There’s nothing quite like family movie night, and streaming is making it easier than ever to plan one. While you may think of Netflix as the home to high-quality original content like Stranger Things and Locke & Key, it’s also a repository for new and classic movies appropriate for the whole family. From Disney and Pixar to Laika animation and live action classics, Netflix pulls from all sorts of genres and styles.
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 so you can just grab the popcorn and take a seat.
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The Incredibles 2 (2018)
2004’s The Incredibles was such a classic that you’d be forgiven if you worried that a sequel 14 years later might be a travesty. Thankfully for everyone, your worries were for not. The Incredibles 2 is a more than worthy sequel and was even nominated for Best Animated Feature at the Oscars. The sequel picks up right where the original left off, dealing with the fallout from a society that wants to ban superpowers and force superheroes into normal lives. But there is still crime to be dealt with, and while Elasti-Girl starts working for a secret crime-fighting program, Mr. Incredible is left at home with the kids — specifically baby Jack-Jack, who just might be the most powerful superhero of all time. Disney+ will scoop it up at some point, so unless you plan on getting another subscription, be sure to catch it on Netflix now.
The Secret Life of Pets 2 (2019)
What do your pets actually do when you’re 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 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.
Spy Kids (2001)
Akin to a live action Codename: Kids Next Door, Spy Kids is an espionage flick for the whole family to enjoy. The film stars Antonio Banderas and Carla Gugino as Georgio and Ingrid Cortez. Living a double life as secret agents, the two Cortez parents are kidnapped on a high-stakes mission and must then rely on their children, Carmen and Juni, to rescue them and end the evil machinations of Fegan Floop (Alan Cumming). Spy Kids is as action-packed and hilarious as it is heartwarming and uplifting, with a surprisingly relatable villain and a twist that will keep the kids begging for more. Luckily, Netflix not only has Spy Kids 3 and 4, but also the animated Spy Kids: Mission Critical to keep everyone entertained.
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 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.
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 and his pal Vanellope von Schweetz, 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 old news simultaneously. You know, like the internet.
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 with an emotional weight unlike any of his previous films. Hugo’s 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.
Space Jam (1996)
Space Jam will be getting a sequel, but it’s not here yet! Instead, enjoy the original, one of the more inventive sports movies ever made and an absolute delight for both kids and their millennial parents who grew up worshiping Michael Jordan. When mischievous aliens try to take over the Looney Tunes universe, Bugs Bunny challenges them to an intergalactic game of basketball. The shrimpy aliens, however, have a trick up their sleeve. They take the talent of NBA stars like Charles Barkley, Patrick Ewing, Muggsy Bogues, and Shawn Bradley and suddenly have the upper hand. But Bugs, Daffy, Lola Bunny, and the gang have an ace-in-the-hole: Michael Jordan.
Mary and the Witch’s Flower (2017)
For anime-enthusiast families and Studio Ghibli connoisseurs, here is an international Alice in Wonderland look-alike. 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 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 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.
The Adventures of Tintin (2011)
Belgian cartoonist Hergé’s Tintin books span centuries of history, the entire globe, and even other planets. Adapting the beautifully illustrated, captivating comics was no easy task. Good thing Steven Spielberg was the one to pick up the mantle. Using a motion capture aesthetic that pays tribute to the source material, Spielberg zeroes in on perhaps the most famous Tintin story: The Secret of the Unicorn. This exciting animated film has that classic Spielberg adventure touch while staying true to Tintin’s investigative roots.
Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018)
It wouldn’t be a family-friendly watch list without a dash of that galaxy far, far away. Though it may have its detractors, Han Solo’s stand-alone Star Wars outing remains an enjoyable escape via the Millennium Falcon. Through the intimidation of a Crimson Dawn lieutenant, Solo (Alden Ehrenreich) and Chewbacca have no alternative but to aid Qi’ra (Emilia Clarke) and Tobias Beckett (Woody Harrelson) in the acquisition of highly sought-after hyperfuel. Along the way, both new and old faces bring the Star Wars narrative full circle, main among them being Donald Glover’s portrayal of iconic smooth talker Lando Calrissian.
Hook hasn’t exactly aged well into the era of special effects and computer animation, but it does still have an element of magic. Steven Spielberg’s modern take on the classic Peter Pan tale introduces us to a middle-aged Peter, now a workaholic lawyer with kids of his own who has completely forgotten about his past in Neverland. When his kids are kidnapped by his nemesis Captain Hook (Dustin Hoffman), Peter must head back to Neverland and remember how to “bangarang.” Robin Williams delivers one of his greatest performances ever as a reluctant Peter, resisting every effort of Tinker Bell (Julia Roberts) and the Lost Boys to reconnect him with his past.
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 Spider 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.
Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)
Maybe everyone in the house is tired of animated, kid-friendly movies. Not only do the children want something a bit more realistic at times, but adults are often hungry for some action without losing that family orientation. Ant-Man and the Wasp fits the bill like a bee to its beehive. As the Avengers attempt to thwart Thanos from acquiring all of the Infinity Stones, Paul Rudd’s Scott Lang is stuck busying himself on house arrest. After being unwittingly rescued from boredom and reconnecting with the Pyms, Scott must set aside his fears of jail time in order to aid Hope (Evangeline Lilly) in rescuing her mother from the Quantum Realm.
Monster House (2006)
Craving a bit of horror, yet don’t want to frighten the kids? Monster House is that perfect mesh of terror and animated fun. A mysterious and dilapidated house draws the attention of three young teens in their quest to escape the mundanity of everyday life. Instead of a fun adventure, the trio is launched into a nightmare. Having fallen into the belly of a monstrous entity, the three must come together in an effort to escape the demonic foundation. Monster House is an eerie animated adventure that requires the lights to be off for the best possible viewing atmosphere.
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.
Back to The Future (1985)
Take the family on a trip through time — in more ways than one, incidentally. Back to the Future is one of the most beloved sci-fi films of all-time and stands as an enduring pillar of filmmaking. Made in 1985, Robert Zemeckis’s Oscar-winning adventure has had a significant influence on film over the past 35 years; the kids might even recognize how important it is. When teenager Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) is accidentally sent back in time by his eccentric scientist friend Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd), he causes a change in history. Suddenly, he must ensure his parents fall in love as they did before — otherwise, he will cease to exist.
The Little Prince (2015)
This original adaptation of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s beloved book somehow manages to both 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.
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