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10 best G-rated movies streaming right now

The Wizard as a giant head in The Wizard of Oz.
MGM

Family-friendly cinema has produced some of the most popular and beloved movies ever, with many becoming integral parts of audiences’ childhoods. The “General audience” rating is given to movies that are perfect for viewers of all ages, at least according to decision-makers from the Motion Picture Association film rating system.

From heartwarming animated adventures like Toy Story to timeless classics like The Wizard of Oz, these G-rated films offer wholesome entertainment that can be enjoyed by the whole family. There are also some surprising entries in the category, like the visually stunning 2001: A Space Odyssey and Singin’ in the Rain, which prove that G-rated movies are more varied than they may initially seem. Of course, the majority of these movies were created with family entertainment in mind, with the very best instilling values, sparking imagination, and creating lasting memories for young viewers.

The Little Mermaid (1989)

Ariel, Sebastian, and Flounder in The Little Mermaid.
Buena Vista Pictures Distribution

The 2023 live-action remake of The Little Mermaid couldn’t surpass the 1989 classic, which is still among Disney’s best animated offerings. Based on Hans Christian Andersen’s 1837 fairy tale, the film follows the story of a young mermaid named Ariel (voiced by Jodi Benson), who dreams of exploring the human world above. When she falls in love with Prince Eric (Christopher Daniel Barnes), Ariel makes a terrible deal with the sea witch Ursula (Pat Carroll) to trade her voice for legs. She soon has to race against the clock to get true love’s kiss before it’s too late.

With both the original and its recent remake available to stream, now is the perfect time to introduce kids to the cherished musical fantasy film. Its uplifting message of following one’s dreams and embracing adventure ensures that The Little Mermaid endures as a timeless movie for audiences of all ages.

The Little Mermaid is streaming on Disney+.

My Neighbor Totoro (1988)

The main characters from My Neighbor Totoro sitting on a tree branch over a river.
Toho

When considering the best Hayao Miyazaki movies, My Neighbor Totoro is often mentioned alongside the more renowned Spirited Away. This 1988 animated fantasy film is more family-friendly, though, as it follows the enchanting adventures of two young sisters who move to the countryside. Satsuki (Noriko Hidaka) and Mei (Chika Sakamoto) soon meet magical creatures as they explore their new surroundings, including the gentle forest spirit Totoro.

Rich with Shinto symbology and imparting the importance of loving the environment, My Neighbor Totoro is both insightful and fun. Miyazaki’s trademarks are obvious in the Studio Ghibli film, with the two sisters dealing with a tough mature situation through fantastical play. My Neighbor Totoro underscores the power of childhood imagination and resilience, alongside beautiful hand-drawn visuals that have aged unbelievably well, of course.

My Neighbor Totoro is streaming on Max.

The Sound of Music (1965)

Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music.
Image via 20th Century-Studios

The Sound of Music is one of the greatest musicals ever made. Starring Julie Andrews in her iconic role as the free-spirited nun Maria, it chronicles her experiences after becoming a governess for the seven children of Captain Von Trapp (Christopher Plummer) in pre-World War II Austria. The Von Trapp household is initially hesitant to interact with her, but they soon bond thanks to Maria’s warmth, kindness, and love for music.

Despite premiering nearly 60 years ago, The Sound of Music still offers the same enthralling viewing experience. Andrews soars as the mesmerizing Maria, whose infectious optimism and persistence can still move and inspire today. With catchy songs like My Favorite Things and Do-Re-Mi, a heartwarming story of friendship and hope, and an impeccably cast ensemble, it’s easy to see why the 1965 film received five Academy Awards.

The Sound of Music is streaming on Disney+ and Hulu.

Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971)

Gene Wilder standing and tilting his head slightly in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory
Paramount Pictures

Director Mel Stuart’s Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory is still among the best movie adaptations of a Roald Dahl story. Gene Wilder stars as the mysterious and eccentric candy maker who opens his chocolate factory to five lucky children. A kindhearted boy from a poor family, Charlie Bucket (Peter Ostrum), happens to be among the fortunate few who win a golden ticket to tour the magical factory. As the children explore Wonka’s whimsical creations, they learn valuable lessons, with some ending quite disastrously.

Despite its lack of success when it first premiered, the 1971 musical fantasy film has gained a reputation throughout the years as a magical and wacky viewing experience that should not be missed. With vibrant colors, gorgeous set pieces, and unforgettable musical numbers, it has aged surprisingly well. Wilder is also flawless as the quirky Wonka, with the actor capturing both the wonderful and weird aspects of the character.

Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory is streaming on Max.

Wall-E (2008)

Wall-E looks at a Rubik's cube in Wall-E.
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Set in a dystopian future where a trash-covered Earth has been abandoned by humans, Wall-E follows the titular curious robot. He’s still doing what he was programmed to do so many years ago. When a sleek robot called Eve arrives from outer space, Wall-E is roped into a grand adventure among the stars, with the duo’s mission poised to determine humanity’s future.

Leave it to Pixar to make a romantic and exciting film with two emotive robots at its center. It’s impossible not to get swept up in their love story, especially as the more advanced Eve begins to develop feelings for the sweet Wall-E. The 2008 movie also has an important message about the environment and how crucial it is to take care of it for future generations, making it a great way to introduce this concept to younger audiences.

Wall-E is streaming on Max.

Singin’ in the Rain (1952)

Gene Kelly in Singin' in the Rain (1952)
Loew's Inc.

Directed by and starring Gene Kelly alongside Donald O’Connor and Debbie Reynolds, Singin’ in the Rain tells a story that captures the tumultuous transition from silent films to “talkies” in the late 1920s. Here, silent film star Don Lockwood (Kelly) and his friend, Cosmo Brown (O’Connor), try their best to adapt to the challenges of the transition to talking pictures. Amid the chaos, Don falls in love with aspiring actress Kathy Selden (Reynolds), who has been hired to record over another actress’s voice.

With its bright atmosphere and lighthearted humor, complex choreography and cinematography, and instant classic songs, the 1952 musical gave viewers an engrossing glimpse into the glamorous world of Hollywood’s Golden Age. Its three leads were made for their roles, with no one missing a beat in this essential spoof of the film industry.

Singin’ in the Rain is streaming on Max.

Toy Story (1995)

Buzz and Woody in Toy Story.
Buena Vista Pictures Distribution

At this point, Toy Story is a film that needs no introduction. The 1995 movie is among Pixar’s best and it spawned a thriving franchise. It all starts with the misadventures of a group of toys led by the cowboy doll Woody (voiced by Tom Hanks), who meets and is immediately jealous of his owner’s new friend, the space ranger action figure Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen). A fight between them leads to the duo getting left behind during the family’s big move, so they have to learn to rely on each other to make it back to Andy (John Morris).

Toy Story was an incredible, groundbreaking work for the studio, with it being the first ever computer-animated film. It underscored the possibilities for the medium, while telling a well-written, heartwarming story in the process. With a new sequel, Toy Story 5, already confirmed, it’s a good time to revisit the animated film series with the entire family.

Toy Story is streaming on Disney+.

The Wizard of Oz (1939)

The characters from The Wizard of Oz holding each other close and looking at something off-screen.
Metro-Goldwyn-Meyer

It may have premiered over 80 years ago, but The Wizard of Oz‘s timeless appeal makes it worth discovering for the first time today. The influential film directed by Victor Fleming follows the story of a young girl from Kansas, Dorothy Gale (Judy Garland), who is swept away to the fantastical land of Oz by a tornado. During her quest to return home, Dorothy comes across some unlikely companions – a Scarecrow (Ray Bolger), a Tin Man (Jack Haley), and a Cowardly Lion (Bert Lahr).

A genre-defining masterpiece, The Wizard of Oz is a monumental work that showcased the magic of Technicolor to a wider audience. It’s also just an absorbing movie, with Garland embracing the role of Dorothy, whose transformative arc can move and inspire to this day. It may not be as dazzling as more modern films, but its legendary status as one of the greatest fantasy movies ever made should be more than enough reason for any fan of cinema to give it a shot.

The Wizard of Oz is streaming on Max.

The Lion King (1994)

Simba, Pumba, and Timon in The Lion King.
Buena Vista Pictures Distribution

After the young lion cub Simba (Jonathan Taylor Thomas) loses his father in a tragic way in The Lion King, he runs away from his responsibility as heir by escaping into the wilderness. The Disney animated feature chronicles his experiences growing up alongside his friends Timon the meerkat (Nathan Lane) and Pumbaa the warthog (Ernie Sabella), as well as his change of heart and challenging journey to reclaiming his place as the rightful ruler of his father’s homeland.

With it being inspired by William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, it’s not surprising that the 1994 animated film has a story for the ages. It perfectly balances this surprisingly mature narrative with lighthearted musical numbers and numerous comedic moments, making it the ideal pick for a family movie night. The Lion King is a classic for a reason, with its powerful tale of love, loss, and redemption having lost none of its impact over the years.

The Lion King is streaming on Disney+.

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

Dave walking on the ship in 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Director Stanley Kubrick‘s 2001: A Space Odyssey portrays a future where space travel has become the norm. Here, a mysterious monolith inspires an exploratory journey to Jupiter led by astronaut Dave Bowman (Keir Dullea). He and his crew on the spacecraft Discovery One venture into the unknown and begin encountering problems with their sentient computer HAL 9000.

It may be shocking to learn that 2001: A Space Odyssey is G-rated, but aside from a somewhat creepy HAL and some bizarre surrealist scenes, there’s nothing in the film that would warrant a strong warning for viewers. Is it the best choice for a cozy night in with young kids? Probably not. It still is the best G-rated movie that’s streaming right now, though. Kubrick’s influential sci-fi movie has undoubtedly earned a permanent place alongside the most important cinematic achievements in history.

2001: A Space Odyssey is streaming on Max.

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Saab Hannah
Saab whips up SEO-optimized articles as a writer for Digital Trends and updates top-performing articles on Collider.
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