Watching films on the sofa isn’t a guilty pleasure at the moment, but it can be hard to know which film to pick that is age and family appropriate. This is where Molly Brown comes in. We are experts in home movie nights and this list will prove it.
Whether you want your children to fall in love with the same movies you did when you were younger, or transport them to beautiful, magical worlds, we’re here to help. Studies have also shown that if families watch films together, it allows children to better understand positive and negative themes within each story. So, to keep the scientists happy, we’ve picked films that are appropriate for you all to enjoy.
The Emoji Movie – 2017 (Rating: U)
In Textopolis, where the emojis are expected to display just one emotion, Gene’s multiple expressions are a problem. His solution: become “normal”. A colourful and kid friendly movie that is relatable in a world where social media and technology are prevalent in everyday society.
Madagascar 3 : Europe’s Most Wanted – 2012 (Rating: PG)
Next stop: New York! But to get back home, Alex and his friends must hitch a ride with a travelling European circus and evade an evil animal-control officer. The much loved team of zoo animals returns for yet another fun filled adventure that will be a hit with the whole family.
The Willoughbys – 2020 (Rating: PG)
“All the Willoughby children ever wanted was to have a normal family, but their loving parents had no love left over for them.” Imagine if A Series Of Unfortunate Events had been animated by Aardman and was narrated by Ricky Gervais (who plays a stray cat). Based on the fantastic book by Lois Lowry, this film provides fun for everyone when the Willoughby kids decide to send their parents away forever and start a new family.
Megamind – 2010 (Rating: PG)
When supervillain Megamind accidentally kills his nemesis, he has no idea what to do with himself. With the freedom of Metro City to himself and plenty of spare time, he decides to create a new superhero to fight. When he accidentally summons someone even more evil than himself, Megamind questions whether he really is the bad guy after all.
How To Train Your Dragon – 2010 (Rating: PG)
Growing up on the Viking island of Berk is complicated for Hiccup, especially when his home is under daily attacks from dragons. But when he finally traps a dragon of his own, he can’t bring himself to kill it. The two quickly become friends, and Hiccup soon comes to realise that there may be more to the creatures than he assumed.
Shrek – 2001 (Rating: U)
On a mission to retrieve a princess from a fire-breathing dragon, gruff ogre Shrek teams up with an unlikely compatriot- a wisecracking donkey. Filled with hilarious one liners and characters you warm to this movie is likely one you’ll watch more than once.
Must-see Classics For Kids
Annie – 1982 (Rating: U)
Annie is a fiery young girl who dreams of leaving the horrible orphanage in which she must live. It’s a hard knock life for her. Things change drastically for Annie when a billionaire named Oliver Warbucks pretends to adopt her for a week so that he can improve his public image. She decides to use the time with Warbucks to charm him into adopting her for real, but Miss Hannigan who runs the orphanage has other ideas.
Matilda – 1996 (Rating: PG)
Roald Dahl’s book is brought to life in the classic David vs Goliath tale, directed by and starring Danny DeVito. Matilda is a child genius who is neglected by her parents, who would much rather sit her in front of the tv rather than let her read books. When Matilda realises she has telekinetic powers, she decides to use them against her school principal, the manically evil Miss Trunchbull.
Richie Rich – 1994 (Rating: PG)
Billionaire heir Richie Rich is a kid who has it all – yet he has no playmates. What’s more, a scoundrel is scheming to take over the family empire.
Tall Girl – 2019 (Rating: PG)
Jodi is your average high-school girl, she wants to do well in her exams, graduate, and get a date to go to her prom. The only problem is, she’s taller than every boy in her school. Capturing perfectly what it’s like to be a self-conscious teenage girl in school, this film shows that the most important thing is staying true to yourself, whatever life throws at you.
Madeline – 1998 (Rating: U)
A film based on the classic Madeline books by Ludwig Bemelmans, this film shows that no matter how small you are, if you’re determined you can make a difference in the world. Madeline is very good at getting into trouble but is even better at solving problems. When her school is threatened with closure, she comes up with all sorts of witty and crafty plans to try and save it.
Ballerina – 2016 (Rating: PG)
As far back as she could remember, orphan Félicie has always dreamed of being a dancer, so she and her best friend Victor escape their home and run away to Paris. On arrival, she gets the chance to audition for the famed Paris Opera Ballet and follow her dreams. Starring Elle Fanning and Carly Rae Jepsen, your younger children will fall in love with the pirouettes and grand jetés on show and will see the importance of learning from failures.
BFG – 2016 (Rating: PG)
Another adaptation based on one of Roald Dahl’s most beloved books, directed by Steven Spielberg, your children can fall in love with the BFG all over again on the small screen. When Sophie is stolen away from her bed by a giant, she expects to be eaten. The last thing she expects is for him to be a vegetarian! The two strike up an unlikely friendship, but her presence in Giant Country has attracted some unwanted attention.
Sherlock Gnomes – 2018 (Rating: U)
The laugh-a-minute sequel to Gnomeo and Juliet takes the two porcelain partners across London in a mission to save their friends, who are in danger of being smashed to smithereens. Johnny Depp stars as the world-famous detective Sherlock Gnomes, as he helps the two love-gnomes alongside his trusted sidekick Watson. Join your kids in the fun in this puntastic film for the whole family.
Journey 2: The Mysterious Island – 2012 (Rating: PG)
When a distress signal pinpoints his grandfather’s location on an uncharted island, teen Sean Anderson teams up with an unlikely ally: his stepfather.
The Little Prince – 2016 (Rating: PG)
When a little girl feels like her mother is making her grow up too quickly, she gets lost in a world of imagination thanks to her friendly elderly neighbour, the Aviator. The film uses computer graphics interwoven beautifully with stop-motion animation to retell the novella of The Little Prince, and will show your youngsters how to try and balance growing up with basking in their childhood for a little bit longer.
Comedy For Kids
Dr Seuss’ Cat in the Hat – 2003 (Rating: ALL)
The second Dr Seuss book to be adapted for the big screen after The Grinch, this film follows the two siblings Conrad and Sally Walden, and their incredibly strict mother who forbids them to have any fun. Things go pear-shaped for the Walden children when The Cat in the Hat appears in their house, as while he teaches them how to have fun, he leaves a trail of destruction in his wake.
Good Burger – 1997 (Rating: PG)
A weird and wonderful 90s classic, Kenan and Kel star as Ed and Dexter, two hapless workers at the eccentric Good Burger fast-food joint. When the restaurant is threatened by a new rival and its giant burgers, they use Ed’s amazing secret sauce to help make Good Burger profitable against the possibility of being closed down.
The Secret Life Of Pets – 2016 (Rating: U)
After ending up in the outside world, two squabbling pet dogs find common ground against a gang of angry animals preparing an attack on humans.
The LEGO Ninjago Movie – 2017 (Rating: U)
The third spinoff of the LEGO Movie franchise, Lloyd is a teenager growing up on the island of Ninjago. He and his friends from school are all secret ninjas who protect their city from the evil Garmadon, who is also Lloyd’s dad. This means everyone on Ninjago hates Lloyd, so he’s got more than your average teenager’s problems to say the least. Things start to unravel quickly on Ninjago when an even bigger threat than Lloyd’s dad emerges.
Films For Younger Kids
The Land Before Time 2– 1994 (Rating: U)
A heart-warming nostalgic dinosaur adventure. After spotting egg thieves from their secret hideaway, Littlefoot and the gang set out on a daring rescue mission and must find their way back home.
The Spongebob Squarepants Movie – 2004 (Rating: U)
When Mr.Krabs is accused of stealing King Neptune’s crown, Spongebob and Patrick set out on a wild adventure to prove his innocence.
HOP – 2011 (Rating: U)
A jobless slacker finds himself beyond busy after he runs over the Easter Bunny and has to take over the Rabbit’s duties so the holiday can continue.
An American Tail – 1986 (Rating: U)
This is the touching story of the Mousekewitz family, who are forced to leave Russia and emigrate to America in search of a country without cats. On the boat to New York City their son, Fievel gets washed overboard and is forced to become street smart in the fight against a mob of cats. He becomes the leader of the mousolution, but doesn’t know if he will ever see his family again.
Teen Coming-of-Age Films
A Cinderella Story – 2004 (Rating: PG)
Teen Sam meets the boy of her dreams at a dance before returning to toil in her stepmother’s diner. Can her lost cellphone bring them together? Watch as Sam finds the courage to be who she wants to be.
Confessions Of An Invisible Girl – 2021 (Rating: PG)
When a clever but socially awkward Teté joins a new school, she’ll do anything to fit in. But the queen bee among her classmates has other ideas. Watch as she overcomes the trials and tribulations that high school throws at you.
Dumplin’ – 2018 (Rating: 12)
To spite her ex-pageant queen mother, plus-size Texan teen Willowdean “Dumplin’” Dickson enters a local beauty contest. This lovely film is an excellent guide for self-love for teens, especially when Willowdean’s protest entry inspires a number of other teens to enter the contest, revolutionising the pageant and the town in the process.
Teen Comedy Films
Clueless – 1995 (Rating: 12)
If Jane Austen’s Emma had been set in a mid-90s American high school, this is what it would look like. The film centres around Cher, an attractive, popular and wealthy Beverly Hills native, who decides that she enjoys doing good deeds for people. She becomes determined to give back to the community by taking a ‘tragically unhip’ new girl under her wing. What follows is a lesson that trying to do good doesn’t always end how you think it will.
Easy A – 2010 (Rating: 15)
When Olive Penderghast pretends to lose her virginity one weekend, the lie spreads through her school like wildfire and spirals quickly out of control. She becomes labeled as the ‘school skank’, and to combat the rumours about her, she decides to own the nickname as a form of pride. Emma Stone plays the lead to perfection in this hilarious take on American high-school life, definitely one for the older teens.
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off – 1986 (Rating: 12)
Determined not to waste his remaining youth, Ferris Bueller pretends to be sick, ditches school with his best friend and girlfriend and drives into Chicago for the day. Regularly breaking the fourth wall to give advice to his audience, Bueller is the ultimate Brat Pack lead, and this film is a perfect blend of wit and classic lines from him; “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
Thought-Provoking Films for Teens
12 Years A Slave – 2013 (Rating: 15)
Based on the true story of Solomon Northup, a free-born black man who is kidnapped and sold back into slavery. This heartbreaking, eye-opening film takes us on his journey as he is forced to work on Louisiana plantations for over a decade. Solomon’s treatment and the racist language used in 12 Years A Slave isn’t to be ignored, it may be a difficult watch for younger teens but it is an important insight. Knowledge is, after all, education.
13th – 2016 (Rating: 15)
Named after the Thirteenth Amendment to the US Constitution, which abolished slavery in America, this documentary explores the intersection of race, justice, and mass incarceration in the United States. Starting with 19th century post-slave America, the film covers everything from Jim Crow, the war on drugs, to Angela Davis and Barack Obama. This film is a must-watch for teens to understand current events across the Atlantic.
My Octopus Teacher – 2020 (Rating: U)
A filmmaker forgers an unusual friendship with an octopus living in a South African kelp forest, learning as the animal shares the mysteries of her world. A look at how humans connect to nature and how they can teach us about ourselves.
The Addams Family – 2019 (Rating:PG)
They’re creepy, they’re kooky, and they’ve moved to New Jersey. When the world of the Addams family collides with their suburban community, all hell breaks loose in this animated spin-off of the classic films. When TV host Margaux Needler vows to rid their town of the weird and wonderful family, the last thing she expects is for her daughter to become best friends with Wednesday Addams.
Hotel Transylvania – 2012 (Rating: U)
In order to keep monsters safe from the human population, Count Dracula builds Hotel Transylvania as a haven for them all to live in harmony. Dracula stops his daughter, Mavis, from leaving the hotel in case she comes into any harm. Things don’t go to plan when a human inadvertently finds the hotel, and he and Mavis fall in love, jeopardising every monster’s safety in the process. If this movie proves a hit, the sequel is also on Netflix!
Monster House – 2006 (Rating: PG)
This 3-D animated film gives gothic horror themes a modern twist, in a storyline that will keep the whole family on their toes. In this scary tale for older kids, three friends discover the truth about a horrifying house in their neighbourhood which seems to have a soul of its own and eats anyone that comes near it. As the children investigate the deeper origins of the house, the twists and turns will have you squealing behind your cushions.
Unusual Films For Kids
Spirited Away – 2004 (Rating: PG)
This Japanese animated Studio Ghibli movies takes you on the journey of Chihiro, a girl who wanders into a magical world where a witch rules- and those who disobey her are turned into animals.
Kiki’s Delivery Service – 1989 (Rating: U)
This amazing film comes from legendary Japanese filmmakers Studio Ghibli. Each story that they bring out is always a fantastic way to teach your kids about friendship, love, family, and culture. In this story, Kiki is a young witch who moves to a new town to help its citizens by using her magical abilities. The whole film helps young women understand that finding the right balance between independence and reliance on people is very important. We’re sure you’ll love it.
Labyrinth – 1986 (Rated: U)
When Sarah inadvertently wishes her baby brother Toby into the clutches of the Goblin King, played perfectly by David Bowie, she has 13 hours to save him. Using a host of incredible puppets from Jim Henson’s Creature Shop, this musical fantasy film transports us into the Labyrinth, where Sarah encounters many strange and scary creatures in her quest to rescue Toby before he’s turned into a goblin forever.
Documentaries For Kids
Dancing with the Birds – 2019 (Rating: U)
Your children will be delighted by this exciting documentary narrated by Steven Fry. In this nature film aimed at children, we meet a host of birds of paradise and learn all about how they ruffle their feathers and practice courtship routines in order to find a mate. This is definitely aimed for a younger audience, as they’ll enjoy the silliness of finding out which bird wiggles its rear end to attract the opposite sex.
Spelling The Dream – 2020 (Rating: U)
Captivating and inspiring, this documentary follows four young Indian-American children as they work their way to the National Spelling Bee finals. The documentary magnifies the dominance of children of Indian heritage within the competition and it can also help youngsters learn about some race relations in the US in a lighter way than most other documentaries.
Breaking Boundaries: The Science Of Our Planet – 2021 (Rating: PG)
David Attenborough and scientist Johan Rockström examine Earths biodiversity collapse and how this crisis can still be averted. A thought provoking documentary that will change how the next generation choose to live their lives.
We know how difficult life can be as a youngster, especially in these uncertain times. This list will not only keep your family entertained but should help everyone relax and unwind together during periods of stress. At Molly Brown we hope we can be a source of inspiration for you, if you would like to find out more, check out our three part ‘stuck at home’ series here.