Things to Do - Family Movie Night (a list)

potato (4 of 5)

(Okay, so this photo has nothing to do with movies, but I felt this post needed a visual. Plus, it shows that my children would rather SCRUB POTATOES then compromise on film choices.)

Lately finding the "right" film for family movie night has moved from "difficult" to "near impossible". Do all families have this problem? We can never agree.

I prefer documentaries and 80s' movies, Dan likes nature movies and westerns, and the kids can watch High School Musical over and over again (note that this movie DID NOT make my list). Often, we come to a standstill and end up playing board games instead.

So I made a list. Maybe it will help you. Maybe it won't. All movies with one asterisk have been enjoyed by a minimum of three members of our family (at least one adult and two children). Movies with three asterisks are movies that we still haven't seen (but have heard good things about). I intentionally excluded some popular "classics" (for example, I know most people love her, but the Little Mermaid's self-involved rebellion and frivolous voice exchange bother me). Further, every household has their own rules for when children are old enough to watch certain movies, so even though my kids have seen Indiana Jones, I'm not sure it is right for all grade school-aged children.

Okay, so help us out here - WHAT DID I MISS?

(Also, I have to give a HUGE shout out to Common Sense Media for helping me craft this list (I love that site) and to the internet in general for finding more and more awesome movies to watch).


* Rio
* How to Train Your Dragon
* The Incredibles
* The Toy Story Trilogy
* The Fantastic Mr. Fox (I absolutely love this movie)
* Despicable Me (I and II)
* Wreck it Ralph
* Brave
* It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
* The Lorax (the original and the remake)
* Shrek
* Horton Hears a Who
* The Adventures of Tin Tin
* Mulan
* Tangled
* Hoodwinked
* Bolt
* The Book of Life
* Big Hero 6
* Paddington Bear
* Inside Out
* Minions
* Home
* Kubo and the Two Strings
* Zootopia
* The Peanuts Movie
*** Spirited Away
*** Cars
*** Wall E
*** Meet the Robinsons
*** Everyone's Hero

CLASSICS (I'm not sure where classics ends and "new classics" begin, so just go with it)
* The Sound of Music
* The Wizard of Oz
* Singing in the Rain
* Bringing Up Baby
* The Parent Trap (though my kids had a really hard time with the fact that each parent completely abandoned a child)
* Swiss Family Robinson (if you can ignore tolerate the blatant sexism; F kept venting by throwing pillows at the TV)
* The Star Wars trilogy (and all movies after)
* The Harry Potter movies
* Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (the original)
* Charlie Chaplin's The Tramp
* The King and I
* The Music Man
* Shane (the cheesy old Western)
* Dances with Wolves
* Funny Face
*** An American In Paris
*** Sabrina
*** West Side Story
*** To Kill a Mockingbird
*** Charlie Chaplin's The Kid

* All 8 Muppet Movies
* The Princess Bride
* The Harry Potter series
* Annie
* Hugo
* ET
* Adventures in Babysitting (be careful, the language in this one is pretty iffy, but I still love it)
* Ghostbusters (F called this "the most random movie ever", don't forget there is some violence and the bizarre ghost oral sex scene)
* Freaky Friday
* Enchanted
* Maleficent
* The Diary of a Wimpy Kid series (some parents hate these, but I find them funny)
* Elf
* The Lego Movie
* Night at the Museum
* Home Alone
* A Little Princess
* The Never Ending Story
* Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day (have you seen this yet? It's actually pretty funny, for little kids through adults)
* The Sandlot
* Goosebumps
* Welcome Home Roxie Carmichael
* Edward Scissorhands
* Mrs. Doubtfire
* Overboard
* Pixels
* Sing Street
*** Ever After
*** Holes
*** Dances With Wolves
*** Beethoven
*** Parental Guidance
*** Cheaper By the Dozen, I and II
*** Nims Island
*** Sky High
*** Beetlejuice
*** The Man in the Moon
*** Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead

* Bend It Like Beckham
* The Bad News Bears
* Karate Kid
* The Mighty Ducks
* Rudy
* Miracle
* A League of Their Own
* Kicking and Screaming
* Seabiscuit

* Spiderman
* The Amazing Spiderman
* X Men
* Indiana Jones
* National Treasure
* Spy Kids
* Charlie's Angels
* Antman (I LOVE ANTMAN!!!)
* Apollo 13
* The Martian (not sure where to classify this, so I'm going with action)
* Pirates of the Caribbean
* Captain America - Civil War

* The Free Willy series
* A Dolphin Tale
* March of the Penguins
* Bears
* Monkey Kingdom
*** Wings of Life

* Blackfish (yes they cried, but now they care)
* 180 Degrees South (not exactly "normal" family fare, but my kids liked the surfing/mountain climbing and the environmental message)
* A Place at the Table
* Planet Earth
* Food Inc.
* Miss Representation
*** Spellbound (if you can find a copy)
*** Girl Rising (Netflix streaming)
*** Babies
*** Paperclips
*** Garbage (The Revolution Starts at Home) (Netflix streaming)
*** Forks Over Knives
*** More Than Honey
*** Harvest
*** Dive, Living Off America's Waste
*** The Beatles Anthology

KIDS OVER 7 (or 8 or 9 or however old you feel is "old enough")
* Ender's Game
* Stand By Me
* The Goonies
* Pretty In Pink
* Big
* Girls Just Want to Have Fun (the girls LOVE this movie and I love all the nostalgia associated with it. Never forget "Dance TV".)
* 10 Things I Hate About You
* Jaws
* Splash
* Overboard
* Roxanne
* The Money Pit
* Can't Buy Me Love
* Planes, Trains, and Automobiles
* Jurassic Park
* Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
* The Wedding Singer
* Big Daddy
* Back to the Future
* La La Land
* Arrival
* Tootsie
* Ghandi
*** Clue
*** Clueless
*** Super 8
*** Ferris Bueller's Day Off
*** The Outsiders (warning, this is REALLY REALLY sad, as in I forgot quite how sad)
*** Footloose
*** Au Revoir Les Enfants
*** Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
*** The Kings of Summer
*** Whale Rider
*** Mud
*** American Teen
*** Sixteen Candles
*** The Breakfast Club
*** Legally Blond
*** Dead Poets Society
*** Lucas
*** Mean Girls
*** One Crazy Summer
*** Divergent
*** The Hunger Games
*** The Bourne movies
*** Heathers
*** Mermaids
*** Dirty Dancing



* Project Runway (Hulu, but only on computers not TVs)
* Master Chef Junior (streams through Hulu)
* America Ninja Warrior (Hulu)
* Cosmos (Hulu)
* MythBusters
* Too Cute
* How the States Got Their Shapes (EVERYONE IN OUR FAMILY LOVES THIS SHOW)
* HGTV shows (such as Property Brothers & Love It or List It (if you don't have cable, you can also watch these shows through Netflix streaming)
* Brain Games
*** The Food Network (esp. Great Food Truck Race & The Next Food Network Star)
*** America's Got Talent
*** Survivor
*** Chopped
*** WildKratts

* The Cosby Show (streams through Hulu)
* Punky Brewster (old episodes are on You Tube)
* Silver Spoons (Old episodes are on You Tube)
* Fresh Prince of Bel Air
* The Brady Bunch
* Leave it to Beaver
* The Munsters
* Malcom in the Middle!!

*** Freaks and Geeks
*** Parks and Recreation
*** Modern Family
*** Stranger Things


  1. well we've been wading our way thru some pretty questionable material, like Beverly Hills Chihuahua. (1 and 2). ha ha ha! Last week we watched Daddy Daycare, which I forgot how hilarious that was. Nothing inapppropriate! Julia LOVED that one. :) Have your kids watched Charlie and the Chocolate Factory? The Gene Wilder version? Were they fine with it? There's that one scary boat ride scene, but these days I think Julia's pretty much up for anything!

  2. This is a great list! It's nice to have it in one place.
    I would add "Meet the Robinson's" and "Everyone's Hero" to your animated list and "The Sandlot" to your over 7 list.
    They are two our whole family enjoys!
    Another animated one that they enjoy is "Bolt"
    I would have to agree with the HGTV, we can watch it while the kids are around. My older kids also enjoy several of the shows on the Food Network. "The Next Food Network Star" and "Great Food Truck Race"
    One of our fails was to watch the non-tv version of the Bad News Bears.



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