film The Best Classic Kids Movies That Are Kind of Dark  

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Swamps that overwhelm you with sadness. Candy that transforms you into fruit. A witch that's out for your head. These may sound like the trappings of horror flicks, but they're actually features of a few highly acclaimed children's movies. When you think about it, some of the best classic children's flicks are downright terrifying. The best dark children's movies feature young characters fighting scary villains and often coming to terms with personal tragedies. This is a list of the top dark kids movies including everything from The NeverEnding Story to All Dogs Go to Heaven to Willow.

What films will you find on this list of dark classic movies for kids? You won't be surprised to spot Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory here. The imagery from Roald Dahl's original book is scary enough on its own, but Gene Wilder solidified his spot in countless kids' nightmares with his narration of that psychedelic boat trip. The Labyrinth, starring David Bowie, is another dark classic kids film featuring characters that are more than a little spooky. Bambi may seem like a cute animated film, but early in the story the title character becomes an orphan after a horrible hunting excursion. Other movies featured on this list include The Dark Crystal, Return to Oz, and The Witches.

Which classic kids film gave you nightmares? Give the best movies a thumbs up and share your thoughts in the comments section.

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Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Fa... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Classic Kids Movies That Are Kind of Dark
Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory Gene Wilder, Jack Albertson, Tim Brooke-Taylor Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory is a 1971 musical fantasy film directed by Mel Stuart, and starring Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka. The film, a film adaptation of the 1964 novel Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl, tells the ...more

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Gremlins is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Classic Kids Movies That Are Kind of Dark
Gremlins Steven Spielberg, Corey Feldman, Phoebe Cates Gremlins is a 1984 American horror comedy film directed by Joe Dante, released by Warner Bros. The film is about a young man who receives a strange creature called a mogwai as a pet, which then spawns other creatures who transform into small, ...more

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Bambi is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Classic Kids Movies That Are Kind of Dark
Bambi Sterling Holloway, Sam Edwards, Cammie King Bambi is a 1942 American animated drama film directed by David Hand, produced by Walt Disney and based on the book Bambi, A Life in the Woods by Austrian author Felix Salten. The film was released by RKO Radio Pictures on August 13, 1942, and ...more

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Lord of the Flies is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Classic Kids Movies That Are Kind of Dark
Lord of the Flies Nicholas Hammond, James Aubrey, Kent Fletcher Lord of the Flies is a 1963 British film adaptation of William Golding's novel of the same name. It was directed by Peter Brook and produced by Lewis M. Allen. The film was in production for much of 1961 though the film was not released until ...more

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Who Framed Roger Rabbit is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Classic Kids Movies That Are Kind of Dark
Who Framed Roger Rabbit Kathleen Turner, Christopher Lloyd, Bob Hoskins Who Framed Roger Rabbit is a 1988 American live-action/animated fantasy-comedy film directed by Robert Zemeckis. The screenplay by Jeffrey Price and Peter S. Seaman is based on Gary K. Wolf's 1981 novel Who Censored Roger Rabbit?, which depicts ...more

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All Dogs Go to Heaven is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Classic Kids Movies That Are Kind of Dark
All Dogs Go to Heaven Loni Anderson, Dom DeLuise, Vic Tayback All Dogs Go to Heaven is a 1989 American–Irish animated musical adventure comedy film directed and produced by Don Bluth and released by United Artists and Goldcrest Films. The film tells the story of Charlie B. Barkin, a German Shepherd who is ...more

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Dumbo is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Classic Kids Movies That Are Kind of Dark
Dumbo Sterling Holloway, Cliff Edwards, Verna Felton Dumbo is an American animated film produced by Walt Disney Productions and premiered on October 23, 1941, by RKO Radio Pictures. Sound was recorded conventionally using the RCA System. One voice was synthesized using the Sonovox system, but it, ...more

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The Dark Crystal is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Classic Kids Movies That Are Kind of Dark
The Dark Crystal Jim Henson, Frank Oz, Lisa Maxwell The Dark Crystal is a 1982 American–British fantasy film directed by Jim Henson and Frank Oz. The plot revolves around Jen, an elflike 'Gelfling' on a quest to restore balance to his alien world by returning a lost shard to a powerful but ...more

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Return to Oz is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Classic Kids Movies That Are Kind of Dark
Return to Oz Fairuza Balk, Piper Laurie, Nicol Williamson Return to Oz is a 1985 fantasy adventure film based on L. Frank Baum's Oz books, mainly The Marvelous Land of Oz and Ozma of Oz. The plot begins with Dorothy's return to the Land of Oz, and her discovery that the land has been destroyed. Upon ...more

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Young Sherlock Holmes is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Classic Kids Movies That Are Kind of Dark
Young Sherlock Holmes Sophie Ward, Michael Hordern, Brian Oulton Young Sherlock Holmes is a 1985 American mystery adventure film directed by Barry Levinson and written by Chris Columbus, based on the characters created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The movie depicts a young Sherlock Holmes and John Watson ...more

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Something Wicked This Way Come... is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Classic Kids Movies That Are Kind of Dark
Something Wicked This Way Comes Pam Grier, Jason Robards Jr., Diane Ladd Something Wicked This Way Comes is a 1983 American horror fantasy film directed by Jack Clayton and produced by Walt Disney Productions from a screenplay written by Ray Bradbury based on his novel of the same name. The film stars Jason Robards, ...more

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Willow is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Classic Kids Movies That Are Kind of Dark
Willow Val Kilmer, Kevin Pollak, Warwick Davis Willow is a 1988 American fantasy film directed by Ron Howard, produced and with a story by George Lucas, and starring Warwick Davis, Val Kilmer, Joanne Whalley, Jean Marsh, and Billy Barty. Davis plays the eponymous lead character and hero: a ...more

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Clash of the Titans is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Classic Kids Movies That Are Kind of Dark
Clash of the Titans Ursula Andress, Maggie Smith, Laurence Olivier Clash of the Titans is an 1981 British-American fantasy adventure film involving the Greek hero Perseus, and features the final work of stop motion visual effects artist, Ray Harryhausen. It was released on 12 June 1981 and grossed $41 million ...more

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The NeverEnding Story is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Classic Kids Movies That Are Kind of Dark
The NeverEnding Story Gerald McRaney, Limahl, Moses Gunn The NeverEnding Story is a 1984 West German epic fantasy film based on the novel of the same name by Michael Ende, about a boy who reads a magical library book that tells a story of a young warrior whose task is to stop a dark storm called the ...more

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The Secret of NIMH is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Classic Kids Movies That Are Kind of Dark
The Secret of NIMH Shannen Doherty, Wil Wheaton, Derek Jacobi The Secret of NIMH is a 1982 American animated fantasy adventure drama film directed by Don Bluth in his directorial debut. It is an adaptation of Robert C. O'Brien's 1971 children's novel Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH. The film was produced ...more

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Labyrinth is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Classic Kids Movies That Are Kind of Dark
Labyrinth Jennifer Connelly, David Bowie, Frank Oz Labyrinth is a 1986 British-American musical adventure fantasy film directed by Jim Henson, executive produced by George Lucas and based upon conceptual designs by Brian Froud. The film stars David Bowie as Jareth and Jennifer Connelly as ...more

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The Witches is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Classic Kids Movies That Are Kind of Dark
The Witches Rowan Atkinson, Anjelica Huston, Brenda Blethyn The Witches is a 1990 comedy-fantasy film based on the book of the same name by Roald Dahl. It was directed by Nicolas Roeg and produced by Jim Henson Productions for Lorimar Film Entertainment and Warner Bros., starring Anjelica Huston as Miss ...more

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Watership Down is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Classic Kids Movies That Are Kind of Dark
Watership Down John Hurt, Denholm Elliott, Richard Briers Watership Down is a 1978 British animated adventure drama film written, produced and directed by Martin Rosen and based on the novel of the same name by Richard Adams. It was financed by a consortium of British financial institutions. ...more

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Legend is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Classic Kids Movies That Are Kind of Dark
Legend Tom Cruise, Tim Curry, Mia Sara Legend is a 1985 British-American fantasy adventure film directed by Ridley Scott and starring Tom Cruise, Mia Sara, Tim Curry, David Bennent, Alice Playten, Billy Barty, Cork Hubbert, and Annabelle Lanyon. It is a darker fairy tale and has ...more

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Masters of the Universe is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Classic Kids Movies That Are Kind of Dark
Masters of the Universe Courteney Cox, Dolph Lundren, Frank Langella Masters of the Universe is a 1987 American science fantasy film directed by Gary Goddard and starring Dolph Lundgren, Frank Langella, Jon Cypher, Chelsea Field, Billy Barty and Courteney Cox. It is based on the Mattel toy line of the same name. ...more