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Children's Movies That Only Adults Like

List RulesVote up the family-friendly movies that are more for the parents than the kids.

For parents, there's a tricky balance to strike on movie nights where you have to entertain the little ones and try to find kids' movies that adults enjoy, too. While there's a good library of family-friendly movies that entertain adults, there are some movies that have been deemed kids' movies that only adults seem to like. These are the films grown-ups put on when all their kids want to do is rewatch Cars 2.

When a director sets out to make a film for kids and only adults end up liking it, that might seem like sort of a failure. There are plenty of ways this can happen, though. Not every filmmaker is as attuned to what a younger audience wants to watch. Sometimes a children's film is too scary, contains more adult innuendo than jokes for the kids, or is just a little boring. These movies all made this list for different reasons, so check them out, and upvote the ones you think adults and kids disagree on the most. 

  • Jim Henson may be best known for his work on The Muppets, Sesame Street, and other all-ages entertainment, but as shown through The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth, the pupeteer wasn't afraid of getting weird.

    In the case of Labyrinth. many theatergoers were upset that they went to the movies expecting Jim Henson of The Muppets and suddenly got this darker side of the artist they thought they knew. The film was much creepier than typical children's movies of the time, and the creators paid the price for it at the box office. Only later in its life did the the trippy fairy tale become something of a cult hit when older audiences revisited it. They were also now old enough to enjoy not just the story on the surface, but the dark and complicated themes lurking beneath.

    • Actors: Jennifer Connelly, David Bowie, Frank Oz, Brian Henson, Kevin Clash
    • Released: 1986
    • Directed by: Jim Henson
    Mostly for adults?
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  • The Witches is a "children's" movie based on a Roald Dahl novel featuring a group of demonic witches who want to "eliminate every single child in England." Children who were forced to watch this film were treated to a genuinely horrific sequence of body horror in which a terrified kid is transformed (painfully) into a mouse. Even more horrifying is the witches' master plan, which is to take their mouse transformation potion and use it on every child in England. The way the protagonists of the movie win is equally as horrific as the witches' own plan. The children manage to turn the witches into mice and then stomp on them.

    If that isn't enough nightmare fuel, you should watch the witches' transformation for yourself. The scene in question features a human-looking woman peeling off her face to reveal her grotesque witch form. It's horrific.

    • Actors: Anjelica Huston, Mai Zetterling, Jasen Fisher, Rowan Atkinson, Bill Paterson
    • Released: 1990
    • Directed by: Nicolas Roeg
    Mostly for adults?
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  • Coraline is another example of a "children's horror movie," which in itself might be something of an oxymoron. The film is based on a book written by superstar writer Neil Gaiman, who himself actually claims that adults find the film scarier than children do. If you've watched the movie, though, you may find it hard to believe that a kid wouldn't be terrified by it. 

    The film follows Coraline as she escapes the real world and finds herself trapped in a parallel dimension with a being known as Other Mother, who wants to keep Coraline trapped with her forever. The scene of Other Mother attacking Coraline as a half-human/half-spider hybrid should be enough to prove once and for all that Coraline goes harder than the average kid can handle. 

    • Actors: Teri Hatcher, Dakota Fanning, Ian McShane, Keith David, Jennifer Saunders
    • Released: 2009
    • Directed by: Henry Selick
    Mostly for adults?
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  • On one hand, Mrs. Doubtfire is a broad comedy featuring Robin Williams, who specialized in a brand of loud, exciting humor that appeals to all ages. On the other, it's an exploration of the pain of divorce from the perspective of a father going through it. Divorce is not exactly a subject beloved by children, and there's a lot about the plight of Robin Williams that they simply won't relate to.

    In the end, it's a lot more of a fantasy for parents and how they can process tough life changes than it is an escape for impressionable kids.

    • Actors: Robin Williams, Sally Field, Pierce Brosnan, Harvey Fierstein, Polly Holliday
    • Released: 1993
    • Directed by: Chris Columbus
    Mostly for adults?
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