What are your favourite childhood movies?

When I was young, I stayed full time with my nanny. When she started taking care of me, she was already a mother of 4 and a widow. She was 55 and I was like a granddaughter to her. She stayed at a spilt apartment where another family stayed on the 1st floor and my nanny and her family stayed on the second floor. They shared a common door though on the 1st floor. We would just bypass their house to climb the stairs up to the 2nd floor to get to our place. When I was young, I have always thought that was odd. Sometimes when we returned to my nanny’s house, they would be having dinner or watching tv.

I remember that my nanny had a storeroom where she would put her excess toiletries, clothes and there was a huge cupboard full of videos, and the cupboard was just at my height when I was 8. The videos were her adult son’s. The doors creaked when you opened them and one day I braved myself to venture to the dingy storeroom to open the cupboard. Oh and what treasures I found!

I know before I go further, that this is all sounding very sleazy and suspicious but I assure you that it is not. At least I did not know about the existence of THOSE videos..

After I opened the old and dusty cupboard, I found piles and piles of movies. I looked through all of them and selected one each day to watch after school. I am not a big fan of tv but I would watch endless stacks of videos at one go. There wasn’t much to do at my nanny’s house as she did not have toys, books and a 3 legged Chihuahua only came to her house much later one day. It just ran up the stairs instead of going to the 1st floor’s neighbour’s house and my nanny said we have to keep her as she has chosen us. Anyway I love dogs so she would sit beside me as we watch videos together. I think the dog was in an accident and the owner never did bring him to the vet so one of her legs was permanently damaged.

Anyway I digress. Out of all the movies that I have watched while I was young, here are my favourites. Do you remember them fondly too?

Ultimate favourite: Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory – this is the 1971 version with Gene Wilder.

I know many of you have watched the version with Johnny Depp and while he is wacky as well, you cannot beat this one. I can remember and sing along to all the songs till this very day and I remember the Oompa-Loompas. They were known for their short stature, green hair, orange skin and white pants with protruding knees. I love the chocolate river, the songs that the Oompa Loompas sing and all the amazing sweets that the factory has!

When I chanced upon the movie on tv in our hotel room in Orlando in December last year, I sat through the whole movie on tv and sang along to all the songs and I even got up to dance. You can tell how disturbed my sister is, till this day, to see this sight…

Plot

After school, kids go to a local candy shop, where the owner Bill (Aubrey Woods) serves chocolate to the kids (“The Candy Man”). Charlie Bucket (Peter Ostrum) stares through the window as he sings, saddened that he has no money. The newsagent Mr. Jopeck (Werner Heyking) gives him some money to buy a loaf of bread. On his way, he passes the chocolate factory of Willy Wonka (Gene Wilder), a local candy maker. A tinker (Peter Capell) tells him (referring to the factory) “nobody ever goes in, and nobody ever comes out”. He brings the bread back to his Grandpa Joe (Jack Albertson), his widow mother (Diana Sowle), and his other three bedridden grandparents. That night, he tells Grandpa about the tinker and what he said, and Grandpa tells him about Wonka and how spies were trying to steal his life’s work. He closed the factory, but three years later he started selling candy again, but is still unseen to this day.

One day, the family, along with the rest of the world, learns that Wonka has hidden five Golden Tickets amongst his Wonka Bars. The finders of these special tickets will be given a full tour of his factory, as well as a lifetime supply of chocolate to the “winner”. Charlie wants to take part in the search, but cannot afford to buy vast quantities of chocolate bars like other participants (“Cheer Up, Charlie”). Four of the tickets are found by: Augustus Gloop (Michael Bollner), a gluttonous German boy; Veruca Salt (Julie Dawn Cole), a spoiled English girl; Violet Beauregarde (Denise Nickerson), a gum-chomping American girl; and Mike Teevee (Paris Themmen), a television-obsessed American boy. As they find their tickets, a sinister-looking man is observed whispering in their ears, to whom they listen attentively despite their preoccupations with their particular obsessions. Charlie’s hopes are dashed when news breaks that the final ticket had been found by a Paraguayan millionaire.

The next day, as the Golden Ticket craze ends, Charlie finds a silver coin in a gutter and uses it to buy a Wonka Bar. Simultaneously, word spreads that the ticket found by the millionaire was forged and that one ticket is still about somewhere. When Charlie opens the bar, he finds the real golden ticket, and races home to tell his family, but is confronted by the same man who had been seen whispering to the other four winners. The man introduces himself as Arthur Slugworth, a rival confectioner who offers to pay Charlie a large sum of money for a sample of Wonka’s latest creation, the Everlasting Gobstopper.

Grandpa Joe gets out of bed to serve as Charlie’s tour chaperone (“I’ve Got a Golden Ticket”). The next day, Wonka greets the children and their guardians at the factory gates and leads them inside, requiring each to sign a contract before the tour can begin. Inside is a psychedelic wonderland full of chocolate rivers, giant edible mushrooms, lickable wallpaper and other ingenious inventions and candies, as well as Wonka’s workers, the small, orange-skinned, green-haired Oompa-Loompas (“Pure Imagination”). As the tour progresses, each of the first four children ignore Wonka’s warnings, resulting in serious consequences. Augustus is sucked through a chocolate extraction pipe system and sent to the Fudge Room, having fallen into a chocolate river from which he was trying to drink. Violet transforms into a giant blueberry after trying an experimental piece of Three-Course-Dinner Gum. Veruca is rejected as a “bad egg” and falls down a garbage chute in the Chocolate Golden Egg Sorting Room (“I Want it Now”). Mike is shrunken to only a few inches in height after being transmitted by “Wonkavision”, a broadcasting technology that can send objects through television instead of pictures. The Oompa-Loompas sing a song after each incident, describing that particular child’s poor behaviour (Oompa-Loompa-Doompa-Dee-Doo). While in Wonka’s Inventing Room, the remaining children are each given a sample of Wonka’s Everlasting Gobstoppers.

Charlie also succumbs to temptation along with Grandpa Joe, as they stay behind in the Bubble Room and sample Fizzy Lifting Drinks. They begin floating skyward and are nearly sucked into a ceiling-mounted exhaust fan. To avoid this grisly fate, they burp repeatedly until they return to the ground. Wonka initially seems unaware of this incident. When Charlie becomes the last remaining child on the tour, Wonka dismisses him and Grandpa Joe and leaves for his office. When Grandpa Joe returns to ask about Charlie’s lifetime supply of chocolate, Wonka irritably reveals that Charlie had violated the contract by sampling the Fizzy Lifting Drinks, and thus forfeited his prize, and Wonka furiously dismisses them. Grandpa Joe vows to give Slugworth the gobstopper in revenge. Charlie, however, cannot bring himself to hurt Wonka and places the gobstopper on his desk.

Wonka recants and begs for his guests’ forgiveness. He reveals that “Slugworth” is actually an employee named Wilkinson, whose offer to buy the gobstopper (as well as Wonka’s tirade) was all part of a morality test for the Golden Ticket winners, and Charlie was the only one who passed the test. The trio enter the “Wonkavator”, a multi-dimensional glass elevator, and fly out of the factory in it. As they soar over the city, Wonka tells Charlie that his actual prize is not just the chocolate but the factory itself, as the Golden Ticket search was created to help Wonka search for an honest and worthy child to be his heir. Charlie and his family will reside in the factory and take over its operation when Wonka retires. (Summary from Wikipedia)

Favourite: The Blue Lagoon – 1980 version, with Brooke Shields and Christopher Atkins

I know lots of people hated this movie but I like it. It doesn’t have much plot which I didn’t care then and don’t care now. It is just a simple love story and we girls all wish we could look like Brooke Shields. And the stunning beauty of Fiji was great. I just read the plot and realised they are cousins. This is wrong on so many levels…

Plot

On a journey to San Francisco, Richard, his father and cousin Emmeline find themselves on a ship about to explode. Rushed to a lifeboat with Paddy Button, the two children escape while their father (and uncle) are on another lifeboat. In the chaos following, the lifeboats are separated. Paddy, Richard and Emmeline find themselves with no food and no water stuck in the middle of nowhere. After some time, the three come across an uncharted paradise, where Paddy quickly teaches the children fishing, hunting and building. After maybe a month or two, Paddy gets very drunk off a barrel of rum found on the island when they first arrive, and drowns in the middle of the night. Emmeline and Richard, now alone and very scared, move location and rebuild their island home. Many years later, the two young teenagers have developed a very real home, but hormones and feelings between the two strain their friendship, until Richard, who is still very determined to reach San Francisco, is let down by Emmeline when a ship passes by the island and she does not light the signal fire. Throwing her out of the home they had built together, Emmeline attempts to survive on her own but is hurt. After Richard finds her dying, he realizes how he really feels for her and manages to save her. Nature runs its course and their friendship turns into love as the couple learn about the facts of life, when Emmeline has a baby and does not understand why. (Plot summary from IMDB)

Favourite: Charlotte’s Web – 1973 version 

Oh gosh, how I loved this movie. I loved animals since I was small so I guess that is why I love this movie. No matter how many times I watched the movie, every time Charlotte the spider died, I cried.

Plot

A litter of pigs are born to the Arable farm. One is a runt so John Arable decides to “do away with it”. However, when his daughter, Fern, hears of the pig’s fate, she rescues him and tells her dad that it is absurd to kill it just because it is smaller than the others. She gets to raise him and names him Wilbur. However, after only six weeks of raising him, John tells Fern that it is time for him to be sold (all his siblings were already sold). She sadly says good-bye as Wilbur is sold down the street to her uncle, Homer Zuckerman. When Wilbur wants to play with a lamb, his father (known as a ram) says that sheep do not play with pigs because it is only a matter of time before they are turned into smoked bacon and ham. Wilbur starts crying, saying that he does not want to die, but a voice from above tells him to “chin up”. The next day, she sings a song about “chinning up”, and reveals herself to be a spider named Charlotte. She saves him by writing messages in her web, hence the title. She eventually dies, and although 511 of her children leave the barn (she had 514), three of them stay. But as much as Wilbur loves them, they will never replace her memory.

Close Favourite: Gremlins (1984)

This was frightening and the memory will always stay with me. In contrast to the rest of the movies, I watched this with my grandparents at a movie theatre. I was in shock and very frightened at how the movie turned out as the plot developed. When I came home, I had nightmares and I kept on looking under my bed.

Plot

While searching for a Christmas present for his teenage son, Randall Peltzer (Axton) discovers a small, furry creature called a Mogwai in an antique store in Chinatown. The owner of the store refuses to sell the Mogwai on the grounds that owning one is too great a responsibility. However, as Randall is leaving the store, the owner’s grandson (Louie) sells Randall the creature stating that the family needs the money. The boy gives Randall three specific instructions in caring for the Mogwai: never expose it to bright light (especially sunlight, which will kill it); never get it wet (which will make it multiply); and, most importantly: never, ever feed it after midnight. Randall takes the Mogwai, to which he gives the name “Gizmo”, to his family in the town of Kingston Falls.

The following evening, Randall gives Gizmo to his son Billy (Galligan). A glass of water is accidentally spilled on Gizmo, causing him to convulse and produce five new creatures from his own body. One of the creatures, dubbed Stripe for his white quiff of hair, acts as their leader, but is very hostile to Gizmo. Curious to learn more about the creatures, Billy takes Gizmo to his science teacher, Mr. Hanson (Turman), and produces a sixth new creature. Leaving the new creature with Mr. Hanson, on which he will conduct tests, Billy returns home, and the other five creatures trick him into feeding them after midnight by biting the cord of his alarm clock. In the morning, Billy discovers the creatures have turned into cocoons. Gizmo, having virtuously refused the food earlier, remains unchanged.

In the meantime, the sixth creature steals Hanson’s sandwich and cocoons itself. Later, it hatches and breaks out of its cage, hiding in the dark corners of the room. Hanson tries to reason with it and bribe it with a candy bar, but the creature eats it and attacks Hanson. Billy arrives and finds the creature has turned into a reptilian monster. Elsewhere, the other Mogwai have hatched into “gremlins”, mischievous reptilian monsters with sharp teeth and claws. They attack Billy’s mother (McCain), who is able to escape with Billy’s help, and the gremlins are killed. Stripe escapes and leaps into a swimming pool, creating hundreds of new gremlins who go on a rampage throughout town. Billy and Gizmo rescue Billy’s girlfriend Kate Beringer (Cates) when the gremlins overrun the tavern where she works. Billy, Kate, and Gizmo discover that the gremlins have temporarily stopped their rampage and have assembled in the local movie theater to watch Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The three set off an explosion that kills the gremlins and destroys the theater, but their celebrations are cut short when Kate spots Stripe in the window of a nearby Montgomery Ward store.

Billy follows and battles Stripe, who leaps into a water fountain intending to multiply again. Before he can multiply, Gizmo opens a set of window blinds, causing sunlight to pour into the store, killing Stripe. As the Peltzers recover from the rampage, the antique store owner arrives to claim Gizmo, claiming that the Western world is not yet ready for the responsibilities that come with caring for a Mogwai, but that Billy may someday be ready to properly care for Gizmo. (Plot summary from Wikipedia)

SO TELL ME, WHAT WERE YOUR FAVOURITE MOVIES WHEN YOU WERE YOUNG?

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5 comments

  1. Charmaine · · Reply

    lion king and mulan. duh.

  2. HOME ALONE 1 and The Sound of Music – the one with Julie Andrew – though that was more of a musical… LOVES!!!

    1. No wonder LS told me you loved Salzburg!

  3. I used to love old black and white movies (anyway, we had a Black and White TV so every movie was black and white). When I was a child (I mean when I was about 5 or 6) my favourite films where Sabrina with Audrey Hepburn (she wore short hair like me and was absolutely wonderful) and Rebecca (Young Mrs De Winter was shy and loved to draw like me), I still love old movies.

    1. Yes I saw those before too! In Singapore we didn’t get a lot of foreign black and white films except for Charlie Chaplin!
      Yes I still love old movies. They make me nostalgic for the good old times.

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