To be clear, this isn’t a list of what I perceive to be the 10 best family-friendly film of all time because that is a task that requires a lot more thinking. I simply felt “The 10 best family-friendly films to watch if you don’t know what to watch” was a bit long for a title. The fact is, I could create several of these lists and I still wouldn’t be able to fit all the ones that I wanted in. I could have made this a super long list, but 10 seems to be a number that works, so 10 it is. So without further delay, here are 10 of the many wonderful family-friendly films that you could fill your time with.
10 Bugsy Malone (1976)
Telling the story of a mob war between Fat Sam and Dandy Dan, this is a gangster film for the ages. The key difference here is that the entire cast consists exclusively of children. Not only that, but the entire set is designed for children with pedal cars and pie guns, leading to some of the finest shoot-outs you will ever witness. And it’s a musical.
9 The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (1977)
An absolutely wonderful little piece of history from the same year that gave us Star Wars. As was often the case with early animated films, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh is comprised of short cartoons. There’s The Honey Tree, The Blustery Day, Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too and a short scene taken from The House at Pooh Corner. Stunning hand-drawn animation and pure of heart, nothing quite encapsulates the feeling of childhood like the works of A. A. Milne
8 Matilda (1996)
Not the first of Roald Dahl’s books to be turned into a film, but possibly the best. Matilda is a young girl with an awful family and an even worse headmistress, but when she gains an amazing new power she seeks to fix that. Helmed by the always wonderful Danny DeVito, the fun that the crew had on set and the love that they had for the source material definitely comes across. If this film doesn’t inspire your child to pick up a book, I don’t know what will.
7 The Iron Giant (1999)
Possibly one of the most under-rated films of all time. Hogarth Hughes finds himself the friend of a massive metal man, but of course the US government wants to destroy him because he’s “a threat”. Enter Kent Mansley- one of the most entertaining characters ever written. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll teach your children some valuable life lessons. (Full review HERE)
6 The Emperor’s New Groove (2000)
Another of the most under-rated films of all time. A childish Incan emperor is turned into a Llama by his wicked adviser and sent far away by her henchman. With the help of a man whose village he intends to demolish, the emperor must find his way back home. It’s so well put together. The Characters, the writing, the scenery, the MUSIC! (Full review HERE)
5 The Incredibles (2004)
PIXAR was always going to make ts way onto this list and, to me, this has always been one of their finest achievements. A family of superheroes with relatable family problems, it features lines you could find yourself quoting for days. Then there is the spectacular Edna Mode. (Full review HERE)
4 Flushed Away (2006)
Honestly, you could put any film by Aardman Animations on this list, but I feel Flushed Away is overshadowed by bigger hits like Chicken Run (also a great film). The rat of a rich family finds himself flushed into the sewer, where he finds a whole town of rats and a toad determined to get rid off them all. It’s kind of gross, but that’s what sets it apart from every other film on this list- it is utterly unique. And it stars Hollywood heart-throb Hugh Jackman.
3 Megamind (2010)
A fascinating tale of what happens when the supervillain finally gets everything he ever wanted. It’s not often that a film will choose to ignore the superhero, and even rarer that it is this ridiculously fun. Will Ferrell provides the perfect amount of hilarity, but can also be sombre when required, to the point where you genuinely care about his character. Also Brad Pitt voices the superhero.
2 Arthur Christmas (2011)
Sure, it may be “socially acceptable” to only watch this film during 1 of the 12 months of the year, but if it was acceptable to watch it whenever, you would. I certainly would, because my family and I have. That is how good this film is. It’s hard to go wrong with the joy and purity of Christmas and this film totally nails it. That sense of optimism might be just what you need, and Arthur Christmas delivers.
1 Trolls (2016)
Just look at the soundtrack. You’re welcome.