When going through possible options for family movie night, there’s a lot to consider. The ages of the kids watching, the genre people want, and what’s available on your streaming services just to name a few.
There are so many different family movies, but a great family-friendly flick will engage the youngsters but have adult humor and references the parents can enjoy as well. The surface-level plot the kids can follow along must be as engaging as the deeper themes and issues the adults can understand.
So if you’re looking for some suggestions on the next film your family should watch together, grab the popcorn, because we’ve got some suggestions for you!
Family Movies On Netflix
Netflix is one of the most popular streaming services out there. If you’re looking for family-friendly movies you already have on your TV, here’s a great place to start!
1. Over the Moon (2020) – Netflix
In this new film, Fei Fei, a determined young girl, decides that she needs to discover the truth about a legend her mother told her. She builds a rocket and shoots herself to the moon in order to learn the truth about Chang’e, the goddess of the moon who waits for her lover, Hou Yi.
Hamilton fans will enjoy hearing the voice of Eliza, as Phillipa Soo voices Chang’e.
2. School of Rock (2003) – Netflix
This film is a Jack Black classic. His character Dewey gets kicked out of his rock band, and with nowhere to turn and no way to pay the bills, he takes a job as a substitute teacher at a snotty private school. He turns the classroom upside down as he turns the goody-two-shoes class into full-on rock and roll punks.
3. Monster House (2006) – Netflix
If your kids are looking for something a little spooky, this film by Steven Spielberg is a great place to start. It doesn’t have the same level of scares as a traditional horror movie, but it’s great if your kids enjoy movies with darker tones and themes, such as Coraline.
As the movie revolves around a haunted house that eats people, it definitely isn’t a film for young viewers. It’s a movie you could watch at summer camp to scare kids into staying put in their beds at night.
4. The Babysitter’s Guide to Monster Hunting (2020) – Netflix
Kelly gets made fun of in high school for still believing in monsters. But when she gets roped into babysitting a young kid, she realizes that her belief in monsters is essential to saving him.
Jacob gets abducted by a monster that wants to use his dreams to make a nightmare army. Kelly, with the help of her friends, goes out to save him.
5 .The Spiderwick Chronicles (2008) – Netflix
The Spiderwick Chronicles is a live-action movie based on the books by Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi. It combines the contents of the first few books into one film. It follows a family as they move into the Spiderwick Estate, a decrepit house they need to stay in while the family gets back on their feet.
The young boy starts to discover that there’s an entire hidden world of magical creatures surrounding them, and not all of them wish them well. It’s a great movie for Harry Potter lovers who want nothing more than to take a class in Care of Magical Creatures.
6. Hotel for Dogs (2009) – Netflix
For animal lovers, this movie is a great choice! The live-action film has a bunch of adorable dogs of all shapes and sizes to enjoy. When Andi and Bruce can’t keep their dog in their new foster home, they use an abandoned hotel and turn it into a resort for their pup.
They start to house all sorts of stray animals there, but when neighbors hear barking and shelters wonder where all the stray dogs went, they need to work hard to keep the haven a secret.
Best Family Movies for Toddlers
A movie you pick for grade-schoolers is going to be different from the one you pick for two and three-year-olds. Even though The Hunchback of Notre Dame is an excellent animated Disney classic, its dark undertones could be troubling for youngsters.
Here are some family film options that even the youngest among us can enjoy.
7. The Secret Life of Pets (2016) – Rent on Amazon
This animated film has a whimsical sense of fun as it asks the question, “What do our pets do when we leave?”
Max the dog’s perfect world gets turned upside down when his owner brings home Duke, a dog that doesn’t fit Max’s standards. He suddenly has much worse problems on his hands when he learns that Snowball, an evil bunny, is hatching a plan against all the pets in NYC.
Hearing Kevin Hart voice a tiny, fluffy bunny is worth the price of admission.
8. Despicable Me (2010) – Peacock
Gru, an evil supervillain, discovers that one of his plots requires the use of little girls pretending to sell cookies as a distraction. He adopts three orphan girls, and slowly but surely he loses his evil exterior and truly grows to care for them. He risks everything to keep them safe when his plans go sideways and they end up in danger.
9. Cars (2006) – Disney+
Owen Wilson stars in this animated film about – you guessed it – cars. Lightning McQueen, a famous race car, suddenly has his world turned upside down when he gets lost in Radiator Springs, a dying town. He discovers himself in the charming town and puts it back on the map.
If your kids end up liking this one, there is no shortage of sequels and spinoffs to keep them entertained by the franchise.
10. Madagascar (2005) – Rent from Vudu
This movie is another fun animated flick featuring animals. Pampered zoo animals suddenly find themselves on the island of Madagascar and they need to adapt to the brand new scene. It features famous voices, such as Ben Stiller as Alex the lion.
New Family Movies Made After 2010
If you’ve watched all the Disney classics and the films you enjoyed as a kid, it might be time to try some movies that have been made since 2010. Here are some of the newer movies available for the family.
11. Paddington (2014) – Crackle
If your kid has a stuffed animal they bring with them everywhere, that they wouldn’t trade for the world, Paddington is the movie for them.
A young bear makes his way to London, searching for a place to call home. The city overwhelms him: that is until he meets the Brown family. They take him home and he loves his new family.
However, not everyone sees him for his value as a beloved family member. A taxidermist notices him, and recognizing that he’s an extremely rare bear, he will stop at nothing to get him.
12. The Lego Movie (2014) – Rent from YouTube
This star-studded movie is a hilarious adventure where Chris Pratt’s character, Emmet, needs to fight against the mysterious villain and their devious weapon: the Kragle. It’s a fun, colorful movie for kids, but it has a lot of jokes for older viewers as well.
13. Soul (2020) – Disney+
This gorgeous, Oscar-winning film features incredible talents like Jamie Foxx and Tina Fey and celebrates black stories.
We follow Joe, a jazz pianist, as he accidentally ends up in the afterlife. To get back to his body, he needs to team up with 22, a soul that hasn’t gotten her spark: the one thing she needs to be born on earth. It’s heartfelt and will make you feel grateful for the life you live.
14. The Muppet Movie (2011) – Disney+
Jason Segel decided it was time to bring back the Muppets in a way that was true to the original characters and accessible to first-time viewers.
Walter discovers an evil plot of a corporation that wants to level Muppet Studios for the oil underneath. The gang has to get back together and raise ten million dollars, otherwise they’ll say goodbye to the place they used to call home.
Fun fact: This is one of our editor’s favorite films!
15. Luca (2021) – Disney+
While a young boy is enjoying his Italian vacation, he makes friends with another young boy named Luca. The only problem?
Luca is actually a sea monster who can appear to be human while on dry land.
Best Animated Films
16. Emperor’s New Groove (2000) – Disney+
This under-appreciated Disney classic is a sure hit with young and older viewers. Emperor Kuzco gets accidentally turned into a llama when Yzma, his fired advisor, tries to get revenge. He ends up across the country and needs to find humility and strength to make his way back to the palace and regain his throne.
17. Coco (2017) – Disney+
Don’t watch this one if you don’t have tissues handy.
Coco is a gorgeous celebration of Mexican culture, particularly the celebration of the Day of the Dead.
Miguel doesn’t understand why his family won’t let him do the one thing he loves: play music. When he touches the guitar of Ernesto de la Cruz, he accidentally enters the land of the dead. In order to find answers, he needs to work together with Hector to uncover the truth about his past.
18. Spirited Away (2001) – HBO Max
This is one of the most popular Studio Ghibli films. Chihiro, a young girl, is moving with her parents to a small Japanese town, and she couldn’t be less thrilled. Her dad makes a wrong turn and they end up in what looks like an abandoned amusement park.
While her parents choose to stop and eat, Chihiro explores the park and discovers a dark secret. She needs to work together with Haku to save her family and escape the park.
19. Up (2009) – Disney+
A Pixar favorite, Up tells the story of Carl after the death of his wife, Ellie. He always promised they would go to Paradise Falls, but life gets in the way and she passes before he can fulfill his promise.
When it seems like he’s going to lose his house and be taken to a nursing home, he decides he’s going to make it happen one way or another. We follow Carl, Russell, and Doug through South America as they try to reach Paradise Falls.
20. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018) – Hulu or Sling
This is an excellent introduction into superhero movies for young audiences. It’s also an amazing cinematic experience for lovers of comic books.
SONY explores the idea that there is more than one Spider-Man; what would happen if a machine brought them all into one universe? This ragtag band of Spider-People, including an anthropomorphic pig called Spider-Ham, a young girl and her spider robot, and a black and white noir spider detective played by Nicholas Cage, all must work together to stop an evil plot that will tear the universe apart.
21. Toy Story (1995) – Disney+
This classic is a must-see for all ages. Featuring the voices of Tom Hanks and Tim Allen, we explore what toys do when their owners are out of the room.
In the first movie, we see how Woody, a toy cowboy, reacts when a new, shiny space ranger toy joins the ranks. Because of his jealousy, they both end up lost and need to find their way back to their owner, Andy, by working together.
22. The Iron Giant (1999) – HBO Max
This is another one that you can’t watch without tissues handy.
Nine-year-old Hogarth stumbles upon a giant, friendly, alien robot. He must keep his new friend safe from a prowling government agent who is leery of the technology. When Hogarth discovers the agent plans to destroy the robot at all costs, he has to find a way to save his unlikely friend.
Best Family Films Based on Books
If you love reading with your kids, you’ll love watching their favorite books transformed into these fun family movies!
23. Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009) – Disney+
If you love reading Roald Dahl books to your kids, or you just really love Wes Anderson films, check out his adaptation of Fantastic Mr. Fox. This film won two academy awards: one for best-animated feature, another for best original score.
Mr. Fox, played by George Clooney, is known for his wild tales of danger and adventure, but he must put his past behind him and become a responsible father. He has one last job with his pals, and it’s their most dangerous raid yet.
24. Jumanji (1995) – Rent from Amazon Prime
The original Jumanji is a classic Robin Williams film that brings a delightful spin to the children’s book.
When Judy and Peter stumble upon a mysterious board game, they have no idea what they’ll unleash. Apart from the incredible game that brings wild animals and jungle dangers into their neighborhood, a man who never finished the game decades ago comes back into their reality. They need to finish the game, because once you start, you can’t stop until you win.
25. Matilda (1996) – Amazon Prime
Matilda is an exceptionally brilliant young girl, misunderstood and unloved by her swindling parents. When she starts attending school, she grows close with her lovely teacher, Miss Honey.
Unfortunately, the head mistress has a penchant for punishment and cruelty. Matilda discovers that she has telekinetic powers and decides to use them to best her parents and the principle.
26. Lorax (2012) – Netflix
An exploration and modern adaptation of a Dr. Seuss classic, this film follows Ted as he lives in the artificial town of Thneed-Ville. Everything is so manufactured and fake that you can even buy bottled air.
A girl he has a crush on says she wishes she could see a real tree. He goes on an adventure to find a real tree and discovers that beyond the false walls of Thneed-Ville, the environment is in tatters. The Lorax helps him overcome the greedy ways of the town’s mayor and bring true life back into the town.
27. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (2009) – Netflix
While this adaptation couldn’t be further from the original book by Judi Barrett, it’s an exciting, colorful film that’s just plain fun to watch.
Flint, a plucky young inventor, thinks he has a solution to the town’s problems when the sardine factory shuts down. He’s invented a machine that can turn water into food!
The machine ends up rocketing into the atmosphere and starts uncontrollably raining food onto the town.
28. – 35. The Harry Potter Movies (2001 – 2011) – HBO Max
You didn’t think we were going to forget Harry Potter did you? While some of the Harry Potter films can be a little scary for younger kids, they’re still a magical watch for the whole family!
If you’ve somehow escaped (or been deprived of) the magic of Harry Potter, let me give you a quick rundown. The films, based on the books by J.K. Rowling, chronicle the lives of Harry Potter (a young wizard) and his friends, all of whom are students at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
We recommend reading the books first and then watching the movies. You’ll find 7 books and 8 films in total, as the last book gets split up into two movies.
Finding Family Movies Your Family Will Love
It’s tough to weed through all the family movies available to find that perfect movie that everyone in your family will enjoy, especially when you have a wide age range. If the 3-year-old wants to watch Frozen for the 800th time, your teen may not be super excited about family movie night.
It’s important to make sure everyone’s voices feel heard, to the best of your ability. Maybe decide on two or three options and put it up to a family vote, so it feels like everyone gets a say.
You could also take turns letting different family members pick. Or you could let everyone write their own suggestions on pieces of paper and pick randomly from the bowl. However you choose to pick your family movies, the important part is that you enjoy the time you all spend together.
Did we miss your favorite film to watch with the family? Let us know in the comment section below!