If it's been years since you saw the famous chariot race in Ben-Hur, take the opportunity this Easter season to watch this classic film again, this time with your grandchildren. Or for the little ones, how about a showing of Yogi the Easter Bear? To help you decide which DVDs to rent, we compiled a list of nine of the best for the season. P.S.: Don't forget the microwave popcorn!
Easter Parade (1948)What it's about: A heartbroken Fred Astaire needs a new dance partner when fellow toe-tapper and love interest Ann Miller quits their duo to go solo. (Where's Ginger when you need her?) Fred teams up with a plucky chorus girl, Judy Garland, and they attempt to step their way to stardom in time for the next Easter Parade.Watch it with: Any youngster who's hooked on High School Musical and can appreciate the dance numbers and the “we're gonna make it big” mentality.
The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965)What it's about: This blockbuster depicting the life of Jesus Christ is full of drama, spectacular scenery, and A-list Hollywood stars in noteworthy cameos, including John Wayne, who witnesses the crucifixion and exclaims with a drawl — yes, a drawl — “Truly this man was the son of God.”Watch it with: Older kids who can sit still for a serious movie. It's more than three hours long but well worth it.
Ben-Hur (1959)What it's about: Ben-Hur, played by Charlton Heston, is a Roman prince whose powerful friend-turned-foe banishes him to a slave ship. Revenge awaits. Ben-Hur's tribulations are interspersed with scenes of Jesus Christ’s life and death.Watch it with: Teenagers who thrill to speedy car chases; here, of course, the cars are chariots.
Jesus Christ Superstar (1973)What it's about: Who knew Jesus could sing? Apparently Andrew Lloyd Webber did, in this rock musical adaptation of the life of Christ. Hit songs include “I Don't Know How to Love Him,” sung by a remorseful Mary Magdalene.Watch it with: Grade-schoolers and older kids who think a nontraditional take on religion is groovy, man.
King of Kings (1961)What it's about: If you like your biblical epics on a human, less-grandiose scale, this is the one for you. Narrated by Orson Welles, this film tells the story of the life of Jesus Christ, including a moving scene of the Sermon on the Mount.Watch it with: Grade-schoolers and older kids. Salome's dance is sure to entertain any youngster who likes music videos.
It's The Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown (1974)What it's about: Charlie Brown and Co. get ready for Easter. Peppermint Patty attempts to get crafty with colored eggs, Sally goes to the mall for new shoes (platforms, of course, since this is a '70s-era production), and the whole gang goes on an egg hunt while looking for the Easter Bunny.Watch it with: Toddlers and preschoolers. But then again, who doesn't love Charlie Brown?
Yogi the Easter Bear (1993)What it's about: In this cartoon, Yogi is doing his usual thing, stealing picnic (“pic-a-nic”) baskets as his best bud, Boo Boo, tries to reform him. But then the Easter Bunny is kidnapped, and it's Yogi to the rescue.Watch it with: Toddlers and preschoolers. Yogi may be goofy, but he's gentle, too.
Winnie the Pooh — Springtime with Roo (2004)What it's about: This cheery musical finds Rabbit more interested in spring cleaning than Easter, much to the disappointment of his pals Winnie the Pooh, Piglet, Tigger, and Roo.Watch it with: Toddlers and preschoolers. These characters put the "L" in lovable as they all learn the importance of friendship.
Peter Cottontail — The Movie (2006)What it's about: In this animated film, Peter, Chief Easter Bunny, tries to teach his son about responsibility by assigning him to clean the Clock of Spring. But Peter's nemesis, Irontail, decides to steal it. Oh, no!Watch it with: Toddlers and preschoolers. This is true family fare.