A few months ago, in my weekly emails, I sent out my favorite pizza dough recipe and mentioned that we have pizza pretty much every Friday night and then watch a movie as a family afterward.
I was deluged with requests for family movie recommendations, so I’ve collected some tried-and-true favorites here.
Every one of these are ones we’ve watched as a family and loved – I hope your family will love them too!
And I’ll keep adding to this list as we watch more movies.
(Also, we rarely can make it through a full movie in one night – most of the time, we watch the first half on Friday night and then finish it on Saturday morning. Our girls are accustomed to this routine and know that a bunch of whining about pausing the movie just means we’ll NEVER finish it, so they go off to bed with minimal grumbling).
15 favorite family movies
- Newsies. We just watched this a few weeks ago and my girls are now OBSESSED (good thing, too, or I would have had to disown them). I just love this movie so much and the music is basically unbeatable. We went and saw the stage version a few weeks later and I have to say, I think the movie is better.
- Muppets from Space. I come from a Muppet loving family (our family favorite is probably The Great Muppet Caper) and we just watched this one and A Muppet Christmas Carol this year and my girls loved them both. Bart did NOT grow up in a Muppet family, so it’s been fun to introduce him to these off-beat films.
- The Parent Trap. I am pretty sure I listened to the soundtrack for the Lindsey Lohan Parent Trap at least 10,000 times when I was growing up, and I just love this movie so much.
- The Lion King. This is probably the Disney movie we’ve watched the very most. I just love this one, and for my animal-loving girls, it’s a home-run every time.
- Mulan. If I had to choose a single favorite Disney cartoon, it’d probably be this one. It’s basically unbeatable in my opinion. Great music, great dialogue, strong female lead. And Eddie Murphy is laugh-out-loud funny as the dragon sidekick.
- Anastasia. We saw this in the theater when I was a child after playing the soundtrack non-stop for weeks. The theater was empty (I think we were literally the only people there) and so when the credits rolled and the Richard Marx song played, we all danced in the aisles and it’s still one of my favorite memories from my childhood. Also, Dimitri is probably still my cartoon heartthrob (not weird at all?).
- Honey I Shrunk the Kids. We just watched this a few weeks ago and I hadn’t seen it in YEARS. I remember the grass scenes be TERRIFYING to me as a child, but my girls thought it was hilarious. (Warning that there is some very mild language in this one and I could have done with a little more kindness between the siblings).
- The Emperor’s New Groove. This movie never fails to make me laugh. It’s just so outrageous.
- Tangled. Of the new Disney movies, there are none I’ve loved more than this one. It’s just SO FUNNY. And the music is top-notch.
- Monsters Inc. This is by far my favorite Pixar flick (sorry Toy Story) and every time I watch it again, I think how clever the whole premise and execution is. A winner for SURE.
- Incredibles. In the 15 years that Bart and I have been together, we’ve seen MANY movies and I don’t know that I’ve ever seen him as purely delighted by a film as he was by this one. (I took the girls to see Incredibles 2 and it was too scary for most of them).
- The Swan Princess. This was one of our FAVORITE movies when I was growing up and I think it’s deeply underrated. The music is so good and the dialogue is super snappy. I’m getting warm fuzzies just writing five . sentences about it.
- The Court Jester. We just watched this a few days ago and I just love this old movie so so much. Danny Kaye at his best. It was a little over Star’s head (and even Ani’s a bit), but both Ani and Ella laughed their heads off, and so did Bart and I. It’s ridiculous and over-the-top and definitely a show from the 1950s.
- Charlotte’s Web. I can be wary about adaptions of beloved books into movies, but this one really does a good job. I for sure shed a few tears. It’s fine.
- Kung-Fu Panda. When we watched this movie with the girls for the first time, I thought “We’re starting to get to an age where the movies are fun for us too!” I love Jack Black so much and this is one of his best.
I’d love to hear some of your favorite family movies to watch – we’re always on the hunt for more suggestions!
I have deep affection for the Lindsey Lohan Parent Trap. My sisters watched it SO MANY TIMES (and me too, although not as many) when I was a kid and there was a point where most of us could recite the whole movie. My husband’s favorite Pixar movie is The Incredibles and he laughed SO MUCH at the second one. My 6 year old likes both of those, Wreck it Ralphs, and Treasure Planet, I’m not sure where that one came from for him! Beauty and the Beast (cartoon original) is my all-time favorite Disney movie but I do enjoy Tangled and Moana quite a bit too! With the summer we don’t do as many movie nights because we are outside playing later but now I want to!
My girls really liked A Little Princess with Shirley Temple. I was surprised because we don’t watch a lot of old movies. The movie actually inspired them to read the book. Go figure. I always thought I was supposed to make them read the book first.
Great list! We’ve been trying to show them movies we grew up watching lately. They have loved Homeward Bound, Sword and the Stone, Little Rascals, American Tale(and Fival goes west), Rescuers and rescuers down under.
One of our favorites to watch together is Enchanted….one of my favorite Disney movies. So underrated!
Finding Nemo and Finding Dory are cute family movies.
My three girls (7 and younger) really love The Sound of Music, Cinderella (2015 version), and the original Mary Poppins. Just last week they watched The Princess Diaries for the first time and the older two really liked it.
Miranda Rosbach says
We’re HUGE Studio Ghibli fans. If you haven’t seen any of those films with your girls, change that ASAP.
Studio Ghibli! My Neighbor Totoro, Ponyo, Arietty, and Kiki’s Delivery Service are great, age-appropriate movies that my kids loved so much.
Kiki and Totoro are childhood favorites of mine. Totoro is a favorite of all the kids in my house. All my kids love the Sandlot, but has language. Bad Guys is a fun new release. We all love Hocus Pocus and The Grinch (the new cartoon) year round as well.
These are some great suggestions!