100 Best Non-Animated Family Movies You Need to Watch

There’s a long list of animated movies that are fine for the littles, but you’re looking for the very best non-animated family movies to watch on your next family movie night.

You know how it goes: finding a good movie that the entire family will enjoy (from Grandma to the kindergartener) can be an exercise in frustration! By the time you’ve scrolled for an hour, everyone is arguing and half the family has left the room.

We can’t allow such a waste of time on our watch. We’re here to make sure you’ve got easy access to enough wonderful options for the next several family movie nights…or years for that matter.

So take a pick from these top-notch, best non-animated family movies and pop that corn already! 

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Best Non-Animated Family Movies of All Time

For our “best of” editorial picks, we’ll include the IMDB user rating along with the higher number from Rotten Tomatoes (either the Tomatometer, which gives an aggregate score from film critics, or the Audience Score, which tells how many viewers liked the movie).

Best Non-Animated Family Movies

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1. Star Wars (1977)

PG – 8.6 IMDB – 96% RT

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This is the original movie that changed film industries forever! Kids and adults alike will love the fast paced action, the witty banter, the space travel, and, of course, all the lightsabers.

2. The Princess Bride (1987)

PG – 8.0 IMDB – 97% RT

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Who doesn’t love The Princess Bride? It’s basically the world’s most perfect movie. Plenty of hilarity, heart, sword-fighting, romance, and the greatest one-liners in history. 

The number of times I’ve personally watched this movie is…well, personal. But I’m here to tell you, it’s a lot.

Related: Clean Romance Movie Guide

3. Paddington 2 (2017)

PG – 7.8 IMDB – 99% RT

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The gentle bear that everyone loves, Paddington 2 is a heartfelt family movie that will move you and delight everyone. 

Even better than the first one (which everyone loves, so start there), the sequel is full of joy and adventure. The Paddington movies are just good films all around.

4. Babe (1995)

G – 6.9 IMDB – 97% RT

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That’ll do, Pig. That’ll do. Ahhh, sweet Babe. This adorable story is like none other, and it can be enjoyed by all ages. You’ll want to move to a farm in no time!

5. Wonder (2017)

PG – 7.9 IMDB – 88% RT

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An important movie about a boy with a craniofacial condition (distorted facial features), this is a great film to enjoy especially during the tumultuous middle school years. 

It provides a great opportunity for discussion afterwards with your kids, too!

6. Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971)

G – 7.8 IMDB – 91% RT

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Kinda creepy, but in a delightful way, this classic Roald Dahl film will get the adults reminiscing and the kiddos happy (and craving chocolate). 

The most recent adaptation with Johnny Depp is also very good, and even more faithful to the novel. 

Related: Best Family Movies from the 1970’s

7. Hugo (2011)

PG – 7.5 IMDB – 93% RT

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A gentle and sweet story, Hugo has tons of heart and is unusual in all the right ways. Your kids and your parents will equally enjoy it!

8. The Sandlot (1993)

PG – 7.8 IMDB – 89% RT

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“You’re killin’ me, Smalls!” This classic film is always a fun choice for movie nights. Tons of one-liners and silliness, but also plenty of lessons and heart. 

9. The Black Stallion (1979)

G – 7.4 IMDB – 90% RT

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Who didn’t want their own black stallion as a kid, thanks to the wonderful book and movie? This gorgeous film will get everyone’s imaginations (and hearts) pumping. 

It can be a bit of a tear jerker for softer souls and animal lovers, so maybe have a box of Kleenex nearby.

10. The Greatest Showman (2017)

PG – 7.5 IMDB – 86% RT

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A rousing musical with lots of life lessons and great song and dance numbers. This is one pick that will have everyone up from their seats and dancing a jig. 

Be sure to download the soundtrack of wonderfully crafted original songs, too!

11. Secondhand Lions (2003)

PG – 7.5 IMDB – 84% RT

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Curmudgeonly old men and mischievous boys? What’s not to love? This funny tale is great for grandpas and their grandchildren. Sure to be an instant favorite!

12. Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey (1993)

G – 6.9 IMDB – 87% RT

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My four year old watched this everyday for a year. No joke. Take it from him: your kids are going to love this animal film.

Adults love it, too, both for its nostalgia and its beautiful lessons on character and friendship.

13. Enchanted (2007)

PG – 7.1 IMDB – 93% RT

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Such a fun fairytale that is completely unique and one-of-a-kind! Full of fanciful animation and live-action, it’s a movie you will completely fall in love with. The sequel is fun, too!

14. Queen of Katwe (2016)

PG – 7.4 IMDB – 94% RT

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Why are movies and series about the game of Chess so gosh-darn intriguing? Queen of Katwe is no exception. Your kids (and you) will be so inspired after seeing this wonderful family movie. 

15. The NeverEnding Story (1984)

PG – 7.3 IMDB – 83% RT

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A thrilling fantasy tale that is, at its roots, actually a commentary on human nature, the imagination, and the importance of truly knowing one’s self.

Just, you know, be sure to fast-forward through the horse sinking in the quicksand so your kids aren’t as traumatized as we all were…

16. Finding Neverland (PG, 2004)

PG – 7.7 IMDB – 87% RT

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Learn the true story of the author of Peter Pan (and the inspiration for his beloved work) in this magical adventure. Plenty of solid acting and some heart-strings are definitely going to be pulled!

Related: Best Family Adventure Movies

17. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005)

PG – 6.9 IMDB – 75% RT

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It’s always a nail-biter when you learn film makers are taking on a beloved classic novel, but this one was just so perfect! 

Your kids will learn invaluable lessons as they meet with fawns, beavers, lions, and witches in this stunning allegorical tale.

18. The Jungle Book (2016)

PG – 7.4 IMDB – 94% RT

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This live-action remake of the comical, animated tale (and, of course, the classic book by Rudyard Kipling) is so darling to watch. The scenery is gorgeous, and the voice-acting is excellent. 

19. Aladdin (2019)

PG – 6.9 IMDB – 94% RT

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Another fun version of the beloved, animated Walt Disney movie, this live-action version has lots of heart and hilarity. And just a smidge of romance! 

Focusing a little less on the young boy, Aladdin, and a little more on Jasmine’s story, this is a favorite among many teenage girls.

20. Akeelah and the Bee (2006)

PG – 7.4 IMDB – 85% RT

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This great family film features a spunky young girl, making it perfect if you have a little girl (or two or three) in the house. 

Best Non-Animated Family Movies You’ve Never Seen

There’s many family movies out there that never received all the loving and critical acclaim they deserved! Here are a few fringe choices that we think you’ll absolutely love. 

Not everything needs to be Marvel or Disney movies, right? Here are some of the best movies that often fly under the radar, but are totally worth watching. Who knows? You might just find your new favorite.

21. The Secret Garden (1993)

G – 7.3 IMDB – 88% RT

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Nothing gets everyone’s imaginations fired up quite like magical, whimsical, and lovely fairy tales. This one is gentle, but far from boring! 

You’ll want to be outside planting your own secret garden with your kids as soon as the credits roll. 

22. I Remember Mama (1948)

NR – 7.9 IMDB – 100% RT

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An oldie but a goodie, I Remember Mama tells the story of an immigrant family in 1910’s San Francisco. It may be in black and white, but you’ll be hooked in no time! 

A great way to introduce the fam to the wonderful world of classic film.

23. A Little Princess (1995)

G – 7.6 IMDB – 97% RT

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Little girls everywhere (and boys, too!) will love this enchanting tale of an impoverished girl who overcomes prejudice and hatred, all with love and spunk. 

24. Hachi: A Dog’s Tale (2009)

G – 8.1 IMDB – 84% RT

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Animal flicks are the best flicks! If you’re a dog lover then you can’t miss this heartwarming movie.

25. Rescued by Ruby (2022)

G – 7.1 IMDB – 100% RT

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Another doggy movie that makes us bark with happiness, Rescued by Rudy teams up a K9 cop with a naughty but lovable mutt. A perfect family movie for a chill and fun film night.

26. Togo (2019)

PG – 7.9 IMDB – 95% RT

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Is Togo too little to be a big dog in sled racing? We think not! For an inspiring movie about underdogs (pun intended), you can’t beat this one.

27. Rabbit-Proof Fence (2002)

PG – 7.4 IMDB – 88% RT

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Want to be inspired, learn life lessons, and feel like little girls can do anything they set their minds to? Then Rabbit Proof Fence is just the film you’re looking for. 

28. The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind (2019)

PG – 7.6 IMDB – 87% RT

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Saving your family from a terrible famine isn’t too much to ask of The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind. Get ready to sniffle a little and be inspired to do great things in your own community!

29. Flipped (2010)

PG – 7.7 IMDB – 78% RT

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A little known Rob Reiner gem, this is one of those great movies you don’t want to miss. Flipped tells the hilarious and heartfelt story of falling in love for the first time with the girl you always thought you despised. 

30. The Greatest Game Ever Played (2005)

PG – 7.4 IMDB – 82% RT

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A period golfing movie that won’t put half the family to sleep? Yes, please! It’s called The Greatest Game Ever Played and the drama on the fairways will have you on the edge of your seat. 

31. Eight Below (2006)

PG – 7.3 IMDB – 79% RT

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Educated the whole family on important life lessons (in a delightful fashion) by settling in and watching Eight Below. You’ll learn about man’s resilience as well as his loyal sled dog’s.

32. The Adventures of Milo and Otis (1986)

G – 6.9 IMDB – 80% RT

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When it comes to giggles and adventure, you can’t go wrong with The Adventures of Milo and Otis! All ages love this film, and for good reason: it’s full of laughs, shenanigans, and a lot of heart.

33. Searching for Bobby Fischer (1993)

PG – 7.4 IMDB – 100% RT

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Again with the Chess movies! Why are they always so good? Searching for Bobby Fischer tells the based-on-a-true-story story of a Chess prodigy and has an awesome cast. 

34. Fly Away Home (1996)

PG – 6.9 IMDB – 88% RT

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Can a movie about orphaned geese be suspenseful? We say: absolutely. 

This family movie hits us in all the feels as a young Anna Paquin saves a family of motherless geese and teaches them how and where to migrate.

35. Holes (2003)

PG – 7.0 IMDB – 78% RT

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A modern-day classic, Holes is perfect for when you need a movie to settle your gremlins down for an afternoon, and inspire them, too. It teaches a handful of great life lessons to boot, so that’s a win-win.

36. Peter Pan (2003)

PG – 6.8 IMDB – 77% RT

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My girls grew up on this movie, and if you ask them at the ages of twenty-two and twenty-one if they still harbor a crush on Peter, you would hear a resounding “YES.” A rousing good time.

37. The Personal History of David Copperfield (2019)

PG – 6.4 IMDB – 92% RT

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Such a fun movie this one is! Totally quirky and unique, it perfectly hits the spot when you’re in the mood for a family movie that isn’t boring or predictable. 

38. Evelyn (2002)

PG – 7.0 IMDB – 77%RT

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Teaching your kids about being grateful and the importance of family doesn’t have to be preachy or dull! This movie will teach them all that, all while pulling you in hook, line, and sinker. 

39. The Rookie (2002)

G – 6.9 IMDB – 84% RT

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An all-American, underdog baseball movie that is just pitch perfect! The Rookie is excellently cast, based on a true story, and is one movie that will stay with you long after the credits roll and the popcorn is gone. 

40. Mixtape (2021)

PG – 6.6 IMDB – 77% RT

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A great pick for some mother/daughter bonding. Mixtape is at times heartfelt and sentimental, but at others hilarious and silly. Being a high school girl can be tough, but movies like this remind us that it’s all worth it.

Best Non-Animated Family Movies by Genre & Age

Looking for something more specific, more niche? We’ve got you! 

These family films are separated by genre and age so you can really narrow down your selection. Want to find something that Gramma and Mom will love, as well as the youngsters? 

Read on. 

“Family” Family Movies

These are exactly what you think of when you hear the term “family film.”

Related: Amazingly Clean Movies

Sports Movies

I confess to having sports related ADD (I made that up but I’m pretty sure it’s a condition and I have it), but a sports movie? Oh yeah! I quote Remember the Titans an embarrassing amount. 

More To Watch: Best Family Sports Movies

Screwball & Slapstick

Sometimes you just gotta laugh it up! 

If it’s been a hard day at work and the kids have had an equally hard day at school, let’s cuddle up with something ridiculous that will take our minds off our stresses. Don’t you agree?


I confess to not particularly loving the traditional rom-com, but when you add music and choreography? Oh, I’m all in! 

There is something about musicals that both relaxes you and releases those happy endorphins (well, maybe not so much Les Mis, but you get me). 

Get to dancing and singing with this fun list! Who knows, you may just find the new addition to your all-time faves.

Action & Adventure

All kids love adventure, but sometimes adults need reminders to live life to the fullest as well. These action and adventure movies are just plain fun and will inspire you all to go out there and find some escapades to get into!

Drama & Tearjerkers

Just like sometimes we need to laugh, sometimes we also just need to cry! These tearjerkers will cleanse your soul. The emotions just might leak right out of your eyes. Prep with a box of tissues along with the popcorn.

Literary & Romance

Part fairy tale, part coming of age, part first loves, these films are perfect for preteens and teens especially. And they’ll all teach you to be true to who you are!

Family Christmas Movies

What’s better than a family Christmas movie? Can’t really think of anything to be honest… 

There’s something magical about the holidays, and they’re a perfect time to pop some corn, whip up some hot cocoa, and turn on a favorite Christmas film. So here are our favorite holiday picks of the best non-animated family movies.

And if it’s July? We don’t judge.

Related: Old Christmas Movies to Watch Every Year


Classic films are always a great idea for family movie night! Even if they think they don’t like black and white or “old people” movies, they’ll be proven wrong when you pick out one of these gems. 

Older kids will follow and appreciate these films:

Best Non-Animated Family Movies for Older Kids & Teens

When you can get those teens to actually sit down and share a film with you, you’ll want to choose something that will have them coming back for more! Here are a few of our favorites: 

Related: Clean Movies That Grown-Ups Enjoy

Movies w/ Some Swearing & Violence

A few of the movies on this list aren’t completely devoid of swearing, violence, or innuendo, but we’ve tried to keep it to a minimum.

Here are a few more “family films” for older kids and up that include some — but not gratuitous, in our subjective opinion — swearing and violence. These are high-quality flicks with excellent and meaningful stories.

With these movies, use your judgment. Use the online parents guides from IMDB, Common Sense Media, and Kids-In-Mind, and preview first if necessary.

Best Family TV Shows

When you don’t have time to commit to a full length movie, here are some excellent family TV shows to start binge watching! 

Best Non-Animated Family Movies by Streaming Service

Here are some of the best non-animated family movies you’ll find on Amazon, Disney+, and Netflix. These are “originals” that each particular streaming service owns. Otherwise movies come and go too much to keep up with.

Of course, remember that each of these services also has plenty of films in the animated genre as well as documentaries! These are just the best non-animated family movies your family might enjoy from each of the “big three” streaming services.

Amazon Prime

Unfortunately Prime Video has not emphasized family films in their “originals,” and the rest of their titles rotate in and out frequently. Their original non-animated family movies are either of poor quality or tend towards vulgarity.

These include:


Disney’s newer content can be hit and miss, but nothing else compares with their library of older classics for the whole fam. We would be amiss to not include these on our list of best non-animated family movies.

Related: Best At-Home Movie Night Ideas


Netflix has been building a decent collection of family movies, including a few that really are enjoyable.

  • Afterlife of the Party (PG, 2021)
  • Benji (PG, 2018)
  • Blue Miracle (PG, 2021)
  • The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind (PG, 2019)
  • Dog Gone (PG, 2023)
  • Finding Ohana (PG, 2021)
  • Good Sam (PG, 2019)
  • Matilda the Musical (PG, 2022)
  • Mixtape (PG, 2021)
  • The Princess Switch (PG, 2018)
  • Rescued by Ruby (G, 2022)
  • Slumberland (PG, 2022)
  • Walk. Ride. Rodeo. (PG, 2019)

Family Movies That Aren’t Very Good

We’ll end on a downer: family movies to avoid. Sure, it’s fine if you like these — people’s opinions and tastes can vary. Your kids may even like them, too. But these popular family films are, in our honest opinion, just plain bad.

Read Next: Best Gifts for the Ultimate Movie Lover

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Melyssa Williams

Melyssa Williams has been writing since she could hold a pen (or a quill, as she was an odd little duck).

Sadly, she was born to two loving parents who fed her broccoli, taught her manners, and raised her with...

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