Films with the Power to Soothe the Savage Child’s Soul


Must be the rainy weather bringing up some old memories.

I have always loved movies. Many of my happiest memories revolve around them. I have countless favorites from my childhood. But there are two films that are firmly entrenched in my childhood experience and forever entangled with my memories of elementary school.

Childhood memories can play tricks on you and can be a bit murky. But I truly believe that every time we got a little rowdy or out of control (often on rainy days when we couldn’t go outside for recess) in elementary school the teachers would show us one or both of these films and we would calm right down. I have no idea if this is true or not. But this is the memory that remains and I am inclined to believe it.

Both stories were heartbreaking to me as a child and at the same time both were dearly loved.

The first was a French film called “The Red Balloon.” The colors in it are amazing. As a child we naturally believe in inanimate objects having feelings and some sort of lives of their own. The “Red Balloon” played into this belief of mine perfectly. In fact I am sure it is the root of that small part of myself that still believes it.

Written and directed by Albert Lamorisse “The Red Balloon” is a gorgeous film that still has the power to make me cry.

The other movie doesn’t hold nearly as much artistic value. But in terms of heartstring pulling there was no equal for me at that age. I deeply loved animals and dogs in particular were my favorite. And even looking at a clip today I think the earnest performances stand the test of time. It was a Disney film called “Old Yeller” directed by Robert Stevenson.

What about you? Any films that had a profound effect on you as a childhood? Tell me about them in the comments below.