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The 20 Best Movies for Kids on Netflix


This article is updated frequently as titles leave and enter Netflix. *New additions are indicated with an asterisk.

Netflix has massive catalogs of TV shows aimed at children, but it can be harder to sift through their movie library to find something that the whole family can watch. That’s why we’re here to help. From recent Netflix Originals like Apollo 10 1/2 to timeless family blockbusters like The Karate Kid or Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, these films offer a little something for everybody on family movie night.

Apollo 10 ½: A Space Age Childhood

Year: 2022
Runtime: 1 hour, 38 minutes
Director: Richard Linklater

The great writer/director of Waking Life returned to his unique animated style with this charming, nostalgic coming-of-age story set in the days just before the Apollo 11 landing. A clearly personal piece for Linklater, this film tells the fictional story of a fourth grader who ends up actually being the first person to land on the moon. Charming and sweet, it will appeal to every family member, from grandparents to kids.

Apollo 10 ½: A Space Age Childhood

  • Watch on Netflix

The Boss Baby

Year: 2017
Runtime: 1h 37m
Director: Tom McGrath

This goofy story of a talking, suit-wearing baby voiced by Alec Baldwin isn’t a modern animated masterpiece, but it is a thoroughly entertaining comedy for the whole family. It’s really a story of maintaining creativity and a good one for kids who may be struggling with a new sibling.

The Boss Baby

  • watch on netflix

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie

Year: 2017
Runtime: 1h 28m
Director: David Soren

Fox adapted the hit book series by Dav Pilkey into a film that underperformed enough at the box office to make it unlikely that we’ll see another. That’s too bad because David Soren’s family flick is clever and funny. It’s a sweet study of friendship, creativity, and a different kind of heroism. And it features a villain named Professor Poopypants.

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie

  • watch on netflix

Casper

Year: 1995
Runtime: 1h 40m
Director: Brad Silberling

More people probably know the theme song than the movie, but Casper is a fun little family comedy with a spooky twist based on the classic Harvey Comics ghost kid. In 1995, the CGI for this little friendly ghost felt pretty revolutionary too. It stars Christina Ricci, Bill Pullman, Cathy Moriarty, and Bill Pullman, and reportedly had an uncredited rewrite by J.J. Abrams. Trivia!

Casper

  • watch on netflix

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2

Year: 2013
Runtime: 1h 34m
Director: Cody Cameron, Kris Pearn

A rare animated sequel that’s just about as funny as the first film, this sequel built on the visual wit and sharp characters from the 2009 movie. Bill Hader and Anna Faris lead a stellar voice cast as Flint Lockwood and Sam Sparks are forced to return to Swallow Falls to save the day. It’s inventive and very fun.

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2

  • watch on netflix

*DC League of Super-pets

Year: 2022
Runtime: 1h 45m
Director: Jared Stern, Sam J. Levine

There was a time when Bud Abbott and Lou Costello were one of the most popular comedy teams in the world and their charming brand of physical humor is timeless. Introduce your kids to some of the best comic timing in movie history with the most classic Abbott and Costello monster movie. It’s delightful.

DC League of Super-pets

  • watch on netflix

Enola Holmes

Year: 2020
Runtime: 2h 3m
Director: Harry Bradbeer

Let’s make more of these. A truly charming adventure for the whole family, this Netflix original stars Millie Bobby Brown as the title character, the sister of the most famous crime-solver of all time, Sherlock Holmes. Based on the book series of the same name, there are certainly more mysteries that Enola can solve. Why don’t you watch this one so the numbers are high enough to make one?

Enola Holmes

  • Watch on Netflix

The Karate Kid

Year: 1984
Runtime: 2h 7m
Director: John G. Avildsen

After the massive success of Cobra Kai on Netflix, the streamer finally now also offers fans the original trilogy of films about the kid who learns karate from Mr. Miyagi. The 1984 original is still, by far, the best, starring Ralph Macchio and the great Pat Morita. Less successful are the 1986 and 1989 sequels, but no one would blame fans for wanting to watch the whole trilogy. Note: The Jackie Chan remake is also on Netflix.

The Karate Kid

  • watch on netflix

*Klaus

Year: 2019
Runtime: 1h 38m
Director: Sergio Pablos

A little movie that could, this animated Christmas adventure was so critically beloved that it competed with giants like Pixar and DreamWorks for the Oscar for Best Animated Feature. It’s a delightful little fable about a postman who ends up stationed so far to the north that he meets a reclusive toymaker there named Klaus. Yes, it’s a Santa Claus origin story. With lovely, old-fashioned style, this is the kind of joyous film that the whole family can watch any time of year.

Klaus

  • watch on netflix

Minions

Year: 2015
Runtime: 1h 30m
Director: Kyle Balda, Pierre Coffin

When the little yellow idiots stole Despicable Me, also on Netflix, it only seemed to be a matter of time before they got their own movie, which was such a hit that it’s already produced a sequel, also on Netflix. Put on your best yellow suit, practice your impression, and sit down for an origin story about the little dudes who stole so many scenes that they got their own franchise (most of which is on Netflix).

Minions

  • watch on netflix

The Mitchells vs. the Machines

Year: 2021
Runtime: 1h 54m
Directors: Mike Rianda and Jeff Rowe

Originally planned for a theatrical release by Sony (with the much-worse title Connected), the studio sold this off to Netflix during the pandemic…and probably regretted that decision. One of the most critically and commercially beloved animated films of 2021, this is an incredibly smart and sweet family vacation movie, a comedy that’s as much about a tender relationship between a father and daughter as it is the fact that they end up having to save the world together.

The Mitchells vs. the Machines

  • Watch on Netflix

A Monster Calls

Year: 2016
Runtime: 1h 48m
Director: J.A. Bayona

Patrick Ness adapted his novel of the same name in this moving study of a grief so strong that it basically transforms into a literal monster. Lewis MacDougall plays Conor, a child whose mother (Felicity Jones) is dying. As he tries to flee the grief in his home, he runs into a giant tree monster (voiced by Liam Neeson), who offers to tell Conor three stories. Of course, the stories are designed to teach the young man to deal with the grief over his mother in a film that may scare some of the littlest ones in the family.

A Monster Calls

  • Watch on Netflix

Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio

Year: 2022
Runtime: 1h 56m
Director: Guillermo del Toro

The Oscar-winning director took his visionary skills to stop-motion animation with this instant classic, a retelling of the beloved fairy tale about the wooden boy who longed to be real. With spectacular voice work, this version reimagines Pinocchio during the period before World War II, allowing him to explore his themes of innocence and violence again. It’s a deeply personal, beautiful film.

Pinocchio

  • watch on netflix

Puss in Boots: The Last Wish

Year: 2023
Runtime: 1h 42m
Director: Joel Crawford

No one would have predicted that the presumed-dead Shrek franchise had another spin-off sequel of this caliber yet to be released, but December 2022 saw the critical and commercial success of arguably the best film in the entire series. Using a style more reminiscent of Into the Spider-Verse thantypical DreamWorks, The Last Wish is a gorgeous and surprisingly moving story of the title character dealing with something he never expected to face: mortality. It’s funny, clever, and memorable. (On Netflix July 13th.)

Puss in Boots: The Last Wish

  • watch on netflix

The Sea Beast

Year: 2022
Runtime: 1h 55m
Director: Chris Williams

One of 2022’s most surprising hits for Netflix has been this film from one of the creators of Bolt and Big Hero 6. It’s a blend of a lot of things that have been done before with echoes of How to Train Your Dragon, Moana, and Pirates of the Caribbean (with a little Kaiju too) but this is a detailed adventure film that really plays to everyone in the family.

The Sea Beast

  • Watch on Netflix

A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon

Year: 2019
Runtime: 1h 27m
Directors: Richard Phelan and Will Becher

Shaun the Sheep is an international treasure. The silent comedy star leads one of the most consistently hilarious franchises of all time in his own TV episodes and feature films. This one is a brilliant Netflix original from Aardman Animations about how everyone’s favorite ovine helps a stranded alien return to his own kind.

A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon

  • Watch on Netflix

Sing 2 

Year: 2021
Runtime: 1h 50m
Director: Garth Jennings

Everyone seems to love the jukebox animated musicals with the Sing banner. Five years after the first movie, the sequel shattered box office expectations, even during a pandemic, making over $400 million worldwide. One of the highest grossing films of 2021 reunited all of the characters from Sing to put on a show in Redshore City — and added Bono!

Sing 2

  • Watch on Netflix

Wallace and Gromit in the Curse of the Were-Rabbit

Year: 2005
Runtime: 1h 24m
Director: Steve Box, Nick Park

The winner for the Oscar for Best Animated Feature was, sadly, the last theatrical outing for the wonderful characters that put Aardman on the map. The cheese-loving farmer Wallace and his loyal mutt Gromit star in a film inspired by Hammer Horror flicks. The pair are reportedly returning in an in-production film next year. It’s long overdue.

Wallace and Gromit

  • watch on netflix

Wendell & Wild

Year: 2022
Runtime: 1h 46m
Director: Henry Selick

The director of A Nightmare Before Christmas and Coraline finally returned this year with this clever and twisted tale co-written by Oscar winner Jordan Peele. The comedian also co-stars as one of the title characters, the literal demons for a girl who blames herself for the death of her parents. Selick is a master of stop-motion animation and this project allows him to stretch his visual prowess in new, gross ways. It’s a new Halloween classic (that can be watched any time, of course!)

Wendell & Wild

  • watch on netflix

The Willoughbys

Year: 2020
Runtime: 1h 32m
Director: Kris Pearn

Remember when Tim Burton made weird, slightly disturbing kids movies? This truly inventive 2020 comedy feels inspired by those flicks as four kids decide that they’re going to replace their apathetic parents with ones that actually care. Based on the book of the same name by Lois Lowry, this flick includes voice work by Will Forte, Maya Rudolph, Terry Crews, and Ricky Gervais, and it’s probably the best family movie on Netflix that you probably haven’t seen.

The Willoughbys

  • Watch on Netflix

Related

  • The 30 Best Movies on Netflix Right Now
  • 20 Disney+ Movies Worth Revisiting
  • The 20 Best Comedies on Netflix Right Now



Brian Tallerico , 2023-12-07 02:35:00

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