There's something special about sharing a beloved childhood book or movie with your own children, or even your grandchildren. Thanks to the streaming options on Disney Plus, many of movies people grew up watching in the 1950s and 1960s are now easily available, allowing people to do exactly that. Below are some of the best family movies on Disney Plus. The best part is they're all based on books—so after you've seen the movie, you can read the novel it was based on!
Swiss Family Robinson (1960)
Based on the book of the same name, Swiss Family Robinson tells the story of a family that gets shipwrecked on an uninhabited island. Though their situation initially looks bleak, they make the best of a bad situation, building one of the coolest treehouses we've ever seen and befriending many of the island's wild animals. However, when they find a girl on the island who has escaped from pirates, they know they're in for another fight for survival.
Endlessly fun and full of adventure, "it's hard to imagine how the picture could be better as a rousing, humorous and gentle-hearted tale of family love amid primitive isolation and dangers" (New York Times).
Journey to the Center of the Earth (1959)
Based on the classic Jules Verne novel of the same name, this family-friendly sci-fi adventure movie follows a ragtag group who decide to venture, well, to the center of the earth. Though the plot may be a bit complex for the youngest of viewers, the journey itself is a treat to watch, including a subterranean ocean, giant mushrooms, and prehistoric creatures.
Old Yeller (1957)
We know—Old Yeller has an infamous ending, but that's part of why it's become a classic children's novel. For those who are unfamiliar, the story follows a 14-year-old boy living in post-Civil War Texas. When a mutt first approaches him, he tries to shoo the dog—but soon, it becomes clear that Old Yeller was the best thing that could have happened to him and his family. We recommend reading the Fred Gipson story before watching the tear-jerking film—it's a literary rite of passage.
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954)
Featuring Kirk Douglas, James Mason and Peter Lorre, Disney's production of yet another classic Jules Verne tale was a huge success. The family-friendly adventure film follows a small crew who go looking for a sea monster which has been attacking ships in the Pacific, disrupting shipping lanes. The adventure film is best remembered for the climactic fight with a giant squid, shot in glorious Technicolor.
Related: 16 Steampunk Books You Have to Read
The Ugly Dachshund (1966)
Based on the out-of-print 1938 novel of the same name, this light-hearted comedy about a husband and wife follows the upheaval brought upon by Brutus, a Great Dane who thinks he's a dachshund, same as the rest of the pups in their household. Note: Though this movie is still beloved for its dog-related hijinks, there is one part depicting Asian characters which hasn't aged well—you may want to fast forward through the scene in which they are setting up the party decorations.
Treasure Island (1950)
Kids who have never read the classic adventure book Treasure Island—or who have only seen the Muppets version—will feel like they're experiencing a whole new pirate adventure when they see this Disney film. Noted for being the first completely live-action Disney film and for being the first color adaptation of Treasure Island, the New York Times called the movie "a grand and glorious entertainment" that "captures the true spirit of the novel."
Keep Reading: 15 Book to Movie Adaptations Streaming on Netflix Now
Featured still from "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" via Buena Vista Distribution