Duck Soup Movie Poster Image
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Banned by Mussolini, this film is considered a comedic masterwork. The Marx Brothers are the epitome of anarchy: rude, insulting, pranksterish, and loyal to no one. Laugh and enjoy -- and if some of the military madness and government misfits remind you of today's leaders, discuss with the kids.

National Velvet Movie Poster Image
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The young Velvet Brown (Elizabeth Taylor) bonds with Mi Taylor (Mickey Rooney) over a love of horses. Messages about dreams, risk, determination, and honesty, with two strong female role models who succeed in sports previously closed to women: long-distance swimming and British horse-jumping. 

The Red Balloon Movie Poster Image
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This tender, enchanting, mostly silent short film about a red balloon that befriends a little French boy is a rare and invigorating pleasure. Winner of an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, the Cannes Grand Prize, and the 1968 Best Film of the Decade Educational Film Award. 

The Adventures of Robin Hood Movie Poster Image
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Errol Flynn stars as Lord Robin of Locksley, who's enraged at the mistreatment of his people. What's fascinating about this version is the distinctly 1930s American sensibility -- it's less a sweet and cartoonish fairy tale than it is a thinly veiled attack on capitalism and an absentee leader. 

The Black Stallion Movie Poster Image
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Pauline Kael said this "may be the greatest children's movie ever made." After a shipwreck, only Alec and a horse survive. Back at home, the horse runs to a farm, where Alec meets a trainer (Mickey Rooney). They enter the formerly wild horse in a race. Breathtakingly beautiful, genuinely magic.

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Common Sense Tips

Common Sense Tips

  • Ask your kids why these movies have lasting value. How are they still relevant, and how are they not?
  • Discuss the historical context of Gandhi. What was his goal? What do you think about his methods?