The Pitch

A genie! A cyclops! A tiny princess! A fire-breathing dragon! A sword fight with a skeleton! What more could you possibly need.

Age Recommendations

Watch With the Kids: 5+ IMDb: All ages

Content Advisories

Mild fantasy violence; several guys are killed. 1950s-Hollywood portrayal of Bagdad and Islam. Corn-pone acting and dialogue. Child actor (as the genie in the lamp).

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More Movies Like This

Other favorite Harryhausen adventures include The Golden Voyage of Sinbad (featuring a pre-Doctor Who Tom Baker), Jason and the Argonauts, and Mysterious Island (1961).

From the Land Beyond Beyond

It’s a bit of a shame when kids get hooked on the gloss of modern digital movie effects without first encountering the (literal) handiwork of stop-motion pioneer Ray Harryhausen. Using camera tricks, superimposition, and painstaking, frame-by-frame adjustments to his miniature models, Harryhausen made it possible for actors to “interact” with creatures far more fantastical than his peers could with their stunt men in rubber suits. This was Harryhausen’s first film in color, and his first collaboration with composer Bernard Herrmann (the score is fantastic). Stuffed to bursting with special effects, it’s the kind of film where a storm at sea means buckets of water thrown in the actors’ faces. (Which didn’t keep the film from being voted by the Library of Congress into inclusion in the National Film Registry.) Strong-jawed Kerwin Mathews (as Sinbad) and the imposing Torin Thatcher (as the evil wizard Sokurah) know exactly what kind of movie they are in. So great. —Chris Ereneta

Edited & designed by Chris Ereneta. Suggestions, feedback, and rants welcome at, @WatchWithKids, or on Facebook. More about this site.