10 Classic Kids Novels on Screen

We pick the best movie versions of classic kids novels - from Anne of Green Gables to Old Yeller

The new version of Swallows And Amazons comes to UK cinemas this week, reminding many grown-ups of the Arthur Ransome book that it is based on. Of course, there are millions of movies out there based on kids’ novels – just click on the Adaptations section at Movies4Kids and you’ll find movies based on everything from Tolkein’s Lord Of The Rings to Stephen King’s Carrie and Marget & HA Rey’s Curious George.

It’s virtually impossible to pick the best – so here, instead, is just a personal pick of 10 terrific movies based on classic kids’ books (we’ve not included more recent bestsellers like The Hunger Games, and click here for the list of best Roald Dahl adaptations we featured when The BFG was released).

  • 20000 Leagues Under The Sea
    20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (PG)

    4 out of 5

    Disney’s 1954 movie version of Jules Verne’s classic sea adventure, with James Mason and Kirk Douglas.

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  • A Little Princess
    A Little Princess (U)

    4 out of 5

    Frances Hodgson Burnett’s lovely book about a little girl’s life at boarding school during the war makes an equally gorgeous film.

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  • The Adventures of Huck Finn
    The Adventures Of Huck Finn (PG)

    3 out of 5

    Elijah Wood is Huck in this adaptation of Mark Twain’s southern adventure. It’s not particularly faithful to the novel but kids – boys especially – will love it.

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  • Anne Of Green Gables
    Anne Of Green Gables (U)

    4 out of 5

    Anne Shirley stars as headstrong orphan Anne in this movie based on Lucy Maud Montgomery’s classic novel.

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  • Charlotte's Web
    Charlotte's Web (U)

    4 out of 5

    Adorable animated version of EB White’s tale of the friendship between a spider and a pig. Have tissues at the ready.

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  • The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Lion The Witch And The Wardrobe
    The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe (PG)

    4 out of 5

    A big budget adaptation of CS Lewis’ story of the children who step through a wardrobe into the magical land of Narnia.

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  • Little Women
    Little Women (U)

    4 out of 5

    George Cukor’s 1933 adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s novel, with Katherine Hepburn and Joan Bennett.

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  • Kes
    Kes (PG)

    4 out of 5

    Barry Hines’ novel A Kestrel For A Knave was turned into director Ken Loach’s most moving film, the story of a lonely boy and the kestrel he trains.

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  • Old Yeller
    Old Yeller (U)

    4 out of 5

    One of the saddest movies ever, this Disney classic about a boy and his dog is based on Fred Gipson’s weepy novel.

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  • The Railway Children
    The Railway Children (U)

    5 out of 5

    E Nesbit’s much-loved novel about the Waterbury family’s life in the country after their father is mysteriously taken away is a pretty, heart-breaking and beautifully English movie.

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