We could all do with a dose of happiness and distraction at times, so we asked Mykidstime parents what their favourite feel-good, happy films were to watch as a family. Here are 40 of the best feel-good family films to watch with the kids to help keep spirits up!
When things are a bit tough or you need a bit of cheering up, nothing beats settling down to watch a movie that uplifts you and makes you feel happy.
Just grab the popcorn and snuggle up!
Brilliant Feel-Good Family Films
The Never Ending 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.
The Jungle Book
The Jungle Book is 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.
Fourteen-year-old Walter Caldwell’s irresponsible mother Mae sends him to live with his bachelor great-uncles, Hub and Garth, so that she can go on yet another husband-hunting trip.
Flight of the Doves
After their mother dies, 13-year-old Finn and his 7-year-old sister Derval run away from home to escape their cruel uncle who treats them harshly.
They flee to Ireland in hopes of finding love and safety with their kindly grandmother. However, their uncle is a failed actor who is a master of disguise. He uses his skill to pursue them in hopes of finding them for his own financial gain. The children must rely on their wits and the kindness of strangers to stay ahead of him, or their lives will be in mortal jeopardy.
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 loveable alien.
“We watched ET last night and our two kids, aged 10 and 5, loved it” – Eleanor.
The original Star Wars movie (now called number 4) tells the story of Luke Skywalker who 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.
When bratty 8-year-old Kevin McCallister acts out the night before a family trip to Paris, his mother makes him sleep in the attic. After the McCallisters mistakenly leave for the airport without Kevin, he awakens to an empty house and assumes his wish to have no family has come true. But his excitement sours when he realizes that two con men plan to rob the McCallister residence, and that he alone must protect the family home.
Poppy and Branch discover that there are six different troll tribes scattered over six different lands. Each tribe is also devoted to six different kinds of music – funk, country, techno, classical, pop and rock.
When rockers Queen Barb and King Thrash set out to destroy the other music, Poppy and Branch embark on a daring mission to unite the trolls and save the diverse melodies from becoming extinct.
Peter Rabbit and his three sisters, Flopsy, Mopsy and Cotton-Tail, enjoy spending their days in Mr McGregor’s vegetable garden. When one of McGregor’s relatives suddenly moves in, he’s less than thrilled to discover a family of rabbits in his new home.
A battle of wills soon breaks out as the new owner hatches scheme after scheme to get rid of Peter – a resourceful rabbit who proves to be a worthy and wily opponent.
From Up On Poppy Hill
Set in 1963 Yokohama, Japan, From Up on Poppy Hill tells the story of Umi Matsuzaki, a high school girl living in a boarding house, ‘Coquelicot Manor’.
When Umi meets Shun Kazama, a member of the school’s newspaper club, they decide to clean up the school’s clubhouse, Quartier Latin. However, Tokumaru, the chairman of the local high school and a businessman, intends to demolish the building for redevelopment and Umi and Shun, along with Shirō Mizunuma, must persuade him to reconsider.
“From Up On Poppy Hill is a Japanese Anime film – both my kids adore it!” – Crysta.
Men in Black
After a government agency makes first contact with aliens in 1961, alien refugees live in secret on Earth by disguising themselves as humans in the New York metropolitan area.
Men in Black (MIB) is a secret agency that polices these aliens, protects Earth from extraterrestrial threats and uses memory-erasing neuralyzers to keep alien activity a secret.
Farmer Arthur Hoggett wins a piglet named Babe at a county fair. When he decides to show Babe 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?
To win the heart of his beloved, a young man named Tristan ventures into the realm of fairies to retrieve a fallen star. What Tristan finds, however, is not a chunk of space rock, but a woman named Yvaine. Yvaine is in great danger, for the king’s sons need her powers to secure the throne, and an evil witch wants to use her to achieve eternal youth and beauty.
“We absolutely love Stardust – there’s a stellar cast, plenty of laugh out loud bits and a great story.” – Emily
The Little Rascals
Mischievous youngsters Spanky and Buckwheat lead an anti-girl organization, and they pick their buddy Alfalfa to represent them in an all-important soapbox car rally.
When the boys then find their driver canoodling with schoolmate Darla, they decide they must break up the couple. Unfortunately, while Spanky and his pals are busy meddling in Alfalfa’s affairs, their prized race car is nabbed by two young toughs.
Honey, I Shrunk the Kids
When kids sneak into inventor Wayne Szalinski’s upstairs lab to retrieve an errant baseball, his experimental shrink ray miniaturises them. When Szalinski returns home, he destroys the device, thinking it’s a failure and dumps it in the trash, throwing out the kids along with it.
The four children, now 1/4-inch tall, must survive the journey back to the house through a yard where sprinklers bring treacherous storms and garden-variety ants stampede like elephants.
Pete Healy, an orphan, travels with Grace, a ranger, to find his friend Elliot, a green dragon with wings, after he disappears from the forest.
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 (played by Dick Van Dyke).
A single man who drinks too much. A father with three daughters who he rarely sees. A guy who is overweight and unemployed. A hen-pecked house-husband. A successful Hollywood agent married to a fashion designer. What do these five men have in common? They used to play for the same basketball team at school.
Now their former coach has died, and they are reunited at his funeral. Will the group rediscover old bonds? A funny one for tweens and teens.
“Grown Ups 1 & 2 are both hilarious – we watch them again and again, and always laugh!” – Pamela
Moana is an epic adventure about the spirited daughter of chief Tui who sets sail on a daring mission to prove herself a master wayfinder and fulfill her ancestors’ unfinished quest. She needs to to return the heart of goddess Te Fitti from Maui, a demigod, after the plants and the fish on her island start dying due to a blight.
During her journey, Moana meets the once mighty demigod Maui (voiced by the hilarious Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson), and together they cross the ocean on a fun-filled, action-packed voyage.
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?
Rise of the Guardians
Generation after generation, immortal Guardians like Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy protect the world’s children from darkness and despair. However, an evil boogeyman named Pitch Black schemes to overthrow the Guardians by obliterating children’s belief in them.
It falls to a winter sprite named Jack Frost to thwart Pitch’s plans and save the Guardians from destruction.
Two by Two
Finny, a Nestrian, and his new friend Leah have to band together to survive the elements and predators after they fall off Noah’s Ark.
Alex the lion is the king of the urban jungle, the main attraction at New York’s Central Park Zoo. He and his best friends, Marty the zebra, Melman the giraffe, and Gloria the hippo, have spent their whole lives in blissful captivity before an admiring public and with regular meals provided for them.
Not content to leave well enough alone, Marty lets his curiosity get the better of him and makes his escape with the help of some prodigious penguins, and sets off to explore the world.
Best friends Félicie and Victor hatch a plan to escape from their rural orphanage in 19th-century France. Félicie dreams of becoming a ballerina, while Victor wants to use his brainpower to invent things.
After busting out, Félicie makes her way to the Paris Opera where she joins a class of highly trained dancers who are auditioning for the lead in a production of The Nutcracker.
An orphan in a facility run by the mean Miss Hannigan, Annie believes that her parents left her there by mistake. When a rich man named Oliver “Daddy” Warbucks decides to let an orphan live at his home to promote his image, Annie is selected.
While Annie gets accustomed to living in Warbucks’ mansion, she still longs to meet her parents. So Warbucks announces a search for them and a reward, which brings out many frauds.
Don’t miss our best family movies checklist to download and work your way through! Did your favourite make the list?
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Based on the beloved Roald Dahl tale, this comedic and fantastical film follows young Charlie Bucket and his Grandpa Joe as they join a small group of contest winners who get to tour the magical and mysterious factory of eccentric candy maker Willy Wonka.
Aided by his diminutive Oompa Loompa workers, Wonka has a hidden motivation for the tour, one that he will reveal only after the children in the group show their true colours.
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.
Tired of living a solitary life in the Pacific Northwest, Mr Link, who is 8 feet tall and covered in fur, recruits fearless explorer Sir Lionel Frost to guide him on a journey to find his long-lost relatives in the fabled valley of Shangri-La.
Along with adventurer Adelina Fortnight, the trio encounters their fair share of peril as they travel to the far reaches of the world. Through it all, they learn that sometimes one can find a family in the places one least expects.
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!
Fly Away Home
Jeff Daniels and Anna Paquin (child star of “The Piano”) star in Fly Away Home, the story about a 13-year old who has moved in with her father following her mother’s death in a car accident.
She finds some abandoned goose eggs and takes care of them. But winter is coming and the geese don’t know how to find their way south.
Meet the toys in Andy’s Room, who come to life whenever they are alone. In the first of four movies in the Toy Story series, Woody the Cowboy is profoundly threatened and jealous when a new spaceman figure, Buzz, supplants him as the favourite toy.
Get ready for lots of laughs, clever one-liners and a truly creative storyline.
A spoof of old gangster movies, in which the cast is made up entirely of children, sings and dances its way around Prohibition-era sets, substituting toy guns and whipped cream for machine guns and bullets.
Teenage Sarah (Jennifer Connelly) journeys through a maze to recover her baby brother from a goblin king (played by David Bowie).
With the exception of Connelly and Bowie, most of the film’s significant characters are played by puppets produced by Jim Henson’s Creature Shop.
The Little Prince
The Aviator introduces a girl to a world where she rediscovers her childhood and learns that it’s human connections that matter most, and that it is only with heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.
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…
Two brothers find out they might lose their house and 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 treasure while trying to evade a group of bad guys who also want to find the treasure.
“It’s my favourite and now my kids love it too!” – Paula
Beautiful princess Rapunzel has been locked away in a tower since she was captured as a baby by an old hag. Her magical long blonde hair has the power to provide eternal youth, and the evil Gothel uses this power to keep her young.
At the age of 18, Rapunzel becomes curious about the outside world, and when a ‘prince’ uses her tower as a refuge, she asks him to help her escape. Prepare to sing along!
High School Musical
Troy Bolton, the star athlete at a small-town high school, falls for nerdy beauty Gabriella Montez at a holiday karaoke party. When they return to campus, Troy and Gabriella audition for the upcoming school musical.
Meanwhile, the jealous Sharpay Evans conspires to squelch their chances. The two must struggle to make it to auditions while also meeting their existing obligations to the basketball team and the academic decathlon.
College student Beca knows she does not want to be part of a clique, but that’s exactly where she finds herself after arriving at her new school. Thrust in among mean gals, nice gals and just plain weird gals, Beca finds that the only thing they have in common is how well they sing together.
She takes the women of the group out of their comfort zone of traditional arrangements and into a world of amazing harmonic combinations in a fight to the top of college music competitions.
School of Rock
Overly enthusiastic guitarist Dewey Finn gets thrown out of his bar band and finds himself in desperate need of work. Posing as a substitute music teacher at an elite private elementary school, he exposes his students to the hard rock gods he idolizes and emulates, much to the consternation of the uptight principal.
As he gets his privileged and precocious charges in touch with their inner rock ‘n’ roll animals, he imagines redemption at a local Battle of the Bands.
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 actually two 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.
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, and together they must battle the evils of the mythical kingdom of Florin to be reunited with each other.
The Sound of Music
Another classic family movie, this one is 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.
When the family of George Newton decides to adopt a cute St. Bernard puppy, the patriarch soon feels displaced by the dog. Before long, the adorable canine, dubbed Beethoven, has grown considerably, leading to household mishaps.
While George’s wife and kids dote on Beethoven, it takes time for him to see the pooch’s finer qualities. However, Beethoven’s life with the Newton family is jeopardized when a scheming vet tries to nab the dog for a deadly experiment.
Adopted by an eccentric explorer, three orphans Pauline, Petrova and Posie struggle to fulfill their ambitious dreams. Pauline longs to be an actress, Petrova yearns to be an aviator, and Posy seems born to be a ballerina.
But when Great Uncle Matthew disappears, the money runs out – and the girls have a fight on their hands.
One spring, on her family farm, Fern Arable finds her father John about to kill the runt of a litter of newborn pigs. She successfully begs her father to spare the piglet’s life. John gives the piglet to Fern, and she nurtures the piglet lovingly, naming him Wilbur.
When Wilbur grows a little, he has to be sent to her uncle’s barnyard where he is befriended by Charlotte, a spider who lives in the space above Wilbur’s sty. When the other animals reveal to Wilbur that he will be prepared for dinner in due time, Charlotte promises to hatch a plan guaranteed to spare Wilbur’s life.
Son of Memphis and Norma, little sweet penguin Mumble has a big problem: he can’t sing a single note. In a world where everyone needs a heart song to attract a soul mate, Mumble feels he doesn’t belong there.
Our hero Mumble is the worst singer in the world, but he can tap dance brilliantly.
In Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of Peter Pan, when the children of grown up Peter Pan (Robin William) are abducted by Captain Hook (Dustin Hoffman), he is forced to return to Neverland.
With some help from Tinkerbell (Julia Roberts) and the Lost Boys, he must battle against his old foe to save his kids.
Dapper Koala Buster Moon presides over a once-grand theatre that has fallen on hard times. An eternal optimist, and a bit of a scoundrel, he loves his theatre above all and will do anything to preserve it.
Facing the crumbling of his life’s ambition, he takes one final chance to restore his fading jewel to its former glory by producing the world’s greatest singing competition. Five contestants emerge: a mouse, a timid elephant, a pig, a gorilla and a punk-rock porcupine.