actually aged in real time alongside the series proved to be irresistible. Hogwarts fans around the world (who collectively bought 450 million copies of the books) gasped as their favorite imaginary world was brought to life before their eyes. And then were treated to eight glorious movies.
Little Women (1994)
You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. You’ll smile. You’ll cry again. This superior version of Louisa May Alcott’s classic novel puts viewers through a real emotional wringer – but then isn’t that the point? The four New England sisters, struggling to survive and thrive during the Civil War, were never more charming and feisty. Unsurprisingly, most of the young cast went on to become big stars.
The Wizard of Oz (1939)
The movie that, almost 80 years ago, set the standard for children’s movie adaptions. Watching it now, it’s hard to believe such a visual spectacle was essentially created with bits of board and stage paint. The characters are memorable, the acting is terrific, and L. Frank Baum’s story still carries a satisfying moral kick that hundreds of films have since tried (and failed) to replicate. Your kids will love it.
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