Ferris Bueller's Day Off
Photo: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures Ferris Bueller's Day Off

Our favorite movies for tweens to add to your watch list

What’s not to love about movies for tweens? They have a bit of everything: romance, drama, excitement and more!

By Danielle Valente and Phil de Semlyen

From '80s blockbusters to atypical fairy tales, our go-to movies for tweens will inspire an awesome marathon. In typical adolescent fashion, there's plenty of drama, juicy crushes and adventure (make that misadventure). 

We've rounded up some of the greatest Disney movies of all timefamily comedy movies and plenty of other gems for viewers to choose from: Enchanted, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, High School Musical and so on. Once you grab a bowl of popcorn and find a comfy blanket, you'll be too preoccupied with these tween movies to relinquish your spot. 

And, when you're all caught up with the best movies for tweens, check out what's happening in theaters: After a day out taking in the best things to do with kids in NYC, why not unwind with a flick?

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Best movies for tweens

Photograph: Courtesy Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

1. 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. Rated PG. 

Photograph: Courtesy Sam Emerson/Columbia/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock

2. The Baby-sitters Club (1995)

The '90s classic follows a group of young girls who want to turn their baby-sitting jobs into a legit summer camp, but there's a grumpy old neighbor who's determined not to let that happen. Along the way there are family issues, health scares and of course, crushes. Rated PG. 

Photograph: Courtesy Disney

3. The Princess Diaries (2001)

High school is never without its challenges—mean girls, unrequited crushes, to name a painstaking few. But what happens when a teen's normal turns royal? In Meg Cabot's famed YA tale, Anne Hathaway stars as Mia Thermopolis, who discovers she's the princess of Genovia...and she has a pesky granny who has a few tricks up her sleeve. How will the teen cope with a new title, learning about her late father's past and, you know, getting that Mustang up a hill in the pouring rain (another one of those high school horror stories). Rated PG. 

Courtesy Disney

4. Freaky Friday (2003)

In this Disney retelling, a punk-rock teen and her uptight mother can't seem to get on the same page...until a freaky scenario forces them switch bodies. Will they be able to see the good in one another and, most importantly, switch back?Rated PG. 

Photograph: Courtesy Disney

5. The Parent Trap (1998)

Nick and Liz decide to go their separate ways, but they have two twin girls caught in the middle of a nasty split. As a result, each parent claims a child and disappears into the void. But, nearly 12 years later, the girls are unknowingly sent to the same sleepaway camp, where they discover their other half and devise a plan for their parents to reunite "face to face." Their "brilliant beyond brilliant idea"? To swtich places. Can Annie and Hallie pull off this switcheroo seamlessly, or will the stylish and conniving Meredith Blake cause a few roadblocks? Rated PG. 

To All the Boys I've Loved Before
To All the Boys I've Loved Before
Photograph: Masha_Weisberg

6. To All The Boys I've Loved Before (2018)

Netflix dropped this high-school romantic comedy for the ages in 2018. It’s about Lara Jean Song Covey (Lana Condor), a 16-year-old who writes – but doesn’t post – letters to her five crushes that they’ll never know about… until one day they do. THE HORROR. And yet from the ashes of this social catastrophe something sweet and funny and profound comes about. Watch it, then watch the sequel To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You. 

Photograph: Courtesy Warner Bros.

7. The Goonies (1985)

Goonies never say die, and neither does this Spielberg 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. 

Photograph: Courtesy Universal Studios

8. Back to the Future (1985)

It’s a great feeling to discover a movie you love and then find out that there’s not just a sequel, but a third film to enjoy (less so with The Godfather). Back to the Future, in which teenager Marty McFly (Michael J Fox) goes back in time in a scenario that sounds creepy written down but is utterly delightful on screen, is one such movie. Rated PG. 

Photograph: Courtesy Channel 5 Broadcasting

9. 13 Going on 30 (2004)

Jenna longs for adulthood, but when she's magically finds herself out of junior high and in her 30s, she discovers that navigating the murky waters of the grown-up world isn't as easy as it looks. Rated PG-13. 

Photograph: Courtesy Disney

10. Holes (2003)

Louis Sacher's bestseller-turned movie follows a young boy who is wrongfully convicted of a crime and must either do jail time or work in a camp. He chooses the latter and is forced to dig holes in a desert under the guidance of a warden who's got his mind on one thing: buried treasure. Rated PG. 

Photograph: Courtesy Channel 5 Broadcasting

11. Jumanji (1995)

While taking a gander around an old mansion, a brother-sister duo discover an old jungle game nestled in the attic. However, the boardgame is much more than that, and soon they'll be on an adventure with wild creatures while attempting to free Alan, who has been trapped inside the game for years. Rated PG. 

Photograph: Courtesy 20th Century Fox/The Princess Bride

12. The Princess Bride (1987)

Ridiculously charming, endlessly quotable (“My name is Íñigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die!”) and totally timeless, it’s impossible to resist this swashbuckling romance about a princess, a farmhand and a quest for revenge. In the spirit of all good fairy tales, it’s about love at its dreamiest and most escapist. An eternal mood-enhancer – just like the William Goldman book that it’s adapted from. Rated PG. 

Photograph: Courtesy Paramount Pictures

13. Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986)

How can Ferris Bueller be expected to sit in school on such a gorgeous Chicago day? He can't, so he feigns an illness so that he can play hooky—a seemless effort on the teen's part. With his best bud and girl by his side, Ferris gets into a bunch of crazy predicaments that have made audiences laugh out loud since 1986. We'll never hear "Twist and Shout" and not feel compelled to scream, "Get off the float!" Rated PG-13. 

Photograph: Courtesy Marvel

14. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

It sounded a bit mad on paper: A Han Solo wannabe, a racoon, a purple muscle mass with a name like a domestic detergent, a vengeful alien and a tree teaming up for adventures through the furthest reaches of the Marvelverse. And yet, Peter Quill – oops, Star-Lord – Rocket, Drax, Gamora and Groot turned out to be the most fun team-up to ever caper around the galaxy. Strap in and enjoy the ride! Rated PG-13.

Photograph: Courtesy Warner Brothers Entertainment Inc.

15. A Cinderella Story (2004)

Sam's anonymous correspondence with a guy makes her evil step-mother's antics more tolerable. When she agrees to meet her unknown fellow at a school dance, she freaks out upon her discovery, in typical teenage fashion. Rated PG. 

Photograph: Courtesy Twentieth Century Fox

16. The Fault in Our Stars (2014)

Equally lovable and heartbreaking, The Fault in Our Stars is a YA sensation that had us tearing up during book club meetings and movie outings. Hazel and Gus—two teens stricken with cancer—are the cause. They meet at a support group and romance ensues, but their relationship is threatened by a relapse. Even adults will appreciate this emotional John Green story. Rated PG-13. 

Photograph: Courtesy Channel 5 Broadcasting/The Karate Kid

17. The Karate Kid (1984)

If you’ve been watching Cobra Kai on Netflix and haven’t yet seen the movie behind it, you’re in for a treat. Daniel is a high-school who gets picked on by a group of bullies. He's certainly not a match for the students at the Cobra Kai dojo...until he teams up with Mr Miyagi and shows these tough guys what he's made of. Rated PG

Photograph: Courtesy E.T. The Extra Terrestrial

18. E.T. (1982)

Would you trust your baby brother and sister to keep a secret? Elliott does. When he discovers an alien, he lets his siblings in on the news. But it's not going to be easy keeping an extra terrestrial under wraps from everyone else—especially when E.T. is sick. Rated PG. 

Photograph: Courtesy Lions Gate Films Inc./Murray Close

19. The Hunger Games (2012)

When it comes to fearless teenage heroes tackling terrifying odds, Katniss Everdeen is right up there with Harry Potter. As the Hunger Games books’ army of fans will know, her courage comes with a side order of nobility – she volunteers as tribute for the Hunger Games to save her sister – and a whole lot of skill with a bow and arrow. Rated PG-13.

Photograph: Courtesy Disney/Fred Hayes

20. High School Musical (2006)

We're all in this Disney fan-favorite together. Troy doesn't want to disappoint his father, but he'd rather swap his basketball for a mic and try out for the school musical, especially after Gabriella gives him a little push. Will the two be able to audition for the show in peace, or will a jealous peer make the process all the more grueling? Ratings not available. 

Photograph: Courtesy Fox/Sam Urdank

21. Cheaper by the Dozen (2003)

The Bakers' motto is clearly "The more the merrier." But the family of 14 finds that things aren't so easy when they uproot their kids to a new town, school and home. Will parents Tom and Kate be able to fulfill their career goals and keep their 12 youngsters happy? Not without some chaos along the way! Rated PG.

Photograph: Courtesy Barry Wetcher/SMPSP

22. Enchanted (2007)

Giselle is a fairy tale princess who can't wait to join forces with the love of her life, but when his evil mother sends her to NYC, this leading lady who likes to belt her heart out will have a whole new problem on her hands. Rated PG. 

Photograph: Courtesy Buena Vista

23. Spy Kids (2001)

It's a case of role reversal in this action-packed flick where two spy kids attempt to save their mom and dad from evil. Rated PG. 

Photograph: Courtesy Miramax Films/David Appleby

24. Ella Enchanted (2004)

If you haven't seen Anne Hathaway's early 2000's princess flicks, you haven't lived. In this retelling of the children's book, Ella must attempt to break the spell where she's forced to obey all orders bestowed onto her...fortunately the handsome Prince Charmont is by her side to lend a hand. Rated PG. 

Photograph: Courtesy Paramount Pictures

25. School of Rock (2004)

Dewey isn't exactly Rock and Roll Hall of Fame material, and his band concurs. When he's kicked out of the group, he's left without a paying gig...until he poses as a substitute teacher (a job that was intended for his friend). Dewey thinks it's just a way to get by, until he hears the prep school kiddos performing during orchestra practice. Then, he decides he's found the perfect musicians for Battle of the Bands. If you're looking to expose the kids to your classic rock and metal faves, this one's for you! Rated PG-13. 

Photograph: Courtesy Channel 5 Broadcasting

26. My Girl (1991)

Things aren't easy for Vada Sultenfuss. The 11-year-old lost her mother and has to put up with her father's atypical business—an at-home funeral service. It certainly makes her an easy target at school, and matters only get more tumultuous when she swoons over her English teacher. Rated PG. 

Photograph: Courtesy Rafy/Walt Disney/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock

27. Ice Princess (2005)

Casey Carlyle is Harvard-bound, but the only thing standing in her way is her dream to pursue figure skating. What happens when she shifts gears and opts for skates instead of books? Rated G.

Photograph: Courtesy Summit Entertainment

28. Twilight (2008)

Teen fantasy romance rose to fame thanks to Twilight. The saga of spicy YA novels naturally received the theater treatment, and its first installment focused on Bella's move to Forks, Washington. Once there, the teen soon became caught up with Edward Cullen, her immortal love interest. She quickly found out that falling for a vampire is not without its challenges. Rated PG-13. 

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