When you are a kid a bicycle is truly your vehicle to freedom and adventure and no one knows that better than Hollywood. After all what better way to solve a crime, locate lost pirate treasures, or simply escape the world of adults than by bike. The following are five classic kids’ films and five life lessons we learned from them.
Now and Then (1995): This movie is perhaps one of the most defining childhood movies for girls at the time (I know it was for me). Now and Then took “Girl Power” to another level. In the movie four childhood friends, Samantha, Roberta, Chrissy, and Tina return to the memories of their childhood in the momentous summer of 1970. Initially the girls’ largest concern was how to pool money for their dream treehouse, but soon after a late night cemetery séance they become obsessed with finding out what happened to “Dear Johnny”. Becoming a new age version of Nancy Drew, they use their bikes to travel to a neighboring town’s library to search for clues. In a movie about friendship and the transition to girlhood to womanhood, bicycles serve as a vehicle for freedom and sisterhood.
Life Lesson: True friends will always be there, no matter what happens.
Pee-wee’s Big Adventure (1985): Pee Wee Herman, a child in his own right, goes for his first big adventure in this eighties film. After his beloved Schwinn bicycle is stolen by his arch nemesis, Francis Buxton, Pee Wee sets off on a cross-country adventure to the Alamo where he believes his bike is located. Pee Wee discovers news things, new people, and eventually ends up in Hollywood where they’re making a film about, you guessed it, bikes!
Life Lesson: Sometimes you just have to let go and enjoy the whimsy of life.
My Girl (1991): It’s the summer of 1972 and Vada, an 11 year old girl, is in love with her teacher, a hypochondriac, and obsessed with death. With a father that runs a funeral parlor and a deep seeded personal belief that she was the cause of her mother’s death, it isn’t really surprising. Despite all of these personal quirks her best friend, Thomas J. sticks by her side. Their summer adventure is complete with kisses, bikes, and tragedies that lead to a story that shows the true growing pains of entering adolescence.
Life Lesson: Growing up is hard and sometimes life isn’t fair, so cherish each happy memory and live each day to the fullest.
The Goonies (1985): A group a friends face the end of the world as they know it when they find out their neighborhood, aka “the Goon Docks” is facing foreclosure to make room for a Country Club. Feeling powerless to the situation the boys escape for one last adventure to save their homes after finding an old newspaper clipping, a Spanish map, and an artifact that relates to a local rumor that there is hidden pirate treasure in the area. Bikes in tow, they find themselves in a sticky situation when the map leads them to a criminal’s hideout. The Goonies is a must see for a timeless tale of just how important friendships are.
Life Lesson: “It’s our time”. Never give up on something you believe is right.
The Karate Kid (1984): “Wax on; wax off”. After moving to California from New Jersey, the main character, Daniel finds that his mother’s promises of posh living were not completely accurate. On top of that he struggles to fit in to the local crowd and quickly accumulates grief from a group of bullies who taunt him relentlessly even when he is just off on a bike ride alone. Just when life seems like it will never get better Daniel meets his soon to be mentor, Mr. Miyagi, who shows Daniel the art of karate and shows us how to believe in ourselves.
Have a suggestion for movies we missed? Leave a comment and let us know your favorite classic kid’s movie that featured bicycles below!
Get out and ride!