The best kids' movies on Netflix
Director Jim Henson
Cast David Bowie, Jennifer Connelly
In this classic ’80s fairytale fantasy, frustrated teenager Sarah wishes her baby brother would be taken away by the Goblin King – but when her wish unexpectedly comes true, she has just 13 hours to solve the labyrinth and rescue him. All-round legend Bowie plays the Goblin King himself, in a pair of skin-tight Lycra leggings that should really have upgraded this film from U to a PG.
Director Mark Osborne
Cast Rachel McAdams, Jeff Bridges, Mackenzie Foy (voices)
If this sweet movie, faithfully based on Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s iconic masterpiece, passed you by it might be because it ended up skipping the cinema and landing straight on Netflix. A charming mix of animation and stop-motion, the family-friendly film follows a young girl who is told the familiar tale by the book’s now elderly aviator.
Director Kelly Asbury
Cast James McAvoy, Emily Blunt, Maggie Smith (voices)
The Bard’s epic love story is reimagined in Stratford-upon-Avon, where two elderly neighbours are locked in a battle over their back gardens. When two gnomes from either side of the fence fall in love, the trouble intensifies. But there will be no tears at the closing credits; this U-classified Shakespearean caper comes without the suicidal finale.
Directors Dean DeBlois and Chris Sanders
Cast Jay Baruchel, Gerard Butler, America Ferrera (voices)
Hiccup might be the son of the clan chief, but that doesn’t stop him being a misfit. The Norse teenager joins dragon-fighting school to prove himself a true Viking, until a chance encounter with a rare injured dragon called Toothless prompts him to question whether warfare is really necessary. Watch it for the breathtaking aerial battle sequence.
Directors Eric Darnell and Tom McGrath
Cast Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer, Jada Pinkett Smith (voices)
Smile and wave, boys. Smile and wave. A gaggle of famous voices lend their vocal chords to this fun, hectic animation about four pampered animals who have spent their entire existence in captivity at Central Park Zoo. Drama ensues when, with the help of some plucky penguins, Marty the zebra makes an escape.
Director Danny DeVito
Cast Mara Wilson, Danny DeVito, Pam Ferris
Roald Dahl's book smart heroine is the star of this '90s kids movie. Matila (Mara Wilson) is a precocious, bright, spunky young thing somehow born to mindless, amoral, stupid neanderthals. Her story of libraries, evil headmistresses and the stupidly of adults is a modern-day pantomime about childhood solidarity and self-empowerment. It's a total joy.
Director Gary Winick
Cast Julia Roberts, Dakota Fanning, John Cleese (voices)
The classic children’s tale of a young girl raising a runt piglet as a pet gets an elegant big-screen, A-lister heavy adaptation. In probably her least glamorous role to date, Julia Roberts plays Charlotte, a spider who lives in the eaves of a farm barn and uses her web to convince the farmer that Wilbur the pig is too special to end up on anyone’s dinner plate.
Directors Tim Johnson and Karey Kirkpatrick
Cast Bruce Willis, Steve Carell, Wanda Sykes (voices)
In this smart and funny animation, a gaggle of woodland animals wake up from their annual hibernation to find a suburban housing development on their doorstep and a bloody great hedge between them and their foraging ground. The ragtag bunch panic, until a streetwise raccoon shows them how much their new human neighbours consume and waste.
Director Peter Ramsey
Cast Chris Pine, Alec Baldwin, Hugh Jackman (voices)
Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny and the Sandman enlist Jack Frost to stop Pitch Black from engulfing the world in darkness. Think of ‘Rise of the Guardians’ as a fantastical, animated Avengers movie.
Director John Stevenson and Mark Osborne
Cast Jack Black, Dustin Hoffman, Ian McShane (voices)
Panda Po desperately wants to be a kung fu master but he’s stuck serving noodles in his father’s restaurant instead. Or at least he is until a mix up sees him named the chosen one, destined to bring peace to the land via the medium of kung fu.
Director Tom McGrath
Cast Will Ferrell, Tina Fey, Jonah Hill (voices)Meet Megamind (voiced by Will Ferrell), a highly intelligent supervillain with a really, really massive head. He finally gets what he wants when Metro Man (Brad Pitt), his arch nemesis, is defeated, but what happens when his much-anticipated victory suddenly doesn’t seem so sweet?
Director Rob Marshall
Cast Meryl Streep, James Corden, Emily Blunt
The hit Broadway musical gets the big-budget Hollywood treatment. Meryl Streep stars as The Witch who curses a childless Baker (James Corden) and his wife (Emily Blunt) in this mash-up of famous fairytales. You’ll recognise lots of characters, but none of them are getting their usual happy ending.
Directors Steve Box and Nick Park
Cast Peter Sallis, Ralph Fiennes, Helena Bonham Carter (voices)
Wallace and Gromit took the big screen by storm with this wonderfully funny film, in which the eccentric inventor and his mute dog battle a mutant rabbit in danger of sabotaging the local vegetable-growing competition. Being an Aardman film, it’s intensely British and insanely imaginative.
Director Conrad Vernon and Rob Letterman
Cast Reese Witherspoon, Seth Rogen and Hugh Laurie (voices)Reese Witherspoon is the voice of Susan Murphy, a bride who is struck by a meteorite on her wedding day and grows 50feet in height. Her impending nuptials are then the last thing on her mind, when her new size attracts the attention of an evil alien.
Director Joe Dante
Cast Ethan Hawke, River Phoenix
One of the best kids’ movies of the ’80s, this heartfelt, stargazing adventure from ‘Gremlins’ director Joe Dante features star-in-the-making Ethan Hawke and River Phoenix as high-school dreamers who build their own spaceship. The magical air of Spielbergian wish-fulfillment is somewhat punctured by the whacked-out finale, but kids will lap it up nonetheless.
Director Chris Columbus
Cast Macaulay Culkin, Catherine O’Hara
In the archetypal ’90s kids’ movie, Macaulay Culkin is eight-year-old Kevin who wishes his family would just leave him alone. His prayers are answered when they fly to France for the Christmas holidays, forgetting all about him. The novelty, however, soon wears off when a couple of burglars target the house. Hilarious.
Director Sarah Smith
Cast James McAvoy, Bill Nighy, Jim Broadbent (voices)
Christmas is almost ruined for one little girl in this animation, when a high-tech new system fails to deliver her presents. The task falls to an elderly former Santa (Bill Nighy) and his clumsy grandchild (James McAvoy) to right the wrong before everyone wakes up on Christmas morning.