Best Kids movies: Non animated for ages 4 and up


We try and roll a family movie night once a week at our place. This is something that the girls just adore – we have dinner early, get bathed and into pj’s early and then pack down on the couch to watch a movie all together. It means staying up later than usual, sometimes there is popcorn involved. We all snuggle down together, and it’s a device free zone…adults have to pay attention to the movie too. The only rule is: that we ALL have to agree on the movie. So there’s usually quite some time going through Apple TV and finding one that is just right.

Saturday night we had one and it was agreed that Jurassic Park would be it. I wasn’t convinced but Harper (4) told me she was FINE so down we sat. HOLY MOLY! I forgot just how full on it was….forget the 4 year old being scared I WAS SCARED. Harps and I hung onto each other and when it was finally done, we had an extra hour long going to sleep as I had to check on the girls every 4.6 seconds until they were assured, for certain, that 3 velociraptors weren’t going to come into their room.

I put it to the good people of Facebook, who know SO much what are some good movies for kids to watch when you are FINALLY out of animated films. There was so many great suggestions that I thought it warranted a collated list in a post, so everyone can refer back to them!


Wizard of Oz
Charlie & the Chocolate Factory
Mary Poppins
Bedknobs & Broomsticks
The Princess Bride
Herbie Goes Bananas (and other in the series)
Anne of Green Gables
Charlotte’s Web
Alice in Wonderland
The Parent Trap
The Secret Garden
Freaky Friday


The Sound of Music
Mamma Mia
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

80’s classics

The Goonies
Honey I shrunk the Kids (and others in the series)
The Never Ending Story
The Dark Crystal
The Karate Kid
Harry & The Hendersons
Back to the Future series
Storm Boy


Spy Kids
Narnia series
Bridge to Terabithia
Harry Potter series
Star Wars Series
Peter Pan
Indiana Jones
Percy Jackson series


Home Alone
Stuart Little
Free Willy
The Little Princess
Night at the Museum
Princess Diaries
Freaky Friday
Mrs Doubtfire
Nanny McPhee series
Mr Poppers Penguins
The Little Rascals
Homeward Bound
Diary of a Wimpy Kid (and others in the series)
James & The Giant Peach
The Witches
School of Rock
Lemony Snickets series of Unfortunate Events
The Great & Powerful Oz
Where the Wild Things Are
Fantastic Mr Fox
March of the Penguins
The Black Stallion
The Water Horse
Gulliver’s Travels

I know there are HEAPS that have been left off so make sure you add them in the comments below. Good films, not animated, that can be enjoyed from age 4 upwards for kids AND adults. Go!


  1. I got nothin’ for ya that is non animated but this is the first blog post I have bookmarked so I can come back to it AGAIN and AGAIN.. Thanks hun x

  2. Jackie Clark says

    With the Winter Olympics being on TV and the kids being really interested in them we recently watched Cool Runnings, all 3 of the Mighty Ducks and another called Ice Princess! All were a hit in our house!!

  3. Kim Brooks says

    School Of Rock – Starring Jack Black. A must see!

  4. Whitney Beckett Sigler says

    Where the Wild Things are
    Any of the Mary Kate & Ashley Movies
    Holes (4 year old?)
    The Black Stillon
    Mr. Popper’s Penguins
    Fly Away Home

    Homeward Bound Movies. Disney, love them all.

  5. (2005) movie starring Dennis Quaid and Rene Russo called Yours, Mine & Ours. Comes with high recommendation. (2003) movie starring Steve Martin called Cheaper by the Dozen, 1 & 2.
    (2006) movie called Aquamarine (has an Aussie vibe to it) still gets a run in our house with my 13 year old daughter. I love the (2004) movie Suddenly 30 starring Jennifer Garner (the dance scene to Thriller is awesome). If you like Jennifer Garner movies, (this ones for the adults only), Catch and Release (2006) Juliett Lewis has an interesting role. Sorry but i have to mention another for the adults (may be a little too romantically charged for the little ones) is the 1995 movie A Walk in the Clouds starring Keanu Reeves. My girls loved this movie but from an older age then your girls. I will stop now.

  6. ahoy.jenni says

    The ABC series Dead Gorgeous and My Place. Kids love them, I love them, dad doesn’t but hey.

  7. This is an awesome list and I loved all those 80s movies… but Grease? Maybe I’m uptight and those tunes are catchy but I don’t want my 6yo singing “did she put up a fight?” My daughter will have to watch that at someone else’s sleep over.

    • BabyMacBlogBeth says

      You’re right! I wouldn’t let my kids watch it for some time yet…there are waaaay too many things that aren’t age appropriate in there…not for some time yet.

  8. How about National Velvet? Are Heidi, Lassie, and Rin Tin Tin available in dvd’s? And Beethoven (the movie about the kids, the dogs, the camper) and one film with Tom Hanks about a dog that was pretty funny, but I can’t remember the name, just him in his underpants trying to crawl through the doggie door.

  9. kathrynbroomhall says

    My daughter (now 17) still loves The Little Princess – she cried her eyes out when she first watched, and still gets teary over the way people treat each other. Perfect for a rainy Saturday afternoon when Dad is at golf

  10. Turner & Hooch was the name of the Tom Hanks film.

  11. Don’t for gawd’s sake watch Old Yeller. I still haven’t gotten over it, and I’m grandmother age.

  12. Cassie Webster says

    LOVE this! Thank you for sharing, Beth.

  13. Lisa Smith says

    One I haven’t seen but heard is great is Parental Guidance with Billy Crystal and Bette Midler. Also there’s the Percy Jackson movies, but I think Harper would be too young for them, but Daisy may like them?? Might be best to check them out for yourself first, or google their reviews xx

  14. Tanya_blogreader says

    Free Willy

  15. Michele @ The Hills are Alive says

    Bridge to Teribithia is beautiful but not one Id be sharing with 4 and ups. Other lovely films Chestnut, 12 Dogs of Christmas, Because of Winn Dixie, Marley and Me the Puppy Years, Hotel for Dogs, Shiloh, Lassie, Benji, Marmaduke, Beethoven, An Incredible Journey, Homeward Bound, Milo and Otis….Space Buddies, Treasure Buddies etc all the dog ones (detect a theme here???LOL)

    We also love Spiderwick Chronicles but scary in parts so again not for 4yos

    The Golden Compass (older kids)

    Nanny McPhee series


    Narnia (prob not for the v littles)

    Lemony Snicket (older)

    The Secret Garden


    Dr Dolittle

    Night at the Museum 1 and 2

    Cheaper by the Dozen

    Daddy Day Care 1 and 2

    Meet the Parents (for bit older??? we have and 8 yo that watched it and ok but prob wouldnt go younger

    Mr Poppers Penguins

    It is animated but Brave and How to Train your Dragon both animated that adults can love too.

  16. Oh yes love Free Willy. The Little Princess my daughters loved as well. I think you have pretty much covered them.

  17. Home Alone, Ritchie Rich, The 12 Dancing Princesses, Uncle Buck….
    Can you do an animated list too as there are some pearlers in there and good for the new pezzas who just want to hit the good stuff… eg The Incredibles and Wall E xxx Leo xx

  18. mogantosh says

    I love this list! Filing it away. We love Mama Mia here. Saved from the shmaltz by the power of Meryl Streep. Also just did Star Wars for the first time last weekend. x

  19. Lisa Hayman says

    SPACE JAM! My 26-year-old husband’s favourite film 😉

  20. It’s a bit scary but Oz the Great and Powerful was a hit in our house too (even though James Franco annoys me, Rachel Weisz is deliciously wicked). The Muppets (new and old) are winners too. I loved Swiss Family Robinson as a kid, can you still get that?
    I love Golden Hollywood movies – so National Velvet (Elizabeth Taylor and Mickey Rooney together, swoon), It’s a Wonderful Life, Miracle of 34th Street.

  21. Lisa Mckenzie says

    I never want to see home alone again ever in my life as my daughter watched it 12 million times I think and Big daddy as well though you may not want your girls watching it but it us funny,I know it is sort of animated but I do love a shek movie especially the Christmas one!

  22. Is The Dark Crystal on there? Very weird and 80’s but very good nonetheless. I’ll definitely be hitting this list up in the future – If I have to watch Ninjago one more time, my head will implode.

  23. Michelle Lorimer says

    Yeah I’ll pin this, my 6yo and I love a good movie night. We have a lot of the muppet movies, my personal fave was Muppets from Space. LOVE school of rock, what about Gulliver’s Travels, with Jack Black. And an animated one but you may have missed it, it’s a bit left field is The Iron Giant. Oh and The Water Horse! And Dolphin Tale. Based on a true story about a dolphin. And The Big Miracle, based on a true story about whales!

    • We loved Dolphin Tale…nice that it’s a true story too. Next dolphin tale movie is coming out in Sept 2014. You can even watch the actual dolphin ‘Winter’ via webcams at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium.

  24. Did anyone suggest Chitty Chitty Bang Bang? We have watched it over and over, I just love Truly Scrumptious. My 4 year old never tires of it, the 9 year old did after about the 10th time. Any Astrid Lindgren movies, we have all the old ones in German. “Children from Bullerbu” is particularly nice and Pippi Longstocking. I always try for the original versions if possible. BBC Narnia series is a bit gentler than the newer one.
    Great list.

  25. Tara Lucas says

    ‘Second hand lions’… Oh how I adore this movie. X

  26. Hi. Great list! We’ve run out of ideas so this great. Storm boy?? Especially if you (and the kids) want to sob into a box of tissues! I still get little heart squeezes thinking about Mr Percival and I saw it last when I was 8 maybe? Also (and I know animated BUT) Hayao Miyazaki’s films fromStudio Ghibli? Spirited Away, My Neighbour Totoro, Howls moving castle? Princess mononoke? Absolutely amazing films – incredibly moving, thoughtful, beautifully beautifully drawn (by hand I think), films with strong female leads. In Japan apparently a whole generation of kids has grown up thinking there’s a creature called Totoro in the forests. Miyazaki is called Japan’s Disney but honestly he’s a gazillion times better (apart from the Pixar films and Brave maybe). Anyway, I’ll stop ranting now! Thanks again : )

    • BabyMacBlogBeth says

      Added in (Storm Boy) and I will have to watch Totoro with the girls…I’ve heard such great things about it.

  27. Love Bridge to Terabithia – I read it at school.

    Winter -a Dolphin’s Tale is a lovely one to watch – it’s about a disabled dolphin.

    This post brings back memories – mum would rent heaps of videos from the video shop when I was little and I’d stay home and watch them when on holidays and sick. I enjoyed Milo and Otis, Ritchie Rich, Honey I Shrunk the Kids, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda, Home Alone, Babe…

  28. Michele @ The Hills are Alive says

    I thought of some more:
    * FOX AND THE CHILD (magical, gorgeous, french, red haired girl, gorgeous animals what more can you ask for)
    * did I add the original old HEIDI – its super long so maybe a 2 part movie night (it has an intermission I think)
    * Because of Winn-Dixie
    * The Pirates of the Carribean 1 (maybe not for 4 year olds but pretty tame/funny for older kids)

    And I was going to add Dark Crystal. Willow. Princess Bride, Labyrinth all gorgeous and still watched over and over again at our place even though oldies but see they are on there.

  29. Daddy Daycare with Eddy Murphy and Dr Doolittle (1, 2 & 3) with Eddy Murphy. Hilarious!

  30. Lynda Dean says

    Napoleon (Australian and super cute), Storm Boy (super classic!), 7 Little Australians ( which is a series on DVD from the 1970’s but still holds up), Secondhand Lions ( great)! Animated kids after 13 years has brought me to the point of never wanting to see a talking animal EVER again!

  31. Wendy Sutcliffe says

    Bedtime Stories and Inkheart are two we had for family movie night that everyone enjoyed.

  32. Thank u for the list! love it!

  33. Larissa Peters says

    We watched Wayne’s World with our 4 and 7 year olds the other night. A hit with all!! I forgot how funny it is.

  34. Thanks for this we are always trying to think of good movies for the kids.

  35. some of these scared our kids (Jumanji, and labyrinth), and some have some very adult themes (Uncle buck. but pretty good list. SCI-FI: short circuit, flight of the navigator, Tron (original), shorts ACTION: Superman (Christopher reeves), Condorman, COMEDY: Bean on Holiday, Groundhog Day, Mall Cop, Nacho Libre Snow dogs DRAMA: Black beauty, eight below, dreamer

  36. merlyn karuna says

    don`t forget meangirls

  37. Drop Dead Fred is very funny.

  38. Pippy long stockings another great movie.

  39. The 10th Kingdom (TV Mini Series) is pretty awesome

  40. Arthur 1&2 half animated, little house on the prairie, touch by an Angel. Hilery Duff movies. Spy kids, all Shirley Temple movies. Annie with the dark Annie it’s different but the same


  1. […] updated the movie post from earlier this week too with all your suggestions. If you plan on having a family movie night […]

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