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 11 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. Enjoy!
HOP 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.
2. The First Easter Rabbit
The First Easter Rabbit is from the big pile of awesome created by Rankin/Bass and stars the voice talents of Burl Ives and Paul Frees. Think Here Comes Santa Clause meets The Velveteen Rabbit but with less skin horse.
3. Max & Ruby: Easter With Max & Ruby
Easter 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.
4. Bugs Bunny’s Easter Funnies
Hello, 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.
5. It’s the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown
Charlie 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.
6. The Easter Bunny is Coming to Town
This 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.
7. Yogi the Easter Bear
Yogi 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!
8. Easter Parade
Easter 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).
9. Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Mystery of the Easter Chipmunk
Chipmunks 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.
10. Fat Albert Easter Special
Hey, 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.
11. Rolie Polie Olie: An Easter Egg-stravaganza
Remember 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?
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).