20 Classic Movies Families Can Watch Together

Cozy up on the couch! We ranked these pre-1999 flicks with help from Common Sense Media, entertainers, and experts who have movie nights with their kids.

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1. Toy Story (1995)

Best Family Movies Toy Story Courtesy of Disney/Pixar

Our judges loved Pixar’s first feature length film to infinity and beyond! “It magically combines three factors that are key in a movie to entertain the whole family—action, humor, and a theme of friendship,” says Dan Lin, producer of the Lego movies. The story line is timeless, and the computer animation—a breakthrough when it was released—still holds up for today’s digital-savvy kids. Toy Story. Rated G, ages 5+, 81 minutes.

2. E.T. the Extra Terrestrial (1982)

Best Family Movies E.T. The Extra Terristrial Courtesy of Universal

Kids are as wowed as you were by Elliott’s discovery of an alien world in the backyard. “My 8-year-old adores E.T. as much as I do, and it’s great watching it through her eyes,” says Kenny Curtis, senior director of Kids & Family Programming at SiriusXM Radio. E.T. the Extra Terrestrial. Rated PG, ages 7+, 115 minutes.

3. The Lion King (1994)

Best Family Movies The Lion King Courtesy of Disney/Pixar

“It’s my favorite Disney film,” says actor Sean Astin, of Stranger Things. “I love the music and how the film shows different cultures.” Plus, your kid is bound to see the blockbuster at a friend’s house, and he’ll be less likely to be upset by the scarier moments if he’s watched it with you first. The Lion KingRated G, ages 6+, 89 minutes.

4. Babe (1995)

Best Family Movies Babe Courtesy of Universal

The funny and touching dialogue is endearing across generations. “I bought a copy of the movie before my son was born, and we enjoyed watching together,” says Barbara Brandon-Croft, research director at Parents. “I mean, who can resist laughing at the mouse chorus?” BabeRated G, ages 6+, 91 minutes.

5. The Princess Bride (1987)

Best Family Movies The Princess Bride Now available on Blu-Ray/DVD. Courtesy of Fox.

This live-action, irreverent fairy tale is a princess movie that kids and parents can get behind because it’s full of adventure. “I had to make my kids watch this, but once they did, they fell in love with it,” says Curtis. “They didn’t get all the humor, but they recognized the storybook tone.” The Princess BrideRated PG, ages 8+, 98 minutes.

6. The Wizard of Oz (1939)

Best Family Movies The Wizard of Oz Available on Blu-Ray/DVD/Digital. Courtesy of Warner Brothers.

It’s the ultimate multigenerational movie! Grandparents will love seeing your little one’s precious reactions to the ruby slippers and Glinda’s magical appearance. While some preschoolers can handle the scarier moments, wait longer to show it to a sensitive kid. The Wizard of OzRated PG, ages 6+, 101 minutes.

7. My Neighbor Totoro (1988)

Best Family Movies My Neighbor Totoro Courtesy of Disney

Popular in Japan, this animated fantasy “has strong female characters without pandering to the clichés of girl power,” says Catherine Liu, Ph.D., professor of film and media studies at University of California, Irvine. My Neighbor TotoroRated G, ages 5+, 86 minutes.

8. The Muppet Movie (1979)

Best Family Movies The Muppet Movie Courtesy of Disney

Kids’ comedies aren’t usually all that funny for adults, but this is a rare exception: “It’s perfect for introducing kids to different kinds of humor, like puns, slapstick, and running gags,” says film critic Jesse Hassenger. The Muppet MovieRated G, ages 6+, 94 minutes.

9. Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971)

Best Family Movies Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory Available on Blu-Ray/DVD/Digital. Courtesy of Warner Brothers.

For kids, the premise of exploring a candy factory is as dreamy as ever. Watching as an adult, “you realize it’s a strange movie but full of imagination,” says Jeff Kinney, author of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. “The songs will stay in your kids’ heads for a long time.” Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. Rated G, ages 8+, 98 minutes.

10. Star Wars: Episode IV—A New Hope (1977)

Best Family Movies Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope Courtesy of Disney

Epic storytelling makes watching this film practically a rite of passage. “It was my favorite childhood movie, and my sons, ages 9 and 13, also love that a farm boy is picked to go on an incredible adventure and save his world,” says Lin. Star Wars: Episode IV—A New HopeRated PG, ages 7+, 120 minutes.

11. Mulan (1998)

Best Family Movies Mulan Courtesy of Disney

“Of all the classic Disney princess movies, Mulan is the most empowering,” says Betsy Bozdech, executive editor of Common Sense Media. “Mulan is a diverse heroine who fights for what she believes in and isn’t consumed with fancy dresses and romances.” MulanRated G, ages 5+, 90 minutes.

12. A League of Their Own (1992)

Best Family Movies A League of Their Own Available on Blu-Ray. Courtesy of Sony.

This movie based on a real-life 1940s girls’ professional baseball team was ahead of its time in dispelling gender stereotypes. “The female characters are valued for their strength and physical abilities,” says Marisa LaScala, news editor at ParentsA League of Their OwnRated PG, ages 10+, 124 minutes.

13. Mary Poppins (1964)

Best Family Movies Mary Poppins Courtesy of Disney

Follow up The Wizard of Oz (number 6) with this delightful musical, which has a less straightforward story line and more complex songs and dance numbers. “The songs are classic,” says Jenna Helwig, senior food editor at Parents. Mary PoppinsRated G, ages 6+, 140 minutes.

14. Bambi (1942)

Best Family Movies Bambi Courtes of Disney

While a lot of parents shy away from this slower-paced animal tale because they think it’ll be too sad for their children, watching together can provide an opening for important conversations. “We have a friend who lost a puppy, and I thought it would be a good idea to show Bambi to my son as a less scary way to bring up the topic of death,” says actor Malin Akerman, who stars in Showtime’s Billions. Bambi. Rated G, ages 5+, 70 minutes.

15. Anne of Green Gables (1986)

Best Family Movies Anne of Green Gables Courtesy of Sullivan Entertainment Inc.

This version of L. M. Montgomery’s classic book is still the best adaptation of the ultimate orphan tale. “It’s a faithful, sensitive take on the novel,” says Bozdech. But you might want to break it up into two nights, because it’s long. Anne of Green GablesNot rated, ages 7+, 199 minutes.

16. Labyrinth (1986)

Best Family Movies Labyrinth Courtesy of Disney

This far-out fantasy tale stands the test of time. “I was captivated by any element of magic in books or movies as a kid,” says Grammy winner Kelly Clarkson. “The music made me love it more. This movie introduced me to David Bowie, so I will always be grateful for that!” LabyrinthRated PG, ages 8+, 101 minutes.

17. The Aristocats (1970)

Best Family Movies The Aristocats Courtesy of Disney

Little kids will love the silly chase scenes in this animated Disney flick. “It was the first movie I showed to my son, and we have a blast watching the antics of these cute little kittens,” says Akerman. The AristocatsRated G, ages 4+, 79 minutes.

18. Beauty and the Beast (1991)

Best Family Movies Beauty and the Beast Courtesy of Disney

The inner-beauty theme inspires. Beauty and the BeastRated G, ages 6+, 90 minutes.

19. Jurassic Park (1993)

Best Family Movies Jurassic Park Courtesy of Universal

“For older kids, the T-Rex scene is a classic,” says Kinney. Jurassic Park. Rated PG-13, ages 12+, 127 minutes.

20. The Sound of Music (1965)

Best Family Movies The Sound of Music Available on Blu-Ray/DVD. Courtesy of Fox.

Its rule-breaking nanny and familiar songs introduce kids to a grown-up world, says Helwig. The Sound of Music. Rated G, ages 6+, 174 minutes.

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