30 Movies to Watch With Your Family

30 Movies to Watch With Your Family

When my dad and aunt were visiting for Thanksgiving, they wanted to watch a movie. So, I racked my brain for a fun movie without intense sex scenes or excessive swearing. (My dad’s a stickler.) We finally settled on Good Will Hunting, and it was perfect. So! In case you’ll be hanging out with relatives for the holidays, here’s a list of 30 crowd-pleasing, non-awkward movies…

Oscar Winners:
Shakespeare in Love
Good Will Hunting (These behind-the-scenes facts are awesome.)
Slumdog Millionaire

The Shawshank Redemption
Silver Linings Playbook
The Devil Wears Prada
The Firm
The Grand Budapest Hotel

Oldies But Goodies:
Stand by Me
Princess Bride
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

High Fidelity
Burn After Reading
Coming to America
Best in Show

Jerry Maguire
Something’s Gotta Give
Bridget Jones’s Diary
Enough Said (I saw this the other day, and it was really good.)

The Whole Family:
Back to the Future
The Karate Kid
Shrek, always and forever :)

Grand Hotel Budapest

Thoughts? Any others to add to the list?

P.S. 30 more movies to watch with your relatives

(Photos from Good Will Hunting and The Grand Budapest Hotel.)

  1. Charlie says...

    Great list!
    Some advice, DON’T watch ‘Girls’ with your parents!!!

  2. Betsy says...

    Great list! But from experience when I was a teenager and sitting down to watch Jerry Maguire with my grandmother and relatives still has left me traumatized. The opening sex scene. Oye!

  3. LAUREN says...

    Whaa?? I would NEVER watch Burn After Reading with anyone in my family. Oh my…
    I would also feel uncomfortable sitting next to my parents during some of the scenes in High Fidelity and Coming to America.

  4. In our family, we like busting out the spoofs — “Naked Gun” series, “Spaceballs,” “Scary Movie,” “Spy Hard.”

  5. LoisAnn says...

    You must have watched “Airplane” versions of many of these movies. Much of Good Will Hunting’s dialogue grossed me out.

  6. Stephanie says...

    Offering up some of my faves:

    While You Were Sleeping
    You’ve Got Mail
    Auntie Mame
    Stranger than Fiction*
    Oceans 11-13
    Die Hard **

    *Underrated and highly awesome.
    **Because young Bruce Willis is a fine Bruce Willis.

  7. Heidi says...

    Fun, thanks for the list! However, I laughed when I read your suggestion of Argo, as my first association is the oft-repeated line in the movie, “Argo fuck yourself!” Not exactly curse-free ;)

  8. Such a fantastic list. I’ve seen most of these but I discovered 2-3 that I’m going to definitely watch next. I absolutely love Clueless and Ferris Bueller’s day off. Two of my favourites!

  9. I loved Matilda as a child! Probably one of my favorite movies! Such a good list!

  10. Susan M. says...

    Love these; will bookmark lists. Goodies that haven’t been mentioned (at least not much): for everyone: Fiddler on the Roof; Billy Elliot; for adults, Blackadder, which will have you in stitches as you go through the ages. The Victorian age has a perfect Christmas send-up. Also, for parents and grandparents, think about their favorite actor or actress. For my dad, a Bogart movie will usually be great, or possibly a spy thriller or detective. For my mother-in-law, she liked detectives and romantic comedies. She loved Sleepless in Seattle, and basically one of the older Hugh Grant comedies would fit the bill. Also, this next one is a little goofy, but good for whole family including toddlers: animal movies like Beethoven (I know). My mother-in-law was a big animal lover, especially dogs, so this was perfect and nice and safe. Also, Muppet Christmas and Charlie Brown. For me, I love the classics like Meet Me in St Louis, Christmas in Connecticut, Philadelphia Story, Miracle on 34th St, The Man Who Came to Dinner, Holiday Affair. Love Actually is Actually Sex. Everyone gets into “relationships” without actually having any intelligent or emotional exchange — just pure physical attraction, often without words. Which may be okay for one relationship in a film that offers many, but for a whole array of relationships to be reduced to the same formula, bleh. Just because the setting involves Christmas doesn’t really make it Christmassy — and it’s uncomfortable to watch with parents/grandparents. Great cast, lousy film.

  11. Natalie says...

    For family movies, I love pretty much all of the Pixar movies

  12. pm says...

    This is an awesome list! Thank you so much. :)

  13. Cheryl says...

    God where was this when we rented Sausage Party???

    • Cheryl says...

      …the next day someone brought up Planes Trains and Automobiles and we all groaned, “why didn’t we watch that?!”
      Those aren’t pillows…

  14. Clau says...

    My oldest loves watching Matilda and she is only four. Then she will ask if that girl can cook and walk the street on her own, why can´t she, ha!

  15. Megan says...

    Why is “family” assumed to mean “children”?

    • Megan says...

      By which I mean in the below comments?

  16. Teesa says...

    Geez, do I feel old. The Sting, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Jeremiah Johnson, The Electric Horseman, Barefoot in the Park. Yeah, I know, always had a thing for Bob. I could probably say all of his movies and The Verdict is a great underdog movie, superbly done. Glad to see The Whale Rider and The Secret Garden on here for kids! Great lists, thanks Joanna!

  17. Sarah says...

    A lot of the movies listed are not family friendly though, due to partial nudity and sexual innuendos etc, Goodwill Hunting, The Shawshank Redemption, The Devil Wears Prada, Clueless, Jerry Maguire, Hitch, Bridget Jones’s Diary.

  18. Jennifer C. says...

    We just watched the new live action Jungle Book streaming on Netflix now and it was FABULOUS! Our nieces were visiting and it was perfect for them and perfect for us! Highly recommend it!

  19. Julianna says...

    My husband introduced me to Uncle Buck, I’d never seen it before and now it’s a favorite!

  20. Jamie says...

    That’s funny- my conservative grandparents walked out of the theatre where they were seeing Good Will Hunting because of the dirty joke Minnie Driver’s character tells!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh my gosh, no way! haha that’s so funny.

  21. ZMS says...

    As Good As It Gets.
    Untouchables. (French)


    • Correction: Intouchables (French)

  22. Beccy says...

    One of my all time favorite ones is Family Stone.

  23. around the holidays, we’re suckers for the 90s classics we grew up with: Christmas Vacation & Home Alone (which, fun fact, were John Hughes’ movies – although most people associate him with his Molly Ringwald years!)

  24. Ann says...

    Would add Love Actually, but not for little kids. Love the final scene with the Beach Boys, God Only Knows, song in the background. Love it!

    • Brooke says...

      I do like Love Actually, but the porn star stand-in scenes would make my conservative relatives give me some serious judgement lol

  25. May says...

    Great List

    Ditto on Mr Popper’s Penguins, Elf, The Holiday, and Four Weddings and a Funeral
    3 Godfathers with John Wayne
    Out of Africa
    The Lion in Winter 1968
    On Golden Pond

    • Norahl says...

      Love The Lion in Winter… but it does have adult themes…

  26. Andrea says...

    I remember loving Tim Burton’s Big Fish… this reminds me I should watch it again. Also… I may be late to the party on this, but I recently discovered that IMDB has a parent’s guide section if you look up a movie that will give you more specifics than just “PG-13″… like how many times they say a particular swear word or describing what kind of violence or that the only nudity is a brief view of a naked buttocks, etc. Helpful!

  27. I would add One Fine Day, Father of the Bride, Creed, Baby’s Day Out, The Little Rascals, Princess Diaries and Breakfast at Tiffany’s to the list!

    Great, fun post, btw!

  28. I love these suggestions. We just watched Matilda with our daughter. I thought that she might bee too young but she loved it. I would add Midnight in Paris, maybe just because my mom loves it and since her birthday is on Christmas we have ended up watching it the past few years.

  29. caitlin says...

    Great list! I also love Moonrise Kingdom. Great story, pleasing for all ages.

  30. JenMarie says...

    These are for grownup family watching, I think:
    Someone else mentioned it, but “A Room with a View” really holds up. It’s gorgeous and funny.
    Groundhog Day is a good option. And it’s never a bad idea to bust out the Godfather movies. Early goofy Woody Allen is great, too (Love & Death, Sleeper). Lawrence of Arabia, Close Encounters, Singin’ in the Rain, His Girl Friday. And for reasons I still don’t fully understand, we used to always watch the original Terminator movie on Christmas.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      omg i LOVED a room with a view. such a great movie, and a beautiful book.

  31. Lauren says...

    While you were Sleeping! It’s currently on Netflix (bonus!). It’s delightfully funny, not too long, and there’s absolutely no sex scenes or cursing. Plus, Sandra Bullock is SO young and Bill Pullman is so handsome :)

  32. Monika Melo says...

    Great list!! Thanks.

    I suggest to add:

    1) Oscar Winers:
    Dances with wolves
    Rocky (I)
    The Untouchables

    2) Oldies:
    When Harry met Sally
    Pretty Woman
    Indiana Jones (I and II)
    Steel Magnolias

    3) The Whole Family
    August Rush
    Star Wars (any of them)
    Tarzan (either the Disney version or the new one)
    Secret lives of pets
    The Intouchables (French movie)

  33. Aline says...

    Last night I remembered a movie I have seen ages ago: “The Birdcage” with Robin Williams. Its about a club owner and his son, who wants to marry the daughter of a conservative politician. Its said to be one of the funniest movies of the 90’s!

    • Jill Palumbo says...

      This is one of my favorite movies! Love the actors/actresses and it still makes me laugh every time I watch it.

    • Love that movie!

    • Susan H. says...

      Spartacus brings a laugh in every scene he’s in…

    • Stephanie says...

      The Birdcage is the best! That reminds me – Mrs. Doubtfire would be a great addition to the list.

  34. Katie says...

    I love this list, BUT, Shakespeare in Love has a LOT of sexy scenes + lots of boobs – I mean, I love it, and have seen it 500 times and have actually taken an entire college course on it, so everyone should watch it, but also just be aware…lots of sexy times.

    • Rach in Oz says...

      That’s the first thing I thought too – lots of sexy scenes, which could make for awkward/uncomfortable viewing!

    • Kate Bu says...

      I agree! Not totally safe to watch Shakespeare in Love with the fam.

  35. Sally says...

    YES to Burn After Reading. Every couple of years we watch this with my dad, and laugh till we cry.

  36. HJM says...

    Any of the Oceans movies, Oceans 11, Oceans Twelve or Oceans 13. Funny, quick witted and entertaining without a lot of violence/sex/cursing.

  37. Lizzie says...

    Over Thanksgiving we watched Tommy Boy and it was surprisingly delightful for my 18 year old brother who had never seen it as well as my 60-something parents :)

  38. Katie says...

    Jerry Maguire has a quick but pretty loud sex scene at the very beginning. Which I learned the hard way while watching with my dad in high school. cringe. I would fast forward a bit before starting the movie with your family.

  39. Kristian says...

    Kid-friendly ones I would include are Sound of Music, (possibly Mary Poppins too) and Wizard of Oz. I teach and was really surprised how many of the students had never seen Sound of Music or Wizard of Oz. You might also consider Sandlot too, or League of Our Own, especially if you like baseball

    Adult-family ones I’d include might be a few of the old classic films like Casablanca (“Here’s lookin’ at you, kid!) and Field of Dreams.

  40. Jean says...

    Doesn’t Shawshank Redemption have a prison rape scene? Maybe it’s not that graphic, I haven’t seen it in eons.

    • Megan says...

      Yes, it definitely does. Not family friendly at all.

    • Rach in Oz says...

      Yep. It’s a great film but I wouldn’t recommend it to all my adult relatives – I’d pick more of a general crowd pleaser. Something cosy and festive. The Holiday or Elf or Home Alone.
      Even Love Actually (which I love) could be tricky depending who you watch it with – I saw with adult cousins at the cinema when it first came out and I was SO embarrassed by the porn stand-in scenes!

  41. Yesterday I was thinking about watching a dramatic movie with my family but today your article solve this problem. Thanks For Sharing this Article that would be helpful for me.

  42. Julia says...

    Great emotional films are also The Sound of Music and Billy Elliot.

  43. “The Holiday” is a family fave of ours! Love your “oldies but goodies” picks! Hubby’s favourite is definitely “Coming to America” and how good is “The Grand Budapest Hotel”?

  44. Tally says...

    Many of these are such great films, but films to watch edited (yay for VidAngel!), or without kids. I was really surprised to see that nearly 50% of these films are rated R – I wouldn’t classify any rated R movie as a “family” flick.

    I would add Fantastic Mr. Fox and The Family Stone (best casting of a movie EVER).

  45. My parents are quite conservative so here are some that pass the my parent test!
    Big Hero 6 – everyone in my family loves this film and despite me not being a huge animation fan I just adore this film!
    FullOut – more of a chick flick but its based on a true story of the gymnast Ariana Berlin and its a fun movie but also really inspiring.
    Night at the Museum movies – these are family favourites and I love how they are all based at different museums.
    Elf – because its Christmas time and Will Ferral does the best job as Buddy.
    Hunt for the Wilder People – my parents recently watched this and they laughed and laughed, they haven’t stopped talking about it and I am pretty sure its their new favourite film.
    Grown Ups and Grown Ups 2 – call me crazy but I love Adam Sandler movies and these make me laugh and laugh!
    My Big Fat Greek 1 and 2 – great films that the whole family will love, my Mum saw the second film in the movies twice she loved it that much.
    Its Kind of a Funny Story – similar themes to Silver Linings Playbook but different and despite it being set in a mental hospital light hearted and just a good movie.
    Jurassic World – my sister, Dad and I went to this in the cinemas and he loved picking which people would die first. Chris Pratt is great in it and the storyline is fast paced.

  46. Alexis says...

    Just watched paddington the other day and it was delightful! We thought it was very whimsical sort of in the way of Wes Anderson films.

  47. We just watched 2 movies last weekend that are ideal for mixed audiences: 1) McFarland. Wonderful film. Uplifting true story, and very appropriate. Loved it. 2) “You Again”. Not nearly in the same league as McFarland, but it was cute and entertaining, addresses bullying, and has a good message. Thanks for all of the suggestions both from the post and the comments. With winter setting in, this helps me prepare for hibernation.

  48. Karen says...


  49. Mimi says...

    I watched Cast Away with my 6 year old on Thanksgiving and we were both yelling “Wilsonnnnnn!!!” and hugging when Wilson floated away. The plane crash was scary but my daughter was satisfied that it was make believe. Watching this was a great family experience.

    Also, Matilda was such a beloved movie for my family, but through Cup of Jo I discovered the book Shrill. Now I see Miss Trunchbull and Miss Honey through Lindy West’s eyes! Love, love, love Shrill and Lindy West.

  50. Erin says...

    Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium is a lovely film! It is full of magic for kids but has a heartwarming story for the older crowd. It does deal with the subject of death, however it is explained in such a beautiful way. I always bawl somewhere near the end but I love it!!!

  51. I like the Italian Job – remake. Handsome actors, humor, the villain loses in the end, no gratuitous violence and the swearing is light if not nil.

    • Mary H says...

      Our family loves this one too. Great for teens.

  52. Paige says...

    Another one for the “Oldies, but Goodies” pile: The Sandlot. It’s funny, it’s sweet, it’s a classic and there’s really nothing for anyone to get upset about. You’ll be calling everyone Smalls and drawing out the word, “for-e-ver” for weeks. It’s one of my all time favorites.

  53. Gabrielle says...

    Fantastic! At 26, I still can’t go without blushing and finding some excuse to leave the room if I’m watching a movie with my grandparents and a sex scene comes on. When I was a teenager, they would take me to see art/indie films at a local college and I would sit there so awkwardly; I saw “Y Tu Mama Tambien” with them when I was 13 and wanted to crawl under my seat!

  54. Melanie says...

    Anything Indiana Jones works for us….

  55. Mary says...

    My dad really likes watching Love Actually at Christmas time. While sweet and cute in general the storyline with the naked couple is quite awkward!

    • Julia says...

      Oh, I adore that one. Also Sleepless in Seattle and You’ve got mail.

  56. Lindsay Marie says...

    Jason Bourne and mission impossible series, Bond films as well, oldies like caddy shack, fletch, and spies like us.

  57. Great post + suggestions! We watched ‘Fantastic Mr. Fox’ over the Thanksgiving holiday and it was the perfect autumnal, feel-good family movie. We all chuckled with the use of ‘cuss’ instead of actual curse words, e.g. ‘What the cuss!’ I think it’s going to be a new tradition when we’re all together for Turkey Day :)

  58. sara says...

    Mr. Popper’s Penguins is pretty unobjectionable, and the penguins are cute and funny. I love Immortal Beloved in the romance category, it’s about Beethoven.

  59. Midge says...

    One of our family faves is “Intolerable Cruelty” with George Clooney and Catherine Zeta-Jones. There’s a nut with a gun and implied adultery at the beginning, and maybe a few 18+ references throughout, but we’ve watched it with both sets of parents and it delivers. Campy fun.

  60. My kiddos are all grown, and no grandkids yet so I don’t have many kids’ movies to suggest. Besides The Princess Bride, which I loved and I recently watched again. I remember really enjoying watching The Neverending Story. with them.

    More adult oriented :
    Harold and Maude, Passion Fish, The Shipping News, Four Weddings and A Funeral, I’ve Loved You So Long ,The Big Chill and L.A. Story!

  61. Pris says...

    Cool Runnings, The Mighty Ducks trilogy, Home Alone and Enchanted are all fantastic ones the whole family can enjoy :)