Kids, how time flies! A hundred years of film history have produced dozens of wonderful kids’ movies, and the Disney classics alone would probably be able to top this list. Let’s now go on a colorful tour with many nice memories.
1. The Jungle Book (1967)
Foundling Mowgli grows up in the jungle with a family of wolves. When he’s ten years old, Bagheera the panther and Baloo the bear are Mogli’s best friends. Only Shir Kan, the man-eating tiger, is unhappy about Mogli’s presence in the jungle. He chases the boy and wants to kill him. Of course, Mogli’s pals try everything to save him. On the way, they meet the elephant company, the crazy monkey king King Louie and the weird giant snake Kaa, who also wants to eat Mowgli.
2. The Lion King (1994)
When Simba, the lion prince, is born, the African animal kingdom is beside itself. Only Simba’s uncle does not like the arrival of the little heir to the throne because he is thirsty for power. Without further ado, he kills Simba’s father and blames the young prince for his death. Simba flees, filled with guilt and grief. He meets his “surrogate parents” on the way: meerkat Timon and the constantly farting warthog Pumbaa. Ultimately, Simba confronts the nasty Scar, finds his princess, and finally ascends the throne as the new Lion King!
Wonderfully epic work about the river of life and the king of beasts. To this day one of the most successful films from the Disney forge and undoubtedly one of the best children’s films of all time!
3. Harry Potter (2001 to 2011)
For ten years, millions of viewers of all ages have followed the journey and growth of the sorcerer’s apprentices, Harry, Ron, and Hermione (Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson). Harry, scarred by life through the loss of his parents and living with nasty relatives, must face evil again and again. That appears especially in the form of the nasty wizard Voldemort. In contrast, friendship, budding love, fantastic magic, and a completely new look at the rather dull world of the Muggles.
The material could not have been better brought to the screen, and the films are popular with girls and boys alike because of the skillful mix between action and magic.
4. Home Alone (1990)
Unbelievable but true, the MacAllister family forgets their youngest son on the way to the Christmas vacation! Kevin (Macaulay Culkin) is actually quite happy about this, as he finally has some peace and can watch TV to his heart’s content. He also goes shopping, cooks, and shaves. When two weird burglars take notice of the little guy, the adventure really begins. Kevin simulates a reception with guests made of paper-mâché, smears stairs with glue, and sets up all kinds of traps for his two pursuers. When Mum arrives on time for Christmas, little Kevin coolly explains that he was just bored.
One of the greatest cinema hits of the 1990s with a wonderful leading actor and extra laughs!
5. The Neverending Story (1984)
Bastian (Barret Oliver) magically ends up in the story of an old book. In the fantastic parallel world of Phantásien, he meets the Childlike Empress and her warrior Atréju. The empress is ill, the void increasingly swallows Phantásia, and the warrior travels the whole country searching for a cure. Bastian is always there as an observer until he understands that he is the only one who can save the kingdom. But he does not feel like a hero at all!
The film version of the novel by Michael Ende was a marvel of animation technology and visual realization at that time. Despite all the fantastic creatures, the story is pure and clear and gets along without kitsch and unnecessary moral messages. Legendary and the favorite of all children, besides the brave warrior, is Falkor, the cuddly giant dragon who takes Bastian to Phantásia!
6. Marry Poppins (1964)
The Banks family lives in the dreary London of the early 20th century. Century. Father Banks is a strict banker, and the mother is absorbed in the women’s movement of the time. Meanwhile, Jane and Michael’s children sit bored in their nursery and scare away one strict governess after another. Everything changes when the wind blows the adorable nanny Mary Poppins (Julie Andrews) into the house.
With Mary Poppins and her friend, the chimney sweep Jim (Dick van Dyke), the two go from now on fantastic journeys over the roofs of London and into squeaky-colorful fantasy worlds. When the wind shifts again, Mary Poppins disappears down the chimney into a new adventure. Timeless, a classic, and beautiful to dream about!
7. Finding Nemo (2003)
Nemo is born with a crippled fin and is closely guarded by daddy Marlin. Disaster strikes when Nemo swims far beyond the local reef on a dare. A diver catches the little clown fish and takes him to the home aquarium. Papa Marlin sets off on a fast-paced rescue mission, where he meets all sorts of weird and lovable ocean inhabitants.
Forgetful, Dory doesn’t want to leave his side because she keeps forgetting that sad Marlin doesn’t want her company. In the end, everyone meets again on the colorful reef, and aquarium lovers hopefully only buy farmed fish since Nemo!
8. Free Willy (1993)
Jesse (Jason James Richter) has to work hours at the amusement park after leaving smearings there. In the process, he makes friends with Willy, an orca considered to be extraordinarily difficult. The boy finally manages to win the trust of the black and white killer whale, and the two rehearse some tricks.
Jesse eventually gets word that the nasty park owner wants to kill the whale to get his hands on the insurance premium. With co-workers Rae (Lori Petty) and Randolph (August Schellenberg), he orchestrates a spectacular rescue operation that ultimately ends with the whale’s massive leap to freedom. Unusual friendships between children and animals have been among the most popular adventures for young and old since the beginning of film history.
9. Encanto (2021)
In this Disney movie musical, a magical family lives in a magical house in Colombia. Things are about to get very interesting in a house where magic abounds, and each inhabitant has a special ability or power. But a young girl named Mirabel is frustrated that she has no powers. Her inability, however, could turn into her family’s greatest ability when her magic is on the line.
10. The Last Unicorn (1982)
In a picturesque dreamy world where it never gets winter, the last unicorn wonders if she is really the only remaining specimen of her kind. A chatty butterfly immediately brings the answer and tells the unicorn about King Haggard and the Red Bull. The bitter old man had all the unicorns driven in by the bull. He keeps them under the sea’s surface by an evil spell and enjoys their sight every night.
The last unicorn meets the hapless wizard Schmendrick and the lovable but lonely Molly Grue on their quest. Together they set off for the king’s castle. To protect the unicorn, a spell transforms her into a beautiful young woman. In the end, the unicorns return to the world, and even the last unicorn transforms again and returns to the forest.
Beautiful children’s classic with a great movie song and unique characters. A must-see for all children to this day!
11. Alice in Wonderland (1951 and 2010)
Disney brought Lewis Carroll’s book to the big screen for the first time as an animated version. Alice, bored with her life, wishes in her mind to go far away to another world without the constricting rules. She promptly encounters a snow-white bunny with a pocket watch who is in an unusual hurry. In addition to the rabbit, she soon encounters many other fabulous characters: the Mad Hatter, talking teacups, and the mysterious Cheshire Cat are just a few of them. Finally, Alice meets the nasty Queen of Hearts, who really harms this fantastic world with her cold-heartedness.
Fifty years later, after the animated version, technology finally allowed for a whole new, squeaky-clean, and lifelike film adaptation of the material. Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter and Mia Wasikowska took us to a 3D wonderland in 2010. Great, no matter in which makeup and from which era! The story is so delightfully crazy and makes you want to see the world through new eyes.
12. Monsters, Inc. (2001)
Sulley and Mike are actually monsters; how they can not be imagined as more affectionate and correct. Especially the blue Sulley would never hurt anybody. Nevertheless, he earns his money in Monster AG. Night after night, he and several colleagues haunt the children in their beds and scare them most terribly. For Sulley and Mike, a job they never questioned.
The monster city lives from the energy of the screaming children until one of them accidentally gets into the world of the monsters and turns it from now on completely upside down! The moral of the story: the horror it’s not worth it! Laugh with the cuddly blue monster and Mike Glotzkovski!
13. Vivo (2021)
Vivo is an animated film about a singing kinkajou. This small monkey-like creature must travel from Havana, Cuba, to Miami, Florida, to deliver a song on behalf of his owner and mentor. Through the power of music, Vivo embarks on an epic journey where he learns about teamwork and the transformative power of love.
The film has some sad moments and deals with difficult issues like people dying, but the vivid landscapes, catchy music, and strong themes make it a valuable addition to our kids’ movie collection.
14. Lego the Movie (2014)
The adventure around the cult building blocks tells the story of the simple construction worker Emmet. He thinks he’s nothing special but gets caught up in a wild adventure when the adventurous Wildstyle mistakes him for the chosen “master builder.” His mission from now on is no less than to save the Lego world from the chief villain Lord Business.
Along the way, the supposed hero meets new idols and comrades-in-arms: Batman, the blind mystic master Vitruvius, the princess of Cloud Cuckoo Land Unicorn Kitty, and many more quirky characters. In the end, Emmet meets the boy Finn, who has created the entire Lego universe through his imagination alone and finally gives Emmet faith in himself.
Wonderfully wacky journey through the world of building blocks with lots of fun references to other children’s movie classics and superheroes!
15. Charly and the Chocolate Factory (2005)
Willy Wonka (Johnny Depp) is the eccentric director of a secret candy factory. Disappointed by the world and the greed of mankind, the latter has been hiding behind the walls and gates of his factory for decades. But at some point, he realizes that he needs a successor. He promptly raffles off tickets via his chocolate bars, which are much sought-after by children worldwide.
The race is finally won by the poor little Charly (Freddie Highmore). Before that, we experience a funny competition, in which rather less lovable children throw themselves out of the race one after the other by their bad habits. The cute competition is always interrupted by the bizarre appearance of the singing little Oompa-Loompa. In 1971 the material was already filmed with Gene Wilder and Peter Ostrum.
The remake with the wonderfully crazy Johnny Depp is by far the better film in this case!
16. Cruella (2021)
In this Disney film, Emma Stone plays a young Cruella de Vil, a fashion designer obsessed with Dalmatians. But she was not always so vicious. Cruella, who grew up as Estella, has always been interested in fashion. When she meets the Baroness, a fashion designer, she is offered a job in her fashion house. But when Estella makes discoveries about the Baroness, the two fashionable women soon become rivals, leading her to become the infamous villainess people know and love.
17. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
His cronies have simply forgotten E.T. is on the run. He saves himself in the shed of a nearby house and is discovered there by the ten-year-old boy Elliott (Henry Thomas). An intense friendship develops between the two. When government officials track down and detain the friendly alien, he and Elliot fall ill with a mysterious disease.
The children finally succeed E.T. rescued from the evacuation station and returned to the nearby forest on their iconic BMX bikes. The “phone home” mission is a great success, and E.T. Is picked up by a spaceship. Admittedly, beautiful and cute was E.T. really not. Nevertheless, all loved the wrinkled guy from the universe. The film was a huge hit and was one of the most successful films of all time for a long time!
18. The girls from Immenhof (1955)
Dick (Angelika Meissner), Dalli (Heidi Brühl), and dozens of Icelandic ponies provided an extra dose of excitement for all children in post-war Germany. The story tells the fate of the small romantic pony farm of Grandma Jantzen. For decades, the old lady has been successfully breeding ponies, but lately, the neighbor’s fancy riding circus has given her a hard time.
The old lady and the farm are in serious financial trouble, and the girls want to try everything to save the farm and the ponies. When the snooty Ethelbert from the city comes to visit, worlds collide.
This film is one of the early German children’s film classics, perhaps a bit dusty today, but still a must-see for all girls and horse lovers!
19. The Mitchells vs. The Machines (2021)
This animated film tells the story of a teenage girl who was accepted to the film school of her dreams. But when their whole family takes a road trip to get them to college, their plans are interrupted by a technology uprising, and it’s up to them to save the world. It’s not an easy task, but since the family sticks together, they manage to outsmart the machines and save the world.
How would it be there with a family reunion? Let’s just say that this is no ordinary family outing.
20. Toy Story (1995)
If you think toys don’t have a soul, you’re wrong! As soon as little Andy is out of the door, things get going in his toys’ world. The undisputed boss of the troupe and, at the same time, Andy’s favorite is the cowboy doll, Woody. When the arrogant Buzz Lightyear moves in for his birthday, the nursery is turned upside down.
Not only does the snooty guy from outer space think he’s a real astronaut, but he quickly chases Woody away from his rank with Andy! The frustrated cowboy just wants to get rid of the competitor and sets up a plot he soon regrets. At first, at odds, the two toy heroes eventually reconcile.
Toy Story was the first Pixar movie. Toy Story was one of the first films to bring a completely new kind of animation to the screen. The likable toys and the great visuals delighted adults and children alike.
21. The Double Lotto& A twin rarely comes alone (1950& 1998)
The story by Erich Kästner was unforgettably filmed for two generations. Both times the two girls meet by chance and find out that they look alike and are actually twins. Torn apart at a very early age by their parents’ separation, they did not know of each other’s existence. Disappointed with their parents the Lottchen decide now to do a prank. Secretly swapping roles, they skillfully hoodwink their parents.
While the 1950 version strictly adhered to the novel, the remake was more free-spirited. In the original, Isa and Jutta Günther played the twins. In the 1998 remake, young star Lindsey Lohan took on both parts in a dual role, and of course, the action was then moved to the U.S. Both films are worth seeing and are a beautiful document of the passing of time!
22. Raya and the Last Dragon (2021)
Humans and dragons once lived together in the fantasy world of Kumandra but were driven out by monsters. When the monsters return, it’s up to lone warrior Raya to find the last dragon and stop them for good. But her journey is not easy. Luckily, with the help of some new friends, trust, and a lot of teamwork, they manage to track down the last dragon and restore peace to the world.
As if that weren’t intriguing enough, the film also features a positive gender portrayal with Raya’s leadership qualities and positive character strengths.
23. Elf (2003)
Buddy came as a baby with Santa Claus to the North Pole. Loving elves raised him. The little boy finally grows up to be a handsome guy and doesn’t fit into the cute world of the elves anymore. With a good portion of naivety, the giant elf goes back among the people. But when he arrives in their world, the good-natured Buddy is amazed at how hard-hearted and nasty the humans are!
The hunky Will Ferrell as a dorky, loving giant elf is a hoot for the whole family! Wonderful situation comedy and slapstick will make young and old laugh till their stomachs hurt!
24. Mrs. Doubtfire (1993)
To spend more time with his beloved children again, Daniel (Robin Williams), who is going through a divorce, has a crazy idea: disguised as a woman, he hires a nanny for his ex Miranda (Sally Field), who has sole custody of the kids. For Daniel/Mrs. Doubtfire, the game of hiding and seek, become a funny test of endurance. When Mrs. Doubtfire is found out, Miranda reacts bitterly and is disappointed at first. In the end, Daniel gets partial custody of his beloved children.
Robin Williams is always hilarious and a loving father who does not give up.
25. Finding ‘Ohana (2021)
Two siblings who grew up in Brooklyn embark on an epic adventure with new friends during their summer in rural O’ahu to find a long-lost treasure. But their search brings them much more difficulties and challenges than expected. This Netflix original movie is the perfect movie for the little adventurers in your family.
The film stands out for the positive portrayal of the characters and the positive message to treat each other with respect, kindness, and love, regardless of race or gender. It’s message parents can get behind.
26. Luca (2021)
Luca tells the story of a little boy who spends an unforgettable summer in an Italian coastal town. The highlight? He is a sea monster who can turn into a human boy as soon as he leaves the water. While Luca learns to love life on land (especially shiny, motorized Vespas), his parents set out to find their missing son, who is not allowed to leave his family home. While Luca tries to avoid his parents and those who want to discover his true identity, he learns to enjoy life’s best parts and stand out from the rest.
Luca is a sweet movie with a heartwarming, important message that all young and old viewers can take to heart.
27. Pippi Longstocking (1973)
Everybody loves Pippi Longstocking! The freaky, strong, and fun-loving maverick was an inspiration and role model for generations of children. Pippi takes us on a journey to a completely different world, where nails taste good, monkeys wear knitted sweaters, and the dear big uncle is always ready for an exit on the veranda of Villa Kunterbunt. She doesn’t want to be put into a children’s home by the staid Puselise, nor does she let her best friends Tommy and Annika stop her from having any crazy ideas.
Wonderful, colorful, sometimes gently tragic, but wonderfully touching and crazy! Pippi is loved by boys and girls alike to this day. There have been attempts at remakes, but in this case, nothing comes close to the original.
28. Happy Feet (2006)
29. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005)
30. Snow Queen (2013)
31. Up (2009)
32. Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971)
33. Asterix the Gaul (1967)
34. The Incredibles (2004)
35. Beauty and the Beast (1991)
36. Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs (2009)
37. Peter Pan (2003)
38. Maleficent (2014)
39. Back To The Future (1985)
40. I Am Sam (2001)
41. Minions (2015)
42. Zootopia (2016)
43. The Fox and the Hound (1981)
44. How to Train Your Dragon (2010)
45. Ice Age (2002)
46. Cars (2006)
47. The Little Mermaid (1989)
48. Despicable Me 2 (2013)
49. Dumbo (2019)
50. Toy Story 3 (2010)
Those who are now horrified to find that “Lassie,” “Momo,” “Snow White,” “Oliver Twist,” “Cinderella” and many more are missing are absolutely right! Whoever misses these and many other protagonists are now invited to continue to complete the list in spirit and to revel in beautiful cinema and television memories alone or together with your own children! Have fun!