I think maybe the 1984 theatrical rerelease of PINOCCHIO. At age 4, the horrible, terrified braying of the boys as they turned into donkey’s pretty much broke me and I have no doubt I wept openly in the theater.
lion the king
The sound of music – and we all acted it out at school and fought over who would be Maria!
Starman when I was around five years old. And I remember screaming in the theater during one of it’s scenes.
King Solomon’s Mines (1985).
a Bruce Lee film at the drive-in with my family
The Wizard of Oz
I’ll second The Wizard of Oz. I saw some movies in the womb, but I don’t remember them of course. Apparently, as a kid I watched The Wizard of Oz over and over. But then again the first movie I remember seeing when we got our VCR was Alice in Wonderland. Woot!
Fragments from Orca (The Killer Whale), Terminator, Cat People (Malcolm Mcdowell) and The Exorcist come to mind but I’m not sure which one is the first when I was 3 or 4 years old … films to screw up your kids by … =)
Watership Down (1978) Martin Rosen
I remember tears – I was so inconsolable my mum had to take me home half way through!
Ben-Hur in the theatres amongst a mob in Bangladesh.
Excalibur by John Boorman
I fell asleep on the couch and woke up in the middle of the night. The room was illuminated only by the TV and I saw my father watching something. It was fucking weird. There were 4 or 5 guys in space suits touching a black stone with weird voices getting louder and louder and louder and then a computer beep pierced through everything. It may sound cool the first memory of a film is 2001, but it really wasn’t. It could have been weirder though. He could be watching hardcore porn or something.
Fantasia at the cinema, and i remember other kids whispering “the devil!”, this was probably the first time i’d had some sort of sense of his existence and appearance. That sequence and the dinosaurs were the most memorable
Don’t remember the film but I remember my dad telling the ticket chick I was 5 years old (five & under got in free).
I stretched up to my full height and bellowed "i am not. i’m SIX!
Been putting my foot in it on a regular basis ever since.
Bride of Frankenstein, not in 1935, but as a re-issue.
Also, on the same bill, 7th Voyage of Sinbad.
Funny, I recall a lot of tv shows when I was really young but not movies. I recall being scared of Jerry Lewis so I would say it might have been Cinderfella (Lewis gave me nightmares). My favorite movies when I was 4 or 5 were The Time Machine with Rod Taylor, The Birds (I was fascinated by the scene where Jessica Tandy finds her neighbor in his bedroom, eyes pecked out), and The Wizard of Oz. I also recall seeing Billy the Kid v.s. Dracula and A Shot in the Dark. So it could also have been any one of those.
Another early movie memory is from a John Wayne film where his love interest turns out to be a baddy and dies near the end – and i vividly remember staring intently at her chest and deciding Ha! i can see she’s still breathing – she’s not dead! Kids!
lion king…. 007 series..
I was terrified, and I didn’t want to go. But my parents couldn’t find a sitter and apparently felt my tender psyche was resilient enough to withstand the blood, gore, and aquatic terror of that indomitable Machiavellian shark.
Well, they were wrong. Very wrong. Unfortunately I can’t comment further while litigation is pending.
“My Friend Flica”, starring Roddy McDowell as a boy of eleven or so, roughly 1942. I was his age, too.
The film had an amusing aside – Roddy had just arrived from the UK and he had a British accent as thick as London fog. I think he had just appeared in How Green Was my Valley, in England. Not sure.
It sounded really weird, out there on the range, but apparently no one noticed.
It’s on DVD now and surely it remains the best “family entertainmment” I know of.
Focus on this, for a moment:
People my age – I was born in 1931 – had never seen television (thank God) and didn’t know what a “movie” was.
Next day, at school, I tried to explain it to my classmates, with little success.
Next came Northwest Passge, I think, or Drums Along the Mohawk.
Bedknobs and Broomsticks was the first movie i’ve seen on a theather.
Bambi (1942) – i saw it when i was three and my mother said i cried in this movie.
Fantasia was the first movie that my parents let me watch that we owned on VHS. I was screening it about every day from the ages of 3 to 6 or 7 years old. Other films I remember early on was The Secret of Nimh, Fivel Goes West, All Dogs go to Heaven, and Disney’s Robin Hood animated film. The first live-action films I remember seeing at a very young age were Terminator 2, Predator, and Alien. Thanks Dad! Unfortunately I know from what my parents have told me, my first film in theaters was Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves with Kevin Costner. UGH. To think I had an action figure of it too! Terrible.
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is the first movie I remember seeing. The first movie I saw in the theatre was Sesame Street Presents: Follow That Bird.
Probably Davy Crockett and the River Pirates’.
All I remember was a character saying ‘If (such and such) happens I’ll eat my hat’. Of course it happened and he did. I’d never heard the phrase before so it struck me as quite normal to take it so literally.
But it could have been ‘The Bolshoi Ballet’.
Victor Erice’s ‘La Main Rouge’ is brilliant on childhood experience of cinema.
Definitely Disney something-or-other. PINOCCHIO, perhaps, or BAMBI during the early 80s rereleases…I seem to remember sheer terror at the Pleasure Island donkey transformations. SLEEPING BEAUTY rerelease was in there somewhere too, and a lot of terror at THE BLACK CAULDRON, too, in the theater before it became weirdly “suppressed” for decades. First non-animated film I remember being taken to was FOOTLOOSE followed somewhere shortly thereafter by BACK TO THE FUTURE which had me racing through the house with giddiness….and the rest, as they say, was/is history. First movie on VHS? RETURN OF THE JEDI.
The first film I remember watching as a child is Disney’s “The Little Mermaid”. It is definitely the first film I saw at the cinema. Interestingly I still haven’t watched it again so far. I have very fond memories of it and remember enjoying it a lot, but some time has passed since then. ;)