Save Dumbo’s surrealist “Pink Elephants on Parade” sequence, this could be one of the most complex Disney cartoons of all time. The Sword in the Stone wanders like the mind of its wizard Merlin — who turns Wart into a fish, a squirrel, and a very small bird to the tune of “Higitus Figitus” and “Mad Madame Mim.” So smart and sophisticated is a magical hero that slays a dragon, not with a sword, but a germ.

THE LORD OF THE RINGS (Trilogy)

This trilogy defined the modern fantasy genre with its exceptional book-to-film translation and its faithful rendering of epic battles. If you’re reluctant to go in for the long haul, try the drinking game: take a shot every time Frodo says “Oh, Sam …” and you’ll be done before Gandalf reincarnates.


NEVERENDING STORY

Luckily for Bastian, his elementary school has a convenient, spooky attic where he can skip class to travel to the mystical land inside a book that he stole on a whim. If he doesn’t sound like a good role model to you, recall that he’s skipping school to read a book. The book in question is the only Choose-Your-Own-Adventure that doesn’t suck.

THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS

Jack Skellington, the jaded Pumpkin King of Halloween-town, destroys Christmas in a misguided attempt to revamp the holiday Halloween-style. Tim Burton’s animated movie-musical still enjoys cult status for its haunting soundtrack and fantastic plot. You can enjoy this creepy classic at any time of year, but every October, the 3D version re-releases in theatres nationwide.

THE GOONIES

Picture Indiana Jones, except with a group of inept kids. The Goonie gang runs way over the recommended daily value of dead bodies, ancient skeletons, and booby traps, all in search of a hidden treasure that could save their town from demolition. Warning: may cause severe feelings of nostalgia and an unrelenting wish to find a pirate’s map in your parents’ attic.


STAR WARS (First Trilogy)

The most classic of classics. Watching Return of the Jedi again will remind you of the good old days, when everybody’s biggest gripe about the Star Wars franchise was the unrealistic Jabba puppet. (Incidentally, Leia’s slave bikini is still the best thing about the trilogy, despite widespread abuse of her outfit by unfit Star Wars convention attendees.)


HOOK

Hook is the best Peter Pan spin-off out there, if only because Robin Williams’ portrayal of Pan can bring grown men to nostalgic tears. There's just something about the littlest lost boy contorting Williams’ face into a smile that gets you every time. Not to mention that Dustin Hoffman was born to play the villain of childhood nightmares.

THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: THE LION, THE WITCH, AND THE WARDOBE


If the overwrought CGI in the 2005 Narnia bugged you, pick up the 1988 BBC version, which loyally follows C.S. Lewis’ original plotlines via elaborate animal puppets. You might miss the histrionic chase scenes and high-budget battles of the new Narnia, but the kids in the 1988 film act more naturally – maybe because the directors made Aslan out of fur instead of a blue screen.

THE ICE STORM
Journey to a magical world in a far away place: Connecticut, the 1970s, a fairylike realm of angst, swingers parties, and electrocution.

THE ADDAMS FAMILY

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