We shed real tears at the loss of Paul Newman, whose legendary looks and powerful screen presence dominated the movies for years and whose charitable work (through the Hole in the Wall camps for seriously ill children and Newman's Own) set an elegant example of how one man can make the world a better place.
The easiest way to introduce your kids to one of our greatest movie stars is to show them Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Starring Newman at the height of his confident power and featuring Robert Redford in his breakout role, the film is a giddy love-poem to the vanishing ways of the West. Cool, even vintage cool, always translates... The kids were immediately grinning along with the comedic relationship between the two stars and can quote the film's most famous lines ("Who ARE those guys?").
Butch Cassidy has plenty of gun play -- the two heroes famously head out to their deaths in the last frame of the picture -- and shows the men with prostitutes and drinking alcohol. But, we think this classic is fine for kids over 10, as long as parents get on the couch and discuss the racier scenes (fast forwarding works, too.) You'll remember the plot turns -- it's just like riding a bicycle, which is exactly what Redford and Newman do with Katherine Ross to the tune of "Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head". (Rated PG for violence, Directed by George Roy Hill).
The Sting reunited Redford and Newman as two card-playing con men in a beloved and complicated film which won 7 Academy Awards, including Best Picture. Don't try to explain (or even understand) the plot. Just sit back and enjoy the Joplin rags as you watch these two movie stars win over a new generation. (Rated PG, also directed by George Roy Hill).
Paul Newman played the voice of Doc Hudson in Cars, a great film for younger kids. We happen to have covered this film last week - for more, please visit our website. Kids get a charge out of knowing Newman was a race car driver in real life, placing second in Le Mans in 1979. (Rated G, directed by John Lassiter and Joe Ranft).
If your kids know Newman only because they've seen his face on Newman's Own popcorn bags and salad dressing bottles, that's okay, too. Be sure to let them know that Newman's Own gives every single penny of profit to charity. For more about Newman, click here to last month's Vanity Fair article (the photos alone are worth five minutes).
Diane and Sarah
Founders, Kids Off The Couch
Kids Off The Couch
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