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Still from 'Matilda'

The best kids’ movies on Netflix

Got little ones to keep busy over the summer? Or just feeling a bit kidult-y? Here are 17 kids' movies on Netflix UK that no-one can refuse

By Ellie Walker-Arnott

There are plenty of activities to keep the little ones entertained in London this summer, from musuems to parks and plays. But isn't there something just a bit perfect about snuggling down on the sofa to watch one of the best kids' movies instead? Any one of these movies, streaming now on Netflix UK, is guaranteed to have you and the kids grinning from ear to ear.

RECOMMENDED: Explore the full guide to summer holidays in London

The best kids' movies on Netflix

1. Labyrinth


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.

2. The Little Prince (2016)

Film Animation

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.


3. Gnomeo and Juliet (2011)

Film Family and kids

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.

4. How to Train Your Dragon (2010)

Film Animation

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.


5. Madagascar (2005)

Film Family and kids

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.

6. Roald Dahl's Matilda (1996)

Film Family and kids

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. 


7. Charlotte's Web (2007)

Film Drama

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.

8. Over the Hedge (2006)

Film Family and kids

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.

Rise of the Guardians
Rise of the Guardians
Rise of the Guardians

9. Rise of the Guardians (2012)

Film Action and adventure

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.

10. Kung Fu Panda (2008)

Film Animation

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.


11. Megamind (2010)

Film Animation

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?

12. Into the Woods (2014)

Film Family and kids

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.


13. The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005)

Film Action and adventure

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.

14. Monsters vs Aliens (2009)


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.

15. Explorers (1985)

Film Science fiction

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.

16. Home Alone (1990)

Film Comedy

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.

arthur christmas
arthur christmas
Photograph: Sony Pictures

17. Arthur Christmas (2011)

Film Action and adventure

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.  

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