The best family movies have one thing in common — they’ve managed to hit that sweet spot between keeping the kids entertained, and making sure the grownups don’t get so bored they’re halfway through their smartphones. resort to scrolling through.
Whether they’re live-action or animated, action-packed or song-filled, the best family movies are also fun, which means you’re guaranteed to have a great time if you watch them with the family.
In putting this list together, we’ve tried to stick to movies that are PG-rated or less. That means a lot of great PG-13/12A superhero and action movies didn’t make it. We’ve limited ourselves to just one Pixar story, because we could easily fill half the list with examples of the studio’s animated talent — and we included eight Harry Potter films (and a few other franchises) as one entry. because it is impossible to see them in isolation.
So grab popcorn and sit in front of your TV as we reveal (in alphabetical order) our best family movies of all time…
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Addams Family/Adams Family Values (1991/1993)
creepy, devious, mysterious And All right, the stars of the hit 1960s US sitcom (itself based on Charles Adams’ long-running New Yorker comic strip) make a successful transition to the big screen in two modest-but-fun trips.
Future Men in Black director Barry Sonnenfeld pitched the tone of a film about a family that teases horror and subversiveness in a PG-friendly way, on the dark side of life. Meanwhile, the cast (including Angelica Huston, Raul Julia and Christopher Lloyd) has a blast in the form of Morticia, Gomez, Fester & Co.
The sequel, Addams Family Values, is arguably better than its predecessor, thanks largely to Christina Ricci’s surprisingly satirical turn as Wednesday, who leads a rebellion against the leaders of a horrifically healthy summer camp. Professional advocates of the weird Tim Burton are also set to put their own spin on the Addams Clan on Wednesday, an upcoming Netflix adaptation based on the property.
Big Hero 6 (2014)
When compiling lists of the best Marvel movies, this lucrative Disney Animation Studios release is often overlooked. But make no mistake, the comic-book credentials of this kid-friendly superteam are as strong as those of the Avengers—the late Stan Lee even has a cameo in the film.
Set in the futuristic, east-meets-west world of San François, it sees an orphaned teen teaming up with a group of friends — including the adorable medical robot Baymax — to fight off a local supervillain menace. It’s smart, funny and doesn’t pull its punches in its more tragic moments.
Big Hero 6 continues the adventure in the Disney Channel series, while a Baymax spin-off is coming to Disney Plus in 2022.
Bugsy Malone (1976)
How do you make a gangster movie for kids? Alan Parker—who went on to direct Fame and The Commitments—answered the question in simple style by populating Bugsy Malone with a cast of kids (the standout performance coming from 14-year-old Jodie Foster) and armed with whipped cream. Gave. Cream-firing splatter guns.
Beyond the unorthodox casting and weapons, however, it has all the hallmarks of 1930s crime capers, from speakeasies and mob bosses to deceitful heroes and lethal women. There are songs in it as well – though, oddly, Parker opted to use adult singing voices instead to let her stars crack the tunes.
Before he launched the Marvel Cinematic Universe with Iron Man and traveled to a galaxy far, far away with The Mandalorian, Jon Favreau made his directorial debut with this festive classic.
Will Ferrell, a pre-anchorman, delivers his sweetest performance as a human who was raised as Santa’s elves, and then travels to New York to meet his biological father (a gruesome James Cain) .
It’s a wonderfully offbeat fish-out-of-water story that combines comedy, romance and the full spirit of Christmas to create an extremely uplifting celebration. There’s a reason the Elf quickly found itself on the list of timeless Christmas movie staples, along with the likes of It’s a Wonderful Life, Miracle on 34 Street and The Muppet Christmas Carol.
With its hugely lucrative Star Wars and Marvel franchises, 21st century Disney also has a profitable sideline to revisit its cartoon classics (Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, etc.) in live-action. . Postmodern Enchanted, however, takes a more direct route by bringing together hand-drawn animation and human actors in a film.
The story sees a traditional Disney princess transported to our world, where she learns that modern-day New York is as scary (and wondrous) as her magical kingdom. The always-fantastic Amy Adams enchantments as the three-dimensional version of the, well, naively optimistic Giselle, while the self-aware script mocks the Disney brand of clichés.
There is going to be a sequel to Disney Plus in 2022.
ET: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
The latter part of Steven Spielberg’s career has been dominated by serious dramas and more adulthood, but in his early days he was the best family film director out there.
Never was this more apparent than in E.T., her modern-day story about a child who meets an alien accidentally left behind in a small American town. Spielberg’s genius shines through in the way he keeps you fully invested in an extra-terrestrial friendship with a 10-year-old boy and a flashlight for a finger. Cynics may claim that the director overplays schmaltz in an emotional final act, but whether you’re eight, 18, or 80, it’s easy to see that until Spielberg came out with his own Jurassic Park, ET was the most charming. Why was the film
Weird Friday (2003)
Just before taking the lead in Mean Girls—one of the all-time great high-school movies—Lindsay Lohan starred in this improved remake of the 1976 Jodie Foster film.
In the classic body swap tradition (see also Big, Vice Versa, Like Father Like Son), Freaky Friday sees a mother (Jamie Lee Curtis) and daughter (Lohan) swapping under mysterious circumstances—in this case, a magical fate. thanks for the cookie
While it’s best not to get bogged down in the impossibility of the premise, both stars make the most of the rare opportunity to play someone from a different generation — Curtis sheds her hair as a rebellious teen, while Lohan ( Comedy) Doctor Mom Gets Serious.
Frozen/Frozen 2 (2013/2019)
Yes, the original Frozen and its associated wares became so ubiquitous in the homes of a certain generation of children that millions of parents wished it simply disappeared. But, now that the dust (or should that be snow?) has settled, this clever update of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen can be commended—one of Disney’s best family movies of the 21st century.
Elsa and Anna’s sisters make charming heroes, their inspiration driven by their love for each other, rather than trying to win the heart of a soft prince. In the meantime, the soundtrack is up with Disney’s best, especially the now-iconic “Let It Go.” The songs in the 2019 sequel might not be so memorable, but it’s a worthy companion piece that manages to enhance the mythology of the original.
The Goonies (1985)
Steven Spielberg doesn’t call the shots on The Goonies—the honor went to the late Richard Donner, director of The Omen, Superman: The Movie and Lethal Weapon—but his fingerprints are on this iconic adventure film from his Amblin production outfit.
Effectively Indiana Jones for kids, this pirate sends an unlikely assortment of teenagers to find treasures they think will save their homes from developers. While it’s probably too creepy and thought-provoking for younger audiences, older kids will love its action set-pieces, steady-quote dialogue (hey you guys!), and memorable characters—whether it’s child actors (many of whom are successful). have been careers as adults), or the villainous Fratellis is trying to defeat them for the prize.
There’s a big clue in the title: This 2003 Disney family movie is actually about people digging holes. Luckily, there’s more to this adaptation of Louis Sachar’s YA novel, as perennially unlucky teen Stanley Yelnats IV (before Shia LaBeouf was joined by Optimus Prime) spent 18 months in a detention camp for a crime. Punishment is given which he did not do. ,
Once there, he and the other prisoners are forced to dig those eponymous holes by a dodgy camp warden (a deliciously evil Sigourney Weaver) who isn’t just motivated by rehabilitation…
While largely forgotten by many, Holes is quirky, surprisingly smart, and much deeper than you’d expect, making it a hidden treasure you should dig into on Disney Plus.
Home Alone (1990)
The film that made Macaulay Culkin the most bankable pre-teen star of his generation, fulfilling a childhood wish (and parenting nightmare) to make a monster fest hit.
Despite being written by ’80s high-school movie legend John Hughes and directed by Goonies writer Chris Columbus, Home Alone was seen as such a gamble that its original studio, Warner Bros. The comparatively meager budget turned out to be bigger than they expected.
They’ll soon be left to regret it, as the tale of a kid left home alone on Christmas—and fighting a pair of incompetent thieves with only his ingenuity and some Looney Tunes-style slapstick to protect him—is on the 20th. won the box office for Century Fox. It is now a mainstay on Yuletide playlists, though the 1992 sequel, where Culkin not only finds himself abandoned again, but…