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60 Best Kids' Movies of All Time, From Old Classics to New Favorites

Some of these might still be your faves in adulthood.

Best Kids' Movies of All Time

Pop the popcorn, dim the lights, and get ready for a family movie night. But what to watch? There are endless options for children’s entertainment these days — from always-on TV channels to streaming kids' TV shows to the new sequels, plus plenty of animated movies, live-action remakes, and reboots that get cranked out every year — the quality on them, obviously, varies.

If you really want to give your kids a love of film, go for a classic that stands the test of time (and one that's earned a spot on our list of the all-time best kids’ movies). Sure, you can’t go wrong with firing up the Disney+ streaming service and watching (most of) the movies that Disney has put out. But there are also kids’ movies from around the world, from places like Aardman Animations in the U.K. and Studio Ghibli in Japan, that have also put out some of the funniest or most innovative kids’ fare.

If you go through the flicks on this list, you can marvel at the technical prowess of stop-motion movies, revel in the lush beauty of hand-drawn animation, check out some of the most amazing musical sequences of the past, or be amazed at how far computer graphics have come since the first Toy Story. Whatever you choose, your family movie time is bonding time — when the movies are this good, you don’t have to feel bad about screens.

best kids movies   toy story 4
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Toy Story 4 (2019)

You can't go wrong with any movie in the Toy Story franchise, but Toy Story 4's new character, Forky, is basically engineered to be delightful to children. Plus, you get a heartwarming tale about what happens when a toy and its child are ready to move on from each other. MPAA rating: G


RELATED: 20+ Best Kids' Movies 2020 Has in Store for Families

best movies for kids   boy who harnessed the wind
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The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind (2019)

Based on the memoir by William Kamkwamba, the movie tells the story of a high school boy — a self-taught inventor — who tries to save his village by building a wind turbine big enough to power a water pump for the town's ailing crops. Chiwetel Ejiofor co-stars as well as makes his directorial debut. MPAA rating: PG


spider man into the spiderverse spiderman movies in order
Sony Pictures
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Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)

Kids never get sick of a good Spider-Man story. In this one, Miles Morales learns how anyone can be a hero through some jaw-dropping animation. MPAA rating: PG


best kids movies on netflix   a wrinkle in time
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A Wrinkle in Time (2018)

Based on the book series by Madeleine L'Engle, A Wrinkle in Time brings big, heady sci-fi themes — like dimensional travel — down to kid-level. The mission takes on even more importance because it's about a kid searching for her lost father MPAA rating: PG


Best Kids' Movies - Paddington 2
Warner Bros.
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Paddington 2 (2017)

Though you can't truly judge films by what critics say (especially about kids' movies), Paddington 2 accomplished the feat of having a 100% fresh rating on movie-review aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes. It's a delightfully gentle story about a bear trying to find his place in the world. (Paddington is also pretty charming, if you need to start there.) MPAA rating: PG


best kids movies on netflix   coco
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Coco (2017)

A young boy named Miguel goes through the Land of the Dead on during Día de Los Muertos and learns hard truths about his ancestors. That sounds like a sad and frightening premise for a movie, but, in Pixar's hands, it's actually a warm, colorful journey that strengthens family connections. MPAA rating: PG


RELATED: 40+ Pixar Easter Eggs That Probably Went Straight Over Your Head

Best Kids Movies - Your Name
Funimation Films
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Your Name (2016)

This movie follows the story of a girl named Mitsuha, who lives in a rural town, and a boy named Taki, who lives in the city. The two strangely start dreaming about each other — but are they only dreams, or is something happening in real life? Originally from Japan, this movie is available dubbed or with subtitles, so make sure you're turning on the version you want. MPAA rating: PG


Best Kids Movies on Netflix - Moana
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Moana (2016)

More hero than princess, Moana takes to the sea with the demigod Maui to save her village and people. The soundtrack is equally as globetrotting, mixing elements of traditional South Pacific music with Broadway and even hip-hop. MPAA rating: PG


Best Kids Movies - Hidden Figures
20th Century Studios
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Hidden Figures (2016)

Amaze your family with a true story that goes behind-the-scenes in America's early space exploration. The film follows three women working at NASA 1960s, so it's a good way to illuminate a bit of history (good and bad) while nurturing a budding math geek. MPAA rating: PG


Best Kids Movies - Trolls
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Trolls (2016)

This movie is eye- and ear-candy. It's full of bright colors, and the trolls are always bursting into song. The plot may be a little dark — the trolls are trying to stop the evil Bergens from eating them! — but it still qualifies as a feel-good movie. MPAA rating: PG


best kids movies on netflix   queen of katwe
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Queen of Katwe (2016)

This is an underdog competition story about a young girl who learns to play chess in Kampala, Uganda. It comes with a stacked cast — David Oyelowo, Lupita Nyong'o, and Madina Nalwanga — and is based on a true story. MPAA rating: PG


best movies for kids   kubo and the two strings
Focus Features
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Kubo and the Two Strings (2016)

Young Kubo must encounter witches, monsters, and a talking Beetle to rescue his village from a vengeance-seeking spirit — and find out the truth about this missing samurai father. MPAA rating: PG


Best Toddler Movies - Shaun the Sheep
Lionsgate Home Entertainment
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Shaun the Sheep: The Movie (2015)

From the creators of stop-motion favorites Wallace & Gromit, and with the same sly British sense of humor, comes a story about a farmer and a flock of sheep who get separated in a big city. Most of the movie is wordless, and the humans speak in gibberish, so this is a good pick for toddlers and preschoolers. MPAA rating: PG


Best Kids Movies -Home
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Home (2015)

A classic mismatched buddy comedy, Home pairs a wayward alien named Oh with a human girl named Tip. Together, they have to help Oh figure out where he belongs. You can follow them with the series Home: Adventures with Tip & Oh on Netflix. MPAA rating: PG


best movies for kids   the tale of the princess kaguya
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The Tale of the Princess Kaguya (2014)

This beautifully animated film currently has a 100% fresh score on review site Rotten Tomatoes. The movie tells the story of a tiny princess who's freed from the inside of a stalk of bamboo; she enchants all she meets, but she has a past she needs to contend with.


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Frozen (2013)

For any princess fans, this movie has two princesses who learn that their love for each other is the most powerful form of true love. That's an amazing message for siblings, but we fully realize that most kids just want to hear "Let It Go." MPAA rating: PG


Best Kids Movies - Rango
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Rango (2011)

Delightfully strange, Rango is like a junior version of Chinatown starring desert critters. It's directed by Gore Verbinski, who also had a family hit with the Pirates of the Caribbean series. MPAA rating: PG


Best Kids Movies - How to Train Your Dragon
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How to Train Your Dragon (2010)

It's easy to be enchanted by the world of vikings and dragons, especially when you meet a dragon as lovable as Toothless the Night Fury. Follow this with the sequels, and you'll get to see the viking Hiccup grow up throughout the series. MPAA rating: PG


RELATED: The Hatching Baby Toothless Is the Perfect Gift For Your Aspiring Hiccup

scary movies for kids
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Coraline (2009)

Besides being an amazing feat of stop-motion animation (from some of the same people who did The Nightmare Before Christmas), this creepy kids' movie is ultimately about appreciating the parents you have, which we can get behind. Young Coraline goes through a secret door in her new house to find a copycat world, complete with an "other mother" that gives her attention in the ways her real mother doesn't — but she's hiding some sinister secrets. MPAA rating: PG


RELATED: The Best Kids' Movies Streaming on Netflix

kids movies on netflix   the princess and the frog
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The Princess and the Frog (2009)

Disney takes the classic fairytale and twists it so that the royal becomes the amphibian, not the other way around. But the true appeal is the New Orleans setting, and the music that comes with it. MPAA rating: G


Best Kids Movies - The Secret of Kells
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The Secret of Kells (2009)

People were shocked when this movie seemed to come out of nowhere and score an Academy Award nomination for Best Animated Feature. (It lost to Up, but that's still pretty good for a practically unheard of film.) Once you give it a look, you can see how it charmed the Academy with its story of a quest steeped in Celtic mythology. MPAA rating: NR


Best Kids Movies - Akeelah and the Bee
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Akeelah and the Bee (2006)

If you love a good underdog story, this one's about a girl from South Los Angeles who dreams of making at the National Spelling Bee. (Maybe it'll get your kids to practice their spelling, too.) MPAA rating: PG


Best Kids Movies - March of the Penguins
Warner Bros.
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March of the Penguins (2005)

It's never too early to get them into documentaries. And this one, about the lengths penguins have to go to in order to successfully hatch chicks in the Antarctic, is perfect for any budding nature-lover. MPAA rating: G


RELATED: Here's How to Talk to Kids About Climate Change in an Era of Climate Crisis

Best Kids Movies - Finding Nemo
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Finding Nemo (2003)

Any Pixar movie will do, but parents might find this one — about the crazy things that parents do in order to protect their children — extra relatable. MPAA rating: G


Best Kids Movies - Harry Potter
Peter Mountain
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The Harry Potter Series

You can get through the first three movies in the Harry Potter series before the franchise takes a big leap in intensity — and jumps from PG to PG-13 — and probably gets too scary for younger ones. Luckily, there's enough going on in the wizarding world of those first three films to get them dreaming about getting their own Hogwarts acceptance letters.


best scary movies   spirited away
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Spirited Away (2001)

Revered Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki puts his own spin on an Alice in Wonderland-like story, where a young girl goes on a journey through a world where she doesn't quite understand the rules. To this day, this is the highest-grossing movie in Japan — beating even Titanic and after you see its beautiful animation, it's easy to understand why. MPAA rating: PG


Best Kids Movies - Spy Kids
Dimension Films
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Spy Kids (2001)

Director Robert Rodriguez made a name for himself with gritty, adult movies like Desperado and From Dusk Till Dawn. For his Spy Kids franchise, he manages to take all that action down to kid level without making it too cutesy. MPAA rating: PG


Best Toddler Movies - Chicken Run
Getty Images
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Chicken Run (2000)

These chickens want to fly the coop — literally! The stop-motion comedy is, like Shaun the Sheep, also from the makers of Wallace and Gromit, and is steeped in British humor. MPAA rating: G


Best Animated Movies - The Iron Giant
Warner Bros.
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The Iron Giant (1999)

A big, big, robot (with a voice from a pre-fame Vin Diesel) comes to Earth during the Cold War era, and teaches a lesson about fear and acceptance. This comes from director Brad Bird, who would later go on to do the Incredibles movies at Pixar. MPAA rating: PG


Best Kids Movies on Netflix - Mulan
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Mulan (1998)

Little heroes everywhere can be inspired by the story of Mulan, who goes to great lengths — she disguises herself as a man! — so she can take her father's place in the army and protect her family. A live-action remake is planned for 2020. MPAA rating: G


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