When you were a kid, a rainy school day could only mean one thing: movies. If you couldn't go outside to play during recess then your teacher had no choice but to entertain you with a school-approved movie. These rainy school day movies could be a treat, but just as often they could be a trick. One day your teacher treats you to Aladdin, and the next she forces you to watch a heartbreaker of epic proportions, or worse, a movie about sports that bored you to tears. While watching movies in school was more of a grab bag than your average box of mystery chocolates, the rain usually meant you also got out of at least one lesson because you had to finish the movie, so it wasn't all bad.
Really, it is impossible to complain about this time-honored tradition when it offered so many perks. Looking back, I can't think about a rainy day movie without remembering the smell of chalk, craning to look over a taller student's head to see the small TV screen, or my determination not to cry when Shadow took longer to come over the hill than Sassy and Chance. Join me on a trip back to your school days, because you know every '90s kid watched these movies whenever it rained.
1. Old Yeller (1957)
One of the most bizarre rites of passage for American school children has got to be watching Old Yeller get shot by his owner. This movie was always shown when you were too young to deal with it and I know I am not alone in saying it left me traumatized and with trust issues when it came to any movies involving dogs.
2. Hoosiers (1986)
I recognize Hoosiers is beloved by many, but for me, watching this movie was like having gym twice in one day.
3. Homeward Bound (1993)
Thanks to the plethora of movies where the dog dies in the end, I am naturally suspicious of movies involving animals, but Homeward Bound is a national treasure. Sure, it made you cry in front of your classmates, but they were all crying too.
4. Charlotte's Web (1973)
Nothing made a gloomy day gloomier than the addition of Wilbur's plight to not become bacon.
5. Flubber (1997)
Anytime a teacher pulled out a Robin Williams feature, you knew it was going to be a good day. I haven't seen Flubber in years, so who knows if it holds up, but it was epic in grade school.
6. The Parent Trap (1961/1998)
Both versions of The Parent Trap were go-to rainy day favorites. Trying to decide who played twins better, Hayley Mills or Lindsay Lohan, is basically impossible.
7. The Secret Garden (1993)
Raise your hand if you spent the rest of the day daydreaming about being Mary every single time you watched this movie.
8. Jumanji (1995)
This one was shown by your favorite teacher, obviously. She got the good candy on Valentine's Day.
9. Tom & Huck (1995)
I think there was some perceived educational value with this one since it was based on Mark Twain's classic, but all I remember about the viewing experience is doodling "JTT loves Sabienna" all over my notebook. Ah, I was such an optimistic child.
10. The Sandlot (1993)
Now this is a sports movie. The Beast scenes never failed to turn the classroom into a mad house for hilarious reasons.
11. James And The Giant Peach (1996)
I can only speak for myself here, but I feel like I watched more Roald Dahl stories than I read in school. It probably should have been the other way around, but this movie was so cool, I'm not going to retroactively argue with my teachers' methods.
12. Anne Of Green Gables (1985)
If this was the only film my teachers ever showed on rainy days I would have been perfectly content. Best movie ever, guys.
13. The Mighty Ducks (1992)
Baby Joshua Jackson! Only he could make me both pray for rain and enjoy a movie about hockey.
14. Harriet The Spy (1996)
I always secretly applauded my teachers when they would pick a movie with an awesome female lead, despite grumbling from some of the boys in the class. There were a lot of male-centric ensemble kids films made in the '80s and '90s that got major rainy day play, so whenever I got to watch a cool girl spy, I was psyched.
15. Free Willy (1993)
Remember how thrilled your parents were when you came home convinced having a whale as a pet was a totally viable life option? Good times.
16. The Indian In The Cupboard (1995)
The '90s were a very different time — I'm not sure this one would make it into classrooms today even on the rainiest of days.
17. Babe (1995)
"That'll do pig." I can already feel the tears forming.
Looking back, it's funny to remember how many completely non-educational movies you got to watch in school. But hey, those rainy days were tough on the teachers too — everyone here benefited from the occasional movie break.
Images: Disney (8); Sullivan Entertainment; Orion Pictures; Paramount Pictures (3); Warner Bros. Pictures (2); TriStar Pictures; 20th Century Fox; Universal Pictures