Back to Blog

Family-Friendly, Non-Animated Movies

Family-Friendly, Non-Animated Movies

My kids love family movie nights! I've spent so much time trying to find family-friendly movies that we ALL enjoy. While we love animated movies (Inside Out, Moana, Shrek and Toy Story to name a few), my oldest is 11 so she is frequently bored with many of those films.

A recent pain point has been trying to find family friendly movies. Did you know that PG-13-rated movies didn’t come into existence until 1984? So movies like Poltergeist and Raiders of the Lost Ark are rated PG but so are EnchantedAir Bud & Honey, I Shrunk The Kids

Talk about some range of movie content. Some are completely inappropriate. 

I want my kids to watch movies that are not only witty (comedies rule in our house), but also empower and uplift them and be a source of positive role models. 

Some of the best non-animated, family-friendly movies.are classics from the 80's and 90's, but there are a few recent ones that have made our list!

To make my life and yours a little easier, I’ve compiled a list of non-animated, family-friendly movies for your crew to enjoy! All backed by my Ali Stamp of Approval. These are stories of friendship, self-confidence, kindness, and perseverance. 

Before I jump into the recommendations, a note: 

Before watching a new movie with your kids, I always recommend checking out movie reviews on Common Sense Media. I use my best judgement before sitting down to watch a movie with my own kids, as I hate to be surprised by content that is not age appropriate for them.

Babe

This heartwarming film is one my family's favorites. The story centers around Babe, a sweet and curious piglet with dreams beyond the confines of the farm. Despite facing skepticism from those around him, Babe forms a special bond with Fly, a wise and nurturing border collie, who teaches him the art of sheep-herding. As he defies expectations and challenges stereotypes in the farmyard, will the other animals accept him?  (1995: G)

Homeward Bound

Get the tissues ready, my kids cried their eyes out watching this movie but they still say it is one of our all-time favorites. The film follows the heartwarming journey of three beloved pets - Shadow, a wise and loyal golden retriever, Chance, a fun-loving and adventurous American bulldog, and Sassy, a sassy and independent Himalayan cat. When their human family leaves for a vacation and temporarily leaves them behind at a friend's ranch, the trio becomes anxious and embarks on an incredible journey to find their way back home. (1993: G)

Beethoven

This classic movie is still as hilarious as it was when I was a kid. The lives of the Newton family are turned upside down when they adopt a mischievous and lovable St. Bernard puppy named Beethoven. Be warned. there are so scary moments in this film as the evil Vet hits Beethoven and tries to shoot him. (1992: PG)

Honey I Shrunk The Kids

This is still one of my all-time favorite movies. Amy, Nick, and their neighbors Russell and Ron are accidentally shrunk to miniature size by their inventor father's latest invention, a shrinking ray. A the kids find themselves navigating their own backyard turned into a jungle of giant insects and towering obstacles, they must rely on their wits, resourcefulness, and newfound friendships to survive and find a way back to normal size. (1989: PG)

The Mighty Ducks

Sports lover or not, this 1990's classic movie still rings true today. This heartwarming underdog story follows Gordon Bombay, a hotshot lawyer forced to coach a struggling youth hockey team as part of his community service sentence. Initially reluctant, Bombay finds redemption and purpose as he transforms the misfit team of young players, known as the Ducks, into a formidable force on the ice. (1992: PG)

Free Willy

My kids loved this movie. They were jumping up and down at one point in the film, rooting for the our favorite killer whale, Willy. Jesse, a troubled orphan with a troubled past, is assigned to community service at a rundown marine park. It's there that he encounters Willy, a captive orca whale forced to perform in a dilapidated tank for the entertainment of visitors. As Jesse forms a bond with Willy, he becomes determined to set his new friend free and reunite him with his family in the open ocean. (1993: PG)

Air Bud

Can you tell we love movies with animals as the star? Air Bud follows JJosh Fram, a young boy struggling with the recent loss of his father, and Buddy, a golden retriever with an extraordinary talent for basketball. As Josh and Buddy's bond strengthens, they discover that Buddy's remarkable skills on the court could be the key to saving Josh's school basketball team. (1997: PG)

Cool Running

I loved this movie as a kid. Now that my kids have seen it, they can't stop quoting it. Inspired by the true story of the Jamaican bobsled team's improbable journey to the Winter Olympics, the film follows the misfit group of athletes as they defy the odds and pursue their dreams of competing on the world stage. (1993: PG)

Hook

Hook is definitely funnier than I remember it! This enchanting tale imagines what happens when Peter Pan grows up and forgets about his magical past. Peter Banning, now a busy and cynical corporate lawyer, must rediscover his inner child and embrace his destiny as the legendary Peter Pan when his children are kidnapped by the nefarious Captain Hook. (1991: PG)

Secretariat

My kids love all things horse related, and Secretariat is no exception. Based on the remarkable true story, the film follows the journey of Penny Chenery, as she defies the odds and challenges the male-dominated world of horse racing. With unwavering determination and against all odds, Penny takes over her ailing father's thoroughbred racing stable and leads the legendary racehorse Secretariat to the Triple Crown victory in 1973, becoming the first horse in 25 years to achieve such a feat. (2010: PG)

Rookie of the Year
With three girls, we don't watch a ton of sports movies, but when I asked this community what your boys favorite movie was, Rookie of the Year came up over and over. 12-year-old baseball fan Henry Rowengartner, miraculously becomes a Major League Baseball pitcher after breaking his arm and discovering an unexpected talent for throwing 100 mph fastballs. With the support of his quirky teammates, Henry navigates the challenges of fame and fortune while learning valuable lessons about friendship, teamwork, and staying true to oneself. (1993: PG)
Bedtime Stories
My kids introduced me to Bedtime Stories and this movie cracks me up. Skeeter Bronson, played by Adam Sandler, a hotel handyman who discovers that the bedtime stories he tells his niece and nephew magically come true the next day. As Skeeter's fantastical tales of knights, cowboys, and space adventures start to influence his own life, he learns valuable lessons about family, love, and the power of believing in oneself.  (2008: PG)
The Sandlot
Set in the summer of 1962, the film follows a group of young boys who bond over their shared love of baseball and their adventures at the local sandlot. Led by Scotty Smalls, the new kid in town, the boys form a tight-knit team and embark on a series of misadventures, including facing off against the feared neighborhood dog, "The Beast." (1993: PG)
The Princess Diaries

This is one of our most watched movies. The 2001 classic follows Mia Thermopolis as she navigates discovering that she is the heir apparent to the throne of Genovia. With her friends in tow, Mia tries to navigate through the challenges of royalty while staying true to herself. (2001: G)

The Parent Trap

Remakes often fail to live up the original movie, but this 1998 version is so good. It is both hilarious and heart warming. Identical twins, Annie and Hallie, were separated at birth and each raised by their biological parents (yes, a weird premise). Unaware of each other's existence, the twins coincidentally meet at a summer camp, bond over shared experiences and then attempt to reunite their parents. (1999: PG)

Enchanted

This movie instantly brings me back to my younger years. Enchanted follows the journey of Giselle, a fairy tale princess who is banished from her animated kingdom of Andalasia by an evil queen and magically transported to the bustling streets of Manhattan. She finds herself in a world, where true love's kiss isn't always enough to solve problems and happily ever afters don't come easy. (2007: PG)

The Sound of Music

This classic needs little introduction. Set against the backdrop of pre-World War II Austria, the film follows the enchanting story of Maria, a spirited young woman who leaves her convent to become the governess for the seven children of widowed naval captain Georg von Trapp. Through the power of music and love, Maria brings joy and laughter back into the von Trapp household, while also capturing the heart of Captain von Trapp. Singing along to this musical never gets old. (1965: Before Ratings)

Freaky Friday

Based on the classic children's novel of the same name, experience the ultimate body-swap comedy as a mother and daughter magically switch places and gain a newfound understanding of each other's lives. Hilarity, challenges and misunderstandings arise when Tess and Anna (mother and daughter) struggle to navigate each other's lives. You and your kids will be giggling as they grapple with the responsibilities of school, work, and relationships. (2003: PG)

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

My kids LOVE Harry Potter. I mean, is there a better heroine than Hermione Granger? Harry Potter, a young wizard who discovers his magical heritage on his eleventh birthday when he receives a letter of acceptance to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Alongside his friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, Harry navigates the challenges of wizarding school while uncovering dark secrets about his past and facing off against the dark wizard Lord Voldemort. The first three movies in the series are not overly scary. Use your judgement on the latter movies in the series (2001: PG)

A Cinderella Story 

Another modern take on the classic fairy tale. My girls ask to watch this one all the time. Filled with humor, romance, and heartwarming moments, this romantic comedy follows the journey of Sam Montgomery, a high school student who dreams of a better life beyond her stepmother's diner. Sam learns to believe in herself and follow her dreams, she discovers that true love can be found in the most unexpected places. (2004: PG)

Parenting is hard.
We make it easier.

We’re here to partner with you in parenthood—with the best product recommendations, meaningful gift ideas, and everything in between. Your day just got a little brighter.