The 50 best kids movies to watch as a family
We know there’s nothing quite like enjoying family movies with the kids. Enjoy our favorite 50 kids’ movies, ranging from Mrs. Doubtfire to The Goonies
Sat Aug 16 2014
We've had plenty of fun exhausting our kids at the best beaches in NYC and catching free outdoor movies for New York City families this summer, and with fall soon approaching (the perfect time to get cozy for family movie nights), we decided it was finally time to update our list of the 50 best kids' movies. Choosing our favorite top family movies wasn't easy: As you'll see, a number of recent blockbusters that may already be in your family's movie-watching rotation made the cut, though since there were so many good family movies to choose from, we have no doubt that we may have missed some of your favorite flicks. We encourage you to weigh in below and let us know which titles you think should have been included. For now, though, click through our picks for the best family movies of all time and then schedule a movie night (with popcorn, of course). Happy viewing!
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001)
Literature's greatest boy wizard is turned into one of the movie's most charismatic under-12 heroes (a tip of the pointy hat to Daniel Radcliffe) as J.K. Rowling's world of muggles, monsters and mystical goings-on at Hogwarts is brought to life on screen. Things will get seriously PG-13 dark by the time this eight-film series ends, but Chris Columbus's kid-friendly adaptation of book ones truly makes viewers of all ages believe in magic. Rated PG.
A magical board game unleashes a world of adventure on siblings Peter (Bradley Pierce) and Judy Shepherd (Kirsten Dunst). While exploring an old mansion, the youngsters find a curious, jungle-themed game called Jumanji in the attic. When they start playing, they free Alan Parrish (Robin Williams), who's been stuck in the game's inner world for decades. If they win Jumanji, the kids can free Alan for good– but that means braving giant bugs, ill-mannered monkeys and even stampeding rhinos! Rated PG.
Yes, it contains what may be the single most traumatic moment of any kids' movie, but the story of a young doe remains a prime example of Disney's ability to mingle sugary cuteness—we're looking at you, Thumper—with suspenseful storytelling. It's a movie near and "deer" to many viewers' hearts. Rated G.
The Goonies (1985)
A group of childhood friends, a treasure map, a scary (but ultimately sweet) giant named Sloth, thrills, spills, chills: This '80s adventure bears all of the hallmarks of exciting YA-lit drama and producer Steven Spielberg's brand of derring-do. Rated PG.
Rapunzel joins the Disney stable of princesses, only this young lady with the long, flowing locks isn't the passive type; she's adventurous, curious about the world outside her window and wields a mean frying pan. Disney's animation has rarely looked more gorgeous, and Alan Menken's raucous "I Have a Dream" number proves the old Mouse House magic still works wonders. Rated PG.
Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
A perennial Christmas favorite, this fairy tale about a department-store Santa who claims to be the real Kris Kringle never ceases to bring the seasonal cheer. Edmund Gwenn makes for the perfect jolly old elf, but it's joyful nine-year-old Natalie Wood that exemplifies what the holiday is really about: faith in the kindness of your fellow man. Not rated.
Our favorite of the many versions,1982’s Annie features a young girl who must live in an awful orphanage during the 1930s. Annie’s life is governed by a tyrannical woman named Miss Hannigan, but her luck seems to change when she’s selected to live with a wealthy local businessperson, Oliver Warbucks. Rated PG.
The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
Part warped Broadway musical and part My First Goth Party, this stop-motion animated gem—courtesy of the prince of goofy darkness, Tim Burton—watches as Halloween's witches, zombies and showtune-singing skeletons try their hand at St. Nick's regular beat. The holidays have rarely seemed so ghoulishly giddy. Rated PG.
Little Fugitive (1953)
A seven-year-old Brooklyn kid (who erroneously thinks he's killed his prankster older brother) wanders through '50s Coney Island all by his lonesome—and in one fell swoop, this delicate independent movie reminds you of how confusing, painful, wonderful and glorious childhood can be. Not rated.
National Velvet (1944)
The original girl-meets-horse movie, in which Mickey Rooney and young Elizabeth Taylor turn a wild gelding into a contender at the Grand National Steeplechase, remains a charming, quaint look at going for equestrian gold. It still goes down as smooth as its title. Rated G.