14 Non-Disney Classics for Kids

So I had a hard time getting some ideas for classic movies for kids in that “oh God” age range we call tweens from about 7 to 10.  They aren’t as inspired by the Disney classics like younger kids (and a lot of adults are) – nor are they ready for more serious movies.  But here are a few that might be worth trying out with them for those precious family movie nights:

  1. 9ine (2009) – A rag doll that awakens in a post-apocalyptic future holds the key to humanity’s salvation. In a world destroyed in a war between man and machine, a hand-stitched doll with the number 9 written on its back comes to life.  A slightly dark but beautiful piece of art.
  2. Coraline (2002) – While exploring her new home, a girl named Coraline discovers a secret door, behind which lies an alternate world that closely mirrors her own but, in many ways, is better. She rejoices in her discovery, until Other Mother and the rest of her parallel family try to keep her there forever. Coraline must use all her resources and bravery to make it back to her own family and life.
  3. Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) – Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King of Halloween Town, decides to spread Christmas joy to the world. But his well-meaning mission unwittingly puts Santa Clause in jeopardy and creates a nightmare for all good little boys and girls everywhere.
  4. Ponyo (2008) – During a forbidden excursion to see the surface world, a goldfish princess encounters a human boy named Sosuke, who gives her the name Ponyo. Ponyo longs to become human, and as her friendship with Sosuke grows, she becomes more human-like. Ponyo’s father brings her back to their ocean kingdom, but so strong is Ponyo’s wish to live on the surface that she breaks free, and in the process, spills a collection of magical elixirs that endanger Sosuke’s village.
  5. Sinbad and the Seven Seas (2003) – The brave mariner Sinbad battles raging elements, mutinous dogs and fearsome monsters to retrieve the Book of Peace after being framed by the treacherous Goddess of Chaos.
  6. The Land Before Time (1988) – Littlefoot, a young plant-eating dinosaur, is orphaned after his mother (Helen Shaver) perishes while protecting him from a vicious carnivore. With her last breath, she tells him how to get to the legendary Great Valley, where he will be reunited with others of his kind. With his friend Cera, Littlefoot sets out for the fabled land, meeting a variety of new friends along the way — while also being tracked by the killer dinosaur that mortally wounded his mother.
  7. An American Tail (1986) – A young mouse named Fievel Mousekewitz and his family emigrate from Russia to the United States by boat after their home is destroyed by cats. During the trip, a fierce storm throws Fievel from the ship, and he loses contact with his family. Luckily, he manages to sail to New York in a bottle. There, Irish mouse Bridget, an Italian mouse named Tony and a kindly cat named Tiger help Fievel search for his loved ones.
  8. The Iron Giant (1999) – A young boy befriends a giant robot from outer space that a paranoid government agent wants to destroy. This is the story of a nine-year-old boy named Hogarth Hughes who makes friends with an innocent alien giant robot that came from outer space.
  9. Rise of the Guardians (2012) – Generation after generation, immortal Guardians like Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy protect the world’s children from darkness and despair. However, an evil boogeyman named Pitch Black schemes to overthrow the Guardians by obliterating children’s belief in them. It falls to a winter sprite named Jack Frost to thwart Pitch’s plans and save the Guardians from destruction.
  10. The Brave Little Toaster (1987) – The film is set in a world where household appliances and other electronics come to life, pretending to be lifeless in the presence of humans. The story focuses on five anthropomorphic household appliances, a toaster, a lamp, a blanket, a radio, and a vacuum cleaner, who go on a quest to search for their owner.
  11. Robots (2005) – The story follows a robot named Rodney Copperbottom who seeks out his idol at his company in Robot City, only to discover a plot by its new owner to cheat older robots into buying expensive upgrades.
  12. The Secret of the NIMH (1982) – Frisby is a widowed mouse living on a farm with her four children, including Timmy, who’s bedridden with pneumonia. When they’re forced to find a new home, the Great Owl advises Mrs. Brisby to seek the help of Nicodemus, the king of the rat colony.
  13. Ferngully (1992) – Set in an Australian rainforest inhabited by fairies including Crysta, who accidentally shrinks a young logger named Zak to the size of a fairy. Together, they rally the fairies and the animals of the rainforest to protect their home from the loggers and a malevolent pollution entity.
  14. Klaus (2019) – Serving as an alternate origin story of Santa Claus independent from the historical take of Saint Nicholas of Myra and using a fictional 19th-century setting, the plot revolves around a postman stationed in an island town to the Far North who befriends a reclusive toymaker (Klaus).
  15. All Dogs Go to Heaven (1989) – A story of Charlie B. Barkin, a German Shepherd that is murdered by his former friend, Carface Carruthers, but withdraws from his place in Heaven to return to Earth, where his best friend, Itchy Itchiford, still lives, and they team up with a young orphan girl named Anne-Marie, who teaches them an important lesson about kindness, friendship and love.

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