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Throw in homemade popcorn and chocolate to watch family movies with my people and you’ve got one giddy girl on your hands! It’s not easy to find good movies without the unnecessary trash though, so I created the ultimate cool movies list two years ago [#3 post of all time!]. I’m back at it again and havecreated a newlist of MUST-SEE clean family movies that you haven’t heard of or thought of in a long time. Classic movies, action and adventure, mystery, Christmas movies, oh my!
There are so many animated movie lists for small kids, so most of the family movies below are for slightly older kids and adults. CAVEAT: I’m personally pretty prudish when it comes to movie content. But, I may have missed something or forgotten a scene, so I challenge you to do your own research with the links provided to ensure that each of these is right for you and yours.
Classic Family Movies
I list the year the movie was made on purpose. I can’t recommend movies that have the same title but are a different version/year. Just another reason why I include the links so that there is no confusion. Enjoy!
Such happy memories watching all of the Love Bug movies with my family. Don Knotts makes this one extra funny! Amazon says, “Herbie, the VW with heart, falls hood over wheels in love when he encounters a sleek, sporty, light blue Lancia. Also vying for Herbie’s attention is a gang of jewel thieves, who’ve ingeniously hidden a stolen gem in Herbie’s gas tank!”
I distinctly remember how much I enjoyed this movie the first few hundred times I watched. OK, joking, sort of. A delightful story! Amazon describes it as, “Disgusted by the shady dealings of not-so “Honest” John Slade (Wynn), Wilby Daniels (Jones) decides to run for District Attorney, but when robbers steal a magic Borgia ring, the fur really begins to fly! Once again, Wilby keeps turning into a large, talking sheepdog at the worst possible moments.”
I’ve seen all of the different versions of this film and this one is the best, in my opinion. Amazon describes it as “The light-hearted family comedy is the true story of Frank and Lilian Gilbreth, efficiency experts and parents to twelve precious children.” You see, it’s based on a true story, and knowing that made it even more fun!
If you or your family have been wanting to see what all of the hype about Audrey Hepburn is, this is a great place to start. This was her debut film and she won an Oscar. The rest, they say, is history. She portrays a modern-day princess rebelling against her royal obligations. She runs into an American Journalist who helps her enjoy one day in the city after being medicated by her doctor.
I remember watching fascinating movies like this one with my family on Wonderful World of Disney Sunday Nights. This original movie about two orphans with extraordinary powers was fun and interesting then (when I was a kid) and still is today. Amazon describes it as, “A vehicle floats in midair a coat rack comes to life and attacks a sheriff and wild animals are putty in the hands of Tony and Tia Malone in Disney’s thrilling fantasy adventure about the psychic powers of two young orphans. ” It’s also great to see how things have changed since the 1970s too!
A movie with a classic message for every single generation. I’ve seen every version possible of this film and although I love the original, it isn’t as readily available. This 1984 version is the best of the modern ones. Amazon says, “Christmas elicits nothing more than “Bah, humbug!” from Ebenezer Scrooge (Scott), a miser whose sole pursuit of financial success has left him a bitter and lonely old man. But a Christmas Eve visit from the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future ultimately teaches him to open his heart to the spirit of Christmas and to the joys of friends and family.”
A childhood book for many of my generation, I didn’t watch this until I was much older. Amazon says it’s, “a spectacular screen version of the literary classic that is full of breathtaking South Seas scenery, hundreds of exotic animals, and treacherous pirates. This heroic tale chronicles the courageous exploits of the Robinson family after they are shipwrecked on a deserted island. Using teamwork and ingenuity, they skillfully overcome the obstacles of nature and transform their new home into a “civilized” community.”
One of my favorites because of all of the lively adventure. And the fact that I always dreamed of having an identical twin to switch with! Amazon describes it, “Twins girls, separated at birth, scheme to reunite their biological parents.”
Ever heard of scary family movies? Now you have because this one is clean and pretty entertaining! Amazon describes it, ” a foreboding scroll recounts the legend of one of the bloodiest pirates in the history of the Caribbean. Leave it to Disney to turn him into a fun-loving old prankster with a whimsical side.”
I had never heard of this movie until another Mom asked me if I wanted to borrow their DVD. I wasn’t sure what to expect but I remember this one made us laugh and caused great discussion. A spirited nine-year-old’s rural Mississippi idyllic life is thrown into a tailspin when she’s sent to live with her Aunt Mamie to become a “young lady.” Amazon says, “Ociee’s true bravery, character and spirit are put to the test in this uplifting family drama.”
Just thinking of this movie makes me smile. Although somewhat silly at times, that’s part of its charm. One of my teenager’s favorite fun movies of all time. Amazon describes it, “Beautiful Princess Giselle is banished by an evil queen from her magical, musical animated land and finds herself in the gritty reality of the streets of modern-day Manhattan. Shocked by this strange new environment that doesn’t operate on a happily ever after basis, Giselle is now adrift in a chaotic world badly in need of enchantment. But when Giselle begins to fall in love with a charmingly flawed divorce lawyer who has come to her aid even though she is already promised to a perfect fairy tale prince back home she has to wonder, can a storybook view of romance survive in the real world?”
This movie is so funny and fast! You definitely won’t get bored, that’s for sure. There is an older version of this that stars Lucille Ball, and for once, I like the modern one MUCH better! Amazon says, “A widowed Coast Guard Admiral and a widowed handbag designer fall in love and marry, much to the dismay of her 10 and his 8 children.”
A fast-paced movie that should pull in every age group. Amazon describes, “A man who stops into a foster home to drop off some donations soon tells the kids a story about two teenage friends who uncover a long-lost medallion that transports them back in time.”
Whether or not you were a Beverly Cleary book fan like I was in elementary school or not, the whole family can enjoy this hilarious story of a girl with an outrageous imagination. One of our very favorites that we own and have watched over and over!
I love this movie about an 11-year old girl sharing an idyllic life on a private island in the middle of the South Asiatic Sea with her father, a microbiologist. She heads out to sea to help her father collect plankton specimens often, plays soccer on the beach, plays with her animal friends, and reads adventure novels. Everything changes when her father departs on the boat for a two-night expedition to collect plankton specimens and gets caught in an unexpected storm. How she deals with being alone and saving her Dad are amazing!
This movie is fabulous, Y’all. I saw it years ago and the storyline has stuck with me all of this time. Warning: when Mel Gibson’s character wakes up from his 50-year “nap,” he isn’t wearing clothing. I remember that it shows his backside but he quickly wraps a jacket around himself.
Amazon describes, “In 1939 Army Air Corps test pilot Daniel McCormick (Gibson) has a perfect job and a woman he loves. But a tragedy suddenly strikes his love, and Daniel’s future is snatched away in an instant. Grief-stricken, Daniel volunteers for a top-secret cryogenics experiment–which accidentally puts him into frozen slumber for more than 50 years. He awakens in 1992, lost and alone. But through friendship with a fatherless young boy (Elijah Wood) and the boy’s mother (Lee Curtis), Daniel discovers that time waits for no man, but true love waits forever.” *chill bumps*
Oh, my. I can’t say enough about the amazing family movies in this series. This is the first in a saga based on Christian Author, Janette Oke. It’s a crowd pleaser even for the fellas because of the “Western Prairie” pioneer events and settings. I dare you to be able to stop after this movie is over and not move on to the others! Amazon says, “Stubborn Marty Claridge (Katherine Heigl, Grey’s Anatomy) travels west with her new husband–but after they find a beautiful patch of land, her husband dies in an accident before they’ve even started building. A man named Clark makes a proposal: If Marty will enter into a platonic marriage with him, he’ll pay for her passage back east in the spring.” Watch what really happens in the end!
I remember being surprised out how much our whole family enjoyed this when we watched it the first time. The original is good but this 2008 version is better in my opinion. Amazon says, “During a scientific expedition in Iceland, visionary scientist Trevor Anderson (Brendan Fraser), his nephew Sean (Josh Hutcherson) and their beautiful local guide, Hannah (Anita Briem), are unexpectedly trapped in a cave from which their only escape is to go deeper and deeper into the depths of the Earth. ”
One of my favorite TV shows had a Christmas special last year and it was the most special holiday movie! A lovely story where Christmas is coming to Hope Valley, and everyone’s in a festive mood. Lessons are learned about faith and trusting others is more than meets the eye.
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WHEW!!! That was a lot of work but worth it to share clean family movies that may otherwise be forgotten. One last gem I wanted to share with you is how I decipher whether a movie is fit for my family. I simply put the movie title in the search box on a site called Kids in Mind. It doesn’t have information on every movie yet, but I love their rating system when they do!
Which of these family movies is your favorite? Did I leave any out that you adore? Let me hear from you in the comments!
Published on Huffington Post, Okefenokee Living Magazine, her local newspaper and more, Shan Walker is jokingly called the “Guru.” A Travel Journalist, Wife, and Mom who shares daily “how to” enjoy planning and executing EVERY single family vacation AND “how-to” find joy with your family in the cozy haven you’ve created and can’t wait to get home to!