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This article is updated frequently as titles go and come in. HBO Max. *New additions are marked with an asterisk.
Maybe the kids in the house have seen it all on Disney+? Or do their parents just want a change from so much Marvel and Pixar? HBO Max, the fastest growing streaming service in history, has one of the deepest catalogs in the world, and their family selection is also above average, amplified by being the exclusive home of the catalog of Studio Ghibli. Before we get to the best movies, it’s worth noting that they also have a very dense family TV section thanks to most Cartoon Network shows. This list will be updated regularly.
Duration: 1 hour 34 minutes
Director: Bob Clark
It doesn’t have to be Christmas time to enjoy one of the most beloved holiday movies in history. Bob Clark directed this slice of 1983 nostalgia that didn’t have much of an impact when it was released, but became a huge hit in the days of VHS and seasonal cable release. Peter Billingsley, Melinda Dillon and Darren McGavin star in the sweet and hysterical story of an average American family around Christmas.
Director: William dear
Remember this one? It was one of those family movies that had a huge impact on VHS and cable, appealing to ’90s kids who might want to show it to their little ones now. It stars future frontman Joseph Gordon-Levitt in a remake of the 1951 films of the same name, but he wasn’t the only future star in that movie. Also keep an eye out for Adrien Brody and Matthew McConaughey!
Duration: 1h 32m
Director: Tim Burton
Before being Bruce Wayne, Michael Keaton starred in another Tim Burton film in this hysterically dark fable about a being who frightens the newly deceased. When Geena Davis and Alec Baldwin are stuck in their old house, Beetlejuice tries to force them out in a film that’s visually inventive in a way that Hollywood movies are rarely allowed to be anymore.
Year: nineteen eighty one
Duration: 1h 58m
Director: Desmond Davis
The first one Clash of the Titans was essentially advertised as a family adventure film when it was released in 1981 and became a huge hit. Harry Hamlin stars in the film which would feature the final work of legendary stop-motion visual effects king Ray Harrhausen, and loosely recounts the myth of Perseus. It’s dated, sure, but might scratch a nostalgic Gen X itch with HBO Max subscriptions.
Directors: Jim Henson and Frank Oz
See! Muppets! It’s a children’s movie, right?!?! Somehow. Yes, there are puppets in this riveting fantasy film, but it’s also a dark and often chilling adventure story that doesn’t speak to children or shy away from spooking them. It’s hard to express how groundbreaking this film was for its time in terms of the puppets, special effects, and even the way children’s entertainment was written. It’s hugely influential, and there’s a reason Netflix has returned to its world nearly four decades later.
Duration: 1h 54m
Director: Richard Donner
Richard Donner’s 1985 adventure film became one of the most beloved original properties of the decade with its family fun mixed with legitimate scares. The story of a group of kids who try to save their house from foreclosure and discover an old treasure map in the process mixes humor and action in a way that doesn’t really happen in family movies anymore. It holds up wonderfully well.
Duration: 2h 6m
Director: Steven Spielberg
Nominated for 11 Oscars (and winning five), Hugo is one of Scorsese’s most acclaimed and beloved films, which should still put an end to all those dumb insinuations that the legendary director doesn’t know what to do with mob movies. It’s a whimsical and delicious film that you can watch with the whole family, and while it might not be in 3D on HBO Max, you can still enjoy its endless visual glory.
Director: Chris McKay
More than just a kid’s take on a superhero movie or parody of the genre, this family flick is a legitimately smart, well-crafted action movie. Will Arnett shoots his version of the Dark Knight which was created in The Lego Movie for a movie that unpacks Bruce Wayne and Batman clichés in a funny and very smart way.
Duration: 1h 41m
Director: Edmund Gwenn
Two versions of the beloved holiday classic about a department store Santa that pretends to be a real thing are on HBO Max, and could really do the trick on a weekend getaway for families any time of the year. Edmund Gwenn’s 1947 version is the best, but Richard Attenborough makes the 1994 version almost as enjoyable.
Director: Andre Fleming
Literature’s favorite young mystery-solving heroine got the feature film treatment in 2007 when Emma Roberts took on the lead role in this film based on the massively successful books. Responses were mixed at the time, but it’s nice to see a film like this for young adults aimed at empowering girls to solve their own mysteries.
Director: Kirk Jones
Emma Thompson is the main character in this 2005 film based on the books by Christianna Brand. Set in Victorian England, this mary poppins riff is another story of a nanny who helps a widower with seven children he cannot handle. Thompson also wrote the adaptation and starred in a 2010 sequel which is also on HBO Max, Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang.
Director: Paul King
What a lovely movie Paddington 2 is for the whole family. Paul King has returned to direct the sequel to the 2014 original, a film that actually tops its predecessor in both humor and heart. Ben Whishaw returns to voice the marmalade-loving bear in a story that takes Paddington to jail and teaches lessons about community that make it seem like they never talk to kids.
Duration: 1h 41m
Director: Carlos Saldanha
Do you remember Blue Sky? The company behind Ice Age tried for another hit franchise with a bunch of colorful Brazilian birds, and the first film was successful enough to produce a reasonably entertaining sequel. Rio 2 is all about bright colors, upbeat music, and fun voice work from the likes of Jesse Eisenberg, Anne Hathaway, Jamie Foxx, Tracy Morgan, and more.
Director: Robert Rodriguez
Robert Rodriguez may be best known for his adult action movies, but he’s mostly the one behind it. spy on kids for people who were kids in the 2000s. 2001’s groundbreaking first film led to three sequels, and they’re all on HBO Max! A rare blockbuster franchise with a Latinx influence, these movies are fun action-adventure flicks for the whole family.
Duration: 1h 22m
Director: Rebecca Sugar
After Steven Universe ended its run on Cartoon Network, they produced a movie in 2019 that maintains the hit show’s brilliant blend of whimsy and humor. Most of the cast from the set return for another story of the Crystal Gems trying to save all organic life on Earth. Steven Universe is a wonderful spectacle, and this film is a beautiful epilogue to its legacy. Note: The series is also on HBO Max.
Almost all of Studio Ghibli’s movies are on HBO Max, their now exclusive streaming home. The truth is, we could dedicate about 10% of this list to Hayao Miyazaki and his colleagues, but we’re going to give up some of that space and show you here the ranking of the most modern animation studio’s entire production. important in the world. . start with Taken away as if by magic, My Neighbor Totoroand Castle in THE sky. You will not stop.
Duration: 2h 23m
Director: Richard Donner
So your children are too young to Zack Snyder’s Justice League but want to get a little DC superhero action this weekend? Return to one of the most influential superhero films ever made, Richard Donner’s first film adaptation of Man in Steel. Christopher Reeve reigns as a legendary hero and no one will ever surpass Gene Hackman’s take on Lex Luthor.
Director: Aaron Horvath, Peter Rida Michail
The Teen Titans Go! is one of the smartest superhero cartoons of the modern era and their feature debut is an underrated joy. The writers here happily satirize the world of superheroes, including cameos from many famous DC characters, without ever losing the hearts of their leading men and women. It’s very funny and smart.
Director: Steve Baron
Adapting the comic books of the same name, this 1990 action flick became a huge hit for all ages, launching an entire franchise. In fact, it was technically the highest-grossing independent film when it was released, and one of the top ten films of 1990. It led to 1991 The secret of slime and 1993 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, both of which are also on HBO Max. Grab a pizza and relive all three.
Duration: 1h 38m
Director: Mel Stuart
It was announced in January 2021 that the creatives were going back to the well and telling a story of Willy Wonka’s early life before he opened his famous chocolate shop. There’s a reason this 1971 musical has stood the test of time for five decades, passed down as a beloved family movie from generation to generation. Gene Wilder gives one of the most timeless performances of all time. He will work his magic on children forever.
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