The 44 best family films

by PetrosTser | created - 23 Apr 2011 | updated - 1 month ago | Public


Naturally, this list is filled with animation films, from "The Old Mill" (1937) to "Finding Dory" (2016), but also includes selections from the great silent-era comedians Charles Chaplin and Buster Keaton as well as the latter-day kids-friendly classics "Mary Poppins" (1964) and "The Princess Bride" (1987).

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1. Finding Nemo (2003)

G | 100 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy

90 Metascore

After his son is captured in the Great Barrier Reef and taken to Sydney, a timid clownfish sets out on a journey to bring him home.

Directors: Andrew Stanton, Lee Unkrich | Stars: Albert Brooks, Ellen DeGeneres, Alexander Gould, Willem Dafoe

Votes: 917,900 | Gross: $380.84M

"Finding Nemo" is one of the greatest (animated) films ever, directed magnificently by Stanton and Unkrich. Moving, original, hilarious, fascinating, with tremendous voice work and a brilliant script, it's a film that aims to the heart and that's what it touches. Absolutely perfect.

2. Horton Hears a Who! (2008)

G | 86 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy

71 Metascore

Horton the Elephant struggles to protect a microscopic community from his neighbors who refuse to believe it exists.

Directors: Jimmy Hayward, Steve Martino | Stars: Jim Carrey, Steve Carell, Carol Burnett, Will Arnett

Votes: 126,361 | Gross: $154.53M

The only modern, non-PIXAR animation I like so much. Standing up there with "Finding Nemo", "WALL·E" et al, "Horton..." is a film full of messages (message per second, in fact) that made me wise up to so many things. It's a bit early, but I bet this will turn out to be ageless.

3. Modern Times (1936)

G | 87 min | Comedy, Drama, Family

96 Metascore

The Tramp struggles to live in modern industrial society with the help of a young homeless woman.

Director: Charles Chaplin | Stars: Charles Chaplin, Paulette Goddard, Henry Bergman, Tiny Sandford

Votes: 207,287 | Gross: $0.16M

Another ageless Chaplin film, "MT" will have you laughing your head off but will also make you wonder. An ingenious allegory, it depicts a society/ machine that eats everything that resists, a world/ voracious monster that extracts the mind and soul of its servants and replaces it with stupor and typical, industrial, mass-produced thoughts. A cry of agony but also an optimistic and welcome beckoning to the future, "Modern Times" is one of the most profound stories in the history of celluloid.

4. WALL·E (2008)

G | 98 min | Animation, Adventure, Family

95 Metascore

In the distant future, a small waste-collecting robot inadvertently embarks on a space journey that will ultimately decide the fate of mankind.

Director: Andrew Stanton | Stars: Ben Burtt, Elissa Knight, Jeff Garlin, Fred Willard

Votes: 962,952 | Gross: $223.81M

PIXAR offers another masterpiece, this time starring a lonely robot that lives on an abandoned Earth cleaning the mankind's crap. Half an hour in and no dialogue has made its appearance. Stanton (also behind PIXAR's other masterwork, "Finding Nemo") experiments with feelings, movements, eyes. What a daring thing to do to a movie partially made for children! But this is daring & honest throughout, depicting man as an obese & greedy creature with no conscience or sentiments. Let's learn from this.

5. Corpse Bride (2005)

PG | 77 min | Animation, Drama, Family

83 Metascore

When a shy groom practices his wedding vows in the inadvertent presence of a deceased young woman, she rises from the grave assuming he has married her.

Directors: Tim Burton, Mike Johnson | Stars: Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Emily Watson, Tracey Ullman

Votes: 234,698 | Gross: $53.36M

As it happens in most Burton films, the cast is top-notch and the music haunting. "Corpse Bride", his masterpiece, is an atmospherical tale, sad and amusing at the same time. And it has dancing skeletons in it.

6. Duck Amuck (1953)

Approved | 7 min | Animation, Short, Comedy

The short-tempered Daffy Duck must improvise madly as the backgrounds, his costumes, the soundtrack, even his physical form, shifts and changes at the whim of the animator.

Director: Chuck Jones | Star: Mel Blanc

Votes: 7,721

"Duck Amuck" is a playful comedy filled with outlandish gags. Of course, Blanc is once again outstanding. By far the most hilarious Daffy/ Bugs short.

7. George and A.J. (2009 Video)

TV-G | 4 min | Animation, Short, Comedy

After Nurses George and A.J. of the Shady Oaks Retirement Village witness Carl leaving with his house towed by balloons, other senior citizens around the city are inspired to make their own "escapes", much to George and A.J.'s chagrin.

Director: Josh Cooley | Stars: Jason Topolski, A.J. Riebli III, Steve Purcell, Peter Sohn

Votes: 1,908

The unbelievable story of what followed the take-off of Carl's house in "Up". Utterly side-splitting and mindblowingly imaginative.

8. The Old Mill (1937)

Approved | 9 min | Animation, Short, Comedy

A variety of animals find a shelter in the old mill during a fierce storm.

Director: Wilfred Jackson | Stars: Elvia Allman, Marie Arbuckle, Beatrice Hagen, Jean MacMurray

Votes: 3,435

A wonderful movie. Personally, I loved every single second of it. With no doubt, it's one of the greatest animated films ever!

9. Persepolis (2007)

PG-13 | 96 min | Animation, Biography, Drama

90 Metascore

A precocious and outspoken Iranian girl grows up during the Islamic Revolution.

Directors: Vincent Paronnaud, Marjane Satrapi | Stars: Chiara Mastroianni, Catherine Deneuve, Gena Rowlands, Danielle Darrieux

Votes: 86,075 | Gross: $4.45M

A charming and honest film.

10. The Princess Bride (1987)

PG | 98 min | Adventure, Family, Fantasy

77 Metascore

While home sick in bed, a young boy's grandfather reads him the story of a farmboy-turned-pirate who encounters numerous obstacles, enemies and allies in his quest to be reunited with his true love.

Director: Rob Reiner | Stars: Cary Elwes, Mandy Patinkin, Robin Wright, Chris Sarandon

Votes: 379,726 | Gross: $30.86M

The most ordinary fairytale storyline transformed into a side-splitting and fascinating movie. The cast is fantastic, the dialogues are hilarious and the stakes are so much higher than they would normally be. It's only a fairytale, as we are reminded every time the film cuts to the grandfather reading it to his grandson, but this might as well be the best fairytale ever, both simple and subversive, both meat-and-potatoes and meta, and definitely made with love, care and brilliant inspiration.

11. Ratatouille (2007)

G | 111 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy

96 Metascore

A rat who can cook makes an unusual alliance with a young kitchen worker at a famous restaurant.

Directors: Brad Bird, Jan Pinkava | Stars: Brad Garrett, Lou Romano, Patton Oswalt, Ian Holm

Votes: 617,029 | Gross: $206.45M

12. Toy Story 3 (2010)

G | 103 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy

92 Metascore

The toys are mistakenly delivered to a day-care center instead of the attic right before Andy leaves for college, and it's up to Woody to convince the other toys that they weren't abandoned and to return home.

Director: Lee Unkrich | Stars: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Joan Cusack, Ned Beatty

Votes: 731,305 | Gross: $415.00M

13. A Bug's Life (1998)

G | 95 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy

77 Metascore

A misfit ant, looking for "warriors" to save his colony from greedy grasshoppers, recruits a group of bugs that turn out to be an inept circus troupe.

Directors: John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton | Stars: Kevin Spacey, Dave Foley, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Hayden Panettiere

Votes: 258,820 | Gross: $162.80M

14. Bully for Bugs (1953)

Approved | 7 min | Family, Animation, Comedy

Bugs Bunny takes a wrong turn at Albuquerque and winds up in a Mexican bullring fighting one heck of a big bullying bull.

Director: Chuck Jones | Star: Mel Blanc

Votes: 2,311

"BFB" is another hilarious Bugs Bunny short, filled with unbelievable gags. I don't see why the bull had to lose, though...

15. The Cameraman (1928)

Not Rated | 76 min | Comedy, Drama, Family

Hopelessly in love with a woman working at MGM Studios, a clumsy man attempts to become a motion picture cameraman to be close to the object of his desire.

Directors: Edward Sedgwick, Buster Keaton | Stars: Buster Keaton, Marceline Day, Harold Goodwin, Sidney Bracey

Votes: 9,753

Buster Keaton delivering the goods once more, in this bittersweet tale of a poor little fella trying to make it as a cameraman and to win the girl of his dreams. Its storyline is simple yet engaging, filled with perfectly executed gags and sweet moments, at times funny, at times sad. The ending, where Buster leaves the camera from his hands for the first time, elegantly reveals the moving truth of the film.

16. The Cat Concerto (1947)

Passed | 8 min | Animation, Short, Comedy

Jerry is determined to disrupt Tom's concert while Tom fights him with the piano without missing a single note.

Directors: Joseph Barbera, William Hanna

Votes: 3,760

Enormous fun!!! So well-conducted, so well-directed. It's a technical miracle.

17. Dug's Special Mission (2009 Video)

TV-PG | 5 min | Animation, Short, Comedy

Alpha, Beta, and Gamma try to keep Dug out of their way while they hunt for Kevin the Snipe. However, their instructions for his "very special mission" keep backfiring on them.

Director: Ronnie Del Carmen | Stars: Bob Peterson, Delroy Lindo, Jerome Ranft, Edward Asner

Votes: 5,301

Well-made, mind-blowing and hilarious.

18. Feed the Kitty (1952)

Approved | 7 min | Animation, Short, Comedy

A bulldog, charmed by a kitten, tries to keep her hidden from his human guardian.

Director: Chuck Jones | Stars: Bea Benaderet, Mel Blanc

Votes: 2,859

Very funny and sweet.

19. Finding Dory (2016)

PG | 97 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy

77 Metascore

Friendly but forgetful blue tang Dory begins a search for her long-lost parents, and everyone learns a few things about the real meaning of family along the way.

Directors: Andrew Stanton, Angus MacLane | Stars: Ellen DeGeneres, Albert Brooks, Ed O'Neill, Kaitlin Olson

Votes: 229,926 | Gross: $486.30M

"Finding Dory" is definitely not graced by the perfection of "Finding Nemo" but remains a wonderful film. The beginning does feel a little like a quickly put together rehash of Dory's shtick but the film rises way above your average, money-making sequel. The stunning animation, excellent voice work and surprising humanity, along with the humour, action, suspense and emotion we've come to know and expect from Pixar are all present right until the exquisite finale. It's flawed yet very rewarding.

20. Ice Age (2002)

PG | 81 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy

60 Metascore

Set during the Ice Age, a sabertooth tiger, a sloth, and a wooly mammoth find a lost human infant, and they try to return him to his tribe.

Directors: Chris Wedge, Carlos Saldanha | Stars: Denis Leary, John Leguizamo, Ray Romano, Goran Visnjic

Votes: 426,894 | Gross: $176.39M

21. Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs (2009)

PG | 94 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy

50 Metascore

When Sid's attempt to adopt three dinosaur eggs gets him abducted by their real mother to an underground lost world, his friends attempt to rescue him.

Directors: Carlos Saldanha, Mike Thurmeier | Stars: Ray Romano, John Leguizamo, Denis Leary, Eunice Cho

Votes: 216,326 | Gross: $196.57M

Intelligent and entertaining, the third "Ice Age" film might as well be the best. Very well-made and not clichéd at all, it's a subversive study on friendship and love.

22. The Incredibles (2004)

PG | 115 min | Animation, Action, Adventure

90 Metascore

A family of undercover superheroes, while trying to live the quiet suburban life, are forced into action to save the world.

Director: Brad Bird | Stars: Craig T. Nelson, Samuel L. Jackson, Holly Hunter, Jason Lee

Votes: 636,302 | Gross: $261.44M

23. Inside Out (I) (2015)

PG | 95 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy

94 Metascore

After young Riley is uprooted from her Midwest life and moved to San Francisco, her emotions - Joy, Fear, Anger, Disgust and Sadness - conflict on how best to navigate a new city, house, and school.

Directors: Pete Docter, Ronnie Del Carmen | Stars: Amy Poehler, Bill Hader, Lewis Black, Mindy Kaling

Votes: 582,776 | Gross: $356.46M

It has an original, interesting main idea and, like many Pixar films, addresses not only young kids but also teens and adults. It can be laugh-out-loud funny and action-packed, but also quite moving. Riley's reactions and her relationship with her parents are very realistic. Strong psychological points are being made inside the Headquarters - and yet they still remain a wacky universe where things can go amusingly surreal. Arguably not Pixar's best film, but still a classic, classy, unique one.

24. Jack-Jack Attack (2005 Video)

Not Rated | 5 min | Animation, Short, Adventure

The Parrs' baby Jack-Jack is thought to be normal, not having any super-powers like his parents or siblings. But when an outsider is hired to watch him, Jack-Jack shows his true potential.

Director: Brad Bird | Stars: Bret 'Brook' Parker, Bud Luckey, Eli Fucile, Jason Lee

Votes: 13,937


25. The Kid (1921)

Passed | 68 min | Comedy, Drama, Family

The Tramp cares for an abandoned child, but events put that relationship in jeopardy.

Director: Charles Chaplin | Stars: Charles Chaplin, Edna Purviance, Jackie Coogan, Carl Miller

Votes: 106,652 | Gross: $5.45M

"The Kid" is a wonderfully bittersweet affair: filled with clever visual humour and heartbreaking sequences, it succeeds with evoking both laughter and sadness. Jackie Coogan is fantastic in the titular role, as is Charlie Chaplin, in his first feature film and his last before going independent with United Artists. Chaplin, directing, writing, producing, starring and, in the 1971 cut, composing the music, hereby offers a pivotal film in his life and filmography: the prologue to what was yet to come and a sincere expression of his own childhood as well as adulthood predicaments. A film made in a difficult time of his life, as he lost his son, went through his first divorce and planned his reunion with his mother, it is one that looks at life with comforting defiance, as the two heroes fight against averse circumstances and eventually manage to exceed them in order to rescue their dying haven.

26. Lifted (2006)

G | 5 min | Animation, Short, Comedy

A teenage alien is trying to abduct a sleeping human, but doesn't know which switch to use.

Director: Gary Rydstrom

Votes: 17,364

27. The Lion King (1994)

G | 88 min | Animation, Adventure, Drama

88 Metascore

A lion cub prince is tricked by a treacherous uncle into thinking he caused his father's death and flees into exile in despair, only to later accept in adulthood his identity and his responsibilities.

Directors: Roger Allers, Rob Minkoff | Stars: Matthew Broderick, Jeremy Irons, James Earl Jones, Whoopi Goldberg

Votes: 904,946 | Gross: $422.78M

28. The Longest Daycare (2012)

PG | 5 min | Animation, Short, Comedy

Maggie Simpson spends the day in the Ayn Rand School for Tots.

Director: David Silverman

Votes: 4,576

Big laughs and classy horror. Yes.

29. La Luna (2011)

G | 7 min | Animation, Short, Family

A young boy helps his father and grandfather harvest stars from the moon.

Director: Enrico Casarosa | Stars: Tony Fucile, Krista Sheffler, Phil Sheridan

Votes: 12,620

A wonderful combination of animated imagery and music.

30. Mary and Max (2009)

Not Rated | 92 min | Animation, Comedy, Drama

A tale of friendship between two unlikely pen pals: Mary, a lonely, eight-year-old girl living in the suburbs of Melbourne, and Max, a forty-four-year old, severely obese man living in New York.

Director: Adam Elliot | Stars: Toni Collette, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Eric Bana, Barry Humphries

Votes: 159,068

A film that is well-crafted, interesting throughout and equally profound and potent in terms of both social commentary and character insight. Philip Seymour Hoffman and Toni Collette provide very good vocal performances and, although the ample amounts of narration and correspondance in comparison to dialogue might be tiring to some, "Mary And Max" is a winning experience.

31. Mary Poppins (1964)

G | 139 min | Comedy, Family, Fantasy

88 Metascore

In turn of the century London, a magical nanny employs music and adventure to help two neglected children become closer to their father.

Director: Robert Stevenson | Stars: Julie Andrews, Dick Van Dyke, David Tomlinson, Glynis Johns

Votes: 152,411 | Gross: $102.27M

32. Mickey's Trailer (1938)

Not Rated | 8 min | Animation, Short, Adventure

Mickey and his friends take a vacation in his house trailer equipped with all the latest modern conveniences. Heading up a steep mountain road with Goofy driving the car, surely nothing can go wrong.

Director: Ben Sharpsteen | Stars: Walt Disney, Clarence Nash, Danny Webb

Votes: 2,566

A very imaginative short featuring Mickey, Goofy (again goofing around) and Donald in crazy situations. Of course, you know that the three of them won't die or get injured but I don't call this conventionality or naivety. Just fun.

33. Monsters, Inc. (2001)

G | 92 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy

79 Metascore

In order to power the city, monsters have to scare children so that they scream. However, the children are toxic to the monsters, and after a child gets through, 2 monsters realize things may not be what they think.

Directors: Pete Docter, David Silverman, Lee Unkrich | Stars: Billy Crystal, John Goodman, Mary Gibbs, Steve Buscemi

Votes: 785,997 | Gross: $289.92M

34. Paperman (2012)

G | 7 min | Animation, Short, Comedy

An office worker meets the girl of his dreams and uses a fleet of paper airplanes to get her attention.

Director: John Kahrs | Stars: John Kahrs, Kari Wahlgren, Jack Goldenberg, Jeff Turley

Votes: 30,644

Beautiful. Unreal but beautiful.

35. Presto (2008)

G | 5 min | Animation, Short, Comedy

A stage magician's rabbit gets into a magical onstage brawl against his neglectful guardian with two magic hats.

Director: Doug Sweetland | Star: Doug Sweetland

Votes: 21,981

One more lovely film by Pixar.

36. Rabbit Fire (1951)

Approved | 7 min | Animation, Family, Short

Daffy Duck and Bugs argue back and forth whether it is duck season or rabbit season. The object of their arguments is hunter Elmer Fudd.

Director: Chuck Jones | Stars: Mel Blanc, Arthur Q. Bryan

Votes: 3,458

One of the most imaginative "Merrie Melodies", "Rabbit Fire" is fun throughout. Add Mel Blanc's excellent voice work and the very good animation and you've got a classic.

37. Rango (2011)

PG | 107 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy

75 Metascore

Rango is an ordinary chameleon who accidentally winds up in the town of Dirt, a lawless outpost in the Wild West in desperate need of a new sheriff.

Director: Gore Verbinski | Stars: Johnny Depp, Isla Fisher, Timothy Olyphant, Abigail Breslin

Votes: 228,169 | Gross: $123.48M

It appears that one of the greatest westerns ever is animated. Well, why not? In fact, "Rango" has pretty much every characteristic a proper western should have: gunfights, haunting small towns, bizarre residents, bad guys. Moreover, through "Rango", Zimmer proves why he's such a great and renowned composer, the photography is just stunning and the acting is fantastic. Actually, this is so "wow!" a film that I'm not quite sure if PIXAR can beat it. Besides, "You don't tango with Rango".

38. Shrek (2001)

PG | 90 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy

84 Metascore

A mean lord exiles fairytale creatures to the swamp of a grumpy ogre, who must go on a quest and rescue a princess for the lord in order to get his land back.

Directors: Andrew Adamson, Vicky Jenson | Stars: Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, John Lithgow

Votes: 593,918 | Gross: $267.67M

39. Shrek 2 (2004)

PG | 93 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy

75 Metascore

Shrek and Fiona travel to the Kingdom of Far Far Away, where Fiona's parents are King and Queen, to celebrate their marriage. When they arrive, they find they are not as welcome as they thought they would be.

Directors: Andrew Adamson, Kelly Asbury, Conrad Vernon | Stars: Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, Julie Andrews

Votes: 405,556 | Gross: $436.47M

40. Toy Story (1995)

G | 81 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy

95 Metascore

A cowboy doll is profoundly threatened and jealous when a new spaceman figure supplants him as top toy in a boy's room.

Director: John Lasseter | Stars: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Don Rickles, Jim Varney

Votes: 853,588 | Gross: $191.80M

41. Toy Story 2 (1999)

G | 92 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy

88 Metascore

When Woody is stolen by a toy collector, Buzz and his friends set out on a rescue mission to save Woody before he becomes a museum toy property with his roundup gang Jessie, Prospector, and Bullseye.

Directors: John Lasseter, Ash Brannon, Lee Unkrich | Stars: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Joan Cusack, Kelsey Grammer

Votes: 508,712 | Gross: $245.85M

42. Up (2009)

PG | 96 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy

88 Metascore

78-year-old Carl Fredricksen travels to Paradise Falls in his house equipped with balloons, inadvertently taking a young stowaway.

Directors: Pete Docter, Bob Peterson | Stars: Edward Asner, Jordan Nagai, John Ratzenberger, Christopher Plummer

Votes: 900,186 | Gross: $293.00M

"Up" is beautifully animated, sweet, funny and exciting. The very concept of it is brilliant, even if essentially it's about a fugitive grandpa endangering the entire American airspace. In all honesty, this badass old man and all the crazy incidents are one of the few creations of Pixar that feel a bit too much on the fairytale side. It soon becomes obvious though that "Up" has much more to say on a character level apart from the flying-house gimmick and that's what makes it resonate in the end.

43. Vincent (1982)

G | 6 min | Animation, Short, Family

Young Vincent Malloy dreams of being just like Vincent Price and loses himself in macabre daydreams which annoys his mother.

Director: Tim Burton | Star: Vincent Price

Votes: 21,232

"Vincent" is a dark tale, typical of Tim Burton. It's a sample of what was yet to come. Price's narration is excellent, matching with Burton's visuals in a creepy, hair-rising way.

44. Winnie-the-Pooh (1969)

11 min | Animation, Short, Comedy

A Soviet version of Winnie-the-Pooh. His first adventure is a desperate attempt to get to honey in a bee hollow. He is ready to take decisive action.

Director: Fyodor Khitruk | Stars: Evgeniy Leonov, Iya Savvina, Vladimir Osenev

Votes: 3,632

A charming film.

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