Movies for kids that parents will love too

We’re overloaded with kids movies to watch these days. Lots of them are awful, others are outstanding and a must-see – for kids and adults. Here’s our handy guide to movies kids and parents will love.

These are in a kind of order of how good they are. Don’t hate me if you disagree, but definitely let me know why. What would make it to the top of your list?

 Toy Story - Woody and Buzz LightyearToy Story 1 – 4

With over $3 billion in box office sales over the last 24 years, Toy Story needs no introduction. The simple story of toys loving children and their playtime together launched a new animation industry, delivered bucket loads of awards and entertained everyone who saw them.

All of the movies still stand up today. The original’s animation may not be as polished, but the jokes and the script certainly are.

Although I have to admit to being a bit bored during Toy Story 4, it still has some great moments and is a fitting end to the saga.

StardustStardust (2007)

A fabulous slice of British movie making and fantasy writing. Take a visit beyond the wall and go on a rip-roaring magical adventure, with an excellent cast – including Michelle Pfieffer, Clare Danes, Robert De Niro, Sienna Miller and Charlie Cox.

One for kids when they’re a wee bit older, it could be scary otherwise.

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

Get your hankies ready, as Steven Speilberg’s classic alien story is guaranteed to make you cry, every time.

Mind you, the last time I watched this was the morning after clubbing and DJ’ing all night, which may have added to my emotions. I could cry at an advert some days…

Just make sure you watch the original print. Speilberg swapped guns for microphones and changed the dialogue from “terrorist” to “hippies” for the 20th-anniversary edition. Something he regrets.


Star WarsStar Wars – the original trilogy

I LOVED Star Wars as a kid and it’s only not at the top of the list as when you watch it as an adult, you realise it’s a bit shit.

Don’t bother with any of the movies outside the original three – apart from Rogue One – unless you really want to.

There are much better things you can be doing with your life, like painting a wall and then watching it dry…

Shrek - Gingerbread manShrek 1 + 2

Mike Myers loveable ogre with a passable Scottish accent, Shrek, is an excellent anti-hero.

The first two Shrek movies are a fabulous reimagining of nursery rhymes we all know and love. The torture scene involving the Gingerbread man is comedy gold.

“Not my gumdrop buttons!”

Harry Potter Harry Potter movies

Who doesn’t love a bit of Harry? And as a parent, it’s great to be able to use the ‘you can sleep under the stairs if your not good’ threat.

My favourite of the movies is Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, but that’s because I watched it in Amsterdam after eating magic mushrooms.

Happy times, even if I was too scared to go to the toilet on my own…

Indiana JonesIndiana Jones trilogy

If there were any movies as a kid that I loved as much as the Star Wars movies, it was any of the Indiana Jones films. These are what made Christmas Day movies something to look forward to!

OK, the second movie falls into the ‘bit shit to watch as an adult’ category, but one and three are amazing movies.

Imagine my excitement with movie three as a kid in Scotland when Sean Connery played Indie’s dad! Life couldn’t get much better…

Although, that was before I found out Connery was a wife-beating Rangers fan… Hero to zero.

We’ll just forget that number four was ever made, it can Shia Labeouf off!

CocoCoco (2017)

Coco took me by surprise. I didn’t know anything about it before first watching and was blown away.

At its heart is a story about the power of music to bring people together.

But, it’s more than that, it’s also the story of family love and the years that can be wasted when a family falls apart.

Kids love it too, even though they won’t appreciate the story fully until they’re older.

Stick Man (2015)

A heartwarming, sad and funny Christmas story that the whole family can love.

The Goonies (1985)

“Hey, you guys!”

How many hours did we spend in the 80s running around the playground shouting those words?

And they also hold a place in my heart as one of my best moments at the Glastonbury Festival.

The sound of thousands of very happy people cheering the truffle shuffle and shouting “hey, you guys!” at the top of their voices will always stay with me.

The pirate treasure adventure is one that kids will love today. Especially as Goonies 2 – which is out sometime soon – will push it back to the front of people’s minds.

Gremlins (1984)

Another fabulous Christmas movie, just don’t feed it any chocolate after midnight!

It could be a bit scary for younger kids as a horde of malevolently mischievous monsters are released in a small town. But, it’s a lot of fun.

Gremlins 2 is good for kids too, but it probably hasn’t passed the test of time as well.


Room on the BroomRoom on the Broom

The second Julia Donaldson adaptation on the list and another great story. This time about a witch, her cat and new friends they come across.

I was a bit disappointed the witch wasn’t Scottish. You can’t help roll your Rs when you read the book. Maybe, that’s just me…

SpiderverseSpider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)

An incredibly original take making a movie. Great use of animation and music throughout and one that I and Morgan loved.

We’ll watch this a lot over the years, I’m sure, and it’ll take a few years for Morgan to understand the story.

The dimension crossing multiverse script is a wee bit tough for a four-year-old who hasn’t spent hours watching Joe Rogan on YouTube.

The Incredibles - Stretch GirlIncredibles 2 (2018)

The first movie Morgan and I went to see in the cinema when he was only three. Definitely scary in places – one Screenslaver scene is immense  – but, he stayed through it all as other kids were carried out crying…

I feel like we’ve seen it at least once a week since it moved to TV – which does make me hate it a little now – but it’s a cracking movie the first 15 times you see it.

The Good DinosaurThe Good Dinosaur (2015)

Dinosaurs, magic mushrooms, and a heartwarming coming of age story that will make you cry.

What more do you need?


Home Alone (1990)

A story about a kid who kicks the hell out of some burglars. A must-see.


Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992)

Not only is this a great movie, but I saw it on a school trip to the Metrocentre in Newcastle when I was 15.

The nerdy kids were trying to get served in the Metrocentre bars, but the cool kids in my gang went to watch Macaulay Culkin in this superb sequel to Home Alone.

The plot? Same crazy shit as the first one, but in New York.

LabrynthLabyrinth (1986)

David Bowie and Jim Henson? Sign me up!

If you don’t know what this movie is all about, hang your head in shame and then go watch it ツ

Big, Tom HanksBig (1988)

I remember my sister taking me to see this at the Odeon in Glasgow. It was the first time I’d seen a queue around the block to get into the cinema.

I think I was the same age as the kid in the film. So, the idea of being able to magically grow up and live your own place with its own trampoline was one I totally got on board with.

Wallace & GromitWallace & Gromit

Nick Park is a national treasure and a genius. He made plasticine on the big screen cool and all Wallace & Gromit moves are a BIG favourite in the Linney house.

Time to make some more, Nick!

Watership Down (1978)

If you want to teach your kids about death, this is the movie for you. It’s an incredibly sad and moving film, but one I loved.

I can still remember balling my eyes out as I watched the haunting scene with Bright Eyes by Art Garfunkel.

Definitely not one to watch the day after a rave…

Back to the FutureBack to the Future trilogy

Another that I loved as a kid and growing up. Two and three are a little stupid as an adult viewer, but they’re great family adventures.

Beetlejuice (1988)

Ghosts that haunt a house are themselves haunted by an unbearable ghost.

Cult film with a stellar cast.

Harry and the HendersonsHarry and the Hendersons (1987)

The movie that started my love for Bigfoot and John Lithgow as an actor. Bigfoot moves in with a family.

What kid wouldn’t want to live with Bigfoot?


UpUp (2009)

The first 15 minutes are perhaps the best opening minutes in cinema. The rest of the movie is very good, but doesn’t live up to that amazing opening.

Wall-EWALL-E (2008)

Pixar created an art-house masterpiece with Wall-E. It speaks volumes, with its vision of a dystopian future, without using many words and very little sound.

FrozenFrozen (2013)

Best to watch with Jenny and her sister Debs, so they can get all emotional about sisterly love.

Good to watch if they’re not available too 🙂

MinionsMinions (2015)

The Minions leave their arctic home to find an evil overlord to worship.

Much more fun for adults than I thought it’d be.

Honey I Shrunk the KidsHoney, I Shrunk the Kids (1989)

Another cracker from the ’80s. A genius scientist invents a tool that shrinks his kids and sends them on a journey of a lifetime in their garden.

Only just realised the last time I watched that the neighbour was the guy who played Max Headroom!

Cars (2006) and Cars 3 (2017)

Boys LOVE these movies. Adults will too, the first time.

Muppets Christmas CarolThe Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)

Charles Dickens. The Muppets. Michael Caine.

Nuff said.

GhostbustersGhostbusters (1985)

Who you gonna call!?

A movie my big brother took me to see and I’ve loved it ever since. If you’ve not heard about this movie and its amazing cast, which cave have you been living in?

For the adults, it’s worth watching Dan Aykroyd’s podcast with Joe Rogan. Not a lot of facts kicking off, but some interesting views on UFOs and whiskey.

Tomorrowland (2015)

Cool sci-fi movie from Disney with George Clooney. I can’t really remember much about it but do remember it being fun with a good cast.

Finding Dory (2016)

Much better than Finding Nemo. Similar story – fish tries to find their family, other fish help.

The Muppets (2011)

It’s time to play the music. It’s time to light the lights. t’s time to meet the Muppets on the Muppet Show tonight.

Great revamp from huge Muppets fan Jason Seagal. Lots of musical and nostalgic fun.

The Lego MovieThe Lego Movie (2014)

I’m not going to pretend I followed the movie all the way through, but kids will love it. It’s also a nice wee reminder to parents to play with their kids more often.

Willy WonkaWilly Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971)

Child obsessed slave owner grooms a poor boy to come live with him in his chocolate factory. It was the 70s after all.

The movie has its problems – Roald Dahl hated it – but it’s still way better than Tim Burton’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

And it introduced me to the genius that is Gene Wilder.

War Horse (2011)

Heartbreaking tale following a horse through World War I.

I’m going to be a bit wanky here and say the movie is great, but it was much better in the West End…

Cinderella (2015)

Great update from Kenneth Brannagh with the gorgeous Lily James. Kids and wives will enjoy it too.

Matilda (1996)

Loses none of the original charm from Roal Dahl’s book and is one of Jenny’s favourite movies.

I’ll be wanky again here, as it was AMAZING in the West End. Tim Minchin’s version is incredibly good.

Elf (2003)

Great Xmas movie that everyone loves, but Zooey Deschanel doesn’t suit blonde hair.

Paddington (2014) and Paddington 2 (2017)

Parents will love it as it reminds us of our own childhood. Kids love it as its Paddington Bear!

Mamma Mia! (2008)

Last time I say this, I promise, but this was also amazing to see in the West End. The movie is just as good and Zak already loves dancing to ABBA.

Zak also dances to the washing machine, but that’s another story…

Monsters, Inc. (2001)

The movie that single-handedly stopped kids from being scared of monsters. Great fun for everyone.

Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988)

Way ahead of the curve when it first came out. It doesn’t look as fresh these days, but I don’t look as fresh as I did in the ’80s either.

Cracking tale of a private detective – played by the great Bob Hoskins – taking on a case in Toontown, where all the cartoons live.

Zootopia (2016)

Modern tale with crime-solving rabbit.

I put this on for Morgan expecting to zone out onto my MacBook, but loved it – apart from the inclusion of Shakira. Her hips may not lie, but her songs are annoying.

Beauty and the Beast (1991)

Jenny’s favourite Disney movie and one the boys love too, but I can’t make it through ten minutes.

Morgan also loves the “adult” version of Beauty and the Beast…

Thankfully, he’s talking about the Emma Watson version and not something he’s stumbled over on Kids YouTube.

Cool Runnings (1993)

John Candy. Jamaicans. Bobsled. All the makings of a great family movie.


Despicable Me 3 (2017)

Each of the Despicable Me movies are worth a watch. Number three makes it to the list as South Park’s Trey Parker plays the bad guy.

Sky High (2005)

Set in a universe where superheroes are commonplace and have their own school. A fun movie for a rainy Saturday.

George of the Jungle (1997)

I admit to watching this more as a student/clubber than I do now. But, Morgan now loves it too.

The Lion King (1994)

I honestly don’t get this movie. But, I’m in the minority and the kids love it.

The Karate Kid (1984)

The movie that caused a thousand broken bones across the world.

A kid moves to a new area and is bullied, so he takes up karate to defend himself. Teaming up with everyone favourite old Japanese dude, Mr Miagi.

Men my age around the country take every opportunity to make “wax on, wax off” references, while woman look at them with pity.

Pinocchio (1940)

Loved this as a child, but hate it as an adult. It cost me and Jenny £20,000 as it was the answer we got wrong on The £100k Drop

We lost £80,000 on a David Bowie question too, but you can’t stop loving David Bowie. It’s the law.

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