There are endless options for entertaining kids these days. From musicals and princess tales to animated classics and superhero adventures, it seems there’s a kids movie for everyone. Kids ages 2 to 92 can (and should) enjoy live-action movies and animated features. But what are the best children’s movies for parents? What films make us laugh, cry and smile, even when we don’t have children around? Well the truth is there is dozens children’s movies that parents like to watch on repeat. Pass the popcorn. Dim the lights.
Here our parents‘ the editorial team outlines some fan favorites.
Best cult classic: Frozen
OK, I know what you’re thinking: No Frozen. Not yet. But this cult classic has a huge following and for good reason. Both Frozen the movies have a good message, i.e. “some people are worth loving”. Both have endearing and memorable characters. (We’re looking at you, Olaf). And the music is GOOD. From “Let It Go” to “Into the Unknown”, there are catchy and meaningful tracks.
Best Hidden Gem: Hilda and the Mountain King
Based on a series of graphic novels written and illustrated by Luke Pearson, Hilda and the Mountain King is an action-fantasy-adventure film starring Hilda, a young female protagonist turned troll. Fun, captivating and full of charm and fantasy, this film tackles difficult and, at times, frightening subjects. Ideal for older children and adults.
Best feature of the 90s: toy story
The movie that changed everything toy story is (arguably) the best kids movie of the 90s. Fingers in the Nose. I mean, what’s better than a movie about toys coming to life? ! But the film is more than a children’s classic. With a well-written story and memorable characters, toy story is loved by many. It is a tale that transcends both age and time.
Best Princess Tale: Cinderella by Rodgers & Hammerstein
While there are plenty of princess movies out there, our editors agree: the 1997 adaptation of Cinderella is something special. With a top-notch cast, stunning voice and magical story, Cinderella by Rodgers and Hammerstein is a masterful and whimsical film, a film where dreams come true.
Best Superhero Movie: Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse
With bold narration and striking animation, Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse is a fun film full of heart, humor and adventure. It’s also an amazing superhero story. A real triumph, for the genre and for animated feature films.
Best Musical: Encanto
You knew Encanto would make this list, right? I mean, it had to. As new as it is, it’s one of Disney’s most beloved features. But what keeps kids — and parents — coming back for more? The story, the songs and Bruno, of course. Vibrant colors, a beautiful cast and full of catchy melodies.
Best Laughing Movie: Shrek
Several of our editors mentioned Shrek, and honestly, we know why. The film, starring Donkey, Princess Fiona and the feature’s namesake, is bright, cheerful and colorful. It’s humorous, with jokes written for kids and adults. And the music is memorable. You will definitely laugh and sing.
Best film for a good cry: Upside down
With a whopping 98% on Rotten Tomatoes’ “Tomatometer”, there’s a good reason why Upside down is a fan favorite (adults). This movie is wonderful. The animation is clean and crisp. The story is powerful. You will be moved from the start. And from joy and sadness to anger and Bing Bong, Upside down isn’t just a coming-of-age film, it’s a thrilling and heartwarming look at the human psyche.
Best Children’s Film Series: How to train your dragon
From vikings and dragons to adventure and love, the How to train your dragon the series has something for everyone. It’s the perfect magic mix. It also has a stellar cast and top-notch animation. A touching and comic triumph.
Best Seasonal Flow: Nightmare Before Christmas
If you’re looking for a good Christmas watch or something Halloween themed, look no further than Nightmare Before Christmas. This stop-motion feature is loved by kids and adults alike. Plus, with classic songs like “This Is Halloween” and “What’s This?”, it’s downright fun from start to finish.
Best animated film: Moana
Most of our editors agree: Moana is a awesome movie. But what makes this Disney feature so special? The story is tight and moving. The animation is lush and beautiful, and the music is memorable. From “You’re Welcome” to “Shiny”, there’s a song for everyone. Plus, this movie stars the incomparable and hilarious Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. An all-purpose delight.