There are plenty of titles graced with the ability to appeal to young and old, as well as all those in-between

There’s a common misunderstanding that if a movie or series is labelled as being suitable for “the general public” or carries the “family” tag, then it’s not going to be everyone’s cup of tea, regardless of their age. It’s just not true, among other things because, especially in case of the latter, the desire to appeal to a wider audience is often confused with moral browbeating and getting spoken to like a child. Fortunately, there’s a class of movie and series that blows the clichés right out of the water because their stories challenge us all because deep down our adventurous spirit is ageless and what really unites generations is the ability to marvel at great stories.

So, now that recommendations for movies and series are needed more than ever, it’s time to herald the great classics of family entertainment, those we discovered as children and later hand down from generation to generation.

indiana jones
Indiana Jones

When it comes to cinema, the first must-watch saga is that of one Indiana Jones (careful! people will tell you there are four films, but really there are three), which may seem like a very obvious recommendation, but it’s the paradigm of how to embark the public of all ages on an unforgettable trip. Other works also directed by Steven Spielberg including “The Adventures of Tintin” or “Ready Player One”, or those produced by Spielberg including “The Goonies” and “Young Sherlock Holmes and the Pyramid of Fear” or the saga of “The Mummy” by Stephen Sommers (also three of these, but assuming that the last one is a drop in level), as an example of how to modernize the myths of terror that’ll appeal to everyone.

Studio Ghibli films, features animated wonders including “Porco Rosso”, “Spirited Away” and “My Neighbor Totoro” (all now part of the Netflix catalog), movies which begin relating through the eyes of children to also speak of adults, such as “Matilda”, “Where The Wild Things Are” or “Stand By Me”; the bulk of the Pixar catalog, very soon to be available on the new Disney platform, are well-known for appealing to both adults and kids alike with jewels like “Up!”, both of the two “The Incredibles” movies and all four “Toy Story” classics.

porco rosso
“Porco Rosso”

And, of course, the expanded Marvel universe, one of the most sterling examples of how to narrate stories that don’t discriminate by age and spark enthusiasm that’s shared across generations. Now that there’s a need for home entertainment, walking the path that will eventually lead to “Avengers: Endgame” is an excellent tonic for confinement.

Certain genres seem exclusively childish, even though it turns out they’re also appealing to adult viewers too

For series, platforms tend to make the mistake of differentiating content between those suitable for adults and those that are “for the whole family”, often because certain plotlines are deemed not to be to the liking of both boys and girls, or because certain genres seem exclusively childish, even though it turns out they’re also appealing to adult viewers too.

Both groups can be trusted with popular titles including “Stranger things” (Netflix), the DC series by CW (especially “Supergirl” and “The Flash”, both on HBO), adaptations of great literary classics such as “Anne with an E” or “A Series of Unfortunate Events” (Netflix), the all-appealing and iconic animation of  “Carmen Sandiego” and “Trollhunters” (Netflix), “Star Wars: The Clone Wars”(one of the best spin-offs from the “Star Wars” franchise, also available from Disney +). But finally, let’s not forget a series that is rarely listed in a compilation of this kind, but is nonetheless essential: “Doctor Who”. Ok, so the quality is not an exact science, but what and how the series narrates its tale makes it an ideal choice for a trip in company. And a trip is exactly what all this is.

Pep Prieto
Journalist and writer. Series critic on ‘El Món a RAC1’ and for the program “Àrtic” on Betevé. Author of the essay “Al filo del mañana”, about time-travelling cinema, and “Poder absoluto”, about cinema and politics.