what family movies are on netflix

What Family Movies are on Netflix? (2021 Picks)

Ok, what family movies are on Netflix right now? Quite a few, actually, but unfortunately, not every one of them is worth your family’s time. 

That’s why we’ve gone out of our way to sort through Netflix’s offerings and select some of our favorites. 

In fact, a few of these movies would probably also be included in a list of our all-time favorite family movies. 

To be fair, Netflix’s film selection changes frequently, so please forgive us if one or more of these movies are no longer available on the site by the time you read the article, but we’ll also try to come back and update it as needed. 

Cool, let’s check out some great family movies on Netflix. 

Oh yeah, and we’ll try to keep this article updated the best we can. Netflix has a real habit of dropping movies that we put into articles.

Anyway, enjoy the list!

Mirai (2018)

Starting off with a more heartfelt pick, Mirai is a relatively quiet but still engaging movie about a young boy adjusting to the arrival of his brand new baby sister. 

Thankfully, a future version of his baby sister, named Mirai, visits to help him expand his perspective and understand how his family’s decisions have led to the current moment, and how these choices will continue to have impact in the future. 

With some fantastic animation, including integrated CG that blends surprisingly well with the 2D art, Mirai is a memorable movie that’s great for rewatches. 

The Castle of Cagliostro (1979) 

Even if you haven’t heard of Hayao Miyazaki, you’ve definitely heard of his work. His studio, Studio Ghibli, has created some of the most beloved animated features of all time, including My Neighbor Totoro, Spirited Away, and Princess Mononoke. 

But before all of those movies, Miyazaki worked on many other animated features, and The Castle of Cagliostro is an excellent entry in his filmography. 

It’s an incredibly wholesome adventure film centered on the infamous fictional character Lupin III. 

Without giving too much away, it’s just a wonderfully pleasant movie that works well for viewers of all ages. 

The BFG (2016)

The BFG is based on a famous Roald Dahl book, and this particular adaptation was directed by Steven Spielberg.

Yep, you read that right: Spielberg directed this commercial flop, but don’t worry. It’s still a pretty darn good movie, especially for families.

There’s a whole bunch of magic and whimsy here, along with Dahl’s signature sense of child-centric terror. There are lessons to be learned here, but they’re all pretty basic.

And of course, the effects are basically seamless, which is par for the course when Spielberg is involved.

Hugo (2011)

While we’re on the topic of major Hollywood directors training their many talents on family films, we have Hugo, a somewhat surprising family movie from the great Martin Scorsese.

Hugo has none of the physical or emotional violence that you’ll find in flicks like Goodfellas and Raging Bull.

Instead, this is a fun romp that’s kind of about the history of film.

There’s some impressive CG here, and the story is serviceable. Overall, it’s a nice little movie that won’t blow any minds, probably.

Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016) 

We’ve mentioned this movie on the site so many times that we’ve actually lost track. 

This is a family feature film based on a children’s chapter book. Just to set up the premise, a child in the care of the state finds a new home in the wild bush of New Zealand with an outdoorsy couple. 

After a “significant event,” the young boy and his guardian have to go on the run from the authorities, even though they’ve done nothing wrong. 

Directed by the now-extremely-famous Taika Waititi, Hunt for the Wilderpeople has heart and humor in spades, which is probably why this has basically become a modern classic in the time since its initial release.  

The Lorax (2012) 

A few years after this Dr. Seuss adaptation was released, it was almost completely forgotten, but the internet’s meme machines picked it back up and made it somewhat well-known once again, albeit for the wrong reasons. 

But don’t be mistaken: it’s actually a pretty solid family movie in its own right, memes aside. 

The surface-level story is very much about environmental conservation, but there are broader themes of exploitation and consumerism, too. 

Even so, it’s a light children’s movie that’s bright and colorful and just about what you’d expect from a contemporary version of a classic Dr. Seuss story. 

Enola Holmes (2020)  

Ever wondered about what Sherlock Holmes’s younger and somewhat estranged sister was up to that whole time? No? Well too bad, here’s Enola Holmes. 

The movie shares its name with the protagonist, a smart, precocious young woman who just so happens to be related to one of the most famous detectives in all of this fictional version of Great Britain. 

Enola Homes basically plays out like a lighthearted action movie, and that’s exactly what it is, despite the attempts at puzzles and mysteries. 

Actually, it feels quite a bit like those Holmes reboot movies starring Jude Law and Robert Downey Jr. mixed with a bit of Indiana Jones.

Puss in Boots (2011) 

The Shrek franchise made some very interesting decisions toward the end there, and we’re sure that once enough time has passed, DreamWorks will indeed try to reboot the whole thing in some form or another, and no, not as another Broadway musical, though that’s certainly a possibility as well. 

But on the tail end of the theatrical releases, Puss in Boots was released, a sort of spinoff/prequel that centers on, well, Puss, in boots. He sure does like those boots. 

Honestly, it’s a much better movie than we were expecting. The visuals here are arguably the best of any movie that falls under the Shrek banner. 

Sure, it came after the mainline Shrek movies, but the art direction is also just delightful. 

Over the Moon (2020) 

Ok, we’ll be honest here. Is Over the Moon a solid family movie that’s currently available on Netflix? Yes, it is, and it’s like to stay on Netflix since it’s marked as a ‘Netflix Film.’

But do we enjoy Over the Moon? No, not really. Now, we’re not children, so maybe we have an inherently different view of the story and characters, but it all feels a bit forced, and the strange popstar moon lady character is likely to feel dated a year from now. 

Even so, it’s well animated and kids will probably like it, so we’re happy to include it in this list.  

How to Train Your Dragon 2 (2014) 

How to Train Your Dragon is a shockingly high-quality film series. We can’t speak to the TV show, but the main trilogy is excellent, from visuals to story to characters to music. 

The second movie appropriately expands our understanding of the world and all relevant lore. But it’s also not an intimidating fantasy movie. 

It stays accessible, there are neat dragon designs, and you’ll want to root for our main characters. 

It’s as simple as that, but sometimes, that’s more than enough to make a family movie worth watching. 

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