Happy Easter — Easter baskets are filled with candy and magic, where magic equals a nest of colorful paper strips and some hard-boiled eggs painted like a sunset. Also, swag — a lot of parents like to add a gift of some sort to the Easter basket, and by parents I mean the Easter Bunny. It’s a team operation.
We have had a tradition in our family of including an Easter movie among the assorted goodies, which was fairly easy at first, but with two kids and Easter Sunday showing up year after year it has become harder and harder to find films worth sitting through. Our justification of what makes a movie an “Easter movie” has stretched to include such factors as rabbit characters, spring release dates, and proximity to the check-out line at Target.
As you may recall, my kids won’t be home for Easter Sunday (although we’ll probably do something on a later date), so this post should really be called “Top 15 Family Easter Movies That I Won’t Have to Watch This Year,” but the editors hold us to a character count (like Twitter, but with less hashtags).
The following list of Easter movies is not in any particular order and it includes some obvious choices, but I’ve also put in some of my kids’ favorites from our more creative/desperate Easter baskets that aren’t, technically, movies, but the kids don’t care and they (mostly TV specials and holiday episodes of
popular shows) are usually quite a bit shorter, which is nice.
HOP 1 of 15HOP is the most recent entry into the Easter movie rotation, and as such will probably be a big hit with the entire family. It's got a little something for everyone including poop jokes, talking rabbits, rock and roll, and popular stars like Russell Brand (voice), James Marsden, and Kaley Cuoco.
The First Easter Rabbit 2 of 15
Max & Ruby: Easter With Max & Ruby 3 of 15Easter With Max & Ruby is actually a collection of Easter-themed shorts from the popular TV show about a mischievous little bunny named Max and his incredibly bossy sister named Ruby. Apparently their parents have moved to another warren as they are never shown, but Grandma makes the occasional appearance -- she's kind of mischievous as well. It's no "Watership Down," but there are still learning opportunities. In theory.
Buy Easter With Max & Ruby
Bugs Bunny’s Easter Funnies 4 of 15Hello, Bugs Bunny? Easter Bunny? It's so obvious. This "movie" is basically a clip show, using segues and fades to tie a bunch of previously released Looney Toon classics into an Easter story. If you know the original cartoons it feels kind of cheap and lazy — those cartoons were fantastic on their own. However, it's still funny and clever, and a great way to introduce the kids to cartoons from back in the day. Actual "back in the day" may vary.
Buy Bugs Bunny's Easter Funnies
Here Comes Peter Cottontail: The Original TV Classic 5 of 15Yet another classic by Rankin/Bass, this time featuring the voice talents of Casey Kasem, Vincent Price, Paul Frees, Joan Gardner, and Danny Kaye. This is the original TV special in which Peter Cottontail wants the job of chief Easter Bunny and must travel through time with his pal Seymour S. Sassafras (yes, that Seymour S. Sassafras) to stop Evil Irontail. Dun, dun, dun, dun!
Buy Here Comes Peter Cottontail: The Original TV Classic
It’s the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown 6 of 15Charlie Brown, Snoopy, and the rest of the Peanuts gang are all here for what is, by far, my family's favorite Easter special. Where else are you going to learn how to fry Easter eggs? Also a great source for how to make Easter eggs, if that's something you are struggling with. This is the last of the Peanuts installments to feature the music of Vince Guaraldi, who, as you must know, was absolutely fantastic. His music is just as much a part of Peanuts as Linus, Lucy, or all pumpkins great or small.
Buy It's the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown
The Easter Bunny Is Coming to Town 7 of 15This Rankin/Bass precursor to their hit Santa Clause is Coming to Town features Fred Astair (his second time on this list!) and the origin story of the Easter Bunny. Want hard-hitting answers about hard-boiled eggs? You'll find them here. Also, why do we eat chocolate bunnies? I think that one is pretty obvious.
Buy The Easter Bunny Is Coming to Town
Yogi the Easter Bear 8 of 15Yogi may be smarter than the average bear, but is he smart enough to save an exceptional bunny? Find out as Yogi gets seasonal on his basket cravings (picnic to Easter, I don't really have to spell that out, right?) and leads Boo-Boo on an action-packed adventure. Also, Magic Easter Chicken!
Buy Yogi the Easter Bear
Easter Parade 9 of 15Easter Parade might be a hard sell for the younger kids, but Judy Garland and Fred Astaire deliver in this classic musical. Fun fact, the role of Don Hewes (Astaire) was supposed to belong to Gene Kelly, but he broke his ankle playing touch football. TOUCH FOOTBALL. Come on, Gene Kelly. Throw in an Irving Berlin score and the kids will be entranced in no time (if not they'll succumb to a Peeps-fueled sugar coma about 20 minutes in, so win-win).
Buy Easter Parade
Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Mystery of the Easter Chipmunk 10 of 15Chipmunks and rabbits, it's like a nature show. Alvin, Simon, and Theodore spend 30 minutes of your life saving Easter. You can give them that much, can't you? Do it for the children.
Buy Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Mystery of the Easter Chipmunk
Peter Cottontail – The Movie 11 of 15This story is something of a remake/reset/sequel to the original Here Comes Peter Cottontail, which is also on this list. It's about saving Easter, people. What's not to love?
Buy Peter Cottontail - The Movie
Mickey Mouse Clubhouse – Mickey’s Great Clubhouse Hunt 12 of 15Both of my kids love Mickey's Great Clubhouse Hunt, even though they've seen it enough times to find all the missing clubhouse pieces easily enough. Spoiler alert: it all works out. Also included on the DVD is the episode "Donald's Hiccups" and an Easter sing-along. Hot dog!
Buy Mickey Mouse Clubhouse - Mickey's Great Clubhouse Hunt
The Fat Albert Easter Special 13 of 15Hey, hey, hey, we're gonna have an egg time! Seriously, I can't believe Bill Cosby didn't think of that line. Watch as Rudy plays a practical joke on old Mudfoot and winds up sending him to the hospital — how's that for family fun? Don't worry, Fat Albert and the gang work it out. Hilarity ensues.
Buy The Fat Albert Easter Special
Rolie Polie Olie: An Easter Egg-Stravaganza 14 of 15Remember Olie and his rolie polie family? It was a big Disney Channel hit back when my oldest boy (8) was a toddler. We must have caught the end of its run because it all but disappeared by the time our second son came along just over two years later. However, it's a fun cast of characters and appeals to a wider range of ages than you might think. Probably because they're basically robots, and what kid doesn't like that?
Buy Rolie Polie Olie: An Easter Egg-Stravaganza
Winnie the Pooh: Springtime With Roo 15 of 15The gang is all here, and so is Easter — unless Rabbit ruins it by not playing the part of the Easter Bunny. Now with reinforced stereotypes! Still, it's pretty darn cute.
Buy Winnie the Pooh: Springtime With Roo
Read more from Whit Honea at his site Honea Express and the popular group blog DadCentric. You can follow Whit on the Twitter or Pinterest (his opinions are his own and do not reflect those of Babble or most rational people).
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