The best family movies are the ones that get everyone to snuggle up on the couch, passing around a bowl of buttery popcorn! Family movies don’t have to be animated films or cartoons all the time. The classics appeal to people of all ages and have important lessons to teach, so a movie night will definitely be enjoyable not just for your kids but for you too! Here’s a list of family films you can watch on your next family night.
21 Best Family Movies For All Ages
1. The Lion King (1994)
Released during what is now dubbed as the era of Disney Renaissance films, The Lion King is an animated classic which relays the tale of Simba and his quest to take his rightful place as King of the Pride Lands. It is a touching coming-of-age story filled with adventure and friendship.
2. Monsters, Inc. (2001)
This movie portrays an interesting take on the monsters under your bed: What if the monsters were actually afraid of you? Monsters, Inc. follows the adventures of Sulley and Mike, two employees of the titular company who uses children’s screams as a way to power their city. It’s funny and imaginative at every turn. (Get ready for waterworks in the end!)
3. The Lego Movie (2014)
The Lego Movie follows the story of Emmet, a construction worker who finds himself caught in a battle between the tyrannical Lord Business and the resistance group of “Master Builders.” It’s a funny movie which boasts a unique visual style. It also has a very heartwarming message about finding your place in the world.
4. Finding Nemo (2003)
Finding Nemo tells the story of an overprotective clownfish named Marlin and his quest to reunite with his son, Nemo. Marlin crosses the ocean, befriends a blue tang named Dory and realizes how he must let his son take risks just as he, too, learns to get out of his comfort zone. After watching Finding Nemo, you may want to have a look at the sequel released in 2016, Finding Dory.
5. Shrek (2001)
Shrek is about a hot-tempered ogre who tries to get his swamp back by going on a quest assigned to him by the evil Lord Farquaad. The quest involves rescuing Princess Fiona from a dragon-guarded tower and bringing her back to marry Farquaad. This is a funny, endearing tale about adventure, love, and finding your inner beauty, populated by a lot of your favorite fairy tale characters.
6. The Incredibles (2004)
The Incredibles is set in a world where superheroes are mandated to hide their powers and live as ordinary citizens. Mr. Incredible, together with his family, is drawn into a battle with Syndrome, who plans to get rid of all superheroes. Despite being an animated film for a general audience, this movie explores themes of identity, domestic dysfunction, midlife crisis, and hubris while celebrating justice, honesty, and individuality.
7. Meet the Robinsons (2007)
Possibly one of the most underrated 3-D animated films produced by Disney, Meet the Robinsons tells the story of Lewis, an orphan and inventor whose inventions scare off potential parents. One day, he meets Wilbur Robinson, a kid who claims to be from the future and is looking for a man in a bowler hat who stole a time machine. Wilbur and Lewis help each other out, travel through timelines, and ultimately stop a dystopian future from happening. This film is about family and being true to yourself.
8. Spirited Away (2001)
An award-winning Japanese fantasy movie, Spirited Away is about a ten-year-old girl who works in a magical bathhouse in the spirit world in order to save her family. It’s a deeply imaginative film about a young girl’s coming of age.
For Animal Lovers
9. Homeward Bound (1993)
Watch adorable dogs reunited with their family in Homeward Bound. More than just a movie about pets and their owners, it tells of perseverance, teamwork, and friendship. It hits all the right notes through clever dialogue, gorgeous shots of nature, and mature wisdom.
10. Babe (1995)
Babe follows the journey of a piglet who wants to be a sheepdog after a motherly Collie takes care of him. It also shows the affectionate bond between the farmer, Hoggett, and Babe. You’ll be surprised how deeply you can root for a little pig with a big dream!
Oldies But Goodies
11. Mary Poppins (1964)
Who hasn’t heard of the delightful nanny with her flying umbrella and bottomless purse? Mary Poppins is a classic Disney musical about a magical nanny who improves the lives of the Banks family. It features some really catchy tunes and a family that grows closer together despite the difficulties of daily life. This film is definitely “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!”
12. Honey, I Shrunk the Kids (1989)
As the title suggests, this movie is about the scientist Wayne Szalinski whose invention accidentally shrinks his children, Nick and Amy. The rest of movie follows the adventures of miniature Nick and Amy—like dodging gigantic insects and swimming in a bowl of milk—as their dad tries to remedy this mistake.
13. Ghostbusters (1984)
Who you gonna call? Ghosts, proton-pack weapons, and a giant stay puff marshmallow man—what else can you look for in a movie? Follow the quest of the Ghostbusters to investigate and eliminate the paranormal activities in New York City. You should also check out the all-female remake of Ghostbusters that came out in 2016.
14. Annie (1982)
This film is adapted from the titular Broadway musical. Annie, an orphan in New York City during the Great Depression, is taken in by the millionaire Oliver Warbucks. It’s a deeply heartwarming film about remaining hopeful and optimistic in spite of difficult times.
15. Harry Potter series (2001-2011)
Enjoy a movie marathon of the Harry Potter films based on the bestselling novels by J.K. Rowling. The series tells the tale of Harry Potter, an orphaned boy who discovers he is actually a wizard and his journey to save the wizarding world. The movies feature flying broomsticks, giant snakes, mermaids, and magic. It shows the power of friendship, sticking to your principles, and how good always triumphs over evil.
16. Matilda (1996)
Based on the Roald Dahl novel of the same title, the titular character Matilda is a genius but mistreated girl who discovers she has telekinetic abilities. She eventually gets sent to a school ran by a tyrannical principal named Agatha Trunchbull. Matilda, with the help of her teacher Miss Honey, uses her powers to scare the mean principal away.
17. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005)
Charlie Bucket wins a contest and is invited, together with four other children, to take a tour of the greatest chocolate factory in the world. This movie teaches lessons on the importance of family, upholding your values, and how good is always rewarded in the end. The movie also has amazing visuals, bringing to life the magic of Willy Wonka’s amazing factory.
18. Jumanji (1995)
What if a board game came to life? Would you be ready to keep playing? Jumanji follows the intertwining stories of Judy, Peter, Alan, and Sarah who need to finish the game Jumanji in order to reverse the havoc the game has caused in their world. Apart from being a heart-racing adventure, it also has a lot of sweet and tender moments. Don’t catch the 2018 reboot without re-watching the classic with your kids!
19. Jurassic Park (1993)
Jurassic Park is about a group of scientists who visit an island theme park populated by cloned dinosaurs. A storm, coupled with corporate espionage, leaves the group stranded on the island. They attempt to escape before dinosaurs harm them. It’s a great thriller you can binge-watch together with its sequels.
20. Spy Kids (2001)
Two kids take on their parents’ legacy and become spies in order to save their family. Spy Kids features all the tropes of the spy movie genre: high stakes, advanced tech, an evil mastermind, and rogue agents who will stop at nothing to save the world.
21. Star Wars series (1977-2017)
With the recent reboot of the Star Wars franchise, why not watch the original movies with your kids? Follow the adventures of Luke, Leia, and Han as they save the galaxy. You’ll learn a lot about good versus evil and the triumph of the human spirit against adversity.
The best family movies contain not only lessons but also laughs. Here are some of the funniest clips from Disney animated features, courtesy of Film Is Now Family Movie Trailers:
The perfect film for family night is something everyone can enjoy. This list has some of the best family comedies with touching moments and valuable lessons. Your family will laugh and cry together, bringing you all closer together. Make sure you have tissues and popcorn ready!
What are some of the best family movies you’ve seen that we missed? Let us know in the comments section below!