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20 Best Family Movies On HBO Max

A good family film is exactly that — it has to offer something for every member of a family, providing entertainment and provoking some kind of emotional response for a viewer of any age, be they toddlers, school-aged kids, teenagers, or adults. A family film is more than just a movie without any sort of objectionable or inappropriate-for-younger-audiences content. It's got to be relatable on multiple levels to keep children and grown-ups engaged. And that's no small feat. Only a relative handful of filmmakers have figured out how to make fun-for-the-whole-family movies that have stood the test of time, and it's definitely got something to do with having compelling stories and memorable characters.

However, it can be tough for a family to find a movie everyone can enjoy on a streaming service, with the genre's seemingly endless options — many of which aren't worth your time. But HBO Max is a particular haven for quality all-ages-welcome films, and here are the best family movies currently available on the service.

Updated on January 3, 2022: HBO Max frequently adds movies and drops them, too, so we'll keep this list updated as those changes occur. Check back each month for the latest and greatest in family entertainment.

All Dogs Go to Heaven

"All Dogs Go to Heaven" is a quirky cartoon, beautifully and traditionally animated by longtime Disney artist Don Bluth, offering something for both adults and children. For the grown-ups, there's the plot about the canine criminal underworld and philosophical question of the afterlife, wherein a tough gambler pooch named Carface kills Charlie, dog casino owner, who then magically comes back from the dead because of a magical timepiece. Rather than set out on a mission of revenge against his murderer, he takes a young, neglected human girl named Anne-Marie under his (increasingly angelic) wing and aims to cheer her up and then save her from the clutches of the dog who killed him.

  • Starring: Burt Reynolds, Judith Barsi, Dom DeLuise
  • Director: Don Bluth
  • Year: 1989
  • Runtime: 84 minutes
  • Rating: G
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 44%

The Call of the Wild

Adults who read Jack London's classic novel of adventure in the punishing frontier of the Alaskan Yukon and kids who haven't yet will all likely enjoy "The Call of the Wild" just the same. Despite the gorgeous cinematography capturing the beautiful mountains and wintry wilds of Alaska, it's an intimate story, told largely from the point of view of a sweet big dog named Buck as he moves from one human master to another. It's a journey that will take him from a cushy existence in California all the way to a spot on a dog sled team delivering mail, and along the way, his journey will include gold prospecting, defending himself against cruel humans, and learning the ways of his wolf ancestors.

The Care Bears Movie

Every major '80s toy line got its own cartoon TV series, and some even got their own big-screen outings. "The Care Bears Movie" is one of the few entries in this otherwise crass subgenre that can justify its existence. More than a feature-length commercial, "The Care Bears Movie" utilizes its running time to tell a very big and very dramatic story to teach the value and importance of emotional intelligence and empathy. In the movie, we follow the rainbow-colored teddy bears as they leave their palatial sky palace and head on down to Earth. Their goal? To use their good feelings to help some orphans defeat the darkness that's possessed a young, impressionable magician's assistant. 

  • Starring: Mickey Rooney, Georgia Engel, Jackie Burroughs
  • Director: Arna Selznick
  • Year: 1985
  • Runtime: 75 minutes
  • Rating: G
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 43%

Dolphin Tale

That title is a play on words — "Dolphin Tale" is the story of a friendly, vivacious sea animal, but it's also about a dolphin's tail, and it's based on the amazingly true story about a kid's drive to get his ocean friend a prosthetic appendage.

Winter the dolphin gets trapped and injures her tail so severely that her rescuers and keepers at a Florida marine hospital don't think she has much chance for survival without a working fin. Lonely kid Sawyer finds companionship at the marine hospital with its employees and with Winter especially, and he gets so attached to the dolphin that he enlists the help of a biologist and a specialty prosthetics designer to get Winter the help she needs in what turns out to be a very inspiring, very emotionally satisfying film for viewers of any age.

  • Starring: Harry Connick Jr., Ashley Judd, Nathan Gamble
  • Director: Charles Martin Smith
  • Year: 2011
  • Runtime: 112 minutes
  • Rating: PG
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 82%

Ella Enchanted

Kids who love fairy tales will enjoy "Ella Enchanted," a new story in the princesses/princes/evil guardians tradition but told through a 21st-century point of view, meaning that the female characters have a lot of agency and are no mere damsels in distress. 

Shortly after her birth, baby Ella is cursed with a spell from her fairy godmother that forces her to do whatever anybody tells her to do. As a result, our hero winds up as a servant-like Cinderella when her mother dies and Ella goes off to live with the mean and demanding Dame Olga. When she's had enough of his not-so-happily-ever life, Ella sets off on a grand quest with the dashing Prince Charmont to find that fairy godmother and break the spell so that Ella can live the life she wishes to lead.

  • Starring: Anne Hathaway, Hugh Dancy, Cary Elwes
  • Director: Tommy O'Haver
  • Year: 2004
  • Runtime: 96 minutes
  • Rating: PG
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 50%

Finding Neverland

Peter Pan is one of the most beloved characters in the English language. "Finding Neverland" is his origin story — or rather, the delicate and poignant tale of how playwright J.M. Barrie was reportedly inspired to create Peter, Wendy, and their world. Set in London in 1903, Barrie, looking to reverse a downturn in his professional fortunes, befriends a recently widowed mother of four. He takes a particular liking to her young, grieving son, Peter. As the lives of this family and Barrie intertwine, they support each other when they need it most. Barrie's invented tales, meant to cheer up Peter, eventually form the basis of his magical play, about a boy who never grows up.

The Goonies

There exist thousands of movies about kids, made for kids, but few do as good a job as "The Goonies" does at capturing the essence of childhood. Like real kids, the Goonies (so named because they live in the working-class Goon Docks neighborhood in coastal Astoria, Oregon) are rough and tumble, get into scraps, bust each other's chops, bristle under adult rules, speak bluntly, form alliances and rivalries, and are often in search of adventures that are no more than a moderate bike ride away. For those reasons, "The Goonies" is an all-time kid-size action extravaganza. Faced with home foreclosure, the tight-knit Goonies discover an old pirate treasure map and head out in search of that gold (as well as a good time). They, of course, wind up in all sorts of perilous scrapes, like running afoul of a nasty crime family, but all is well with a good group of friends who "never say die!"

  • Starring: Sean Astin, Josh Brolin, Corey Feldman
  • Director: Richard Donner
  • Year: 1985
  • Runtime: 113 minutes
  • Rating: PG
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 77%

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

While some fans prefer the darker "Deathly Hallows" films, you can't deny that the first installment in the "Harry Potter" franchise, "The Sorcerer's Stone," is the most delightful entry in the series. It's here we're first introduced to the wonderful world of Hogwarts, with its living portraits, Sorting Hat, and the breathtaking Great Hall.

As for the plot, young orphan Harry Potter lives with his abusive extended family, but his life takes a magical turn when he receives an invitation to Hogwarts — a school for young witches and wizards. But when he arrives at the enchanted institution, he learns that a dark enemy, the nefarious Voldemort, might be coming back, leading to a plot involving unicorns, life-sized chess boards, and a mythical object.

On top of all that, Harry has to pass his classes, which isn't easy when you've got a teacher like the sneering Severus Snape. The result is a modern-day classic that will open up a whole new universe — and franchise — to young and old audiences alike.

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

Herbie: Fully Loaded

In the middle of the 20th century, Disney churned out a bunch of goofy and endearing live-action comedies centered around Herbie, a white Volkswagen Beetle imbued with sentience. Disney rebooted the series in 2005 with "Herbie: Fully Loaded," placing Lindsay Lohan at the center of the action as a budding racecar driver from a prominent racing family. Updated for the 2000s with a veneer of realistic NASCAR grit and action, this film gives Lohan's character a special, almost psychic bond with the magical Herbie. They use this connection to become a formidable team on the racetrack.

  • Starring: Lindsay Lohan, Michael Keaton, Matt Dillon
  • Director: Angela Robinson
  • Year: 2005
  • Runtime: 100 minutes
  • Rating: G
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 40%

Little Monsters

Many children fear a nasty monster lurks under their bed. "Little Monsters," an anarchic, horror-inflected family comedy, supposes that this nightmare is real, but that the creature isn't evil or vicious — rather, he's a friendly agent of chaos. Young Brian discovers that his supernatural roommate Maurice is more of a monster of the "party" variety. At night, they go out on little adventures, hang out with other harmless things that go bump in the night, and prank helpless sleeping kids. That's all well and good, until Brian realizes he's slowly transforming into a Maurice-like monster himself.

  • Starring: Fred Savage, Howie Mandel, Daniel Stern
  • Director: Richard Greenberg
  • Year: 1989
  • Runtime: 103 minutes
  • Rating: PG
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 44%

Mouse Hunt

"Mouse Hunt" plays like a flesh-and-blood cartoon, starring two actors inclined to go big: British comedian Lee Evans and Broadway legend Nathan Lane. They're Lars and Ernie, the main characters and the bad guys, a pair of bumbling buffoons trying their best (and failing) to outwit a preternaturally clever mouse. The duo moves into a crumbling but architecturally significant mansion left behind by their deceased father, a string tycoon. They set about restoring it, in the interests of reselling. But they're stymied at every turn in their dangerously in-construction, obstacle-ridden house by a tiny rodent who seemingly wishes for their failure and demise.

  • Starring: Nathan Lane, Lee Evans, Vicki Lewis
  • Director: Gore Verbinski
  • Year: 1997
  • Runtime: 97 minutes
  • Rating: PG
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 44%

The Muppets Take Manhattan

The third Muppet movie is also the last to feature all the original agents of comedic chaos (including Jim Henson and Richard Hunt) who made the brand a cultural sensation. In this adventure, Kermit, Miss Piggy, Gonzo, Fozzie, and the rest of the gang head to New York to stage a show on Broadway, only to discover it's way more difficult, expensive, and dangerous than they ever expected. Thus, the Muppets each try to make a go of it in the big city on their own, providing some rare solo adventures for the crackling characters. Eventually, they have to get the group back together to help restore Kermit's memory. What results is delightful.

  • Starring: Jim Henson, Frank Oz, Dabney Coleman
  • Director: Frank Oz
  • Year: 1984
  • Runtime: 94 minutes
  • Rating: G
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 83%

Nanny McPhee

Imagine "Mary Poppins" but a little bit darker, more overtly and unabashedly magical, and with some more urgent, relatable adult problems than just "bank stuff," and you've got the formula for "Nanny McPhee," a film about a fractured family made whole again through a little attention and tough love. In 19th-century England, Cedric Brown's wife has died, leaving him in the care of their seven children, who show their grief by acting out. They're so boisterous and destructive that they've driven away multiple nannies. Their cruel great aunt, Lady Adelaide, promises to take the children away and break up the family, and that's when Nanny McPhee, sensing she's needed, arrives and uses her various powers to get the children to behave and find some semblance of normalcy again.

  • Starring: Emma Thompson, Colin Firth, Thomas Brodie-Sangster
  • Director: Kirk Jones
  • Year: 2005
  • Runtime: 98 minutes
  • Rating: PG
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 73%

Paddington 2

Paddington, the sweet, gentle, marmalade-loving bear, charms and delights in this winsome sequel. While the Brown family is busy with their various pursuits, Paddington can't find a job where he can succeed — a necessary task, as he wants to purchase a one-of-a-kind antique pop-up book for Aunt Lucy's upcoming 100th birthday. When that book is stolen, Paddington is wrongfully accused (having been set up by evil actor Phoenix Buchanan, who wants the book for its clues to the whereabouts of hidden treasure) and sent to a very tough prison. But incarceration doesn't harden Paddington. Instead, he softens up the inmates, introducing them to the pleasures of marmalade sandwiches and pure kindness.

  • Starring: Ben Whishaw, Hugh Grant, Brendan Gleeson
  • Director: Paul King
  • Year: 2017
  • Runtime: 103 minutes
  • Rating: PG
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 99%


Parrots are fascinating, sweet, and enchanting creatures, and we probably think that because they can talk. They feel almost human, and "Paulie" imbues its title character, a sensitive parrot who goes on quite a harrowing and tear-inducing journey, with the personality and soul of a person. Paulie can speak, and he speaks very well. In fact, he narrates the story of his life, detailing the time he spent as a part of a performing act, when he was owned by a low-level criminal, and living in the company of a little girl, his very favorite companion. He tells it all to a custodian in the research facility where he's being held, and the man decides that Paulie shouldn't be caged but rather reunited with someone very special from his past.

  • Starring: Tony Shalhoub, Gena Rowlands, Jay Mohr
  • Director: John Roberts
  • Year: 1998
  • Runtime: 91 minutes
  • Rating: PG
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 62%

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters

Rick Riordan's "Percy Jackson" novels posit that the gods of Greek mythology are real and have children who live in the modern-day. Percy, the half-human, half-Olympian son of the sea god Poseidon is one of them. In "Sea of Monsters," the second film adaptation in the franchise, Percy attends the godly training academy known as Camp Half-Blood. When the powerful magical walls that keep it safe start to crumble, horrendous beasts invade. It's up to Percy and his fellow demigods to retrieve the fabled Golden Fleece from the treacherous and infested Sea of Monsters (which also happens to be the Bermuda Triangle).

  • Starring: Logan Lerman, Alexandra Daddario, Brandon T. Jackson
  • Director: Thor Freudenthal
  • Year: 2013
  • Runtime: 106 minutes
  • Rating: PG
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 42%

The Pirates! Band of Misfits

Pirate movies offer high seas adventure for viewers of all ages, but only "The Pirates! Band of Misfits" dares to point out a truth about the privateering lifestyle: It's full of potential for silliness. The debonair and extremely self-confident Pirate Captain lords over an odd crew of lackluster pirates. When not waxing poetic on the pirate life or positively lusting after ham, the Pirate Captain desperately wants to win the Pirate of the Year contest. This quest will require him to vanquish his enemies, Black Bellamy and Cutlass Liz, befriend and help Charles Darwin, and avoid the Queen's secret machinations.

The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep

There's a fine tradition of moving movies about kids befriending a misunderstood outsider who's also an appealing non-human entity, such as "The Iron Giant" with its massive robot, "E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial" with its alien, and "The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep," with an adorable lake creature straight out of Scottish legend. In this film, World War II-era tween Angus finds an odd-looking egg just outside of the murky waters of Loch Ness, near his home. It soon hatches, and Angus names the adorable horse-like thing Crusoe (as in Robinson Crusoe, after the shipwrecked literary figure), and he decides to secretly keep it as a pet. Before long, this supposed water horse grows very large and arouses too much dangerous attention, and Angus will have to sacrifice his profound friendship for the safety and livelihood of his animal bud that's very clearly a brand new Loch Ness Monster.

  • Starring: Alex Etel, Emily Watson, Ben Chaplin
  • Director: Jay Russell
  • Year: 2007
  • Runtime: 111 minutes
  • Rating: PG
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 74%

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

Come inside, and you'll find a world of pure imagination. That's what Willy Wonka promises of his magical, whimsical chocolate factory, but that could just as well describe this film, a candy-colored, wondrous, musical adaptation of Roald Dahl's tantalizingly sweet novel. 

Charlie Bucket is about the nicest boy in the world, and he loves chocolate bars made by the mysterious and imaginative Willy Wonka. When Wonka opens up his secretive production facility for a tour to just a handful of kids, Charlie lucks out and finds a "golden ticket" in a Wonka Bar, a rare treat as his family lives in crushing poverty (and with four sick grandparents). Charlie plunges into the strange and unpredictable world of Wonka, where dreams he didn't even know he had come true.

The Wizard of Oz

It's arguably the most beloved film ever produced, delighting and enchanting millions of people across multiple generations and becoming part of the collective American cultural experience. And now, "The Wizard of Oz" is among HBO Max's signature offerings. The classic fantasy film has endured because of its message of an appreciation of family and home (there's no place like home, after all), but it dazzles viewers because it's a visually stunning adventure. 

Young Dorothy Gale tires of her life on a Kansas farm — tedious except for the mean old woman who threatens to take away her beloved dog — and a tornado whisks her away to the merry old land of Oz, where she meets wicked and good witches, Munchkins, flying monkeys, and others as she travels to visit a wonderful wizard who will help her get back home again. Plus, she hopes he'll grant the wishes of her fellow travelers: a Scarecrow in need of a brain, the courage-lacking Cowardly Lion, and the heart-free Tin Man.

  • Starring: Judy Garland, Ray Bolger, Bert Lahr
  • Director: Victor Fleming
  • Year: 1939
  • Runtime: 101 minutes
  • Rating: G
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 98%