lilo and stitch
Photograph: Courtesy Disney

The 50 best family movies to watch together

We round up cool family movies for everyone. Check out these classics, newbies, comedies and so much more!

By Allie Early, Hannah Doolin and Danielle Valente

Gather the crew and grab a hefty bowl of popcorn: the best family movies are waiting for you! 

We've rounded up a little bit of everything: classics, cartoons, Disney princess movies, kids' movies from the '90s and everything else you can possibly imagine. Looking for a few giggles? Try The Goonies. Including Fido in the mix? Put on My Dog Skip. We guarantee we have something for everyone. 

After a day of embarking on trip to cool kids' museums in NYC, fun playgrounds or your go-to family attractions, you deserve a night in with these amazing family movies (and snacks, of course). 

If you're not ready to call it quits, check out the cool kids' movies in theaters. In 2020, you can expect: Sonic the Hedgehog, a live-action Mulan, Scoob, Peter Rabit 2 and so many more! 

Best family movies

"THE LION KING"(L-R) Simba, Rafiki©Disney Enterprises, Inc.  All Rights Reserved.
Courtesy Disney Enterprises Inc.

1. The Lion King (1994)

Equal parts endearing and heartbreaking, the Disney classic, which will most likely make you cry at some point, rotates around young lion Simba, who must rise to power after the loss of his father, Mufasa. You would think family would be supportive, but one evil uncle has it in for the cub. Hang in there, Simba! Remember: Hakuna matata! (Don't forget to check out the 2019 live-action reboot!) Rated G. 

Courtesy Warner Bros.

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

The inaugural story in the Harry Potter series catapults fans into a magical realm sprinkled with fantasy and excitement—and we haven't looked back since. In this debut story, we meet Harry, an orphan who lives with his aunt and uncle and is treated terribly. But, he discovers a secret that changes everything: He's a wizard and will soon be attending Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry. He boards the train at Platform 9 3/4 and from there, everything changes. He meets a few friends and begins to uncover what exactly led to his parents strange death. Rated PG. 

Star Wars A New Hope in Concert
Courtesy Lucas Film Ltd

3. Star Wars (1977)

You don't need to be a kid to enjoy George Lucas' old-fashioned tale of outer-space adventure, as the global cult of adult wanna-be Jedis and devoted Droidaphiles can attest. Lucas, though, has readily admitted that he was trying to capture the thrill he had as a child watching Saturday-afternoon matinees, and that's the real target audience for this beloved pop-culture totem: a 7–10 year-old who gets to experience a hero's journey from boyhood to manhood for the very first time. The rest of us are simply re-experiencing our nostalgia for that first time we saw it, which is why seeing the first Star Wars with your own child is such a rewarding experience. The second that opening symphonic blast comes on, we're all 7 years old, sitting in the dark and bonding over the knowledge that the force is within each and every one of us. Rated PG.

Courtesy The Goonies

4. The Goonies (1985)

Mikey isn't giving up without a fight. Although his home is about to be ripped away from his family, the determined tween has a plan to stay in Astoria. It's simple: All he and his pals have to do is find One-Eyed Willie's treasure. Simple right? Mikey, Chuck, Mouth and Data embark on an adventure to get the goods needed to keep the roofs over their head. But things make a turn for the worst— and quickly—when the Fratelli crime family catches on to their schemes. Will they be able to get their hands on this treasure? Will they stay safe from the crazy Fratelli trio? Well, "Goonies never say die," right? Rated PG. 

Courtesy The Walt Disney Company

5. Mary Poppins (1964)

Compared to even 'sophisticated' juvenile fodder, the sheer exuberance of Disney's adaptation of PL Travers' children's classic should tickle the most jaded fancy. Indeed, the film can hardly contain itself with its catalogue of memorable songs, battery of dance routines, and strong supporting cast. As for the leads, Julie Andrews, after beating off other pretenders to the role (in part because Walt liked the way she whistled), produced an Academy Award-winning portrayal of the Edwardian nanny whose mad magic seethes beneath a patina of respectability that is, as Mary Poppins' references state, 'practically perfect in every way'. But oh, Dick Van Dyke's Cockney accent! Rated G.

Home AloneMalcaulay Culkin© 20th Century Fox
Courtesy 20th Century Fox

6. Home Alone (1990)

Home Alone is synonymous with Christmastime, and we can't resist rehashing Kevin McCallister's whirlwind adventure come December. In the first film of the franchise, Kevin and his family—who live together in a tremendous house—prepare to spend their holidays in the City of Lights. But, once they arrive to Paris, they realize they've forgotten Kevin behind. He has full control over the house, but a few sneaky (albeit spastic) bandits realize he's alone and decide to move in. In the lively (and arguably more beloved) sequel, Kevin is once again left behind—this time, while his family is vacationing in Florida, he somehow ends up on a flight to NYC. Oh, and Harry and Marv—the unforgettable thieves—end up in Gotham, too. Obviously, mayhem ensues. Rated PG. 

Courtesy Disney

7. Frozen (2013)

In the off chance you haven't heard about the sisters who've turned the world of Disney princesses upside down, let us get you up to speed: Anna and Elsa live in Arendelle, and we learn that Elsa has a very unique gift: She's able to turn things to ice. Soon, their beloved land is stuck in an eternal winter. Yikes! That's certainly difficult for those who are affected by the cold. Anna, with the help of her new fella and few other friends, goes in search of Elsa when she goes into hiding. Will she be able to accept these powers? Will the two sisters figure it all out. And, most importantly, will your kids ever stop signing "Let It Go"? Be sure to catch the film's highly-anticipated sequel, which hit theaters in November 2019. The songs are great, but we can't deny that "Let It Go" will always hold the first-place title. Rated PG.

Courtesy Channel 5 Broadcasting/Finding Nemo

8. Finding Nemo (2003)

Parents will take a liking to clownfish, Marlin. The sea critter is particularly relatable since he is so protective of his youngster, Nemo. No surprise there! Also unsurprising? Nemo’s defiance. When the little guy goes missing in the deep blue sea—and encounters one large great white along the way—it’s up to Marlin to bring his fella to safety. Kiddos, we hate to tell you, but Mom and Dad know best! Let Nemo’s experience be a lesson to you! Rated PG. 

Photograph: Courtesy Disney/Pixar

9. Inside Out (2015)

This family flick is 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. Clever, charming and gut-busting funny, this is a movie the whole crew will love! Rated PG.

Courtesy the Wizard of Oz

10. The Wizard of Oz (1939)

A girl stuck on a farm in dreary, sepia-toned Kansas dreams of a more exciting life somewhere over the proverbial rainbow; she gets her wish and then some when a tornado deposits the Midwesterner and her little dog, Toto, too, into a Technicolor wonderland. For over 70 years, this Hollywood classic has continued to wow one generation after the next. Its staying power has been attributed to many things, but what keeps enthralling each new wave of underage viewers is the sheer vibrancy and charm of the movie's imaginary world: flying monkeys and good witches, fleet-footed scarecrows and fraidy-cat lions, eye-poppingly pastel towns of Munchkins and a garishly green Emerald City. And then there's its timeless message: You can go out and see the world, have adventures, make new pals and experience life at its most grand. But in the end, there's no place like home, and no one quite like your family and friends. That, more than anything else, is why millions of folks keep returning with their kids to this classic—and why many more will keep following the yellow-brick road for decades to come. Rated G.

Courtesy 20th Century Fox

11. The Sound of Music (1965)

As the camera swoops down from the heavens toward a young woman running through a field, this angel opens her mouth to exclaim "The hills are a-liiii-ve..."; from that moment on, Robert Wise's Oscar-winning musical has you right in its grasp. Julie Andrews' star was born as soon as she trilled the first line of Rodgers and Hammerstein's score, but this classic really is an ensemble affair: Every one of the von Trapps—from dear old dad Christopher Plummer to 16-going-on-17-year-old Charmian Carr and the youngest, 5-year-old Kym Karath—pitch in to this juggernaut of sing-along fun. To hear the cast belt out staples like "So Long, Farewell" and "Do-Re-Mi," and watch a family band together to prove that it takes more than Nazis to break up a tight-knit clan, is to understand why, generation after generation, this movie continues to be one of our favorite things. Rated G

Beauty and the Beast
Photograph: Courtesy Walt Disney Pictures

12. 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.

Photograph: Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment

13. Despicable Me (2010)

Steve Carell is the voice of Gru, a suburban supervillain whose seemingly innocuous home sits above a vast underground lair populated by hordes of yellow gibberish-speaking minions. Gru is prone to freeze-raying passers-by and plots to steal the moon, but when he adopts three adorable tow-headed orphan girls it’s not long before their plucky charm and winning optimism begin to melt his cold, cold heart. Rated PG. 


Rated PG. 

Una historia de Navidad
Photograph: Courtesy Hulton Archive

14. A Christmas Story (1983)

“You’ll shoot your eye out, kid!” All nine-year-old Ralphie wants is an official Red Ryder BB gun—and the only things standing in his way are a pink bunny suit, a leg lamp and a tongue sticking to a flagpole. Humorist Jean Shepherd’s short stories are the basis of this sassy sentimental brew. And who knew that duck was actually Chinese turkey? Rated PG. 


Courtesy: Disney

15. The Little Mermaid (1989)

Poor Ariel. The red-headed mermaid longs for legs and life on land, much to her protective father’s dismay. She can’t quite get over this “whole new world” that she has yet to experience, and one nasty octopus takes notice. The evil Ursula is quite envious of Ariel’s gorgeous singing voice, and uses Ariel’s earthly desires to her advantage. She promises Ariel legs, and in turn, Ursula will receive the young mermaid’s fabulous vocal abilities. Sounds great, right?! With legs and feet of her own, Ariel will also get the opportunity to sweep the hunky, hunky Prince Eric off his feet. But Ursula throws a curveball into the mix: Prince Eric has three days to plant one on her, and if the two don’t smooch, Ariel will have to go back under the sea. Sounds like this evil sea witch is one woman you don’t want to mess with! Rated G.

Peter Rabbit
Peter Rabbit

16. Peter Rabbit

4 out of 5 stars
Movies Animation

As irresistible as the fresh carrots that grow in Mr. McGregor’s garden, Peter Rabbit gives Beatrix Potter’s classic a modern makeover, complete with intricate animation and a sweet-natured journey that has you rooting for a happy ending for all involved. Vying for gorgeous grounds and his human next-door neighbor (Rose Byrne), the audacious Peter Rabbit (voiced by James Corden) goes head-to-head with sour Thomas McGregor (Domhnall Gleeson). This live animation film has it all, from twerking bunnies, to suspenseful chase scenes, to a thoughtful meditation on the meaning of friendship. Rated PG.

Photograph: Courtesy 20th Century Fox/The Princess Bride

17. The Princess Bride (1987)

One of our favorite feel-good films of all time, the action-packed tale of Princess Buttercup and Farm Boy/Dread Pirate Roberts/Westley (as read to young Fred Savage by his grandfather) steals our hearts with great one-liners, suspense and even some romance. Also...who could forget the fire swamp and Rodents of Unusual Size? Rated PG.

Courtesy Channel 5 Broadcasting/Toy Story

18. Toy Story (1995)

Oh Toy Story, the film that stole the hearts of millennials everywhere. In this funny, emotional and all-around fantastic Disney tale, we meet Andy (albeit briefly). The real draw is Andy's toys, who come alive whenever he leaves the room. He's never without his right-hand-man Woody, but when he receives an astronaut action figure, Buzz Lightyear, it takes some time for the two toys to share the spotlight. Will they be able to coexist? Rated G. 

Photograph: Courtesy The Karate Kid/Channel 5 Broadcasting

19. 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.

Elizabeth Banks, left, and Jennifer Lawrence in The Hunger Games
Photograph: Murray Close

20. 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. 

The Nightmare Before Christmas
Photograph: Courtesy Disney Enterprises Inc.

21. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

Pumpkin King Jack Skellington—champion of all-things spooky—is faced with a scarier dilemma than he's ever imagined: He's had enough of Halloween. Gasp! When he's decided that spiders, screams and shouts are no longer to his liking, he stumbles upon a new holiday: Christmas. Confused but totally enarmored by the yuletide celebration, Jack decides to take a crack at Saint Nick's Christmas duties, but his good intentions turn out terribly. If you don't have this flick on repeat from October to December, we're coming by your house to change that. Rated PG. 

Photograph: Photograph: © 20th Century Fox

22. Mrs. Doubtfire (1993)

Robin Williams has the power to move us to tears—first with laughter, then with heartbreak. In this popular flick, a funny, carefree husband named Dan must face the music when his marriage starts to take a tumble and his wife asks for a separation. Dan devises a plan to get more time with his kids by going undercover as a nanny, gaining an even closer relationship with his family in the process. Rated PG–13. 

Photograph: Courtesy Disney

23. 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.

Photograph: Courtesy Netflix

24. Coco (2017)

Miguel's family does not permit him to listen to music, so the young boy must idolize singer Ernesto de la Cruz quietly. He's determined to follow in Ernesto's footsteps and sets out on a quest to make it happen. He arrives in the Land of the Dead, and with the help of a new buddy named Héctor, the two piece together what happened to make his family detest music so much. Rated PG. 

Photograph: Courtesy Moviestore/REX/Shutterstock

25. 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.

Photograph: Courtesy Disney Enterprises Inc.

26. Tangled (2010)

Princess Rapunzel is kidnapped from her crib by a woman intent on staying forever young with the help of the princess’ magical long locks. Rapunzel grows up within the confines of her tower, always wishing she could explore the world and the lanterns that float outside her window. When her endless stream of creative activities no longer satisfies her, she ventures out with a tower thief and begins a journey to discover that the danger never lurked beyond the walls of her tower, but rather within them. Rated PG. 

Photograph: Courtesy Channel 5 Broadcasting

27. Jumanji (1995)

While exploring their new home, a brother-sister duo discover an old game nestled in the attic. But this game is anything but ordinary. Soon, they'll be on an adventure with wild creatures, an insane hunter and other crazy stuff—even meeting Alan, a boy (now man) who was sucked into the game until the kids picked it up 26 years later. Rated PG.

Photograph: Courtesy Channel 5 Broadcasting

28. 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.

10 howtotrainyourdragon.jpg
Photograph: © 2010 DreamWorks Animation LLC.

29. 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.

Photograph: Courtesy Disney

30. 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.

Photograph: Courtesy Disney/Alice In Wonderland

31. 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.

Photograph: Courtesy Disney/The Jungle Book

32. The Jungle Book (1967)

Mowgli can't seem to find his place in this world. In Disney's rendition of the Rudyard Kipling story, this young orphan is set out on a quest to learn more about his identity, with the help of animal companions, all while warding off Shere Khan. Rated G. 

Photograph: Courtesy Film Forum

33. 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.

Photograph: Courtesy Disney

34. 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. 

Photograph: Courtesy Alan Markfield/New Line Productions

35. Elf (2003)

Buddy never quite fit in with the other elves in the North Pole, and he couldn't never pinpoint why. Once he learns that he's part human, part elf, everything changes. During the holidays, Buddy heads to NYC to become aquainted with his family, but he soon realizes things aren't always so holly least at first. In order to celebrates one of the merriest Christmas movies out there—and seriously, what's better than laugh-out-loud moments with funny man Will Ferrell—we recommend stocking up on candy, candy canes, candy corn and syrup (aka the four main food groups for elves). Rated PG.

The Princess and the Frog
Photograph: Courtesy Disney

36. 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.

Photograph: Courtesy of Warner Bros. Picture

37. 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.

The Witches
Courtesy Warner Brothers International Television

38. 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. Anjelica 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.

The Muppet Movie
Photograph: Scott Garfield

39. 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.


40. Free Willy (1993)

Jesse lands himself in a mess of trouble when he's caught vandalizing a local theme park. As punshiment, he's tasked with working at the attraction. Soon, this becomes something he looks forward to after he develops a close relationship with the Orca named Willy. The two become so close, in fact, that they start doing tricks...which is problematic once the venue's owner catches wind of their friendship. Rated PG.  

Photograph: Courtesy Warner Bros/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock

41. My Dog Skip (2000)

Willie would rather keep in nose buried in Huckleberry Finn than mingle with the other kids, especially the bullies who make his life torturous. That's when his mother decides it's time for a four-legged friend, much to her husband's dismay. When Willie and his new beagle skip form a friendship, things take a turn in a positive direction for the young boy. But don't leave the tissues too far away—there are moments that'll make you tear up and reach for your furry best friend. Rated PG. 

Photograph: Courtesy ©2016 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

42. 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.

Photograph: Courtesy Channel 5 Broadcasting

43. 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.

Courtesy Disney Enterprises Inc.

44. 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. 

No Merchandising. Editorial Use Only. No Book Cover Usage.Mandatory Credit: Photo by Moviestore/REX/Shutterstock (1587496a)Labyrinth,  David BowieFilm and Television
Photograph: Moviestore/REX/Shutterstock

45. 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.

Photograph: Courtesy Warner Bros/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock

46. Old Yeller (1957)

Yet another example of how heartbreaking pet movies can be, Old Yeller remains an American classic. Set in post–Civil War Texas, the destitute Coates children find a big yellow dog in the cornfield and encounter black bears, boars and the ultimate coming-of-age experience when oldest son Travis is forced to put down his beloved pet after he’s bitten by a rabid wolf. Rated G.

Photograph: Courtesy Disney/Pixar

47. Up (2009)

This Pixar classic, quite literally, takes the fun to new heights when balloon salesman Carl Fredricksen has his way. The grouchy senior ties a bunch of balloons to his home and lifts off to South America, something he's been dying to do for ages. All is fine and dandy...until Carl realizes he has company in the form of an overly enthusiastic Boy Scout. Rated PG.

48. 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.


49. 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.

50. 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.

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