My Top 20 Perfect Family Films

500 Days Of Film Reviews The Top 20 Family Movies Of The Challenge So Far


I absolutely love watching movies with my kids. I have taken them to the cinema since they were old enough to sit still and we have a long established (and much loved) 'movie night' tradition.


However, it can sometimes be tricky to find an appropriate film that will suit all ages and tastes.

In addition, is it me or has the introduction of the 12A rating certificate meant that there are fewer quality U or PG films on offer?


As someone who has struggled to find a great film suitable for all the family, I thought it might be helpful/interesting to curate a list of my top 20 U and PG rated movies of my 500 Days Of Film challenge so far.   


So, in reverse order, here goes! 

20. Shaun The Sheep Movie

I was surprised at how much I enjoyed Shaun The Sheep Movie. It is funny, entertaining, cute and uplifting. It is also a great way to introduce kids to the concept of silent film.


19. Spongebob Squarepants: Sponge Out Of Water

I have to admit that (as much as I love Spongebob, Patrick, Sandy et al) I tried to avoid this film.

My son, having seen it at the cinema with friends while I watched Cinderella with my daughter, described it as completely mad.

Having now seen it at home, I can confirm that this movie is utterly bonkers - but absolutely brilliant. I laughed a lot. 


18. Minions

I couldn't wait to see Minions... I fell in love with this film from the moment I first saw the trailer. And, while the story wasn't really a patch on Despicable Me, those brilliant little yellow guys didn't let me down. I laughed and laughed... this film just makes me smile thinking about it.


Read my Minions review here.


17. Despicable Me

I do love Despicable Me. It just makes me happy - especially the scene at the amusement park. I can watch this one over and over again. Oh and it makes me tear up at the end too - perfect!

16. Wallace And Gromit: The Curse Of The Were Rabbit

I recently watched The Curse Of The Were Rabbit again and was struck by just how amazingly inventive this film is. I find something new (and hilarious) every time I watch thanks to Aardman's creative film making - pure genius.


15. The Book Of Life

As some of you may already know, I am a big fan of Guillermo del Toro. He produced this film about the Mexican day of the dead and his wonderful visual fingerprints are all over it. Don't be nervous about the film's subject matter (as I have to admit that I was) -it is not at all morbid or upsetting. This is a gorgeous film based on a wonderful concept and I love it.


14. Freaky Friday

For me, Freaky Friday is the perfect end of the week, chill out family movie. I laugh all the way through and my kids do too. Jamie Lee Curtis is superb.

13. The Lego Movie

The Lego Movie is a classic in my house. We have all watched it lots of times and we have brilliant, awesome fun each and every time. Plus I just love Chris Pratt's vocal performance as Emmett!


Click here for my review of The Lego Movie.


12. Hugo

Martin Scorsese's wonderful film about the birth of cinema is a firm favourite in my house. I first saw it in 3D and did wonder if it would lose too much in 2D. However, I found this film just as immersive and ended up just as moved...

Click here to read my full review of Hugo.

11. Big Hero 6

I love Big Hero 6 for its gorgeous animation (I want to visit San Fransokyo!) and for introducing me to the wonderful character that is Baymax (I want a Baymax of my own!). It also has perhaps the most funniest fist pump on film (and that's not something I can say lightly).

Click here for my Big Hero 6 review. 

10. Star Wars: A New Hope

I struggled with this one... I think that my favourite of the original Star Wars trilogy is The Empire Strikes Back but, I do have a soft spot for A New Hope as this is (or better or sometimes worse) where the story began.


Click here for my Star Wars: A New Hope review!


9. Song Of The Sea

Song Of The Sea is gorgeous - stunning animation and wonderful storytelling. That's all. Oh and I love it...


8. My Neighbour Totoro

From Japan's animation centre, Studio Ghibli, comes a wonderful and charming tale by director, Hayao Miyazaki. I love his two sisters - they feel and act like real kids.

I have the Disney version of this film which features Dakota and Elle Fanning as the voices of the sisters. They are brilliant.


Honestly, this story has it all - heart, humour, action and tension. Plus a fantastic furry creature deep in the woods... I dare you not to fall in love with it!


7. Back To The Future

Probably showing my age here, but I remember watching Back To The Future at the Empire Leicester Square when it first came out. I enjoyed this movie so much then (got the sticker book and everything) and I love it just as much now. It is a firm favourite in my house!

6. Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone

Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone is not my favourite Harry Potter film. But is is probably my favourite PG Harry Potter film as it introduced us to a franchise the like of which we may never see again.


5. Paddington

Having grown up with and loved the books by Micheal Bond, the movie about Paddington Bear certainly had a lot to live up to. It was such a relief to find a superb family film - a true classic.

4. Toy Story

The three Toy Story films may well be my favourite movie trilogy of all time. There isn't a bad movie in the bunch. However, the first film will always have a special place in my heart.


3. Inside Out

I really didn't expect a film that I only watched for the first time a few months ago to take the number three spot in my list.

However, I loved Pixar's Inside Out from the moment I saw it as part of Odeon's Screen Unseen cinema event and it has only grown on me since. It is really no exaggeration to say that this film has changed the way I think about my emotions - and the emotions of my kids. Genius.


Click here to read my review of Inside Out (and Odeon's Screen Unseen event)


2. The Princess Bride

A brilliant, quirky classic for all the family, I just love The Princess Bride. It is action packed and hilarious and features more superb cameos than you can shake a sword at. Timeless fun.


1. ET

I am actually left feeling quite conflicted at my choice for the number one spot in my list. Should a film that I sometimes actively dread be in this top position. On balance, I think yes.


However, I think I do need to add the following caveats.... when I first watched ET at the cinema I was pretty terrified of the titular alien. And then the whole heart and stretchy neck thing freaked me out.


You'll be glad to hear that I am not scared or freaked out anymore.

But I can't watch this film without dissolving into a huge weeping mess. I've tried everything believe me... in fact just hearing the music starts me off. John Williams has a lot to answer for!


Despite this, ET is my  favourite family film.  


What Do You Think?

Phew! That list was harder to compile than I thought! (I am still unsure whether I have the films in the right order.)


Are any of your favourites in there? If not, do tell me what they are!


Feel free to leave me a comment in the box below - I'd love to hear your thoughts...

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Jane Douglas-Jones
Jane Douglas-Jones



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