Gathering around the TV for family movie night is a tradition like no other. See the kids laugh, eat some good food, watch some classic cinema — a priceless experience. In terms of what to watch, Netflix has got you covered. The streaming giant’s thousand-plus catalog of films and shows features some of the finest family films around.
Whether you want to sit down with the kids and get sucked into a fun-filled adventure or spend the evening laughing, Netflix’s collection has something for everyone. Of course, nobody wants to spend the whole night browsing, so we’ve pulled together some of the best family movies on Netflix — grab the popcorn and take a seat.
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In?Casper, Bill Pullman and Christina Ricci are Kat and James Harvey, a widowed father and daughter parapsychologist team. Well, James is. Kat is tired of moving and wants her dad to let the memory of her mother go. That’s not in the cards, though, as a friendly ghost named Casper (Malachi Pearson) has plans for the family. Enamored with Kat, Casper convinces the vile Carrigan Crittenden (Cathy Moriarty), the heir to Casper’s haunted estate, to hire the Harveys so Casper can meet Kat. But things don’t go according to plan when Kat and her father are frightened by him (he is a ghost, after all) and his three meddling phantom uncles. Casper was one of the very first films to feature a completely computer-generated protagonist and is the first of several films in the Casper the Friendly Ghost canon.
Rotten Tomatoes: 51%
Stars: Christina Ricci, Bill Pullman, Cathy Moriarty
Director: Brad Silberling
Paul Blart: Mall Cop
Paul Blart (Kevin James) has big dreams of joining the New Jersey State Police, but his low blood sugar is keeping him from passing the physical examination. To shape up, Paul takes a job at the West Orange Pavilion Mall as a Segway-bound security guard. Part of his duties include training new hire Veck Simms (Keir O’Donnell), but the new employee could care less. Ulterior motives in play, Veck has elaborate plans for a massive Black Friday theft, complete with cronies, hostages, and a scheme that the clueless Paul stumbles right into the middle of. What stands out the most with Paul Blart?is Kevin James, the film’s co-writer and a reliably comedic presence throughout.
Rotten Tomatoes: 34%
Stars: Kevin James, Jayma Mays, Keir O’Donnell
Director: Steve Carr
Runtime: 91 minutes
The Willoughbys (2020)
Will Forte, Maya Rudolph, Alessia Cara, Terry Crews, Martin Short, Jane Krakowski, Sean Cullen, and Ricky Gervais lend their voices to this computer-animated film based on the book of the same name by Lois Lowry. It’s about the Willoughbys, two neglectful parents, and their unique children who try to survive on their own until a mysterious nanny arrives. Despite the presumably sad subject matter about orphaned children with bad parents, critics loved the film and lauded its silliness that is “anchored in genuine emotion.”
Rotten Tomatoes: 90%
Stars: Will Forte, Maya Rudolph, Alessia Cara, Ricky Gervais
Director: Kris Pearn
The Secret Life of Pets 2 (2019)
What do your pets actually do when you’re not home all day? In the original The Secret Life of Pets, we learned that they get into a whole lot of trouble. Now, after narrowly avoiding becoming a stray, Max the terrier (Patton Oswalt) is back and ready for a fun family jaunt to the countryside. But when he mistakenly gets lost, he’ll have to deal with angry cows, hostile foxes, one mean turkey, and his own neuroses if he’s going to get back home. Thankfully, he has a little help.
Rotten Tomatoes: 60%
Stars:?Kevin Hart, Jenny Slate, Patton Oswalt
Director: Chris Renaud
Mary Poppins Returns (2018)
You can’t help but get up and sing and dance to the iconic songs from this film, like “A Spoonful of Sugar.” And while it can’t hold a candle to the 1964 original, which starred Julie Andrews as the title character, Emily Blunt and Lin-Manuel Miranda do a great job of bringing new life and a reinvented story to the franchise, earning the reboot four Academy Award nominations in the process. In the musical fantasy film, the magical and mysterious nanny is back 25 years later to help the now grown-up Michael Banks and his children get through a tragic event.
Rotten Tomatoes: 79%
Stars:?Emily Blunt, Lin-Manuel Miranda
Director: Rob Marshall
Invader Zim: Enter the Florpus (2019)
While it may not be the same Invader Zim millennials grew up watching, the Netflix-adapted Enter the Florpus will still get the entire family reeling. The story tracks Zim (Richard Steven Horvitz) after the events of the original TV series, seeing the little alien in the throes of an existential dilemma. As he’s fighting for a chance to make a difference and attempting to unlock his true purpose on Earth, Zim’s arch-nemesis plots his downfall in the shadows. Can the little alien gain the confidence he needs to overcome his human rival, or will he only be a memory? With a critics review score of 100% on Rotten Tomatoes, no family can go wrong with Invader Zim and his Florpus adventures.
Rotten Tomatoes: 100%
Stars:?Jhonen Vasquez, Richard Steven Horvitz
Directors: Hae Young Jung, Young Kyun Park, Jhonen Vasquez
Ralph Breaks the Internet (2018)
What’s that? Another sequel? Yes, another sequel. The follow-up to the delightfully inventive Wreck-It Ralph,?Ralph Breaks the Internet expands the boundaries and the scope of the analog universe into the digital. The film centers on Wreck-It Ralph (John C. Reilly) and his pal Vanellope von Schweetz (Sarah Silverman), both of which have made it out of their respective games and must support one another as they traverse the World Wide Web. Packed full of memes and internet humor, Ralph Breaks the Internet feels strangely ahead of its time and like old news simultaneously. You know, like the Internet.
Rotten Tomatoes: 88%
Stars:?John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Jack McBrayer
Director: Rich Moore, Phil Johnston
Given the ample amount of time on everyone’s hands nowadays, Hugo is an unmissable family-friendly escape into a world that uniquely portrays this unstoppable temporal movement. Martin Scorsese’s steampunk adventure captures a 1931 Paris through the eyes of a 12-year-old and has an emotional weight unlike any of his previous films. Hugo’s (Asa Butterfield) adventures in the railway station are where the narrative and themes are expressed most boisterously, depicting a world made vibrant by its art, yet inundated with controlled abandon. Hugo is a tale of spellbinding woe and familial hardship, proving the necessity of creativity to thrive. It’s not an award winner for nothing, after all.
Rotten Tomatoes: 93%
Stars:?Asa Butterfield, Chloe Grace Moretz, Ben Kingsley
Director: Martin Scorsese
How to Train Your Dragon 2 (2014)
Like any franchise, it’s probably best to start off with the first How to Train Your Dragon. But you won’t be completely lost if you jump in with the equally outstanding sequel. Five years since Hiccup and his dragon friend Toothless united the dragons and Vikings of Berk, the town is more intrepid and more peaceful than ever. However, when Hiccup and Toothless discover a secret cave out in the ocean that’s filled with hundreds of wild dragons, they begin to ask questions. Soon, they find that the dragons answer to a mysterious rider, and they’re just the first domino to fall as a power-hungry warlord closes in on Berk.
Rotten Tomatoes: 91%
Stars:?Jay Baruchel, Cate Blanchett, Gerard Butler
Runtime: 102 minutes
Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004)
Now a full series on Netflix, Lemony Snicket’s beloved, morbid children’s book series A Series of Unfortunate Events?got the film treatment more than a decade earlier. Jim Carrey stars as Count Olaf, the nefarious, evil, out-of-work actor who is nonetheless the impossibly wealthy, recently-orphaned Baudelaire children’s closest living relative. A master of disguise and with a theater troupe of cronies at his disposal, Olaf will stop at nothing to get his hands on the Baudelaire fortune, even if that means eliminating the three Baudelaire children, Violet, Klaus, and Sunny.
Rotten Tomatoes: 72%
Stars:?Jim Carrey, Emily Browning, Liam Aiken
Runtime: 107 minutes
Mary and the Witch’s Flower (2017)
For anime-enthusiast families and Studio Ghibli connoisseurs, here is an international Alice in Wonderland lookalike. Mary and the Witch’s Flower is as heartwarming as it is artistically expressive, namely due to the direction of Hiromasa Yonebayashi. This animated adventure is based on Mary Stewart’s The Little Broomstick. Mary (Hana Sugisaki) is a young girl with no friends, living in the northern English countryside with a deep-seated hunger for adventure. After chasing a cat into a forest, her whole life changes upon the discovery of a mysterious broom with enchanted abilities. Netflix may have an array of the best anime series, but it doesn’t often have the best selection of family-friendly animated movies. Mary and the Witch’s Flower is certainly a testament to its potential.
Rotten Tomatoes: 89%
Stars:?Ruby Barnhill, Kate Winslet, Jim Broadbent
Director: Hiromasa Yonebayashi
The Addams Family (1991)
This 1991 adaptation introduced the famously gruesome TV family to a brand new generation, launching a trilogy that spanned the ’90s. When the family attorney and a greedy mother/son team conspire to steal the Addams’ family fortune, it’s all hands on deck to ensure their eccentric lifestyle isn’t derailed. With an all-star cast featuring Anjelica Huston, Raul Julia, Christopher Lloyd, and a young Christina Ricci as the quintessential Wednesday Addams,?The Addams Family is goofy, grotesque fun for the whole family.
Rotten Tomatoes: 64%
Stars:?Anjelica Huston, Christopher Lloyd, Raul Julia
Director: Barry Sonnenfeld
Runtime: 99 minutes
Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
There may not be a better action-adventure film in the world, let alone one that can be enjoyed by the whole family. The first of an eventual massive franchise,?Raiders of the Lost Ark features all the iconic moments you can remember, from Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) being chased by a boulder to the closing scene, a pan out on a massive warehouse where mysteries seem to meet their bureaucratic death. The theatrics are taken up a notch by John Williams, who provides one of the most iconic soundtracks of all time.
Rotten Tomatoes: 95%
Stars:?Harrison Ford, Karen Allen, Paul Freeman
Director: Steven Spielberg
Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch (2018)
Illumination brings Dr. Seuss’ beloved Christmas tale to new life in this 2018 hit. The grumpy green Grinch lives at the top of Mount Crumpet with his loyal dog, Max, and he’s perfectly happy being all alone. But at Christmastime, his neighbors in Whoville get extremely rowdy, making it impossibly for the Grinch to just relax in peace. So, this year, as the Whos plan their biggest celebration yet, the Grinch decides it’s time to steal Christmas once and for all. He hatches a scheme to pose as Santa Claus and sneak down to Whoville on Christmas Eve to steal all of the holiday cheer before Christmas morning.
Rotten Tomatoes: 60%
Stars:?Benedict Cumberbatch, Cameron Seely, Rashida Jones
Directors: Scott Mosier, Yarrow Cheney
Runtime: 86 minutes
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)
Bringing comic-book pages to the big screen like never before, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse does superhero animation right and has a killer soundtrack to boot. Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) is a young kid striving to be more than just the average hero. His two hardworking parents not only love him but feel for him in this time of angst and maturity, yet they are unaware of his secret identity. Morales is put to the test more so than ever before when Kingpin’s mishandling of complex technology tears through the fabric of reality. Thrust into his world, an assortment of Spider friends must band together if they have any chance of making it back to their own respective homes. And though they may not want his help, Miles is their only key to salvation.
Rotten Tomatoes: 97%
Stars:?Shameik Moore, Jake Johnson, Hailee Steinfeld
Directors: Peter Ramsey, Rodney Rothman, Bob Persichetti
Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius (2001)
During the Golden Age of Nickelodeon,?Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius stood out for its unique premise and heavy focus on science. Jimmy Neutron is an 11-year-old boy whose intellect is matched by none. Of course, his brain results in the arrival of an alien species who want to kidnap and sacrifice Earth’s parents to Poultra, the species’s god, who is incidentally a three-headed chicken. Smart and humorous, the movie was the launching pad for the franchise, which brought two different television shows to Nickelodeon over the following decade.
Rotten Tomatoes: 74%
Stars:?Debi Derryberry, Rob Paulsen, Jeffrey Garcia
Director: John A. Davis
Mr. Peabody & Sherman (2014)
The classic duo of Mr. Peabody and Sherman get a modern update for a new generation in this 2014 animated hit. Mr. Peabody is the most accomplished dog in the world, and with his mischievous boy Sherman, they travel time and space together in their time machine, the WABAC. But when Sherman takes the WABAC out for a joyride to impress his friend Penny, they inadvertently tear a hole in the universe, wreaking havoc on history. Before past, present, and future are forever altered, Mr. Peabody must put everything back together again, simultaneously making the world right and becoming a parent.
Rotten Tomatoes: 81%
Stars:?Ty Burrell, Ariel Winter, Max Charles
Runtime: 92 minutes
Pokémon Mewtwo Strikes Back: Evolution (2019)
This Pokémon movie is a CGI remake of the massively popular 1998 Pokémon film, Pokémon: The First Movie. It doesn’t quite meet the hype of the original movie, which many of today’s parents probably went bananas for as kids, but it’s nonetheless a fun trip down nostalgia lane for adults and an action-packed ride for kids. Starring all the characters from the original Pokémon series, the movie follows Ash, Brock, and Misty as they discover the enormously powerful psychic Pokémon Mewtwo and realize he’s not the villain he’s made out to be.
Rotten Tomatoes: 44%
Stars:?Ikue Otani, Rica, Matsumoto
Directors:?Kunihiko Yuyama, Tetsuo Yajima, Motonori Sakakibara
The NeverEnding Story (1984)
Don’t worry parents,?The NeverEnding Story does actually end. While today’s kids may only know?The NeverEnding Story from Dustin and Suzie’s duet in season 3 of?Stranger Things, the fantasy trilogy is iconic for children of the ’80s and ’90s. After his mother’s death, Bastian is struggling. His nagging father and bullies at school aren’t helping. When he plays hooky from school one day, Bastian winds up in a strange bookstore where he discovers a book called The Neverending Story. As he reads, Bastian is sucked into the story, following a warrior called Atreyu’s quest to find a cure for his sick empress. As he explores the land, he discovers it is consumed with a plague called The Nothing, generated by blighted dreams and hopeless fantasies. When Bastian is catapulted physically into the novel, Atreyu realizes that the only way to cure The Nothing is with the help of this strange earth boy. The second film in the franchise is also available on Netflix.
Rotten Tomatoes: 80%
Stars:?Barret Oliver, Noah Hathaway, Tami Stronach
Director: Wolfgang Petersen
Runtime: 94 minutes
The Little Prince (2015)
This original adaptation of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s beloved book somehow manages to pay homage to the original story while expanding it to beautiful new heights. Directed by Mark Osborne, this visually stunning extension features a young girl (Mackenzie Foy) who strikes up a friendship with an old pilot (Jeff Bridges). As they get to know one another, the pilot regales the girl about a friend from his past: a Little Prince from another planet. Read the book with your kids, then watch the movie, and you’ll build a lasting memory.
Rotten Tomatoes: 93%
Stars:?Mackenzie Foy, Rachel McAdams, Paul Rudd
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