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98 Best Family Movies Of All Time

When it comes to selecting a movie the whole family will enjoy, the choices can feel simultaneously overwhelming and frustrating. Parents don't want to suffer through overly predictable and saccharine films aimed at 6-year-olds any more than kids want to sit through slow-burn dramas. So while there are an abundance of "kids and family" films available on every major streaming service, it can be difficult to find one that offers something for everyone in your family, especially if you have a wide range of ages to appease.

Still, there are plenty of films out there that are appropriate and entertaining for both children and parents alike. Below, we've gathered 98 of our favorites, spanning over 80 years of cinema and every genre, from fantasies and comedies to animated classics, live-action adventures, and heart-tugging dramas. Some will appeal to families with kids of any ages, while others will skew a bit older, for the families whose kids may have aged out of elementary school but are still game for the occasional family movie night. But regardless of age, there's something here for everyone.

Updated on August 4, 2021: We've compiled the best family flicks ever made, but filmmakers are still creating quality movies all the time. We'll keep our eye on what the wide world of cinema has to offer, and we'll update this list from time to time when worthy family gems make their way to theaters and streaming services.

The Wizard of Oz

A musical classic that's endured for generations, "The Wizard of Oz" tells the story of Dorothy, a young girl from Kansas who gets swept away in a tornado to the magical land of Oz and needs to find her way home. Along the way, she befriends several interesting characters who each believe they're lacking something important, but ultimately, they all learn to embrace the differences they thought had been holding them back. Filled with memorable songs and plenty of imagination, there's a good reason this timeless film has stuck around for so long.

  • Starring: Judy Garland, Ray Bolger, Bert Lahr
  • Director: Victor Fleming
  • Year: 1939
  • Runtime: 101 minutes
  • Rating: G
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 99%

Pinocchio

While many of the Disney animated films coming out in the first half of the 20th century lean a little heavily on helpless princesses in need of rescue, "Pinocchio" tells a tale that will likely still resonate with parents today. The film follows a little wooden boy created by a lonely woodcarver who desperately wishes for a son. His wish is granted — sort of — but although Pinocchio comes to life, he'll remain a puppet until he can prove himself "brave, truthful, and unselfish." But as Pinocchio embarks on a quest to become a "real boy," he's almost immediately led astray by predatory adults wishing to take advantage of his uniqueness and innocence. It's a weighty theme for sure, but it's told through an entertaining and child-appropriate lens that will keep it from being too heavy for younger viewers.

  • Starring: Dickie Jones, Cliff Edwards, Christian Rub
  • Directors: Ben Sharpsteen, Hamilton Luske
  • Year: 1940
  • Runtime: 77 minutes
  • Rating: G
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 100%

It's a Wonderful Life

Although "It's a Wonderful Life" is both a Christmas film and a family film, its plot hinges on some pretty dark subject matter, with the attempted suicide of protagonist George Bailey, who believes the world would be better if he'd never been born. However, before he can follow through with his plans, a guardian angel named Clarence intercedes, showing him what the world would've looked like if he'd never been in it. If the children in your family can handle a film that deals with the heavy subject matter, "It's a Wonderful Life" is ultimately an uplifting tale that affirms that if we're trying to do our best to make the world a better place, we may have much more of an effect than we realize.

  • Starring: James Stewart, Donna Reed, Henry Travers
  • Director: Frank Capra
  • Year: 1946
  • Runtime: 129 minutes
  • Rating: PG
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 94% 

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ at​ 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.

Miracle on 34th Street

The Christmas classic "Miracle on 34th Street" has been revisited a number of times throughout the years, but the 1947 version still tops them all. The film follows Kris Kringle, who gets hired to play Santa Claus in Macy's department store, only to eventually find himself at the center of numerous controversies due to his actions and claims that indicate he's actually the real Santa Claus. Kris winds up having to defend his status as Santa in court, challenging the other adult characters to confront what they truly believe.

  • Starring: Maureen O'Hara, John Payne, Edmund Gwenn
  • Director: George Seaton
  • Year: 1947
  • Runtime: 96 minutes
  • Rating: NR
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 96%

Singin' in the Rain

Often touted as one of, if not the, greatest movie musicals of all time, "Singin' in the Rain" provides a song-and-dance-filled look at the early days of cinema, as movies transitioned from silent films to "talkies" in the late 1920s. While some sequences may be a little confusing for kids, the film's general premise is both amusing and simple enough to grasp. A well-known silent film actress whose voice doesn't lend itself to recording is forced to hire a voice actor to dub her, and she's immensely displeased about it. It gets even more complicated when the vocal stand-in starts falling for the actress' on-screen love interest. Both kids and adults will enjoy the upbeat musical numbers, impressive tap dancing, and frequently broad comedy that still largely holds up today.

  • Starring: Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds, Donald O'Connor
  • Director: Stanley Donen, Gene Kelly
  • Year: 1952
  • Runtime: 102 minutes
  • Rating: G
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 100%

Mary Poppins

One of Disney's most beloved live-action musicals, "Mary Poppins" tells the tale of the Banks family, whose young children tend to drive away every nanny their desperate parents hire — well, until a mysterious new nanny arrives and literally blows away the competition. Julie Andrews delights as the magical and no-nonsense Mary, while the ever-endearing Dick Van Dyke is immensely likeable (if one can get past his atrocious cockney accent) as jack-of-all-trades Bert. Filled with memorable songs that all seem to come back to the idea that the family who plays together stays together, "Mary Poppins" is the perfect pick for a family looking for a fun film to watch as a group.

  • Starring: Julie Andrews, Dick Van Dyke, Glynis Johns
  • Director: Robert Stevenson
  • Year: 1964
  • Runtime: 140 minutes
  • Rating: G
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 98%

My Fair Lady

Based on the stage musical which was itself adapted from the 1913 play "Pygmalion," "My Fair Lady" tells the story of Eliza Doolittle, a poor flower merchant with a heavy Cockney accent who's intrigued when a distinguished-looking phonetics professor offers to help "fix" her accent and therefore make her "acceptable" to high society. Of course, as one can only imagine, it quickly becomes clear that a person is much more than their voice and that an accent is not indicative of self-worth. "My Fair Lady" may be a little long for younger kids, but for those who aren't daunted by the runtime, you're in for a musical treat, and Hepburn and Harrison both are utterly captivating in their roles.

  • Starring: Audrey Hepburn, Rex Harrison, Stanley Holloway
  • Director: George Cukor
  • Year: 1964
  • Runtime: 170 minutes
  • Rating: G
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 95%

The Sound of Music

Many of the films on this list are musicals since the singing and dancing can provide a great way to keep kids engaged through stories which, on their own, would likely appeal more to their parents. Take "The Sound of Music," which follows a young woman working toward becoming a nun, who's assigned to serve as the governess for the seven children of a widowed bachelor, with whom she eventually falls in love. Set in the early days of World War II, the plot may not be the most kid-centric — although the seven von Trapp children are all well-developed and featured heavily in many of the songs — but they'll hopefully have no trouble connecting with the likeable characters, lively music, and high-stakes story of a family standing up for what's right.

  • Starring: Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer, Charmian Carr
  • Director: Robert Wise
  • Year: 1965
  • Runtime: 174 minutes
  • Rating: G
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 83%

Fiddler on the Roof

Sometimes musicals can help make difficult topics easier for young audiences to digest, as is the case with "Fiddler on the Roof." Centered around a poor Jewish family living in Ukraine in 1905, the story follows Tevye, a milkman concerned with finding suitable husbands for his five daughters. But in between amusing songs about arranged marriages and true love, the film also tackles heavy themes of anti-Semitism and religious persecution, poverty, and familial tension. The hefty runtime may be too much for younger children, but for those who can sit still for that long, you can't go wrong with this musical classic.

  • Starring: Topol, Norma Crane, Rosalind Harris
  • Director: Norman Jewison
  • Year: 1971
  • Runtime: 181 minutes
  • Rating: G
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 83%

Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope

The film that kicked off decades of sequels, prequels, spinoffs, novelizations, and mountains of merchandise, "Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope" was unlike anything that had come before it when it was released in 1977. Yet even in today's media landscape, the space fantasy adventure still rises to the top of the heap. Set a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, "A New Hope" introduces us to iconic characters like Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Princess Leia, as well as the legend of the Jedi. If your family enjoys this one, there are plenty more "Star Wars" stories where that came from.

The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh

Based on the "Winnie the Pooh" books by A.A. Milne, "The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh" pieces together three mostly self-contained stories about the adorable bear of very little brain and his friends in a charming animated feature. Presented as a storybook being read aloud by a kindly narrator, this gentle-hearted movie will charm viewers of all ages with its endearing stuffed animal characters and earnest low-stakes storytelling.

  • Starring: Sterling Holloway, John Fiedler, Sebastian Cabot
  • Directors: John Lounsbery, Wolfgang Reithermann
  • Year: 1977
  • Runtime: 74 minutes
  • Rating: G
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 100%

The Muppet Movie

After a decade of winning the hearts of children on "Sesame Street" and "The Muppet Show," Kermit the Frog and his ragtag band of Muppet friends finally got their own feature film with "The Muppet Movie." The film claims to tell the origin story of the Muppets, gradually bringing the gang together as Kermit embarks on a road trip to Hollywood to make a name for himself in the world of show business. Filled with fun songs and plenty of Muppet silliness, "The Muppet Movie" is both a great introduction to the Muppets and a delightful viewing experience for long-time Muppet fans.

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial

Stories of kids befriending aliens aren't exactly in short supply, but few — if any — do it better than "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial." Steven Spielberg's heartwarming tale of intergalactic friendship centers around a young boy named Elliott who forms a unique bond with a marooned alien botanist that he christens E.T. Much more fantasy than sci-fi and imbued with a sense of childlike wonder, "E.T." is a captivating story of family, home, and unlikely friendship.

  • Starring: Henry Thomas, Dee Wallace, Drew Barrymore
  • Director: Steven Spielberg
  • Year: 1982
  • Runtime: 115 minutes
  • Rating: PG
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 98%

A Christmas Story

Families have no shortage of kid-friendly film options to watch around Christmas, but a common favorite is the comedy classic "A Christmas Story." The film follows a middle-class, suburban, American family through a particularly memorable holiday season, as experienced by their 9-year-old son, Ralphie. Kids will relate to Ralphie's struggles with school, bullies, his younger brother, and of course, his quest to secure the perfect Christmas present. Meanwhile, parents can enjoy the film's quirky humor, which frequently straddles the line between innocent and dark, providing plenty of laughs for viewers of all ages.

  • Starring: Peter Billingsley, Darren McGavin, Melinda Dillon
  • Director: Bob Clark
  • Year: 1983
  • Runtime: 93 minutes
  • Rating: PG
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 89%

Ghostbusters

Ivan Reitman's paranormal comedy "Ghostbusters" is for kids who don't mind a slightly spooky premise. The film follows a trio of scientists who decide to spin up a business as very unusual exterminators, determined to rid New York City of its rampant ghost infestation. However, even by ruthless small business standards, running a ghost-busting shop is particularly challenging, especially with the EPA and the city government questioning their legitimacy on one side and an imminent apocalyptic event on the other. As with most of the films on this list that are more than a decade or two old, "Ghostbusters" definitely contains a couple scenes that aren't exactly kid-appropriate, along with some humor that didn't age particularly well. However, those parts are easy enough to skip over if you want, leaving only family-friendly, ghostly fun.

The NeverEnding Story

Despite containing the saddest scene that has ever been put to film (R.I.P. Artax), the 1984 fantasy adventure "The NeverEnding Story" is truly a celebration of childhood imagination. The film is told from the perspective of Bastian, a bullied middle schooler who one day takes refuge from his tormentors by ducking into a rare bookstore. There, he stumbles upon a book that tells the story of Fantasia, a magical land that's gradually being eradicated by the Nothing, an infinite dark cloud fueled by children's loss of wonder and creativity. In reading the story of child warrior Atreyu, a champion sent to battle the Nothing, Bastian rediscovers the immense power of his own imagination.

  • Starring: Barret Oliver, Noah Hathaway, Tami Stronach
  • Director: Wolfgang Petersen
  • Year: 1984
  • Runtime: 92 minutes
  • Rating: PG
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 80%

Back to the Future

For every parent who's ever longed to take their kids back in time so they could see what childhood was like for their parents (or grandparents), look no further than "Back to the Future," which centers around a teenage underachiever who accidentally travels 30 years into the past and gets stuck there. As if that wasn't bad enough, he inadvertently gets in the way of his own parents' love story, putting his whole existence in peril. As your kids will probably be saying after watching this movie, that's heavy.

The Goonies

For "Stranger Things" vibes but with far fewer scares and without the supernatural angle, "The Goonies" may be the perfect fit for your family. The story follows a group of adolescent boys hoping to save their families from foreclosure by following a map underground looking for buried treasure. Along the way, they wind up pitted against a greedy and murderous crime family who will stop at nothing to claim the treasure.

  • Starring: Sean Astin, Corey Feldman, Josh Brolin
  • Director: Richard Donner
  • Year: 1985
  • Runtime: 111 minutes
  • Rating: PG
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 76%

An American Tail

Most of the Don Bluth films of the '80s are worth watching as a family, but perhaps the one most likely to connect with viewers of all ages is "An American Tail." The film follows a young Russian immigrant who gets separated from his family during their sea voyage to America in 1885. He's forced to figure out how to survive on his own in a new place that's nothing like he expected and rampant with child exploitation. Oh, also, nearly all of the characters are animated mice, and this is a heartwarming family-friendly musical.

  • Starring: Phillip Glasser, Dom DeLuise, Madeline Kahn
  • Director: Don Bluth
  • Year: 1986
  • Runtime: 80 minutes
  • Rating: G
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 71%

Labyrinth

This film is for all the families out there with siblings who have trouble getting along. After dramatic high schooler Sarah wishes that goblins would carry away her infant brother, she unfortunately gets her wish, and she'll have to work her way through an enchanted labyrinth under a tight deadline in order to get him back. Beautifully blending live action performances with imaginative Jim Henson puppetry, "Labyrinth" is a mesmerizing musical fantasy that can do double duty by also introducing your children to the wonder that is David Bowie.

  • Starring: Jennifer Connelly, David Bowie, Brian Henson
  • Director: Jim Henson
  • Year: 1986
  • Runtime: 101 minutes
  • Rating: PG
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 73%

The Princess Bride

Many would likely argue that if one was pressed to choose the single greatest family film of all time, it would be the romantic fantasy "The Princess Bride." Based on the novel by William Goldman (who also wrote the screenplay), the fantasy film centers around the love story between a privileged princess and a lowly farm boy, whose stars get extremely crossed when he's presumed dead and she agrees to marry a war-mongering prince. A film literally framed around the idea of how hard it is to find a story that will please both a seasoned adult and a picky kid, "The Princess Bride" is a thrilling adventure with a little something for everyone.

  • Starring: Cary Elwes, Robin Wright, Chris Sarandon
  • Director: Rob Reiner
  • Year: 1987
  • Runtime: 98 minutes
  • Rating: PG
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 97%

My Neighbor Totoro

While there's definitely a lot of Disney represented on this list, any fan of animation is sure to enjoy the beautiful, thoughtful catalog of features from Hayao Miyazaki. "My Neighbor Totoro" is a quiet Japanese fantasy film about a pair of young sisters who discover a world of magical spirits in and around their new house. This reserved story of hope, sisterhood, and imagination has distinctly different sensibilities than most Western animation, but the endearing sisters and the creativity of the fantasy should be universally captivating.

  • Starring (English Dub): Dakota Fanning, Elle Fanning, Tim Daly
  • Starring (Original Cast): Noriko Hidaka, Chika Sakamoto, Shigesato Itoi
  • Director: Hayao Miyazaki
  • Year: 1988
  • Runtime: 87 minutes
  • Rating: G
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 94%

The Land Before Time

For the young dinosaur-lover in your family, we offer this sweet prehistoric animated tale from Don Bluth, which follows a crew of young dinosaurs who band together on their perilous journey to find their herds in the lush Great Valley. Not only are each of the dinosaur characters adorable and endearing, but the story of unlikely friendship that brings together species that would typically be separated by prejudice provides some great opportunities to talk to little kids about difficult subjects in an accessible way.

  • Starring: Gabriel Damon, Candace Hutson, Judith Barsi
  • Director: Don Bluth
  • Year: 1988
  • Runtime: 66 minutes
  • Rating: G
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 70%

Who Framed Roger Rabbit

One genre that doesn't typically offer much of a family-friendly selection is film noir, so "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" does triple duty by delivering a silly animated film, a slapstick buddy comedy, and a captivating mystery, all rolled up into one. The innovative and intriguing film about a cartoon rabbit who hires a jaded P.I. to clear his name following a murder is truly one of a kind. It seamlessly blends hand-drawn 2D animation with live-action performers, enabling real humans to interact with animated characters in ways that would be impressive even by today's standards.

  • Starring: Bob Hoskins, Christopher Lloyd, Charles Fleischer
  • Director: Robert Zemeckis
  • Year: 1988
  • Runtime: 104 minutes
  • Rating: PG
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 97%

Willow

If your family loved "The Princess Bride," you may want to check out "Willow," another '80s live action fantasy film focused on a love story. But this time, instead of a romantic love story, it's the story of a father doing everything he can to help an orphaned baby who crosses his path — a baby who's already managed to make some ruthless and powerful enemies. Filled with thrilling combat and memorable characters, "Willow" is a magical underdog story that proves that heroes come in all sizes. 

Kiki's Delivery Service

For kids who may already have an attachment to stories about magical tweens flying broomsticks in a world populated by witches and wizards, it won't be much of a stretch to try out "Kiki's Delivery Service." This Studio Ghibli film follows an entrepreneurial 13-year-old witch trying to start her own witchy delivery business. Of course, she winds up facing more challenges than she anticipated, but ultimately, she prevails in this enchanting film about learning to find confidence in yourself.

  • Starring (English Dub): Kirsten Dunst, Phil Hartman, Debbie Reynolds
  • Starring (Original Cast): Minami Takayama, Rei Sakuma, Haruko Kato
  • Director: Hayao Miyazaki
  • Year: 1989
  • Runtime: 103 minutes
  • Rating: G
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 98%

The Little Mermaid

Disney has a lot of animated films about princesses, but the films released during the Disney Renaissance started to reimagine the way princess stories could be told. "The Little Mermaid" tells the tale of Ariel, a headstrong mermaid princess who trades her voice to a sea witch in exchange for legs when she falls in love with a human. Disney's version of the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale adds in a number of catchy songs, and of course, delivers a happy ending. Plus, it revived Disney's animation studio and paved the way for films like "Beauty and the Beast" and "Aladdin."

  • Starring: Jodi Benson, Pat Carroll, Christopher Daniel Barnes
  • Directors: Ron Clements, John Musker
  • Year: 1989
  • Runtime: 82 minutes
  • Rating: G
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 93%

Edward Scissorhands

For families with kids who can handle stories with a slightly darker feel, Tim Burton's "Edward Scissorhands" is a suburban fairy tale about a lonely man with scissors for hands who gets taken in by an kind Avon saleswoman and her family. But through the course of his interactions with the people of her neighborhood, it becomes clear that although Edward is the one who looks monstrous, true monstrousness — and true goodness — is displayed in how we treat one another. With the perfect pairing of Johnny Depp's acting with Burton's stylistic flair, "Edward Scissorhands" is a true modern-day fairy tale.

Beauty and the Beast

Often hailed as one of Disney's most beloved animated films, "Beauty and the Beast" reimagines the classic fairy tale to include an enchanted castle where the staff has been transformed into furniture and household objects and where the Beauty character is far more interested in knowledge than aesthetics. Add in some of Disney's most acclaimed songs, and you've got a recipe for a film that will delight children and parents alike. No wonder it was the first animated film to be nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards.

  • Starring: Paige O'Hara, Robby Benson, Richard White
  • Director: Gary Trousdale, Kirk Wise
  • Year: 1991
  • Runtime: 84 minutes
  • Rating: G
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 94%

Hook

Don't let the low Rotten Tomatoes score fool you. While "Hook" may not have wowed critics, it's an enchanting update of the classic Peter Pan story, one that asks what might happen if the perpetual child ever did the unthinkable and grew up. Robin Williams stars as Peter, a workaholic attorney who can't ever seem to carve out any quality time with his young children — until they're kidnapped by Captain Hook (Dustin Hoffman), desperate to once again do battle with his ultimate nemesis.

  • Starring: Robin Williams, Dustin Hoffman, Julia Roberts
  • Director: Steven Spielberg
  • Year: 1991
  • Runtime: 144 minutes
  • Rating: PG
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 29%

The Rocketeer

While the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the DCEU offer families all the modern-day superhero adventures they could possibly desire, "The Rocketeer" tells a different type of superhero story. Set in Hollywood in 1938, "The Rocketeer" follows a young pilot who stumbles upon a backpack rocket that he uses to perform heroic acts. But the rocket is also being pursued by both a local organized crime leader and a Nazi secret agent, and they all have the budding superhero set in their crosshairs. If you liked the earnest vibe of "Captain America: The First Avenger," that's definitely on display here, as the films share the same director — Joe Johnston.

  • Starring: Bill Campbell, Jennifer Connelly, Timothy Dalton
  • Director: Joe Johnston
  • Year: 1991
  • Runtime: 109 minutes
  • Rating: PG
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 66%

A League of Their Own

While many of the films on this list are pure fiction, several are based on real events, such as "A League of Their Own," which tells the story of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, the women's league that spun up when World War II looked like it would shut down Major League Baseball. The film focuses on the sibling rivalry between a pair of sisters who both get assigned to the same team, the struggle the players face to be taken seriously as professional athletes, and the camaraderie that develops between the players and their coach.

  • Starring: Tom Hanks, Geena Davis, Madonna
  • Director: Penny Marshall
  • Year: 1992
  • Runtime: 126 minutes
  • Rating: PG
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 79%

Aladdin

Like many other Disney animated films, "Aladdin" is an adaptation of a classic piece of folklore, this time from the Arabic collection of stories "One Thousand and One Nights." The film follows the titular Aladdin, a street-smart teen experiencing homelessness. But our hero soon finds himself in possession of a magic lamp that grants him three wishes. Packed with upbeat, memorable songs and containing an iconic vocal performance from Robin Williams as the genie of the lamp, "Aladdin" is a fantastic adventure for the whole family.

  • Starring: Scott Weinger, Robin Williams, Linda Larkin
  • Directors: Ron Clements, John Musker
  • Year: 1992
  • Runtime: 90 minutes
  • Rating: G
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 95%

Newsies

Critics may not have been overly impressed with Disney's original live-action musical "Newsies," about the real-life Newsboys Strike of 1899, but it was popular enough with audiences to eventually get adapted into a Broadway show. The film stars a young Christian Bale as Jack Kelly, leader of the teen boys tasked with sensationalizing the news stories of the day in order to sell as many newspapers as possible. But when the newsies feel that the distribution centers are unfairly price gouging them, Kelly organizes a strike. Come for the energetic music and exuberant dance choreography, stay for an empowering story of kids standing up for themselves against a corrupt system.

  • Starring: Christian Bale, David Moscow, Robert Duvall
  • Director: Kenny Ortega
  • Year: 1992
  • Runtime: 121 minutes
  • Rating: PG
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 39%

The Muppet Christmas Carol

Most cinematic movie versions of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" are suitable holiday viewing for the whole family, but arguably none is more delightful than "The Muppet Christmas Carol." This lovely adaptation offers a mostly faithful adaptation of Dickens' story, except that the vast majority of the characters are Muppets and many of the story beats are told through song. Gonzo acts as the narrator, and Michael Caine stars as Scrooge in a committed performance that makes it easy to forget he's interacting with puppets.

  • Starring: Michael Caine, Dave Goelz, Steve Whitmire
  • Director: Brian Henson
  • Year: 1992
  • Runtime: 85 minutes
  • Rating: G
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 76%

Jurassic Park

Monster movies aren't typically what we'd consider family films, but we'll make an exception when those monsters are dinosaurs. Steven Spielberg's suspenseful "Jurassic Park" imagines what might happen if a philanthropic billionaire got it into his head to open a theme park where the main attractions are prehistoric beasts, cloned from prehistoric DNA. It sounds like a great idea ... until those creatures break loose. Although the wondrous sci-fi thriller will likely be too intense for young or sensitive viewers, kids who are into dinosaurs may be too wrapped up in awe to remember to be scared.

  • Starring: Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum
  • Director: Steven Spielberg
  • Year: 1993
  • Runtime: 126 minutes
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 92%

The Nightmare Before Christmas

It's hard to tell if "The Nightmare Before Christmas" is a Christmas movie or a Halloween movie, so just to be safe, families should feel free to watch it at any time between October and December ... or really any other time they feel like it. The imaginative claymation musical takes place in Halloween Town, a fantasy burb in which everything centers around the spooky holiday. But when the charismatic Pumpkin King, Jack Skellington, stumbles into the neighboring Christmas Town, he realizes there may be more to life than scares, and he makes it his mission to find the meaning of the new holiday. "The Nightmare Before Christmas" may be a little spooky for sensitive youngsters, but for those who enjoy a dash of the macabre, it's a clever and captivating holiday tale.

  • Starring: Chris Sarandon, Catherine O'Hara, Danny Elfman
  • Director: Henry Selick
  • Year: 1993
  • Runtime: 75 minutes
  • Rating: PG
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 95%

The Sandlot

Even if your or your kids aren't into baseball, there's still plenty to enjoy in this nostalgic film about childhood friendship. Set during the summer of 1962, "The Sandlot" follows a self-conscious fifth grader in his attempts to fit in with a local group of boys who spend each day playing baseball. While the national pastime is the activity that brings them together, "The Sandlot" is ultimately a good-natured, humorous tale about the lengths we'll go to in order to fit in and the insecurities everyone faces when trying to make friends.

  • Starring: Tom Guiry, Mike Vitar, Patrick Renna
  • Director: David M. Evans
  • Year: 1993
  • Runtime: 101 minutes
  • Rating: PG
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 63%

The Lion King

If your kids don't think they're into Shakespearean storytelling, blow their minds after showing them "The Lion King" by telling them it's a loose adaptation of "Hamlet." Featuring a soundtrack of original songs by Elton John, the African-set feature follows a young lion named Simba who struggles with his duty to succeed his father as king — along with a hefty portion of his own guilt — after his father is murdered. However, the amusing characters and abundant comic relief ensure that "The Lion King" is never too intense for even the youngest viewers.

  • Starring: Matthew Broderick, Jeremy Irons, Moira Kelly
  • Director: Roger Allers, Rob Minkoff
  • Year: 1994
  • Runtime: 87 minutes
  • Rating: G
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 93%

Apollo 13

For every kid (or parent) who's ever dreamed of going to space — and who won't be kept up at night worrying about worst-case scenarios — "Apollo 13" celebrates the ingenuity of astronauts and scientists through the lens of an unplanned disaster. Based on a real-life mission that suffered a catastrophic mechanical failure, this thrilling film splits its time between the three astronauts stranded in space and the people at Mission Control working desperately to get them back.

  • Starring: Tom Hanks, Bill Paxton, Kevin Bacon
  • Director: Ron Howard
  • Year: 1995
  • Runtime: 140 minutes
  • Rating: PG
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 96%

Babe

Stories about farm animals tend to be an easy sell with the younger set, but parents and tots alike will all find something to enjoy in "Babe," a live-action film about a pig that wishes to work as a sheepdog. The charming film sees Babe not only set his sights on a goal that would typically be considered well outside his reach but receive support and assistance from a number of unlikely places, including the actual sheepdogs whose job he is attempting to learn. It's a great story of friendship, determination, and lending a helping hand to those who need it.

  • Starring: James Cromwell, Christine Cavanaugh, Hugo Weaving
  • Director: Chris Noonan
  • Year: 1995
  • Runtime: 94 minutes
  • Rating: G
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 97%

Jumanji

The story of a semi-sentient game that pulls players into an exceptionally immersive experience has gained new popularity in recent years with the wildly successful soft reboot and its sequel. But it all started with 1995's "Jumanji," which starred Robin Williams as Alan Parrish, a boy who gets stuck inside a board game for 26 years, only to finally emerge from the game and have to complete it as a grown man. This film skews a bit younger and feels a little more personal than its more action-packed sequels, making it a perfect introduction to the franchise for younger viewers.

  • Starring: Robin Williams, Bonnie Hunt, Kirsten Dunst
  • Director: Joe Johnston
  • Year: 1995
  • Runtime: 104 minutes
  • Rating: PG
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 55%

Toy Story

It's difficult now to imagine a family film industry that's not dominated by Pixar, but back in 1995, no one knew what to expect from this computer-animated film about sentient toys. Yet "Toy Story" came to revolutionize both animation technology and children's storytelling, with a smart, timeless tale about imagination, friendship, and the power of play. If your family enjoys "Toy Story," there are also three sequels which are just as enchanting as the first, which dig deeper into themes of growing up, finding your purpose, and branching outside your comfort zone.

  • Starring: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Wallace Shawn
  • Director: John Lasseter
  • Year: 1995
  • Runtime: 80 minutes
  • Rating: G
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 100%

Matilda

Based on the beloved Roald Dahl novel of the same name, "Matilda" follows a precocious young girl who's constantly being swatted down by her distant, swindler parents and ruthless, dictator-like school principal. But everything changes for Matilda when she discovers that she has the ability to move things with her mind. With the help of her kindhearted teacher, Miss Honey, Matilda is able to use her powers to fight back against the many injustices around her, giving new meaning to the idea that if you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything.

  • Starring: Mara Wilson, Danny DeVito, Embeth Davidtz
  • Director: Danny DeVito
  • Year: 1996
  • Runtime: 93 minutes
  • Rating: PG
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 90%

That Thing You Do!

Serving as a lighthearted musical biopic of a one-hit group that never actually existed, "That Thing You Do!" charts the rise and fall of the Wonders, whose titular pop single catapults them to sudden fame. The film moves along at a zippy pace, so that the audience gets swept up in the excitement of overnight success right along with the characters, and it's packed with catchy songs that will become instant earworms.

  • Starring: Tom Hanks, Tom Everett Scott, Liv Tyler
  • Director: Tom Hanks
  • Year: 1996
  • Runtime: 110 minutes
  • Rating: PG
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 93%

A Bug's Life

Following on the heels of "Toy Story" came "A Bug's Life," Pixar's feature about a colony of ants that decides to stand up for themselves against a swarm of predatory grasshoppers. Helping establish Pixar's reputation for creating compelling characters facing unique challenges within imaginative worlds set in everyday environments, "A Bug's Life" is an underdog story of standing up to bullies even if the odds don't seem to be in your favor.

  • Starring: Dave Foley, Kevin Spacey, Julia Louis-Dreyfus
  • Director: John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton
  • Year: 1998
  • Runtime: 96 minutes
  • Rating: G
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 92%

Princess Mononoke

While most of the films on this list were made by Western studios, anyone with a penchant for beautiful animation and dreamlike stories with a supernatural angle should be sure to check out Japanese filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki's films for Studio Ghibli. "Princess Mononoke" follows a young prince who finds himself marked by a deadly curse, and he sets out on a quest to find a cure. In the process, he winds up swept up in a war between humans and the forest gods, who are displeased with how humans greedily consume natural resources.

  • Starring (English Dub): Claire Danes, Billy Bob Thornton, Gillian Anderson
  • Starring (Original Cast): Yuriko Ishida, Kaoru Kobayashi, Akihiro Miwa
  • Director: Hayao Miyazaki
  • Year: 1999
  • Runtime: 133 minutes
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 93%

The Iron Giant

Set during the Cold War, "The Iron Giant" follows a young boy named Hogarth who stumbles across and subsequently befriends a giant alien robot from outer space. Although the robot is clearly engineered as a weapon, he was damaged in his crash to Earth, overriding his programming and granting him free will. Contemplative and beautifully animated, the film explores themes of fear and acceptance of the unknown and choosing who you want to be, even if it's not what others expect.

  • Starring: Jennifer Aniston, Vin Diesel, Harry Connick Jr.
  • Director: Brad Bird
  • Year: 1999
  • Runtime: 86 minutes
  • Rating: PG
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 96%

Remember the Titans

Unfortunately, there aren't exactly a wealth of entertaining films made for younger audiences that tackle themes of racism, unconscious bias, and discrimination, but "Remember the Titans" stands out as a family-friendly film that doesn't shy away from some difficult subject matter. Based on the true story of a Black football coach tasked with integrating the football team at a Virginia school in 1971, "Remember the Titans" is a powerful yet accessible story of learning to identify and push back against our own racial bias while also working to change a biased system.

The Emperor's New Groove

Amidst a sea of films about starry-eyed princesses and noble adventurers, Disney decided to release this hilarious anomaly of a film about a narcissistic young ruler who gets accidentally turned into a llama by his scheming former advisor. As Emperor Kuzco works to undo his enchantment, he winds up reluctantly relying on one of his subjects — the same one who was earlier dismissed by Kuzco after asking the emperor to care about people other than himself. Overtly silly and packed with quotable lines, "The Emperor's New Groove" is a delightfully fun film about discovering empathy.

  • Starring: David Spade, John Goodman, Eartha Kitt
  • Director: Mark Dindal
  • Year: 2000
  • Runtime: 79 minutes
  • Rating: G
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 85%

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

Even though the first book was released nearly a quarter century ago, "Harry Potter" still captures the imaginations of scores of children every year, who dream that one day they too will be invited to come take lessons at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. 

"Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" kicks off the film franchise that brings the wizarding world to life, and it's a good way to ease children (or adults) who haven't read the books into the magical world of Harry and his friends while also serving as a mostly satisfying adaptation for fans of the books. If your family enjoys this film, there are seven more where that came from, although parents should be warned that they do get progressively darker and more mature as they go on.

  • Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson
  • Director: Chris Columbus
  • Year: 2001
  • Runtime: 152 minutes
  • Rating: PG
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 81%

Monsters, Inc.

Any parent can tell you that there's power in the screams of children, and "Monsters, Inc." takes that idea extremely literally by imagining a society of monsters that runs on scream-generated electricity. Professional "scarers" venture into the bedrooms of human children at night, mining screams to be bottled up back at the power factory. The only catch is that the monsters are actually much more scared of the children than the children are of them — until one day, an adorable young girl follows one of the monsters back onto the scare floor.

  • Starring: John Goodman, Billy Crystal, Steve Buscemi
  • Director: Pete Docter
  • Year: 2001
  • Runtime: 92 minutes
  • Rating: G
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 96%

Spirited Away

Another Studio Ghibli film set in a rich and unique fantasy world, "Spirited Away" tells the story of Chihiro, a young girl who's nervous about moving to a new neighborhood but winds up with much bigger problems when her parents are transformed into pigs during a stop on their journey. To help her parents, Chihiro winds up asking for a job in a magical bathhouse frequented by all types of spirits. Frequently touted as one of the best animated films of the 21st century, "Spirited Away" is a story of a young girl finding her agency, better equipping her to face the challenges of growing up.

  • Starring (English Dub): Daveigh Chase, Jason Marsden, Suzanne Pleshette
  • Starring (Original Cast): Rumi Hiiragi, Miyu Irino, Mari Natsuki
  • Director: Hayao Miyazaki
  • Year: 2001
  • Runtime: 125 minutes
  • Rating: PG
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 97%

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Hobbit" and "The Lord of the Rings" have long been considered pillars of the literary fantasy canon, and in 2001, Peter Jackson brought Tolkien's intricately imagined world to life in "The Fellowship of the Ring." Kicking off an epic three-movie saga that would venture all over the fictional lands of Middle-earth, "The Fellowship of the Ring" introduces us to Frodo, a young hobbit who finds himself in possession of an immensely powerful and dangerous ring. These movies aren't for children with short attention spans or who will be sensitive to intense battle scenes, but for families who find themselves transfixed by the adventure that begins in "Fellowship," the subsequent films are incredibly successful in building on the promise of the first.

The Princess Diaries

Plenty of children have dreamed of discovering that they're actually descended from royalty, and this childhood fantasy comes true in "The Princess Diaries." The film follows an awkward teenager named Mia, who one day learns she's actually the heir to the throne of a European country she's never heard of. Her previously estranged grandmother, the queen, then takes it upon herself to groom Mia into a picturesque princess, but in the process, they both realize the value in being allowed to be yourself.

  • Starring: Anne Hathaway, Julie Andrews, Héctor Elizondo
  • Director: Garry Marshall
  • Year: 2001
  • Runtime: 115 minutes
  • Rating: G
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 48%

Bend It Like Beckham

A film about bucking gender norms and parental expectations disguised as a soccer comedy, "Bend it Like Beckham" focuses on a Sikh teenager named Jess whose passion for football (soccer for any American reading this) puts her at odds with her conservative family. Through the course of the film, Jess manages to find ways to play the sport behind her parents' backs, displaying significant skill, and also forms a close friendship with another girl on the team. But Jess' attempt to balance the life her parents will approve of and the one she wants for herself proves untenable, forcing her to decide whether meeting her family's expectations is worth abandoning the sport she loves.

  • Starring: Parminder Nagra, Keira Knightley, Jonathan Rhys Meyers
  • Director: Gurinder Chadha
  • Year: 2002
  • Runtime: 112 minutes
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 85%

Elf

While many kids likely dream that they might one day learn they have a magical or powerful parent, "Elf" flips that idea on its head, following a human named Buddy who was raised by Santa and his elves but who longs to find his human family. But when Buddy travels to New York City to reconnect with his biological father, he can't leave the spirit of the North Pole behind, and he winds up infecting everyone around him with Christmas cheer, whether they like it or not.

  • Starring: Will Ferrell, Zooey Deschanel, James Caan
  • Director: Jon Favreau
  • Year: 2003
  • Runtime: 97 minutes
  • Rating: PG
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 85%

Finding Nemo

Having a child go missing while on a school field trip is every parent's worst nightmare, but "Finding Nemo" makes the concept palatable by reimagining the scenario with fish. Marlin is an overprotective single dad (and clownfish) who embarks on a desperate quest to find his son when he's scooped up by divers after sneaking away from his class at school. The film follows both Marlin's and Nemo's perspectives, giving both parents and kids someone to relate to on this sea-spanning tale of parental love and childhood independence.

  • Starring: Albert Brooks, Ellen DeGeneres, Alexander Gould
  • Director: Andrew Stanton
  • Year: 2003
  • Runtime: 100 minutes
  • Rating: G
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 99%

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl

Few people ever imagined that basing a feature film on an amusement park ride would deliver particularly interesting mythology or characters, but "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl" defied all of those low expectations. Based loosely on the Disney park attraction, the film follows a group of undead pirates looking to reclaim their lost treasure, a marooned outcast searching for vengeance, and the starry-eyed young couple who gets caught up in their conflict. While this film and its sequels may be too dark or intense for younger viewers, its clever humor, impressive effects, and swashbuckling action is sure to entertain families with older kids.

  • Starring: Johnny Depp, Keira Knightley, Orlando Bloom
  • Director: Gore Verbinski
  • Year: 2003
  • Runtime: 143 minutes
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 79%

School of Rock

We've all had substitute teachers who were clearly underqualified for the subject they were assigned to teach, but few if any have likely dealt with the scenario the kids in "School of Rock" find themselves in. Desperate for rent money, washed-up rocker Dewey Finn poses as his roommate to land a substitute teaching gig at a prestigious private school, then uses his class time to mold his fifth-grade classroom into the ultimate rock band. Much of the fun of this film is in knowing that the young cast actually performed the rock songs on its incredible soundtrack.

The Incredibles

While we seem to currently be in the midst of a superhero renaissance, in 2004, great superhero films — especially films that were appropriate for all ages — were few and far between. Enter Pixar with "The Incredibles," a family-oriented twist on the superhero genre, which sees a married pair of retired superheroes pulled reluctantly back into the world-saving game ... along with their young children, who inherited their parents' superpowered genes. Expertly marrying the high-stakes conflict of being a superhero with a complex family dynamic and the stresses of raising kids, "The Incredibles" more than manages to live up to its name.

  • Starring: Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, Samuel L. Jackson
  • Director: Brad Bird
  • Year: 2004
  • Runtime: 115 minutes
  • Rating: PG
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 97%

Sky High

Another kid-centric superhero film — but this time, one that removes the parents from the equation almost entirely — is the superpowered high school comedy "Sky High." The family-friendly film follows teenage Will, whose parents are two of the world's most famous superheroes, as he begins to attend a secret high school for the children of superheroes. The only problem? Will doesn't have any powers. But he can't let that get in his way, especially when a new supervillain enacts a plan to rid the world of all the adult superheroes for good.

Charlotte's Web

There have been numerous film adaptations of the beloved children's book by E.B. White, but the 2006 live-action "Charlotte's Web" is the one most likely to resonate with families today. Starring Dakota Fanning as Fern, the young girl who saves a runt piglet from being slaughtered and then raises him as a pet, and featuring an all-star voice cast, "Charlotte's Web" is a story of unlikely heroes who defy the expectations of others.

  • Starring: Dakota Fanning, Julia Roberts, Steve Buscemi
  • Director: Gary Winick
  • Year: 2006
  • Runtime: 98 minutes
  • Rating: G
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 78%

Enchanted

Any family who's watched their fair share of Disney princess films is sure to appreciate "Enchanted," a high-spirited musical tale that flips the typical animated princess tropes upside down. The story follows Giselle, an animated princess of an enchanted land who gets flung into the gritty live-action world of New York City. But instead of getting ground down by the city and its cynical inhabitants, Giselle's bubbly optimism winds up infecting everyone around her, including the jaded single dad who reluctantly takes her in.

  • Starring: Amy Adams, Patrick Dempsey, James Marsden
  • Director: Kevin Lima
  • Year: 2007
  • Runtime: 108 minutes
  • Rating: PG
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 93%

Ratatouille

Lots of movies aimed at kids tend to be built around the theme that you can be anything you want if you work hard enough, and nowhere is that truer than in "Ratatouille," the Pixar film about a rat named Remy who dreams of becoming a gourmet chef. Of course, rats in kitchens are generally frowned upon, but Remy gets around this roadblock by partnering with a young man working at the restaurant, and together, they rise to culinary greatness.

  • Starring: Patton Oswalt, Ian Holm, Lou Romano
  • Director: Brad Bird
  • Year: 2007
  • Runtime: 111 minutes
  • Rating: G
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 96%

Stardust

For families who love fantasy and aren't opposed to a bit of darkness and scary imagery, "Stardust" may be just the ticket. The story follows a young man named Tristan who embarks on a quest to retrieve a fallen star to prove his love for a girl in his town, only to discover that the fallen star is actually a young woman named Yvaine. What neither of them realize is that the heart of a star contains powerful magic, and that there are some people who will stop at nothing to possess it.

  • Starring: Claire Danes, Charlie Cox, Michelle Pfeiffer
  • Director: Matthew Vaughn
  • Year: 2007
  • Runtime: 128 minutes
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 76%

Kung Fu Panda

Most martial arts and wuxia films may be too intense for the younger elementary crowd but not when the protagonist is a huggable cartoon panda. "Kung Fu Panda" follows Po, a panda bear who's always dreamed of learning kung fu and has idolized the elite group of kung fu warriors that live in his valley. But while Po assumes that becoming a martial artist himself is out of his reach, he (and the rest of the valley) is shocked when he's selected as the Dragon Warrior, a legendary kung fu master who's prophesied to receive unlimited power.

  • Starring: Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, Dustin Hoffman
  • Director: John Stevenson, Mark Osborne
  • Year: 2008
  • Runtime: 91 minutes
  • Rating: PG
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 87%

Wall-E

While most children's films tend to have a lot of dialogue, keeping kids invested through their interest in quippy characters, "Wall-E" focuses instead on visual storytelling since its protagonist is largely nonverbal. Centered on a sweet little cleanup robot tasked with gathering up all the garbage on Earth once humans have destroyed and abandoned it, "Wall-E" imagines what happens when that robot accidentally gets launched into space and connects with a ship containing the last surviving humans.

  • Starring: Ben Burtt, Elissa Knight, Jeff Garlin
  • Director: Andrew Stanton
  • Year: 2008
  • Runtime: 97 minutes
  • Rating: G
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 95%

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs

Based on the popular children's picture book of the same name, which envisions a world where food rains from the sky, "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs" drills hilariously into that premise, centering on a young scientist named Flint who invents a machine that converts water into food. But when that machine begins going haywire, Flint has to destroy it before it can unleash a planet-wide food storm that could destroy the world.

  • Starring: Bill Hader, Anna Faris, James Caan
  • Director: Chris Miller, Phil Lord
  • Year: 2009
  • Runtime: 90 minutes
  • Rating: PG
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 86%

Coraline

When a young girl named Coraline finds a little door in her family's new home that contains a passage to a parallel universe, she's initially overjoyed. The new world contains alternate versions of her own parents, only they seem like idealized versions of the people she knows. After all, her real parents are routinely distracted and don't seem to notice her. These "Other" parents give her the attention and affection she craves, but it's all a ruse to lure her into a sinister trap. This stop-motion animated film is definitely on the darker side, but for families who don't mind some creepiness in their entertainment, it's a captivating tale.

  • Starring: Dakota Fanning, Teri Hatcher, John Hodgman
  • Director: Henry Selick
  • Year: 2009
  • Runtime: 100 minutes
  • Rating: PG
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 90%

Fantastic Mr. Fox

Stop-motion movies often seem to have a dark edge, but "Fantastic Mr. Fox" is much lighter than its claymation cousins. This witty little comedy focuses on a thieving fox who, rather than leaving his pilfering days behind as he promised his wife, can't help himself from, well, helping himself to things that aren't his. But after spending several nights stealing from three local farmers, Mr. Fox finds himself the target of a murderous plot, and he must use all his wits to thwart the efforts of the angered farmers.

  • Starring: George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Jason Schwartzman
  • Director: Wes Anderson
  • Year: 2009
  • Runtime: 88 minutes
  • Rating: PG
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 93%

Ponyo

A very different take on the Hans Christian Andersen tale of "The Little Mermaid" than Disney's version, Hayao Miyazaki's "Ponyo" follows a young goldfish named Brunhilde who longs to be human. One day, she manages to escape into the human world, where she befriends a human boy named Sôsuke, who gives her the name Ponyo. Soon, Ponyo manages to use magic to turn fully human, but her enchantments causes a serious imbalance in the world, threatening life both under and above the surface of the sea.

  • Starring (English Dub): Cate Blanchett, Matt Damon, Liam Neeson
  • Starring (Original Cast): Yūki Amami, Kazushige Nagashima, George Tokoro
  • Director: Hayao Miyazaki
  • Year: 2009
  • Runtime: 100 minutes
  • Rating: G
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 91%

The Princess and the Frog

A loose spin on the classic Brothers Grimm fairy tale of "The Frog Prince" — and Disney's first animated film featuring a Black princess — "The Princess and the Frog" follows an aspiring restaurateur named Tiana who's mistaken for a princess by an enchanted royal at a masquerade ball. After he asks her to kiss him and break the spell, she's transformed into a frog herself, and then she and the prince must work together to figure out how to break the spell. It's a delightful little tale, the animation is beautiful, and you'll be humming several of the songs for quite some time.

  • Starring: Anika Noni Rose, Bruno Campos, Keith David
  • Director: Ron Clements, John Musker
  • Year: 2009
  • Runtime: 95 minutes
  • Rating: G
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 85%

Up

Even though Pixar's "Up" opens with perhaps the saddest sequence to ever kick off a children's movie, the high-flying adventure ultimately becomes a celebration of life and friendship, even as it travels alongside its protagonist through the stages of grief. The plot follows Carl, an elderly man who recently lost his wife to illness. After her death, he endeavors to finally take the trip to the tropical Paradise Falls that the couple had long been planning together. But right when Carl prepares to leave — via the unorthodox method of floating his house southward using thousands of balloons — he gets an unexpected companion in the form of Russell, a Wilderness Explorer trying to earn a merit badge for assisting the elderly.

  • Starring: Ed Asner, Jordan Nagai, Christopher Plummer
  • Director: Pete Docter, Bob Peterson
  • Year: 2009
  • Runtime: 89 minutes
  • Rating: PG
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 98%

How to Train Your Dragon

Based on the book by Cressida Cowell, "How to Train Your Dragon" takes place in the magical land of Berk, where Vikings live alongside dragons. At the beginning of the film, dragons are viewed as menaces that frequently attack the village and are hunted by the town's warriors. But when Hiccup, the timid son of the village chieftain, tries to earn his father's approval by slaying a Night Fury — the most fearsome of dragons — he only injures it. When he heads out to finish off his prey, though, he can't bring himself to kill the dragon, and he winds up setting it free, kicking off an unlikely friendship and changing the world of Berk forever.

  • Starring: Jay Baruchel, America Ferrera, Gerard Butler
  • Director: Christopher Sanders, Dean DeBlois
  • Year: 2010
  • Runtime: 98 minutes
  • Rating: PG
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 99%

Tangled

With a shift in Disney's animation style also came an adjustment in its approach to princesses with "Tangled," a family-friendly take on the Brothers Grimm fairy tale of Rapunzel. While Rapunzel is still a captive princess who ultimately finds both her freedom and her prince, Disney's version has plenty of agency of her own, engaging in action scenes, wielding magical power, and saving the day more than once. Filled with energetic and memorable songs along with plenty of clever humor, "Tangled" is an empowering and entertaining princess tale that every member of the family can enjoy.

  • Starring: Mandy Moore, Zachary Levi, Donna Murphy
  • Director: Nathan Greno, Byron Howard
  • Year: 2010
  • Runtime: 101 minutes
  • Rating: PG
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 89%

The Muppets

While plenty of Muppet films have been made since "The Muppet Movie" in 1979, 2011's "The Muppets" serves as a soft reboot of the franchise and a perfect introduction to modern kids unfamiliar with the lovable characters. The energetic, music-filled story follows a Muppets superfan named Walter (who is himself a Muppet), his human brother Gary, and Gary's girlfriend Mary as they take it upon themselves to reunite the Muppets and save Muppet Theater from devious business tycoon.

  • Starring: Jason Segel, Amy Adams, Chris Cooper
  • Director: James Bobin
  • Year: 2011
  • Runtime: 98 minutes
  • Rating: PG
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 95%

The Avengers

For families who are into superheroes, there are certainly no shortage of thrilling movie night options. The film that arguably kicked off our modern age of superhero films is Marvel's "The Avengers," which brought together several heroes who'd previously received their own solo features (Iron Man, Bruce Banner, Thor, and Captain America) into a collaborative team-up film along with several other heroes, pitting the group against an intergalactic super-threat. If your family enjoys "The Avengers," there are plenty of other films within the Marvel Cinematic Universe to occupy your movie-watching time, but this is probably one of the first stops you should make in your superhero journey.

  • Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth
  • Director: Joss Whedon
  • Year: 2012
  • Runtime: 143 minutes
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 91%

Wreck-It Ralph

Most Disney animated films tend to be adaptations of fairy tales or folklore, but that's not the case with "Wreck-It Ralph," about a video game villain who longs to be a hero. One day, desperate to prove himself, he leaves his game and stumbles into the candy-themed racing game "Sugar Rush," where he befriends an racer who's also been ostracized by the other characters in her game, thanks to her tendency to glitch unpredictably. Together, they set out to show everyone how heroic they can be by taking on a real villain that threatens to destroy their entire virtual world.

  • Starring: John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Jack McBrayer
  • Director: Rich Moore
  • Year: 2012
  • Runtime: 101 minutes
  • Rating: PG
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 87%

Frozen

If Disney princesses are your thing, then you're in luck with "Frozen," which actually features a pair of princesses (one of whom becomes a queen). "Frozen" follows royal sisters Anna and Elsa, the latter of whom has magical freezing powers that she's been told she must keep secret. But when Elsa loses control of her powers on the day of her coronation, it's up to Anna to save her sister, and the kingdom, from eternal winter. The rare princess movie that focuses on the love of family over romance, "Frozen" is a frosty musical delight.

  • Starring: Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Jonathan Groff
  • Director: Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee
  • Year: 2013
  • Runtime: 102 minutes
  • Rating: PG
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 90%

Big Hero 6

Superheroes are hardly in short supply on this list, but "Big Hero 6" still stands out among the crowd. The animated film follows a young inventor named Hiro who, following his older brother's death, repurposes the gentle medical robot he'd been working on, named Baymax, to fight crime. Together with his brother's fellow robotics students, Hiro and his crew use their understanding of science and engineering to form their own superteam. Yet despite Baymax's new programming, his chief concern is still Hiro's well-being, balancing the external story of stopping a supervillain with an internal one of healing from deep grief.

  • Starring: Ryan Potter, Jamie Chung, T.J. Miller
  • Director: Don Hall, Chris Williams
  • Year: 2014
  • Runtime: 102 minutes
  • Rating: PG
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 90%

Paddington

The British children's book character of Paddington has been around for decades, but it wasn't until 2014 that the marmalade-loving bear received the major movie treatment. The story sees the titular bear traveling from "Darkest Peru" to London after his aunt and uncle are no longer able to care for him. There, he's adopted by a loving family and greatly enjoys his new life with them, but a museum taxidermist determined to add Paddington to her collection threatens to destroy everything. A film that truly embodies the spirit of Paddington's mantra, "If we are kind and polite, the world will be right," "Paddington" is like a soft, warm hug for viewers of all ages.

  • Starring: Ben Whishaw, Hugh Bonneville, Nicole Kidman
  • Director: Paul King
  • Year: 2014
  • Runtime: 95 minutes
  • Rating: PG
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 97%

Selma

When most people think of "family films," they likely think of happy, brightly colored films with funny characters and simple, uplifting themes. But the truth is that there are all sorts of genres of films that families can enjoy together. So while the historical drama "Selma" — based on the voting rights marches of 1965 led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. — may not be a typical family movie night selection, it offers the opportunity to help expand children's (and parents') understanding of the civil rights leader beyond what they learn in school.

  • Starring: David Oyelowo, Carmen Ejogo, Tom Wilkinson
  • Director: Ava DuVernay
  • Year: 2014
  • Runtime: 128 minutes
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 99%

The LEGO Movie

There are two types of people who play with LEGOs: Those who meticulously follow the instructions, and those who toss out the manual and use only their imaginations as a guide. This provides the central conflict of "The LEGO Movie," which pits a group of "master builders" against the sinister Lord Business, who's determined to glue everything in their LEGO world in place. Able to draw on the LEGO versions of much of the Warner Bros. vast catalog of characters, "The LEGO Movie" is a clever and frenetic tale that will appeal to anyone who's ever experienced the joy of creating worlds out of brightly colored bricks.

  • Starring: Chris Pratt, Will Ferrell, Elizabeth Banks
  • Directors: Phil Lord, Chris Miller
  • Year: 2014
  • Runtime: 95 minutes
  • Rating: PG
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 96%

Inside Out

After numerous successful family films based on the same premise — "What if this animal/insect/inanimate object had feelings?" — Pixar took that philosophical musing to the next level with "Inside Out," which wonders, "What if feelings had feelings?" Set almost entirely inside the mind of an 11-year-old girl experiencing depression, "Inside Out" follows her five basic emotions — Joy, Sadness, Fear, Disgust, and Anger — on a quest to rediscover their host's emotional balance. A creative and sensitive examination of mental health, "Inside Out" will appeal to any family trying to navigate complex emotions.

  • Starring: Amy Poehler, Phyllis Smith, Bill Hader
  • Director: Pete Docter
  • Year: 2015
  • Runtime: 95 minutes
  • Rating: PG
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 98%

Hidden Figures

Kids today may take it for granted that humans can travel to space, but even for those who understand what an incredible achievement that is and can recite the names of the first astronauts, it may come as a surprise to learn that several of the people who made those first space missions possible were Black women. The moving historical drama "Hidden Figures" tells the stories of real-life mathematicians Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson, who worked at NASA in the 1960s and were instrumental in the success of the space program.

  • Starring: Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monáe
  • Director: Theodore Melfi
  • Year: 2016
  • Runtime: 127 minutes
  • Rating: PG
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 93%

Kubo and the Two Strings

An original animated fantasy adventure inspired by classic Japanese samurai tales, "Kubo and the Two Strings" is a beautifully visualized story revolving around a one-eyed 12-year-old boy named Kubo who can wield magic using his shamisen, a Japanese stringed instrument. When Kubo is attacked by his villainous and otherworldly aunts, his mother saves him by using her magic to send him on a magical and action-packed quest to find his father's armor before his other eye can be stolen by his grandfather, the Moon King.

  • Starring: Charlize Theron, Matthew McConaughey, Ralph Fiennes
  • Director: Travis Knight
  • Year: 2016
  • Runtime: 102 minutes
  • Rating: PG
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 97%

Moana

One of the only Disney princess movies to shirk the idea of romance entirely, "Moana" follows a young girl determined to see what lies beyond the idyllic island where she was born and raised. After being chosen by the ocean to restore the heart of the goddess Te Fiti, Moana teams up with the demigod Maui to brave the perils of the ocean and make it safe for her people to explore once more. Inspired by Polynesian mythology, "Moana" is an empowering tale that puts compassion first, and there's a Dwayne Johnson number in here that you'll be singing for days after the credits roll.

Pete's Dragon

You won't find many Disney remakes of their classic catalog on this list since, typically, the originals tend to be the superior versions. However, the exception is 2016's "Pete's Dragon," which completely reimagines the premise of the original 1977 film for a modern audience. In this version, Pete is an 11-year-old orphan who's lived peacefully in the forest with his giant green dragon, Elliot, for six years ... until a lumber crew threatens to destroy their home and expose Elliot to the world. A moving and wondrous film with strong themes of family and friendship, "Pete's Dragon" is a celebration of childhood imagination and a plea to treat our world with care.

  • Starring: Bryce Dallas Howard, Karl Urban, Oakes Fegley
  • Director: David Lowery
  • Year: 2016
  • Runtime: 103 minutes
  • Rating: PG
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 88%

Queen of Katwe

Based on the life of real-life chess prodigy Phiona Mutesi, "Queen of Katwe" tells the story of a young girl from Uganda who earned the title of Woman Candidate Master around the age of 16, making her one of the first titled female players in Ugandan chess history. The film introduces us to Phiona at age 10, when her single mother is struggling to provide for her and her brother in the village of Katwe. After meeting a local missionary who teaches chess, Phiona shows an aptitude for the game, and works against all odds to improve her skills when she realizes it could help her provide a better life for her family.

  • Starring: Lupita Nyong'o, Madina Nalwanga, David Oyelowo
  • Director: Mira Nair
  • Year: 2016
  • Runtime: 124 minutes
  • Rating: PG
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 94%

Zootopia

Set in an urban world populated entirely by animals, "Zootopia" is an unorthodox buddy comedy that pairs an idealistic rabbit police officer with a conniving fox as they reluctantly work together to figure out what's causing the disappearance of all the city's predators. While the animated film works well as a silly comedy and a simple mystery, it also pushes back on ideas of prejudice and xenophobia and promotes a theme of inclusion, opening the door for parents to have more nuanced discussions with their kids about how to deal with those topics in the real world.

A Monster Calls

While most adults would probably prefer to shield kids from pain and grief, it's an unfortunate truth that sometimes those experiences come for them anyway, caring nothing for age. "A Monster Calls" wrestles with this idea, telling the story of a young boy with a terminally ill mother who's visited by a monster. As the creature tells the boy a series of stories, it gradually helps him deal with the grief of losing his mother, using fantasy to allow him to make sense of his own reality.

  • Starring: Liam Neeson, Sigourney Weaver, Felicity Jones
  • Director: J.A. Bayona
  • Year: 2017
  • Runtime: 108 minutes
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 86%

Coco

Inspired by the Mexican Day of the Dead, "Coco" tells the story of a musical 12-year-old boy named Miguel whose family has banned music. And making things way more complicated for our hero, Miguel accidentally finds himself stuck in the Land of the Dead and has to figure out a way back to the living world before he winds up trapped there forever. Helping him along the way is a musician who offers to help him find his idol, a legendary performer who inspired him to learn to play guitar. But of course, all is not as it seems, and Miguel learns more than he ever bargained for about both life and death while he's stuck between the two.

  • Starring: Anthony Gonzalez, Gael García Bernal, Benjamin Bratt
  • Director: Lee Unkrich
  • Year: 2017
  • Runtime: 109 minutes
  • Rating: PG
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 97%

Wonder Woman

While other superhero films starring women existed prior to 2017's "Wonder Woman," the DC film still felt to many like the first of its kind in the empowering and positive way that it dealt with its female protagonist and the civilization of women warriors who raised her. The film follows immortal Amazon warrior Diana, who leaves her hidden island home of Themyscira during World War I in order to track down the god Ares. She's convinced he's causing the war, and she considers it her duty to put a stop to his plot. Simultaneously innocent, sensitive, optimistic, and tough, Diana embodies a much more nuanced type of female superhero than most of those who came before her, one that any kid can aspire to imitate.

  • Starring: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Connie Nielsen
  • Director: Patty Jenkins
  • Year: 2017
  • Runtime: 141 minutes
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 93%

Paddington 2

While many of the films on this list have sequels worth checking out — many of which may even be better than the first film — "Paddington 2" gets its own particular shout-out for being a nearly perfect follow-up that doesn't really require you to have seen the first one to thoroughly appreciate the second. This film sees the polite bear wrongly imprisoned for a crime he didn't commit and his loving family devoting themselves to finding the real culprit in order to prove his innocence. Featuring plenty of kindness and a knockout performance by a villainous Hugh Grant, "Paddington 2" can't help but leave you feeling warm and fuzzy.

  • Starring: Ben Whishaw, Hugh Grant, Hugh Bonneville
  • Director: Paul King
  • Year: 2018
  • Runtime: 103 minutes
  • Rating: PG
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 99%

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

There have been dozens of on-screen versions of Spider-Man throughout the decades but nothing quite like "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse," which put relative comics newcomer Miles Morales front and center. The film acts as an origin story for Miles, seeing him get the radioactive spider bite that gives him his powers, but it also features a host of other Spider-people, including two versions of the classic Spider-Man, Peter Parker. A thrilling and visually spectacular animated adventure, "Into the Spider-Verse" is a creative introduction to a new type of superhero storytelling with plenty of possibilities for the future.

  • Starring: Shameik Moore, Jake Johnson, Hailee Steinfeld
  • Director: Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, Rodney Rothman
  • Year: 2018
  • Runtime: 117 minutes
  • Rating: PG
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 97%

Raya and the Last Dragon

Set in a fantasy land inspired by various Southeast Asian cultures, "Raya and the Last Dragon" follows a young girl named Raya who takes it upon herself to locate the last surviving dragon and reunite the fractured tribes of her land after evil spirits threaten to destroy all of them. Her quest to find the dragon doesn't take long — it's after the dragon is awakened that Raya's true challenges start. A powerful tale of trust and selflessness, "Raya and the Last Dragon" is ultimately a moving story of forgiveness, restoration, and healing.

  • Starring: Kelly Marie Tran, Awkwafina, Gemma Chan
  • Director: Don Hall, Carlos López Estrada
  • Year: 2021
  • Runtime: 108 minutes
  • Rating: PG
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 94%

The Mitchells vs. the Machines

Lots of films feature protagonists who are uniquely suited to the task before them. However, "The Mitchells vs. the Machines" is exactly the opposite. Exceedingly mundane and more than a little dysfunctional, the Mitchells are in the midst of a reluctant family road trip when the world is suddenly attacked by evil robots. Despite their complete lack of special skills, the family finds themselves as humanity's last hope, and they realize that if they can come together, they're capable of more than they ever dreamed. Deeply entertaining and full of heart, "The Mitchells vs. the Machines" drives home the idea that all it takes for a family to be the best version of itself is for everyone to love and accept each other for who they are.

  • Starring: Abbi Jacobson, Danny McBride, Maya Rudolph
  • Director: Michael Rianda
  • Year: 2021
  • Runtime: 114 minutes
  • Rating: PG
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 98%