Watchworthy

The Best '50s Kids Movies 

Ranker Film
Updated June 14, 2019 1.2k votes 205 voters 10.2k views 34 items

List Rules Vote up your favorite children films that were released in the 1950s

The top ‘50s kids movies are a diverse group of genre classics that have been delighting audiences for decades. Many of the characters and stories modern audiences associate with the genre of children’s films can be traced back to the 1950s.


One of the greatest ‘50s kids movies is
Alice in Wonderland, adapted from the beloved Lewis Carroll novel. Walt Disney unsuccessfully tried to adapt this title throughout the 1930s, but it wasn’t until 1951 that his dream was realized. The film was derided by critics upon its release, but in later years it went on to achieve cult-classic status and came to be regarded as one of the best Disney animated films of all time. The actress who voiced Alice, Kathryn Beaumont, also went on to appear in another good ‘50s kids movie classic, Peter Pan.


Also on this list of the best ‘50s kids movies, you will find
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, starring Kirk Douglas, James Mason, and Peter Lorre. The film was the only sci-fi picture to be personally produced by Walt Disney, and it stands as one of the earliest American examples of the steampunk sub-genre. Vote up the best '50s kids movies below, and be sure to let us know what you think in the comment section.
Data-driven recommendations based on voting from over 40 million monthly visits to Ranker. Try the free app
list ordered by
1
Cinderella is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best '50s Kids Movies
June Foray, Mike Douglas, Verna Felton

Released: 1950

Directed by: Wilfred Jackson, Hamilton Luske, Clyde Geronimi

Cinderella is a 1950 American animated musical fantasy film produced by Walt Disney and released by RKO Radio Pictures. Based on the fairy tale "Cendrillon" by Charles Perrault, it is ...more

More Cinderella 

#70 of 601 The Best Animated Films Ever #23 of 377 The Best Musical Movies of All Time #945 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies

2
Lady and the Tramp is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best '50s Kids Movies
Peggy Lee, Stan Freberg, Dallas McKennon

Released: 1955

Directed by: Wilfred Jackson, Hamilton Luske, Clyde Geronimi

Lady and the Tramp is a 1955 American animated musical romance film directed by Clyde Geronimi, Wilfred Jackson, and Hamilton Luske. The romantic tale of a sheltered uptown Cocker Spaniel dog ...more

More Lady and the Tramp 

#16 of 601 The Best Animated Films Ever #34 of 377 The Best Musical Movies of All Time #142 of 293 The Top Tearjerker Movies That Make Men Cry

3
Peter Pan is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best '50s Kids Movies
June Foray, Bobby Driscoll, Heather Angel

Released: 1953

Directed by: Wilfred Jackson, Hamilton Luske, Clyde Geronimi, Jack Kinney

Peter Pan is a 1953 American animated fantasy-adventure film produced by Walt Disney and based on the play Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up by J. M. Barrie. It is the 14th film in the ...more

More Peter Pan 

#32 of 601 The Best Animated Films Ever #48 of 377 The Best Musical Movies of All Time #38 of 105 The Best Movies To Stream On Disney+

4
Alice in Wonderland is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best '50s Kids Movies
Ed Wynn, Heather Angel, Sterling Holloway

Released: 1951

Directed by: Wilfred Jackson, Hamilton Luske, Clyde Geronimi

Alice in Wonderland is a 1951 American animated musical fantasy comedy-adventure film produced by Walt Disney Productions and based primarily on Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland ...more

More Alice in Wonderland 

#41 of 601 The Best Animated Films Ever #62 of 377 The Best Musical Movies of All Time #42 of 105 The Best Movies To Stream On Disney+

5
Sleeping Beauty is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best '50s Kids Movies
Marvin Miller, Mary Costa, Verna Felton

Released: 1959

Directed by: Clyde Geronimi

Sleeping Beauty is a 1959 American animated musical fantasy film produced by Walt Disney based on The Sleeping Beauty by Charles Perrault and Little Briar Rose by The Brothers Grimm. The 16th ...more

More Sleeping Beauty 

#33 of 601 The Best Animated Films Ever #22 of 377 The Best Musical Movies of All Time #313 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies

6
Old Yeller is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best '50s Kids Movies
Chuck Connors, Fess Parker, Dorothy McGuire

Released: 1957

Directed by: Robert Stevenson

Old Yeller is a 1957 American family tragedy film produced by Walt Disney. It stars Tommy Kirk, Dorothy McGuire and Beverly Washburn. It is about a boy and a stray dog in Texas. It is based upon ...more

More Old Yeller 

#51 of 82 The Best Film Adaptations of Young Adult Novels #1,113 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #9 of 293 The Top Tearjerker Movies That Make Men Cry

7
20,000 Leagues Under the... is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best '50s Kids Movies
Kirk Douglas, Peter Lorre, Paul Lukas

Released: 1954

Directed by: Richard Fleischer

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is a 1954 American Technicolor adventure film starring Kirk Douglas, James Mason, Paul Lukas and Peter Lorre. It was the first CinemaScope science fiction film and ...more

More 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea 

#73 of 82 The Best Film Adaptations of Young Adult Novels #79 of 163 The Best Science Fiction Action Movieslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

8
Darby O'Gill and the Lit... is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best '50s Kids Movies
Sean Connery, Janet Munro, Estelle Winwood

Released: 1959

Directed by: Robert Stevenson

Darby O'Gill and the Little People is a 1959 Walt Disney Productions feature film starring Albert Sharpe, Janet Munro, Sean Connery and Jimmy O'Dea, in a tale about a wily Irishman and his ...more

More Darby O'Gill and the Little People 

#108 of 217 Musical Movies With the Best Songs #46 of 143 The Best Disney Live-Action Movies #235 of 588 The Best Fantasy Movies

9
Davy Crockett: The River... is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best '50s Kids Movies
Fess Parker, Buddy Ebsen, Mike Mazurki

Released: 1956

Directed by: Norman Foster

Davy Crockett and the River Pirates is a 1956 live-action Walt Disney adventure film starring Fess Parker as Davy Crockett. It was shot in Cave-In-Rock, Illinois. This film acts as a prequel to ...more

More Davy Crockett: The River Pirates 

#127 of 395 The Best Western Movies Ever Made #51 of 143 The Best Disney Live-Action Movies

10
Treasure Island is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best '50s Kids Movies
Patrick Troughton, Bobby Driscoll, Robert Newton

Released: 1950

Directed by: Byron Haskin

Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial Treasure Island is a 1950 live action adventure film produced by Walt Disney Productions, adapted from the Robert Louis Stevenson's 1883 novel Treasure Island. It stars Bobby Driscoll as Jim ...more

More Treasure Island 

#74 of 82 The Best Film Adaptations of Young Adult Novels #193 of 366 The Best Movies Based On Books #12 of 30 Movies Based On Books You Should Have Read In 6th Grade

11
The Story of Robin Hood ... is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best '50s Kids Movies
Richard Todd, Peter Finch, Michael Hordern

Released: 1952

Directed by: Ken Annakin

The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men is a 1952 live action Disney version of the Robin Hood legend made in Technicolor and filmed in Buckinghamshire, England. It was written by Lawrence ...more

More The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men 

#150 of 189 The Best Medieval Movies #309 of 740 The Greatest Action Movies of All Time #44 of 44 The Best Knight Movies

12
Snow White and the Seven... is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best '50s Kids Movies
Doris Weikow, Marianne Christina Schilling

Released: 1961

Directed by: Gottfried Kolditz

Schneewittchen und die sieben Zwerge is an East German film. It was released in 1962. The picture sold 7,597,495 tickets.
13
Long John Silver is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best '50s Kids Movies
Rod Taylor, Robert Newton, Connie Gilchrist

Released: 1954

Directed by: Byron Haskin

Long John Silver, also known as Long John Silver's Return to Treasure Island, is a 1954 United States film production made in Australia about the eponymous pirate from Treasure Island, starring ...more
14
Tom Thumb is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best '50s Kids Movies
Peter Sellers, Stan Freberg, Alan Young

Released: 1958

Directed by: George Pal

Tom Thumb is a 1958 fantasy-musical film directed by George Pal and released by MGM. The film, based on the fairy tale of the same name, is about a tiny man who manages to outwit two thieves ...more
15
The African Lion is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best '50s Kids Movies
Winston Hibler

Released: 1955

Directed by: James Algar

The African Lion is a 1955 feature-length documentary that was released by Walt Disney Productions as part of its True-Life Adventures series. The film, which was shot over a three-year period ...more
16
The 7th Voyage of Sinbad... is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best '50s Kids Movies
Kerwin Mathews, Torin Thatcher, Kathryn Crosby

Released: 1958

Directed by: Nathan H. Juran

The 7th Voyage of Sinbad is a 1958 Technicolor fantasy film from Columbia Pictures, produced by Charles H. Schneer and directed by Nathan H. Juran. This was the first of three Sinbad feature ...more

More The 7th Voyage of Sinbad 

#128 of 212 The Best Adventure Movies #76 of 116 The Scariest Giant Monster Movies #266 of 588 The Best Fantasy Movies

17
The Red Balloon is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best '50s Kids Movies
Renaud Séchan, Georges Sellier, Vladimir Popov

Released: 1956

Directed by: Albert Lamorisse

The Red Balloon is a 1956 fantasy featurette directed by French filmmaker Albert Lamorisse. The thirty-four minute short, which follows the adventures of a young boy who one day finds a ...more

More The Red Balloon 

#36 of 80 The Best French Movies That Are Absolute Masterpieces #10 of 18 Great Movies That Have Almost No Dialoguelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

18
Superman and the Mole Me... is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best '50s Kids Movies
George Reeves, Jeff Corey, Stanley Andrews

Released: 1951

Directed by: Lee Sholem

Superman and the Mole Men is a 1951 superhero film starring George Reeves as Superman and Phyllis Coates as Lois Lane. The motion picture is the first theatrical feature film based on the DC ...more
19
The Great Locomotive Cha... is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best '50s Kids Movies
Fess Parker, Slim Pickens, Harry Carey

Released: 1956

Directed by: Francis D. Lyon

The Great Locomotive Chase is a 1956 Walt Disney Productions CinemaScope adventure film based on the real Great Locomotive Chase that occurred in 1862 during the American Civil War. The film ...more

More The Great Locomotive Chase 

#9 of 23 The Best Disney Western Movies #20 of 69 Each Disney Movie From The Year You Were Born #13 of 18 The Best Disney War Movies

20
Westward Ho the Wagons! ... is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best '50s Kids Movies
Fess Parker, George Reeves, Iron Eyes Cody

Released: 1956

Directed by: William Beaudine

Westward Ho, The Wagons! is a 1956 live-action Disney western film, aimed at family audiences. Based on Mary Jane Carr's novel Children of the Covered Wagon, the film was produced by Bill Walsh, ...more
21
Kim is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best '50s Kids Movies
Errol Flynn, Dean Stockwell, Paul Lukas

Released: 1950

Directed by: Victor Saville

Kim is a 1950 adventure film made in Technicolor by MGM. It was directed by Victor Saville and produced by Leon Gordon from a screenplay by Helen Deutsch, Leon Gordon and Richard Schayer, based ...more
22
The 5,000 Fingers of Dr.... is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best '50s Kids Movies
George Chakiris, Hans Conried, Tony Butala

Released: 1953

Directed by: Roy Rowland

The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T. is a musical fantasy film, the only feature film written by Theodor Seuss Geisel, who was responsible for the story, screenplay and lyrics. It was directed by Roy ...more
23
Third Man on the Mountai... is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best '50s Kids Movies
Helen Hayes, Herbert Lom, Michael Rennie

Released: 1959

Directed by: Ken Annakin

Third Man on the Mountain is a 1959 American Walt Disney Productions film set during the golden age of alpinism about a young Swiss man who conquers the mountain that killed his father. It is ...more
24
Francis in the Navy is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best '50s Kids Movies
Clint Eastwood, Donald O'Connor, Martha Hyer

Released: 1955

Directed by: Arthur Lubin

Francis in the Navy is a 1955 American black-and-white comedy film from Universal-International, produced by Stanley Rubin and directed by Arthur Lubin. The film stars Donald O'Connor, Martha ...more
25
Tonka is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best '50s Kids Movies
Sal Mineo, Slim Pickens, Joy Page

Released: 1958

Directed by: Lewis R. Foster

Tonka is a 1958 Walt Disney Western adventure film about the US cavalry horse that survived the Battle of the Little Big Horn; it stars Sal Mineo as a Sioux who fought there. It was filmed in ...more

More Tonka 

#11 of 23 The Best Disney Western Movies #22 of 69 Each Disney Movie From The Year You Were Born #49 of 50 The Best Horse Movies