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Great Movies About Precocious Children

Updated July 10, 2019 771 votes 89 voters 4.1k views27 items

List RulesFilms from any genre that feature a very special, precocious, even magical child as the protagonist. Please, no Harry Potter movies.

Kids who are wise beyond their years are some of the most compelling individuals to watch on screen. The best movies about precocious child characters feature intelligent young people dealing with adult situations as best as they can. This is a list of the top magical child movies including everything from E.T. The Extra Terrestrial to To Kill a Mockingbird to Hook.

What films will you find on this list of special child movies? Fans of thrillers might vote The Sixth Sense up to the top. Cole Sear's (Haley Joel Osment) precocious nature makes it difficult for him to relate to children his own age. That, and the fact that he sees dead people. Stand By Me is another good film with young characters who have to grow up fast. Like many of Wes Anderson's films, Moonrise Kingdom features an intelligent young man who refuses to follow the rules. Other good movies on this top precocious kids film list include Where the Wild Things Are, Hugo, and Finding Neverland.

Do you have a favorite film with a precocious character? Vote the best movie up to number one on this list and please add any features that are missing.

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  • Moonrise Kingdom1
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    Moonrise Kingdom

    Bruce Willis, Bill Murray

    Released2012

    Directed byWes Anderson

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  • I Am Sam2
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    I Am Sam

    Sean Penn, Dakota Fanning

    Released2001

    Directed byJessie Nelson

    I Am Sam is a 2001 American drama film directed by Jessie Nelson. A mentally handicapped man... more on Wikipedia

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  • The Sixth Sense3
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    The Sixth Sense

    Bruce Willis, Mischa Barton

    Released1999

    Directed byM. Night Shyamalan

    The Sixth Sense is a 1999 American supernatural thriller film written and directed by M. Night... more on Wikipedia

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  • To Kill a Mockingbird4
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    To Kill a Mockingbird

    Robert Duvall, Gregory Peck

    Released1962

    Directed byRobert Mulligan

    To Kill a Mockingbird is a 1962 American drama film directed by Robert Mulligan. The... more on Wikipedia
  • Beasts of the Southern Wild5
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    Beasts of the Southern Wild

    Quvenzhané Wallis, Jay Oliver

    Released2012

    Directed byBenh Zeitlin

    Beasts of the Southern Wild is a 2012 American fantasy drama film directed by Benh Zeitlin and... more on Wikipedia
  • Hugo6
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    Hugo

    Jude Law, Chloë Grace Moretz

    Released2011

    Directed byMartin Scorsese

    Hugo is a 2011 American 3D historical adventure drama film directed and co-produced by Martin... more on Wikipedia

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  • Stand by Me7
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    Stand by Me

    Kiefer Sutherland, Corey Feldman

    Released1986

    Directed byRob Reiner

    Stand by Me is a 1986 American coming of age comedy-drama adventure film directed by Rob... more on Wikipedia
  • Where the Wild Things Are8
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    Where the Wild Things Are

    Mark Ruffalo, Forest Whitaker

    Released2009

    Directed bySpike Jonze

    Where the Wild Things Are is a 2009 fantasy drama film directed by Spike Jonze. Written by... more on Wikipedia

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  • E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial9
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    E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial

    Drew Barrymore, Erika Eleniak

    Released1982

    Directed bySteven Spielberg

    E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial is a 1982 American science fiction-family film co-produced and... more on Wikipedia

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  • Radio Flyer10
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    Radio Flyer

    Tom Hanks, Elijah Wood

    Released1992

    Directed byRichard Donner, David M. Evans

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  • Empire of the Sun11
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    Empire of the Sun

    Christian Bale, Ben Stiller

    Released1987

    Directed bySteven Spielberg

    Empire of the Sun is a 1987 American coming of age film based on J. G. Ballard's... more on Wikipedia
  • Boyhood12
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    Boyhood

    Ethan Hawke, Patricia Arquette

    Released2014

    Directed byRichard Linklater

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  • Little Man Tate13
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    Little Man Tate

    Jodie Foster, Harry Connick

    Released1991

    Directed byJodie Foster

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  • Matilda14
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    Matilda

    Danny DeVito, Mara Wilson

    Released1996

    Directed byDanny DeVito

    Matilda is a 1996 American fantasy comedy children's film directed and narrated by Danny... more on Wikipedia

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  • Paper Moon15
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    Paper Moon

    Tatum O'Neal, Randy Quaid

    Released1973

    Directed byPeter Bogdanovich

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  • Léon: The Professional16
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    Léon: The Professional

    Natalie Portman, Gary Oldman

    Released1994

    Directed byLuc Besson

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  • Searching for Bobby Fischer17
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    Searching for Bobby Fischer

    Ben Kingsley, William H. Macy

    Released1993

    Directed bySteven Zaillian

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  • Little Miss Sunshine18
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    Little Miss Sunshine

    Steve Carell, Bryan Cranston

    Released2006

    Directed byValerie Faris, Jonathan Dayton

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  • A.I. Artificial Intelligence19
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    A.I. Artificial Intelligence

    Haley Joel Osment, Jude Law
    AI is a computer virus which infects .EXE files. The virus is loaded into memory by executing... more on Wikipedia
  • Finding Neverland20
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    Finding Neverland

    Johnny Depp, Kate Winslet

    Released2004

    Directed byMarc Forster

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  • Hook21
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    Hook

    Robin Williams, Dustin Hoffman

    Released1991

    Directed bySteven Spielberg

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  • Midnight Special22
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    Midnight Special

    Kirsten Dunst, Michael Shannon

    Released2016

    Directed byJeff Nichols

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  • Alice in Wonderland23
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    Alice in Wonderland

    Johnny Depp, Anne Hathaway

    Released2010

    Directed byTim Burton

    Alice in Wonderland is a 2010 British-American live action and computer animated adventure... more on Wikipedia
  • The Royal Tenenbaums24
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    The Royal Tenenbaums

    Gwyneth Paltrow, Alec Baldwin

    Released2001

    Directed byWes Anderson

    The Royal Tenenbaums is a 2001 American comedy-drama film directed by Wes Anderson and... more on Wikipedia
  • The Impossible25
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    The Impossible

    Naomi Watts, Ewan McGregor

    Released2012

    Directed byJuan Antonio Bayona

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