From tablets to toys to TV shows, kids find themselves with hundreds of things vying for their attention everyday. So while family film night seems like a fantastic idea, a movie has to be seriously good to keep their attention. Luckily, there are tons of great movies for family film night out there – whether you’re looking for toddler-friendly films or movies that will entertain teenagers.
From vintage Disney movies to kooky classics, here are some great movies that will make family film night fun for children and their grown-ups.
Up, 2009 (PG)
Up has an unexpectedly fabulous cast of characters for a kids’ film, including grumpy elderly man Carl as the lead. Its carefully struck balance of themes that connect with all ages makes Up the ultimate Pixar family film. Shed a tear. Have some laughs. Ride this renowned rollercoaster of emotions as a family.
The Addams Family, 1991 (PG)
The original live action rendition of The Addams Family is creepy, kooky, funny, brilliant. Though it has a little more innuendo and light horror themes than some parents will be comfortable with for a PG-rated movie, it’s a great film for older kids and teenagers to enjoy. Save it for Halloween for a spooky family film night.
My Neighbour Totoro, 1988 (U)
My Neighbour Totoro is one of the most famous films from Japanese film studio Studio Ghibli. This magical ode to family and imagination is striking, whimsical, and a great watch for children of all ages. If you’re unfamiliar with anime, My Neighbour Totoro is a fantastic introduction to anime films for kids and adults alike.
Black Panther, 2018 (12)
Black Panther is one of the most successful and influential Marvel movies in years. Featuring the late great Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa (aka Black Panther), this film is bold and exhilarating, with an arresting storyline and captivating cast. Even non-comic-book-movie fans love Black Panther – so if you’re going to watch a Marvel movie, make it this one.
The Parent Trap, 1998 (PG)
Sunny and soulful, Disney’s 1998 remake of The Parent Trap is a truly feel-good film. With great comedy performances from a whole host of famous names – including Lindsay Lohan, Natasha Richardson, and Simon Kunz – it’s a great movie to watch on a late summer evening. It also has a joyful soundtrack, so it’s a fun one for retro music lovers, too.
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, 1986 (15)
Speaking of films for music lovers, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is another great choice for family film night – especially if you’re watching with teenagers. The memorable music selections make Ferris Bueller’s Day Off an unforgettable film – from Ferris’s Beatles moment to that catchy Yello riff. This film epitomises the carefree romance of adolescence, so it’s sure to become a firm family favourite.
Wonder, 2017 (PG)
Wonder is an ode to belonging, identity, and friendship. When a boy with facial differences starts school, he searches for friends in this new, unfamiliar wilderness. With acceptance and inclusion at the heart of its message, this film is affecting and heartfelt, and will tug at the heartstrings of children and adults alike. The all-star cast features Julia Roberts, Owen Wilson, and Jacob Tremblay.
Matilda, 1996 (PG)
This film adaptation of Roald Dahl’s much-loved children’s book has become a cult classic. With stellar performances from Pam Ferris and Danny Devito, Matilda features a whole host of unforgettable characters. A lighthearted revenge comedy, this film provides fantastic magical escapism, showing the power of imagination and creativity.
Chicken Run, 2000 (U)
Chicken Run is a brilliant film from Nick Park and the Aardman Animations team. With a style made famous by Wallace and Gromit, there’s plenty of peril (and an abundance of warm northern accents) in this thrillingly fun stop-motion movie. Follow Ginger and Rocky as they make their escape from the sinister Tweedy’s Farm.
The Cheetah Girls, 2003 (U)
The Cheetah Girls is a Disney Channel original movie based around the musical ambitions of four teenage girls. With Raven-Symone and Adrienne Bailon in leading roles, it’s an entertaining story of friendship, romance, and aspiration. Peppered with catchy songs by the real-life girl group of the same name, this film will inspire young people everywhere to follow their dreams.
My Life As A Courgette, 2016 (PG)
This French stop-motion movie is a little more obscure than many of the films on this list, but it’s an emotional, enjoyable watch. With some darker themes, it’s not suitable for all ages, but older kids will connect with the characters and incredible animation. My Life As A Courgette available in French with English subtitles, or dubbed in English.
Nanny McPhee, 2005 (U)
A film so good we named our website after it. Written by and starring Emma Thompson, Nanny McPhee is a fantastically fun modern take on the Mary Poppins tradition. Nanny McPhee transforms the lives of the Brown family over the course of the film, proving that love, respect, and a little magic are the key ingredients for a happy family.
Start A Family Film Night Tradition
Family film night is a great tradition for you and your children to start. If you can’t decide which film to watch, add an extra element of surprise by writing down these film titles (plus any others you want to watch). Fold them up and pick them out of a hat – it means more fun, and fewer sibling squabbles over what to watch next.
Looking for more things to do with the kids? Check out this list of online resources for keeping children entertained. Plus, find tons more inspiration in our parenting blog.