4. HOME ALONE (1990) - Macaulay Culkin pushed the cute limits here. I can see where he would get on some people's nerves. But for me, he's perfect in the role - just the right amount of Dennis The Menace. He's definitely the child actor for a whole generation. I thought of picking his smaller role in Uncle Buck because it's so clever and cynical. You can't help but be impressed here with the way one eight-year-old commands a whole film. After watching My Girl and Pagemaster, I can safely say that it could never be duplicated.
3. E.T. (1982) - Henry Thomas loved that little alien. It's doubly cute because Drew Barrymore is adorable. Henry as Elliott is the soul of the film. He is our conscious and does what we all hope we would do in that situation. Spielberg knows how to play the heartstrings - make us love the character and then make him sick. Henry continues to work in film and on television but he'll always be little Elliott to me.
2. THE BAD NEWS BEARS (1976) - This film is filled with a carload of cute kid actors. But Tatum O'Neal as Amanda Whurlizer outshines Jackie Earle Haley as Kelly Leak. She was my Little League hero as a nine-year-old and maybe just a bit of a crush on the 12-year-old. Now she's just an adorable, foul-mouthed, strong young lady. You might challenge me here by saying that Tatum won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Paper Moon. It's a fine film and she does a good job. It was this film that let her be a cute kid that other kids could relate to. She would later star in Little Darlings with my big childhood crush, Kristy McNichol. But that film portrayed the kids as teenagers, not as cute kids.
1. THE WIZARD OF OZ (1939) Judy Garland is the end all, be all of cute kid actors. And with a tremendous voice to boot. Maybe my first real crush; she was sixteen at the time, playing a younger character. That's probably the edge of what I want to include as child actors. But she was by far the youngest amongst a cast of older actors. She played the role of innocent Dorothy perfectly. Garland would go on to some great adult roles but she was always chasing the perfection of this character. I think that speaks to the power of the film. I can still watch this today and appreciate how kids playing kids can be very powerful.