There’s an old saying in show business: never work with children or animals. But if you cast the right kids in the right movie, sometimes you end up with much stronger material than you started with. Some of the most moving dramatic performances and some of the funniest comedic performances in film are given by children, so here are a few of the best movies with kids in leading roles, available now to stream on Blockbuster On Demand!
Kings of Summer
Three teenagers (played, refreshingly, by actual teenagers Nick Robinson, Gabriel Basso, and Moises Arias), tired of their parents telling them what to do, spend their summer building their own refuge in a remote part of the woods.
A pair of pre-teens in the Mississippi delta find a ready-made treehouse on a remote island — a boat lodged in a tree, actually — and find it’s the temporary residence of a fugitive named Mud (Matthew McConaughey), who slowly but surely enlists their help finding his lost love.
A Christmas Story
Little Ralphie yearns for a Red Ryder BB Gun for Christmas, but his Mom is worried he’ll shoot his eye out. That simple premise makes for one of the most vividly realized Christmas movies ever, with an excellent lead performance by 12-year-old Peter Billingsley.
E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial
Steven Spielberg rang up the biggest box-office of all time in 1982, behind the uncommonly strong performance of 9-year-old Henry Thomas as a boy from a broken family who happens to find an alien living in his tool shed. (Drew Barrymore, then 5, co-stars as his little sister.)
A gang of preteen kids finds a treasure map and follows it into a spooky cave full of skeletons and booby-traps and things that go “BOO!” It’s so farfetched it might not play but for the great performances of Sean Astin, Corey Feldman, Josh Brolin, Martha Plimpton, Short Round, and Chunk.
Empire Of The Sun
By the time he played American Psycho Patrick Bateman, Christian Bale was already an accomplished screen actor, having played the lead in Steven Spielberg’s heartbreaking drama about a young English boy stranded in Japanese-occupied Shanghai during World War II.
Where The Wild Things Are
Maurice Sendak’s classic bedtime story is brought to life with a great lead performance by Max Records as Max, the boy who would not eat his dinner. His mother cried, “Wild thing!” etc. This movie is not necessarily for the young kids the book is aimed at, but gets at bigger questions of what it means to grow up.