The 40 Best Family Movies of All Time

By Nadia Carmon | September 17, 2019 | Best Of, Movies

 

If you’re looking to spend quality time with your family, movie night provides all of the entertainment that will help you do just that.

It doesn’t matter how old you get, there’s nothing like cozying up to your television set and watching a classic movie… And there’s no better way to bond with your family than over a timeless classic.

Family movies are not just great for our kids. For many of us, they are also a way to reconnect with our inner child.

We’ve prepared a list of 40 of the best family movies of all time that we know you and your kids will absolutely love. These films range from live action to animated films, and include many themes such as growing up and facing your fears.

Got any personal favorite that aren’t on the list? Feel free to let us know in the comments below!

 

1. Jumanji - Rated PG

The Best Family Movies of All Time - Jumanji

 

Jumanji is hands down one of the best family movies of all time.

It’s the story of 2 kids who find an old, cursed board game.

Essentially anyone who plays becomes trapped in the game forever. And with each roll of the dice unimaginable horrors come to life.

It’s an all-star cast starring Robin Williams and a young Kirsten Dunst.

From beginning to end, this film will take you on a magical journey, where strange and wondrous things happen…

For families who want to go the extra mile, you can play the actual Jumanji board game by Cardinal Games.

 

2. Toy Story - Rated G

The Best Family Movies of All Time - Toy Story

 

Developed by Pixar, an animation studio that’s a part of Walt Disney (They’re also known for making A Bug’s Life and Monster’s University), Toy Story is a movie about a group of toys who are competing to be number one to their human owner.

Of course, the film’s most important competition is between the characters Woody (Tom Hanks) and Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen).

Toy Story is a heartwarming story about the triumph of friendship.

 

The Best Family Movies of All Time - Toy Story Disneyland

Did you know that Disney World has a ride called Toy Story Mania? It’s an interactive 4D theme park attraction.

 

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3. The Lion King - Rated G

The Best Family Movies of All Time -  The Lion King

 

From an animated film to a Broadway show to a 2019 live-action remake with an all-starring cast featuring Seth Rogen, Donald Glover, James Earl Jones, Beyonce, John Oliver, and more...

It’s without a doubt one of the best Disney movies of all time.

It’s a film about the coming of age of a young lion cub named Simba who must brave the dangerous life of the African savannah in order to survive.

While it’s a tear-jerker and includes many harsh lessons of life, it is also largely kid-friendly.

 

4. Despicable Me - Rated PG

The Best Family Movies of All Time -  Despicable Me

 

One of the best films of the past decade is the animated film Despicable Me.

It’s a film about a about a tough guy with a soft heart…. A villian named Gru who wants to steal the moon but meets a group of girls who seek to change his mind.

Despicable Me has several sequels in its franchise, including Despicable Me 2, Despicable Me 3, The Minions, and The Minions: Rise of Gru (Which is technically The Minions 2), which is slated for release in 2020.

A Despicable Me 4 is also in the works.

 

The Best Family Movies of All Time - Despicable Me/Minions Disneyland

Image Source: Theme Park Insider

There’s a Despicable Me ride at Disney World called Despicable Me Minion Mayhem.

 

5. The Incredibles - Rated PG

The Best Family Movies of All Time - The Incredibles

 

The Incredibles is a 2004 animated film about a family of superheroes who must save the world from their super villian nemesis.

The film stars Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter and Samuel L. Jackson as Mr. Incredible, Elastigirl and Frozone.

This is a friendly action-packed film that everyone will enjoy!

Released in 2018, The Incredible 2 is the film’s sequel.

 

6. ALADDIN - Rated G

 

Like The Lion King, another film that has gotten the remake treatment is the 1992 animated classic Aladdin.

 

It’s the story of a young boy who lives on the streets of a fictional city and finds a magic lamp. Unfortunately for him, an evil sultan (Ancient boss man, basically) also wants the lamp.

 

This film is known for being a classic example of Robin Williams’ finest work.

 

The remake stars Will Smith, Mena Massoud, and Naomi Scott.

 

7. THE MINIONS - Rated PG

 

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It was only a matter of time until The Minions got their own franchise.

Although the Minions premiered in 2015. But the characters appeared long before then in Despicable Me.

This film takes place before Despicable Me, where a husband and wife team of supervillains rescue the minions and employ them to help them take over the world.

Wanna know which Minion you are? Check out Buzzfeed’s Fictional Villain quiz to learn which one most closely resembles you.

 

7. BEETLEJUICE - Rated PG

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Now also a hit Broadway musical nominated for 7 awards including Best Musical, Best Actor, Best Score, and Best Costume Design Beetlejuice (1988) is a movie about a deceased couple who haunt the home of its new inhabitants.

The film stars Winona Ryder, Alec Baldwin, Geena Davis, and of course Michael Keeton as the mischievous spirit Beetlejuice.

The concept for the film comes from the mind of Tim Burton; a filmmaker known for similarly fantastical movies such as The Nightmare Before Christmas and Children’s tales.

 

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9. THE PRINCESS BRIDE - Rated PG

 

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If you’re looking for a family-friendly fantasy/adventure movie with knights and ladies, look no further than the 1987 classic The Princess Bride.

Starring Carly Elwes, Andre the Giant, Robin Wright, & Fred Savage, the film takes the fairy tale genre and turns it on its head; blending the romance genre a healthy serving of modern humor.

 

10. A LITTLE PRINCESS - Rated G

 

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A Little Princess (1995) is a drama about a little girl who takes refuge inside of her imagination to fight the harsh realities of life.

Throughout her journey, it is her tough spirit and resilience which gets her through the worst of times.

Quite simply, it’s a film for anyone who has ever fought to keep their childlike sense of magic in the world alive.

The film is based on a book by Frances Hodgson Burnett, a writer also known for The Secret Garden and The Lost Prince.

 

11.ALICE IN WONDERLAND - Rated PG

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The 2010 Walt Disney classic remake directed by Tim Burton, and starring Johnny Depp, Mia Wasikowska, Helena Bonham Carter, and Anne Hathaway is the instant classic about a girl who travels down once more through the rabbit hole and encounters all sorts of strange and wonderful things.

One of the best things about this movie is the surreal art direction; which is its own unique color palette.

 

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As an alternative, you can also opt for the 1951 animated classic, which has all of the usual cast of characters (The Queen of Hearts, Mad Hatter, Caterpillar, etc).

 

12. CINDERELLA - Rated G

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Another film coming out of the 1950s is the animaled fairytale Cinderella; a film about a pauper turned into a princess with the help of a Fairy Godmother, and two mice named Gus and Jaq.

Cinderella is a great film because it emphasizes the power of hope; even in the worst situations.

 

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If you are interested in an updated version of this classic, look no further than the 1995 version from Rogers and Hammerstein, starring Brandy Norwood, Whitney Houston, Bernadette Peters, and Whoopi Goldberg.

 

13. ANNIE - Rated PG

Whether we’re talking about the 1982 version starring Carol Burnett, Tim Curry and Bernadette Peters, or the 2014 version starring Jamie Foxx, Quevenzhane Wallis, Little Orphan Annie is a timeless musical tale that transcends all generations.

It’s the story of a tough orphan who’s never had a break; until she gets her first chance at finding someone to adopt her.

Like many other films on this list, it’s another great story about resilience in a harsh world.

 

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Also checkout spinoff Annie films, such as Annie’s Royal Adventure, starring Ashley Johnson and Joan Collins.

Check out Uproxx’s Ranking All of the Annie Films, Sequels and Spin-Offs from Cute to Crazy for a comprehensive list of films about Little Orphan Annie.

 

14. BEAUTY AND THE BEAST - Rated G

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“A prince cursed to spend his days as a hideous monster sets out to regain his humanity by earning a young woman’s love”, is the basic gist of this classic Disney film.

That’s the plot of this original animated version of Beauty and the Beast (1991), starring Paige O’Hara and Robby Benson, as beauty and the beast, respectively.

 

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If you’re in the mood for a modern take on this classic, check out the 2017 version starring Emma Watson, Dan Stevens and Luke Evans.

 

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15. HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER'S STONE - Rated PG

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Starring Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint, Harry Potter is one of those franchises that offers its audiences magic of all sorts.

On the one hand it’s a fantastic coming-of-age story about a young boy who realizes his destiny. While on the other, there is so much “real” magic that it will thrill both you and your kids every single time you watch it.

As for the order in which you should watch the films: The series sequence in order are:

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001)

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002)

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005)

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007)

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009)

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (2010/2011)

 

16. INSIDE OUT - Rated PG

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Inside Out is an animated Pixar Disney coming-of-age film that does an amazing job personifying emotions for kids.

Starring Amy Poehler as Riley, it’s about a young girl who is going through several changes in her life, including moving to a new neighborhood and school.

Her emotions, which are Joy, Anger, Sadness, Disgust and Fear, must help to manage her feelings.

As you can expect the film is a rollercoaster from beginning to end, and, whether you’re an adult or kid will take you across the entire spectrum of emotions.

Bring the Kleenex.

 

17. FINDING NEMO - Rated G

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The 2003 Disney Pixar film starring Albert Brooks, Ellen DeGeneres, and Willem Dafoe is the story of a father who is on a mission to rescue his son from the Great Barrier Reef which has trapped him.

The film won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature and was nominated in 3 other categories, including Best Original Screenplay.

 

18. HOME ALONE - Rated PG

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This classic 1990 film starring Macaulay Culkin and Joe Pesci, is the story of a young boy who must defend his home from a pair of burglars.

Think you know everything about Home Alone? Guess again. Check out Mental Floss’s 25 Things You Did Not Know About Home Alone.

 

19. THE JUNGLE BOOK - Rated PG

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Yet another film that has gotten the remake-over treatment, the 1967 animated original The Jungle Book follows a young boy through the jungle as he embarks on a journey of self-discovery.

The 2016 live-action remake stars Bill Murray, Idris Elba, Lupita Nyong’o, and Scarlett Johansson as the voices of the animal characters.

 

20. THE NEVERENDING STORY - Rated PG

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Probably one of the most popular silver screen fairytales is the 1984 film The Neverending Story, starring Barret Oliver.

The film is about a young boy who starts reading a fantasy book called The Neverending Story to escape a group of bullies in the real world.

Did you know that The Neverending Story was filmed in the West German state of Bavaria? Learn more about the film from Buzzfeed’s compiled list 15 Surprising Facts From Your Childhood Film, “The Neverending Story”.

 

21. THE WIZARD OF OZ - Rated PG

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Starring Judy Garland and Frank Morgan, The Wizard of Oz is the story of a young girl named Dorothy who desperately wants to escape her rural life in Kansas.

When a tornado hits her hometown, she is literally whisked away into another world, into a land called Oz. It is here she meets up with a cast of characters including Tin Man, Scarecrow, and Cowardly Lion.

Together they embark on a journey to find the great Wizard of Oz.

Think you know all about The Wizard of Oz? Test your knowledge with this pop trivia by Watch Mojo.

 

22. ANASTASIA - Rated G

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Stories about orphans and paupers turned princes and princesses have always been a big part of children’s fairytales.

Anastasia is no exception. It is, in fact, one of the best examples of this genre.

The animated film is about an orphaned girl who finds out she is the long lost and last surviving member of the Royal Romanov family.

The movie features a star-studded cast of voice actors, including Meg Ryan, John Cusack, Kirsten Dunst, Kelsey Grammer, and more...

The Broadway musical version is also currently on tour...

 

23. THE LITTLE MERMAID- Rated G

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The Little Mermaid is a 1989 animated film about a young mermaid who falls in love with a human price. She encounters a sea witch named Ursula who promises that she can win the prince’s affection for a price…

In 2000 the film received a sequel: The Little Mermaid II, Return to the Sea.

 

24. THE KARATE KID- Rated PG

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The Karate Kid is a classic film about how a bullied teenager learns to stick up for himself by learning martial arts.

Some of the great themes that this movie can provide to everyone, regardless of age, is that we should always feel empowered to do what is in our best interest. Sometimes, as in the case of Daniel learning Karate, we need to build the skills that can help us face our fears.

In 2010 a remake was made starring Jaden Smith, Jackie Chan, and Taraji P. Henson.

 

25. THE SANDLOT- Rated PG

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Sure to be your new family favorite, The Sandlot is a film about a group of young boys (and their trusty canine sidekick Hercules) who must retrieve their favorite baseball (signed by Babe Ruth) from the infamous sandlot - a no-man’s land backyard from where no one has returned…

The film is about their subsequent attempt to get the ball and all of the hilarious that happen along the way.

Mental Floss has a great collection of 15 Facts You Might Not Know about the movie.

 

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26. WILLY WONKA AND THE CHOCOALTE FACTORY - Rated G

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Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory is a classic movie about a poor boy who wins a much-prized golden ticket to the famous candymakers factory.

At its heart, it’s a movie about hope and even hints at how great character can be built from a sense of humility.

 

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While the classic is, well, a classic, the updated version starring Johnny Depp is equally as enjoyable.

27. FROZEN- Rated PG

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Also a Broadway musical, Frozen is the animated tale of a queen who accidentally releases her hidden powers, and freezes her entire kingdom.

The story follows her sister Anna, a mountain man, his reindeer and a snowman in their quest to restore the city to life.

Voice actors include Kristen Bell and Idina Menzel.

Frozen 2 is currently in production and will be released in 2019.

 

28. STAR WARS EPISODE 1: THE PHANTOM MENACE - Rated PG

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Sci Fi movies about outer space are bound to keep your young ones’ imagination occupied.

And there is no greater, kid-friendly space flick than the Star Wars franchise.

Starring Natalie Portman, Liam Neeson, and Ewan McGregor, Star Wars, Episode I: The Phantom Mentace is the classic tale of the fight of good against evil in a galaxy far, far away.

Should your family get hooked on the Star Wars franchise and you want to check out more of the universe, make sure you’re watching the films in order.

Digital Trends has created this nifty article about the best viewing order of the films.

BFI has quite a few recommendations for sci fi films you can watch with the fam.

 

29. E.T THE EXTRA TERRESTRIAL - Rated PG

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Straight from your 80s childhood, directed by Spielberg, E.T The Extra Terrestrial is the heart-warming tale of a young boy who helps an alien from another planet return to his home world.

The film stars Henry Thomas as main character Elliot and also features appearances by Dee Wallace and Drew Barrymore.

Here are a few fun facts you might not know about the film, courtesy of GeekyRant.

 

30. MATILDA - Rated PG

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From the author who brought us Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda tells the story of a gifted child who is brought up in a cruel world that doesn’t acknowledge her.

While the film is certainly a bit darker in that respect, it is Matilda’s good-natured and comedic resilience that helps gives the movie a lighter note.

The film stars Mara Wilson and Danny Devito.

Wanna know more about Matilda? Check out Diply’s 16 Things You Never Knew About Matilda.

 

31. MULAN - Rated G

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This beloved 1998 Walt Disney animated feature is the story of a young woman who takes her father’s place as a soldier in order to save him from an uncertain fate.

The film stars Ming Na Wen, BD Wong and Eddie Murphy.

The film will receive a live-action update in 2020, starring Yifei Liu, Donnie Yen, and Jet Li.

 

31. INDIANA JONES - Rated PG

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For the family that loves action, Indiana Jones is the perfect kid-friendly franchise.

The film stars Harrison Ford as the title archaeologist who must find the Ark of the Covenant before his arch nemeses do.

Check out this fan-powered site if you need to know the exact order in which to watch the series.

 

33. THE PARENT TRAP - Rated PG

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Two siblings who have been raised by their separated biological parents plan to bring them together.

That’s the synopsis of this The Parent Trap - a comedy/drama starring Lindsay Lohan and Dennis Quaid.

While you’re at it, check out Buzzfeed’s 29 Things You Probabaly Didn’t Know About The Parent Trap.

 

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34. 13 GOING ON 30 - Rated PG-13

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Starring Jennifer Garner and Mark Ruffalo, 13 Going on 30 is a family

film about the dangers of wanting to be “a grown up” and just generally growing up too fast.

On her 13th birthday, a young girl wishes that she was 30. The next day she wakes up and she is in fact a 30 year old woman.

13 Going on 30 is a great film about the joys of staying young at heart; even when you’re an adult with responsibilities.

Here are 15 things you might not know about the film.

 

35. 101 DALMATIANS - Rated G

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This classic film tells the story of a fashion designer’s plot to steal dalmatian puppies for her…*gulp*...coat.

101 Dalmations is an absurdly comic plot that will have you and the whole family laughing.

If you like this, you’re family will also appreciate the 1961 animated version.

 

36. LADY AND THE TRAMP- Rated G

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If Romeo and Juliet were an animated film about dogs, the Lady and the Tramp would be that film.

The Lady and the Tramp is a 1955 Walt Disney film about a street dog (Tramp) who meets a well-kept cocker spaniel (Lady).

A new, live-action version of the film comes out this year.

 

37. SPY KIDS - Rated PG

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Starring Alexa PenaVega and Daryl Sabara, Spy Kids is a straight-forward action-packed film for the whole that centers around the children of 2 secret agents who must ban together to save them from danger.

This is basically the live-action version of the Incredibles. We know you’ll have much fun watching this!

 

38. HOT TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON - Rated PG

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How to Train Your Dragon is a brilliant story that teaches us that if we’re willing to open ourselves up, we can find friends in places we never knew we had.

The film is about a young Viking who is in training to become a dragonhunter; But learns that there is more to them than meets the eye.

The series has 3 installments, including How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, which is currently in theaters.

Learn more about the film on Dreamworks’ online portal.

 

39. RATATOUILLE - Rated G

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Ratatouille is a great family film about a Parisian rat who dreams of becoming a chef.

It’s from Pixar studio, who also created A Bug’s Life, Monsters Inc., WALL-E, Cars, Coco, and more.

 

40. SHREK- Rated PG

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Shrek is an animated fairytale about an ogre who must rescue a princess in order to get his land back.

Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, and Cameron Diaz give their voices of the main characters.

The film has 4 movies in its franchise thus far; including Shrek, Shrek 2, Shrek the Third & Shrek Forever After.

Shrek 5 is currently in the works.

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Our list of the top 40 family films of all time covers everything from animation to live-action. The best thing is that they’re not just “kids movies”.

We know that every family will be able to find a flick they can all agree on and enjoy.

Please let us know if we did or didn’t mention any of your favorites in the comments!

 

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