The Best Family Movies on Netflix Right Now

Last Updated: February 15th

While the world of streaming has opened up a vast amount of possibilities in terms of viewing options, it can sometimes be overwhelming trying to decide exactly what to choose—especially when you have the entire family on the brain. That’s why we’ve crafted a specially curated list of the best family movies on Netflix, which runs down the very best movie-watching options for all (or at least most) ages to enjoy. They range from animated features to uplifting live-action stories of real-life heroes. Netflix has a host of options thanks to a sweet deal with Disney, bringing kid-favorites like Moana and Zootopia right into your living room alongside 90s classics like Hercules or Mulan.

But it’s not only Disney movies—our list of the best family and kids movies on Netflix features films from all kinds of studios, all kinds of eras, and all kinds of genres. So if you’re looking for the perfect viewing option that both kids and parents will enjoy, we’re pretty confident you’ll find something here. Check out our full list below.

Beauty and the Beast (2017)

Image via Disney

Director: Bill Condon

Writer: Stephen Chbosky, Evan Spiliotopoulos

Cast: Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Josh Gad, Luke Evans, Kevin Kline, Ian McKellan, Ewan McGregor, Emma Thompson

Disney’s most nostalgic trip down memory lane yet resonated with a whole lot of moviegoers — it was the highest grossing movie of 2017 from March all the way till December (when it was knocked out of the top spot by Star Wars, in a surprise to no one). Dreamgirls director and Chicago writer Bill Condon brings his knack for theatrical cinema to the table, and Beauty and the Beast feels appropriately pegged between the charms of the beloved animated classic and the stage show adaptation that followed. Of course, Condon, his crew, and his impeccable cast bring their unique flourish to the familiar film, and the iconic songs, costumes and character beats are reinvented on-screen. None better than villainous duo Gaston (Luke Evans) and LeFou (Josh Gad), who steal the show as the nefarious heels mucking up Belle and Beast’s unfolding love story. Whimsical and nostalgic without being cloying, Beauty and the Beast may not match the perfection of its animated counterpart, but it strikes a lovely note trying to. — Haleigh Foutch


Image via StudioCanal

Writer/Director: Paul King

Cast: Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Jim Broadbent, Nicole Kidman, Ben Whishaw

An adaptation of Paddington Bear could have been a disaster, something that takes the charm of the original and snuffs it out in favor of cheap CGI and an easy buck from families looking to keep their kids quiet for 90 minutes. Instead, Paul King’s Paddington establishes itself as a classic in its own right. The movie follows an adorable young bear from Peru (voiced by Ben Whishaw) as he travels to London and joins an uptight family whose lives he enriches despite constantly getting into mischief. The movie is warm, funny, and completely at peace with all of its British sensibilities. The second the movie is over, you’ll be eager to see Paddington 2 (which is even better!). – Matt Goldberg

Queen of Katwe

Image via Disney

Director: Mira Nair

Writer: William Wheeler

Cast: Madina Nalwanga, David Oyelowo, and Lupita Nyong’o

Based on a remarkable true story, Queen of Katwe follows Phiona Mutesi (Madina Nalwanga), a chess prodigy in Uganda who sees a better way forward for her and her family when she quickly becomes a success at the game. It hits all the right beats you’d want from a story like this, from her good teacher Robert Katende (David Oyelowo), who sees the potential in Phiona, to her conflicted mother Nakku Harriet (Lupita Nyong’o), who wants her daughter to succeed but also doesn’t want her hopes to get crushed. Nair handles all of it with a deft hand, and it makes Queen of Katwe a heartwarming and inspirational movie. – Matt Goldberg


Image via Disney

Directors: Byron Howard and Rich Moore

Writers: Jared Bush and Phil Johnston

Cast: Ginnifer Goodwin, Jason Bateman, Jenny Slate, Idris Elba, Nate Torrence, J.K. Simmons, Bonnie Hunt, and Octavia Spencer

Walt Disney Animation Studios found itself lagging behind when Pixar’s track record was pristine, but look no further than Zootopia for evidence that the tables have turned. While Pixar is more hit-or-miss nowadays, Disney Animation is on a roll with 2016’s Zootopia proving to be a pleasantly surprising hit both commercially and critically. While talking animal stories have been done to death, Disney dared to use the colorful, vibrant, and diverse world of Zootopia to tackle issues of inherent bias and racial prejudice head on, resulting in a viewing experience that’s both entertaining and thought-provoking. The movie is funny and gorgeous, with top-notch world building, but it also has something to say, which ensures that it’s much more than a lazy cash grab. With any luck, this one’s gonna have a lengthy shelf life. – Adam Chitwood

Little Monsters

Image via United Artists/MGM

Director: Richard Alan Greenberg

Writers: Terry Rossio and Ted Elliott

Cast: Fred Savage, Daniel Stern, Margaret Whitton, Rick Ducommun, and Howie Mandel

If you’re looking for something a little twisted but not so much so your kids will be scarred for life, Little Monsters is a solid bet. This 1989 comedy stars Fred Savage as a kid afraid that monsters are under his bed—only to discover he’s right. Howie Mandel plays his own pet monster, who visits his bedroom from the monster world underneath. Director Richard Alan Greenberg takes viewers into said monster world with a cruel twist, but along the way there’s plenty fun to be had. It’s very 80s, very Spielberg influenced, but just a little bit offkilter to make it worth the watch. – Adam Chitwood

The Jungle Book (2016)

Image via Disney

Director: Jon Favreau

Writer: Justin Marks

Cast: Neel Seethi, Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley, Idris Elba, Lupita Nyong’o, Scarlett Johansson, Giancarlo Esposito, Christopher Walken

When it comes to crowd-pleasing directors, Jon Favreau is the cream of the crop — a factor that made him the perfect guy to usher in the MCU with Iron Man. He struck gold at Disney once again when he re-teamed with the studio for a live-action/CGI hybrid adaptation of The Jungle Book, which flourished at the box office and took home a well deserved Academy Award for the pioneering digital effects. Adventurous, gorgeous, and delightful to the utmost — especially when Bill Murray’s Baloo breaks out into “The Bear Necessities,” The Jungle Book is one of Disney’s best live-action updates of their classical animated catalog. But a warning for parents of young or easily frightened children, the film’s photoreal effects can make the action too visceral and the drama too upsetting for some sensitive viewers. Nobody knows your kids’ limit as well as you do, so use your judgment. — Haleigh Foutch

Small Soldiers

Image via DreamWorks Pictures

Director: Joe Dante

Writers: Gavin Scott, Adam Rifkin, Ted Elliott, and Terry Rossio

Cast: Kirsten Dunst, Gregory Smith, Jay Mohr, Phil Hartman, Kevin Dunn, Denis Leary, Frank Langella, and Tommy Lee Jones

Small Soldiers is a very weird movie, but we’d expect nothing less from Joe Dante, the unique filmmaking voice behind the Gremlins films and Innerspace. The story revolves around cutting-edge action figures programmed to “play back” with kids, who develop sentience and begin a war with one another. You see, the toys were created in two different sets: the native Gorgonites and the Commando Elite, a militaristic unit tasked with wiping out the Gorgonites. A war ensues between the two sides in a sleepy town, in which a young Kirsten Dunst and Gregory Smith are caught in the middle. Tommy Lee Jones voices the head toy soldier. As I said, weird movie. – Adam Chitwood

The Prince of Egypt

Image via DreamWorks Animation

Director: Brenda Chapman, Steve Hickner, Simon Wells

Writer: Philip LaZebnik, Nicholas Meyer

Cast: Val Kilmer, Ralph Fiennes, Michelle Pfeiffer, Sandra Bullock, Jeff Goldblum, Danny Glover, Patrick Stewart, Helen Mirren, Steve Martin, Martin Short, James Avery

The music from this film alone makes it worth the watch, as evidenced by the Oscar-winning song “When You Believe.” And yet the power of The Prince of Egypt is in its ancient, religious story that is still at the heart of many cultures today. While it might not be the most historically accurate retelling of the ancient Egyptians, Hebrews, and the Exodus that you’ll ever see, it’s an honest attempt to present that telling in a mature fashion.

One of DreamWorks Animation’s earliest pictures, The Prince of Egypt tells the well-known story of the life of Moses, from his inauspicious beginnings, to his young adulthood in the court of the Pharaoh, to his eventual realization of his true heritage and the ultimate achievement of leading his people out from under the Egyptian leader’s cruel rule. It’s an impressive visual and aural display that’s a worthwhile adaptation of an ancient story, and one that brings archaic practices into a contemporary light. - Dave Trumbore


Image via Disney

Directed by: Barry Cook and Tony Bancroft

Written by: Rita Hsiao, Philip LaZebnik, Chris Sanders, Eugenia Bostwick-Singer, and Raymond Singer

Cast: Ming-Na Wen, Eddie Murphy, DB Wong, Miguel Ferrer, Harvey Fierstein

Inarguably the most feminist film of Disney’s Second Golden Age, 1998’s Mulan is also one that holds up considerably well. The story of a woman posing as a man in order to fight in her father’s place is compelling from the get-go, but directors Barry Cook and Tony Bancroft also absolutely nail the dynamic Ancient China aesthetic, bringing a rush of red and chilling landscapes to the big screen in fascinating fashion. Mulan is a story about honor and family, but also about learning to see beyond one’s limited perspective. All the men in China have been told that women are not fit to fight or stand in a man’s place, but Mulan as Ping shows that when a man doesn’t know it’s a woman he’s fighting alongside, it makes no difference. So while Mulan certainly deals with ancient traditions, it’s also a highly relatable and relevant film in terms of theme and character. – Adam Chitwood

Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory

Image via Paramount Pictures

Director: Mel Stuart

Writer: Roald Dahl

Cast: Gene Wilder, Jack Albertson, Peter Ostrum, Roy Kinnear, Julie Dawn Cole

Don’t you dare let your kids watch that terrible Johnny Depp adaptation of the Roald Dahl classic—1971’s Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory is the way to go. The film toes a devilishly fun line between delightful and terrifying, largely thanks to Gene Wilder’s lead performance, but it’s tame enough to prevent any serious traumatization. Besides, the off-kilter nature will make your kid think he or she is in on some sort of secret. It’s a strange film to be sure, but it has a big heart. And Dahl himself wrote the screenplay, so this is definitely the version you’ll want to go with. – Adam Chitwood

Kung Fu Panda

Image via DreamWorks Animation

Directors: Mark Osborne, John Stevenson

Writers: Jonathan Aibel, Glenn Berger, Ethan Reiff, Cyrus Voris

Cast: Jack Black, Ian McShane, Angelina Jolie, Dustin Hoffman, Jackie Chan, Seth Rogen, Lucy Liu, David Cross, Randall Duk Kim, James Hong, Dan Fogler, Michael Clarke Duncan

Back in 2008, Kung Fu Panda not only earned an Oscar nomination, but it kickstarted a major film franchise for DreamWorks Animation. The origin story for the title character is perfectly cast thanks to the antics of Jack Black and the diverse, talented, and experienced supporting cast that surrounds him. It also introduced a wholly original character in audiences young an old, an unconventional hero who didn’t rely on strength and skill alone, but rather in developing his own unique talents and working alongside his friends and allies. That’s a rarity in these times of super-muscley superheroes and ultra-violent actioners. Do yourself a favor and revisit the original Kung Fu Panda or discover this fun, food-filled adventure for the first time! - Dave Trumbore

*batteries not included

Image via Amblin Entertainment

Director: Matthew Robbins

Writers: Mick Garris, Brad Bird, Matthew Robbins, Brent Maddock, S.S. Wilson

Cast: Hume Cronyn, Jessica Tandy, Frank McRae, Elizabeth Peña

One of the criminally underrated and oft-forgotten Amblin Entertainment classics of the 80s, *batteries not included was a family-friendly film that ran into the box office buzzsaw of such films as Eddie Murphy RawThree Men and a BabyThrow Momma from the Train, and Wall Street. It was a rough time for cute little metallic UFOs that could easily be mistaken for hamburgers. Strangely enough, this film feels like it would be better received by modern audiences than it was in 1987.

As a kid, I remember this movie for its cool flying robots and its crazy old lady; 30 years later, I’m struck by the movie’s depiction of gentrification, class warfare, and the very real issues of mental illness. At its heart, *batteries not included is about romantic relationships: there’s love story between a long-married husband and wife who are dealing with the death of a son, a collapsing home/business, and increasingly difficult medical issues; a burgeoning romance between a single mother and a starving artist; and a newly created family of little “fix-it” robots learning to live alongside humans. The hook is that these little saucer-shaped critters can fix just about anything and everything, mechanical or emotional, as it turns out. They help the humans in the story put their lives and livelihoods back together. It’s a great watch, even if it’s fairly simplistic in its portrayal of hope and help. But honestly, we could all use a little extra helping of each now and then.

As some bonus trivia, two time Oscar-winner Brad Bird ended up getting his first share of a screenwriting credit on this film after working on a pair of episodes for Spielberg’s Amazing Stories series. That should be reason enough to give it a go. – Dave Trumbore

Kubo and the Two Strings

Image via LAIKA/Universal

Director: Travis Knight

Writers: Marc Haimes, Chris Butler, Shannon Tindle

Cast: Charlize Theron, Art Parkinson, Matthew McConaughey, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Rooney Mara, Ralph Fiennes, George Takei

The latest LAIKA effort Kubo and the Two Strings might just be the stop-motion animation studio’s best effort to date. Nominated for 2 Oscars, Kubo is an original story that centers on the title character, a young boy who cares for his ailing mother on the outskirts of a small, shoreline village in Japan. He earns a meager living by acting out mythological stories in the village square, using origami figures that he brings to life with his magical musical instrument, the shamisen. But one fateful mistake leads Kubo on a dangerous adventure where he’ll cross paths with powerful creatures in order to right an old family wrong.

Kubo and the Two Strings is a gorgeous viewing experience and a wonderfully mythological story with a lot of heart. In other words, it’s textbook LAIKA. The studio’s films are the rare artistic animated efforts that are both entertaining for kids thanks to their eye-catching visuals and colorful characters but also offer up something deeper for adults and parents to discuss long after the movie’s over. – Dave Trumbore


Image via Disney

Director: Ron Clements, John Musker

Writer: Jared Bush

Cast: Auli’i Cravalho, Dwayne Johnson, Rachel House, Temuera Morrison, Jemaine Clement, Nicole Scherzinger, Alan Tudyk

One of the most refreshing animated movies in years is Disney’s Moana, the Oscar-nominated film that tells the tale of a young Pacific Island girl’s confident rise as a leader and visionary. Complicating her quest is the demigod Maui, played particularly well by Dwayne Johnson, though he’s clearly met his match with newcomer Auli’i Cravalho. The on-screen chemistry here is fantastic and reminiscent of some of the best pairings throughout Disney’s historic filmography.

Moana not only brings a rarely seen mythology and history to the big screen, it does so with earnest respect for the living culture that still exists today in the Pacific Islands. It’s a movie that will satisfy everything you’re looking for in a Disney movie but will also leave you wanting more because of how rich the world is, the film’s compelling and engrossing mythology, and just because Moana and Maui are so much fun to watch. I’d love a sequel and I’d love a spin-off series (we were robbed of more time with Heihei and the kakamora), but for now, at least Moana is on Netflix! – Dave Trumbore

The Adventures of Tintin

Image via Paramount Pictures / Nickelodeon

Director: Steven Spielberg

Writers: Steven Moffat and Edgar Wright & Joe Cornish

Cast: Jamie Bell, Andy Serkis, Daniel Craig, Nick Frost, and Simon Pegg

Filmmaker Steven Spielberg’s first foray into the world of animation as a director came late in his career, but it was no less exciting. Using cutting-edge performance-capture technology, The Adventures of Tintin allows for Spielberg’s genius-like eye to translate perfectly to the world of animation, as the director was able to craft shots just like he would in live-action, only this time untethered to the natural world. It gives us one of the best Spielberg oners ever, and is sure to make a burgeoning cinephile out of your youngsters. But aside from all that, Tintin is also just a rollicking adventure tale. A young-skewing Indiana Jones with an air of intrigue and mystery throughout. Tintin is a true delight, through and through. – Adam Chitwood

The Little Prince

Image via Netflix

Director: Mark Osborne

Writer: Irena Brignull (screenplay), Bob Persichetti (screenplay), Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (novel)

Cast: Mackenzie Foy, Riley Osborne, Jeff Bridges, Rachel McAdams, Paul Rudd, Marion Cotillard, James Franco, Benicio Del Toro, Ricky Gervais, Bud Cort, Paul Giamatti, Albert Brooks

It’s not every day you get to see a modern animated adaptation of an iconic bestselling story like The Little Prince, but thanks to Netflix and the talented cast and crew assembled to bring Antoine de Saint-Exupéry‘s story to life, a whole new generation can now enjoy the classic tale. Now while it’s not a point-for-point translation of the tale, it does pay homage to the novella’s fan-favorite characters and scenes. The Fox, The Snake, and The Rose are all present, and they’re brought to life in contrasting animation styles that help to conjure up images of the original drawings alongside the cutting-edge computer-generated characters common in today’s kids movies. This contrast also sets apart the book’s story, which itself exists as a story within a larger framing story following The Little Girl (Foy) and her uptight, hyper-organized Mother (McAdams). Their addition brings a new wrinkle to a familiar story, but the movie’s at its best when it sticks to the original tale. If you haven’t read The Little Prince or seen any of its adaptations over the years, this is a great place to start. — Dave Trumbore


Image via Disney

Directed by: John Musker, Ron Clements

Written by: John Musker, Ron Clements, Donald McEnery, Bob Shaw, Irene Mecchi

Cast: Tate Donovan, Susan Egan, Danny DeVito, James Woods, Rip Torn, Frank Welker, Bobcat Goldthwait, Amanda Plummer, Paul Shaffer, Wayne Knight, Keith David, and Hal Holbrook

Hercules came at an interesting time for Walt Disney Animation Studios, which was still trying to recapture the same zeitgeist-commanding fame of films like The Lion King and Beauty and the Beast. And while Hercules isn’t a home run like those early 90s Disney films, it’s a pretty delightful double. The animated retelling of the Hercules story is incredibly funny and colorful as we follow the young Hercules trying to find his place in the world, knowing he was meant for something greater. It’s almost something of a Superman remake, but with gods instead of superheroes. The songs are fantastic, and Megara is a refreshingly independent female lead. Who puts the glad in gladiator? – Adam Chitwood

Pee-wee's Big Adventure

Image via Warner Bros.

Director: Tim Burton

Writers: Phil Hartman, Paul Reubens, and Michael Varhol

Cast: Paul Reubens, Elizabeth Daily, Mark Holton, Diane Salinger, Judd Omen

Filmmaker Tim Burton‘s feature directorial debut Pee-wee’s Big Adventure would serve as a fitting announcement of Burton as a series filmmaking talent, but also still stands today as a tremendously inventive all-ages comedy. Paul Reubens‘ Pee-wee gets the big screen treatment as he sets out on a “big adventure” to find and return his stolen bike. Shenanigans ensue, but the combination of Reubens’ silly comedy and Burton’s whimsy makes for a wholly unique and somewhat trippy experience unlike anything else. — Adam Chitwood

Pete's Dragon (2016)

Image via Disney

Director: David Lowery

Writers: David Lowery and Toby Halbrooks

Cast: Oakes Fegley, Bryce Dallas Howard, Oona Laurence, Robert Redford, Karl Urban, and Wes Bentley

Disney has been knocking it out of the park with its live-action adaptations of classic movies recently, and Pete’s Dragon is no different. While it may not be as flashy as The Jungle Book or Beauty and the Beast, what makes Pete’s Dragonstand out is compassion. Director David Lowery lovingly crafts this tale of a boy raised by a dragon in the Pacific Northwest who soon becomes the target of the local authorities. There’s a strong E.T. vibe here as the movie has a big heart, and Lowery really nails the sense of awe and wonder that coming face to face with a giant furry dragon would inspire. The soundtrack is great, the performances are great—basically, Pete’s Dragon is great, and it’s very much worth checking out. – Adam Chitwood

The Land Before Time

Image via Universal Pictures

Director: Don Bluth

Writer: Stu Krieger, Judy Freudberg, Tony Geiss

Cast: Pat Hingle, Judith Barsi, Gabriel Damon, Helen Shaver, Bill Erwin, Burke Byrnes, Candace Hutson, Will Ryan, Frank Welker

The Land Before Time, a classically animated tale about a group of young dinosaur friends in prehistoric times that kickstarted a series of direct-to-video animated movies that continues to this day. The original was producer by the super-team of Steven SpielbergGeorge Lucas, Kathleen Kennedy, and Frank Marshall back in 1988, who all did pretty well for themselves even after leaving Littlefoot and company behind.

The first of the 14 films introduced young audiences to the Longnecks, Three-Horns, Spiketails, and more, names of different dinosaur species that had all historically kept to themselves. However, when an earthquake fractures the land and separates a group of young dinosaurs from their herds, they must put their differences aside to reunite with their families and maybe even find the fabled Great Valley along the way. - Dave Trumbore

Chicken Run

Image via Aardman Animation

Directors: Peter Lord, Nick Park

Writers: Peter Lord, Nick Park, Karey Kirkpatrick, Mark Burton, John O’Farrell

Cast: Mel Gibson, Miranda Richardson, Julia Sawalha, Tony Haygarth, Timothy Spall, Imelda Staunton

It’s not like the House of Aardman has never had a dud. Flushed Away wasn’t particularly great and not every single short needs to be seen to understand the dry, comical appeal of Aardman’s style and perspective. Most of the time, however, Aardman leads the charge for stop-motion animation through new classics like Wallace & Gromit in the Curse of the Were-Rabbit and this oft-forgotten, exquisite takeoff on The Great Escape. Julia Sawalha voices Ginger, a chicken who is looking to lead a rebellion amongst her sisters against her evil farmer owners, the Tweedys, voiced by Miranda Richardson and Tony Haygarth, and gets a miraculous bit of help from a damaged rooster named Rocky (Mel Gibson). Not only is the movie a marvel of clever parody in its conflation of something like Peter Rabbit with The Great Escape, it’s also a very open appeal for labor reform and animal rights. All that, however, ends up behind secondary to sheer thrill of watching Aardman’s world of wonders, giving a full sense of a farm as a living ecosystem and a realm of unending physical work. A weaker film would put all the focus on the romance that blooms between Ginger and Rocky, whereas in the finished product of Chicken Run, their cute courtship is merely a facet of a much larger, endlessly entertaining whirligig. - Chris Cabin

Finding Dory

Image via Pixar

Directors: Andrew Stanton, Angus MacLane

Writers: Andrew Stanton, Victoria Strouse, Bob Peterson, Angus MacLane

Cast: Ellen DeGeneres, Albert Brooks, Ed O’Neill, Kaitlin Olson, Hayden Rolence, Ty Burrell, Diane Keaton, Eugene Levy, Idris Elba, Dominic West, Bob Peterson, Kate McKinnon, Sigourney Weaver, Bill Hader

Though it was infamously snubbed from this year’s round of Oscar nominations, Disney/Pixar’s Finding Dory remains as enjoyable a watch as its predecessor and even makes a case for the rare sequel that surpasses the original. Finding Nemowas all about one father’s quest to locate his missing (and physically disabled) son before something awful could happen to him. Finding Dory goes deeper. The title character, afflicted from birth with a mental disability that makes it nearly impossible for her to focus or remember things after more than a few moments, goes on her own personal quest to rediscover her long-lost parents. It’s an emotional and at-times frustrating watch because you get so wrapped up and invested in Dory’s persistence and optimism despite her impairments, but like Disney/Pixar’s best, the ultimate reward is worth the journey. - Dave Trumbore

The Santa Clause

Image via Buena Vista Pictures

Director: John Pasquin

Writers: Leo Benvenuti and Steve Rudnick

Cast: Tim Allen, Wendy Crewson, Judge Reinhold, Eric Lloyd, Larry Brandenburg, and David Krumholtz

Who says you can only watch The Santa Clause at Christmastime? This 1994 family comedy is a staple of the holiday season, but it’s a swell watch year-round. The film stars Tim Allen as a single father who startles Santa Claus on his roof, killing him (in the most delicate of ways) and then inadvertendly donning the suit to become the new Santa Claus. As hard as he tries to resist, his body begins morphing into Jolly Old Saint Nick as the elves at the North Pole try to ready the new Santa for his first Christmas. Along the way, he grows closer to his son and sheds some of the selfishness that made him kind of a crappy dad. It’s all in all a pretty heartwarming story with a really terrific Christmas spirit. There’s a reason it’s a holiday classic. – Adam Chitwood

Latest Feed

Follow Us