I was thinking about keeping the kids entertained over the summer holidays - which let's face it is a nightmare for most parents - and I had a brainwave...  Why not compile a shortlist of films to keep them occupied while dad is engaged on the housework or mum is on facebook?

There are so many good modern films, and the graphics are fantastic - way beyond much of what we had available when I was growing up.  Still, there have been some amazing films which might just keep your little ones entertained while you catch up on the ironing (or something more fun!)

So in no particular order, here goes!

  1. Casper - I love this movie with Christina Ricci and Bill Pullman.  Pullman plays a psychologist to the deceased and is employed to play shrink to a trio of spectres who refuse to leave their home.  Ricci takes on the role of his daughter Cat who makes friends with Casper and sets about trying to bring him back to life, until other events get in the way.
  2. The Wizard of Oz - okay, I couldn't help it.  This is a timeless classic that appeals to the child in us all.  We all want to kill the Wicked Witch of the West by pouring a bucket of water over her head.  Frankly, if your children haven't seen this one already, then there's something wrong.  Stick it on and see what you've missed out on.
  3. Matilda - is a magical comedy about a young girl who has telekinetic powers and can move things with the power of her extraordinary mind.  This film teaches us not just about the importance of reading, but also that being resourceful is crucial to get what you need.
  4. Anastasia - is somewhat darker than the previous movies.  This tale is based around the events of Russia in the early 20th century and the death of the Romanov family.  This story sets a scene where Rasputin makes a deal with the devil in order to bring an end to the Romanov line forever.  Okay, the story might be different than what happened in real life, but it is a tale for children and possibly brings a little bit of history to life, albeit in a whimsical way.
  5. Labyrinth - if you haven't heard of this particular film then you must have been asleep during the 80s!  Brought to life by Jim Henson and a very dashing David Bowie in the role of Jareth, King of the Goblins.  Jennifer Connelly is in the role of a young girl left with the responsibility of looking after her infant half-brother and accidentally wishes the Goblins to take him away.  A magical journey awaits her as she tries to win her brother back before her parents get home.
  6. Teen Wolf - who can forget Michael J Fox in this particular film?  A teenage boy finds his body changing dramatically and learns that he has inherited the condition from his father, who is also a wolf man.  The boy is overwhelmed by the positive response to his condition and the sudden burst in popularity is confusing for him.  Still, it's a ripping yarn, and watching him try to cope with the predicament is highly entertaining.
  7. Back to the Future - okay, not strictly in the genres, but still a fantastic film featuring Michael J Fox (again), this time as a time travelling teen who heads into the past and gets stuck in 1955, coming between his mother and father's budding romance.
  8. Ghostbusters - Who you gonna call?  This film follows university lecturers who get kicked off campus and decide to go into business for themselves as ghost catchers.  Some very scary moments, especially in the library.  Sigourney Weaver plays the violinist heroine who is magically transformed into a demonic dog!
  9. Hocus Pocus - Bette Midler, Kate Najimy and Sarah Jessica Parker take the roles of witches who steal the souls of children to keep them looking young.  Brought back to life in modern-day times by a virgin lighting a black candle, the witches need to steal the souls of children to live forever.
  10. The Corpse Bride - I love this animated film featuring Johnny Depp as the hapless fiance trying to win the hand of the beautiful Victoria.  He heads into the forest to rehearse and inadvertently proposes to the corpse of a girl callously murdered by her lover who immediately accepts the proposal and sets about trying to make him hers forever.

Some classic films that will keep the mini minions entertained for hours!