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The 50 best kids' movies to watch as a family

Dive into our list of the best kids' movies around—you’ll find family favorites everyone will love


Got a ‘lil film buff on your hands? We thought so. Thankfully, we've created an epic list of the best kids' movies around! There are plenty of classics and new family picks to make each popcorn–packed movie night better than the next.

To help you make your selections, we’ve compiled a foolproof lineup of our favorites to please all generations squeezed on the couch (plus the babysitter, if she’s left in charge).

As you can probably guess, the competition was pretty fierce—you’ll see a number of blockbusters that are in your regular rotation alongside some newer kid-pleasing flicks, and we have no doubt we may have missed some of your favorites. Weigh in below and let us know what titles you think deserve recognition (or to give us two thumbs up on our selections), and while you’re at it, check out our ideas for other fun things to do with kids in Melbourne and our favorite cheap kids' activities.

Best kids' movies: 50-41

50. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

It's a simple story, really: Boy meets alien. Boy and alien become best friends. Boy says goodbye to alien when his outer-space buddy has to go home, causing audiences everywhere to sob uncontrollably. How Steven Spielberg tells it, of course, makes a world of difference, as he infuses this family blockbuster with a childlike sense of awe. If you can think of a more magical '80s movie moment than E.T. and Elliott biking past the moon, we'll personally buy you a bag of Reese's Pieces. Rated PG.

Buy ET The Extra Terrestrial on Amazon

49. The Witches (1990)

We’re not going to lie, The Witches does not come without scares (director Nicholas Roeg is also the man behind terrifying ’70s flick, Don’t Look Now). But this British gem, based on the gnarly Roald Dahl book of the same name, manages the balance between frights, thrills and laughs brilliantly. The story is a dark twist on Potterverse: witches live amongst us, but none of them are kind. And when a young boy and his grandmother tumble across a convention of witches while on a seaside holiday, hilarious chaos is unleashed. Angelica Huston chews the scenery like so much gum as the fabulously evil Grand High Witch, but the real star here is the makeup—you’ll wince when you see what lies beneath these witches’ human masks. Rated PG.

Buy The Witches on Amazon

48. 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.

Buy Miracle on 34th St on Amazon

47. The Muppet Movie (1979)

Kermit the Frog & Co. were already household names in 1979, thanks to their popular television variety show; once you watch Fozzie Bear, Miss Piggy and the rest of their felt-skinned friends crack wise, mingle with famous faces and narrowly avoid danger in their first feature film, though, you suddenly understand why folks from age five to 95 loved them. There was a residual countercultural coolness in their self-referentiality—at one point, they check to see what happens next by consulting the movie's script—yet they were still kid-friendly. Jim Henson's approach made the Muppets seem both hip and harmlessly square, but more important, he understood the timeless appeal of putting on a show: Even contemporary kids who don't know from Hare Krishna jokes still giggle at a monster bursting through a movie screen and still sway to the strains of "The Rainbow Connection." Rated G.

Buy The Muppet Movie on Amazon


46. The Red Balloon (1956)

We've seen gajillions of American movies about boys and their pet dogs, horses, freed whales, monsters and alien friends; it took the French, however, to realize the poignancy of making a short film about a boy and his balloon. Clocking in at a mere 34 minutes, Albert Lamorisse's featurette follows a child named Pascal, who encounters the title's floating red object tied a railing. After untying the balloon, the lad and his newfound companion traipse around Paris, riling up his classmates and even meeting his female counterpart (though her helium-filled friend is blue). Lamorisse treats childhood as one big adventure, with Pascal and pal wandering innocently throughout an urban landscape filled with adults to bother, buildings to explore and streetside bazaars to peruse. This is the city as a playground and a place where magic happens; even when tragedy strikes, The Red Balloon still has one trick left up its sleeve, ending in a sky ride that simply must be seen to believed. Not rated.

Buy The Red Balloon on Amazon

45. Zootopia (2016)

Judy Hopps dreams of joining the police force and leaves her farm and family for the bustling metropolis Zootopia to achieve this goal. As the first rabbit in the crew, she isn’t taken seriously by her fellow police officers. Tired of writing up parking violations, Judy decides to take on a missing persons case to prove herself. When she enlists the unwilling help of con fox Nick Wilde, the pair find themselves going down a rabbit hole of clues, scandals and close calls. Rated PG.

Buy Zootopia on Amazon

44. Labyrinth (1986)

Jim Henson’s cult classic centers on a dark premise: a teenage girl (yes, that’s a very young Jennifer Connelly) is forced to enter a fantasy world and solve a wild labyrinth in order to rescue her baby brother, who’s been kidnapped and is being held by the Goblin King. The plot, though, is really just for director Jim Henson to delight the audience with all manner of strange puppet creatures and musical numbers—the Goblin King is played, of course, by David Bowie, who takes over the movie at several points for some delicious musical interludes. The little ones will be singing “Magic Dance” for weeks. Rated PG.

Buy Labyrinth on Amazon

43. Inside Out (2015)

This family flick remains one of Pixar’s most creative storylines—prepare for a roller coaster of emotions! The key characters of this sweet movie are actually a little girl’s feelings—Disgust, Joy and Sadness, to name a few—and accompany her on an unexpected move from the Midwest to the West Coast. Which emotion will prevail? Rated PG.

Buy Inside Out on Amazon

42. Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971)

A magical tale for sweet-toothed kids, Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory tells the story of a little boy from a poor family and his dream—and eventual reality—of getting a peek inside Willy Wonka’s mysterious enterprise. After several children find the elusive golden ticket inside their chocolate bars and win a tour of the factory, it turns out there’s something even bigger at stake. Rated G.

41. Enchanted (2007)

New York City is a fairytale for some, but certainly not for Princess Giselle (Amy Adams). When she’s whisked away to the Big Apple at the request of her love’s evil stepmother, everything goes awry. This was definitely not the happily-ever-after she had imagined. She’s no longer singing with her favorite little creatures, enjoying the bounce of her princess dresses and awaiting marriage to her beloved. In Manhattan, she’s battling roaches and overcrowded urban conditions. New York’s not for everyone, but will Princess Giselle find Gotham to be enchanted despite it all? Rated PG.

Buy Enchanted on Amazon

Best kids' movies: 40-31

40. Up (2009)

You’ll have no reservations about flying away with Carl and Russell in this irresistible animated flick. The grumpy elderly balloon salesman, Carl, manages to lift his house off the ground, something he’s been dying to do for years. But what happens when his goals are taken to new heights...with a cute little boy scout stowaway on board?  Rated PG.

39. The Jungle Book (1967)

In this Disney classic, Mowgli, a young boy who was raised by a pack of wolves, develops a sense of curiosity that may prove to be dangerous to himself and his jungle family. Wise panther Bagheera attempts to get Mowgli back with his own kind, but the boy's stubborn ways are encouraged by Baloo, the carefree bear. Will he make it to the man-village before the jungle's feared predator, Shere Khan, tracks him down? Rated G.

Buy The Jungle Book on Amazon

38. Old Yeller (1957)

No offense, Lassie, but when it comes to screen dogs, we'll always have a soft spot for that golden Lab so beloved by Tommy Kirk and his family. Those weren't tears, by the way; we just got, er, something in our eyes toward the end of the film. Rated G.

Buy Old Yeller on Amazon

37. Annie (1982)

Red-headed orphan Annie lives with other little girls in terrible conditions under the control of neglectful and vindictive Miss Hannigan, but the pint-sized optimist can’t be beaten down. When a wealthy businessman, Mr. Warbucks, agrees to foster an orphan to improve his public image, he is eventually won over by Annie’s charms. There’s trouble brewing, however, as Miss Hannigan and her seedy friends concoct a plan to get rich. Rated PG.

Buy Annie on Amazon


36. The Parent Trap (1998)

Annie and Hallie get sent to the same summer camp—and they simply can’t get along. After arguments, pranks and other scuffles, the two are forced to share the same bunk—and it turned out to be (possibly) one of the most serendipitous moments in ‘90s movie history. When they discover that they’re twins and were separated at birth, they devise a “brilliant beyond brilliant” plan to switch places and potentially bring their parents back together again. Rated PG.

Buy The Parent Trap on Amazon

35. A Little Princess (1995)

Loosely based on Frances Hodgson Burnett’s famous novel, the film tells the story of an imaginative little girl named Sara Crewe who feels that all girls are princesses. When her father heads off to war, he sends her to the same New York boarding school her late mother attended; even through a series of unfortunate events, Sara remains optimistic and manages to inspire all the kids (even overcoming the evil headmistress Miss Minchin). Rated G.

Buy A Little Princess on Amazon

34. Elf (2003)

When Buddy the Elf learns he was adopted by Santa’s helpers in the North Pole, he travels to the big city in search of his real father. Except his father has never known of his existence and Buddy has no idea how to properly act within society. Holiday hijinks ensue when Santa needs help and it’s up to Buddy and crowd-sourced holiday spirit to save Christmas. Rated PG.

Buy Elf on Amazon

33. The Princess and the Frog (2009)

Take a trip to Louisiana with this children’s book-inspired story, where smooched amphibians turn into royalty. The bayou comes to life with bright colors, moody environments, mystical interference and top-notch original music. The Princess and the Frog introduces a long-awaited African American princess who’s no damsel in distress, and you’ll be cheering for her to accomplish her biggest dream—opening a restaurant—the entire time. Rated G.

Buy The Princess and the Frog on Amazon


32. The Lego Movie (2014)

The world’s first-ever full-length LEGO adventure shares the tale of a superweapon called the Kragle; evil Lord Business (yep, you heard us) stole the coveted weapon from good wizard Vitruvius, the Kragle’s protector! There’s only one thing to stop him: the “Piece of Resistance,” a brick capable of stopping the Kragle. The film boasts a script that’ll make both parents and kids laugh, plus it has a star-studded cast—you’ll hear the voices of Chris Pratt, Will Ferrell, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett, Morgan Freeman, Liam Neeson and more! Rated PG.

Buy The Lego Movie on Amazon

31. Anastasia (1997)

The real-life mystery of the massacred Romanov royal family and the disappearance of the youngest princess Anastasia plays out in this animated film. We follow orphan Anya as she teams up with Dimitri and Vladimir in search for her real family, which she believes to be in Paris. Little does she know that the two con men have been holding auditions to fool the Dowager Empress and receive the reward money being offered to whomever can find and return her granddaughter home. Along the way, the trio encounter the curses of sorcerer Rasputin, whose hex against the Romanov family went unfinished with Anastasia’s survival, and viewers find a new villain’s sidekick to love in Bartok the albino bat. Rated G.

Best kids' movies: 30-21

30. Mrs. Doubtfire (1993)

Husband and wife Miranda and Daniel are at odds: The light-hearted father (Robin Williams) has become too much for his super-serious counterpart (Sally Field). When a divorce comes between Daniel and his three kids, he gets quite an idea. With the help of his creative brother, the distressed dad disguises himself as a British nanny in order to spend more time with his family. Naturally, it isn’t all smooth sailing when Mrs. Doubtfire goes undercover. Expect a few tears along the way, too. Rated PG-13.

Buy Mrs. Doubtfire on Amazon

29. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)

Walt Disney had already made a name for himself, having worked on a number of animated shorts (he actually had high hopes for a rodent character he'd just created, Mickey something or other), but in early 1934 he felt it was time to move into the big leagues. Disney announced that he and his team would be starting on their first feature-length film: an adaptation of the Brothers Grimm fairy tale about a princess and her septet of pint-size friends. The rest, as they say, is history. When you watch this extraordinary effort today, you can see the company's decades-old recipe for success forming before your very eyes: the heroine in peril, the moving musical numbers ("Some Day My Prince Will Come"), the humorous (Dopey), the horrifying (the Wicked Queen) and the happily-ever-after ending. It all starts here. Rated G.

Buy Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs on Amazon


28. Coco (2017)

There’s nothing Miguel loves quite as much as the beautiful ballads of Ernesto de la Cruz. He idolizes the singer, yet his family strictly forbids music, for reasons unknown to the young boy. All it takes is a visit to the Land of the Dead—and the help of a new friend named Héctor—for Miguel to test out his musical chops and uncover the real reason his family refuses to listen to music. Rated PG

27. The Sandlot (1993)

This coming-of-age tale is a true classic—after all, what’s more American than baseball? Quirky youngster Scottie Smalls (Thomas Guiry) moves to a new neighborhood and manages to make some friends at a local baseball diamond. Together, they get themselves into tons of trouble (and must even band together to retrieve a piece of precious baseball memorabilia). Rated PG.

Buy The Sandlot on Amazon

26. Tangled (2010)

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.

Buy Tangled on Amazon

25. Jumanji (1995)

When two siblings discover a magical board game—Jumanji—in the attic of an old mansion, they get wayyyyy more than they bargained for—including a jungle full of wild creatures, a crazy game hunter and even Alan (Robin Williams), a boy (now a man) who got trapped in the game during his childhood. Can the kids win Jumanji and free Alan for good? Rated PG..

Buy Jumanji on Amazon


24. Matilda (1996)

Roald Dahl’s sweet bookworm Matilda comes to life in this go-to ’90s movie. Matilda (Mara Wilson) is discouraged from reading—her only escape in a house where she isn’t wanted or encouraged. Though her school is horrible—just imagine the worst principal you’ve ever met—she seeks refuge in learning and in the kindness of her teacher Miss Honey, eventually showing ‘em all what she’s really made of (telekinetic powers and all!). Rated PG.

Buy Matilda on Amazon

23. How to Train Your Dragon (2010)

Hiccup isn’t like the rest of the Viking clan. He aspires to be like his dragon-hunting father, but when he befriends the Night Fury dragon, he learns a thing or two about this feared creature. And surprisingly, there’s a bigger issue at hand for vikings and dragons alike. Rated PG.

Buy How to Train Your Dragon on Amazon

22. Moana (2016)

Disney’s latest princess story takes viewers to Ancient Polynesia where Moana, the daughter of her tribe’s chief, is faced with the task of braving the ocean in order to save her island from a curse. She teams up with legendary demigod Maui in order to confront the creatures that lurk in the seas and fulfill her dangerous quest. She eventually discovers that true north rests within herself. Rated PG.

21. Alice in Wonderland (1951)

Disney's adaptation of Lewis Carroll's fantasy takes you down the rabbit hole with a whirligig of dazzling color, delightful wordplay (a very merry unbirthday to you, Mad Hatter) and visual absurdities around every corner. Looking for a way to introduce kids to a great work of literature? Go ask Alice. Rated G.

Buy Alice in Wonderland on Amazon

Best kids' movies: 20-11

20. Beauty and the Beast (1991)

While Emma Watson’s recent live-action Beauty and the Beast remake was certainly spot-on, we hold a special place in our hearts for the original “tale as old as time”—the 1991 Disney movie. Belle, a kind, beautiful bookworm, is unimpressed by the come-ons of the town’s pompous alpha-male Gaston and is generally at odds with most of the village. When her inventor father goes missing (and no one does a thing about it), she heads into the (quite scary) woods to find him, getting herself deeper into trouble than she intended. Rated G.

Buy Beauty and the Beast on Amazon

19. Despicable Me (2010)

Gru has no time to waste. The wicked schemer is planning to take over the moon (with the help of his yellow minions). All goes according to plan until three orphaned sisters come into his life. Soon, the evil mastermind gets used to a new title: dad. How will these little ladies affect his hopes for his intergalactic takeover? Rated PG.

Buy Despicable Me on Amazon


18. A Christmas Story (1983)

Christmas is a time for family, celebration…and putting together an epic wish-list for Santa. We all have that one toy we couldn’t wait to find under the tree on December 25. For young Ralphie, his dream is to get his hands on a Red Ryder B.B. Gun. Naturally, adults give young Ralphie plenty of warnings along the way over his coveted gift. Is it really the holiday season if you haven’t heard “You’ll shoot your eye out kid!” at least a dozen times? This Christmas classic is one that begs to be repeated year after year (and trust us, you’re sure to catch it on TV plenty of times). Rated PG.

Buy A Christmas Story on Amazon

17. The Little Mermaid (1989)

Ariel longs for life on land and a pair of legs to keep her moving, but the young mermaid is stuck under the sea. When the wicked octopus Ursula discovers Ariel’s desires, she uses them to her advantage. She makes a deal with the young girl: In exchange for her gorgeous singing voice, Ursula will grant Ariel legs and the opportunity to whisk Prince Eric off his feet. But there’s a catch—if he doesn’t plant one on her in three days, she’ll return under the sea, sans legs, where she’ll serve as Ursula’s slave. The pressure’s on in this “whole new world!” Rated G.

Buy The Little Mermaid on Amazon


16. Bright Eyes (1934)

The original child superstar, Shirley Temple was never better than in this prototypical Temple-esque tale of a curly-haired orphan trying to live with her kindly pilot godfather. To watch the moppet perform "On the Good Ship Lollipop" is to witness onscreen precociousness at its finest. Rated PG.

Buy Bright Eyes on Amazon

15. The Princess Bride (1987)

Could Rob Reiner's simultaneous send-up and celebration of fairy tales have better captured the imagination of all who live for the phrase "Once upon a time..."? In-con-ceiv-able, we say! You won't find a sweeter love letter to the glories of cross-generational storytelling. Rated PG.

Buy The Princes Bride on Amazon


14. Toy Story (1995)

You didn't have to own a cowboy doll or a space-ranger-ish action figure to appreciate Pixar's first feature film. (It certainly doesn't hurt if you did, however.) As much as director John Lasseter and his team of computer animators use both baby boomer and Gen-X nostalgia to their advantage—hey, I had that Slinky Dog and Mr. Potato Head as a kid too!—this is a movie that's very much about the importance of having your buddy's back. But it's also about the bond that every kid has with the playthings of his or her youth, and how these inanimate objects are given life by a child's imagination. (Never mind that Pixar seriously raised the bar in terms of storytelling, animation style and character development in kids' flicks.) What matters most is that they paid loving tribute to the plastic, movable building blocks that help tomorrow's scientists, scholars and CEOs engage with the world while thoroughly thrilling us. The next two Toy Story films would build off this premise beautifully, but it's here that the seeds of next-gen quality family entertainment are planted and the bounty reaped. Rated G.

Buy Toy Story on Amazon

13. The Karate Kid (1984)

You may have heard “Wax on, wax off” a hundred times by now—that’s about the amount of times we could watch this movie in a row without tiring. Young Danny finds himself to be the target of a group of bullies, but with repairman (and martial arts master) Mr. Miyagi’s help, he trains to master martial arts and eventually compete and defend himself against his foes. Rated PG.

Buy The Karate Kid on Amazon

12. The Hunger Games (2012)

Based on the trilogy YA novels of the same name, Katniss Everdeen takes her sister’s place in the Hunger Games, a televised fight to the death with children from each of Panem’s 12 districts. The odds are stacked against her, but she’s determined to come out of the competition alive to protect her family and revolt against the Capitol’s cruel government. Rated PG-13. 

Buy The Hunger Games on Amazon

11. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

Jack Skellington is all out of sorts. In this beloved Tim Burton film, our lanky and lovable pumpkin king has had his fair share of shrieks and screams that come with Halloween. Once he indulges in the yuletide spirit, he sets his sights on Christmas, a completely foreign concept he cannot resist. He tries to channel the joy of jolly ‘ol Saint Nick, but his plans go terribly awry. Will the pumpkin king find his place among the proper holidays? Rated PG.

Buy The Nightmare Before Christmas on Amazon

Best kids' movies: 10-1

10. The Lion King (1994)

Older kids might lobby for the ‘live action’ remake with Beyoncé, but parents should hold fast and expose them to the ageless joys of this animated classic from Disney’s renaissance years. In case you need a primer: Simba is the young heir to the kingdom of Pride Lands – that is, until his villainous uncle, Scar, stages a violent coup against his own brother usurps power. Will Simba gain the courage to confront his nemesis and take his rightful place on the throne? No spoilers. No shade on Shakespeare, but this is the superior version of Hamlet. Because lions. Rated G. 

9. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001)

Kickstart an evening of witchcraft and wizardry with the inaugural story of the beloved Harry Potter series. When a young boy learns about his true identity and magicial powers, he soon finds himself on Platform 9 3/4 en route to Hogwarts, a boarding school unlike any other. Adventure awaits for our budding new wizard, and from that point on, his life—and the world's—is turned upside down. Rated PG. 


8. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

It's a simple story, really: Boy meets alien. Boy and alien become best friends. Boy says goodbye to alien when his outer-space buddy has to go home, causing audiences everywhere to sob uncontrollably. How Steven Spielberg tells it, of course, makes a world of difference, as he infuses this family blockbuster with a childlike sense of awe. If you can think of a more magical '80s movie moment than E.T. and Elliott biking past the moon, we'll personally buy you a bag of Reese's Pieces. Rated PG.

7. Star Wars (1977)

What’s the right order to watch the Star Wars movies? Good question! Our advice is to start with the original (and best) and go from there. From its opening shot, in which that whooping great Star Destroyer whooshes seemingly endlessly across the screen, youngsters will be as entranced as if they’ve been caught in a Death Star tractor beam. Timeless heros, scary villains, adorable droids and all the mysteries of the Jedi share the screen for two hours of matinee-style magic that will keep even the most restless youngling busy. Watching the Star Wars movies has become a more complex family rite of passage with every new addition to the canon and spin-off, but even if you’re just in the mood for one trip to a galaxy far, far away, Star Wars will never let you down. Rated PG.

Queen of Katwe (2016)
  • Film
  • Drama

Like the mostly lovely Akeelah and the Bee (minus the troubling racial stereotypes), Mira Nair’s Queen of Katwe takes one of the least-exciting competitions out there – chess – and transforms it into the linchpin of a triumphant underdog story. Centering on a true story of a Ugandan teen ascending from the slums to the World Chess Olympiads and featuring solid turns from David Oyelowo and Lupita Nyong’o, it’s essentially a sports movie that ditches footballs for bishops. Rated PG.

5. The Goonies (1985)

Goonies never say die (well, almost never), and neither does this Richard Donner-directed, Steven Spielberg-produced gem. The '80s comedy follows young tweens as they embark on an adventure to save their home from forclosure. The overly enthusiastic Mikey, the leader of the pack, convinces his buddies that searching for One-Eyed Willy's treasure is a great way to keep their roots, but their quest for the jewels is incredibly dangerous... espesically when the Fratelli crime family catches on! Rated PG. 


4. The Mitchells Vs. the Machines (2021)

Gen X-er-friendly Vacation riffs meet Z-er tech preoccupations in a dizzyingly entertaining road-trip caper that’s backdropped by a kind of digital apocalypse. Representing humanity is the chaotic Mitchell family, while Olivia Colman’s ruthless A.I. takes charge of the villainy. One of Netflix’s finest original movies – and definitely one of its funniest. Rated PG. 

3. Home Alone (1990)

Who wouldn't want to spend the holidays in the City of Lights? The McCallister clan is more than ready to leave the burbs behind for Christmas in Paris. But things go slightly awry (to say the least) when the realize one very important item has been left at home: their son Kevin. The youngster has no problem having the digs all to himself—especially since he's watching mature gangster flicks, munching on ice cream for dinner and causing chaos. But a pair of burglars set their sights on the gorgeous home, and soon Kevin is left to fend for himself against Harry and Marv, both of whom need a little help in the crime department. Rated PG. 


2. The Princess and the Frog (2009)

Take a trip to Louisiana with this children’s book-inspired story, where smooched amphibians turn into royalty. The bayou comes to life with bright colors, moody environments, mystical interference and top-notch original music that fully embraces New Orleans love of jazz. The Princess and the Frog introduces a long-awaited African American princess who’s no damsel in distress, and you’ll be cheering for her to accomplish her biggest dream—opening a restaurant—the entire time. Rated G.

Kiki's Delivery Service (1989)
  • Film
  • Animation

Studio Ghibli founder Hayao Miyazaki's tale of a young witch finding her way in Scandinavia is unique in almost every sense, from its wide-eyed worldview to its smart-alec cat sidekick (voiced by Phil Hartman in the American dub). But perhaps most spectacular is that this is a film that contains no central antagonist and no actual conflict: It's just a joyous tale of a little girl getting into adventures both grand and small. That's not to say that the film doesn't have tension—the climactic catastrophe is one of Ghibli's most spectacular set pieces—but for the most part, this is a magical hangout movie that delights in small moments. Rated G

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