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The Best '50s Kids Movies

Updated April 26, 2021 1.5k votes 225 voters 12.5k views33 items

List RulesVote 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.

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    Lady and the Tramp

    Peggy Lee, Stan Freberg

    Released1955

    Released1955

    Directed byWilfred Jackson, Hamilton Luske, Clyde Geronimi

    Directed byWilfred 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 and a...  more

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    #3 of 545 The Best Animated Films Ever#19 of 305 The Best Duos of All Time

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    Cinderella

    June Foray, Mike Douglas

    Released1950

    Released1950

    Directed byWilfred Jackson, Hamilton Luske, Clyde Geronimi

    Directed byWilfred 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 twelfth in the...  more

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    Peter Pan

    June Foray, Bobby Driscoll

    Released1953

    Released1953

    Directed byWilfred Jackson, Hamilton Luske, Clyde Geronimi, Jack Kinney

    Directed byWilfred 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 Walt...  more

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    Old Yeller

    Chuck Connors, Fess Parker

    Released1957

    Released1957

    Directed byRobert Stevenson

    Directed byRobert 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 the...  more

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    Alice in Wonderland

    Ed Wynn, Heather Angel

    Released1951

    Released1951

    Directed byWilfred Jackson, Hamilton Luske, Clyde Geronimi

    Directed byWilfred 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 with...  more

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    Sleeping Beauty

    Marvin Miller, Mary Costa

    Released1959

    Released1959

    Directed byClyde Geronimi

    Directed byClyde 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 film in...  more

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    #317 of 1,506 The Most Rewatchable Movies#7 of 77 The Very Best Fairy Tale Movies

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    Treasure Island

    Patrick Troughton, Bobby Driscoll

    Released1950

    Released1950

    Directed byByron Haskin

    Directed byByron Haskin

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    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 Hawkins,...  more
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    20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

    Kirk Douglas, Peter Lorre

    Released1954

    Released1954

    Directed byRichard Fleischer

    Directed byRichard 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 was...  more

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    Released1952

    Released1952

    Directed byKen Annakin

    Directed byKen 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 Edward...  more

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    #222 of 624 The Greatest Action Movies Of All Time#19 of 143 The Best Swashbuckler Movies

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    26
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    Davy Crockett and The River Pirates

    Fess Parker, Buddy Ebsen

    Released1956

    Released1956

    Directed byNorman Foster

    Directed byNorman Foster

    Davy Crockett and the River Pirates is a 1956 live-action Walt Disney adventure western film directed by Norman Foster. This film acts as a prequel to 1955's Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier....  more
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    Darby O'Gill and the Little People

    Sean Connery, Janet Munro

    Released1959

    Released1959

    Directed byRobert Stevenson

    Directed byRobert 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 battle of...  more

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    #95 of 207 Musical Movies With The Best Songs#34 of 109 The Best Disney Live-Action Movies

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    18
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    Tom Thumb

    Peter Sellers, Stan Freberg

    Released1958

    Released1958

    Directed byGeorge Pal

    Directed byGeorge 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
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    Long John Silver

    Rod Taylor, Robert Newton

    Released1954

    Released1954

    Directed byByron Haskin

    Directed byByron 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
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    13
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    The 7th Voyage of Sinbad

    Kerwin Mathews, Torin Thatcher

    Released1958

    Released1958

    Directed byNathan H. Juran

    Directed byNathan 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 films...  more

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    #54 of 197 The Best Adventure Movies#57 of 140 The Best Classic Fantasy Movies

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    The Red Balloon

    Renaud Séchan, Georges Sellier

    Released1956

    Released1956

    Directed byAlbert Lamorisse

    Directed byAlbert 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 sentient,...  more

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    Superman and the Mole Men

    George Reeves, Jeff Corey

    Released1951

    Released1951

    Directed byLee Sholem

    Directed byLee 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 Comics...  more
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    Francis in the Navy

    Clint Eastwood, Donald O'Connor

    Released1955

    Released1955

    Directed byArthur Lubin

    Directed byArthur 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 Hyer,...  more
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    The Great Locomotive Chase

    Fess Parker, Slim Pickens

    Released1956

    Released1956

    Directed byFrancis D. Lyon

    Directed byFrancis 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 stars...  more

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    The African Lion

    Winston Hibler

    Released1955

    Released1955

    Directed byJames Algar

    Directed byJames 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
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    Westward Ho the Wagons!

    Fess Parker, George Reeves

    Released1956

    Released1956

    Directed byWilliam Beaudine

    Directed byWilliam 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
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    Third Man on the Mountain

    Helen Hayes, Herbert Lom

    Released1959

    Released1959

    Directed byKen Annakin

    Directed byKen 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 based...  more
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    Tonka

    Sal Mineo, Slim Pickens

    Released1958

    Released1958

    Directed byLewis R. Foster

    Directed byLewis 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 Bend,...  more

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    #65 of 69 The Best Horse Movies#13 of 23 The Best Disney Western Movies

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    Kim

    Errol Flynn, Dean Stockwell

    Released1950

    Released1950

    Directed byVictor Saville

    Directed byVictor 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 on...  more
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    8
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    The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T

    George Chakiris, Hans Conried

    Released1953

    Released1953

    Directed byRoy Rowland

    Directed byRoy 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 Rowland,...  more
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    16

    The Little Kidnappers

    Duncan Macrae, Vincent Winter

    Released1953

    Released1953

    Directed byPhilip Leacock

    Directed byPhilip Leacock

    The Little Kidnappers, billed as The Kidnappers in the UK, is a 1953 British film, directed by Philip Leacock and written by Neil Paterson. It was remade as a TV movie in 1990....  more