Family-Friendly Films | Mechanics' Institute

You are here

Family-Friendly Films

Films with an intergenerational appeal are what you’ll find on display on the Second Floor in October. Whether you are curious about animated movies that are popular with adults, documentaries that can be watched by children, or feature films that seem to work for everyone, you’ll find them, and be able to check them out, from our Family-Friendly Films DVD and Blu-ray display. Below are our staff’s recommendations.

A favorite of Mechanics’ Library staff, Ratatouille, is recommended by Deb, Chris, Rhonda, and Myles. Here are what the staff have to say:

Deb says “If you can get past the fact that there is a rat chef cooking in a top notch French restaurant, you can enjoy this fun film. You'll be hungry and smiling by the time it ends.”

Chris says “It’s won a lot of awards, appeals to (and is popular with) both kids and adults, has a lot of really subtle, not obnoxious lessons (there's a whole sub-text about washing your hands before you cook or eat). It touches on several family issues - getting along with family members who are different and learning to accept them, what family means, etc. And it's beautifully animated and has great music.”

Kristin recommends:

The Red Balloon: "A simple, nearly wordless tale, of a young boy and his adventures with a stray balloon on the streets of Paris." A must for any family that loves Paris, it was filmed in 1956 and includes great shots in Paris of the past.

Sing: "A bunch of misfit animals band together to help their koala bear friend save his crumbling theater. With a cast made up of punk rock porcupines, singing pigs, and a gangster gorilla, how can you not watch this movie?"

The Secret Life of Pets: "Do you ever wonder what your pet does when you're not home? Watch this movie and you'll be amazed at the adventures that occur behind your back."

Deb recommends:

Moana: "This fun take on folklore in ancient Polynesia as an epic adventure about a spirited teen who sets sail on a daring mission to save her people. Great music and animation."

The Sound of Music: "Our family knows this is my all time favorite movie. The scenery, the music and the story combine for a great movie (based on a true one) that will have you singing the songs long after the movie has ended. It is also sobering in the changes the Nazis brought to Austria."

Taryn recommends:

All Creatures Great and Small: “My six year old, who wants to be a veterinarian when she grows up, is all over James Herriot's tales of life as a rural vet."

Myles says:

Werner Herzog may not be a director that comes to mind when you hear “family-friendly,” but many of his documentaries are just that. In Encounters of at the End of the World, Herzog follows researchers as they brave Earth’s harshest conditions to further science in a film that is as much about the people who visit Antarctica as is it is about nature and wildlife. In Cave of Forgotten Dreams, Herzog and a small crew document the oldest paintings made by humankind, the Chauvet Cave in Northern France in incredible detail. Herzog narrates blending anthropology and his artistic musings expanding the viewer’s understanding of Aurignacian and Gravettian humans.

Have you ever seen the wild parrots near Telegraph Hill and wondered how they got there? One way to learn more about the flock is to follow director Judy Irving as she investigates their caretaker, Mark Bittner, who introduces us to each bird and their personalities. Learn about San Francisco history, the social life of birds, and humans that maintain friendships with urban wildlife in The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill.

Posted on Oct. 5, 2017 by Myles Cooper