Thursday, April 16, 2009

What Old Adventure Movies Should Tween Boys See?

As you may know, I have two sons, currently aged eight and eleven.

We've been watching various adventure movies together over the past couple of years, as I teach them about their heritage as white American males. We've seen the first half-dozen James Bond movies (and are continuing, probably to the end of Roger Moore), all four Indiana Jones films, and all but the last Star Wars movie.

But I'm sure there's more that we all would love that I haven't thought of yet. So I wanted to ask for suggestions.

I've been trying to stay at PG rather than PG-13 in most cases, but we're already well into the old-fashioned sex & violence with Indy and 007, so I may be guarding a barn door that's been open for a while.

Also, I haven't seen essentially any of the big blockbuster movies of the '90s and early aughts, so if you're thinking "Surely he's considered Spider-Man," the answer would be no, since I've never seen it myself.

Any suggestions are welcome, and stories about movies actually enjoyed by boys of that age this decade would be particularly helpful.


James Davis Nicoll said...

I liked the first of the recent Mummy movies. It does terrible things to Egyptian history, of course, and people do get killed on screen in various unpleasant ways.

Enusan said...

I second the Mummy movies. They're great upbeat adventure, and if your boys could watch the nastier bits of Indian Jones without a problem there is nothing in The Mummy to be worried about.

Pirates of the Caribbean is another great adventure movie. I would stick to just the first, as the second and third don't add much.

Spiderman wasn't very good, but the first of the more modern X-men series was. They're a little darker than the other stuff you mentioned, but not by much.

And Iron Man was great! The beginning may be slow for younger boys, but once Stark gets on a role it's a very fun movie.

Sidereal said...

Are older movies okay? My son is only 4, but when he reaches the 8+ age range, I plan on holding the Errol Flynn Film Festival at home. The best are: Robin Hood, The Sea Hawk, and Captain Blood. Great adventure and non-gorey violence.

If more recent films are better, something similar would be the first of the Zorro movies with Antonio Banderas. Skip the second one.

Anonymous said...


*You* might not love all of these, but they probably would.

Also, you might want to check out the three Sinbad movies from the fifties and seventies. They aren't great, but they're better than I'd expected. Avoid the recent animated version.

Also, I loved SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES. What about GOONIES? Both of those are on the agenda for the future. So is E.T., AGENT CODY BANKS, MONSTER SQUAD, and MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

We went through the Ray Harryhausen movies at one point, but he really didn't like the persecuted monster trope, so 20 Million Miles to Venus was a wash.

Hope that helps.


Anonymous said...

Something I forgot to mention: IRON MAN has a scene where stewardesses do a stripper pole dance on Stark's plane. FYI.

Lori Devoti said...

Both Men in Black and Ghostbusters! Maybe more MiB. :)

Mahesh Raj Mohan said...

Another vote for the Mummy films, as well as the early Errol Flynns.

The Princess Bride is timeless, and although they're technically comedies, I *loved* the Back to the Future films when I was your sons' age.

Johan Larson said...

"The Wild Geese"(1978)

"The Final Countdown"(1980)

"Top Gun"

"The Karate Kid"

RobB said...

How about THE GOONIES?

Spine said...

The original Italian Job? Perhaps only the elder thing...

Suzan Harden said...

I'd have to vote for some of the older Disney movies (live action, not animated) like 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and the Daniel Boone series.

Unknown said...

About 5 years ago my son (now 13) and I decided we would embark on a mission to see every movie ever made by Jet Li and Jackie Chan. This proved to be quite an interesting endeavor, but loads of fun, particularly when we realized there is often a huge (and significant) difference between the Hong Kong version of a movie and what was released to the West.

Early on I previewed some of the movies for content, but mostly it wasn't an issue. There was only one that I decided needed to wait until later in the project. Some of these movies are outrageously funny and there are often very strong female leads which I silently enjoyed having my son see. The physical humor of the comedic ones is perfect for boys of your sons' ages.

We combined seeing current movie releases with older movies on DVD.

We see lots of action movies at the theater since I'm a big fan and he likes them, too. It was a several year project, and there are a few we've missed, but now we're experts on Martial Arts movies and have several favorites we purchased.

So, one suggestion for you would be a similar quest.

Shanna Swendson said...

I'll ditto The Princess Bride.

Then there are the Horatio Hornblower TV movies that were on A&E about ten years ago (back in the time when it wasn't all true-crime reality shows).

I didn't think the movie versions of The Prisoner of Zenda quite lived up to the book, but the swordfighting was quite nice, especially in the 1930s B&W version.

As a kid, I loved the Disney movie of Johnny Tremaine.

Anonymous said...

I second the Errol Flynn stuff, but question if they're too dated for young kids. I hope that wouldn't be the case, but some kids get bored quick without snappy special effects and whiplash pacing.

I was wondering about "Jaws", since it's now considered tame by today's standards. They may roll their eyes at the fake shark, too.

Also, how about "Jeremiah Johnson" w/ Robert Redford? That's a favorite from my adolescence.

And though it's technically not adventure, perhaps "Bride of Frankenstein"?

Jeff P.

Chris Schweizer said...

I want to second the Princess Bride. I taught sixth grade for a little while, and after standardized testing one week, not wanting to put on the "Holes" DVD they'd been seeing in all their classes, I put on Princess Bride, which only one of the hundred and twenty students that I taught had seen.

The boys class especially was standing up and cheering at various points. It's perfect for that age.

Some other good ones:
Halmark's Blackbeard movie from 2005. Plays loose with history, but it's a great clean-but-exciting kid-friendly pirate flick.

Thief of Bagdad (1939 version, the one with Sabu). This one, old as it is, is paced just as quick as movies from today. I had a hard time as a kid getting into some of the older Errol Flynn type films, but this one is still great for that age. Genies, giant spiders, etc.

Young Sherlock Holmes. It's a little scary at times, so if your kids are really susceptible to that sort of thing, I'd hold off, but it's the kid of scary that fits the narrative, and has logical explanations. A good primer if you want your kids to like Sherlock Holmes.

The Young Indiana Jones chronicles. While having not the slightest bit of thematic similarity with the Indiana Jones movies, they're fun, exciting, and (excluding the Mata Hari episode, which is heavy on the insinuated [though not shown] sex), mostly kid appropriate. There's some heavier issues involved, mostly regarding the traumas of war, but high adventure and great history lessons (he meets lots of real people and takes part in real events). Each episode is basically a two-hour movie.

Flyboys - again, safe for kids and a fun, boy-oriented adventure. WWI flying ace volunteers.

Hope these help!

Bruce said...

THE CRIMSON PIRATE, with Burt Lancaster. Best swashbuckler ever made.

Anonymous said...

My kids aged 9 and 11 recently watched the 2 Disnly National Treasure movies and loved them.

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