50 movies to keep the kids entertained this holiday season

17 December 2015 - 02:00 By Kate Henry
Image: IMDB

There comes a point in every holiday that you just want to lie down on the couch, grab a bucket of popcorn and watch a movie with the kids. Here are 50 entertaining movies that the whole family can enjoy

1) Inside Out

Ever wonder what's going on inside someone else's head? Journey into the head of Riley and meet Joy, Sadness, Fear, Anger and Disgust, emotions who try to guide Riley through life's ups and downs. (Read a review of Inside Out.)

 

 

2) Rise of the Guardians

A perfect Christmas Day - or any other day - movie to watch with the family. Join Jack Frost, Santa, the Easter Bunny, the Sandman and the Tooth Fairy as they battle the Boogey Man in defence of the dreams and hopes of children around the world.

 

 

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3) Despicable Me

Minions. Do we need to say more? Meet super villain Gru and his horde of zany yellow minions whose lives are forever changed when three adorable little girls move into their home. You can even make a feast of it by watching the sequel, Despicable Me 2 and the Minions movie.

 

 

4) Harry Potter

The world's favourite witches and wizards might have grown up, but the series is still a great way to entertain the family and with seven movies to choose from you can have a marathon or just pick your favourite.

 

 

5) Toy Story

You've got a friend in me... and Woody and Buzz. This popular animated movie, featuring your childhood toys come to life, has seen a spawn of sequels that still tug at the heartstrings 20 years after the original movie hit our screens.

 

 

6) Shrek

What happens when a grumpy ogre partners with a talkative donkey to rescue a feisty Princess who knows karate? Apparently several movies, a gaggle of ogre kids and a dragon. This popular movie series brings your favourite storybook characters to life.

 

 

7) Finding Nemo

"Just keep swimming, just keep swimming..." Before you watch the sequel, Finding Dory, which is coming soon, why not watch the original in which a brave little fish scours the ocean looking for his son with the help of a forgetful fish.

 

 

8) The Lego Movie

A movie based on a building blocks toy set can't be any good right? Well we dare you to watch this movie and not be humming Everything is Awesome days later...

 

 

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9) Frozen

By now you might be sick of being forced to play Let It Go in your car over and over and over and over... but that won't stop your kids from wanting to watch Frozen  yet again.

If you haven't already seen Anna set off on an epic journey to find her estranged sister, whose icy powers have inadvertently trapped the kingdom in eternal winter, well time to come out from under that rock and watch one of the most popular animated movies Disney has brought out in a long time. But that's not all! In addition to releasing a short animated movies - Frozen Fever - Disney has announced that Anna and Elsa will return for a full-length sequel in 2018.

 

 

10) Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

The latest cinematic adaptation of the famous children's book by Roald Dahl is definitely worth a watch. You'll join young Charlie Bucket and a group of eccentric contest winners on a tour of the magical and mysterious factory of eccentric candy maker Willy Wonka.

 

 

11) The Nightmare Before Christmas

Maybe not for the younger children, but Tim Burton's classic movie of a skeleton looking for something more than his Halloweentown can offer him - and inadvertently sabotaging Christmas along the way - is worth seeing.

 

 

12) Wall-E

Wall-E, the last robot left on Earth, spends his days tidying up the planet, one piece of rubbish at a time. His life takes a dramatic turn with the arrival of an advanced robot named Eve and he sets off on an epic adventure across the galaxy - one that might just hold the key to the survival of the human race.

 

 

13) Babe

It's been 20 years since the little pig who thought he was a sheepdog trotted into our lives - maybe its time to introduce him to your kids?

 

 

14) Madagascar

We've had three movies - four if you count the Penguins of Madagascar spin-off - so why not watch four animals from the New York Zoo traverse the wilds of Madagascar... then Africa... then the Circus... okay they didn't actually spend that much time in Madagascar but we're not complaining.

 

 

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15) Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events

After the three young Baudelaire siblings are left orphaned by a fire in their mansion, they are carted off to live with their cruel, scheming relative Count Olaf who is only after their inheritance. The children escape and find shelter with their quirky Uncle Monty and phobic Aunt Josephine, but Olaf is never far behind.

 

 

16) Nanny McPhee

Mary Poppins with warts and attitude - this is one magical nanny you don't want to mess with, which the seven unruly Brown children learn all too quickly. But by the time she's through, you'll want her to stay... and wonder where those warts have gone.

 

 

17) George of the Jungle

It's corny, but man it's lovable. After all it has a talking Gorilla, an elephant who think he's a dog and then there's George, the Tarzan-like apeman who discovers the big city and more importantly, the gorgeous Ursula.

 

 

18) Charlotte's Web

Much in the same vein as Babe (see number 13), this movie centers around a little pig and a spider's determined efforts to save him from the farmer's chopping block. This lovely classic movie is a must.

 

 

19) The Lion King

You cannot possibly have a list of family movies and not include The Lion King. In this instance we suggest you skip the sequels and just watch the original movie, where you'll cry and laugh along with Simba on his journey to fight his evil uncle Scar and become the next king of the lions.

 

 

20) Akeelah and the Bee

11-year-old Akeelah discovers she has a talent for spelling, one she hopes will take her to the National Spelling Bee. With the help of a mysterious teacher, Akeelah refuses to give up on her dream, inspiring her community along the way.

 

 

21) Spirited Away

This animated feature, created by noted Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki, centers around 10-year-old Chihiro who is forced to work in a supernatural amusement park after her mother and father are turned into giant pigs. If you like this one, you might also like to watch some of Studio Ghibli's other works including Howl's Moving Castle, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind and Princess Mononoke.

 

 

22) Race to Witch Mountain

Dwayne Johnson - AKA The Rock - plays a Las Vegas taxi driver who is swept up in an adventure when a pair of alien children end up in his cab. He is forced to help them find their spaceship in order to prevent an alien invasion. Overall it's not a bad remake of the 1975 Disney movie Escape to Witch Mountain.

 

 

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23) Up

Russell, an earnest young Wilderness Explorer, inadvertently tags along on elderly widower Carl's journey to the wilds of South America to complete a promise made to his late wife, Ellie.

 

 

24) The Little Mermaid

Hard to believe, but this animated undersea romp is 26 years old this year. Mermaid Ariel is so fascinated with the world beyond her ocean she defies her controlling father and makes a deal with a sea witch to get a taste of life on land - only to meet a handsome prince along the way.

 

 

25) Cinderella

While most fairy tales are getting the revisionist nod, Kenneth Brannagh goes old school as he bring to the screen the classic rags-to-riches story of Cinderella. You'll be delighted by this enchanted world of pumpkins, fairy godmothers, wicked stepmothers and, of course, glass slippers.

 

 

26) Aladdin

Genies, lamps, flying carpets and a poor boy making good. Go on, you know you want to watch it.

 

 

27) Hotel Transylvania

Dracula is not a blood-sucking fiend, well, not anymore. Now he runs a monster-friendly hotel in the heart of Transylvania and is trying his best to raise his little girl. Unfortunately a human boy who stumbles into his home threatens to lay waste to all his carefully laid plans - and run away with his daughter's heart.

 

 

28) Beauty and the Beast

Can Beauty see past the Beast's vicious exterior and find the good man inside? Will true love conquer all? Will the candlestick and the teapot ever be human again? Rewatch this classic Disney movie with your kids so they can find out for themselves.

 

 

29) How to Train Your Dragon

When Hiccup, a bumbling young viking, teams up with an injured dragon called Toothless, the village of Berk - and the entire viking world - will never be the same. If you enjoy this film, you'll be pleased to know there's a sequel, How to Train Your Dragon 2, and that a third movie is also in the works.

 

 

30) The Incredibles

Being a superhero is hard. You save people from burning buildings, stop bank robbers, prevent disasters and how does the world thank you? By forcing you into hiding. Only it's hard to keep a good superhero down. Watch the ultimate midlife crisis unfold as Mr Incredible tries to rekindle his heroic spark without getting in trouble from his super-powered wife and kids.

 

 

31) Enchanted

If Cinderella (see number 25) embraces the classic tropes of years past, Enchanted tosses them out the window. Princess Giselle thinks all she needs is a prince to live happily ever after, but after being thrown out of her magical world and into New York City she discovers life's a little more complicated than that.

 

 

32) Spy Kids

It's hard to believe how many movies this series has spawned  - or how it continues to pull in big name actors. But the kids seem to like it, so settle down, ignore the bad acting and just enjoy the ride.

 

 

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33) Kung-Fu Panda

With Kung-Fu Panda 3 ready to hit our screens early next year, it's time to recap how it all started and return to the world of Po and the Furious Five who use Kung-Fu to defend the animals of China.

 

 

34) Wreck-it Ralph

Fed-up with being an arcade game 'villain', Ralph decides to take matters into his own hands and sets off on a game-hopping mission to prove even a bad guy can be a hero.

 

 

35) Mulan

War is coming to China and the Emperor is summoning one man from each family. To stop her father from going, Mulan steals his armour and joins the army in his place, ready to defend China against the Hun invasion with the help of her loyal steed, a wisecracking dragon and a lucky cricket.

 

 

36) The Princess and the Frog

Tiana dreams of opening a restaurant but, in a twist of fate, she kisses a frog and ends up going on an epic adventure through the New Orleans bayou.

 

 

37) The Spongebob Movie: Sponge Out of Water

When a diabolical pirate above the sea steals the secret Krabby Patty formula, the ever-cheerful SpongeBob and his nemesis Plankton must team up in order to get it back.

 

 

38) Mary Poppins

A magical nanny helps a wealthy, uptight Banks family find true happiness with the help of some catchy tunes. If you like Nanny McPhee (see number 16) you definitely need to watch this.

 

 

39) The Wizard of Oz (1939)

You could watch Oz, the recent remake of the classic tale that chronicles how a normal man became the titular wizard - or you can  go back to the beginning and watch the original film that still tops the list of Rotten Tomatoes Top 100 Kids & Family Movies.

 

 

40) Maleficent

Was one of the most evil villains in Disney history actually good? After a terrible betrayal hardens Maleficent's heart she becomes a creature bent on revenge as she engages in an epic battle with the king of an invading army threatening her home. She goes as far as to curse his newborn daughter only to realise the girl may hold the key to peace between their two lands.

 

 

41) Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Ever had one of those days where everything, and we mean absolutely everything goes wrong? Alexander does every day and now it's time for his 'perfect' family to experience one as well.

 

 

42) Night at the Museum

This is no ordinary museum. When the people leave and the sun goes down, all the animals, birds, bugs and other exhibits come to life thanks to an ancient Egyptian curse. It will be up to the museum's new night watchman to maintain order - but it won't be easy.

 

 

43) Mathilda

A Roald Dahl classic, this is the heartwarming story of a clever little girl with special powers who joins forces with her wonderful teacher to confront her horrible parents - and the worst school principle imaginable. If you like this you might also want to watch James and the Giant Peach and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (see number 10).

 

 

44) Monsters Inc

Remember when your parents said there was nothing lurking under your bed? Turns out they were wrong. But never fear for the Monsters of this tale are more frightened of us than we are of them - which is a bit of a problem as they need the screams of little children to power their cities. So when a young girl stumbles into their world, expect fun and mayhem to ensue. If you love this movie also watch the prequel Monsters University where our heroes first meet.

 

 

45) Diary of a Wimpy Kid

Based on the first book of the series by Jeff Kinney, the movie is all about a boy named Greg and his struggles in middle school.

 

 

46) The Croods

In this fun prehistoric romp, a family of cavemen are forced out of the comfort and safety of their home and to save themselves from impending destruction, they'll have to - gasp - try new things. Luckily they have the help of a more evolved caveman and his trusty sidekick, Belt.

 

 

47) Ice Age

Follow prehistoric trio of Manny the mammoth, Sid the sloth and Diego the sabretooth tiger as they join forces to survive in a dramatically changing world, finding amazing places - and love - along the way. With a new movie, Ice Age: Collision Course, coming out next year, it's the perfect time to rewatch the first four movies in the series with the kids.

 

 

48) Brave

Princess Merida is not looking for a prince, has no desire to sew, cook, or do any of the 'princessly' duties expected of her - much to the chagrin of her mother. Determined to forge her own path in life, Merida is forced to rely on her courage and her impressive archery skills to save the day after a wish goes horribly wrong.

 

 

49) Spud

Based on a the bestselling South African novel of the same name, Spud chronicles the adventures of a young boy as he sets off to boarding school for the first time. And yes, there's a sequel or two.

 

 

50) Happy Feet

Singing, dancing penguins go on a quest to stop the 'aliens' from destroying their home - no real spoiler that the aliens in this instance happen to be humans. This heartwarming tale about accepting differences, perseverance, courage and changing things for the better is the perfect movie to round off our list.