14 of my favourite adoption themed movies

May 26, 2013 4 Comments

adoption themed movieOkay, I confess. They are not necessarily adoption themed movies, some are more like movies with tenuous links to adoption. They do however, all have one thing in common; a child in need.

That is after all, what adoption is all about.

The list is in no particular order; however, just for fun, I have included the worldwide historical box office takings.

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Despicable me

Released in 2010

This is multi-faceted in terms of adoption. Not only does the pointy nosed protagonist end up adopting the three main girls, but you have to make some kind of presumptions about the army of little yellow helpers.

Worldwide Box Office Takings – $543million

The Blindside

Released in 2009

This is one of my all-time favourite films. This highly evocative production is even more significant in adoption circles because it is based on the real life story of American Footballer Michael Oher. Whether you are interested in adoption or not, this movie is brilliant.

Worldwide Box Office Takings – $308million


Released in 1982

Little orphan Annie is one of the most well-known movie themed adoptees. I watched it for the first time very recently despite it being over 30 years old. The story would not be reflected today, but it is no less captivating.

US Box Office Takings – $57million


Released in 2012

Possibly a surprise entry, but I have to admit the fight scenes are as mesmerising as they are ridiculous. It centres on a maths genius Chinese school girl avoiding a host of mafia. Jason Statham to the rescue; in tradition Statham leg-flailing fashion.

Worldwide Box Office Takings – $41million

Finding Nemo

Released in 2003

This is not as far removed from the ‘adoption themed movie’ genre as you may think. It is a story of a child losing a parent, being removed from their birth father, and the birth father battling to get him back. It is an adoption story, just not in the traditional sense.

Worldwide Box Office Takings – $906million

Harry Potter franchise

Release dates between 2001 and 2011

Regardless of my indifference about the title star, you can’t deny the success and influence of these films. Sadly, if Dumbledore had followed correct local authority procedure – Harry would still be in care now. Us Muggles can learn a lot from these Wizards.

Worldwide Box Office Takings – $7.7billion

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

Released in 1984

Short Round is the little chap that Harrison Ford adopts in the second of Indiana Jones’ adventures. Full of pluck, the little rascal is one of the best aspects of the film. It is great to see the boy held in high regard by the main character, and equally being looked after. Sort of a hybrid of a son and a friend.

Worldwide Box Office Takings – $333million


Released in 1994

Natalie Portman excels as the mischievous girl in trouble. Anyone who has seen the film will remember the sequence of scenes that lead them to switch hotels – daring, but brilliant.

Worldwide Box Office Takings – $45million

Monsters Inc.

Released in 2001

This is many people’s favourite Pixar production, and you may be aware a special movie for my wee son – see our video on Mike Wazowski. The scene toward the end where Sulley is forced to scare a ‘test child’ may well hit home a little harder than you would like – especially for some of you adoptive parents.

Worldwide Box Office Takings – $559million

Ice Age 3

Released in 2009

I estimate I have seen this film in excess of 50 times. One of the lads we looked after before adoption, was obsessed with Dinosaurs, and so this was on a constant loop in our house. It is a great film for kids though, and comes highly recommended.

Worldwide Box Office Takings – $886million

Batman Returns

Released in 1992

The story of Danny Devito’s Penguin character is a twisted tale of child abandonment. This may only be rated PG, but it is not for the faint hearted. Tim Burton’s regular darkness is used in abundance, and that adds to the gloom of the Penquin’s design. Awesome, but not for everyone.

Worldwide Box Office Takings – $226million

Empire of the Sun

Released in 1987

Christian Bale as a boy, and presumably before he was lambasting sound technicians. This is the story of a boy held in a POW camp in Japan during World War 2. The film itself does not look at the theme of adoption, but the main character is subjected to a great deal of trauma which can be mirrored in many adoptive children.

US Box Office Takings – $22million

Original Star Wars franchise

Release dates between 1977 and 1983

The Star Wars trilogy (not the more recent prequel) is the ultimate story of parentless children fighting the biggest evil in movie going history. The story is as much about the twins, as it is about lasers, Wookies, X-wings, or the force. Most people my age will always want a light sabre though.

Worldwide Box Office Takings – $1.9billion

Superman franchise

Release dates between 1978 and 2006

Superman is possibly the most famous adoptee, and almost certainly the strongest. Anyone who has suffered from infertility has at one time wished for a child to blast down from nowhere. This is not about a Superhero, it is about the hope of humanity, or something like that.

Worldwide Box Office Takings – $870million


So there we have it. My list of adoption themed movies – do you agree or disagree with my movies? Have I missed any out? Please leave a comment, I really appreciate the feedback.

All box office statistics are courtesy of http://www.the-numbers.com/

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About the Author:

Andrew is an adoptive father, and stay at home dad. Having adopted his son in January 2013, he is a new adoptive parent, but well versed in the adoption process. He is a married, coffee drinker, Xbox addict, and a Marketing graduate. Andrew McDougall is an alias he uses to protect the identity of his adopted son.

Comments (4)

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  1. Vicki says:

    There are so many adoption/loss themed movies. And a surprising number of them are aimed at children – Mars Needs Moms (Martians take mum away), The Croods (loss of dad), Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (with the freaky child-catcher), Meet the Robinsons (about a child in an orphanage), Elf (adoption then reunion). The list really does go on…
    My personal favourite? Leon!
    My son loves Elf, and recently enjoyed The Croods.
    However, I know many really have to think about which of these their children get to see because of the after-effects and impact.

    Thanks for sharing your list with the Weekly Adoption Shout Out.
    Vicki recently posted..Weekly Adoption Shout Out #WASO Week 19My Profile

  2. Yeah I have heard it can be a problem. You have be careful what kind of message is being communicated. I have all that to come I guess. Thanks for the comment.
    Andrew McDougall recently posted..Adoptive parenting 101: Stick to a routineMy Profile

  3. JenAC says:

    How about Matilda? Horrid parents and she eventually gets adopted. :)
    JenAC recently posted..I’ve been a-buntingMy Profile

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