Finding a comedy for the whole family to enjoy can be surprisingly difficult. Most films suitable for children aren’t particularly funny to adults (though of course we usually get into them for the kids’ sake); and a lot of comedies meant for more mature audiences are simply inappropriate for the young ones. However, this isn’t always the case, and in particular it wasn’t the case in previous decades. Once upon a time popular comedies were a little bit tamer, yet still perfectly amusing for adult audiences.
Keeping that in mind, we thought it might be fun to suggest some “older” comedies that may be ideal for family movie nights.
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
This 1986 classic starring Matthew Broderick never seems to get old. It’s the innocent tale of a high school student pulling off every kid’s dream: skipping a day of school in magnificent fashion and without any serious consequences! It’s playful enough that it won’t actually give the kids any ideas, and it’s both silly and clever, meaning there are laughs for all. Furthermore, this is a great one to show the kids because people never seem to stop talking about it. It’s been over 30 years since its release now, and just this summer Rolling Stone, a pretty major publication, wrote an article about things you might not know about the film.
Airplane! can seem like a fairly random movie out of context. In 1980, it was actually meant largely as a spoof of other airplane-based disaster or action movies, however. This is a preposterous romp, but one that just about everybody loves. It’s rated PG, and while there are a couple of hints at more mature subject matter, it’s ultimately quite appropriate for kids. Plus, who doesn’t love the cameo from basketball star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar? If you have a child who’s interested in sports, you can tell him or her that the tall actor playing the role of Roger Murdock is one of the best players to ever live.
We’ve actually all been hearing quite a bit about Ghostbusters of late! That’s because there was a 2016 remake starring a core cast of actresses in place of the original male ensemble. Even before that, Ghostbusters was appearing on internet gaming sites, where a variety of cutting-edge games are traditionally offered, and a few major properties are crated into arcade slots. People have never quite been willing to let go of the Ghostbusters concept – but really that’s all down to the 1984 original, starring Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray, and Harold Ramis. It’s a wonderfully goofy movie, and one that’s certainly appropriate for all ages. There’s some chance that if you have particularly young children the ghosts and monsters will be a little bit scary, but they’re not to be taken too seriously.
Monty Python & The Holy Grail
This legendary spoof of King Arthur lore is perhaps one of the most timeless comedies ever made. Despite being put out in 1975 by the comedy troupe known as Monty Python, its laughs feel fresh and come easily even now. It’s another film rated PG, and thus suitable even for young children. Some of the cleverness may go over kids’ heads at times, but for every moment like that there’s something purely silly, like a French knight sticking his tongue out mockingly.
It’s somewhat odd that there’s not a definitive Frankenstein movie out there. Javier Bardem has just been cast as the monster for a new movie in the works by Universal, so perhaps that’ll be the one. At this stage, however, it’s arguable that this 1974 Mel Brooks comedy is actually the best of the bunch, even though it’s a PG-rated spoof from 1974! It’s another timeless classic, which kids will enjoy in particular because of the wonderful antics of the great Gene Wilder.