There are days when you’re going to find yourself cooped up in the house with the kids. Be it a blizzard, rain, tornados, extreme heat, or extreme cold (maybe all of them if you live in some strange dimension), you’ll most likely be indoors and trying to find something to do. Chances are you’ll gravitate towards your Netflix account and with the family, you’re sure to be arguing about what to watch. And, let’s face it, Netflix navigation system, even when set on kid mode or family algorithms, can sometimes be a hassle of a process to find something good, especially for the family. That is why we’ve cobbled together a list of the best films you can watch on the streaming service that are suitable enough for young and old. Here are 15 films perfect for a family movie night.
Sure, the John Waters 1980s comedy wasn’t exactly a family film since, well, it’s John Waters. But the 2007 version reimagined as a musical is absolutely charming as a much different film. It’s still very much the same story with the tubby teen Tracy desiring to make it on television as a dancing star. The film features plenty of great musical numbers but also an astounding cast that includes Christopher Walken playing Tracy’s father and John Travolta as her mother.
The sequel to Pixar’s The Incredibles may have the biggest appeal for parents relating to the struggles of maintaining your career and household but there’s still plenty of fun to be had for the kid audience with Incredibles 2. Namely, Jack-Jack steals the show as the baby with numerous superpowers that make watching the kids just as dangerous a job for a superhero. Much like the previous film, the sequel maintains the brilliantly designed animation as well as featuring plenty of engaging action set pieces.
Based on the classic manga and anime, Astro Boy is one of the most faithful and fun of American adaptations of Japanese animation. The futuristic tale finds the robot boy Astro, based on the dead son of a famed scientist, struggling to find his place in the world where the wealthy live in a technological paradise in the sky while the poor scrounge for scraps on the polluted planet’s many junkyard piles. True to its source material, the CGI animated film has a lot of genuine heart and great voice performances from the likes of Nicolas Cage, Donald Sutherland, and Nathan Lane.
Indian in the Cupboard
Based on the iconic children’s book, a boy receives an old wooden cabinet for his birthday, only to discover that when he places a Native American action figure within the cupboard, it comes to life. The boy is amazed but soon finds that bringing his toys to life can come with consequences when the Native American toy named Little Bear experiences a wound. A charming and low-key fantasy of the 1990s that is sure to be appealing for kids who like to imagine there’s more to their toys that meets the eye.
Lilo & Stitch
Hawaii is secretly invaded by the intergalactic beast known as Stitch. He’s a danger to the galaxy but to the little girl Lilo he’s just a misunderstood creature that she naturally gravitates towards as the outsider of her community. A brilliantly melding of science fiction action and family drama, Lilo & Stitch marks one of the many highlights in the twilight of Disney’s 2D animated age coming to an end.
Not to be confused with 2016’s The Jungle Book, Mowgli follows the adventures of the boy raised by wolves in the dangerous jungles of India. Although the film does still feature computer-generated animal characters similar to Disney’s live-action take, director Andy Serkis of motion capture fame uses his experience in utilizing motion capture to create compelling animal characters. It’s also more action-packed and grimmer than Disney’s version if the older kids want to watch something scaled a bit higher in theatrics.
A Netflix original, Next Gen takes place in a futuristic society where a take-charge girl and a rogue combat robot work together. They task themselves with stopping an evil madman that has dastardly plans of taking over the world. It’s astounding that the creators had such a tough time selling such a project considering it bears a striking resemblance to Disney’s Big Hero 6. So if the kids are looking for more sci-fi adventure and the Big Hero 6 animated series just ain’t cutting it, consider giving Next Gen a watch.
The Emperor’s New Groove
A bit of a cult classic among Disney’s 2D animated films, Emperor’s New Groove features David Space voicing the pompous ruler Kuzco turned llama teaming up with the village leader Pacha, played by John Goodman. On their journey to stop the evil and mystical Yzma (Eartha Kitt) from seizing power, Kuzco learns to become a better person while having an exciting adventure. Loaded with slapstick and witty dialogue, The Emperor’s New Groove has a little something for everyone in the family.
Diane Lane plays the mom/housewife Penny that decides to take over the Thoroughbred farm from her dad. But she soon finds it’s not easy to raise horses, especially with the field being dominated by men that look down on her. Thankfully, the skilled trainer Lucien Laurin (John Malkovich) takes her under his wing and helps her train her horse to become one of the grandest of champions on the track.
Mary and the Witch’s Flower
In the great tradition of Studio Ghibli style anime, Mary and the Witch’s Flowers finds the titular girl stumbling into a magical realm where she can train to be a witch. It all seems so wondrous and exciting with the school run by the colorful characters of headmistress Madam Mumblechook and the intelligent Doctor Dee. But if we’ve learned anything from the likes of Harry Potter, magical schools are not devoid of corruption and Mary soon finds herself uncovering an evil plot. Though bearing a resemblance to Studio Ghibli productions, this is actually the first animated feature of Studio Ponoc.
John Travolta voice the dog actor Bolt, having spent so much time working on the set of an action-packed TV series he truly believes he has superpowers. He’s in for a big surprise when he finds himself plucked from the set and relying on a cat and hamster to help get him home. A bit of underrated gem for coming out during a crowded 2008, Bolt has plenty of action, warmth, and cute that only an animated animal adventure could bring the Walt Disney Animation Studio that was really starting to find its groove with this film before the more notable films of Tangled and Frozen.
A wolfdog finds himself going on various adventures with different humans, braving tough and challenging situations. He’s initially pitted to be a warrior but doesn’t desire such a life. He’ll meet several human characters along the way from a brave Marshal to a noble Inuit tribe on his way to Fort Yukon. A Netflix original, the film features the voices of Nick Offerman and Paul Giamatti.
Pixar’s Coco does what the studio does best in taking us to new worlds with deeper themes. Based on the Day of the Dead celebration, the aspiring musician boy Miguel ditches his family on the family celebration and finds himself trapped in the Land of the Dead, where past spirits reside in a metropolis of remembrance. In order to get back home, Miguel will have to learn not just about the rules of the Land but also about his family history in a stirring, emotional, and gutsy tale of death and heritage.
Perhaps one of the most notable of movie dogs, the mixed-breed Benji finds himself as a stray going on adventures to seek out good people and help them out. Debuting in 1974, the family adventure became an instant hit and would lead to several sequels as well as a revival film from Netflix. You just can’t keep a good dog down.
Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie
Based on the hit kids books, the first movie of Captain Underpants is a charming enough tale that there’s far more to its humor than a school principal in his underwear. True to the books, the film finds best friends George and Harold attempting to hypnotize their school principal to save their friendship and keep making comic books. But they’ll soon come to rely on their principal becoming Captain Underpants to save them from the evil Professor Poopypants. Trust us, there’s more to the humor than the funny names as the film becomes very experimental with mediums and knowing dialogue.