Favorite Movies for Families

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Favorite Movies for Families

We don’t have cable. So we play games. Or read books. Or watch movies. We get plenty of screen time even without traditional TV.

Over the weekend we watched The Lord of the Rings with a friend who’d never seen it. The week before we introduced Devin and Jessika’s kids to Captain America. Both events brought back lots of great memories of past family movie nights.

It also prompted a discussion about movies and how to find good ones.

We’re movie people. Unabashedly so. We don’t usually go to the theater, though we go a handful of times each year. We try to find movies cheap or free to watch at home. I usually buy the kids a Blu-ray at Christmas, or if the price is right, each gets a movie of his own.

No matter how we view movies, we enjoy them all the same: with a side of buttered popcorn and some Junior Mints if I’m feeling lavish.

My Favorite Movies for Families

It wasn’t too long ago that I quizzed my people on their favorite movies. You can see their lists, as of six months ago here. I’m a creature of habit. I don’t mind seeing the same movies again if they are those that I love.

Here’s a round-up of some of my all-time faves as well as a couple new ones on the docket. These are movies that I personally as the Mama enjoy immensely:

Movies for Everyone

I assumed that many of these movies were G rated, but when I checked, I found I was wrong. More of them are PG than you would think. Who knew?

  • The Croods & The Croods: A New Age – I was skeptical, but they are super cute movies!
  • The Boss Baby & The Boss Baby: Family Business – Again, I had low expectations, but was quite amazed.
  • Ratatouille – Food and France? Of course, I love this movie!
  • The Incredibles – Probably my induction into super heroes you can really love.
  • Pride and Prejudice – My comfort movie. One year I was sick a lot. I watched this or the A&E version every time.
  • Bedtime Stories – Adam Sandler is an idiot in many movies. He’s brilliant here.
  • Thor – I love the Avengers. Even though I think Thor doesn’t really use his brain much, I still like him.
  • Captain America – I love the good guy. Captain America is he.
  • Tangled – My mom used to call me Rapunzel because I had really long hair as a child. Love the music and the memories of watching this with my girls.
  • Brave – I cry at the end of this movie. Every time. Even though I’ve seen it a dozen times or more.
  • The Lorax – Such wisdom in this! It really is an interesting parallel to our culture and our current food system.
  • Wall-E – Again, another film that reflects our world to ourselves. So many life lessons in this!
  • Megamind – I love super heroes. I love the anti-hero, too.
  • Despicable Me 1 & 2 – Again, another bad guy turns good. My husband’s ring tone is Be-doh. I guess we all like this movie.
Favorite Movies for Families

Mary Poppins was the first movie I ever saw at the movie theater. It was 1980. It was years before I realized that it wasn’t a new release. It’s nine years older than I, so that means it was already 17 years old by the time I saw it! Talk about a Disney classic.

FishChick5 says it’s her favorite movie. That makes me smile. It’s a pretty special flick, despite the fact that technology has surpassed it in so many ways.

We were sent a copy of the 50th anniversary edition to review. I can’t wait to watch it with my girl. It’s on my list for Christmas vacation.

Parental Guidance Suggested

Favorite Movies for Families

I’ll be honest, most of my kids have all seen these. Some would say we’re a little loose in what we let them watch. Trust me there are LOTS of things that don’t make the cut. And many things that I’m ashamed to say slipped through the cracks.

I’m more careful about certain issues than others. I’ve let the girls watch a different movie in another room on the occasions when I think the violence would freak them out. We’ve been known to skip sections of Iron Man. Ahem.

Over all, I’d say that these films will be acceptable to some families and not to others. Preview yourself on your next date night to see what’s the best fit for your family.

  • The Avengers – Marvel owns me. What can I say? This movie finally and completely swayed me over to some super hero movies. (I’ve looked at some of the previous films and can now say that not all super hero movies are created equal.)
  • Fantastic Mr. Fox – This movie with its quirky animation and all-star cast of voices has me laughing every time. I see new things in subsequent watches. It’s hilarious.
  • The Harry Potter Collection – I know some folks aren’t keen on HP. Once upon a time, I wasn’t either. I’ve read all the books and seen all the films, and I believe that it’s good stuff. This essay by Andrew Peterson pretty much says what I think in a much more eloquent way than I can say or think it.
  • The Amazing Spider-Man – My boys were Spidey crazy a couple summers ago. This film is pretty amazing. Another great one by Marvel.
  • The Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl – This is the only Pirates movie of the four that is worth your time. It is exceptional. Then they ruined it by making three more movies. Pretend the other three don’t exist.
  • Sherlock Holmes and Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows – I am still amazed that Robert Downey, Jr resurrected his career. The fact that he can play both Iron Man/Tony Stark and Sherlock Holmes is pretty amazing. These films are a little more violent/gory than the others mentioned. (Just FYI.)
  • The Lord of the Rings – I recommend the Extended Version on Blu-ray if you can swing it. It really does make a difference. We watched the “theatrical version” the other night and it just doesn’t compare. If you like Tolkein, rest assured they did a good job with this film version of the large, voluminous story.

TV Shows

Favorite Movies for Families

While we don’t have cable, we do watch TV “shows” after the fact. In most cases, we’ve purchased the TV pass on Amazon so that we can watch the episode a day or so after it airs online. Yes, we could stream it for free, in many cases, but we like to watch it together on the big screen when it’s convenient for us to watch it. We treat them like movies.

These are our three token TV shows:

Foyle’s War – Our family fell in love with Detective Chief Superintendent Christopher Foyle this summer. We watched all the seasons to date via Amazon. We unplugged cable this fall so we missed the most recent season. Waiting….

Marvel Agents of SHIELD – Remember I said that Marvel owns me. I haven’t been “hooked” into a show in years. YEARS. We’ve only had cable for 4 out of 20 years of marriage. I never watched shows. But, I love Shield. I really do. Corny and cheesy, I do.

regular show

Regular Show – Some guys at FishPapa’s work introduced him to Regular Show. He, in turn, introduced us to it. It’s offbeat, weird, strange, and sometimes funny.

The later episodes are decidedly cleaner than the earlier ones. The program hit the main stream (you can buy Tshirts at Target now), so I think they cleaned up their act a bit. It’s not that the early episodes are “bad” per se, but they are very much on the edge in terms of innuendo. I just received Seasons 1 and 2 to review on disc, so I will let you know once FishPapa and I watch them.

I’m sure I’m missing a lot of good things out there.

What’s YOUR favorite movie?

Disclosure:  In some instances I was sent a disc to review, but I wouldn’t share it with you if I didn’t honestly like it.

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  1. Favorite Movies…. Its like picking a favorite book soooo hard.

    Gone With the Wind- tops my list, but at 3.5 hours long you have to LOOOOOOOVE it to LOOOOOVE it

    Shawshank Redemption- based on a Stephen King book – most people don’t know that

    Harry Potter (all 8 movies)- I literally grew up with Harry. I read the first book in fourth grade, and the last came out when I was 17/18. I adore Harry Potter and I’m glad it got people into reading again

    Christmas: National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation- holiday classic!

    Christmas with the Kranks (which is bashed on a John Grisham novel that is a million times better called “Skipping Christmas”. The Movie is meant to be funny, but the book is more serious and an easy read at around 200 pages. Highly recommended around Christmas time

    Animated: 1st Place- The Lion King
    2nd Place- 101 Dalmations
    3rd Place- Finding Nemo

    ADULT: Fight Club, Pulp Fiction, Inception, Half Baked, Zoolander,

    Shows: Breaking Bad, House, anything on Food Network

    as you can tell we don’t have children in the house so most of my picks are more adult

  2. Eight Below
    Prince of Persia
    The Scorpion King
    Silent Night (Christmas movie with Linda Hamilton)

    These are great CLEAN family movies!!

  3. I love The Matrix and the sequels.

    In terms of family friendly movies, I love all Jane Austen movies, but I’m the only one in my house who is interested in them. My favorite is “Persuasion,” but I love “Sense and Sensibility” and “Pride and Prejudice” (both versions). Along those lines, I also love, “Jane Eyre”–the newer one is very good (2011?).

    I love the movie, “Little Women” with Winona Ryder at Christmas. Also, I love to watch, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” “Charlie Brown Christmas,” and “Elf.” The last two are movies my son loves.

    Jessica, you should check out the movie, “Hugo.” It’s a fun French-inspired film, like “Ratatouille.” I loved showing it in my French classes when I taught high school (up until this year) because it’s fun, it’s clean, and it is interesting enough not to bore teenagers while still being fun for a kid.

    For older kids, I think the movie, “Les Miserables” with Liam Neeson and Uma Thurman is an amazing film that they will always remember.

    I’ve also enjoyed watching the film, “Joyeux Noel” with teenagers; it’s about Christmas truces in World War I.

    Thanks for the suggestions. I’m not that into superheroes but my 6YO is, so I’ll add some of these to the list. Also, I do not actually own “Princess Bride”–what’s wrong with me? I love that movie. He wants to see Despicable Me.

    I also love some of those you listed above, but don’t own them. My son loves the movie, “Robots,” which reminds me of “Wall-E” a bit. We also love VeggieTales. Lately I’ve been recording some shows off the Christian station, TBN (I confess we’re not fans of TBN, but the Saturday morning kids’ shows are sometimes good), including VeggieTales, Nest Family Animated Stories (Bible stories), Storykeepers, and Penguins 3, 2, 1. They’re all very good kids shows from a Christian perspective.

    1. Also, we love Monsters, Inc. My son LOVES the show, “Wild Kratts.” It’s for kids 9 and under, I think. He has learned so much about animals and he never gets tired of this show.

  4. MY DH & I are enjoying the BBC series Sherlock. It has also aired on PBS. We don’t have cable/satellite either. We enjoyed these on PBS (for free) so much that we bought season 1 & 2. You really have to watch it at least twice. The dialogue is so fast paced and witty. LOVE it! Eagerly awaiting for season 3. For the kiddos, use your discretion as it does contain more adult matters. But I could recommend fittingly for all all ages (though kids might find it boring) the Sherlock Holmes series from the late 1930’s/40’s starring Basil Rathbone. Our 13 & 17 yr olds enjoy watching them. Great critical thinking in action.

    1. We watched Season 1 of Sherlock and loved it, but yes, Season 2 we previewed and weren’t comfortable watching it with the kids. Bummed about that. We’ll have to check out the Rathbone ones. Thanks for the tip!

  5. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is one of our family’s favorite books and movies. We also liked many of the ones listed above – especially Megamind, Elf, Tangled, and Despicable Me. And Star Wars is another favorite – and I remember seeing the first one at the drive-in movie theater!