From our friends at Common Sense Media: "40+ Movies You (Might) Regret Showing Your Kids."
Considering that I grew up in the days before VCRs, I watched a lot of movies as a kid. There were a couple theaters near us that showed non-disney kids' movies. I remember seeing The Phantom Tollbooth, an animated version of The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, and several version of Alice in Wonderland in the theater. The week before Easter, The Secret Garden would always play at the second-run move place. My parents both loved movies, my mom would watch anything, and my dad liked the most slapstick of slapstick comedies. In addition to all the eminently respectable children's films I saw, here's my personal list of inappropriate movies I watched as a child:
I saw this movie at a drive in when I was about 6, and Darth Vader haunted me for YEARS. No really a film for the very young and sensitive, even if they beg like crazy, and you're pretty sure they'll fall asleep in the back seat before the feature starts anyway.
Fast Times at Ridgemont High
Growing, up my dad worked nights and weekends, so my mom would take me to see whatever was out. I saw this fine film when I was 10. Now, for a teen, this might be a good cautionary tale (because it's really freaking depressing), or a discussion starter, but for a 10 year old, just not really appropriate.
The cheap movie theater in town made it cheaper for my parents to spend a dollar on a child admission and fifty cents for some m&ms, than to pay a babysitter a dollar an hour. The scene I remember most is the one where Coco gets hooked up with the sleazy director and cries as she takes off her top. I didn't understand why she just didn't leave, which I guess is a good reaction for an eight year old.
My Dinner with Andre
It is possible to traumatize a child through sheer boredom. I've seen a good number of art house films in my day, but I'll never trust an art house film, thanks to this one (and also Naked Lunch, which I watched as an adult, mostly with my eyes closed).
Watching Karen Silkwood sobbing as she's being decontaminated has to be right up there with seeing ET's body in terms of movie traumas. I would like to see this film again as an adult, and, Cher's turn as an unhappy lesbian. I remember hearing an interview with Cher in which she said she cried when the director told her she would not be allowed to wear makeup in the film. I guess there are worse things than taking your 11 year old to see Silkwood, but it's just a waste to take a kid to see a kind of scary film they won't understand.
Fannie and Alexander
For some reason I really, really wanted to see this movie when I was 12, and convinced my mom to drop a friend and I off at a showing at the local university. The result is one of my life rules: I shall never take anyone under sixteen to an Ingmar Bergman film. I've seen this film again as an adult, and it is truly creepy and terrifying. I may have actually gotten sick from fear the first time I saw it, or maybe not, but it was not an appropriate choice for a (sensitive) 12 year old.
My father can't abide any kind of media in which animals are hurt or killed, so that was one traumatic genre I managed to avoid. I walked in on poor LB at her grandparents house watching Finding Nemo (never seen it myself because I don't like computer animation). So scary, so sad, I can't believe that's a kids' movie. The Common Sense Media lists include some movies that use the word "shit." Personally, I would take profanity over abandonment any day, but maybe that's just me.
(And now I'm remembering that B watched The Exorcist with her Dad when she was 9, or something crazy like that, so I guess it could've been worse.)