After weeks of organizing and rescheduling, you've finally rallied the troops for family night. You've enjoyed a special meal together, played a few games, and caught up, so now it's time to cuddle up with a movie, which is when the bickering usually sets in. One kid wants to watch an animated movie, your other kid wants to see an action flick, you're in the mood for a coming-of-age tear-jerker, and the dog is insisting on an intellectual documentary. We all know how this thing goes, especially when you're streaming on Netflix and the sorting features that prioritize content based on past preferences make your differences glaringly obvious.
Well, we're here to deliver some conflict prevention with a watchlist of family-friendly movies on Netflix that will help you skip the extensive movie selection process. It's easy to get carried away looking through all of the options and before you know it, it's little Jill's bedtime. Below, you can read through quick descriptions of the 20 best family-friendly movies on Netflix to choose a movie you'll all want to watch.
To All the Boys I've Loved Before (2018)
The rom-com genre is finally getting some love again in 2018, and we're definitely here for it. Especially when Noah Centineo, the dreamboat of all dreamboats, gets plenty of screen time. The coming-of-age movie is about a high school girl, Lara Jean, whose romantic fantasies are leaked to all the love interests she's ever had. It's also just a sweet film about growing up with sisters and a single dad. Everyone will find something to relate to, no matter their age.
Mamma Mia! (2008)
Sing-a-longs are arguably the most fun movies to watch as a family. It'll loosen everyone up and encourage everyone to just have fun and not take themselves too seriously, and this one is particularly fun to watch. In this light-hearted movie, Sophie tries to figure out who her birth father is during her wedding weekend at her mother's Greek island hotel. Think summer vibes and campy musical shenanigans.
This a great movie to watch when you're in the mood for a good story but also want to watch something with educational value. It is a bit slow since it's a political biopic, but for the right crowd, it's definitely entertaining. It hones in specifically on Abraham Lincoln's work to pass the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery.
Before the Flood (2016)
Leonardo Dicaprio's documentary does a phenomenal job packaging the complex issues of climate change and global warming into something that's digestible, uplifting, educational, and inspiring.
This two-time Oscar-winning film is not only a crowd favorite among kids, but among adults well into their twenties, thirties, and forties. It is the first Pixar movie with a nonwhite protagonist and deservedly the biggest blockbuster in Mexican history. The utterly moving and colorfully rich film explores relevant themes today such as death, borders, abandonment, family legacy, and matriarchy in ways not previously explored in children's movies.
Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs (2009)
Another crowd favorite, this charming comedy is based on the beloved children's book of the same name. It stars an inventor and a brainy weather girl, both equally geeky and endearing, as they scramble to save a town from mutant food falling from the sky, thanks to the latest invention gone awry.
Groundhog Day (1993)
This is a bonafide classic starring Bill Murray as a jaded weatherman who finds himself reliving the exact same day over and over again. Naturally, he becomes angry and distraught until he finally learns to evolve through his experience. Full of sarcastic wit and great comedic acting, this is guaranteed fun for the whole family.
Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
Directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones, this epic tale is the ultimate adventure flick that set a new standard for all adventure movies to follow. Fueled by great imagination, it's an absolute thrill of a ride that you and your kids will never want to end. While you're at it, catch the others in the saga currently available on Netflix – The Temple of Doom, The Last Crusade, and Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.
The Little Prince (2015)
This visually compelling film certainly does justice to the classic novel it's based on. Wise and heartfelt, it is a rare family movie that never talks down to its audience, while exploring some deep philosophical themes.
Little Women (1994)
Though this timeless tale has been told countless times, this 1994 movie version is by far one of the strongest iterations of the classic novel first published in 1868. The all-star cast that includes Susan Sarandon, Winona Ryder, Claire Danes, Christian Bale, and Kirsten Dunst, will move you to laughter and tears as they reveal the story of the March sisters and their mother growing up in the absence of their father during the Civil War.
Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa (2008)
The original zoo crew is back for this cheerful and funny sequel to the original Madagascar. Expect some surprise action when the penguins tape together a wrecked airplane to escape Madagascar only to crash land in Africa.
Mary Poppins Returns (2018)
We know the original is a tough act to follow, but this sequel starring the beloved Emily Blunt is critically acclaimed and rightly so. The movie is set 30 years later in bleak 1930s London when the children are all grown up. Michael Banks is facing financial trouble when the childhood nanny returns to save the day with much needed spoonfuls of sugar.
Surf's Up (2007)
Just when you think you've seen all the penguin movies you can see, Surf's Up swoops in for the win. The Oscar-nominated animated film starring Shia LeBouf and Jeff Bridges is a thoroughly satisfying watch with positive life lessons. When a surf-obsessed teenager meets an old-time surfer at the Penguin World Surfing Championship, they form a meaningful friendship that they both greatly benefit from.
This underrated spooky flick by Henry Selick, the director behind The Nightmare Before Christmas, is a total gem. It tells the tale of a girl who discovers an alternate reality behind a secret tunnel in her new home. She must be brave and resourceful to find her way back to her real family.
By now we all know the time-old tale of Tarzan, the boy who was raised by gentle gorillas in the jungle. Things get complicated when Tarzan is discovered by other humans, including the beautiful Jane whom he quickly falls for. This adventurous Disney version proves to be hugely entertaining – for both you and the kids.
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind (2019)
Directed by Oscar-nominated actor, Chiwetel Ejiofor, this movie tells the incredible true story of a young Malawian genius, named William Kamkwamba, who uses his electronic gifts to build a windmill to save his family and village from drought and famine. Expect a moving and uplifting film for everyone.
A Wrinkle in Time (2018)
Though far from a box-office success, Ava Duvernay's adaptation of A Wrinkle in Time led by heavy hitters Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, and Mindy Kahling, is still an enjoyable sci-fi fantasy based on the classic children's novel.
The Incredibles 2 (2018)
You'd be hard-pressed to find a child or adult who wasn't a fan of The Incredibles movie, and this long-awaited return to the screen does not disappoint. You'll find all the same charm, humor, wit, and adventure that captured our hearts in the first movie, just kicked up a notch, which is just what everyone wants out of a sequel.
Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2 (2018)
The lovable crew of Wreck-It Ralph is back in this ambitious sequel that tackles some major real-world issues in today's digital age (cyber bullying and censorship, to name a few) while remaining thoroughly entertaining. Though it's not always all laughs; there may be a couple tear-jerking moments that surprise you.
Spy Kids (2001)
Spy Kids is a sheer delight to watch as the two children of ex-spies, Carmen and Juni, set out to save their parents when they get kidnapped by a villain named Minion. Full of spirit, imagination, and action, parents will equally fall in love with this witty gem.
Looking for more TV time with the kids? Here's a list of more family-friendly movies that are anything but lame.