There is nothing better than snuggling up together for a family movie night, but do you end up arguing over what to watch? We asked Mykidstime parents for their favourites, and came up with this brilliant round-up of the best family movies to work your way through!
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Did your favourite make the list? We’ve got classics like The Neverending Story, Back to the Future and Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, as well as newer picks like Despicable Me and Harry Potter. Throw in some animated (and anime) gems, and you’ve got a treasure trove of family viewing to enjoy.
Better yet, you can download the best family movies checklist here to work your way through. Happy viewing!
50 Best Family Movies
A young boy, Elliot, discovers and befriends a gentle alien who becomes stranded on Earth, and brings him home. Elliott introduces E.T. to his brother and his little sister and the children decide to keep it secret.
But when E.T. falls ill, the government arrives and Elliott has to decide how to help the alien.
#2. Back to the Future
Californian teen Marty McFly is taken back to the 1950s when an experiment by his eccentric scientist friend Doc goes wrong. Marty encounters young versions of his parents and must make sure that they fall in love or he won’t exist in the future.
Marty then has to return to his own time and save the life of Doc, all with the help of the time travelling DeLorean car.
#3. Because of Winn-Dixie
India Opal (known as Opal) has just moved to a new town with her father who is a preacher. Her mother left when she was a baby. Opal is lonely and misses her old friends, and she ends up rescuing a dog she names Winn-Dixie, after the store where she found him.
With Winn-Dixie’s help, Opal starts to make new friends and even begins mending her relationship with her father.
#4. Mrs Doubtfire
Divorced father Daniel Hillard hatches an elaborate plan with the help of his creative brother Frank to dress as an older woman and convince his ex-wife, Miranda, to hire him as a nanny.
“Mrs. Doubtfire” wins over the children and helps Daniel become a better parent.
Siblings Peter and Judy find a curious, jungle-themed game called Jumanji in the attic of an old mansion. When they start playing, they free Alan Parrish (played by Robin Williams) who has been stuck in the game for decades.
If they win Jumanji, the kids can free Alan for good but that means braving all sorts of adventures including giant bugs and stampeding rhinos!
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The hit phenomenon, Frozen, is the story of two royal sisters Elsa and Anna and quickly became one of the best family movies of recent times.
When their kingdom becomes trapped in perpetual winter, Anna travels with Kristoff an ice-seller and his reindeer sidekick to find Queen Elsa to help break her icy spell.
They encounter mystical trolls, a comedic snowman called Olaf, and more adventure before they can find out if they can save their kingdom from winter’s cold grip.
#7. Star Wars
We are showing our age here, but we mean the original Star Wars movie (now called number 4) and which we think is arguably one of the best family movies.
Luke Skywalker discovers a recording of Princess Leia, who is being held by Darth Vader and the dark forces in their effort to quell a rebellion against the Galactic Empire. This leads him to discover he is not who he thought he was.
He travels to rescue the princess, with the help of Han Solo, captain of the Millennium Falcon, with hairy sidekick Chewbacca and droid duo R2-D2 and C3PO.
#8. The Muppet Movie
Kermit the Frog sets off on a cross-country trip from Florida to California to pursue his dream of becoming a movie star. Along the way, he meets and befriends Fozzie Bear, Miss Piggy, Gonzo and rock musicians Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem.
When Kermit is offered a job by Doc Hopper to advertise the fried frog legs at his restaurant chain, Kermit turns Hopper down. What will happen at the final showdown with Hopper?
#9. Close Encounters of a Third Kind
Roy Neary witnesses an unidentified flying object and even has a “sunburn” from its bright lights to prove it. 5 musical notes keep running through his mind.
Roy refuses to accept an explanation for what he saw and sets off to pursue the truth about UFOs finding likeminded people on the way who share the vision which draws them to a place where they meet old and new friends.
#10. Kiki’s Delivery Service
Kiki is a trainee witch who has to spend a year of independent life away from her family. She finds somewhere to stay near a bakery and supports herself by running an air courier service on her broomstick.
This heart-warming story of someone finding their place in the world is sure to appeal.
#11. Mary Poppins
When Jane and Michael, the children of the wealthy and uptight Banks family, are faced with the prospect of a new nanny, they are pleasantly surprised by the arrival of the magical Mary Poppins (played by Julie Andrews).
They proceed to have a series of fantastical adventures with Mary and her Cockney performer friend, Bert. They also try to pass on some of their nanny’s sunny attitude to their preoccupied parents.
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Farmer Arthur Hoggett wins a piglet named Babe at a county fair. When Farmer Hoggett decides to show him at the next fair (thereby avoiding being Christmas dinner), Babe makes friends with motherly border collie Fly and discovers that he too can herd sheep.
But will the other farm animals, including Fly’s jealous husband Rex, accept a pig who doesn’t conform?
#13. Night at the Museum
A divorced father wants to settle down and impress his son. He takes a job as a night watchman at New York City’s American Museum of Natural History where he discovers that the exhibits, animated by a magical Egyptian artefact, come to life at night.
But he has to work out how to get everything back in its place by morning!
#14. Bedtime Stories
Hotel handyman Skeeter Bronson gets an unexpected surprise when he discovers that the tall tales he has been telling his niece and nephew are somehow coming true.
Hoping to make the most of the mysterious phenomenon, Skeeter spins one outlandish yarn after another, but the children’s unexpected contributions to the stories turn Skeeter’s life upside down.
#15. Nanny McPhee
Widower Cedric Brown hires Nanny McPhee (played by Emma Thompson) to care for his seven unruly children, who have chased away all previous nannies.
Nanny McPhee uses mystical powers to instil discipline. And when the children’s great-aunt and benefactor, Lady Adelaide Stitch threatens to separate the kids, the family pulls together under the guidance of Nanny McPhee.
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#16. The Jungle Book
A classic Disney animated film based on Rudyard Kipling’s book. Mowgli is an abandoned child raised by wolves but the return of the man-eating tiger Shere Khan threatens his existence.
Bagheera the panther agrees to help Mowgli return to the man village, however Mowgli stumbles into the carefree bear Baloo and refuses to leave the jungle.
#17. Despicable Me
Arch villain Gru hatches a plan to steal the moon with the help of his army of little yellow minions.
But nothing in his calculations and groundwork has prepared him for his greatest challenge: three adorable orphan girls who want to make him their dad.
#18. Toy Story
Woody is a good-hearted cowboy doll who belongs to a young boy named Andy. But he sees his position as Andy’s favorite toy jeopardized when his parents buy him a Buzz Lightyear action figure. Even worse, the arrogant Buzz thinks he’s a real spaceman on a mission to return to his home planet.
When Andy’s family moves to a new house, Woody and Buzz must escape the clutches of naughty neighbor Sid Phillips and reunite with Andy and the rest of the toys.
We also love Toy Story 2, 3 and 4 – proof that sequels can be as good as the original!
#19. Monsters Inc
Monsters Incorporated is the largest scare factory in the monster world where monsters pop into children’s bedrooms to make them scared in order to generate power from their screams of fright.
James P. Sullivan aka Sully is a large, intimidating monster with blue fur, large purple spots and horns, and one of Monster Inc’s top scarers. His scare assistant, best friend and roommate is Mike Wazowski, a green, opinionated, feisty little one-eyed monster.
When Boo, a small girl from the human world finds her way into the Monster world, all sorts of havoc is wreaked.
Carl Fredricksen, a 78-year-old balloon salesman, is about to fulfill a lifelong dream. Tying thousands of balloons to his house, he flies away to the South American wilderness.
But curmudgeonly Carl’s worst nightmare comes true when he discovers a boy scout named Russell is a stowaway aboard the balloon-powered house.
#21. The Parent Trap
In this update of the 1961 film, Lindsay Lohan plays twins Annie and Hallie, strangers until they meet at summer camp. The girls’ divorced parents, Nick and Elizabeth, are living on opposite sides of the Atlantic, each with one child.
American Hallie and British-raised Annie engineer an identity swap, giving both the chance to spend time with the parent they’ve missed.
However Nick is engaged and his snobby fiancee is not too happy about the prospect of her new step-daughter, never mind not realising there are 2 step-daughters!
Based on the Roald Dahl book, Matilda Wormwood is a gifted girl forced to put up with a crude, distant father and mother. Even worse, Miss Trunchbull, the evil principal at Matilda’s school, is a terrifying bully.
However, when Matilda realizes she has the power of telekinesis, she begins to defend her friends from Trunchbull’s wrath and fight back against her unkind parents with the help of her sweet teacher Miss Honey.
#23. Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
Based on another Roald Dahl classic book “Charlie & The Chocolate Factory”, this is the story of Charlie Bucket who wins one of five golden tickets for a tour to the mysterious nearby chocolate factory.
The Chocolate Factory owner is the quirky Willy Wonka who leads the five young winners on a thrilling and often dangerous tour of his factory.
#24. Alice in Wonderland
Alice ends up in the court of the tyrannical Queen of Hearts, she must stay on the ruler’s good side or risk losing her head!
There she encounters an odd assortment of characters, including the grinning Cheshire Cat and the very odd but nice Mad Hatter.
We also like the updated Tim Burton version of the movie, but it is a little scarier for younger kids.
#25. Howl’s Moving Castle
Sophie has to work in her parents’ hat shop day after day. When a witch stops by the hat shop one day and sees her happiness, she curses Sophie to become old in a jealous rage. Ashamed and afraid, she flees to Howl the Wizard’s magic moving castle.
Will Howl see her for who she really is? And how will she break the spell?
#26. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
When hard times hit Swallow Falls, the people in the town can only afford to eat sardines. Flint Lockwood, a failed inventor, thinks he has the answer to the town’s crisis.
But when the machine spins out of control and threatens to bury the whole world under giant mounds of food, Flint finds he may have bitten off more than he can chew. He builds a machine that converts water into food and becomes a local hero when tasty treats fall from the sky like rain.
Paddington, the marmalade loving bear, has grown up deep in the Peruvian jungle with his Aunt Lucy who, inspired by a chance encounter with an English explorer, has raised her nephew to dream of an exciting life in London. When an earthquake destroys their home, Aunt Lucy decides to smuggle her young nephew on board a boat bound for England, in search of a better life.
Arriving alone at Paddington Station, Paddington soon finds that city life is not all he had imagined – until he meets the kindly Brown family, who find him with a label tied around his neck which reads ‘Please look after this bear. Thank you.’ They offer him a temporary home whilst he searches for the explorer who impressed Aunt Lucy all those years before.
But when Paddington catches the eye of a sinister, seductive taxidermist, it isn’t long before his home – and very existence – is under threat…
#28. Pooh’s Heffalump Movie
Winnie the Pooh and his friends hear a strange noise and find a set of large, perfectly circular footprints in the Hundred Acre Wood (and, in Tigger’s case, a major earthquake in the middle of the night, causing his house to be severely damaged).
They jump to the conclusion that the noise and prints are from a “heffalump” and organise an expedition to find the creature. Roo is not allowed to go but he slips out by himself. Will he find the Heffalump before the rest of them?
#29. Laura’s Star
Laura aged 7 has just moved with her family to a big city. On her first night in her new neighborhood, she sees a shooting star falling to earth so she searches for and finds it in a park and discovers it is a living being.
Taking it back home, she and her younger brother Tommy discover the little star has special powers and can do amazing things like making people fly and bringing inanimate objects to life.
But over time both notice that the longer the star stays on earth, the weaker it becomes. Will they find a way to send the little star back into outer space?
Crowned with 70 feet of magical golden hair, Rapunzel has been locked away for years in a tower and desperately wants freedom.
When the kingdom’s most-wanted bandit, Flynn Rider, hides in her tower, she captures him and strikes a deal to help her go out in the world and see what it’s like.
#31. The Sound of Music
Based on the true story of the Von Trapp Family singers, one of the world’s best-known concert groups in the era immediately preceding World War II.
Julie Andrews stars as Maria, the tomboyish postulant at an Austrian abbey who becomes a governess in the home of a widowed naval captain with seven children, and brings a new love of life and music into the home.
#32. The Aristocats
A Disney animated classic film. When a retired opera singer leaves her inheritance to her cat, Duchess, and three kittens, the woman’s butler drugs the cats and abandons them in the countryside in order to inherit the fortune himself.
Lost in unfamiliar territory, Duchess and the kittens meet Thomas O’Malley, an alley cat willing to help them return to their home in Paris. They meet several kooky characters along the way, including two English geese and an alley cat jazz band.
#33. The Wizard of Oz
Dorothy and her dog, Toto, are carried away in their house by a tornado to the magical land of Oz, landing on the Wicked Witch of the East. Glinda, the good witch gives Dorothy the witch’s red shoes and tells her to follow the Yellow Brick Road toward the Emerald City to meet the Wizard of Oz who will tell Dorothy how to get back home.
En route they meet a Scarecrow that wants a brain, a Tin Man who wants a heart, and a Cowardly Lion who wants courage. The wizard asks the group to bring him the broom of the Wicked Witch of the West to earn his help.
#34. Ice Age
Set twenty-thousand years ago, during prehistoric times and the start of the Ice Age. A human infant is lost by the migrating tribe and a sabertooth tiger, a sloth, and a woolly mammoth try to return him to his tribe.
Watch out for Scrat, a cross between a squirrel and a rat, who is always trying to catch an acorn!
#35. Jurassic Park
Directed by Steven Spielberg, this story of an island where a new theme park has been created and populated with real live dinosaurs can be a little scary for younger children.
Paleontologists Alan Grant and Ellie Sattler along with mathematician Ian Malcolm are among a select group chosen to tour the theme park. The park’s mastermind, billionaire John Hammond, assures everyone that the facility is safe, but his grand children and the other visitors soon find out otherwise.
#36. The Secret of Kells
This fantasy film animated by Cartoon Saloon tells the story of Brendan nephew to Cellach who prepares a fortress for an impending attack by a Viking war party. Unbeknownst to Cellach, Brendan has no taste for battle and works secretly as an apprentice in the scriptorium of the local monastery, learning the ancient art of calligraphy.
As the Vikings approach, revered illuminator Aidan arrives at the monastery and recruits Brendan to complete a series of dangerous, magical tasks.
11 year old Annie has lived all her life in an orphanage run by horrible Miss Hannigan. Grace Farrell is allowed to take Annie home to live for 2 weeks with billionaire Oliver Warbucks during Christmas.
Annie ends up being loved by everyone, even the president of the United States! Mr. Warbucks wants to adopt Annie, but she is still looking for her real parents who left a locket with her when they dropped her off at the orphanage.
Miss Hannigan’s brother and his sleazy girlfriend pose as Annie’s parents to gather the reward that Warbucks has offered to Annie’s real parents.
#38. Stuart Little
The Littles go to an orphanage to adopt a new family member, and end up adopting a charming young mouse named Stuart.
While his new brother George is initially unwelcoming, the family cat, Snowbell, is even less enthusiastic about having a mouse as his “master” and plots to get rid of Stuart. Stuart shows his beloved new family that great things can truly come in small packages.
#39. The Princess Bride
A young grandson is ill in bed and his grandfather reads him a fairy tale adventure about a beautiful young woman and her one true love. He must find her after a long separation and save her.
They must battle the evils of the mythical kingdom of Florin to be reunited with each other.
Two young boys, Walter and Danny, are left in the care of their teenage sister, Lisa, as their dad has to go to work. They are told they must stay inside.
Walter and Danny begin playing Zathura, a space-themed board game, which they realize has mystical powers when their house is shot into space. With the help of an astronaut, the boys attempt to return home.
#41. Curious George
Explorer Ted journeys to Africa in the attempt to recover an important artifact for his friend Bloomsberry, a museum director. Instead, however, he discovers an irrepressible little primate named George, who stows away on the ship back to New York City.
Ted tries to stop plans to demolish the museum, but he has his hands full taking care of his new friend, whose curiosity may turn out to be more beneficial than anyone had imagined.
Lightning McQueen becomes lost on his way to California for a big race after falling out of his trailer in a run down town called Radiator Springs. While there, he slowly befriends the town’s odd residents, including Sally, Doc Hudson and Mater.
When it comes time for him to leave to go to the championship, he realises it is no longer his top priority.
#43. The NeverEnding Story
Bastian Balthazar Bux is shy and friendless but loves books. One day he hides in a bookstore, interrupting the grumpy bookseller, Mr. Koreander.
Bastian asks about one of the books he sees, but Mr. Koreander against it. Bastian seizes the book, leaving a note promising to return it, and hides in the school’s attic to read.
He discovers a world of make-believe and magic through a portal within the antique book encountering all sorts of characters on his adventure.
#44. Finding Nemo
Clownfish father Marlin, is overly cautious with his son, Nemo, who has one fin shorter than the other. When Nemo swims too close to the surface to prove himself, he is caught by a diver, and horrified Marlin must set out to find him.
A blue reef fish named Dory, who has a very short memory, joins Marlin on the journey to Find Nemo, encountering sharks, jellyfish, and more sea creatures. Meanwhile, Nemo plots his escape from a dentist’s fish tank.
#45. The Goonies
When two brothers find out they might lose their house they are desperate to find a way to keep their home.
While rummaging through an attic, they come across an old treasure map, a 1632 doubloon, and a news article about the treasure of a famous pirate named “One-Eyed” Willy rumored to be hidden nearby.
The Goonies set off looking for the “X” while pritrying to evade a group of bad guys who also want the treasure.
#46. The Lion King
This Disney animated film follows the adventures of young lion Simba, the heir to his father, Mufasa.
Mufasa is killed by Simba’s wicked uncle, Scar, who plots to usurp Mufasa’s throne. But Simba escapes and meets Timon and Pumbaa before deciding as an adult to return to reclaim his throne and kingdom.
#47. Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone
Adapted from J.K. Rowling’s 1st Harry Potter novel “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone”, this movie follows Harry Potter who learns on his eleventh birthday that he is the orphaned son of two powerful wizards and possesses unique magical powers of his own.
He becomes a student at Hogwarts, a boarding school for wizards, where he meets several friends who become his closest allies and help him discover the truth about his parents’ mysterious deaths.
The whole Harry Potter series ranks highly for the best family movies for older kids and tweens.
#48. The Lego Movie
Emmet, an ordinary LEGO guy who always follows the rules, is mistakenly identified as the Special, an extraordinary being who has the key to saving the world.
He finds himself drafted into a fellowship of strangers who are on a mission to stop an evil tyrant’s plans to conquer the world. Unfortunately for Emmet, he is hopelessly unprepared for such a task, but he gives it his all anyway.
Shrek is an ogre living in a swamp whose precious solitude is suddenly shattered by an invasion of annoying fairy tale characters, banished from their kingdom by the evil Lord Farquaad.
Determined to save their home, not to mention his, Shrek cuts a deal with Farquaad to rescue Princess Fiona, bride-to-be to Farquaad. But Princess Fiona has a secret…
#50. My Neighbour Totoro
Two young girls, Satsuke and Mei, have moved with their father into the countryside to be nearer their mother who is in hospital.
Mei encounters magical creatures who lead her to Totoro, a large furry creature who is magical and can fly. When trouble occurs, the new friends are there to help.
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