The Indian in the Cupboard (1995) — PICK

The original Toy Story wasn’t the only 1995 family film about toys coming to life. The Indian in the Cupboard (streaming on Netflix and available to rent on Amazon) is worth a look.

Adapted by E.T. screenwriter Melissa Matheson from the children’s book by Lynne Reid Banks and directed by Frank Oz, the film centers on a 9-year-old boy named Omri (Hal Scardino) who discovers that an old wooden cupboard has the magical power to bring toys to life. A plastic Indian figurine becomes Little Bear (Litefoot), a tiny 18th-century Native American, while a toy cowboy becomes Boone (David Keith), a 19th-century cowboy. Omri learns lessons about power and responsibility as well as history and life in general.

It’s not a masterpiece, but at its best it’s charming and even haunting. Bonus Picks: David Mamet’s The Spanish Prisoner and Neil Burger’s The Illusionist, both new on Blu-ray, are entertaining adult fare.


Caveat Spectator: The Indian in the Cupboard: Brief scenes of televised violence and a music video featuring scantily clad female dancers. Kids and up.