Family movie night is a great way to create memories with your brood that will last a lifetime. Even if you add in pizza, popcorn and other snacks, movie night at home is still a low-cost alternative to the theater.
The only tricky part, of course, is finding a movie that works for your whole family. You want something that is suitable for the youngest members of your household, but you don’t want the older kids to be bored or the adults to fall asleep.
Well, break out your footie jammies and grab the popcorn bowl, because we know exactly what movies you should queue up on streaming, and we’re happy to share the list:
1. The Secret Life of Pets (2016)
Do you ever wonder what your dog, cat or bird gets up to when you’re not home? This is a delightful peek into a world that city pets keep hidden from their owners and all the brilliant adventures they have.
2. Despicable Me (2010)
Gru was a dedicated supervillain with plans to steal the moon – but he never anticipated three spirited orphans stealing his heart. When his adopted daughters end up in danger, Gru and his minions find themselves on the side of the heroes.
3. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
This is a fantastic piece of cinematic history and it continues to influence pop culture today, so everybody should see this flick at least once. It follows the adventures of a wayward alien and the boy who finds him, and their quest to get E.T. back home.
4. The Lion King (1994)
Every generation falls in love with this animated Disney classic in its own time. It follows the journey of Simba, the young lion prince, from his birth to the time he finally reclaims his birthright from his evil uncle Scar.
5. The Princess Bride (1987)
The movie, based closely on the book of the same name, has been captivating audiences for decades, with its crazy (and comic) cast of side characters. The central storyline involves a beautiful princess, a pirate, a villainous king and true love. What more could you want?
6. How to Train Your Dragon (2010)
This is all about a Viking boy and his dragon…and how kindness is its own sort of courage. This is a charming story about what can happen when you play to your strengths and why it’s okay not to be like everybody else.
7. Labyrinth (1986)
Introduce your kids to one of Jim Henson’s darker worlds, where goblins steal children and teenage girls are sent on quests to retrieve them. Naturally, with David Bowie playing the Goblin King, there’s plenty of music involved and an amazing mix of puppet stars that are positively captivating.
8. The Lego Movie (2014)
Everything is awesome, right? Well, maybe not. Emmet is an ordinary construction worker living an ordinary life – until he ends up being part of a coalition of heroes who are trying to stop the evil Lord Business from controlling the world. This is the movie that speaks to the hero hiding in everybody.
9. Monsters, Inc. (2001)
Sulley and Mike are tasked with generating scare-power for Monstropolis by popping out of kids’ closets at night and collecting the energy produced by their screams, but they can’t keep up with the demand. Things get really crazy, however, when a little girl ends up on the wrong side of her closet door and Sulley and Mike have to get her home.
10. Wreck-It Ralph (2012)
What happens when an arcade villain decides he no longer wants to be the bad guy? Upsetting the order of the universe has some wild consequences, and Ralph has to learn what being a hero is really all about.
11. Jurassic Park (1993)
This is the movie that started the whole franchise, and the special effects have held up amazingly well over time. If your family likes a little suspense and a few jump-scares, this movie is perfect – but you may not find it suitable for smaller children. (Do bear in mind that the dinosaurs are not all friendly.)
12. Maleficent (2014)
This live-action twist on a classic fairytale follows the villain – who stops being so villainous once you see the world through her eyes. This is a story that actively talks about the power of love and acceptance to overcome past trauma.
13. Encanto (2021)
This is the story of a magical Madrigal family and the importance of communicating with each other. It also talks about how exhausting it can be to try to live up to other people’s expectations, and the value of learning to love yourself just as you are.
14. Shrek (2001)
Shrek the ogre wasn’t looking for adventure – he wasn’t even looking to leave his swamp. When he’s pushed into service to rescue Princess Fiona, he definitely didn’t expect to find friendship and love along the way. This is a delightful romp through all the fairytale tropes and it’s good for all ages.
15. Scooby-Doo (2002)
This group of meddling kids has been around for decades, and they make the jump from animation to live-action in this 2002 classic. The scares aren’t really very scary, but the laughs are pretty good. Kids will generally love the gang’s goofy antics and the nostalgia factor will delight the adults.
It won’t be long until the weather starts to warm up and you’re headed out the door to make different kinds of memories on spring break, so enjoy the cuddle time with the kids while you can. Movie night gives everybody a chance to slow down and just enjoy being in each other’s presence for an evening of genuine family fun.