Top 15 Favorite Classic Family Movies

Wondering what to watch on family movie night? Parental Guide has created a list of top family movies based on our criteria to ensure family fun.

Parental Guide’s Picks for the top 15 family movies were selected based on the following:

  • Engaging for both children and parents
  • Multi-generational
  • Conveys valuable family messages and lessons
  • Extraordinary animation or technology
  • And just plain fun!

Our G and PG movie favorites will entertain children AND be fun for you to watch too! Some of these movies are old-time treasures and others are newer features that are sure to become an immediate family favorite. These top movies are so clever, adults will find themselves laughing and cheering along with the children. Enjoy your family movie time tonight!

Poster for the movie "One Hundred and One Dalmatians"

One Hundred and One Dalmatians

Runtime
1 h 19 min
Release Date
25 January 1961
Genres
Adventure, Animation, Comedy, Family
Overview
When a litter of dalmatian puppies are abducted by the minions of Cruella De Vil, the parents must find them before she uses them for a diabolical fashion statement.
Not rated yet!

 

Using a classic blend of humor, fantasy and adventure, this favorite tells the tale of Pongo and Perdita, two Dalmatians who are the proud parents of 15 adorable puppies. The puppies are stolen by one of Disney’s most well-known villains, Cruella de Vil. Cruella wants to make a fur coat out of them, and all the other pups she has been collecting, 99 total. Pongo and Perdita must race to save all of the pups before it is too late. The pups’ fur-raising adventures combined with the cleverness of the film make it a DVD worth adding to your family friendly collection.

Read our family movie review.

Poster for the movie "Babe"

Babe

Runtime
1 h 29 min
Release Date
18 July 1995
Genres
Fantasy, Drama, Comedy, Family
Overview
Babe is a little pig who doesn't quite know his place in the world. With a bunch of odd friends, like Ferdinand the duck who thinks he is a rooster and Fly the dog he calls mom, Babe realizes that he has the makings to become the greatest sheep pig of all time, and Farmer Hogget knows it. With the help of the sheep dogs Babe learns that a pig can be anything that he wants to be.
Not rated yet!

 

This is a great family movie is an Academy Award winner and Best Picture nominee. Babe is the inspirational story of a shy Yorkshire piglet who doesn't quite know his place in the world. When Farmer Hoggett (James Cromwell) wins him at the county fair, Babe discovers with the help of his barnyard friends that if he works hard, he can do anything. This is an inspirational story about never giving up and having the faith and courage to succeed.

See our parents movie review.

Poster for the movie "Back to the Future"

Back to the Future

Runtime
1 h 56 min
Release Date
3 July 1985
Genres
Adventure, Comedy, Science Fiction, Family
Overview
Eighties teenager Marty McFly is accidentally sent back in time to 1955, inadvertently disrupting his parents' first meeting and attracting his mother's romantic interest. Marty must repair the damage to history by rekindling his parents' romance and - with the help of his eccentric inventor friend Doc Brown - return to 1985.
Not rated yet!

 

A science-fiction comedy about a typical American teenager of the 1980s, Marty McFly (played by Michael J. Fox), is accidentally sent back to 1955 in a plutonium-powered DeLorean “time machine.” During his whimsical and humorous trip back in time, Marty must make certain his parents, then teenagers meet and fall in love so he can get back to the future. This trip back in time will give your kids a glimpse of what it was like in your time and in their grandparents' time. Be prepared to answer lots of questions about the days before the iPod and Wii. Read our movie guide for parents.

Poster for the movie "Beauty and the Beast"

Beauty and the Beast

Runtime
1 h 24 min
Release Date
12 November 1991
Genres
Romance, Family, Animation, Fantasy, Music
Overview
Follow the adventures of Belle, a bright young woman who finds herself in the castle of a prince who's been turned into a mysterious beast. With the help of the castle's enchanted staff, Belle soon learns the most important lesson of all -- that true beauty comes from within.
Not rated yet!

 

Belle, a beautiful young girl, boldly takes her father’s place as prisoner in the dark, scary castle owned by the Beast. With the assistance of the enchanted staff of furniture and kitchenware, a tender romance develops between Belle and the Beast, teaching the lesson that true beauty comes from within. The music will have you humming and dancing for days.

Read our movie review for parents.

Poster for the movie "Cinderella"

Cinderella

Runtime
1 h 45 min
Release Date
12 March 2015
Genres
Romance, Fantasy, Family, Drama
Overview
When her father unexpectedly passes away, young Ella finds herself at the mercy of her cruel stepmother and her daughters. Never one to give up hope, Ella's fortunes begin to change after meeting a dashing stranger in the woods.
Not rated yet!

 

Cinderella has every element of a perfect tale; a fairy Godmother, a prince, a down- trodden girl, a beautiful dress, glass slipper and an evil stepmother. The good-natured Cinderella and her story of hope, combined with the musical score, make it a classic worth rediscovering.

Read our Cinderella family movie review for kids and parents.

Poster for the movie "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial"

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial

Runtime
1 h 55 min
Release Date
3 April 1982
Genres
Science Fiction, Adventure, Family, Fantasy
Overview
A science fiction fairytale about an extra-terrestrial who is left behind on Earth and is found by a young boy who befriends him. This heart-warming fantasy from Director Steven Spielberg became one of the most commercially successful films of all time.
Not rated yet!

 

Written and co-produced by the famed Steven Spielberg, this science-fiction story broke box office records and has been acclaimed as a timeless story of friendship – making it great for elementary school-aged kids. It tells the story of Elliott, who brings home a stranded, lovable extraterrestrial, dubbed “E.T.”. Elliott and his siblings hide E.T. from their mother and scientists and help him return home. With laughter and a few tears this flick captures your heart and takes it on a whirlwind adventure. Watch it together and use it to talk to your kids about the values of acceptance, unconditional love and friendship.

Read our family entertainment movie review.

Poster for the movie "Finding Nemo"

Finding Nemo

Runtime
1 h 40 min
Release Date
30 May 2003
Genres
Animation, Family
Overview
A tale which follows the comedic and eventful journeys of two fish, the fretful Marlin and his young son Nemo, who are separated from each other in the Great Barrier Reef when Nemo is unexpectedly taken from his home and thrust into a fish tank in a dentist's office overlooking Sydney Harbor. Buoyed by the companionship of a friendly but forgetful fish named Dory, the overly cautious Marlin embarks on a dangerous trek and finds himself the unlikely hero of an epic journey to rescue his son.
Not rated yet!

 

This whale of a fishy tale offers a great story that keeps both children and adults in uproarious laughter. Nemo is a little fish who wants to have some freedom outside of his father’s tight reins, but instead he winds up being fish-napped. His father, Marlin, leaves their home reef to travel the deep open sea to find his lost son. While Marlin, searches everywhere for his son, Nemo works on his own plan to get home, but time is running out. Be sure to sit and watch this one with your children, you won’t be disappointed.

Read our kids's movie review for parents.

Poster for the movie "Ghostbusters"

Ghostbusters

Runtime
1 h 47 min
Release Date
7 June 1984
Genres
Fantasy, Action, Comedy, Science Fiction, Family
Overview
After losing their academic posts at a prestigious university, a team of parapsychologists goes into business as proton-pack-toting "ghostbusters" who exterminate ghouls, hobgoblins and supernatural pests of all stripes. An ad campaign pays off when a knockout cellist hires the squad to purge her swanky digs of demons that appear to be living in her refrigerator.
Not rated yet!

 

A timeless classic, great for families with ‘tweens looking for a good laugh. This is exactly what this movie delivers, thanks to the amazing cast of Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Sigourney Weaver and Harold Ramis. The movie is about three odd-ball parapsychologists who set up shop in an old firehouse and become Ghostbusters. They create New York mayhem while trapping pesky ghosts, spirits, haunts, and poltergeists for money. Come on, they’re just a bunch of guys trying to make ends meet. The foursome wise-crack their way through the city until they stumble upon a gateway to another dimension – one which will release untold evil upon the city. That is, unless Ghostbusters can save the Big Apple. Who ya gonna call?

See our parental guide to this movie.

Poster for the movie "The Goonies"

The Goonies

Runtime
1 h 54 min
Release Date
6 June 1985
Genres
Adventure, Comedy, Family
Overview
A young teenager named Mikey Walsh finds an old treasure map in his father's attic. Hoping to save their homes from demolition, Mikey and his friends Data Wang, Chunk Cohen, and Mouth Devereaux run off on a big quest to find the secret stash of Pirate One-Eyed Willie.
Not rated yet!

 

Goonies is an American comedy-adventure, fun for families with ‘tween children. The story is about a bunch of misfit kids who take on a corrupt corporate developer with plans to flatten all their homes. With a bit of luck, the gang stumbles on a treasure map. In hopes of finding the treasure to buy back their houses, the Goonies embark on their quest that leads them through underground passages, behind waterfalls and to a pirate ship. This adventure with a classic good vs. evil theme is entertaining and captures the imagination. You will be cheering for the Goonies as they try to beat the clock. It also contains an underlying message about accepting others for who they are on the inside and the triumph of the underdog. Goonies is just an all around good time for the older children.

Read our parents movie review before viewing.

Poster for the movie "The Lion King"

The Lion King

Runtime
1 h 29 min
Release Date
23 June 1994
Genres
Family, Animation, Drama
Overview
A young lion cub named Simba can't wait to be king. But his uncle craves the title for himself and will stop at nothing to get it.
Not rated yet!

 

The Lion King continues to be the highest grossing hand-drawn film in history. The inspirational musical score combined with delightful traditional African storytelling makes this an animated adventure that you will thoroughly enjoy. Oh, wait, this was for the children, right? This movie is so good that you won’t mind if the kids want to watch it 1,000 times. The Lion King follows young Simba through his journey to claim his title as king of all the land touched by the sun. You’ll find your toes tapping and hands clapping as you cheer Simba on along his journey.

Read our family movie review for The Lion King.

Poster for the movie "Mary Poppins"

Mary Poppins

Runtime
2 h 19 min
Release Date
27 August 1964
Genres
Comedy, Music, Family, Fantasy
Overview
The movie combines a diverting story, songs, color and sequences of live action blended with the movements of animated figures. Mary Poppins is a kind of Super-nanny who flies in with her umbrella in response to the request of the Banks children and proceeds to put things right with the aid of her rather extraordinary magical powers before flying off again.
Not rated yet!

 

An all-time favorite, this theatrical classic features the acclaimed Julie Andrews as Mary Poppins. Not only will it bring the family on a magical journey, but on a musical adventure as well with whimsical tunes and catchy beats. The story is about two upscale children who have a strict, uninvolved father. When they seek a nanny the ultimate super nanny shows up on their doorstep, blown in by the wind. With the help of proper ways, an engaging musical score and whimsical fun, Mary Poppins shows the family a mesmerizing, enchanting view of the world like they'd never seen before. You’ll find yourselves creating ways to insert Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious into conversations for days afterwards, but the real question is, can you spell it without looking?

See our parents movie review for Mary Poppins.

Poster for the movie "Toy Story"

Toy Story

Runtime
1 h 21 min
Release Date
30 October 1995
Genres
Animation, Comedy, Family
Overview
Led by Woody, Andy's toys live happily in his room until Andy's birthday brings Buzz Lightyear onto the scene. Afraid of losing his place in Andy's heart, Woody plots against Buzz. But when circumstances separate Buzz and Woody from their owner, the duo eventually learns to put aside their differences.
Not rated yet!

 

Toy Story is the first Disney/Pixar film and first film to use entirely computer generated imagery. The characters quickly catch your heart as Woody, the toy cowboy, is replaced as the favorite toy when Buzz Lightyear joins them in the toy box. Woody isn’t about to whittle away on a shelf, but his endeavors create havoc for both himself and Buzz. It’s a fun tale that opened the way for Toy Story 2 and 3, which are also great family movies. Don’t miss it, Toy Story will take you “to infinity and beyond!”

Read our review of this children's film.

Poster for the movie "The Parent Trap"

The Parent Trap

Runtime
2 h 09 min
Release Date
12 June 1961
Genres
Comedy, Family
Overview
Hayley Mills plays twins who, unknown to their divorced parents, meet at a summer camp. Products of single parent households, they switch places (surprise!) so as to meet the parent they never knew, and then contrive to reunite them.
Not rated yet!

 

While there have been many remakes of this film over the years, the original holds its own and is a must see. It is a fun and cleverly wholesome tale of separated twins who, unknown to their divorced parents, meet at a summer camp. Products of single parent households, they switch places when it’s time to return home in order to meet the parent they never knew. Then, they try to get them reunited. The Parent Trap is a fun movie that will make both young and old laugh.

View our family-approved movie review.

Poster for the movie "Up"

Up

Runtime
1 h 36 min
Release Date
13 May 2009
Genres
Animation, Comedy, Family, Adventure
Overview
Carl Fredricksen spent his entire life dreaming of exploring the globe and experiencing life to its fullest. But at age 78, life seems to have passed him by, until a twist of fate (and a persistent 8-year old Wilderness Explorer named Russell) gives him a new lease on life.
Not rated yet!

 

Our dreams never die, we just grow older. When an elderly man is forced to leave his home, he decides to fulfill a dream of his deceased wife and finds a way to break free from the city where he embarks on his own adventure. He unexpectedly discovers that an overeager 8-year-old Wilderness Explorer who has never ventured beyond his backyard has accompanied him. He learns that determination and perseverance may be all the tools he needs. This animated comedy adventure received both Academy Award and Golden Globe accolades and is worth some serious family snuggle time.

View our family-friendly movie review for UP.

Poster for the movie "The Wizard of Oz"

The Wizard of Oz

Runtime
1 h 42 min
Release Date
15 August 1939
Genres
Adventure, Family, Fantasy
Overview
Young Dorothy finds herself in a magical world where she makes friends with a lion, a scarecrow and a tin man as they make their way along the yellow brick road to talk with the Wizard and ask for the things they miss most in their lives. The Wicked Witch of the West is the only thing that could stop them.
Not rated yet!

 

Sometimes we forget where the wonderment of theatrical adventure comes from — a visit back in time with the Wizard of Oz will leave both you and your children with a feeling that “there’s no place like home.” Adapted from L. Frank Baum’s timeless children’s tale about a Kansas girl’s journey over the rainbow. Today’s children will be asking “why aren’t things in color,” which is an excellent conversation starter. Your children will be able to enjoy the grandeur of Oz with its stalking scarecrows and singing tin man. This is a historic movie well worth watching with your family. The colorized version is good too, but nothing beats the beauty of a black-and-white film!

Read our family movie review information for parents.

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