It’s not easy to find a film that will tick boxes for every member of the family – so we’ve done the hard work for you.
From 1990s classics like Matilda to modern efforts like Peter Rabbit, we’ve compiled the definitive list of the best all-ages films on Netflix. Each of these has just enough to keep the wee ones and grown-ups entertained.
If you’re making your way through the best children’s films you can see how many you’ve already watched with the top 100 kids’ movies scratch poster.
Check out our list of the best family films on Netflix below.
Parents of a certain age will have very fond memories of this Jim Henson fantasy adventure starring David Bowie and Jennifer Connelly. The Muppet team go into “Alice in Wonderland” territory as babysitter Connelly wishes her younger brother into the Goblin King’s (Bowie) clutches and has only hours to rescue him from a castle maze. Full of strange creatures and catchy tunes, this is one you’ll want your kids to love as much as you did…
Peter Rabbit (2017)
Beatrix Potter’s big-eared woodland hero bounds into the 21st century with a paw-thumping adventure owing as much to the knockabout cartoon mayhem of Tom and Jerry or Looney Tunes as it does the original stories written more than 100 years ago. James Corden lends his voice to the titular bunny.
This 1997 slice of family entertainment is hard to beat (but perhaps not one for viewers with a fear of rodents!). Nathan Lane and Lee Evans play hapless brothers who inherit a valuable old house but find it is already occupied by a pesky rodent. There’s plenty of slapstick, as the pair wreak havoc in their bid to rid themselves of the furry fiend, though adults may prefer Christopher Walken’s hilarious turn as an exterminator.
My Neighbour Totoro – and more Studio Ghibli films
If you’re stuck at home and looking for something to watch with the kids, then Netflix’s range of Studio Ghibli movies are just the ticket. Arguably more pleasing to adults than some of the Disney offerings (yes, it’s possible sometimes), there are some many great stories to pick from. My Neighbour Totoro follows two girls and spirits in the forest near their home. If you’re looking for your next Studio Ghibli film there’s Spirited Away, which is probably more well known, Castle in the Sky, Kiki’s Delivery Service and Only Yesterday.
Space Jam (1997)
Aliens arrive on Earth to abduct the Looney Tunes gang as a new attraction at their failing intergalactic theme park. To keep their freedom, Bugs Bunny and friends challenge the invaders to a high-stakes basketball game, calling on Michael Jordan to save the day and send the extraterrestrials back where they came from…
The BFG (2016)
Roald Dahl’s beloved book was brought to life once more in 2016, this time by directorial master Steven Spielberg. You’ll already be familiar with the story: a little orphan (Ruby Barnhill) meets up with a kind giant (Mark Ruffalo) who’s supposed to eat her but instead protects her from some truly horrible giants who terrorise them both. A wonderful fantasy adventure for the whole family.
Love them or love them, Despicable Me’s lovable yellow sidekicks get their own movie in this prequel that sends a trio of intrepid Minions to Sixties London in search of a truly evil leader. It’s an enjoyable experience, especially for younger fans, aided in no small part by a killer classic rock soundtrack. Sandra Bullock, Pierre Coffin, Jon Hamm and Michael Keaton to the mayhem.
Fans of Roald Dahl will likely cherish this Danny DeVito-directed story of the clever little girl who takes on her parents and a headmistress. Mara Wilson plays Matilda, packed off by her selfish parents to the prison-like Crunchem Hall School, where she meets her nemesis in the form of the vicious Miss Trunchball, played by Pam Ferris. Classic entertainment for children.
Free Willy (1993)
This entertaining children’s film about a boy and his whale knows exactly what strings to pull and when. Australian director Simon Wincer combines animatronic models with shots of Keiko, the real-life killer whale that plays Willy, with great skill.
The Rugrats Movie (1998)
Characters from Nickelodeon’s popular TV series Rugrats get their own movie in this fun feature-length animated adventure. Whoopi Goldberg, Tim Curry and David Spade are among the celebrities lending their voices, as cute toddler Tommy Pickles persuades his pals to help him return his new-born brother, Dil, to the hospital so that he can have his parents all to himself again…
A festive classic great at any time of the year. Jason Schwartzman, Rashida Jones (Parks and Recreation) and Oscar-winner JK Simmons provide the voices for this charming Christmas animation about Jesper, a spoilt young postman stationed above the Arctic circle.
When Jesper meets a kindly old toy-maker, he starts to discover his seasonal cheer in this Netflix Original movie – one of the streaming service’s first forays into feature-length animation.