One of the hardest parts about getting older is re-watching your favorite childhood movies only to find a laundry list of problems. Sexism, classism, racism, and a whole slew of other harmful attitudes are ever-present in the animated films I enjoyed as a kid. Yet while I am now very Team Ursula and wanna roast up Thumper for being such a creepy stalker, I have a hard time letting go of The Jungle Book. Even though the original story was written by Grandpa Colonialism himself, Rudyard Kipling, I cannot quit the 1967 animated film, and I know I'm not alone. Yet other folks like me who haven't shattered their memories of the movie might wonder why The Jungle Book isn't on Netflix to be re-watched again and again.
The reason why is unknown, but sadly, there's no denying that the original Jungle Book just isn't on Netflix (although a 2010 animated version and a 1998 live action version are). One possible theory for why the movie is absent from the site is the movie's take on multiculturalism, which now feels incredibly dated and might not resonate strongly with young audiences. Yet personally, I think that's a bit of a stretch, and the reason for the movie's absence is likely due to some behind-the-scenes negotiations.
And regardless, now we have the new Jungle Book, which will hopefully reimagine the story in a more progressive manner. But if you're truly missing The (original) Jungle Book, Netflix has plenty of offerings to satisfy the craving for mythology, fantasy, and adventure.
1. The Princess Bride
I recently made my sweetie watch this for the first time, and it's one of the few movies that doesn't age. The Princess Bride retains its magic almost 30 years after its release, thanks to a killer script and some explosive on-screen chemistry. It was be inconceivable to leave this movie off of my list.
2. Blade Runner
This one is dark AF, but Blade Runner is an epic piece of dystopian sci-fi that somehow manages to humanize cyborg and hero alike.
3. The Warriors
Punk rock meets West Side Story meets The Outsiders. At its core, The Warriors is a flick about staying loyal and being part of a chosen-family.
Susan Wloszczyna, a film critic who writes for Roger Ebert.com, called this 2013 gem "a high-seas chanty of a coming-of-age tale: a portrait of a once-giddy youngster who develops into a poised and determined woman over the course of 17 months as she charts her course not just on the water, but in life." Sounds wonderful to me.
Based on the gorgeous and sinisterly noir comics by Mike Mignola, Hellboy features Nazis, the occult, Selma Blair, Jeffrey Tambor, and a cat-loving demon at the center. With Guillermo del Toro at the directorial helm, this movie stuns like a death ray.
6. A Trip To The Moon
Georges Méliès' 1902 (!) space odyssey is updated and hanging out on Netflix in all its big, colorful glory.
7. E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial
Grab a few Reese's and curl up with this 34-year-old favorite.
This is one of those rare movies that doesn't talk down to children and offers some smart storytelling.
9. Like Water For Chocolate
I have so many feelings about this sexy, food-driven fantasy, and all of them are good. An adventure in cooking, sexuality, and heritage all at the same time? I will always sign up for this.
Being a teenage girl is daring journey in and of itself, and this film empathetically captures the experience of French young woman of color as she makes some good and less-than-good life choices. C'est magnifique.
11. Moonrise Kingdom
While there are certainly issues with Wes Anderson, I appreciate this film's role reversal. Here, the children have the most developed emotional lives and desires, while the adults mismanage situation after situation.
12. Pee-Wee's Big Adventure
Tell 'em Large Marge sent ya.
Another movie that combines food with fantasy, this one is about the exploration of tradition and gender. Come for the great story, stay for the almost pornographic shots of dessert.
If you're hungry for adventure, the movies on this list are sure to fill the void left behind by your favorite childhood movies. They're full of intrigue, action, and a little bit o' romance—the bear necessities for some serious entertainment.
Image: Walt Disney Studios