Jesus Follower | Word Stringer | Avocado Eater

15 Favorite Family-Friendly Flicks


There are tons of great animated movies that we adults can love right alongside the littles, but this is a list of our family’s favorite real life flicks. Our boys are 10 and 14. Depending on your strict meter, most of these are for approximately ages 8/10 and up, and they’re all rated G or PG.

Even when I get a movie recommendation from a friend, I still jump on a review site to double check how appropriate it is. Our favorite is from Focus on the Family, but, and are also great.

In alphabetical order, so no one gets their feelings hurt…

Akeelah & The Bee – If you missed this one when it came out, it’ll be worth your time to go find it. Full of work ethic and positive messages, The National Spelling Bee just got fun.

Dolphin Tale (1 & 2) – I always wanted to be a dolphin trainer. By the end of these flicks it looked like our boys were thinking the same thing. Squeaky clean and endearing, part two left us wanting a third.

Eight Below – An engaging, emotional story about sled dogs, hope, friendship and, most of all, never giving up—no matter how cold it gets.

Evan Almighty – With Steve Carell as a quirky Noah, and Morgan Freeman playing God, this hilarious story almost makes me want to start a farm. And go back to wood shop. And bake unleavened bread.

The Greatest Game Ever Played – I played golf once. Not a fan. But I am a fan of this movie set in the early 1900s. It’s an encouraging story of dreaming, perseverance, honor, friendship and sportsmanship. Our oldest has seen this about nine times and still loves it.

Hugo – I’m pretty sure my boys wanted to live in a clock when this was over. Incredible camera angles, intriguing early robotics, and an inspirational story of forgotten talent.

McFarland, USA – This cross-cultural cross-country drama about a beleaguered teacher inspiring young kids beyond their own expectations is perfect for middle and upperclass tweens and teens who need a little kick in the pants. Since moving to Baja, our family has never related to a movie as much as this one. When the über white family moved into the über Mexican town, our empathy went through the roof. And we cheered for the inexperienced runners who were also learning the rewards of hard work, community, and intercultural acceptance.

Miracle – I don’t even like hockey, but I loved this movie. The athlete in me had a hard time accepting the fact that I never made it to my Olympic dream from the 6th grade, but the teamwork in this movie is beyond inspirational.

Nacho Libre – I didn’t really get it at first either, but that became the beauty of this random flick set in Oaxaca, Mexico. It got even funnier after living south of the border. (Word to the wise: don’t call anyone “Chancho.”)

Parent Trap – The original with Hayley Mills made me think twins were fascinating. Switching places and tricking adults? Classic. The whole thing is about girls, but our boys still love the feistiness that goes along with practical jokes and trying to glue a broken family back together.

Radio – Set in 1976 and inspired by a true football story, Radio preaches compassion, challenges viewers to rethink their priorities, and testifies to the value of every human life. Patience. Kindness. Compassion. Justice. Too much profanity for the littles, but a great message for tweens and teens.

Ramona & Beezus – If you ever read Beverly Cleary’s Ramona books, you’ll know why I might have gotten a little too excited about the toothpaste in the sink scene.

Rudy – The first movie to be shot on the Notre Dame campus, Rudy was named one of the best 25 sports movies for the previous 25 years in two polls by ESPN. Even if you’re not a big football fan, this film will have you cheering for the underdog and liking Sean Astin all over again. (Did anyone remember that Vince Vaughn was in this? “Not I,” said the fly.)

That Thing You Do! – “Written and directed by Tom Hanks (who also has a supporting role), That Thing You Do! recaptures the innocence and optimism of 1964 in a fun cautionary tale about the fleeting nature of fame.” ~Plugged In  Besides the fact that this throwback is a jackpot for visual style, we couldn’t get the theme song out of our heads for days. But is singing and dancing around the kitchen with your kids ever a bad thing?

The Ultimate Gift – If you want to teach tweens and teens about work ethic, let them watch this. Twice. Manual labor and selfless giving? Yes, please. (P.S. The girlfriend is a tad sensual and slightly inappropriate.)

Now it’s your turn! After you pop the corn, grab that cozy blanket, and enjoy a family flick, let me know what I missed. Surely you have a few favorites that aren’t above, yes? Don’t keep them to yourself—please share!

And may the force be with you.



If you love something, set it free.Tweet about this on Twitter
Pin on Pinterest
Share on Facebook
Email this to someone
Share on LinkedIn
Print this page
Share on Tumblr


4 Responses to 15 Favorite Family-Friendly Flicks

  1. Recently found on Netflix, “Little Boy”. The time period is during WWII; however, there are no war scenes. This movie is set around a small town where the local pastor teaches a “little boy” about loving one another, regardless of race, and how his faith grows when he is required to do everything on a list given to him by the pastor because of an incident he participated in. As his faith grows, the town starts to rally around him because of it. It’s very family friendly and is a very sweet, poignant G-rated film. Highly recommend this “5 star sleeper”!!!

    • Great addition, A. Heiser. 🙂 My friend is actually an extra in that movie and the whole thing was shot down here near Rosarito. I haven’t seen it yet, but our oldest (14) said it was great. Thanks for the feedback!

  2. Most of these are on my list too! But I found a few new ones. I would add an obscure Disney movie that might be hard to find but so worth it. Newsies. It’s set in new York late 1800’s when there were too many orphans on the street. Warning: its a musical but my boys LOVE it!!

    • Ooo… good point, Anonymous! I saw that one years ago, but don’t think my boys ever have. I wrote it down and will search for it. Thanks for sharing!

Leave a reply