7 Great G-Rated live-action movies for Adults

Most people consider G-rated movies to be children’s fare. But even in recent years, as coarse content has become a mainstay in the cinema, a number of cinematic masterpieces have been written for, produced, and marketed to adults also have carried the G-rating. Not all were box office smashes (although some certainly were) but each deserves a viewing for a reminder that movies can be highly entertaining without relying on sex, language, and violence.

This Hub singles out seven of these movies, all of which are highly rated by users of the Internet Movie Database. All are contemporary and screened in the last 25 years. With one slight exception, all are feature-length. No princesses or superheroes. No animation. No anthropomorphism (which ruled out 1995’s “Babe: Pig in the City,” alas). No documentaries (although there are plenty worth mentioning – 2005’s “March of the Penguins” nearly made the cut). No classics (anything with Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers would be rated G today). Just movies for adults that entertain with strong characters and storytelling without scenes that would make you cringe if your Mom walked in or hit the “stop” button if your kids entered the room.

Note that many of these movies cannot be found on digital media platforms and are more easily found on DVD.

The Straight Story trailer

The Straight Story

The Straight Story

his gentle, quiet 1999 film starring Richard Farnsworth, Harry Dean Stanton and Sissy Spacek was a sweet surprise considering the director was David Lynch, who specializes in offbeat and shocking filmmaking (see “Wild at Heart.” Lynch also was behind the network TV series “Twin Peaks.”) It’s a road movie, only the mode of transportation is a riding lawnmower. Farnsworth plays 73-year-old Alvin Straight, who in 1994 rode a mower from Laurens, Iowa, to Mt. Zion, Wisconsin to patch up a fractured relationship with his dying brother, Lyle. Farnsworth was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor in this genuinely moving film.

Seven Days in Utopia Trailer

Seven Days in Utopia

Seven Days in Utopia

This overlooked gem starring Robert Duvall and Lucas Black chronicles the trials of a young professional golfer who bombed out on the pro circuit and finds himself in the small town of Utopia, Texas. Released in September 2011, Seven Days in Utopia does have religious themes.

Babette's Feast

Babette's Feast

Set in Denmark during the 19th Century, this romantic 1987 movie is about loyalty to family and ultimate rewards for personal sacrifice. Two sisters decide to devote their lives to their father, a minister in a small village, and his church. Babette is a refugee from France who is taken in by the sisters. After the father dies, she prepares an elaborate feast in the father’s honor of his 100th birthday with the nervous consent of the sisters. She prepares the feast of a lifetime for the church family. An exciting secret is eventually revealed about her. It won an Oscar for best foreign-language film in 1988, along with numerous other accolades.

The Road Home Trailer

The Road Home

This gorgeous 2000 Chinese film tells the story of a businessman from the city who returns home to bury his father. It navigates the clash of modernity and tradition, as the businessman, Luo Yusheng, comes under pressure from his elderly mother to follow a tradition where many people help carry his father to burial. The story tells, in flashback form, the story of how his father and mother met. It is an emotional roller coaster.

The Road Home

The Cup

This hilarious import from Germany in 1999 chronicles the efforts of two young Tibetan students at a monastery to watch World Cub soccer and the lengths to which they go to secure a television to watch the finals. It is similar to “The Road Home” in its theme of comparing modern times with traditional, especially with regards to Buddhism. A winner in some minor film festivals around the world.

Not to be confused with "Tin Cup," the movie staring Kevin Costner as a washed-up golf pro.

The Cup Trailer

Wings of Courage

Wings of Courage

From 1995, this the first feature motion picture made for IMAX. It’s now available on VHS (but not on DVD). While shorter than the others at 50 minutes, it’s an exciting movie about efforts by French pilots to establish an air mail route over the Andes Mountains in the 1920s. The story follows a pilot who crashes and has to make his way home by foot. Very dramatic. It was directed by Academy Award winner Jean-Jacques Annaud and stars Craig Sheffer (TV’s “Criminal Minds”), Elizabeth McGovern (“Clash of the Titans”), Tom Hulce (“Amadeus”) and Val Kilmer (“Batman Forever,” “Top Gun.”)

Wings of Courage Trailer

The Rookie

The Rookie

This 2002 film starring Dennis Quaid as a 39-year-old Texas teacher who makes it to the big leagues after agreeing to attend a try-out if the high school team he coaches makes the playoffs. They make the playoffs, and Quaid discovers a 98 miles-per-hour fastball and gets a spot on the roster of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. This film grossed more than $80 million worldwide.

The Rookie Trailer

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