Do you remember the first movie you ever saw at the cinema? For me, it was Lady And The Tramp. My dad took me to see it at Stevenage ABC cinema (which has since been bulldozed and replaced by a Tesco) when I was five years old, and from the moment it started I was hooked. It’s re-released on DVD this week, and out for the first time on Blu-Ray, too, and you can read the movies4kids review of it here. Well worth renting for your kids, as it’s as cute as when it was first released in 1955 (no, I didn’t see it then – when my dad and I saw it, it was a mid-70s re-release).
It has got me thinking about the movies that stay with us throughout our lives, for whatever reason. Here are some of mine:
Star Wars: A New Hope – saw this, aged eight, with my older sister and her boyfriend. Had first ever movie crush on Luke Skywalker, but by the time The Empire Strikes Back came out in 1981 I had grown up enough to realise Han Solo was far cooler.
Love Is A Many Splendoured Thing – One of the first movies that truly made me cry until I was dry-heaving (I’m a sucker for sob stories). And I blame my mum for this one as she lied and told me it had a happy ending just so I’d sit and watch it with her.
Batman – Tim Burton’s visually stunning version of the Batman story is notable for two reasons: firstly, I got caught trying to creep onto the set at Knebworth House when the movie was filming, and secondly, it was the first press screening I ever went to. Sitting in a room full of journalists who got paid to watch movies, and got to see them weeks before they came out in cinemas – what a cool job! (And the rest, as they say, is history).
Out Cold – obscure and, frankly, bloody awful comedy with John Lithgow and Randy Quaid in which one of the characters ends up dead in a fridge. Notable simply because it was the first press screening I ever went to, and the first film review I had published (in Film Review magazine back in 1989, many thanks to editor David Aldridge).
Flatliners – Aside from the fact I had (and still do have) a huge crush on star Kiefer Sutherland, this film is notable as it was the first screening I went to with the staff of film magazine Empire after I was hired for my dream job as staff writer there in 1990, aged 19.
L.A. Story – The art editor of Empire was a fan of Steve Martin, so I took him to the screening of Martin’s latest movie at the time, L. A. Story, in the hope he would be so grateful he’d (finally) ask me out. A few weeks later, he did. We’ve been together ever since, married 18 years this summer, and have a son. God bless you Steve Martin.
Stalingrad – A stunning 1993 war movie directed by Joseph Vilsmaier, this will always have a special place in my heart as I visited the set (a recreation of the siege of Stalingrad, filmed outside Prague) and saw the beautiful city of Prague for the first time. It was bloody freezing there in January and we all had to wear two pairs of trousers and numerous sweaters while standing around burning oil drums on the set to keep warm, but it was worth it.
Happy Feet – The first screening I ever took my son to, when he was just 18 months old. He loved it and is now my regular companion to all family movie screenings, and also the reason my book – The Parents’ Guide To Kids’ Movies – and the website movies4kids.co.uk exist.