Movie Mom

Movie Mom


Movies about Values

posted by Nell Minow

Beliefnet has posted my gallery of movies that illustrate important values like integrity, courage, courtesy, learning, and peace.
Movies are our sagas, our myths, our touchstones, and our collective cultural heritage. They are also one way that we teach ourselves and our children about values. Of course, kids get their most important lessons from the behavior of their parents. But movies give us a chance to explain and expand on those lessons through a modern form of parables or Aesop’s Fables. And like parables, stories in movies have the advantage of distance–it can be easier for kids to talk to parents about what’s happening on screen than to talk about what’s going on inside them. Those discussions are a powerful way for families to connect and communicate. I’ve selected 10 terrific movies in which characters show qualities like responsibility, integrity, compassion, and courage. Each is popcorn-worthy entertainment for families to share and a great way to begin conversations about the way that our values affect our choices and their consequences.
Check out the movies on my list and let me know which movies your family thinks illustrates important values.



  • jestrfyl

    I enjoyed your list, though I was uncertain about tow of the films. I have not seen “Little Princess”, so I had no means to judge it. I did like “Mathilda”, which seems similar, though Mathilda’s parents are as huge a problem as the head of the school to which she is sent. “A Man for All Seasons” is a great film about a critical time in history. But I am not sure I could convince a child to sit through it. My mom made me go see a biography of Martin Luther, starring stacy Keach, many years ago, and all I remember is some fascination with the church building (cool architecture) and being excrutiatinly bored.
    One film I would add is “Princess Bride”. It hits on many levels, including the issue of loyalty (though not to the level of Moore’s commitment). In some ways, Harry Potter 1 gets to the issue of loyalty – especially Neville’s, as he had to stand up to his only friends at Hogwarts. Another great film for loyalty, family ties, and cultural difference is both “The Gods Must Be Crazy”. Another film that deals with personal integrity is “The Man from Snowy River” – actually both of them.
    Pinskey has done a great book on Moral lessons from Disney films – I have used it several times. There are a few others as well, but I find his the most easily used.

  • Nell Minow

    All of the movies you name (except for the Martin Luther one) are in my book, which has chapters on each of the values and more with several movies to illustrate each one. I got the idea for the book when I was reading a Louisa May Alcott novel (Eight Cousins). In one chapter, the characters play a kind of charades-style game. The answer was Balaam and the ass. Everyone got it right away. I asked myself what today would be as universally recognized as that story was in the 1870′s and it seemed to me that the media was providing us with modern parables. I felt that whether we wanted them to or not, movies and television were communicating ideas about values and morality to our children. So I wrote a book to help parents make the most of that opportunity.

  • jestrfyl

    OK, I have to read your book. So it goes to the top of my pile. Now this is an interesting concept – which movies and/or TV shows have contributed lines to our culture that have become shorthand. “Use the Force”, “Beam me Up”, “He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named” are all in this list. I am curious to know what younger people feel are their cultural cliches.

Previous Posts

Interview: Joseph Nasser of "Amber Alert: Terror on the Highway"
Reserve Police Officer Joseph Nasser produced Amber Alert: Terror on the Highway to help raise awareness of the Amber Alert system. It stars Tom Berenger as a man on the edge, making a dead rush for Mexico and kidnapping two young girls along the way. He is hotly pursued by police chief Martha Geig

posted 8:00:33am Jul. 28, 2014 | read full post »

"Guardian of the Galaxy's" Awesome Mixtape
One of the many pleasures of "Guardians of the Galaxy," opening this week, is the soundtrack featuring some 70's classics from an "Awesome Mixtape" played by Peter "Star Lord" Quill (Chris Pratt).  Here are some of the highlights. "Hooked on a Feeling" by Blue Swede [youtube]http://www.youtub

posted 8:00:21am Jul. 27, 2014 | read full post »

Comic-Con 2014: Day 2
Day 2 of Comic-Con included: an interview with "Sharknado" and "Sharknado 2" screenwriter Thunder Levin, a buggy lunch with Boxtrolls, press events with the directors and casts of four films, and appearing on the Rotten Tomatoes panel, where each attendee was given a paddle with a ripe tomato on on

posted 10:04:47pm Jul. 26, 2014 | read full post »

Thank You! This Site is 19 Years Old This Week!
It seems like yesterday, but it was 19 years ago this week that I first began writing reviews online as The Movie Mom®.  Anyone remember Prodigy?  The first appearance of my website was via the Sears-owned online service, so long ago it does not even turn up in Wayback searches.  At the time, we

posted 3:59:49pm Jul. 26, 2014 | read full post »

Interview: Dan Cohen of "Alive Inside"
Dan Cohen is the gifted and passionately committed man who transforms the lives of people with dementia and other severely debilitating diseases.  He is featured in the documentary "Alive Inside." He is the founder of Music and Memory, which provides resources to help bring these programs to peopl

posted 8:00:36am Jul. 26, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.