We’ve been there. You’ve finished binging the latest Netflix show, or re-watching your favorite show for the millionth time, and want something new to watch. That’s the perfect time to take a stroll down memory lane and indulge in some nostalgia! Here are 10 movies that will have you feeling like you’re a kid again.
1. Homeward Bound II: Lost In San Francisco
Homeward Bound II follows three pets as they try to navigate through the streets of San Francisco to make it back home to their family. If you’ve seen the first one, it’s the same premise, only this time Shadow, Sassy, and Chance have to travel through a city instead of a forest. As a kid this was one of my FAVORITE movies. It was one of two movies I would rent repeatedly until my mom forbade me from choosing it (she’s lucky Frozen came out when I was an adult haha). I can’t say what it was about this movie that caught my attention so completely, but I’m sure it played a huge subconscious role in my choosing to go to college in San Francisco.
2. Cats Don’t Dance
This was the other movie I was forbidden from renting after one too many viewings (honestly, RIP to parents in this age of streaming, they can never escape). Cats Don’t Dance does not get the recognition that it deserves, and I will die screaming on this hill. It’s so colorful, the songs are so catchy, and the characters are so compelling that it’s hard to believe that the movie is only a bit over an hour long. You follow Danny, an adorable cat with dreams of making it big in a 1950s-esque Hollywood where discrimination against animals is rampant (wait a minute…). He rallies his fellow actors into re-igniting their dreams while the evil child actor Darla Dimple tries to foil them at every turn. I only wish it was longer so you could really dig into some of the character’s back stories.
My best friend and I were OBSESSED with Balto as kids, and when I went to New York for the first time last year, I made my friends watch it the night before we planned to go to Central Park. When we did get there we made a beeline for Balto’s statues and took pictures with the goodest boy there ever was (except for my dog). The movie is about a wolf-dog looked down upon by his community that rises up and saves the town by running in medicine during a pandemic. If you haven’t seen it in a while, you definitely should because the artificial Northern Lights as a symbol of Balto and Jenna’s devotion STILL HITS.
I don’t know how many people remember watching this, but the nostalgia hits hard with this one. When I think back to it, what I remember most is the softness of the color palettes. The pinks, yellows, whites, blues that followed Thumbelina through her story. The other thing I remember is the opening song in which everyone is repeatedly singing out “THUMBELINAAAAAA” and the squishy-ness of the minstrel bird that is telling the story even as he’s a part of it. Oh, and Thumbelina getting her happily ever after with her fairy prince *sigh*.
Of this list, Anastasia will probably be the one that most of you will recall with ease. This movie has really held up over the years in terms of popularity, and rightfully so. The story of a lost princess trying to find out who she is and where she comes from? Classic. The story line is simply hero’s journey stuff and the music is top-notch. I still remember all of the words to Once Upon a December.
6. An American Tail
An American Tail is a movie I remember watching but don’t necessarily remember the actual story well anymore. I know that it centers on Fievel, a mouse immigrating to America that somehow becomes separated from his family on the journey over because of a storm. I remember the sequel to it, Fievel Goes West (maybe I’m just a sequel person?), much better. The one thing that’s crystal clear is the Somewhere Out There song because you just can’t forget that kind of heartbreak.
7. The Land Before Time
SPEAKING OF HEARTBREAK, this whole movie was traumatizing. Not only does Little Foot’s mother die, but I also legitimately thought the names of the dinosaur species were the actual names for them until like second grade when the dinosaur-obsessed kid in class set me straight. Yes, this is probably more telling of me as a child than the movie. Then, between this and Jurassic Park, I thought T-rexes were going to be a much bigger problem than they actually are. I’m honestly afraid to re-watch The Land Before Time as an adult, as my feelings are a lot more fragile now and I can’t guarantee I won’t be sobbing about animated dinosaurs for a week after.
8. The Black Cauldron
This is the animated Disney movie I will go to bat for very time. The Black Cauldron is SO underappreciated. It’s a great classic fantasy story, and I wish Disney would invest more into marketing it now the way it does all of its other older movies. GIVE ME THAT BLACK CAULDRON MERCH. Taran, Eilonwy, Gurgi, and ESPECIALLY Hen-Wren deserve better. This movie was one of my first young forays into medieval/epic fantasy (my whole personality basically), so it holds a special place in my heart.
9. Quest for Camelot
Honestly I should have put Quest for Camelot higher on this list in terms of nostalgia, but this isn’t a ranking list of any sort so it’s OK. Kayley, the daughter of a Knight of the Round Table, must hurry to find Excalibur and return it to King Arthur before the kingdom is attacked by an evil ex-knight. I was OBSESSED, so much so that I made my family eat at Wendy’s just so I could collect the kids’ meal toys. I told you all medieval fantasy is basically my personality, and honestly I challenge any of you to resist Cary Elwes as the main love interest.
10. The Thief and the Cobbler
I have no idea what this movie was, and I feel like it’s probably the most obscure one on this list because no one ever knows what I’m talking about when I bring it up. I remember Tack, the cobbler, didn’t talk and there was something about some golden balls that the villain used in order to enact his takeover. As a kid, I remember likening it to Aladdin because of its Arabian influences and the fact that the main love story was between the poor guy and the princess. The animation style was very unique, filled with long curves and sharp edges, which is something that really sticks out in my memory. This is one I definitely want to re-watch because my memory of it feels so specific yet vague.
*Honorary Mention to The Swan Princess
This is a solid trilogy. No, I haven’t seen the CG ones and don’t plan to. Odette and Derek Forever.
Which of these movies will you be watching next? Let me know in the comments below!
Featured Image via Pinterest, https://www.pinterest.com/pin/142567144440677410/
I'm a writer based in California. I received my Bachelor's and Master's in Literature from San Francisco State University. I dream of one day writing books of my own and maybe even being part of a writer's room for a show! I love to talk about pop culture, books, and travel to anyone willing to listen. Some of my favorite topics in those categories are "Avatar the Last Airbender", "Gilmore Girls", the works of J.R.R. Tolkien, Mexico, and Paris. My favorite thing in the world though is my dog, he's just the cutest!