Ever thought:   Don't know what to watch on TV,
Too much unnecessary sex, violence, and vulgar language in the video stores?




Legend:  * = especially for children,   [A] = About,   [M] = Movie Database   [O] = Official site,   [R] = Review,   [U] = Useful site.

All the President's Men


The Watergate saga that shocked this Nation as told through the reporters eyes. Outstanding film Robert Redford starred in and produced.   [M]

An Affair to Remember


The classic romance with Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr that should be seen before Sleepless in Seattle.   [M]

Arsenic and Old Lace


Two little ole ladies as you can never imagine them, and Cary Grant in a comedy.

Barbarians at the Gate


Story about the business excesses of the 1980s, and the destructive and perennial quest of unbridled greed in daily business.



Classic good versus evil in the modern city. I believe Kim screams 37 times. Nicholson is great as the Joker.



Two powerful performances about friendship, love, and duty.

Bugsy Malone *


Thirteen year old Jody Foster & Scott Baio in a gangster musical where all the parts are played by kids using marshmallows as bullets.

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid


The role that granted fame for Robert Redford. He and Paul Newman provide distinguished and humorous performances.



The timeless classic tale of love and sacrifice in a crazy world. Bogart's best.

Best Years of Our Lives


War has no winners, and this classic recounts the story of three returning veterans who wanted stability and found change.   [M]



Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn in a mystery thriller with wit, humor and suspense. A must.

Cheaper by the Dozen *


Comedy drama about a large family and based on the true life of an early husband and wife business management team. A must see.     [M]

Circle of Iron


A Kung Fu fantasy film that is better than most and raises important questions about life.

Citizen Kane


See the 1988 version. Generally agreed to be the best movie ever made.



Medical thriller about a doctor who uncovers a plot and no one believes her. I did.

Criminal Justice


MCTV: A many-sided view of the courtroom. Legal truth always goes through the eyes & mind of the observer.

Educating Rita


Charming comedy about a professor and a student and what each learns about life.

Family Plot


Alfred Hitchcock's last film contains kidnapping, robbery, arson, & murder but without the modern view of violence. Most people don't know that Hitchcock consider all of his films funny, but this one has some great funny lines.[M]



Only those who serve in war come to understand how insidious it is, and that is why we must learn to live together. James Webb recommended this one.

Gigi *


Won nine Academy Awards including Best Picture. A cosmopolitan musical.     [M]

Good Will Hunting


A rebellious young genius confronts friends, a professor, and a psychiatrist in an engaging way. One of the most reviewed of all movies.

Gorillas in the Mist


Unforgettable adventure and tragic true story about the naturalist Dian Fossey in the African mountains.

Gregory's Girl *


Young love, but in Scotland, and lots of young actors. Touching and funny.

Harlan County, USA


A true and shameful story about the miner's strike in Kentucky that needs to be told and learned.



The critics "hated" Redford here, but it's one of his best later efforts.



Dustin Hoffman does the right thing, but it backfires and someone else gets the credit--even in the end. Will make you think about your values. [M]



Henry Winkler and Sally Field in an memorable comedy about dreams.

High Noon


This is the classic western about bravery, honor, and loyalty. It is used frequently in teaching those topics.

Honeymoon in Vegas


Nicholas Cage gambles his wife, loses, and then joins a flying Elvis team to get her back.

Indiana Jones & the Last Crusade


I like the dad and son parts. "Nothing like an honest difference of opinion."

Jeremiah Johnson


This time Redford learns about nature's world, the hard and often humorous way.

Journey of Natty Gann *


A youngster travels across America with a trusted friend. You'll like this one.

Jurassic Park


A blockbuster thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat. Great dinosaur animation.

King of Hearts


College cult movie, but a good one about a soldier who visits an unusual town in France. You won't forget it.

Legal Eagles


A comedy/mystery staring Redford and Debora Winger. There are two endings.

Les Miserables


MTV: The most recent of 4 versions is great. Read the book, then hunt for this in your TV guide. A must.

Little Women *


But don't see the 1978 MTV flop. Louisa May Alcott's famous and unforgettable tale about family life in early America.   [M]

Man Without a Face *


Mel Gibson as a recluse teacher and the boy who desperately needs a teacher. Poignant and touching.



Mel Gibson as a charming gambler; Jody Foster as a mystery, and James Gardner as.....? Funny.

Message in a Bottle


Based on the best-selling novel by Nicholas Sparks,.this improbable romance staring Paul Newman, Robin Wright Penn and Kevin Costner is entertaining, but the critics did not like it.   [M]   [O]   [R]

Murder on the Orient Express


A host of famous stars in a classic who-done-it mystery aboard a train.

Murphy's Romance


Divorced Sally Field falls for an older hesitant pharmacist in a small western town.

My Fair Lady *


The original Educating Rita. See them both at the same time, or just see this one.

Mystic Pizza *


Most critics hated this too, but the romantic travails of teen girls are perennial. Comedy. [R]

National Velvet *


Two kids (Elizabeth Taylor and Mickey Rooney) train a horse in this all time favorite.



TV news at its best, and worst. Fine, fine performances by several stars, and funny when not sadly true.

Norma Rae


Sally Field's first Oscar. A factory worker who stands up to management and wins, naturally.

Now and Then


The critics didn't like this story about one eventful summer in the life of four teen girls, who are and stay friends. The critics got it wrong. It's a must buy.     [M]

October Sky *


Recounts the true story of four boys who investigated home made rockets in 1957 at the time of Sputnik, and their problems with parents, school, etc. You'll like it.     [M]     [R].

Oklahoma *


The early West: romance, dance, music, and what's as high as an elephant's eye?

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest


This one swept the Oscars, and champions the human spirit against all odds.

One True Thing


Our knowledge about our parents is wrong. If you don't mind strong language, the acting by Meryl Streep, Renee Zellweger and William Hurt is superb.

Pale Rider


Clint Eastwood as a preacher who supports a group of miners against greed and power. Touching.

Peggy Sue Got Married


Charming romantic comedy set in the 1950s and the 1980s. Funny.

Pinocchio *


Disney's masterpiece, and the most useful animation version of good versus evil. Just what is a conscience anyway?

Rain Man


Family love is often difficult, especially when self-interest is involved, but this is one great movie.   [R]

Rainmaker, The


If you like underdog movies and sensational courtroom trials, then this is one for you. Famous stars act in minor roles. [M

Ring of Fire


Like travel-adventure documentaries? This is one of the very best about the south sea islands.

Roger & Me


One of the funniest non-fiction documentaries ever made; about the author's attempt to meet the chairman of General Motors.



The miniseries that started it all. Worth seeing every few years to gain perspective. Solid performances by many stars.



A mousy girl loves her rich neighbor, but being the chauffeur's daughter has limitations until she goes to Paris and grows up. Humorous.   [1954 R / M]   [1995 M]

Sense and Sensibility


Based on Jane Austen's novel about 18th-century England, this romance story is filled with great acting, and calls forth alternating laughter and tears. Emma Thompson deserved the Oscar.     [R]



MTV: One of the most successful miniseries about the first meeting between east and west. Great acting.

Singin in the Rain *


Everyone's (almost) favorite musical. If you like humor, great dance, and music, try this one.

Sleepless in Seattle


One of several recent blockbuster hits. Take chocolate and tissues. PS: The kid is the hero.



Robert Redford as a high tech computer hacker who plots against an evil former friend.

Sound of Music *


Romantic, sentimental, and wonderful scenery. Can you still name all the children?

Sounder *


Moving and compassionate story of sharecroppers during the depression. Four stars.



An accurate story about a brutal autocratic leader and the tragic failure of a people (the followers).

Star Wars *


This is the movie that changed the cinema, and redefined special effects. Funny scenes.



Critics hated this funny comedy starring Sally Field and Michael Caine; you may see what they missed.

Tex *


Solid performance by Matt Dillon about brothers growing up in the Southwest.

Entertainment *


Aptly named, this movie contains scenes from some of MGM's greatest musicals.

The Grapes of Wrath


John Steinbeck's masterpiece about a family's escape from poverty, and their struggles to better themselves. Great story with great performances.     [M]

The Hot Rock


George Segal and Redford give superb performances as bungling crooks. Lots of subtle humor.

The Music Man *


Iowa in 1912 looks great from the late `90s, and the songs will move your feet.

The Other Sister


A warm and touching story about a mildly retarded girl and how she and her family adjust to her quest for independence.     [M]

The Right Stuff *


The story, based on fact, about the space program and the people who made it a success.

The Sandlot *


These are the kids in your neighborhood who love baseball more than anything. Lots of humor.     [M]     [R].

The Sting


Redford and Newman again, playing two con men out for "civilized" revenge. Won seven Academy Awards.

The Story of Jazz


Only for jazz lovers, or the curious.

The Toy That Saved Christmas *


This very funny 30 minute video features animated vegetables, a marvelous moral theme, and a collection of memorable songs unlike anything you have ever heard or seen     [R].

The Voyager Odyssey *


The true trip from Earth to Jupiter is exquisite, and breathtaking.

The Way We Were


Barbara Streisand & Redford's story about love and personal growth in early Hollywood.

The Wrong Trousers *


Nick Park's 30 minute animated Wallace and Gromit classic is a very funny adventure that took Nick and six others two years to create.    [A]     [R]     [U].

Thief of Baghdad *


This version is preferred to the 1924, 1961, and 1978 versions. The early & one of the most popular screen fantasies.

3 Days of the Condor


Robert Redford as an innocent CIA book reader everyone is trying to destroy. Great suspense and 4 other very good actors.

Three Fugitives


Nick Nolte as you have never seen him, and Martin Short at his best, but the little girl.... Very funny.

12 : 01


You won't find this movie in the video stores, but if it's on TV, do not miss it. Humor within suspense. Nominated for an Oscar.

Waking Ned Devine


This is funny. A small Irish town (population 52) finds itself with a lottery winner, and two old gents seek to find out who won.

Where Eagles Dare


Good war mystery movie with lots of action and thrilling scenery.



A young Amish boy is protected by Harrison Ford who almost falls in love.

Working Girl


Harrison Ford & Melanie Griffith as an ambitious secretary. Humorous.

Legend:  * = especially for children,   [A] = About,   [M] = Movie Database   [O] = Official site,   [R] = Review,   [U] = Useful site.

Disregarding NC-17, and its older equivalent X-, rated films, there are more than 25,000 movies and videos available to the public. A few should be considered mandatory viewing, and another small number also are worthy of seeing more than once. Most movies are a waste of your time. Yet, without first seeing them, how can you tell? One option is to take someone's advice, either a movie reviewer or a book. But reviewers have their own criteria that too often diverge from the people. Or you can choose the Academy Award winners; there are only seven Academy Award Winners on this list. Alternately, consider the American Film Institute's Top 100 films, including Jonathan Rosenbaum's alternate list. Here are some Oscar Reflections by Alan Pavelin that provides informed insight. Or you can let the public decide; only 4 of the 25 top grossing films of all times are on this list because how many times do you want to see Home Alone 2 or Jaws. Or you can consider this list of 93. Not every great movie, such as Gone With the Wind, is on this list; yet there are no poor movies here. The assumption has been made that you want good entertainment, without pandering, and good performances without the too frequent excesses of sex, violence, and language. You may disagree with some titles on this list, but if you approach these films with an open mind, then you have some great evenings ahead. Copyright © 1995 - 2000, George Edw. Seymour. All rights reserved.


More than any of us realize, our lives have been shaped by the video images that have crossed the silver screen and captured our attention on TV. Before movies, the only common visual art consisted of stationary paintings, sculptures, and what could be found in some books. In those earlier times, and for centuries, people read, talked, and if you were lucky held engaging conversations, and they wrote letters. Later, people also listened to the radio, which stimulated the imagination. But above all these, it is the movies that have influenced our current lives during the past 80 years. It all began in Europe, but quickly spread to the U.S.

In 1909, movie stars were "born" in the U.S. when a few film makers produced the first close-up shots of actors, and was also the beginning of publicity stunts. For example, the "Biograph Girl," unnamed at first, became known by a huge audience when Biograph Studios issued a statement that Florence Lawrence had not been killed in a streetcar accident. That also was the first movie publicity stunt, because no one had ever suggested that she had. Florence achieved stardom.

By 1912, Carl Laemmle established the Universal Studios movie company, and about that time Paramount Pictures initiates the star system of producing movies. Eventually all of the major movie studios (MGM, Paramount, United Artists, Universal, and Warner Brothers) would use the same system wherein 10-20 "names," (i.e., famous actors and actresses) would become studio "property" and work under tight contract. Later, during the America's 1930s depression, economic suffering would be world wide, but not in Hollywood where everyone worked and each studio cranked out approximately 52 films a year, using 8 three-hour shifts. Some people would later report that they worked 50 years without a day off. The most famous year for films using the star system is 1939. That year, 1939, is known as the year that Hollywood produced its best crop of films, which included Babes in Arms, Birth of a Nation, Golden Boy, Gone with the Wind, Goodbye Mr. Chips, Gunga Din, Hunchback of Notre Dame, Of Mice and Men, Stage Coach, Union, Withering Heights, and the Wizard of Oz. As mentioned above, Hollywood in the 30s and 40s was a factory wherein each studio produced 100-200 films a year like a production line.

In contrast to that studio system, Walt Disney created a studio where perfection was measured in another way. The Three Orphan Kittens wins an Academy Award, and it is Walt Disney's first attempt at animation. Walt had three kittens brought into the studio where their actions at play were studied and sketched. The Disney artist's animation skill will grow and peak in 1940 with the movie Pinocchio, and then culminate in the 1955 movie, Lady and the Tramp. Pinocchio, the classic theme of love, family, and friendship, was released by Disney on February 7, 1940. According to the Los Angeles Times, it remains the most perfect Disney animated feature. It won two Academy Awards, one for best Score and one for best song (When You Wish Upon A Star). A major source for the Disney studio success was their philosophy about animation. As recalled by two of the original group, it is profound: "Disney animation makes audiences really believe in...characters, whose adventures and misfortunes make people laugh and even cry. There is a special ingredient in our type of animation that produces drawing that appear to think and make decisions and act of their own volition; it is what creates the illusion of life." [Thomas, F, & Johnson, O. (1981). Disney Animation: The illusion of life. New York, NY: Abbeville Press]. Moreover movie experts consider Pinocchio on laserdisc to be, "The pinnacle. There's simply no animated movie that can match its obsessively detailed craftsmanship." And the video version is rated number two in children's animated movies. "In fact, the sensibility lurking beneath the happy-go-lucky score is so serious, it would be wise to set aside postmovie family time to answer kids' inevitable questions: [such as] What's a conscience?" (Seymore, 1994).

So, get the family together soon, rent, or better yet buy, one of these great movies, don't forget the popcorn and some healthy drinks, and enjoy a few hours before, during, and after watching your choice.

This SIR Mostly Family Movie & Video page was revised on Saturday, June 17, 2000.
Copyright (c) 1995, 2000 by Systems Information Resources. All rights reserved.
P.O. Box 84990, San Diego, California, U.S.A. 92138-4990.
Send e-mail to: SIR

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