Top 60 Adolescence and Childhood Films


Sam over at Wonders in the Dark invited me to participate in a project to pick 60 of my favorite portrayals of adolescence and childhood. Sounds easy, right? Quite the opposite. I was happy to oblige as I live for lists like this, but it took some work to narrow down my favorites.

First off, what sort of criteria should I use? I was given freedom to formulate my list however I wished. Did I want to simply list the best films that have children in them? Did I want to list movies that are the best at capturing childhood and adolescence? Did I want to include movies only from a child’s perspective, or films where children are prominent yet not the protagonists? Or did I want to just list the best “coming of age” films?

None one of these options by itself would work for a lengthy list, so I went with a combination of all of the above criteria. In most of the list, you’ll find high quality films with children figured prominently. They are not all strictly “coming of age” films, but childhood and adolescence are at least key themes and they are integrated well into the film.

I tried to portray a mixture of genre and era as much as I could, but of course I ended up with a lot of classic and foreign films. I also found for some reason that both Louis Malle and Studio Ghibli figured prominently. I had no idea I was such a fan.

1. Yi Yi
2. The 400 Blows
3. Kes
4. Aparajito
5. Cria Cuervos
6. Lacombe Lucien
7. Mirror
8. Au Revoir Les Enfants
9. Mouchette
10. Zero for Conduct
11. The White Balloon
12. Amarcord
13. Dazed and Confused
14. Bicycle Thieves
15. Fanny and Alexander
16. Shoeshine
17. Tree of Life
18. Nobody Knows
19. Grave of the Fireflies
20. Twenty-Four Eyes
21. Closely Watched Trains
22. Breaking Away
23. Come and See
24. My Life as a Dog
25. Pather Panchali
26. The Last Picture Show
27. When Father Was Away on Business
28. To Kill a Mockingbird
29. My Neighbor Totoro
30. Cinema Paradiso
31. La Promesse
32. Life of Pi
33. King of the Hill
34. Sundays and Cybele
35. The Red Balloon
36. Au Hazard Balthazar
37. The Innocents
38. The Perks of Being a Wallflower
39. Alice in the Cities
40. Almost Famous
41. Y Tu Mama Tambien
42. Murmur of the Heart
43. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
44. Let the Right One In
45. Night of the Hunter
46. We Are the Best
47. The River
48. Picnic at Hanging Rock
49. One Upon a Time in America
50. Beasts of the Southern Wild
51. Fish Tank
52. Spirited Away
53. Heavenly Creatures
54. Rebel Without a Cause
55. In America
56. The Children Are Watching Us
57. Daisies
58. Boyhood
59. Persepolis
60. Whale Rider


Posted on May 25, 2015, in Film, Lists. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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