As a continuation of my list of Top 10 Pagan-friendly family movies, here’s another top 10 list of family movies that Wiccans might find appealing. The main difference between this and the previous list is that, while the movies on the first list had more earth-based and environmental themes, these ones deal more with magic and witchcraft. Although you’ll probably find many items on both lists interchangeable.
I realise I’m probably in the minority, but I didn’t find The BFG to be one of Roald Dahl’s strongest books. However, Dahl being the genius he is, it’s still a great read! The story of a little girl who befriends the peaceful and vegetarian Big Friendly Giant (BFG) and joins him to help save the children of England from getting eaten by the BFG’s bigger and less peaceful brothers.
The 1989 movie is quite a faithful interpretation, right down to the downright scary parts of giants eating children! But it also has the really magical parts about the BFG creating dreams. It turns out that the BFG is something of a wizard who captures dreams, mixes them together to make new dreams, and blows them into the rooms of sleeping children to give them good dreams.
The film not only treats magic in a positive life (making a dream is ultimately what saves the children), but also explores the themes of vegetarianism, non-conformity and not judging on appearances.
I know this film is beloved of so many people, but I have to admit, I’m not overly keen on it! As a child, I found it bit, well, plot-less. Nevertheless, it’s still a great story about how using magic to help and care for people – there’s no doubting that Mary Poppins is a great nanny, but there’s also no doubting she’s something of a witch! What a great witchy role-model…
Not one of Studio Ghibli’s best, but still great fun and worth watching in my opinion! A story full of magic, in which a young girl gets transformed into an old woman and must accompany the powerful yet immature wizard Howl on a quest in order to reverse the spell. Highly imaginative with beautiful visuals, one thing I particularly liked about this film is that the protagonist is an old woman for most of the film – we rarely get to see elderly people take the lead role in fiction, so this is a very welcome idea (even if the old woman is truly a young girl under a spell).
Before the very popular long-running series of the same name that began in 2008 and started Merlin and King Arthur as teenagers, there was the 1998 Merlin TV series with Sam Neill – and in my opinion, it’s far superior. As a mini series, it can be watch as a feature length movie. It tells the story of King Arthur from the point of view of his magical advisor Merlin, starting with his birth and going all the way through to his old age. While it’s very family friendly, with lots of magical creatures and charismatic characters, it has a depth of maturity to it too, with some extremely poignant moments – it’s a tear-jerker at times. What’s really good about this series too is that the concept of magic and its use is explored quite in depth – both its bad sides and its good.
A lot of people compare this movie to Mary Poppins – it’s about a practising witch who must look after three evacuees, and of course, magical adventures ensue, often involving animated characters cleverly mixed side-by-side with real-life actors. But in my opnion, Bedknobs & Broomsticks is far superior to Mary Poppins – I think it has a stronger plot, better visual effects, more imaginative ideas, and more complex characters. Why this film isn’t more well-known is beyond me. I think this film is even more Wicca-friendly than Mary Poppins too – the character Miss Price is more obviously a witch, with a black cat, broomstick and love of casting strange incantations (often with unexpected results). But she uses her magic only for good, so no-one could ever accuse her of “black” magic, even in the more conservative 1970s when this film was released.
An incredibly heart-warming story about a young witch-in-training who goes to live in a new town, delivered with charm and magic as only Miyazaki can. What amazes me about this movie is that even grown men seem to like it! I suppose this is because it has real heart and an excellent main character in the form of Kiki, the young witch. Although Kiki is your classic witch, with the black clothes, black cat and broomstick, magic actually plays quite a small part in the story. However, the main theme of trying to fit in despite your differences is one that all real-life witches can probably relate to all too well.
One of my favourite romantic movies of all time! The medieval fantasy story of two lovers afflicted with a terrible curse – he is a wolf by day, and she a hawk by night, meaning that they can never be together as humans. Their only hope is Mouse a young thief with a heart of gold. What’s very interesting about this movie is that the curse is brought about not by a witch, but a high ranking bishop – quite a twist! While this film focusses less on witchcraft than the others in this movie (it’s more generic fantasy magic), it’s such a lovely and magical film that I felt I had to include it.
As a child, this was my very favourite retelling of the King Arthur legend! Based on TH White’s novel “The Once and Future King,” the story follows Merlin guiding Arthur as a boy. And being Merlin, he of courses uses a tonne of magic – chiefly to transform Arthur into different creatures so he can learn from his experiences, which has huge entertainment value. For a rather roughly-animated movie (it was during Disney’s “sketchy” era in the 60s), it has a surprising amount of atmosphere, using muted tones and its soundtrack rather sparingly to create the mood of being in an rather dark medieval England. The characters are fantastic too – Arthur (or “Wart”) is sweet and believable and Merlin is extremely likeable as the wise, grumpy yet kindly wizard-teacher. Finally, lovers of Welsh mythology will LOVE the final battle between Merlin and his rival the Mad Madam Mim, which parodies the rather obscure myth of Talesin and Ceridwen!
To me, the Addams Family are very much role models! They absolutely adore each other, love a big family occasion, and don’t care about what anyone else thinks about them! They also just happen to be “creepy and kooky” and dabble in a little bit of magic every now and then. I was a rather sensitive child and couldn’t handle a lot of scary children’s films, but I always LOVED the Addams Family. I think that their combination of living this excitingly dark and lavish lifestyle with their obvious joy of just being them really appealed to me – and of course, both films are hilarious! A great film to show that dark and creepy does not equal evil and terrifying.
Of course! The film series that created a generation of young people yearning to be wizards and witches. Based on one of the greatest children’s book series of all time, a brilliant cast and incredible sets and special effects. these movies are thoroughly magical to the core. Although essentially a good verses evil plot, there are a multitude of themes that children (and, for the later films, young adults) can learn from: discrimination, human rights and standing up to authority for what you believe. Of course, one of the biggest appeals of the series is its portrayal of the magical world, which is beautiful, exciting, vibrant and filled with trappings from mythology. There’s probably no way you haven’t seen any of the films from this series, so all I’m going to say is, go and watch them again!